Bird Guides and Messages
Even if you have not felt an affinity with birds before, as you begin to work with their energy you may develop a special connection with a particular type of bird. A bird guide may stay with you forever or a new one may come into your life as you change and grow. In addition to a special bird guide, others may become important to us at different times. You may even find that these avian contacts change through the seasons as some birds migrate. Another level of relationship with birds are the messengers that make temporary contact to bring or help us interpret information or deal with a situation.
Finding Your Bird Guide
Visualization and meditation are useful methods for finding your bird guide. Sit quietly and close your eyes in a room where you will not be disturbed. Rest your hands in your lap with palms upward and open. Take three long, deep breaths, each one more slowly than the one before. Become aware of the energy in your heart center. Visualize your heart energy opening like a flower. Now, image that it is late afternoon and you are sitting in a beautiful field or outdoor place that you enjoy. Keep your senses open to the smells and sounds around you. Perhaps there is a gentle breeze. Stay present and keep your mind focused on this scene. Simply breathe and wait.
If a bird appears, just observe it. The bird may approach you or keep its distance. Because you have only just met, it needs to get to know you. Allow events to unfold. It may fly off to end its first meeting with you or simply fade away. Slowly return your attention to the room in which you are sitting and journal the details of any encounter that may have occurred. Over the next few days or weeks, you may notice images of the bird everywhere you go, or you may actually see the type of bird more frequently. This is confirmation that you met your bird guide. Alternatively, do this exercise outdoors and see if a flesh and blood bird approaches you. However, your bird guide may or may not be one that is local to you.
Once you know the type of bird that is your guide, find out all you can about it. Begin with the information in part 2 of this book, which provides basic details, historical information, and the bird’s associations and powers relevant to Pagans and Wiccans. Your bird guide may have connections with you that stem from events in your life, your family background, or various other aspects that have shaped who you are. Take time to examine these things as well as the bird itself. Study its physical and behavioral characteristics, which may reveal things about yourself as well as your path. Also, keep in mind that your bird guide may not be local to your area.
If a bird does not come to you, don’t try to force the visualization. Or, if you get fidgety or lose focus during the visualization, this may not be the best time for your bird guide to find you. Alternatively, your bird guide may choose to make itself known to you in a dream or by continually appearing. Appearances can include actual bird sightings, the same type of bird showing up in the media, or as figurines and pictures in shops. Whether a bird came to you in the visualization or not, you will know when your bird guide chooses to make itself known. Don’t be in a rush; it will happen when the time is right.
An important point to keep in mind is that your bird guide may not be a fabulous eagle, owl, or peacock. Don’t be disappointed; even the smallest or humblest of birds holds a great deal of power and, of course, a connection with the Goddess.
When you find your bird guide, honor it. Keep an image or figurine of it on your altar or any other place in your house or on your property that serves as a meaningful touch point. Decorate a special egg and mark it with the common or species name of your guide bird. Glue a small image of your bird onto it, or paint it to resemble the coloring and markings of your bird guide’s eggs. Keep this on your altar or in a special place where you will see it often.
Messages and Guidance
As mentioned, sometimes certain birds come to us as messengers, and sometimes we may seek an outside force for guidance. The ancient Romans called this a “bird-telling.” If a particular type of bird keeps appearing and has not made itself known as your guide, then it may be bringing information for you. Alternatively, its appearance may help you understand something in your life or alert you to pay more attention to a certain situation. These appearances may also occur in dreams.
Ask the bird outright, vocally or in your mind, what the message is. You may receive a forthright response, however, the message is most often revealed by the action or location of the bird. For example, if the bird is always perched on a house, examine your home life and situation. If it is always flying, perhaps there is something you want to escape from, remove from your life, or change. If it is on a fence, there may be barriers that you need to remove in some aspect of your current situation. Because each of us and each bird is unique, there are no hard and fast guidelines. However, they are not difficult to figure out.
For example, a fence can be a barrier, a hurdle, or a challenge, but it can also symbolize something that unites and defines. It can mean that you need to make a decision about something. Interpretations depend on our personal circumstances and how we view them. If the messenger bird appears on different objects, it can indicate a connection or a progression. Keep track of the bird’s activities in a journal, and then take time to review them. Think it through and keep notes because, like dreams, our interpretations can come and then be gone like a gossamer mist.
If you are uncertain of your interpretation, take your time but don’t over analyze it. Quite often the first or simplest interpretation is the correct one. It is also normal to question our conclusions and perhaps feel a bit skeptical. If this is the case, the messenger bird may provide confirmation for you. It may appear with food or a flower in its beak for you. The confirmation you receive will make sense to you.
Sometimes a message can be very simple and may come in the form of a feather. The first time I stepped out on the back porch of my house in Maine, I heard seagulls overhead. Having spent childhood summers by the shore, it was a sound I loved.