, , , , ,

Sacred Table

Medicine Cards

Smudge Stick

for safe keeping

On my birthday this year I was feeling quiet and contemplative in the quiet of the evening — in the dark stillness of my house after all our little people settled in for the night. I found myself first connecting once again to the finely crafted poetry of e. e. cummings (I wrote about this experience here.)  I then felt called to join my husband in the sacred ritual of reading our Medicine Cards. This practice was introduced to me by my husband almost sixteen years ago. I feel drawn to them only every once in a long while. Sometimes there are months between readings, sometimes years. Several years have passed since I last quieted my spirit and was open to the guidance of these ancient totems. I had forgotten how the fragrant smoke of our smudge stick alone transports me to a more open and reflective space. I had forgotten the sensation of being cleansed and soothed my the smoke, being drawn to focus both inward and outward by the flicker of a single candle’s light. This ritual is grounding, humbling and always meaningful.

It was time.

I have long known  that I am meant to learn the lesson of patience. I must learn to wait. I must learn to settle into a space and allow the Universe to reveal, in its own slow time, what I am meant to know. I must be reminded over and over again of this work, of this practice. I have also come to realize through meditation and deep internal work that I must always, always trust my intuition. The messages that flow through me from that sacred place deep within are always right. Decisions made from this place, with this steady and certain voice acknowledged, always move me to where I need to be. I may not understand why I am where I find myself, but if I remember to be patient — if I remember to settle in and wait — I know that my journey eventually will reveal its purpose. From this space we began our ritual.

I drew cards slowly, letting my hand float over them until an unmistakable heaviness pulled my fingers down to all seven cards one by one. Butterfly, Mountain Lion, Squirrel… slowly… Fox… Grouse… More and more animal spirits revealed their magic to me. My husband read, quietly and without judgement, the lessons of these guides. Transformation, leadership, connection to the Sacred Spiral, patience. Yes. Of course.

I am still processing the information that was revealed to me late that night by candle light. I am still trying to understand the lessons I am supposed to learn. I continue to quiet my mind so that I am able to clearly hear my intuition speak. This is slow work. This is work that cannot be rushed or forced. I must simply watch for signs around me, listen for that subtle voice of understanding and wait.

What I am beginning to notice is the Bird Medicine all around me. There are always birds surrounding all of us. In the trees, at our backyard feeders, high on the wires strung up between places. We all notice the birds from time to time, but it seems that the birds that surround my Spirit are noticing me. They seem to be observing my movements, following my eyes, traveling with me. I have noticed especially the high flying Hawk and the glossy black Crow. They swoop just feet in front of my car on my drive to work. They fly parallel to my window as I move through traffic. They sit motionless on my back deck and stare at me for long minutes through our glass door. They look at me, then look away, then look back again. Crow speaks again and again to me in Her ancient magical language as if I should understand. Not yet, not yet… Meanwhile, I am learning. Reading. Meditating.

My heart and spirit are open.

In the Native American tradition Hawk is recognized as a messenger. He soars high in the sky on the breath of Spirit while looking far below at the larger picture of our world. He is known to receive messages from the Universe and then to transport them down to our plane. He guides us to interpret these messages. He is a visionary. Hawk is powerful medicine. I feel my Spirit connection to these magical birds of prey, yet I am far from understanding it.

I settle in and wait.

I have read that wherever Crow is, there is magic. Crow is a symbols of creation and spiritual strength. As from the darkness of each night a new day is born, She reminds us to look for opportunities to create and manifest the magic of life. She is a  messenger calling to us about the creation and magic that is alive within our world everyday and available to us. Oh, such powerful medicine.

I quiet my inner noise and listen.

Crow does not visit me as often as Hawk. I think I am glad for that. When She does visit me I am often startled by Her presence. She surprises me and leaves me with a feeling of unease. This troubles me. Crow’s visits, though less frequent, are longer than those of Hawk. I don’t yet understand why my gut reacts as it does to the visits of this dark and magical bird. The call of Crow sends shivers down my spine. I feel cold. I don’t yet understand. I have accepted this not knowing.

I practice patience.

I feel honored and graced by this wise Bird Medicine. I am grateful for the sacred ritual my husband and I shared by candle light. I accept both the guidance of all of these ancient animal spirits and the wisdom of the Universe I do not yet fully understand during this, my year of Bird Medicine.


I would love to connect with those of you who also feel guided by animal totems. Do you have any extraordinary experiences or lessons you could share? Do you have any books you return to again and again to learn more about this ancient wisdom? Please leave a comment, if you feel so moved, so that we may connect and learn from one another.

In Peace ~ Cedar