I saw an owl last night — what do you think that means?
There was a feather on my porch this morning — what should I do?
Does anyone know what a bird with a yellow chest signifies?
I lit a candle last night and this morning I saw a fox — thoughts?
Is a spider in the house bad luck, or good?
Sometimes, when I am stuck for anything in particular to write about, I will wander these, our ‘world wide webs’, seeking out inspiration. Upon my last such foray, I noticed, and not for the first time, a vast quantity of questions like those above, clogging up a number of the Pagan forums.
Now, I am not one to say that the birds and beasts do not ever have messages for us. My regular readers may recall the story of my encounters with the Morrígan in raven form.
I do not scoff at the possibility of such meetings, only their seeming frequency.
These are rare events!
And, at least in my own experience, when they do happen, we KNOW it, without question. Even if we are unsure of what the message means, we know that we have received one, and without having to consult some random stranger in an online forum.
So where then, does this idea come from: that the ‘spiritual switchboard’ must be buzzing madly with messages for us?
Is it something that new converts to the Pagan world bring with them from their monotheistic upbringing? Our Christian friends, for example, are given to believe that the world was made for them, and that all things happen for some greater purpose.
So if we combine that idea, with the more Polytheist/Animist notions of a world populated with spirit beings, do we then end up with a natural order where every passing insect is vying for our attention?
It just doesn’t work that way.
If the Natural Practitioner, the Witch, the Shaman, and yes, even the Druid, hope to find their place in the universe, they must take one truth to heart…,
There ‘may’ be a reason for everything, but odds are, that reason has nothing to do with us personally.
If we want to hear the voices of the gods, we would do well not to drown them out wondering about the motives of every ladybug that takes flight.
And if there is a message we should take away from our various and random wildlife encounters, that message should be that, despite the best efforts of our species, the natural world is still hanging in there.
The owl, and the fox, and that bird with the yellow breast?
They’re doing their own thing, and I have no doubt that they are happy to be left alone.
Most of nature’s creatures are quite busy enough with the business of survival, without the bother of acting as someone else’s omen.
The world is not here for us. The belief that it is has allowed us to unleash unspeakable harm in the last millennia. I do not think such an idea will fare us any better in the hands of well meaning Pagans, than it did with our Monotheistic friends.
We would do better to adopt the belief that we are here for the world.
When the birds and beasts glimpse us from afar, let our sudden appearance not be one of ill portent.