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It Was Never Random
On the way home from dropping off my eldest son at school, my youngest son and I spotted three crows having an aviary battle. Back and forth they went diving after one another. Playfully or not it was difficult to tell, but they were definitely "fighting". While my son and I continued walking a rather treacherous portion of King St. I felt danger. Like a car backing out of a hidden driveway, unexpected danger.

I had my guard up for several driveways as I stopped cautiously to look several times before proceeding to the next driveway. Suddenly, a loud screeching and high pitched chirping sounds came from a tree to our left. I turned sharply to my left and saw a hawk going after some sparrows in a tree. They were directly beside us. I could practically reach out and touch the hawk.

A sense of danger is what I felt. Trusting your intuition is incredibly important. You feel, sense, and hear something before you can see it...always. Today, breaking news or perhaps un-breaking news has surfaced that anticholinergic medications can possibly and definitively(in some cases) lead to memory loss, brain damage, and eventually dementia. That includes many OTC medication that folks take daily like Benadryl and certain psychiatric medications. Like the one I take, abilify, is on that list.

I am bipolar as of last month. For 30+ years of my life I have been fine, now repressed memories that I have held deep down inside our surfacing. Back in November 2015, I felt some increased anxiety, so I sought the help of a Childhood Trauma Therapist specializing in EMDR(eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). It triggered my first ever manic episode where I needed to be hospitalized for over a week. They put me first on latuda, which gave me terrible side effects to include restlessness. I just could not sit still even if I was incredibly exhausted. Next on the list, abilify.

Abilify is an incredible improvement and has stabilized my mood to the point where I am ready to tackle these repressed memories. I am hopeful with my good intuition and the help of a good therapist that I will be able to stop abilify in the coming months. Now, it is a sense of hope that is my focus. With the support of my family, my dedication to my health, and God, I know all things are possible. Everything happens for a reason.

Fine Art by Adam S. Doyle

A line from this ancient poem reads, “...but the black raven, eager for the doomed ones, as he shall say much to the eagle of what success he had at feeding, when he, with the wolf, plundered the corpses.” Excerpt from Truth and Symbolism: Mythological Perspective of the Crow and Wolf by Karen Bukowick

Crows and ravens will be used interchangeably throughout this post, but please note they are two different birds. Also, the crow and raven symbolism is quite similar from the past through the present, which is why you see them talked about as if they were the same bird. 

Ravens, crows, and wolves depend on one another for survival (also known as a symbiotic relationship). Ravens and Crows need the wolves to rip open the carrion for feeding, whereas, wolves will look to the sky for circling ravens that may indicate a future meal. The raven, crow, and wolf also share many present day and past symbolism's. The death, doom, and gloom of the "ye old tyme" past associated with these animals has slowly been replaced by focusing on their unique skill sets rather than their gruesome killing abilities or sometimes trickster demeanors.  

What about symbolism and can animals communicate messages to humans?

Cause it's all in your head. Animals cannot possibly deliver messages or interact with human beings on a deeper level, right? That's what my analytical mind thinks, but my Native American heart knows there is a deeper connection beyond most human comprehension that allows lessons to be learned and messages received from animals. If a dog has its fur standing up on his back, growling, and barring his teeth then that tells you to back off! Message received.

This week, I had a single crow fly over my head as I was crossing a parking lot. In my mind, I saw it circle back and land on a light post. Moments later, it did just that! The caw this crow cawed put me on was like a warning. Little did I know, this crow was indeed giving me a warning. I have been struggling with my new diagnosis of bipolar disorder. My medications are intense with terrible side effects. That night after the meeting with this crow, I developed rare side effects from my new medication regimen including: a facial mask, involuntary tongue movements, and severe anxiety as a result. These undesired effects led to a complete medication change with my psychiatrist. Crow also signifies change.

This interaction with my crow friend led me to search for more information regarding the crow as a spirit animal guide. I came across a photo and video displaying the deep symbiotic relationship the wolf has with the raven. It was a moment of connection. I no longer wondered why the crow was so familiar and fascinating to me. The crow and I are already friends. The wolf is my power animal spirit guide and the first animal I ever become aware of during deep meditations. My shaman also pointed out the wolf during a guided journey last year. All I know, is that I have a Native American significance in my heritage or elsewhere. Crows and wolves tend to follow each other for food, but it also appears they simply enjoy being in each others company.

Crows and ravens are different, but when it comes to symbolism their similarities are many. I have more interactions with crows, because I live in an urban area where crows like to inhabit. Ravens prefer the wilderness where it can find more carrion and other similar eats. Black symbolizes the void. Their color is nothing and everything at the same moment. Out of the darkness comes the light, and with it the dawning of a new day. Crows are the keeper of sacred law and are thought to walk between our world and the world of spirit, thus delivering important messages from the other side. The crow is a representation of creation and spiritual strength. To the Natives, the crow represent the Great Spirit, which should be treated with the utmost respect.

Ravens are highly intelligent birds that even have facial recognition for humans. Also, they have the ability(like the wolf) to form deep bonds with other animals. This ability to form deep bonds is rare for the predator. Like the tiger or a shark, most predators prefer to take the solo route. Wolf power leads to developing a deep perception and inner knowing about oneself coupled with intuition. Wolves are great hunters with impeccable social skills. They are also great teachers for their offspring and are well known throughout history for their teaching abilities. I feel the wolf with me always and believe that it is my primary power animal along with the crow. With their symbiotic relationship, it makes complete sense that I am utterly fascinated and drawn to them both!

The crow has also been ever present in my life. I have learned to pay attention to their caws. Can you receive messages from animals? I believe you can. Not the conversational kind, of course, but the intuitive feeling you receive from their presence. Look, listen, and feel....AND you may indeed learn something new about you.
Inspo: Walking by Faith in the Midst of Suffering
Redirect. Doors closed. Windows opened. Many doors have closed this week, but as with the doors closing I KNOW many windows have blown wide open. In fact, I can feel the breeze and the light on my face more than ever before. Even in the darkness, I feel the light that surrounds me. I am not quite ready to announce to the world the suffering that I have endured over the past week. In my own time coupled with God's incredible strength, I will be ready to share my suffering and triumphs with the world. When we walk with God, we are asked to do so in complete blind faith. However, I do not think this faith has to always be blind. If you ask humbly, God may show you a glimpse of his grace. Walking by faith is incredibly hard at times, especially when you are hurting and enveloped in sadness. In this state, it is almost impossible to see the bigger picture. You might be asking, "Why, why God is this happening to me"? He can see everything and truly has your best long-term interests at heart. But, I can't see you Lord. Why have you chosen this particular path for me? Gideon felt this way and humbly tested the Lord by saying,

"I'll place some wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the wool while all the ground is dry, then I'll know that you will rescue Israel through me, as you said."
(Judges 6:37)

Then Gideon said to God, "Please don't be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew." (Judges 6:39)

I feel a bit like Gideon this week. I have never required any proof of God's grace up to this point, but this week I feel particularly weary and unsure. Looking? Sure, but maybe not as hard as I was before. I am not wavering in God's love, but I certainly feel the need to understand more about God's plan for me. Patience, is surely the answer I would receive. Everything will be revealed in its own time. When we feel the hard blow of life, it is normal to ask for help and even to question, "Why am I here"? Sometimes, we simply need to be renewed with a drop of faith and have it fill our cup with the strength we need to endure our day.

God's doors are open 24/7. That is really good to know, because I have been walking through those doors an awful lot lately. I have quit blogging to a certain extent. The "me" I once knew is no longer. You will see me writing here, but I have closed the doors to the Virginia Bloggers Club. I am working up the courage to actually delete the blog altogether. I have been "called" back to nursing and will be pursuing my Master's and PhD to help those in the psychiatric community. It is my path to serve God in this way. I have built the Virginia Bloggers Club over the past three years. It is not easy for me to walk away from blogging, but I believe I must. If we are to invite real positive change in our lives, we must also choose to close some doors to find our open window that God has cracked open.

"After your season of suffering, God in all his grace will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." (1 Peter 5:10)

How to Gain Clarity through Confusion
Everything happens for a reason. Both the good and the bad. That is a hard pill to swallow some days. I did a tarot reading last week with my Chakra Wisom Oracle deck and do you know which card stood out among the rest? Confusion. A woman standing in a swirling cloud of cool smoke...shivering in the uncertainty. Yep, I am feeling a whole lot of confusion this week. I am frustrated, mildly anxious, and confused all gently rolled into one messy burrito. So...I must "talk the talk and walk the walk" with my own advice this week.

Hey, it's Monday! I bet you are you already thinking ahead to your full week of jam-packed activities and endless hustle? Stop it. Sit with me. Listen and look around you. Take the small amount of time you have to rejuvenate both your mind and body. Someone told me this week, they do not have the time to go to a Reiki class for several weeks because they are too busy. Listen, we all lead busy modern day lives! What you are really saying is that you do not have time to take care of yourself. Dedicate and set aside just a few minutes for yourself, so that you may feel re-energized and ready to give of yourself...not from your excess reserves or(for some of us) no reserves at all.

Be still. Are you able to just sit with your confusion? Sometimes action is required, but when we are confused action can result in even more confusion. Sometimes, we must let our thoughts clarify themselves through good-old-fashioned patience. Patience is something I have a mild to moderate amount of and perhaps this is a lesson in patience for me as well. Regardless, lots of meditation is in my near future. Are you going through a confusing time right now? Please tell me about it! Perhaps together, we can both find clarity.
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