The Victory of The Dove

animal spirit shamanism story

A ball of feathers tumbled out of the sky at me faster than a pickup down a county road. When it hit the ground, becoming two birds, I realized a small grey hawk was trying to kill a white dove. They split apart a few feet away from me, standing a bit unsteady, untangled and dazed. The blazing-white dove looked unhurt, I wondered if perhaps it was injured in a way I couldn’t see. Just as I thought that it lifted its left wing as if to show me – a small red dot of blood opening up where a tallon had punctured its skin. It quickly grew to the size of a nickel as the hawk renewed its attack. This time the dove was ready for it, repelled the attack and then exploded into the air flying off strong. The thwarted hawk flew off in another direction, done with this feisty bird.

A second ago I was happily tending my barbecue, now I was totally blown away. I’ve only had a few omens that struck me with such intensity. I knew immediately this would defy any superficial or rational interpretation. So often we want to know the “meaning” of an omen, when in fact a discernible meaning may not be the point at all.

Omens are a way life can change who we are. They are not just messages, they are reworkings of the place where our spirits and the material world connect. I don’t believe that hawk and dove were locked in a life or death battle just for me, but I do believe I was supposed to be there and to be changed by what I saw.

A moment of magical transformative energy, omens change our consciousness sending us down a pathway we might otherwise never have known. I consider such omens to be great gifts. Its more important to fully receive their impact, than to have a rational box in which to stuff an ‘understanding’ of them.

Diving Hawk
I journeyed to the spirits to ask them to fully convey the trasformative power of this omen to me. My teacher led me to a small stone circle where she sat quietly for some time. Eventually she began conjuring energy. When she was satisfied with her work she approached me and began to work on me, combining the energy she had gathered with energy in me. It took quite a while for her to do her work. I could feel my resistance to what she was trying to do.

It was as if she was magnetizing some deeply buried part of myself, making it bubble to the surface so that I could no longer avoid it. As its presence grew it began to take shape and I could sense familiar qualities. It was something I’d been hiding from for many years.

I’ll not be writing the details of what this omen is uncovering for me, things are still percolating and they may be for years. She worked on me for quite some time. After the journey I sat on the land and let the feelings she embolden grow and become more and more present in the here and now. This mystery continues to unfold.

I receive the gift of this omen, from the hawk and dove with gratitude. I receive it again and again and again, as I write this story, and savor the victory of the dove.

Update July 28, 2014: I shared this story with a class and a student in the class asked me, after all this time, what stuck with me from the experience. What came almost immediately to the fore was the feeling of the strength of the dove. I believe in some way, in my own life, I’d dismissed the dove’s of the world as weak and not important. In that last moment when the dove flew off I felt its extraordinary strength and grace. What beauty.

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