It has been almost a year since everything changed. The year before that, I suffered from (and sought treatment for) clinical depression. Through the pain, the stress, the upheaval, the disconnectedness…I often questioned the existence of a higher power. God, or…the Universe, or…Angels, or…something. Anything. I wanted to believe I wasn’t alone in my sadness and suffering. If I looked through my own misfortune through Christianity’s eyes, I felt angry. Abandoned. Forgotten. And worst of all, I felt like I was being punished by this God who I’ve been told loves us no matter what. “Well, not me, apparently.” That’s how I felt. Today, and for a couple of years, the terrain of my Life Journey has been rough and unstable. And although there were times when I lacked faith in anything, there were also times when the road I had traveled was illuminated by flashes of lightning. These “storms” in my realm of higher consciousness never produced lightning that revealed where my path was headed. They always illuminated the path I had traveled. And the further I walked away from the past, the easier it was to see how every moment of my life happened in such a way that allowed the next “thing” to happen, and so on.
To put it simply: Everything happened for a reason.
Of course, no one wants to hear that when they’re suffering. “It sucks that you got laid off, but…everything happens for a reason.” “Sorry your grandma died……you know everything happens for a reason.” If there is one phrase I can’t stand, it’s “everything happens for a reason.”
But it is absolute Universal Truth. And it was that realization that helped me form my spiritual beliefs, which aren’t NOT Christian, but what I like to call Christian+. I do believe we have free will and the power of choice, and I also believe there is an element of fate in our lives. Synchronicity. I believe some things are just written in the stars, and it’s our duty to learn our life lessons and choose how we react, or handle all situations we find ourselves in.
I believe that the Universe is giving us signs and cues ALL THE TIME. Call them what you will….some people call them miracles. Some people call them Godwinks. I prefer to call them messages. They are there. To be able to spot them and understand them takes practice. It is spiritual exercise. The more I exercised, the easier it was to receive messages. And then this wonderful thing happened: as I became open to these messages, I felt less and less alone on my life journey.
To be honest, I’m not really an animal person. I mean, I’ll be one of the first people to gush over STUPIDLY CUTE fuzzards on the interwebs, and I’ll even scratch behind your dogs ears and give your kitty cat loverubs. But I’m not a huge fan of taking care of things that poop, or need to eat…or taking care of things in general (besides my offspring)… I’m just not an animal person, and I’m OK with that. And I’m super-supportive of my friends who give abandoned and shelter animals a voice…but I digress…
So, animals. They’re “aight.” And I used to poke fun at the idea of a “spirit animal” or power animal…until my life journey took a more universally spiritual turn. And to be fair, I don’t know a whole lot about spirit animals, but here’s what I do know:
You don’t choose a spirit animal. A spirit animal chooses you.
Your spirit animal can change over the course of a lifetime, depending on the lessons you need to learn and the experiences you need to go through. You can have many spirit animals.
There are four different types of spirit animals.
Messenger Guide: will appear in your life and quickly disappear once its message is understood. These messages can be brutally blunt or come as vague whispers. The messages they bring can be positive or negative.
Shadow Animal Guide: will appear in your life (or dreams, or visions) and instill a sense of fear. It has a message for you–the message is that you have a lesson to learn, and until you make positive changes in your life to learn the lesson, the Shadow Animal guide will continue to appear, stirring more fear with every visit.
Journey Animal Guide: will appear when you are at a fork in the road of your life journey. When a decision is to be made, the Journey Animal will remain by your side as you set off on your chosen path and he will stay with you until that part of the journey is complete. It could take days, weeks, months, or years.
Life Animal Guide: will generally stay with you for most of your life and is a reflection of your spiritual self. He will remind you of your strengths and innermost qualities. It is possible to have more than one Life Animal Guide; while they never disappear from your life, they may take a backseat as you have other important lessons to learn over the course of many years during your life journey.
Pictured above are some of my “totems” or my collection of items that connect me to my spirit animal… The Owl.
(L to R: a handcarved owl from India, vintage owl buttons, vintage owl seals (the kind that you lick and stick), and a vintage-looking but in fact new owl barrette.)
I can’t say for sure the Owl has been my spirit animal all my life, but I do know that he has become my spirit animal since this great upheaval in my life, and my journey towards higher consciousness.
The owl spirit animal is emblematic of a deep connection with wisdom and intuitive knowledge. If you have the owl as totem or power animal, you’re likely to have the ability to see what’s usually hidden to most. When the spirit of the animal guides you, you can the true reality and see beyond illusion and deceit. The owl also offers for those who have it a personal totem the inspiration and guidance necessary to deeply explore the unknown and the magic of life.
The owl is associated with death (not literal death, but change and transformation) and superior hearing. He wants you to face your fears and hear the messages that are all around you. These messages are deep and complex. Grandmother Owl is often thought to come to those who need to let go of some part of their life that is no longer needed. As a guide, the owl teaches us to see and hear past shadows, beyond fear and darkness, though to the other side that promises light, happiness and knowledge.
I find this fascinating…as I go through this period of intense transformation.
Last month, I was blessed with a message–a Messenger Guide. It was a snake. Gabriel and I walked the nature trail around Lake Grubb one evening, and something rolled down the hill and landed beside my foot. I thought it was a stick, but it was a black snake with yellow stripes. It slithered away, but…not that fast. And I wasn’t scared, not even a smidgen. Which is odd, because I don’t handle anything throwing itself at me without warning—snake or something else!
If a snake slithers into your world, you are being asked to undergo a major transformation. Are you willing to shed your old skin? Are you willing to let go of people, places, and things that no longer serve a purpose in your life? Snake will help you make the grand transformation, and then slide into a new life that is brimming with possibilities. Snakes are symbolic of change and healing. Look for a rebirth into a new chapter of your creative energy and heightened wisdom.
YES. I am ready. I am open to good things coming in to my life. I am letting go of what no longer serves me to make room for love, opportunity, success, and happiness.
I know you are wondering what on earth does this have to do with the Twerk Riot weekend? Well…I’d like you to meet Maverick.
This is my Gabriel, riding Maverick. We were at a friend’s birthday party at Longshot Stables. Maverick has a penis. Maverick is a boy. It’s relevant.
I didn’t think much about Maverick. There was no connection. And then…
Part of the birthday festivities included horse painting. Which was awesome. I still didn’t think much about Maverick, other than “what a good sport.” After horse painting and cleanup, the kids took a walk to the pond and back to the main grounds.
And then, OMG.
Maverick didn’t come out, Maverick came-out-of-the-closet. Limp (back) wrist and all. LOOK at it. Painted to rainbow filth with a friggin’ feather sticking out of his head. OMG. I am staring at a horse in drag, who is just radiating confidence and happiness in his costume and paint.
At the mere sight of each other, we both popped our spiritual tucks. Maverick was a drag queen trapped in a horse’s body…I am a drag queen trapped in a woman’s body…the message could not be more clear!! Maverick, you’re my spirit animal!
I could not wait to get home and find out what it means to have a horse as a spirit animal. Here’s what I found:
Get up and get out of the rut you’ve created. Grab his mane, pull yourself up onto his back and let him carry you across the plains of your life. Do you (or someone in your life) need to move on? Horse will teach you to ride in new directions. The time for being stuck is over.
YES. I am ready to begin the next leg of the journey…on horseback.
I am SO excited. And I am so excited to have you on my journey as I shed my skin, ride my horse in new directions, and TAKE MY POWER BACK.