The Owl

Two nights ago, I had a dream of an owl descending from the sky to land beside me on the shoulder of a busy highway, where I had pulled over for fear of driving further. The way from that point on was filled with roads splitting into multiple new highways (think Nashville on steroids), and I felt the traffic was too fast and I was too inexperienced a driver to choose the correct turns or navigate them safely. So there on the side of the road, I gathered the owl in my arms and buried my face into the fluffiest part of her back, breathing deeply and taking in the powdery smell of her feathers. I woke feeling a strange sort of kinship with this owl… as if I’d been chosen by her somehow, like she was trying to guide and teach me something.

Later that day I was reading a book called The Invention of Wings, in which Sue Monk Kidd writes a scene depicting one of the main characters seeing an owl flying overhead and it sparks in her the idea of setting her slave girl free in the only way she can: by teaching the slave to read. As I read this part of the story, my heart did a funny little leap as I sensed that the owl of my dream signified the same for me.  This beautiful, majestic bird showing up at the edge of the crossroads to comfort and guide me through a path that was foreign and frightening to me, her presence serving to teach me to embrace new ideas and possibilities unknown to me before: Setting me free.

The next morning, Jon told me he’d been woken by an owl during the night and my heart did another little leap, again feeling that strange sense that I’d been blessed with an owl as guide somehow, now visiting not only my dreams but also my home and family. Having little knowledge about such things, but trying to stay open to all possibilities, I decided to do some research on Spirit Guides, and the owl in particular as a guide. Knowing that there are as many opinions as belly buttons and that almost all of them can be found on the internet, I decided to trust the first site I came across and accept whatever I read there as a message from God. Turns out, the owl has a lot to say that I need to hear:

If Owl has silently glided into your life, you may need to remove yourself from the noise of life and become the still silent observer.  Yes, a thousand times yes.  For weeks, I’ve clung to silence as if I’m drowning, except its under the water that I breathe, suffocating when I breach the surface, choked by the waves of my own thoughts, fears, insecurities and (at times) sadness. I don’t go deep nearly often enough but I feel that I must learn from that place of stillness and discover how to carry it with me to the surface.
The Owl is the symbol of the feminine, the moon and the night. I can count on half of one hand the number of people who know this about me: I’ve long identified with the Holy Spirit as a female: Jesus’s Mother in the same way “God” is His Father. I see Holy Spirit as “Goddess,” although that word carries such baggage it’s difficult for me to use. It’s also difficult for me to refer to the Holy Spirit as “she,” although it’s even more difficult to bring myself to refer to h.e.r. as “he.”  The owl being a symbol of the feminine resonates with me in powerful ways, and I feel God is communicating approval of my desire to break the bonds of patriarchy and embrace our femininity.
Owl is often thought to come to those who need to let go of some part of their life that is no longer needed. To list a few: my static and too-small views about God, the bondage of the patriarchal system that has wrongly been the lens through which I [and most of my generation and those before] see and interpret the world, the long-held traditional view of God as ONLY male, the acknowledgment and release (through writing) of events from my past associated with both unforgiveness and deep shame, the necessary changes in certain important relationships in my life. I’m thankful for the much-needed encouragement to carry on – to keep letting go, even of that which I’ve held most sacred.
This totem gives you the power to extract secrets. Listen to its voice inside of you. You will hear not what others are saying but what is hidden…Most Owl people are clairvoyant because of this ability. It can be very scary at times. Learn to trust your instincts about people. In Christian terms this would be called “prophesy” or “discernment” rather than “clairvoyance,” or, if you prefer a more psychological term: “intuition.”  I’ve long had the ability to sense things about people that they’ve never told me – I think many women can – but I still struggle with trusting those instincts or even hearing them at all over the roar of my own thoughts. I feel this will become more and more important in the weeks and months ahead.
Owl’s senses pierce through shadows, beyond fear and darkness, through to the other side that promises light, happiness and knowledge. Don’t we all need a little more of this in our lives? For me, especially, I feel the need to travel through the fear… feeling it, perhaps, but not reacting to it and never, ever allowing it to guide my steps. On my wall, I have posted the following quote: “I have accepted fear as a part of life, specifically the fear of change, the fear of the unknown, and I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says ‘turn back, turn back.’”

And so, I’ve met my Spirit Guide, or perhaps the first of many.  It’s confusing and exciting and very, very special. And also a bit funny. I imagine Father, Son and Mother conversing amongst themselves, determining that meditation and yoga aren’t taking me far enough outside my Christian comfort zone. And then Mother has an idea: “Let’s give her an Animal Spirit Guide!” She’s sneaky, that one. What’s next, holding seances? Constructing idols? Voting democrat?! God forbid!

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