An Animal Stone Reading for the New Year

Fullreading(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?”

brownbearFor 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. blackbunnyThe 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.  frog & dolphin

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.  blackbearThis 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.  Deer

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.”   mystery beastI 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.

Animal Spirit Message: Lion

lion-family-105624469667The sun is in Leo and the word is that the Lion’s Gate Portal, a star portal open from July 26 through August 12th, (perhaps associated with the star Sirius, and the constellation of Leo, and linked, somehow, to the pyramids of ancient Egypt) reaches its peak today. With so much about the recent passing of Cecil the lion in the news, and hopes and prayers that this much-publicized killing will lead somehow to an increase in consciousness about the need to honor and respect our animal kindred, this seems like the perfect and inevitable time for the following animal spirit message from Lion. In reaching for this message, so many symbols that various cultures around the world have associated with this great cat —  Sekhmet, Bast, Ariel, Leo, Aslan, the heraldry of European royalty — swam before my inner eye. I touched briefly the wise, sweet energy of my friend, Jahari, the male lion at the San Francisco zoo, before coming to the great Spirit Pride of Lion.  Somewhat to my surprise, Lion owned and accepted all of the associations I had just made and incorporated them in the following message to us.

We know you. We speak as symbols of power, royalty, might and majesty –especially the majesty of Life, or Nature, or that which you call God. We speak as beasts of planet Earth who live and dwell in ever-dwindling wild places. We speak as Guardians of the gate of the worlds where dream and thought shift into form and shape themselves into the substance of physical manifestation. We know you. We know you for your kind and ours have helped to shape each other, because we have created together for so long. You look to us as symbols and yet you do not feel our kinship and oneness with all Life. You do not feel your own. You cannot ever rule over that which you do not acknowledge or claim within your self. You have looked to our kind to show you the ways of sovereignity and we show you by our very being that we are sovereign only to ourselves. You must own your true selfhood and your oneness with all that is. Claim your power within yourselves. That will bring you peace from all the unrest and strife within and without.

Stand in the truth of your nature and relish the Life that flows through you. Express it freely and truly and boldly. That is all we know and all that you-we truly are.

This Gate that you speak of, the Lion’s Gate, is the gate of self-realization, of God realization. It is knowledge and power in the simplicity of living and loving Life, of being and expressing who you truly are — and only that.

It is simple for us. We have no other truth. You have found so many ways to obscure the simplicity of this truth for yourself. Stop and let go of all that is untrue. Be yourself, know yourself, and look to no other for your truth.

We do not let others tell us how to be Lion. We simply are. All the beasts of the earth know this except you humans who are always looking for and to other “authorities” to tell you who and how to be.  The authority on this is always and only yourself.  That is who you are here to be. Be powerful and be true. Look to no other but yourself. That is all.

Animal Spirit Message: Seal

23923_1600x1200-wallpaper-cb1280341596It is delicious, delightful being me. I know the worlds of deep water and land, diving deep, skimming lightly on the surface, sunning myself on the rocks. I am as changeable and adaptable as the sea in which I live. There is so much to experience, life is joyful and varied. I follow the fish which nourish me, so it is always a merry chase, an adventure and a feast.

Your kind are interesting to me, so different, so resolute, so unheeding, sometimes so cruel, often equally kind. I would like to feel more of the joy of life in your folk. All the water folk know much joy, much lightness of spirit. We have buoyancy. I like that word. I enjoy describing me through your words. This is a delightful dance.

You begin to feel it, the essence of me. It is buoyant and joyful, contrasting delights of being part of the different worlds of land and sea. Otter is akin to us, to the essence of what we are, but we are more nurturing, less about games and more about exploring the depths.

You may think of me as a guide on your journey through the deep waters of your life and inner being. The inner self of humans, the flow of Spirit through the world, is much like the sea that I swim. Too often, humans are afraid of the depths of themselves. Yet it is the depth of the water that allows it to fully support you. Trust the depth and your own buoyancy, let your hearts be light and life will be good for you. Be curious, love your physical form and enjoy your experience of it. I am happy to help humans in this way if asked with love and respect. Humans wield much power upon the earth, and the happier and more connected they are, the better it is for all the creatures of the earth.  For this reason we are willing to help you.

Animal Spirit Message: What the Fox Say?

12667_1280x1024-wallpaper-cb1267713332If you’re groaning at the title of this post — ask yourself: could you have resisted?  After Rabbit appeared precipitously in February, I was wondering who would show up for me now that we’re on the verge of Spring.  Somehow it doesn’t surprise me that it was Fox.  What does surprise me, is the Fox considers itself to be a “mirror” as well as a master of diversion.  If there are any magicians or illusionists out there, then Fox is definitely your animal guide.   I’m still pondering the idea of Fox as “Mirror” and what that means. I’d welcome input in the comments.

Who am I? Why I am ME! As you acknowledge my beauty, and strength, and quickness, and intelligence, and devotion, I feel your love and offer it back to you. I am all of that, indeed, and I am also a mirror. I reflect everything around me back to itself and back to others their own truth, whether they be animal or plant, predator or prey. They will see themselves when they look at me. That is why it is so hard to pin Fox down, because I am always shifting and changing depending on where I am and who I am with. When I am near, others see themselves more clearly.  Me they see only as I allow.

The essence of me is simple and true and I can never lose it. For me there are no obstacles, no barriers, no boundaries of perception. To fool the eye you must always be aware of everything so that you can use whatever is available to divert the flow of attention. You must have stillness within, and the ability to take stock even when moving quickly through the world. All things are always in motion. Fox will teach you to choose your focus, how to direct your attention and that of others, so that they will see only what you wish them to.

What would I like to tell humans? Let yourselves be light and know that it is all a game. Even “life and death” is just a game that offers moments of exhilaration and joy.  Find freedom in play, instead of making everything so serious. Love the moment. Live it, dance with it, one moment into the next. You don’t know what the next moment will bring, much less tomorrow, so don’t waste time in fear. Live now!

Animal Spirit Message: Rabbit

RabbitI know you must be thinking, “Hey! What’s going on here?  It’s only February.  You couldn’t wait and drag out Rabbit for Easter, or at least Spring? ” I get it.  But I’m taking my cues from Rabbit, who enjoys being unexpected, and — apparently — wants to speak NOW.   (We’ll have to wait and see who does emerge in the Spring.)

You have to be quick to catch me. I create with abandon, fertile with life and joy. Spirit flows through me abundantly, dances and plays with me. I have much love and much fun in my secret, hidden world as well as in the overworld. Always remember that I live in two worlds. There is more to Rabbit than meets the eye; much that you never see.

I enjoy visiting your world above the ground, but am at my full power and strength in the secret underground world that is mine, where I bear and nurture my young and can be my deepest, truest self in peace and safety.

I am perceived as weak, vulnerable and fearful in the upper world, your world, where many creatures prey upon me. I would rather be viewed and thought of as the ruler of my underground domain who sometimes comes up to play in the light. That is my mystery and the aspect of me that is often overlooked because no one sees it.

I am light of heart and spirit. I have no real worry or fear because I am fast and clever and my home is safe and hidden from all eyes. I am wise and foolish, both together.

I know better than to call my predators to me with excessive fear. That would be silly. The fearful ones, the timid, unsure, or reckless are most often taken as prey.  But I am so abundant, so many in number and so sure of my continuation [as a species] that I am available to nourish those who require me as food. I create new life easily and joyously and make gift of it when there is need. This is a source of pride to me.  There is enough of ME to go around, so many bodies to play and dance in, to endlessly experience life with abundance, ease and joy.

What humans perceive and the stories they tell about ME are not important, they are not ME at all. Thank you for seeking my truth.

My advice?  Learn to cherish the true source of your abundance, the beauty and worth of your deep inner being, and dance and play in the sun when you can. It is not what you expected of me is it? You did not know that I could be wise. Now you know the true Rabbit — always unexpected, yet gentle and gracious in nature and intent.  Know that I delight to surprise you, yet expect no harm of me.

Animal Spirit Messages: Owl as Guide

photo (26)(Reaching for the Spirit of Owl was an interesting learning experience for me. I found that because this bird has so many layers of archetype, myth and story wrapped around it, such as being the bird of wisdom, sacred to the goddess Athena, the bird of wizards and magicians, etc., that I had to reach past this wide, deep, archetypal layer of humanity’s creation in order to finally connect with the actual spirit of the being that expresses here on Earth in feather, bone and flesh.  Even then, it seemed that Owl was not unaffected by all that we have projected upon it throughout our time on Earth together.  Owl’s message, however, is perfect for this dark time of the year.  In fact, I am reminded of the following prayer of unknown origin that I found on a magnet, and have long had on my refrigerator: “Oh Owl, you who fly through the darkness, seeing everything in the night, help me to see through my own darkness to find the light within.”)

I am the night Hunter, winged predator of the night. I am silent and swift and sure in my strikes. Many creatures hide in fear of me.

I fear few and this makes me proud. The large cats I am wary of, but that’s about it. Many more creatures fear me than I have fear of.

My call leads humans astray in the dark although it can also guide them if they know where they wish to go.

For your kind, I am at my best as a guide. I can guide you through the dark if you will put aside your fears and follow. Trust that I will lead you safely to places where there is comfort, warmth, life, food and magic. Wherever you need to go.

There is no fear in darkness, it is kind, comforting, concealing. I am the light shining from within. It is the harsh bright light of day, the glare of the sun, that I avoid. I do not fear it, but I am truly at my best in the dark.

When you allow yourself to revel in the darkness and receive the peace and calm it brings, I will come to you to show you the way to what you seek.  I will remind you that there is life here, too, in the night. Yes, I am proud, it is good to be Owl!

The magic and mystery of the dark and the moonlight is mine. The depth and shadows of the night fascinate and beckon. Remember the wildness and the excitement of the night and remember the part of yourself that so often you experience only in dreams. It will energize you and make you more fully alive. It is hard for you to do this when you have to be awake all day. If you would follow me, I suggest you take rest during the light time.

Think of flying through the night illuminated from within, knowing yourself to be the fierce ruler of the skies. Dream on it, and you will know me. Speak of the guidance and the wisdom to be found in the dark silent places when I come to you.

Soar whenever you can.

Animal Spirit Messages: Beaver – Building To Benefit Earth

beaver(I began my conversation with the Spirit of Beaver by sending love and appreciation, which was returned in kind.  I was impressed and touched by the kinship that Beaver perceives between it’s kind and ours.  There is much we can learn from the Beaver folk.) 

Thank you for your appreciation. I accept it with gratitude. You humans often show me respect and affection and I do not fear you although it is best when I am left alone to do my work and enjoy my life. In so many ways I am much like you. I am an engineer and a builder like you. My designs and structures are famous and admired by other beings. This pleases me.  I take pride in my makings, as do you.

The difference between me and you is that I use what nature offers and build to provide for my own needs and those of my family, knowing that the earth benefits from my work, from what I create. That is as it should be. If you humans always had this knowing you would be happier in your work and more eager to create with purpose in your lives.

That is what I would like you to remember about me and tell others. I care for my own and build with purpose so that all benefit. What I value, what is most important to me, is my family, my home, and the rivers and streams and waters in which I live. I help to regulate their flow. It is a very important job and many other creatures in the water and on land rely on me. They are my larger family as all beings on the earth would be yours if you would honor and treat them as such.

I would ask you humans to look to the state of the waters.  It is most distressing. You could help us and yourselves, and the earth, if you would only clean up after yourselves better.

If you call on me I will help you to create the structures needed for your lives with purpose and for the benefit of all. I can help you regulate the flow of your lives.

Animal Spirit Messages: Frog Speaks

photo (19)(Animal Spirit Messages are communications and messages to humanity from the collective spirit of an animal species as opposed to any individual member.  Sometimes they choose to speak in the first person, “I,” and sometimes in the plural as here.)

We are many and varied and cover all the world. We are born in water and our young are like fishes, completely of the water world. We grow up into our land legs, where we move by leaps and bounds.  We bridge the elements of life and can help you do this too.

We know the ceremonies and ways of transformation and transition between the worlds, as we dance between the realms of water, and earth.

We are dancers, musicians, singers, makers of song and sound magic, and the night is our time of song and celebration.

We offer the gifts of healing, purification, and appreciation of the beauty and perfection of different ways of being.

We are fertile and abundant and want for nothing.

Our intent is to experience earth life in our own unique ways and forms through all our transformations and expressions. We will help you learn to joyfully express your true passion and the many facets of your own nature. We teach change, and to allow the old form to nourish the new one as it develops.  As you change, you recreate yourself and meet the world fresh and new with each transformation. That is what we do and we can show you the way.

Call on us and we will help you. We will guide all who ask us with the proper appreciation and respect.