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Spirit attempts to communicate with us in a number of different ways, and it’s up to us to become better listeners, no matter how these messages come to us. One of the most accessible ways is through animals. Whenever an animal shows up in an unusual way or repeatedly in a short space of time—whether it’s the physical animal or a symbol of an animal—it’s one way Spirit tries to reach us and teach us. When this happens, there’s a lot more going on than you might expect. In these instances it’s not just the animal or the life force that animates that particular animal, but much bigger than that. The oversoul of that species has sent a representative to offer you a message, to resonate with your spirit-consciousness and offer you guidance along your spiritual path.
The message of the Hawk
I’ve had many experiences where Spirit has come through with messages in this way and have heard many stories from others of similar occurrences. Just recently, while preparing to attend a men’s group, I walked out to the back yard and heard a flutter of wings coming from the trees in the neighbor’s yard. At first I thought nothing of it, as it’s not unusual to see crows flying about here and there. Then, in a flash, a different type of bird appeared, and much to my surprise and delight, it turned out to be a hawk! It was the first time ever that one showed up in our yard, so it certainly qualified as unusual.
The hawk flew to the Arbutus tree directly behind the house and landed on the branch for a few moments, during which—I swear—he looked directly at me.
He didn’t stay long, but long enough for me to know he was delivering a message. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and asked, “Hawk brother, what’s your message?” Once you ask the question of the spirit animal, in this case Hawk spirit, it’s important to pay attention to everything that happens following, including what you see, hear, or feel. In this case I immediately heard my inner voice, “Stay focused and pay attention for other signs,” which turned out to be completely relevant for the upcoming men’s group. My friend and I had offered to facilitate this particular session, and since the group had been meeting for some time now, we both agreed that it was time to push the edges a bit further. We were confident the processes would open the way for greater honesty and depth.
Looking for the signs
I was driving to the group thinking about what Hawk had said, when I pulled up to a stoplight and looked to my left. On the side panel of the U-Haul truck two feet away from me was an image of several snakes with reference to a website to “learn more about garter snakes and other animals.” I was immediately reminded of the second part of Hawk’s message—being alert to other signs—and once again asked for the message, this time from Snake spirit. “There’s to be significant healing in the group.” Okay, got it. That boosted my confidence that all will go well in the men’s group today and helped me relax and just show up and stay present and focused.
Without going into detail, the processes we introduced served the purpose. I was very thankful for Hawk and Snake spirit sending their representatives to me. Hawk spirit in the form of a physical hawk and Snake spirit via the symbols on the side panel of the truck, with several images of snakes as if to add to the power of that message.
How to interpret animal signs
If you should have a similar experience of encountering an animal in physical or symbolic form as I did, there are a few things you can do to understand and interpret the message. Here are some suggestions that I’m sure you’ll find helpful.
Close your eyes, take a couple of nice, comfortable deep breaths, and in your mind state, “Please tell me or show me the message,” then pay attention to any immediate thoughts, images, or dialogue. Trust what you get, whether or not it makes immediate sense. It will later.
Think of the characteristics of the actual animal. That will give a clue to the spirit animal’s “medicine.” For instance, a hawk has incredible eyesight and when scanning the horizon with his broader vision, when something gets his attention, he focuses. So one of Hawk spirit’s medicines is the gift of focus and presence.
Refer to any books or other devices that give you some ideas as to the possible message, such as my book Animal Spirit Guides or the new condensed –and- revised Pocket Guide to Spirit Animals
Search the Internet for terms such as spirit animals, power animals, totem animals, etc. to discover what others have noted as to the message of the particular spirit animal of your inquiry.
No matter the possible interpretation or meaning of the message, be sure that it somehow resonates with your inner knowing and your heart. The more you listen, the more you will hear.
Most of all, have fun with this, and be sure to thank the animals and the spirit animals in whatever way you choose.
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Dr. Steven Farmer is a psychotherapist, shamanic healer, and the author of several best-selling books and oracle cards. In addition to workshops on Animal Spirit Guides, Integrative Breathwork, Healing Ancestral Karma, and shamanism, Dr. Farmer offers Integrative Healing sessions in person or remotely by phone, Zoom, or Skype, as well as an individualized Spiritual Mentorship program. He is on the board of the Society of Shamanic Practice and also offers a certification program, the Earth Magic® Practitioner training.
This article first appeared on earthmagic.net, and is reposted with permission from the author.