SageWoman Blogs

Raven (yes, really), a pagan, homeschooling mother of two -- one teen, one tot -- shares her adventures in parenting from a pagan perspective. Watch her juggle work, education, parenting, cooking, gardening, and . . . how many balls are in the air now? Sometimes they fall, and sometimes she learns from her mistakes. You can, too.

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Finding Meaning

Sometimes we encounter challenging situations or obstacles and we want to give them meaning or significance. Take my current situation. My family has struggled on and off since February dealing with septic and pluming issues without an obvious cause.  While we think we're finally honing in on the source and remedying each obstacle as we come to it, it's created a great deal of stress for everyone in my household.

As a water-worshiping witch, I wanted to apply meaning to this event. I wanted there to be a supernatural or metaphysical reason behind this unpleasantness. Even more so because of my close ties with water and earth. But after a lot of avoidance of the matter, and a steep depressive chasm for a few days, I came to realize through calming meditation and talks with my guides that this is just one of those awful, mundane bits of life that have no more significance than the house is old and the septic system was poorly built or maintained by previous owners.

It's not just the big and little crises of daily life, sometimes it's a chance meeting with an animal or interesting human. Someone in a spiritual group posted about seeing a common interaction between two species of bird. The poster became distressed because those two birds held personal significance to said person. But as someone else pointed out, the two birds are enemies and will fight each other over territory or perceived threat to a nest.

Does it have meaning? How does someone know what requires mystical intervention or awareness and what is merely a random happenstance of life?

First, I wish to remind all, myself included, that we should work to hone our senses and remain aware. Staying calm in stressful instances helps us see each event clearly. However, in a moment of crisis or shock, it can be difficult to return to center and stay aware of all contributing factors. After a series of traumatic events in my youth and a couple in my adulthood, I suffer from PTSD and panic attacks, which completely shut down those extra senses I rely on on a normal day.

So what then? Whether calm awareness has been achieved or not, we can always turn toward those entities or streams of knowledge that guide us when needful. Tapping into our sources of knowledge for clarity from animal guides to gods to meditation to angels to the Akashic Records to divination and beyond.  Whatever you normally turn into, pay a visit and request assistance with clearing your vision to see the situation from a different perspective, one divorced from some of the in-the-moment feelings.

And even if there are no challenges facing us, but we encounter an animal or have an experience, should we apply meaning to it? While I have my own reasoning criteria (e.g. repeatedly seeing the same type of animal over days or months when I normally don't, seeing animals behaving unusually, etc.), it is up to an individual to apply meaning.  Did the experience elicit a strong emotional or even physiological response? Did you find yourself inspired to action in your life because of it? Then it has meaning, at least for you. 

Should you wish to find out whether a frequent or unusual appearance of an animal is a message, I recommend some form of meditation as mentioned above in which you ask the spirit of the animal(s) in question whether they intended to offer you one. Since just before my son's birth, I kept seeing hummingbirds at my back window each spring and summer, despite never having them here before. I've taken it as a sign that hummingbirds are significant to my son, like tiny, flitting guardians. I've sat a long time with this before. When he's older, I'll see how he feels about them, if he finds their presence reassuring in some way, I'll have my confirmation.

As for our house troubles: the stress has brought up some difficult emotions for the family to acknowledge. My partner and I were bickering and felt distant for the last few weeks, but in processing our fears and concerns, we were able to reconnect again this evening (some might also point out the retrograde motions of Venus and Uranus right now).  However, I am learning an old lesson once more: sometimes a blocked septic tank is just a blocked septic tank.  In many cases, such experiences only have meaning if we apply it to them. And that can be just as significant as messages from the other worlds.

Blessed be and a joyous Lughnasadh to all who celebrate its coming.

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Raven lives in a forest with her two homeschooled children, partner, and several demanding cats. She enjoys performing, cooks a mean burger, and is obsessed with farming, but has yet to adopt a goat. Her publications are listed at


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