Speaking with Nature: Awakening to the Deep Wisdom of the Earth - Sandra Ingerman, Llyn Roberts 2015
As you begin the adventure of this book, close your eyes and take a few long, deep breaths. With each slow exhale leave your ordinary thoughts behind. Allow your imagination to take you to the northern region of the Arctic. You are now in an environment of deep snow and ice. Without the intrusion of power lines, the airwaves are still and silent. There is a deep power in the stillness of Mother Earth.
Look around you and take in the beauty of this snowy terrain. Feel yourself standing on the frozen earth. Although the ground is frozen, the molecules within are in constant movement, as life is always in movement. Take some deep breaths and breathe in the clean, fresh, cold air. Imagine what the air would taste like in your mouth. Feel the air traveling down your throat and into your lungs. Touch the snow and ice with your fingers—feel the coldness and texture. Notice how your heartbeat changes as you connect with the majestic nature of this land. Listen to the silence. Experience a state of wonder as you go farther into a landscape filled with deep mystery.
Notice one of the inhabitants of the Arctic—the Snowy Owl—swooping in for a landing. The powerful presence of the Snowy Owl in nature, or even its image in a photo, is breathtaking.
Delight in the owl’s intense beaming yellow eyes and soft, regal feathers. These predominantly white feathers allow Snowy Owl to blend into the frozen landscape of Arctic snow and ice, hidden from both predators and prey.
Fully experience the great beauty and power of Snowy Owl, and when you feel complete take some deep breaths and bring your awareness back into the physical space where you started.
As you will see, Snowy Owl has much to teach us about the feminine and our connection to nature. A nomadic bird, Snowy Owl relocates when the weather changes. In January 2012 rising numbers of Snowy Owls started migrating in mass numbers from the Arctic to many parts of the United States. One leading researcher described the migration as “unbelievable.” Another researcher called this the most significant wildlife event in decades.
Owls have been seen in indigenous cultures to be predictive of weather changes, and Snowy Owl is now showing us that as the Earth evolves we, too, must move and flow with the changes.
Snowy Owl blended in with the snow of the Arctic but stands out in contrast in more southerly environments. One message we can interpret from this is that as the Earth changes we need to come out of hiding and be seen. If you found comfort blending in with your surroundings, the goddess energies, the feminine, might now be asking you to stand out and make your strengths known. It is time to share what is bubbling up from deep within you, to show up and be seen and heard.
We can relate the migration of the Snowy Owl to the aspect of the feminine called “Changing Woman” in the Navajo tradition; like the changing seasons, she represents the eternal changes in the cycles of life. We are one with the Earth, and as part of the Earth, we go through cycles of evolution in our lives and within our bodies.
When we perceive life through the eyes of spirit, versus through our personality and ego, we perceive the beauty and joy in life no matter what the outer circumstances. But when we perceive the world only through the eyes of ego, we can move into a state of suffering and despair. At present the climate is changing to such a degree that mass changes to the Earth are having an impact not just on human life, but on all life. There are changes in the economy, political unrest, and an increase in violence. The weaving of life and the fabric of reality as we know it is unraveling.
Over the years many have been writing about the quickening change in consciousness and evolution. And at the same time, as we embrace the principle of unity and oneness in the web of life, the Earth is also experiencing exponential changes and a death. Death is not an end but rather a transition and rite of passage into something new.
We are all part of a collective dream. As spiritual practitioners we must acknowledge the way the current dream is dissolving and a new consciousness being born that embraces a healthier way of living on the Earth.
Over the years I have taught that when someone is diagnosed with an illness, it is important to perceive her in her divine perfection and light—more than a body and a personality. Who we are beyond the skin is luminous divine light. As we recognize the spiritual nature of a person and see her in her divine light and perfection, we stimulate her inner radiance, which leads to healing. We want to feed the energy of divine perfection that empowers healing rather than feeding the power of the illness. What we give energy to, we give life to. What we feed grows.
Using this same teaching we must focus on perceiving the divine light of the Earth instead of seeing the Earth as toxic and ill. We need to surrender the outcome of the evolutionary process that is in motion. We must cooperate with change rather than resist it.
At the same time it is important to create a path of beauty by envisioning the Earth and all in the web of life embracing such qualities as love, light, balance, harmony, beauty, peace, equality, and abundance. In this way we weave a new strong and vital fabric of reality into being. Holding a vision and dreaming into being the world we wish to live in while surrendering the outcome is a paradox we must learn to dance. You will delve into dreaming practices in the essay on Mushroom.
There is nowhere to escape for safety and comfort except by resting in our spirit and spiritual practices. Our spirit is immortal and is a place within each of us that provides a sense of calm and permanence.
At the same time we must recognize that the Earth is evolving and changing into new landscapes, just as human consciousness is evolving and the landscapes within all of us are changing, too.
Santa Fe is located in the high desert at 7,000 feet, and I live at 7,400 feet. Climate change in the high desert is quite dramatic, and winter and summer storms can create intense changes in the landscape. Witnessing the storms can be frightening but also exhilarating.
My house is on a piece of land where there is a long arroyo, or dry riverbed, that can be walked for long distances. It is a favorite place for people to bring their dogs or ride horses. My special treat in this populous area is to walk at midday, when I have the arroyo to myself, and not see a house or person for miles.
When we have major snowstorms or rainfall, it is amazing to watch the changes that occur to the landscape of the arroyo. While I was writing Speaking with Nature, we received heavy rain—1.25 inches in less than hour—from a slow-moving thunderstorm. This might not seem like much rain to those living in other parts of the country, but here in the desert it is a major event that causes flash floods. And as the flash floods rage down the arroyo, the landscape changes dramatically.
I have lived on my land for twenty years, and there are times after a storm when I no longer recognize parts of the landscape that have been so familiar to me. It’s exciting to take a walk after the rain and see how the arroyo has changed again.
After this particularly heavy rainfall, I had to find new walking paths, as the rain had carved different paths in the sand. The arroyo widened in places and became deep and narrow in others. Bushes had been completely uprooted as the sand beneath them washed away. As I walked I felt such a deep knowing and understanding that the changes to the landscape we live in are a microcosm of what is happening on a planetary level.
The landscape of the Earth is evolving and changing just as it has done throughout time. Land masses have changed over centuries and will continue to do so. There were once land bridges connecting different parts of the Earth where now there is ocean, and water has replaced areas that were once land. Earth changes are in continual motion.
As the Earth keeps changing, we experience a level of destruction that is harsh for the people, animals, and all of life. We watch as homes and lives are lost.
As a collective we must continue to perceive the Earth in her spiritual aspect and divine spiritual light. We must continue to build a strong, beautiful field of spiritual light with all the work we do together. We must learn to perceive, acknowledge, and give gratitude for the beauty and light of life, remembering that with each change new life continues to be born.
Owls live in Santa Fe and often show up in my life as an omen during times of passage and transition. I love owls, and I have come to rely on Owl to acknowledge that I am moving in the right direction.
Many years ago I had a powerful and life-changing teaching that came from Owl. As I traveled around the United States teaching workshops one year, I was surprised and curious when participants gave me gifts that represented Owl. I was gifted with owl statues, owl feathers, and owl fetishes.
Then when I was at home, I received a gift in the mail. I opened the box and it contained an Owl mask.
Obviously the universe was trying to tell me something, so I decided to perform a shamanic journey and ask my trusted guardian spirit why I was getting so many Owl gifts. Why was Owl coming into my life at this time?
My guardian spirit gave me a very interesting response. He told me that Owl not only sees in the dark, but also has a type of radar that I was going to need soon. And then the journey abruptly ended.
Shortly after my journey I was teaching in St. Louis and flew home late Sunday night after the workshop. During the flight all the lights went out in the airplane and the cabin attendants were walking up and down the aisles with flashlights. I was very tired and quite happy in the darkness, as I could close my eyes and drift off to sleep.
Suddenly the captain came on the loudspeaker to announce there was a problem with the electrical system in the airplane. He alerted us that the plane did not have the radar needed to navigate through an approaching thunderstorm. I then remembered the message of my helping spirit, that Owl has a type of radar I would soon need.
We did land safely in Albuquerque, but I was left with teachings that were very important to my growth and evolution. One teaching was that the universe was providing me with help and protection that I would need in the future. In this instance Owl came into my life to act as a guardian spirit for the future event.
There are times when we go through challenging situations and feel very alone, but as we are one with the goddess, Source, and the power of the universe, we are always being supported and protected by the unconditional love from which we were created. We often don’t engage our senses deeply enough to notice signs that we are being guided and protected during times of danger.
I also learned that it is important not to give my power away and look to others to interpret my symbols. For example, in descriptions of Owl in most symbology books, radar is not a quality mentioned. I might have missed the life-changing teaching I received during this flight had I looked up the symbology of Owl in a book. I needed to continue to honor my power to receive my own direct revelation.
Are there ways you give your authority away to others? The times we live in demand that we trust our own inner guidance, inner wisdom, and intuition.
Divine radar is guiding the Snowy Owl away from the Arctic so that it might survive and thrive in these changing times. Being connected to the web of life means that we have this same radar guiding us. Snowy Owl encourages us to go within and experience our own internal radar that we may follow the inner knowing of changes we must make in our lives.
The behavior of Snowy Owl can be a model for us. It is a living being that stays centered, silent, and waits patiently for its food. These are important qualities for us to embrace. We must stay centered in the midst of change and learn to stay focused on our vision. By going within the deep inner silence, we access our own inner knowing, which guides us.
And we must be patient. So many of us are impatient and want to see immediate results from our practice. There is a right timing when what we need to know will be revealed. The key is to learn how to trust our intuition. We must disengage from the wealth of outer distractions most of us experience throughout the day and learn how to be still, for all is revealed through the silence.
Birds have an inner sense that tells them when to migrate; they know when the change in seasons is occurring. Similarly, there is a voice within each of us that informs us how to move forward during times of great change. We just need to tune in, listen, and follow our own radar.
We are caretakers of the Earth, a responsibility many of us have neglected. Humans have become very self-absorbed and some have forgotten the preciousness and divine nature of all of life. As we learn to trust our inner wisdom and radar, it is also important to stand strong in community. Community represents the strength of feminine power to create change.
In 2013 flocks of Snowy Owls migrated to New York. No one really knows what led the birds there, but we must trust in the intelligence of nature.
However, the owls were flying near a major airport and could have caused a serious accident if they flew into a plane’s engine, so officials made a choice to kill these beautiful creatures to avoid loss of human life.
Public pressure forced an end to the senseless killing of these majestic birds who were following their own flight path, and ways were found to trap and relocate the birds away from the airport.
The feminine teaches us about finding that same collective voice to be caretakers who honor and respect all nature beings. It is time for us to stand out, be seen, and be heard.
Nature is intelligent. We are both part of nature and an instrument of nature, so it is important for us to remember how to attune ourselves to our environment.
We can relearn and remember how to feel changes in weather and in the seasons—not just external weather and seasons, but also internal changes in our lives. We are shown signs when it is time to make a change, but often we choose to ignore the inner voice, inner radar, or signs we are being given. We often stay in relationships, jobs, homes, and other life situations when the healthy decision would be to leave.
Spending time in nature teaches us how to read the signs of transition. Nature is our most powerful teacher in this regard. We don’t have to look at a calendar to know what the season is, because we can see the changes in wildlife and plant life. We can feel the changes in our bones and smell the change in the air. We can feel a shift in our body as sometimes we feel a need to rest and go inward during certain seasons, whereas other seasons inspire us to be playful, active, and social. We must honor our inner knowing of when to be still or active and when to make changes in our life.
These simple exercises can help you to become more connected to nature:
Take walks in nature. Even in a city there are parks you can visit. The more time you spend in nature, the more you will find yourself aligning with the river of life. In doing this you will feel healthier physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Take time to walk in silence or sit by a tree or plant that calls to you. Learn how to block out the noise from your mind by taking very deep breaths and imagining yourself traveling within to the core of your being. Feel your roots growing into the earth and your body being fed by the sunlight. Pay attention to what is bubbling up from your deep inner well. Let feelings arise so they can be observed and transformed. Listen to intuitive messages emerging from your inner wisdom.
As you spend time in nature, notice changes in the animal life you see during different seasons. Do you see different types of birds? Do you hear new bird songs when the seasons change? Observe how the wildlife becomes more active in your area at different times of the year.
Learn to experience changes in patterns in nature without having to turn to a calendar or the news. Notice the different quality in the fragrance of the air during weather and seasonal changes. Pay attention to the changes in texture, moisture, and fragrance of the soil. You might notice the air tasting different during shifts in the weather and seasons. Watch how the colors of the leaves change on the trees, and observe how the quality of light shifts over the year, and the changing times of sunrise and sunset. Tune in to how your body feels when the seasons change. Notice how one season flows into the next. There is a flow to the cycles and seasons in nature. Awaken from the mass collective trance to live fully in the flow of nature and life.
As you align and attune to the changes and transitions in nature, you will begin to feel these same cycles affecting and changing you. Life is always changing. There are no endings, just transitions leading to new growth and life.
Over time you will become more observant of changes in nature, whether you are in a park or city. As you walk from your car, train, or bus to work or other daily activities, fully open your senses to perceive your ever-changing environment.
We have the same inner radar as migrating birds to assist us in navigating life’s transitions with grace and ease. As we learn how to be silent and open all our senses to the signs we are being given, we flow gracefully with the river of life.