(I’m back, after a long hiatus, and I offer this post as both apology and re-entry gift. For those who have been curious about the animal stone readings I provide as one of my services (http://ouranimalwisdom.com/services/readings/), I’m about to give you a taste. This is my New Year’s reading for visitors of this site.
First, let me set the stage. I do my readings on a small, portable altar with offerings placed to each of the four directions. In the photo at the left, the black and white agate at the bottom, represents the North, and the bronze solar lion at the top is my offering for the South. The directional placement of the stones, along with the symbolic and archetypal meanings of the animal and mineral energies determine it’s interpretation in the reading. I do use elemental associations with the directions, and if these are not the ones that you are used to, please remember that there are many different systems, and mine are in part determined by my own geographical locale. I live in California where there is ocean to the West (Water) and mountains to the North (Earth). At this point I also feel a need to briefly apologize for my shortcomings as a photographer. I wanted to show the stone animals I use, some of which are actual native fetishes, others merely small animals carved of semi-precious stone, but they are all quite small and difficult for an rank amateur such as myself to capture on camera. I ask you to fill in the gaps with your imaginations.
A final disclaimer: of necessity, this reading will be somewhat simpler and more abbreviated than what I could offer over the phone. But, again, I am hopeful that it will be enough to ignite your own imagination and intuition to bridge any gaps.)
To begin, the Question: “What does Spirit most want those likely to see this message to be aware of in 2016?”
For the center of the reading — which is roughly equivalent to the significator card in a tarot reading, and indicates who we are for purposes of the reading itself — I chose Bear, specifically Brown Bear. This speaks to the role of Winter and the dark time of year that we are now inhabiting. Deep in hibernation, actively dreaming and engaged in the powerful — but as yet unconscious –creativity that will result in new birth, it works upon our deep subconscious minds and inner knowing, or intuition. We are now inwardly focused in a place of creatively dreaming all that is waiting to be born of our hopes, desires and actions, all that will emerge during the coming months of returning light and life.
Because of the way I phrased my question as an invitation to a message from Spirit, I chose the reading format I call a “chaos reading,” which means that the stones are thrown so that they fall where they will, instead of being drawn and intentionally placed in certain positions. From my bag I drew — blindly without looking at them (or trying to figure it out by feel) — six additional stones, shook them up between my closed hands and tossed them like dice into the reading. They landed as shown in the photo at the beginning of this post.
To the east of our central Bear is a small ebony rabbit. The black rabbit, as I call it, is one of two I have in my bag. This dark one symbolizes the underground Rabbit, the rabbit sheltered, hidden and safe in its burrow, in its place of magic and power. Rabbit is a minor trickster and it’s placement so close but to the East of Center indicates that magic is simmering beneath the surface, not quite ready to emerge. This reinforces the message of Bear, and lets us stay focused on our inner work and dreaming at this time knowing that the time for emergence is not yet but will be soon. It also alerts us to the possibility of fun and games, new adventures, and possibly the necessity for risk-taking dawning on the horizon. If we are feeling at all vulnerable or fearful about the future, just relax and know that in this moment, this time of dreaming, we are safe.
Moving from East to South and West, we find Frog just above and slightly Southwest of Center, with Dolphin directly below and almost close enough to touch Frog, Because of their proximity, I will read these two together.
To begin with, both are beings most often associated with the element of water, yet both are actually creatures of more than one element. Frog symbolizes cleansing as well as transformation and the ability to transition from one form of being into another, completely different one. With its deep voice, and nighttime choral performances, Frog alerts us to the possibility of using ceremony and celebration to invite cleansing and transformation in this time of new beginnings.
Dolphin — a water dwelling, air breathing mammal — is also associated with sound, particularly its use of sonar to navigate in deep water, and with the conscious use of the breath to connect with the divine.
These two water creatures, coupled so closely, speak strongly of navigating our own subconscious and emotional waters to consciously invoke healing and transformation. We can assist the process of bringing the deep and powerful subconscious creativity represented by Bear to the surface of ourselves by doing conscious breathwork, and through the use of music and ritual.
Moving clockwise to the Northwest, we have a small black Bear. This takes us back into our inner sanctum, our place of creative intuition, with a deeper awareness and a more mature ability and intent to emerge and climb to new heights of awareness and achievement. (Black Bear is the climber of the bears, unlike the brown or white bear.)
To the farthest point north of Center lies Deer. Deer is an animal of great gentleness and innocence. It is in the position to the farthest north of any animal in the reading — the North being the place of our greatest wisdom, maturity and strength, the place where we find the deepest parts of ourselves and rise to our greatest heights. Deer shows us the path of walking gently and lovingly in the world, with our hearts wide open to wonder. This becomes a source of great strength.
Immediately below our central Bear — between brown Bear and Deer, but slightly to the East (Northeast) is a small stone that I like to call the “mystery beast.” I call it a mystery beast because it’s obviously meant to be some kind of animal, but I’ve never been able to determine exactly which one. I use it in a reading to hold space for all the many species of animals that I don’t have stones for and that wouldn’t fit in my bag anyway. In other words, and especially for this reading which is not just for one person but for many, it’s a place to fill in the animal and message that is the most meaningful for each individual. What a delightful and magically appropriate opportunity to make this New Year’s divination interactive and personal for every reader!
So, I invite each of you to take a moment, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Feel the earth beneath your feet and the heavens above you. Know your Self as the center where all directions meet, and feel your connection as part of the natural world. Know that you, yourself, in this moment, are as much a part of Earth and Nature as a tree, a blossom, a river or a star. Open yourself and ask for the animal who will guide you in the coming year to reveal itself to you. Breathe, and Feel. Breathe — See. Breathe, and Listen. Breathe — Hear. Breathe, and Know. Take a moment to jot down all impressions, and any message you may have received. This is Spirit’s gift exclusively to and for YOU in this new year.
Winding to a close now, I note that all of the stones fell quite close to the Center — nothing very far afield or off the board. To summarize the messages I glean from this reading of the stones: Begin within, honoring dreams, feelings and intuition, recognizing yourself as both the center and the creator of your world. Allow and follow the magical guidance of your natural needs and impulses — particularly those towards playfulness and fun. Laugh, sing, use your breath and your voice to consciously connect with Divine Guidance in order to emerge as a higher and better version of yourself. Be gentle and loving — especially with YOU — for you are the dreamer and the dream, the guide, healer, teacher, and creator of your life and your experience.
Blessings of the new year from Our Animal Wisdom.