Shamanic Decoder Rings

Heart of the Earth paintingWalking the path of shamanism can be, shall we say, interesting upon occasion. It can also be downright hilarious. For example, when I began walking this path, I didn’t know decoding messages would be part of my spiritual practice. And they don’t put shamanic decoder rings in any cereal box I know of. Two days ago Snake visited. I’m walking along a dirt path in the local Bay Lands bird sanctuary and come around a corner and this gorgeous three foot long gopher snake is sinuously curved across the path. I stop and stare. Fortunately, it did too and, even better, I have my sketchbook in my hand and am able to snap some photos and even make a quick sketch before it continues on. It had a yellow-golden-brown underbelly and black markings and was richly textured.

Then, yesterday morning, I am barely awake and the cats on my bed go on high alert. Something is on the roof making scritchy-scratchy thump-thump noises. I sneak out of the bedroom and upstairs to the little window that overlooks the skylight. I slowly open the curtain to find, not one, but two big black crows hanging out on the skylight playing with what looks like a seed pod. I check them out and they check me out. Again, staying long enough for me to pay attention.

So now being awake, I go back to my room and do my morning meditation. In the middle of it, I see this image of golden roses growing up out of my hands and a doorway with YES written all around the arch. I see myself moving through the doorway and saying and hearing yes, following the Yes’s in my life.

With this image of the Doorway of Yes’s in mind, I wander downstairs and find a decent sized black spider patiently waiting on the kitchen counter. It hangs out while I dig up a clean yogurt container and piece of paper. Then it climbs on board while I take it outside and thank it for its message.

After breakfast, I go upstairs, and find a small, precious web with a tiny orange spider over the corner of my altar. Given it was not there earlier, I figure maybe Spider thought I needed to pay more attention then I did the first time? I gently coax Spider out of the house into a safer place to make webs.

Ok, usually one animal will show up. But three?

All day I muse upon what messages these creatures are giving me. Last night, coaxed by a hungry cat, I am standing in the kitchen looking out the window when I realize a raccoon is looking back at me from the edge of the garage roof. Once again patiently waiting for me to pay attention. Okey dokey, that makes four.

I get up this morning still musing on this growing number of animal visitations while I get ready to head out the door. As I swing my front door wide open, a hummingbird flies up to my door and halts mid-air watching me. I stand there awestruck as it glides up to the tree next to it and lands and watches me some more.

Ok, that’s Snake, Crow, Spider, Raccoon, and Hummingbird. Oh, and a Doorway. I feel like I’ve been handed not just a message but a series of secret coded messages. Except these kinds of messages don’t really lend themselves to secret decoder rings.

Doorway of YES

Instead, I have to feel my way into what resonates and what doesn’t. Pushing doesn’t help much. For me, the stew pot on the back of the stove approach works best. Toss it all into a pot, turn it on low, stir frequently, savor the smells, taste often, and let it become what it is already becoming. Except of course in this case, every time I think the ingredients have arrived, another one appears.

Like Spider’s web, there are threads to unravel. There is the thread of shedding skin and transmutation from Snake. The magic of creation and manifestation from Crow. The weaving of words and web from Spider. Disguise and dexterity from mask-faced Raccoon. And, Hummingbird who brings the messages of the gods along with wonder, joy, and the ability to accomplish what seems impossible.

What does all this mean?

I never really know in the sense of knowing x or y will happen. What I do know is a bit like reading the winds - I can smell big change blowing in, new directions, wonder and joy, and I can get an inkling of the areas that could be challenging. I also get a big feeling of positive ‘yes’ energy flowing into my life. And that brings a smile to my face. Yes!