Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

A blog encouraging deeper relations between people and animals.

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Animal Messengers

Sometime ago, I dreamt that I was a giant squid playing with the other squids in the blue ocean. Wiggling my tentacles, I had fun jetting from here to there. When I woke up, I pondered what Giant Squid had wanted to tell me

 While pondering my dream, I understood that Giant Squid wanted me to play more. Moreover, She came to remind me to be more flexible. With my brain injury, I have become a fixed thinker. Since it takes me a long time to do my chores, I tend to focus solely on getting them done. Giant Squid decided to enter my dreams to have me become more fluid in my waking life. She told me to zoom away from housework and go play.

 Besides appearing in our dreams, how else do animals give us messages? They try to get our attention. For example, I usually see one chipmunk near my condo building. However, I kept noticing another chipmunk darting from under parked cars. As I went about my daily business, I encountered so many chipmunks that I conducted a chipmunk census. I counted at least ten darting from behind trees, popping out of bushes or sitting on fence posts.

 Finally, it dawned on me that Chipmunk wanted to tell me something. Since I keep a personal journal of animal encounters, I immediately understood Chipmunk’s message. Chipmunks collect and store seeds for the winter. For me, Chipmunk warned me “to attend to my financial affairs.” Going to the bank at once, I prevented my account from being overdrawn. For once, I was glad to conduct my chipmunk census.

 How do you tell the difference between simply seeing a lot of the animal and when it is trying to contact you? A few years ago, I was working at a job that I was not wild about. At lunchtime, I would eat at a local park, where a lot of crows liked to roost. I enjoyed watching them fly about, cawing to each other. Other than that, I paid the birds no attention.

 When a crow tried to steal my lunch, I took notice. After fighting Him off, I knew I had to learn more about these amazing birds. In various folk stories about crows, I discovered that they were record keepers and carriers of the Law. Shortly after the lunch incident, I was offered a new position as an archivist. The Crow was alerting me to this.

 Another way to find out if an animal has something to say to you is when you just start to notice it as if it was a “rare or special” animal. For example, blackbirds have been nesting in your area for years, but you never really noticed them. Suddenly you start staring at them, and pause to listen to their songs. Then ask yourself, “Why am I noticing blackbirds?

There are times when the animal will come to you. You watch a nature show featuring geckos. Then the evening news discusses how a gecko’s “sticking abilities” can help modern medicine. Finally, someone tells you that during their trip to Jamaica, geckos kept climbing on their luggage. Obviously, Gecko wants your attention.

 The rule of thumb for animal sightings is seeing them in four different ways or times. This comes from Michael Harner and his work on “core shamanism.” An animal acting in an unexpected way or showing up in unexpected numbers is one who is delivering a message.

 What if a bad animal is trying to speak to me? There are no bad animals, but some are not as welcomed by people. Every person has their list of animals that they would rather avoid. For most people, that list includes insects and reptiles. For me, it is dolphins.

 Take flies for example. Most people do not harbor warm feelings about these insects. However, flies teach being healthy. Where you find a lot of flies, there is usually garbage or rotting food nearby that you need to get rid of. Moreover, they are sophisticated fliers, who can tack sideways and fly backwards. Besides that, they are also highly adaptable. Therefore before making a snap judgement, consider all of Fly’s attributes.

 Animals come to people in a variety of ways to deliver a message. I would advise keeping a journal of the animals, and what they were doing. Then try to connect your own meanings to the actions of the animal.

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Virginia Carper, a Roman Polytheist, lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family. She navigates life with a traumatic brain injury which gives her a different view on life. An avid naturalist since childhood, she has a blog called “Nature’s Observations.” Having experienced the animals directly, she teaches on-line classes about the spiritual and natural aspect of animals. She has published articles on her brain injury, Roman polytheism, and working with extinct animals. In addition her writings on animals (including dragons and other mythic creatures) can be purchased her book site, Animal Teachers.  


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