Perfect symbols

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       “Not necessarily these days, what do think it means?”
      “It’s the observer and the observed. They’re the observer. We’re the observed”
      “Don’t be absurd.”
      I motion out of the roof window where three Red Kites are flying in formation.
      “Now who’s being absurd?”

Extract from The Initiate

There was a buzzard, the second within a mile, perched on the fence by the road as I drove to work. No doubt it was simply looking for its breakfast, but that doesn’t explain why, out of all the cars passing, it was my eyes it held, sharing a gaze as the car crawled past. There is a moment of timeless communication, in some forgotten language; as if a feather of understanding brushes against your consciousness and then is lost in the chatter of rush-hour.

There had been a red kite in the tree on the edge of the field behind my garden again when the sun had risen and I had watched a pair of them gliding through the air as Ani performed her morning inspection of the lane. The wren and the robin had both been to visit early too. These birds always seem to be an integral part of our adventures, their appearance, almost daily, brings a reassurance and a warmth that is hard to put into words.

It is odd; there is nothing special about seeing a kite in an area where their reintroduction has been so successful. The buzzards are everywhere, there are robins in every garden and even the wrens, though harder to spot, are not rare. There is no reason to attribute any special meaning to the commonplace. Seeing them, where you might reasonably expect to see them holds no special significance. Perhaps being aware of them does though…

The Old Ones of  every nation attributed symbolic meanings to the animals, birds and  creatures that peopled their environment. There are sites all over the internet that will expound upon the lessons that can be drawn from the appearance of one of these creatures in your life and, let’s be honest, they vary from the sensible ones based on behavioural observation to the downright ridiculous.

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The majority of such expositions work by combining old myths and legends with elements of the creature’s known behaviour and characteristics to form an analogy with human behaviour. So, for example, the high-soaring grace of the kite will be interpreted as the ability to rise above a situation, or, on the spiritual level, take a higher perspective. The wren, a small an unassuming troglodyte, is resourceful and goes beyond the known to seek its destiny. Robins, based largely on legend, are seen as symbols of divine service while buzzards herald a transformation, a symbolic death-to-birth.

The trouble is that if you check another website, you’ll probably get a different interpretation… A lore that once held real meaning, and still does for some, has, like many other aspects of the spiritual life, been allowed to degenerate into something that is little more than superstition or curiosity.

It is easy to see how the behaviours of these creatures would have been observed and how the interpretation of their significance as spirit animals was born from what was seen as stories grew around them. To the Old Ones who saw the living world as the multifaceted manifestation of a Great Spirit, by whatever name they used, these creatures held a far deeper meaning than they generally do for us today. While we look for portents and signs, they saw their presence as a reminder of the interconnected oneness of all Nature.

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“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.” Black Elk

stanton drew swords book pics robin 016If there is no deep, symbolic significance in seeing commonplace creatures where you would expect to see them, then why is it that, when you really notice them, they take on a meaning far greater than their presence should imply? I think it has to do with awareness. Although such symbols may mean nothing in themselves, perhaps noticing them is unusual enough to trigger a deeper awareness within and of ourselves that opens the doors to understanding? Perhaps it is simply in the act of seeking meaning that we find it.

As Stuart and I have journeyed through the adventures of the past few years, we have been attended by wings. We know that in itself is not unusual, but their timing is just too perfect sometimes, their numbers quite marked, their persistence convincing. We have followed birds and found wonders when we have done so. We do not seek or give them meanings, imposing our interpretation on their presence. We just accept their companionship as a gift, feeling through their presence, closer to the heart of life.

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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
This entry was posted in adventure, albion, Birds, Books, Don and Wen, flight, Photography, Stuart France and Sue Vincent, symbolism and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Perfect symbols

  1. jenanita01 says:

    I love that feeling of peace that descends when watching nature, it is unlike any feeling I have ever had. I hope it stays with me always…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. joylennick says:

    Thanks Sue. Much food for thought. Being an ‘octo-plus’ I am lucky enough to have durable memories of nature as a child, mainly because I had no TV, mobile-phone or computer to consume my time (much as I now appreciate them!) Mornings when young meant a quick wash as there wasn’t enough hot water to shower or bath (who did then?!) so l had more time to dawdle to school and digest everything from rose hips, birds and the abundant wild flowers en route (especially when evacuated to Wales in WW2). After school too, we played outside much more and I frequented a tiny copse which I thought of as ‘my wood,’ wherein lay ‘pussy-willow,’ bluebells and bird’s nests..An elderly gent who officially recorded the weather conditions used to tell me the names of the many wild flowers. I was more fortunate than many other children then, and the memories are clear and treasured, although I ‘live’ in the present. I hope the ‘modern’ ways of living don’t mess up some impressionable brains.

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    • Sue Vincent says:

      No quite there yet myself, but your childhood in the outdoors reminds me of my own. They were kinder times in many ways and children had a very different education outside of school. x

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  3. trentpmcd says:

    You know me, I love the birds, though usually just take them for their own nature and not attribute anything to my own life, except,like what you said, I am someone who actually observes them and sees them and am just happy they are around.

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  4. V.M.Sang says:

    Thanks. Sue for another thoughtful post. Sadly many of the commoner birds have vanished from our garden in recent years. I’ve not seen a sparrow or wren in ages. We used to have dunnocks in the shrubs, but they’ve gone. When we first moved here in 2002, there were swallows nesting under our eaves and swifts over the town centre. The swallows have gone, and i’ve not seen nor heard a swift for years.
    We now get herring gulls all the time, screaming at each other and woodpigeons eat our fruit. The thrush has gone, too. We still have a few blue and great tits, but their numbers have declined. I feel very sad about it.

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    • Sue Vincent says:

      It is true that many species have struggled over the past few decased, though much is being done now to help reverse that trend, we can only hope it is not too little or too late.
      I am grateful that, living on the edge of fields, I see so many bids here.

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  5. Jennie says:

    Wonderful post, Sue.

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  6. Beautiful birds Sue, and I envy you the kites.
    We have kestrels and a sparrowhawk here, various tits, robins, wrens, sparrows and a mass of starlings. The gold finches have visited, and pigeons, doves , blackbirds, fieldfares, crows and magpies are also in abundance here.
    Your last picture reminds me of ‘Claude’, the buzzard rather partial to smoked bacon that would sit on our garage roof or the front wall waiting for his breakfast.

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  7. memadtwo says:

    The presence of birds is always a gift. And I do think they work hard sometimes to get my attention. They always have something to say, too. (K)

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  8. Alli Templeton says:

    They are a gift, absolutely. I love seeing the kits, and all the birds. While I was studying Latin this year we looked at how the Romans took ‘the auspices’, when they observed the actions of eagles to interpret the will of the gods. Birds have always been invested with special, or even divine, powers, and when you have these little companions to enjoy, you can see why. Fascinating stuff. 🙂

    Like

  9. Widdershins says:

    Sometimes a kite is just a kite, and sometimes … 😀

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  10. willowdot21 says:

    Birds are wonderful creatures 💜

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  11. Andrew Joyce says:

    Wonderful … thanks.

    Like

  12. Adele Marie says:

    When I first began meditating and journeying, a golden eagle represented to me, news and seeing beyond the normal. xxx

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