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Archive for the ‘animal messages’ Category

With the help of a small pre-lit tree, borrowed from a generous friend, and a Christmas music channel on Pandora, I am beginning to feel like it might be Christmas. Which is helpful, since today is Christmas Eve.

I moved in early December and I am still getting things into place. Last night, I finally got my home theater components hooked up and in the entertainment armoire (which took a lot of reaching, bending, flexing and patience). I’m still missing the speaker wire for the sub-woofer, no boom-boom sounds for now. My printer is still offline since it was not installed to communicate with the AT&T wireless modem that AT&T insisted I buy to use instead of my perfectly good Netgear model.  (Yes, I’m complaining. AT&T has always brought out the best in me – challenging me to find my most patient and compassionate self.)

I think I have bought  two gifts. Thank goodness our family event is not until the New Year, almost.

I have had the magic of snow, the frustration of things gone missing, the unnerving of trees swaying wildly with the wind and rain and power outages that, in this neck of the woods means I can’t pump water either.  It also means I wear long-underwear and polar fleece jackets indoors.  I have had ice that dares me to go anywhere in a car and forces me to walk with tiny baby steps across my deck to the garage and laundry. I know, it’s all sissy stuff compared to what most people live with.

Today, though,  the sun is shining and I am absolutely in love with my new home. Trees make for wonderful companions. The other day, I saw two jack rabbits that came right up to my deck and peered at me through the window. Today, I saw the coyote who is their likely enemy, chasing after something down the hill in the direction from which I’d seen the rabbits come the other day. Though my first view of the coyote was right out my kitchen window, by the time I got my camera, it was weaving in and out of the trees. Coyote was so intent on the hunt, it did not even notice me as I stepped into the yard for another peek. They are fluffier and healthier looking up here than the ones I’ve seen up in the Marin Watershed.

Here are some photos of the coyote in the morning woodland fog. I did not touch them up. I like them looking as mysterious as it felt.

copyright (c) Dec 2012 Kathy J Loh All Rights reserved coyoteEnlrg

Animal sightings are pure magic for me.  My delight rises from my wild nature through my heart and out my mouth as a simple gasp and single word of surprise “coyote!”

Coyote is the trickster; reminds us of how we lie to ourselves in a way that makes rational sense. My lie was that I did not need to decorate for Christmas. It’s Christmas Eve already and I am having holiday meals at other people’s homes. Why would I go to all the trouble to get ornaments out of boxes and deck my house and then have to go to all the trouble to put it all away in a few days? Why?

Coyote reminded me of magic. There is a magic I want to feel around the holiday and there is a child in me who insists on decorating the tree. So, I listened to her. We put on the music, we chose just-right ornaments that speak to me now – most of them woodland creatures. Enchantment rose in me and illuminated my new home.

Later today, I will go for a hike with my friend who is now my neighbor. We might even go snow-shoeing which would be a new activity for me, one I look forward to experiencing.

I said I moved here because I wanted adventure. I have not been disappointed yet. It’s just the sometimes it is hard to remember that adventure is not always comfortable. There is no predicting the Mystery and yet, there is no need to wait for enchantment.

We are all magicians traveling this Full Moon Path.

What illuminates your path?

How is the Mystery speaking to you today to get you to follow it into the woods of timelessness and create a little magic of your own?

Sending you all love and enchantment!

copyright (c) Dec 2012, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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“You carry all the ingredients to turn your existence into joy. Mix them, mix them!” – Hafiz

What do three friends, a book, a dozen squabbling woodpeckers, three caterpillars, Neale Donald Waslch and Joni Mitchell have to do with each other? Anything and everything and they have all conspired to lift me to a new level of awareness. They have at once been the container and the ingredients of a personal insight. Do you have a few minutes? Here’s the story and a little music too…

There are some big changes afoot for me, big decisions to be made and I will be writing about them; revealing more as the weeks go by.

Decision making is not my strong suit, or has not been thus far. What I notice is that I will receive an incredible opportunity, get very excited and then begin the downward spiral of analysis paralysis. The rabbit that takes me down that hole is my fear of making a mistake, of being sorry I made the choice I made, finding out there was something better, feeling trapped.

Well, at least I thought that was my fear. And it is. At least it is the trunk of the tree of that fear. I got a clear insight that it was not the true fear when the first friend, Pemma, asked me “So, what if you do make a really big mistake?” I started to laugh. I didn’t know why in the moment, but I knew that the answer was simply, then I walk away and do something else. For a shining moment, my fear of making a mistake, even a really big one, had vanished, poof!

Later, my friend Joette, sent me an email and asked what the root of my fear was. I set it aside for further musing. Sometimes the mere invocation of a question allows an answer to reveal itself down the road.

Fighting Woodpeckers

Acorn Woodpeckers (K J Loh)

I stepped outside to photograph the dozen or so Acorn Woodpeckers squabbling over territory. Woodpeckers are symbolic of mental activity (red caps) and these completely mirrored my inner experience of the discord between my body, mind, spirit and heart, not to mention my higher and lesser selves. My mind was in a distortion spin cycle. Several of the woodpeckers were drumming loudly and furiously on trees and posts. Their drumming encouraged me to invite new rhythms into my life.

That afternoon, I was scanning the book The Trance of Scarcity to gather some abundance momentum, muster up some courage for risk-taking, and remind me that living small creates smaller living. Author Victoria Castle tells a story of a trip to Yosemite. She writes of wanting to take in all the grandeur and beauty on her day of departure. She tries to breathe it in, but can’t seem to hold it, to keep it. As she walks back to her cabin disappointed, she hears something rumbling deep inside.” She stops to listen and hears,

“How about if you let us absorb you?”

She then allows the majesty of Yosemite to absorb her and that is how she “knew the oneness [she] had longed for.”

Reading these words, I knew that I would not lose what I was leaving behind, if I allowed it to absorb me. I don’t have to try to pack it all into my memory or find some way to take it with me or recreate it. I can be absorbed by it and know that, in our oneness, these days, these places, these experiences, these people are always with me as I am with them.

Later, my friend Alicia held a beautiful space of mindfulness in our conversation and I got in touch with how my wounded ego uses drama to scare me; the drama and pain of good-byes. I also discovered how I make up that I need to suffer mightily in letting go to prove my love for something or someone.  It can’t look like it was too easy. Alicia reminded me to express and receive gratitude for these people, places and times and release the drama and story about goodbyes that create suffering.

Neale Donald Walsch’s message for the day read:

On this day of your life, dear friend, I believe God wants you to know…

…that when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, it

is not beneficial to go out and build more tunnel.

Cocoon/chrysalis copyright (c) April 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Dissolved (K J Loh)

I thought of the third caterpillar that had crawled across my driveway, up the front wall of my house and attached itself a fair distance from two others, to begin its metamorphosis. When we have been through the chaos of transformation, why would we want to create more darkness for ourselves? Why would we not wholly embrace the emergence as a winged creature feeding on the nectar of life? The only answer I can come up with is fear.

I return to Joette’s question, what is the root? What is the threat my wounded ego holds over me regarding mistakes? The answer came through:

If you make a mistake I will never forgive you. I will shame you and berate you for your stupidity. I will punish you mightily.

I used to do that to myself, but it’s hardly how I am with myself now. It’s more an old habit than a current reality. It’s a flinch with no punch to back it up.  I think this is why I could see it. The root is no longer submerged in my unconscious. I am aware of my self-talk and have changed it to be more nurturing than critical.

I made a pact with myself that enabled me to move forward with my decision making process. I will love, respect and forgive myself if it turns out that I want to make a different choice in the future. I will not punish, berate or shame myself. I will make another choice and move on. I will look for the gratitude for all that the apparently mistaken choice has taught me.

You see, it’s not the mistake that feels so bad; it’s not the coulda-shoulda-woulda’s, themselves. It’s how mean we are to ourselves that scares us.

For me, this insight was an invitation to release the delusion that mistakes have to inflict painful consequences; that learning is painful and if you don’t feel enough pain, you haven’t learned much.

I awakened the next day at peace and the woodpeckers had stopped squabbling. Only the original family remained.

When we contract, we pull in our energy, our world gets small, our thinking becomes circular or numbed by habit. We become an energy vortex, sucking things in an inward spiral. We feel the pain of separateness. There is never enough of anything and at the same time we refuse and are even blind to all that is offered to us.

When we expand, our energy grows; alchemy and synthesis are available to us. The world becomes a friendlier place; even enchanting. Our thinking evolves and there is always enough. We are open and we receive. We know we are not separate.

The important thing to remember is that contracting and defending in order to create a sense of safety actually results in less safety.  It’s dangerous territory when you live with a sense of “me against the world.”

And Joni Mitchell? Where does she come in? As a post that came across my Facebook feed, it was yet another wink. Both sides now – child and adult – before and after – caterpillar and butterfly.

The aspect of me that thinks there is such a thing as a mistake or a failure thinks there is something to know about life. Something to learn that will be the ultimate key for success and happiness.

What is there to know? Hindsight is not 20/20. It’s a story.

“It’s life’s illusions I recall. I really don’t know life at all.”

And I have to say, in this moment, that feels darn good – a huge sigh of relief! The beauty of not knowing and not having to know leaves lots of room for play, exploration, adventure.

A caterpillar undergoes total dissolution in the chrysalis/cocoon. It becomes fully absorbed by its new form.

The chrysalis on my wall will be abandoned in 7 to 10 days.

I’m celebrating immersion and emergence!

What is the sound of butterfly wings clapping?

Butterfly Copyright(c)April2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

photo: K J Loh

Note: for more information about the symbolic meanings of butterflies and woodpeckers, see Ted Andrew’s Animal Speak.

copyright(c)April 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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I noticed a Dark-eyed Junco sitting on the table in a corner of my garden. Junco’s are common here, no big deal and still delightful, but this one was courageous. He was not about to move even as I stepped outside to get a better look, though he did keep an eye on my every move. Then, I saw why he was determined to keep his post. A female, foraging for seeds on the driveway, appeared from under my car. With him keeping guard, she had no need to be wary. When he gave the signal, they both took flight to the shelter of the nearest tree limb.

Dark Eyed Junco - copyright (c) March 2010 Kathy J Loh

Dark-Eyed Junco (c) Kathy J Loh

This exquisitely represents the masculine and feminine principles to me. Not as in male and female gender, but as in the yin and the yang that makes the whole of each of us and all that is. The wild feminine dances while the masculine creates and holds the container. What is the water without the shore?

Spring’s return is a delightful time. The first butterflies emerge and dance with the wind. Wildflowers burst forth, seemingly and sometimes truly, overnight. The evening air is filled with the most delicious fragrances, my favorite being jasmine.

I’ve noticed the squirrels again. After months of gathering acorns, they seemed to disappear. Now, one has returned to its commuter route; feeding young in the nest? The first quail have appeared as well. Like the male Junco, the male quail also serves as a reliable sentry for the female and her chicks.

At the turn of the year, I wrote about the conflicting energies of robust New Year’s resolutions, astronomical events and seasonal cycles. While we experience a sense of new beginnings on the first of the year, it is mostly because we replace one calendar on the wall with another and we make a big deal of it with parties and a big ball in NYC that drops at midnight.

Winter is a time of rest, hibernation, integration. It is a feminine season and its element is water. Our energy is in retreat.

Spring brings in the masculine energy of fire. Everything wants to burst forth: chicks from eggs, butterflies from chrysalis, buds from branches, blossoms from stems, even us from our houses. The sun calls and the world responds.

This is the season when the energy to make changes, to transmute our realities, is most powerful. At this equinox, the dark watery feminine meets the active fire-y masculine and a new creative wave is unleashed. It’s where polar opposites meet and create the new way.  It is a time of birth and rebirth.

If we had intentions at the New Year that seem to have gone astray, we can likely revisit them now with much more success. As everything bursts forth, so does our enthusiasm. We now have the heart to be disciples to that which we most desire to create and that is the true essence of discipline.  We become the sentries to our own creative dancer.

The Spring equinox (in the northern hemisphere) occurs at 10:32 am PDT on Saturday March 20, 2010. At that point, we will be at a midpoint between the shortest and the longest days of the year; the balance of dark and light.

The entire time I’ve been writing this post, butterflies have been riding the waves of the breeze, surfing past my window. I take it as a sign. I’m not going to list, in bullet-point fashion, how to create your Spring Equinox Ceremony or ways to creatively magnify your intentions.

What I do suggest is that we all revisit what it is we want from life and what we want to bring to it.

What will have you dance like butterflies, surf like dolphins, soar like hawks?  Bring your brilliant masculine energy to create the container, the sentry, together with the wild creative feminine energy in you to make it happen. Imagine what becomes available when discipline and creativity play together.

Oh, and maybe clean out your garage and dawdle* a lot –   not necessarily in that order.

Postcript:

Just now, I saw a hawk land in the redwood across the way and I stepped outside to prepare to photograph it in flight, should it choose to circle nearer and overhead. As I waited, I became distracted by a small black and orange caterpillar crawling up the wall. Since I’d taken a little movie of one at my front door about an hour ago, I thought I’d get a couple of still shots of this one. When I zoomed in, I was surprised to find that a tiny spider was furiously working its magic thread between the caterpillar and the wall.

I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the same caterpillar. Had it traveled all this distance and found the right place to go into metamorphic goo only to become a banquet for a spider?

Let’s play with the Mystery Message here (and if you want more like this, sign up to receive Mystery Messages from me).

Using Ted Andrew’s book  Animal Speak for quick access to symbolism of these two creatures:

Butterfly (and thus, caterpillar) is about transmutation and the dance of joy.

Spider is about creativity and the weaving of fate.

These questions arise for me and I invite you to create more:

What will have you allow your creative urge to make a meal of the old you, your old stories and old identities, so that you may be transformed into one whose heart is light as a feather and dances for joy?

How might you be allowing the web of fate and the sting of life events dictate who you think you are and prevent you from becoming the joyful passionate being you were born to be?

Copyright(c) March 2010 Kathy J Loh -

Caterpillar and Spider

Post – postscript

I just went back out to check on the caterpillar-spider drama. Neither was anywhere to be found. Ten minutes gone and it was as if the event never happened. Wow – now that’s a mystery in and of itself. Then, to top it off, I saw a walking stick. That’s a rare sighting for me. This one was so small and slim it looked like a fiber shred. Wow – another delight delivered from the Mystery. How can I not travel life with eyes wide open? How can I not dance for joy?

Copyright © March 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

* For more posts on dawdling, click on “dawdling” in the cloud to the right or locate dawdling under categories.

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Today, my love for mystery is bumping up against my archetypal victim.

Phooey on evolution and new ways of thinking and being.

Phooey on dreams and visions that require me to be more vulnerable.

Phooey on cleaning up, empowered relationships, and mastery.

And double phooey on social media upkeep.

The only thing that soothes me is the comfort of nature. That, and food; gooey sticky tummy-filling comfort food. Oh,  music too.  If I think about it, I’m speaking “womb;”  surrounded by good energy, well held and well fed while listening to the rhythm of the heart and singing of  blood as it’s pumped through the veins.

I’m floating in the void; at one and the same time comfortable and extremely frustrated.

When I am in this in-between space and in the grip of “victim,” I find myself waiting to be rescued. I’m hoping that the next email, the next phone call, the next mail delivery will bring me a pleasant surprise. I’m hoping that this next trip into town will yield a chance encounter that turns golden. Sometimes, it does. I will get an email inquiry from a potential client, checks in the mail or make a new connection. But most days it’s just bills and junk mail and a bag of groceries in the back of the car.

Where is my knight in shining armor?

Where is Publisher’s Clearinghouse with my million-dollar check?

Waiting to be rescued is a sign that I don’t want to take responsibility for my life, my visions, my happiness. Responsibility feels punishing; like really hard work with high odds of failure. Well, at least that’s how my victim sees it.

I’m rattled by the mess that the fallen oak tree left. No one is stacking firewood. No one is cleaning up the limbs that are dangling from the trees that were slammed by oak on its way down. No one cares about the huge pile of dead boughs. To top it off, the wind carried a big bright blue plastic bag into the center of the whole scene as if to garishly announce  “trash heap.”

These thoughts followed me out to the hiking trail.

The view from my window is not what it once was. It’s not what it will be. It is what it is. I don’t want to take responsibility for it and I want it to be a certain way.

My life is not what it once was. It’s not what I imagine it will be. It is what it is. I don’t want to take responsibility for it, but I sure as heck want to control it.

Video still

Snake (Kathy Loh)

And that’s the moment in my rant that a snake and I came face to boot on the hiking trail. It was a striped racer, not a threat, and a great reminder of the process of transformation and rebirth.  When snake sheds its skin, its eyes cloud over. My eyes are clouded. I can’t see. I’m shedding my old skin. It doesn’t feel good.

In my old life, I did things the hard way. I suffered to earn reward, love, and worthiness. Responsibility was a burden. Discipline was like living in eternal boot camp. I was hard on myself. OK, I think I was actually darn cruel to myself at times.

Who I am becoming is self-nurturing, inspired by Love to walk the path of Beauty, a dancer in the Great Mystery, truly enchanted by life. To this evolving me, responsibility is the “ability to respond” and discipline is “being a disciple to.”

I want to remember  (re-member) what makes me happy and be a disciple to my passions. I want to be able to respond to the winds of change. I want to know and speak the language of the heart.

This experience of floating in the void, this bumping up against like the incoming and outgoing tides, that feels like I’m going nowhere, this shedding of skin and waiting for the new to dry; waiting…waiting….waiting…is full of tension.

This tension is pure creative energy.

I know I am in a deeply creative process and I’m itching for resolution.

I suspect that powerful re-solutions arise in their own time and are not especially responsive to control.

So, I set down control and I surrender to creative chaos.

I allow myself to be enchanted by the mystery of it all.

I am grateful to snake for the reminder that I am re-minding from brain to heart and that it is a process that knows its own timing.

So…

Phooey on control.

Phooey on making things hard.

Phooey on waiting to be rescued.

Uhm, except …

I’d still gladly accept that prize from Publishers Clearing House.

Copyright (c) November 2009, Kathy J Loh, all rights reserved

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The long days of summer are over. Fall has arrived, if not in your backyard, then at least, on your calendar. The Autumnal and Vernal (spring) equinoxes are the two times a year when the length of the day and the length of the night are more or less equal.

The weather, fickle as it always is, is less reliable than the angle of the sun when it comes to knowing Fall has arrived. It snowed in Denver the other day and then returned to a sunny 70 degrees. There are deluges in Georgia and heat waves in California.

Some will know it’s Fall by the return of football season, children returning to school and the final race to the world series in baseball.

What tells me it’s Autumn is the gray and black squirrels (newborn last Spring) scampering about the oaks gathering acorns. The Jays and the Acorn Woodpeckers are competing for the same booty and then burying it the ground or  hammering into the telephone pole. The persimmons are turning orange. I am going to bed earlier and awakening a bit later as the nights grow longer.

Persimmons (Kathy Loh)

Persimmons (Kathy Loh)

Ancient cultures made monuments to honor the solstices. That we make meaning from this time is built upon the wisdom of the ages. How we make meaning is personal and cultural.

In general it is known as a time of harvest. The harvest invites gratitude and the observation that we reap what we sow.  With the shortening and cooling of the days comes the natural desire to hibernate by slowing down, reflecting, preparing.

Just as those squirrels gather their bounty for the winter, we can take time to reflect upon how well we’ve lived our year to this point, what needs cleaning up and completion and how we want to prepare for a new cycle that begins at Winter Solstice.

As we are in the sun sign of Libra, the perspective of balance between the dark and light, balance of polarities, is especially poignant. I had a wonderful call with a client today that illustrates how we can work with polarities with one simple question that accommodates “and.”  As we explored her vision of her most robust future, she mentioned both adventure and living at a relaxed pace. She then laughingly wondered how she could have both. At first glance we assume adventure and relaxation to be contradictory. Curiosity offers another perspective. I asked her what it would be to be in relaxed adventure? A new doorway opened.

I invite you to take something you are playing with as either-or, that creates a black and white debate in your mind, and write your own inquiry similar to the one above. The Autumnal Equinox may well infuse your contemplation with balanced energy.

Another Autumnal sign and energy is that of Scorpio. Scorpio is all about the sting, the transmutation of energy, initiation. It’s a great time to reconnect with the soul and inquire as to your soul’s purpose. It’s a good time to heal old wounds, create alignment in your chakras.  You might like to meditate upon the chakras, do some chakra chanting, work with a healer, shaman or spiritual coach/guide to facilitate these processes.

Finally, many of us have been busy discarding old items, clearing out closets and garages, clearing our very hearts of clutter and things we no longer need. It turns out this is natural energy to feel this time of year. The Autumnal Equinox encourages it. As we head toward the nadir of the Winter Solstice, as we head toward the end of the year, it is natural for us to assess the path we’ve walked the past 9 months and release that which no longer serves. It is also natural to begin to prepare for the upcoming year, the beginning of a new cycle at the Winter Solstice when the days begin to grow longer again and the energy is just turning toward expansion.

You might like to assess your year so far and ask:

What will you claim and celebrate?

What will you release?

What feedback or learning are you taking with you to prepare for your next adventure?

What seeds will you gather for next year’s crop?

How does your heart wish to express gratitude?

Then pick one and follow through in some way that resonates with you.

Happy Equinox dear ones!

A nod and apology for my northern perspective to the Southern Hemisphere where they are experiencing their Vernal Equinox – may your Spring be abundantly joyful!

Copyright(c) September 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Resource (book) for ritual: Nature-Speak by Ted Andrews

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I had quite the Solstice (and birthday) weekend. Rather than the usual adventures with friends and rituals for planting the seeds of my intention, I experienced an emotional roller-coaster ride as I released more residue from my, gosh-I-don’t-even-recognize-myself-in-it-anymore past.

It fascinates me how things converge in a 48 hour period. Solstice is a portal. It’s a time of releasing the old and moving toward the new vision with powerful intentions and discipline in thought, word and action. Saturday morning, I pulled the angel card Signs. It was a reminder to pay special attention that day. Those of you who read my blog know that I write about getting our information from the world around us. Our reality is our feedback and signs are what stand out to us as messages or pieces of a bigger puzzle.

In my meditation, I discovered an energy ball of anger still lingering in my heart from a brief love affair I had after my marriage was over. As I worked with it, I bumped into a piece of my shadow and I brought it home. I was ready to take responsibility for some rather less-than-attractive behaviors. Doing so, released the anger and I felt a space open in my heart. I asked the angels what would replace that anger ball and they said, “That’s the space where love can come in.”

Then, I got a surge of signs:

  • My landlord was clearing out the garage and having to move some of my things to do so. The garage houses boxes of things from my “past life” as a music teacher, as a wife and owner of a home much larger than where I live now.
  • An abandoned bird nest lying on the trail on my walk
  • A Jay mimicking the cry of a hawk
  • That same Jay dive-bombed by a hummingbird
  • A skeleton of a baby deer, fresh in the last 48 hours, reminding me I’d dreamed of a baby mountain lion the night before

I was being informed of clearing away the old, empty nests, trickery, camouflage and death.

Empty Nest 6/20/09

Empty Nest - (Kathy Loh)

  • While floating in the pool, I was entertained by a brilliant red-orange dragonfly darting here and there overhead
  • By way of a complete fluke, I discovered my ex-husband had remarried last December
  • A hawk landed in the tree right outside my window
  • I sighted the first set of baby quail for the season
  • Butterflies of many varieties danced with the warm summer breeze

I was informed of big picture, vision, gliding on the current, nurturing, sentinel, transformation and re-birth.

The discovery of my ex’s marriage stunned me. My body took a hit and my heart was tender. I knew it was a final piece that had to be experienced in order to move forward in my now, much happier and much more peaceful life.  Add to this, Father’s Day reminding me of how much I miss my dad who passed almost 2 years ago. Grief knows no completely predictable timetable  and there are moments when a little more love, a little more loss, a little more hurt or anger needs to be wrung from the heart.

That was all on Saturday.

That night I asked for a closure dream. I got it. I also dreamed of snakes; rattlesnakes, anacondas, water moccasins and two very large non-poisonous snakes. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I have an affinity with snakes, but in this dream, I knew I had to kill the rattlesnakes or they would come back. Snakes are about rebirth.

Sunday morning, Solstice, I pulled my daily angel card and for the 6th time in 9 days, I pulled New Beginnings. “Hey, angels, you don’t need to hit me over the head with it. Or do you…?”

As I continued to work with signs and images, I got clear that Solstice is not always a lovely, easy, day in which we get to lightly and brightly even if powerfully lay the foundation for our future. Sometimes there are energies to be cleared, like grief, anger, and hurt. This can make things a bit, if not very, jangly.

It’s where we hold our focus that makes a powerful difference. I had the choice of going down with the sadness and the misery or holding gratitude for where I am now and focusing on my heart’s desires for the future.  I wanted to hold my focus on the visions I’ve been developing and can see so clearly.

I could feel the saboteur archetype lurking, like a pack of hyenas restless and pacing, licking their chops. They were just waiting for me to get weak enough to fall easy prey to their attack. When those hyenas pounce, it’s a downward slide into the depths of victimhood and hopelessness.

I could hear the dialog in the back of my mind trying to muscle its way into the whole of my experience.  I could see the images from my past trying to get a toehold on my outlook. Yet, when my saboteur tried to convince me of the sad story, my authenticity Geiger counter rejected it as no longer true. It just kept registering as old story; boooor-ing….

Still, it took discipline for me to turn my gaze away from those visuals of someone taking my place in my old life, my old house, my old garden and toward the place of gratitude for the abundance of joy, ease and love I have in my life today.

It took discipline to hold love for my inner child who was upset about not having a happy birthday and pouted, “I didn’t even get chocolate cake.”

It took discipline to hold at bay the constriction of blame and breathe into the lovely expansive energy of love and goodwill I’ve felt for my ex-husband and ex-love in recent weeks.

It took discipline for me to turn down the volume of the internal dialog that binds me to the past and turn up the volume on the dialog with my soul and my creative impulses.

It’s discipline, pure and simple and I’ve come to define discipline as being a disciple to my soul.

How does this story end?

It ends in a wonderful Sunday afternoon shared with a friend hiking my favorite trail, engrossed in meaningful conversation. It ends with dinner and my hosts toasting me, my birthday and solstice.

And wouldn’t you just know it….I got to make a wish and blow out the candles on my chocolate birthday cake!

PS – thank you to all the wonderful friends who sent me birthday greetings and called me. You are the wealth in my life, true earth angels!

(angel cards I use daily: Healing with the Angels by Doreen Virtue)


Copyright(c) June 2009, Kathy Loh, All Rights Reserved

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As promised, here my story of the snake that told time….

In 2005, I was in ceremony with White Eagle (medicine Keeper of the Origin Teachings of the Delicate Lodge) near Abiquiu, New Mexico. I camped on the land, in the shadow of the Cerro Pedernal with about 9 other people. We lived very simply; cold-water hose showers and pit toilets.  We gathered for story telling, lessons, fire building, medicine wheel training and spent time in solitary contemplation.

One of the highlights of this area is the amazing vistas common to New Mexico. Georgia O’Keefe used to drive out to this land, set up her canvas in the back seat of her car and paint. The ground is covered with thorny cacti  and alive with large red and black ants. (A little aside, there are 241 species of ants in New Mexico.) The cliffs are multi-colored red, brown, buff; limestone, sandstone, shale and a lot of clay.  Pinion, sage and beautiful ancient Junipers stand watch over the land. Below the cliffs of White Eagle’s land, runs the Rio Chama.

We each chose our “spot” for contemplation. It was a place to which we would return regularly that week. Most chose some point along the cliff line. I found a spot along a wash that had an amazing vista of the green valley on the other side of the ravine. I could see mesas in the distance which would have been in the general direction of Ghost Ranch. Two Junipers stood guard at my spot and the land fell away between them in stair-step fashion where seasonal rains had carved their natural pathway toward the river.

View from my spot (Kathy Loh)

View from my spot (Kathy Loh)

One day, after White Eagle had sent us out for solitary contemplation, instructing us to return at a specific time, I arrived at my spot suddenly realizing that I did not have my watch. One of the things I loved about my spot compared with sitting at the edge of the cliff  was that I could not see any of the other participants and they could not see me. So, I could not rely on someone else to be my timekeeper.

I was debating about whether or not to make the trek back to my tent for my watch when I spotted a large snake resting about 5 feet away and just down the wash from where I was sitting. As always, when I see that spotted pattern on the back of a snake, I check the tail. No rattles, phew! It was likely a variety of gopher snake. It was a good 4 feet long, and was resting with its hind half in the sun and its upper half in the shade rising up a ledge. A bulge gave away the fact that it was digesting a recent meal.

I struck a deal with the snake. I said “When you move, snake, I will know that it is time to return to the medicine wheel.”

I then proceeded with my contemplation and journaling. All this time, the snake never moved.

As time passed, I got a little antsy. I asked myself “OK, are you going to put full faith in this snake?”
“Yes,” I replied. So, I waited and meditated some more.

Eventually, the snake began to move ever so lazily, heading further down the gully. “Now’s the time,” I told myself and I got up to make the journey back. Just then, I spotted one of the other participants some distance away making his way back to camp.

Snake’s timing is precise.

I’ve been writing about dawdling and losing track of time. I have a desire to be able to fall into that lost space, that pure presence without an eye on the clock. This has led me to fashion most of my days with enough flexibility to muse, wander, get lost in a project.

I’ve learned to rely on the partnership of animals. If I need to get out for a walk, Callie, the local dog, will show up at my door and bark to invite me to head out to the woods. I trust her instincts and, if it’s at all possible, I drop everything and go.

When hummingbird comes up to my window and hovers right in front of my face for a moment, I know it is time to add a little variety and joy to my day.

When I was in need of solitary time, bobcat made a regular appearances day and night.  My neighbors, who have lived here over 20 years, have never seen a bobcat, and I was seeing this one regularly.

Squirrel reminds me to plan ahead and hawk shows up when I need to get some distance on a subject.

Last weekend, 2 snakes appeared near my front door, while another showed up on my walk yesterday.

In January, I participated in a Tarot Pilgrimage with Pamela Eakins of Lightning Spiral Mystery School. At the pilgrimage we pulled a card for each month of 2009. My card for June depicts two serpents. Nice synchronicity.

Animals, seasons, trees, flowers, they are all speaking to us all the time. They are all willing partners. Whether or not we listen is up to us. It takes trust and a leap of faith and, in my experience, it is trust well invested and faith well founded and well rewarded.

How have animals partnered with you? I’d love to hear your stories and invite you to share them in the comments section below.

Note: for anyone interested in learning more about animals as messengers or looking for a great Tarot deck and book, here are three great resources:

Animal Speak by Ted Andrews

Medicine Cards (book and cards) by Jamie Sams and David Carson

Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela Eakins

Copyright(c) June 2009, Kathy Loh, All Rights Reserved

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