Some years ago I watched a movie with Penelope Cruz called Woman on Top, about a South American cook who honored the gifts and messages from the ocean. It reminded me of the Papago Indians of the southwestern United States. They believe that everything in nature is open to interpretation and that when a piece of seaweed, or a feather, or a creature should cross our path it is in essence a message from beyond.
I am always conscious of meaningful communication from the animal kingdom. One time when I was teaching a week-long workshop in Costa Rica with my husband Win, a giant frog prompted me to practice what I preached. It appeared one day after class in front of the door to our bedroom. Frogs symbolize cleansing and I intuitively knew that I needed to cleanse my energy after the class yet had failed to do so. In my mind the frog appeared to remind me that it was time to cleanse.
We recently bought land in Canandaigua, New York with the intention of building a house. The land is situated on a hill that is traditionally considered the birthplace of the Seneca Indians. On one of our visits we decided to have a picnic on the “chosen spot” where our house would sit. We spent most of the afternoon excitedly planning our new project. As the sun began to set I became aware of a native spirit watching us. On closer inspection I noticed that the native wore a small skullcap with a feather pointing upward. I was fascinated by this encounter and the next day returned to the land in anticipation. Win and I walked the land as we had done on many other occasions and for the first time found a feather. It was a perfect hawk’s feather. After seeing the native spirit I did some research and discovered that the Seneca wore one feather facing upward from a skullcap, and that they were divided into eight tribal clans each represented by a creature, one of which was a hawk. The feather was a message from the native to let us know who he was.
We are all a part of the collective consciousness. When someone needs a message on some level we agree to be the messenger, even though we may not be completely aware of our agreement. I believe that all life has made this silent contract. I have discovered many such messages over the years. When I lived in London a flock of pigeons would gather on my balcony and leave behind a mass of droppings. An annoyance, but it became a message when after the rain their ”little signs” blocked the outside drain. I felt this reflected my own emotional blockage. And on a trip to Florida my husband and I spotted an armadillo just as we were discussing our respective emotional armor.
The latest and most striking message came on the day of the memorial service for our friend and neighbor Tom Murphy. Tom owned the condo right next door to us in Mexico where he lived full-time and we live part of the year. His family had a funeral for him and an Irish wake in a pub in St. Louis, but we also wanted to celebrate his life with his friends in Mexico. Win suggested that we plant a tree to remember and celebrate his life. We waited until his family visited and together with a group of friends we gathered in a circle around the tree to honor him and to say our farewells. Tom was the life and soul of the party and we each had at least one story to share about his shenanigans. One in particular spoke of the sign he had received guiding him to take up residence in Mexico. One of the ladies present had not heard this story before and silently said a prayer to ask Tom to give us a sign that he was with us on that day. Almost immediately there was a loud kafuffle in one of the palm trees. There appeared to be a large animal in the middle of it. A moment later an enormous bird emerged from the tree, briefly flew to the branch of another tree, and then sped off. We were stunned especially since the lady who had asked for this sign shared her prayer with the rest of us. But there was more to come. We were abuzz with excitement as the bird came back this time in all its glory gliding above us and just a few feet away. It became apparent that it was an eagle and as it soared above the crowd about 12 other small birds glided along with it on its tail wind. We all realized what a momentous sign this was as it accurately reflected Tom—he the glorious eagle and we his followers along for the ride. We had not seen the eagle before and we have not seen it since. It was the perfect finale to his life.
The next time you are in need of guidance, use your connection with nature. Remember that not all encounters with creatures are meant to be messages in disguise. As my husband so often says, “Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar!” Call on your intuition to tell you whether or not you are receiving a cosmic nudge, and if you are then thank the messenger for bringing you such a wonderful gift.
Elizabeth Harper is the award-winning author of, Wishing: How to Fulfill Your Heart’s Desires (Atria/Beyond Words). She is a color intuitive, psychic artist, spiritual guide, and teacher with an eclectic array of coloriscious offerings, including Divinely inspired Rainbow Spirit Jewelry, and an innovative ColorScope for those seeking colorful insights into their lives. www.sealedwithlove.com.