Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A Visitation

(First. though. a quick follow-up on yesterday's entry about Ann Coulter. "Pollyannish," my wife, Ellie, declared after reading it. "You should be sending metta to the victims of her venom"--I paraphrase a bit here--"and to all those who are misguided enough to be influenced by her words." True enough. A good thought. But poor Ann needs it too. I agree with Carly, in the comments yesterday: the first person she poisons is herself.)

Yesterday, a truly exceptional event--a visitation of a kind. Outside my study window we have a fountain, inherited from the previous owner of our house, where birds often come to drink. About four feet tall, it's topped by a sphere through which the water bubbles over into a bowl, spouting out through four pipes and splashing down into a wider, lower bowl before being pumped back up to the top. I have often seen hummingbirds hovering above the sphere, and I always regard it as a blessing, a special favor from whatever gods there be.

Well, yesterday, I chanced to look up from my writing and was greeted with the vision of a hawk. He was perched there, magnificent and imperious, on the lip of the upper bowl, no more than a few feet from where I sat. Amazing! I called Ellie urgently to come down from upstairs and share this extraordinary moment with me, and she hurried down to catch a glimpse of the bird before he spread his wings and drifted off to a spot further down the yard. Then he was gone.

I'm a great respecter of the lore of our Native Americans when it comes to animals and birds, so I went online to check out what significance this visitation might have. Here's what I read:

The Hawk
In Native American cultures the hawk represents a messenger. It often appears in our life when we need to pay attention to the subtle messages found in our surroundings and from those we come in contact with. As with all messages received it is important to recognize its underlying truth. Because there are so many varieties of hawk, its messages vary and can affect all levels of our psyche.

One thing that all hawks have in common is the skill to move between the seen and unseen realms gracefully connecting both worlds together. Their acute vision compliments this ability and their discriminating nature keeps them out of harm's way. The broader vision of the hawk allows them to see what the future holds. In man, this symbolizes prophetic insight. If this medicine is underdeveloped, a tendency towards over-analyzing everything is common. In so doing, clear vision is lost. Those who hold this totem should remember to keep their analytical mind under control and not allow it to run wild.

The hawk has many foraging techniques. The most typical in their pursuit of prey is swiftly following the animal's efforts to escape. Once the hawk has secured the prey with its powerful talons, the bird dismembers it with its sharply pointed, strong beak. In man, this suggests that we can run but we cannot hide from our destiny. Sooner of later it will catch up with us.

The destiny of all humankind is to awaken from their spiritual amnesia and realign with the original intention of their soul. When the hawk flies into our life we will be asked to evaluate who we have become and rip out the threads of our self created illusions. This enables our inner truth to surface.

Hawk signifies union with Great Spirit. A bird of the heavens, the hawk orchestrates the changes necessary for our spiritual growth. Having this totem can be bitter sweet. If we accept its presence in our life, we will be asked to surrender anything that doesn't honor the integrity of all life--be it an idea, a feeling or an action. Although hard work is involved the rewards the hawk offers us are great.

There's a lot here to think about. I love the idea of the hawk as messenger, and connect that with the next-to-last paragraph about the need "to awaken from spiritual amnesia" and "rip out the threads of our self-created illusions." That sounds pretty Buddhist to me, as does the injunction to "surrender anything that doesn't honor the integrity of all life." For the moment, enough to be grateful to this great creature for his visit, and to make note of how inspiring it is for the human soul to be brought face to face with the spirit of the wild.


Cardozo said...

A young friend of mine is hospitalized this morning with self-inflicted wounds and it strikes me that we would all do better by letting in more of that spirit of the wild you talk about.

There's a wild hawk inside us that's unafraid to feel, to love, to be afraid and vulnerable. Having fairly recently gone through high school, I can remember vividly that unwritten imperative to shave off the unique edges of one's personality.

carly said...

P: That could also have been written by a Taoist, a good example of what I've been blabbering about lately.

It is also very American Indian, another influence on me, from childhood. (I believe American natives carried that philosophy from Asia during prehistory migration and embodied the most recent working societies with ancient spiritual ideals. The Indians communicated with nature. Then, of course, the white European tried to exterminate them.)

Here on the hill, we have hawks almost every day and the excitement never wears off. They have their favorite perches by the house. It is magnificent to look into their prehistoric eyes. Two times one has flown within 5 feet from me. Once, was to have a close look at Carly.

Perhaps he went down to see you too.

PeterAtLarge said...

OOps, Carly. Watch out for that little dog! Might look like breakfast to a hwak! And thanks, Cardozo, for the post. I'm sad to hear about your friend. PaL

carly said...

That was a while ago. She isn't little any more. seventeen pounds, not fat, muscle. She's a big one, like her mama. Spayed now. Just as sweet, innocent, and happy as nature can be.

In keeping with this site, I have posted my digital work for all here to see:

carly said...

That was a while ago. She isn't little any more. seventeen pounds, not fat, muscle. She's a big one, like her mama. Spayed now. Just as sweet, innocent, and happy as nature can be.

In keeping with this site, I have posted my digital work for all here to see:

"James" said...

I love hawks. The red-tailed hawk is my animal totem.