Thought for the Week: Parallel Lives
"I have a theory that every time you make an important choice, the part of you left behind continues the other life you could have had. Some people's emanations are very strong, some people create themselves afresh outside their own body. This is not fancy. If a potter has an idea, she makes it into a pot, and it exists beyond her, in its own separate life. She uses a physical substance to display her thoughts. If I use a metaphysical substance to display my thoughts, I might be anywhere at one time, influencing a number of different things, just as the potter and her pottery can exert influence in different places. There's a chance that I'm not here at all, that all the parts of me, running along all the choices I did and didn't make, for a moment brush against each other. . . .Perhaps for a while these. . .selves become confused. I have not gone forward or back in time, but across in time, to something I might have been, playing itself out."
—Jeannette Winterson, from Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Post-Thanksgiving: A Poem by Wendell Berry
PRAYER AFTER EATING
I have taken in the light
that quickened eye and leaf.
May my brain be bright with praise
of what I eat, in the brief blaze
of motion and of thought.
May I be worthy of my meat.
Hawk Omen Interpreted by Friends
Thanks to those of you who wrote to me with your thoughtful and intuitive insights about my hawk omen. The ways of seeing it are an education in themselves.
1. It felt to me that energetically the Hawk in most Native lore is a messenger from God or "the gods" and it feels like Spirit was very clear in telling you energetically there is a strong "upcoming event" and it wanted to get your attention, in a strong, clear, distinct fashion. I didn't feel it was bad; I felt it was a clear wake-up (no, you are not going to "miss" the message with the clarity that hawk gave you!). It felt there is a huge transformation of energy coming, for yourself and mother earth. It is a time to stay grounded and open and aware.
2. In our Native tradition, Hawk is specifically a messenger from Spirit. Generally, I understand Hawk to be a sign of provision. Hawk can also have other messages, of course, so you have to look at the behavior. Three years ago on New Years day, a red tail sat on a branch right outside our kitchen window and looked directly at us, making sure it had our attention. Then it turned around on the branch, facing the other way, and again looked directly at us. It did this twice, as if to make sure we saw what it was doing. It stayed for several minutes in all before flying off. Though we live in the country and hawks are not unusual, nothing like this has ever happened before or since. What happened with us over the next year, however, was a complete turn-around in our lives. We had been pursuing a very conservative theology, a mix of Native and evangelical Christian. In the year after the hawk, our entire road ministry, associations, and friends changed.
So if it had happened to me, I might think that Hawk's message may be preparing me for something, although there are times when the message is more immediate. The dramatic way it appeared suggests that it really had to get your attention for something significant coming up. If I were you, I would be on the alert for something totally unexpected. Hawk appeared to be in danger, but vanished without harm, apparently. Pay attention, and do not panic should something occur that would normally cause you to be concerned. Spirit will give you the way to "disappear" from the situation as safely and suddenly as it showed up.
The other thought I would have is that there may be a sudden opportunity that comes up quickly and must be seized quickly before it vanishes. I would be as alert as Hawk. When the car appeared to Hawk, it did not stop to think — it trusted its instincts and flowed with them. As you know, Spirit will reveal the meaning when the time is right. So many times Spirit sends us signs before the fact not so that we can know ahead of time, but so that after the fact we can know for certain that a path we have been put on was meant to be, as happened.
3. I feel that the sudden appearance of the hawk presents a warning. It wanted to get your attention in an unusual way. It wasn't out of its element when it served as a messenger, even at an airport. I feel that the hawk is you and your ability to avoid a bad business deal (at the last minute), with someone you know (a male).
4. There are three symbolic characters: the driver, the passenger, and the hawk. The driver and the passenger represent aggressive and passive aspects of the ego that seeks to drive you through the world of action in a physical body (car), and reacts to events in the world. The hawk is the impulsive, spontaneous, and trusting higher self that appears when the ego stops its activities and becomes aware of the higher self’s greater reality which is beyond the body. The ego usually reacts with awe and surprise because of its limited beliefs about what should happen and not happen in the world. The hawk is the essence of the Tao, God, Goddess, All-There-Is, now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t, I-am-and-I-am-not — a reality that is unknown to the ego that is conditioned to perceive reality in a certain way and cannot explain the unknown. Though encountering our impulsive and spontaneous self may at first startle our egos, eventually we are reminded that we are connected to something beyond the ordinary and can trust life's adventure (the safe flight arrival in the waking world).
My Hawk Omen
I would love some input from those of you who are shamanistic, or well-versed in omen-interpretation. I know this is significant, but can't seem to connect with the deeper meaning. . .
I was being dropped off at the Baltimore airport on my way back to California a few days ago. As we pulled into the drop-off area, just before the roofed-in section, a hawk materialized right in front of the car, and realizing it was out of its element, and about to be hit, it stopped in flight immediately in front of me and reared up vertically, wings spread horizontally, and stared into the car at me. The driver stopped in time not to hit it, and it appeared to go under the car and disappear. We didn't know what happened to it, but I felt it had survived. That a hawk (it looked like a red-tailed hawk) should have appeared in that particular space in a crowded municipal airport was incredibly weird, but that it had punctuated the space directly in front of me in such a graphic way really shocked and impressed me--litrerally, it made an impression IN me, like a dent.
My flight back to San Francisco was effortless and smooth, and no critical kind of thing has happened since. . . But I can't forget it, and my dreams have not given me insights. So if any of you have any ideas, I'd sure appreciate hearing from you!