What is the spirit animal meaning of the Nighthawk?

Nighthawk

Animal Totem for Creative People

Flying Nighthawk watercolor paintingIn an international study conducted by Adobe, slightly over 50% of U.S. respondents, and 39% overall, considered themselves to be creative people. What’s more, the overwhelming majority viewed creativity as being valuable to society and a key driver of economic growth.

However, when the same people were asked if they thought they were living up to their creative potential, the story changed. Only one out of four felt that they were.

How about you? Do you feel your creative self could use a boost? Perhaps it’s time to pay a visit to Nighthawk.

Meet the Nighthawk

Nighthawk is a wonderful spirit animal for creatives of any type – healers, artists, musicians, writers, entrepreneurs, or anybody who uses their intuition. I’ll explain why in a moment. First, though, let me introduce you to this bird.

The Nighthawk is not actually a hawk. It’s a member of the nightjar family, which is related to the whippoorwill. With its long wings, stubby body and round head, it looks a bit like a bat. In fact, Nighthawks have a lot in common with bats. They, too, are a crepuscular animal, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. Like bats (and unlike hawks), they feed primarily on small winged insects.

If you live in Nighthawk territory and spend much time outside, you’ve probably experienced them passing overhead on many occasions. They are more common than many people realize. Nighthawks are often mistaken for bats, because they swoop around in a very similar manner to those flying mammals.

Nighthawks spend a lot of time on the wing. They have big eyes and very small bills, but don’t let the small size of the beak fool you. A Nighthawk’s mouth is incredibly wide, and that is its secret to success. With its massive mouth open wide, it flies through the air and catches insects for its dinner.

At first, the Nighthawk may strike you as a drab-looking creature. With its unpretentious, mottled brown and gray coloration, it rarely gets chosen for posters and calendars. However, if you ever get the chance to see one up close you will appreciate the utilitarian beauty of its plumage. Because it nests on the ground, it has beautiful barred feathers which blend in perfectly with fallen leaves, dry grass and gravel. On its underside, though, it does sport white patches that show up when it takes wing. These include a white “V” on the throat and white bars across the tail and wings. The wing patches sometimes create a flashing effect as it flies.

Like many creative people, the Nighthawk is quite adaptable. It’s capable of thriving in many different habitats, although it prefers open areas. You’ll even find Nighthawks in the city, where flat urban rooftops provide safe places for them to lay and incubate their eggs.

Nighthawk as Spirit Animal

The Nighthawk is a spectacular spirit animal for creative people and anyone interested in accessing their intuition or searching for higher truth. That is because it represents a bridge between the spirit and the mundane.

This is reflected in the time of day when it is active –neither night nor day but both. It takes flight during those magical ‘between’ times when our intuition tends to be a little stronger. Most traditions align the darkness with more of a feminine energy, and the light with masculine energy. Crepuscular animals like the nighthawk combine both. That is a very powerful thing. (In fact, psychological testing has repeatedly shown that highly creative people tend towards being “psychologically androgynous” – incorporating more of the psychological characteristics of the opposite gender than average.)

Staying Grounded While on the Wing

Even though the Nighthawk spends a lot of time on the wing, it nests on the ground. Like all creatures that fly on the wing, it can be a helpful guide when we are undertaking in higher purpose, spiritual work. But because it is a ground-nesting bird, the Nighthawk offers that down-to-earth connection, too.

Sometimes it’s hard for people who are interested in expanding their spirituality to ground themselves and to relate to and function well in the physical world. If you are having a hard time feeling grounded, if you feel like you’re walking 2 feet above the ground, or if people accuse you of being spacy, the Nighthawk is a wonderful spirit animal to spend some time with. It can help you ground yourself without leaving that wonderful ‘upper realm’ kind of space.

On the other hand, this bird doesn’t actually build a nest on the ground; it just lays its eggs directly on the ground and sits on them. If Nighthawk appears to you, it may be a sign to pay attention to your ‘nest egg.’ Are you tending to your savings and your retirement plans the way you should?

Opening to Inspiration and Abundance

Another wonderful lesson Nighthawk offers to creative people can be learned by observing its feeding habits. The Nighthawk actively sights and chases down its prey, which represents clarity of vision and the willingness to take action. Its fluid swoops and dives as it moves through the dusk are heart-stoppingly beautiful; like a sort of aerial ballet. At the same time, this bird totally opens itself to receiving. With that big, wide-open mouth, it effortlessly opens up and lets the nourishment come in. It is very, very open to abundance.

Often very creative or spiritual people have a hard time learning to receive. That image of being totally open to taking what you need in order to do your calling in the world is a wonderful one to keep in mind if you struggle with abundance. It can relate to both material and creative abundance. Remember the white bars on the Nighthawk’s wings? You can think of those as the flashes of insight that come to you when you put yourself in motion in the practice of your art. In other words, if you find yourself struggling with creative blocks, imagine yourself as a Nighthawk. Relax into the physical process of doing your work. Enjoy the flight – the process of your creative work. Trust that Spirit will provide the insight you need. The outcome will take care of itself.

In short, the Nighthawk symbolizes remaining open to Spirit and being willing to receive what Spirit sends your way. That’s where your creative inspiration or healing work comes from, after all, isn’t it?

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the "follow" tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

If Red Tailed Hawk is Your Spirit Animal…

Red tailed hawk with preyWhere I live in Upper Michigan, Red Tailed Hawks are a common sight. (They are probably the most common North American hawk, and can be sighted year-round throughout most of the continental U.S.) You usually see them either majestically circling on uplifts of air, or sitting in a tree or on a power line, apparently doing nothing.

Appearances are deceiving.

Unlike the Peregrine Falcon, the Red Tailed Hawk hunts by perching in a likely spot and waiting and watching for its prey. (This makes sense because Falcons prey largely on birds, while Red Tails prefer mice, squirrels and other small mammals.) It is an efficient way to hunt; allowing the Hawk to remain physically relaxed while waiting for prey to appear. However, don’t mistake relaxation for laziness. The Hawk has to remain hyper-alert. Overlooking even the slightest movement below may mean a missed meal.

So, if Red Tailed Hawks don’t hunt on the wing, why do we see them so often soaring in the skies?

Well, apparently they just love to fly! And who could blame them for taking wing in celebration after a well-earned meal? But according to master falconer John Blakeman, there’s more to it than that. He believes that a sated Red-Tail’s flight serves an important purpose: as the hawk flies above the landscape, it takes in information that could help it land its next meal.

“…(A)s our Parkway red-tails have flown around their Philadelphia neighborhood in the last year, in all seasons and weather conditions, they have been diligently recording just where they’ve seen potential prey. That’s where they are going to go when they want to hunt, when they or their eyasses are hungry. They have learned to cogently read the entire landscape the occupy, and know exactly where the next meal’s most likely to be found.”

What does Red Tailed Hawk teach us?

If you find yourself drawn to the Red-Tail, consider what it has to tell you about choosing and pursuing your goals in life.

First, Hawks in general are all about Vision. The eyes of Hawks and other raptors (birds of prey) have special adaptations that allow them to see with far more clarity and focus than we do.

When Hawk appears to you, it’s a call to pay attention to the vision you have for your life. Red-Tail teaches us to take in the whole scene first, before planning your course of action. Get a feel for the lay of the land and where the best opportunities are likely to be. Then stake out your territory.

But don’t waste your energy in mindless activity. Instead, take a relaxed position and wait and watch until something juicy comes into view. Then, don’t let it out of your sight but claim your prize quickly and decisively.

What if it’s not a Red-Tail?

The Red-Tailed Hawk is just one of many species of hawks in the world. (There are over a dozen hawk species native to North America alone.) They don’t all hunt in the same way. If you suspect that Hawk is your spirit animal, pay close attention to what particular species you are dealing with. Remember, there is more than one way to approach a goal. Studying the hunting habits of your particular hawk can help you find the style that is best for you!

photo credit: Red Tailed Hawk via photopin (license)

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the "follow" tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

Is the Octopus your totem animal?

octopusO, what an oddity is the Octopus!

With its eight tentacled legs and its funky looking face, it looks more like something out of Star Wars than an Earthly animal.

In fact, there’s something magical about the Octopus. If you find Octopi occupying your dreams or imagination, you may find that you are in for some magical or mystical experiences!

For one, the Octopus inhabits the depths of the ocean. Therefore it may point to things happening under the surface – in your emotions and/or subconscious.

The Octopus is a master shapeshifter. Its body is nearly as fluid as its watery home; octopi are mollusks (like clams or snails) but most have no hard parts, aside from a hard “beak” they use to feed on shellfish and other prey. They are capable of changing the color and texture of their skin to match their surroundings – or to make themselves stand out. The color changes can happen instantly and are thought to also sometimes reflect the Octopus’s mood and emotions.

One species, the Mimic Octopus, actually alters its shape to impersonate other species – at least 15 of them, including the Flounder, Sea Snake, and poisonous Lionfish.

Shapeshifting is not the only trick the Octopus keeps up its eight sleeves. When startled, it shoots out a cloud of ink as it zooms away. This creates a “smokescreen” behind it, which confuses its enemies and allows it to safely escape from predators.

OK, and here’s something even more bizarre: Octopi may be able to see with their skin! Researchers have found gene sequences in octopus skin that are usually only found in ocular centers. Speaking of ocular, Octopi have well-developed eyes and are supposed to have excellent vision. They are also quite intelligent and able to plan and solve problems.

Octopus as a totem animal can indicate:

  • Adaptability
  • Magic and mystery
  • Shapeshifting
  • Highly developed vision
  • Psychic ability
  • Deep emotions
  • Connection between mental and emotional faculties
  • Protecting self using intelligence, slyness, or other means other than brute force

 

photo credit: Pulpo via photopin (license)

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the "follow" tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

Power Animals: What does Nighthawk symbolize?

Nighthawk paintingAre you familiar with Nighthawks? If not, you probably have seen them flying overhead on summer evenings, but most likely mistook them for Bats.

Nighthawks are not hawks at all but  night-flying, insect-eating birds related to the Whippoorwill.

The Nighthawk is a wonderful power animal for many reasons, but today I’m just going to focus on one of them. If you look at a Nighthawk with its beak shut you might think it had a very small mouth, since its bill is indeed tiny. But when it opens its mouth… wow! That sucker is HUGE!

The Nighthawk feeds with ease simply by swooping through the air and opening its wide, wide mouth to scoop up insects. What a wonderful symbol of abundance!

Nighthawk teaches us that abundance results from two mindsets: taking action, and opening oneself to receiving the goods. Nice! 🙂

(This article is a sort of sneak preview. I will be sharing a LOT more about Nighthawk symbolism in an upcoming article for The Essence of Spirit, Mind, Body. If you’re not familiar with this interactive magazine, check it out – it’s awesome. You can get it on the Apple app store here.)

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the "follow" tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

Seeking your Spirit Animal? Use the 3 “I’s!”

Many people are curious about finding their spirit animal totem or guide. But for many of us, it’s hard to know where to start. After all, it’s not something most of us are taught to do in school.

Like I’ve said in other posts, one could write an entire book on this topic. But today I thought I’d briefly introduce you to three important instruments (all, coincidentally, starting with the letter “I”) you can use to intuit your animal guide.

And good news: they won’t cost you a thing! Here they are:

1. Intention

Just setting the intention in your mind that you will open the doors to allowing your power animal to make its way to you is a powerful first step to finding your animal guide. (Notice how I phrase this – don’t think of finding your spirit animal as a hunt. Rather, it’s an invitation – another wonderful word that begins with “I”!)

2. Intuition

Think too hard, and it will elude you. Or, you’ll come up with an animal that your mind (ego) thinks is appropriate. If all you care about is a tattoo that will impress your friends, go right ahead. Otherwise, let go of thoughts and trust your intuition instead.

How do you know it’s intuition? It’s what comes to you when your conscious mind is off guard. When you’re daydreaming or thinking of nothing in particular. When you’re focused on something else. When it comes to you in dreams. Or those sudden flashes of insight, inspiration, or impulses from out of the blue. (Wow, those “I” words just won’t quit, will they?)

3. Imagination

Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? If you did, what did the adults in your life say about it? Chances are, they told you that it was all in your imagination. That is wasn’t REAL. And maybe even to shut up and stop telling LIES.

Well, if that is what you experienced, then it’s time to pull out one more fantastic “I” word: IGNORE. Sure, your childhood imaginary friend, as well as totem spirits and all sorts of spiritual phenomena aren’t on the same plane of reality as your iPhone, but that doesn’t make them any less REAL. Your Imagination is your ticket to ride when it comes to finding your spirit animals, and to exploring your Inner life in general. (As long as it’s driven by your Intuition, not your ego.)

Used together, the three “I’s” are a powerful trio that can help you discover your personal totem animal, as well as many other spirit guides. Value them, and cultivate them!

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the "follow" tab in the menu up top to subscribe.