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Ezine Index   |   Feature Article by Catherine Bastedo   |   Susun on Youtube   |  Wise Woman Radio  

Spiritual Encounters with Hawks
by Catherine Bastedo

One day as I was enjoying a walk along the Ottawa River in the city of Ottawa, I saw a Peregrine Falcon lying beside the path. That was the start of my encounters with falcons and hawks, in both the real world and the world of dreams and meditations. When I walked into my first session with an emotional intuitive, a few months later, she told me that a hawk was sitting on my shoulder, not only that, but my hawk had a splint on its leg! Hawk is a symbol of the messenger, a powerful totem used from ancient times. As a totem, hawk is understood to be a symbol of the visionary, the creative force, the guide to one’s life path and the ability to see both the big picture and the details at the same time. It appeared that I had messages to deliver, talents to discover, and new images to see and create for others. According to her, my hawk had a splint because it had not yet realized its potential.

After that session, hawks and falcons began showing up in my life--as often dead as alive! A Cooper’s Hawk dropped out of the sky onto my deck in the city of Gatineau! When I arrived to open my cottage in Muskoka, Ontario for the summer two Broad-winged Hawks lay dead on the steps of the veranda. And Broad-winged Hawks had found a regular vantage point in a tall ash tree behind the cottage, where they perched on a high dead limb and surveyed everything that went on. All summer long they screeched at me when I went out, and denuded the area of squirrels, chipmunks and the song birds I loved. One day as I went out into the sun with my sandwich I looked up to see the female hawk tearing apart her own lunch of squirrel. Enough of this company, I thought, and I had to ask myself if there was perhaps a message I was ignoring.

hawkI think animals show up for a variety of reasons—to remind us that this may be a significant totem, to convey a symbolic message, to bring joy and awe in the beauty of nature.

Ted Andrews, author of Animal-Wise and Animal-Speak has written: “Birds reflect a union of the conscious mind with the unconscious. They reflect the achievement of full realization. Because of their ability to fly they are associated with aspiration, flights of intuition, beauty and levitation. Birds are a source of creative imagination, and they have the ability to awaken within us our own flights of magic.” He has remarked that dead birds may have something to teach us and they honour us when they die in our yard—it means they feel safe there. But he also reminds us not to be superstitious.

In my own case, I decided that summer to start giving a new voice to my creative spirit by writing about birds, and these notes as they developed eventually brought to life Bird Vibes, a meditation deck for spiritual insight through birds. One day, after enjoying the morning and lazily scribbling a bit, I went for a walk in the woods and almost stepped on a dead Common Raven, right on my path. It was a fully intact bird that had clearly just died. Raven is a symbol of magic, of talents, of an ability to use the tools at hand, and I knew that I was being reminded by Source that not only could I write my deck, but perhaps I should speed up the progress. I finished my text, was fortunate to find an artist who specialized in miniatures of birds, and commissioned her to do the artwork.

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