Engaging Animal SightWay of Gaian Communication Practice
“There are only 2 ways to touch an animal. You can either domesticate the being or you can also become as wild as the animal you stalk.”
Animal expression in the Eco system
The sounds and calls that animals make are expressions more a matter of how the environment feels to them than the language we use. For example, with bird calls one can hear the difference between tones of calmness, agitation, and aggression.
This way of communicating is juxtaposed with humans use of language as a symbolic reference for something else; a “what does it mean” state of expression. From making this perceptual shift in awareness one can access a mystery of communication in nature that reveals how all of nature is indeed deeply communicating always and responding to those cues from every other living organism. Ever movement in nature ripples out to every other animal, and Tom Brown Jr. calls these concentric rings.
The Awareness and Yoga of Animal Medicine
The root drishti in sanskrit is perception, darshan, coming from that word is literally when the incarnation of god comes out of the murti (statue) and is manifest in form. So the vision of the divine becoming manifest to reveal itself is darshan. I take that yogic understanding and realize that there is a divine work with conjuring animal medicine in the same way. And this was seen as animal medicine in the Native American traditions.
For example, the hawk deva, or spirit of the hawk revealing itself through a physical hawk at a significant time juncture to teach and share a medicine blessing. That when we see animals, what metaphors/behaviors/patterns they represent is significant toward a. what we are going through, b. what we were contemplating/what was our thoughts before we saw it, and c. who our totems/teachers are. This is the yoga of animal medicine.
Waking Dreams and Working with Living Archetypes
Each of our individual experience, especially in regards to being in nature, is comprised of significant moments of messages that are being broadcast from the intentionality of nature in direct language to our perceptual nexus. Every animal and plant has an alchemical “embodied metaphor” which is a message related to how we are feeling, what we are thinking and analyzing in any given moment when that vision of a particular plant or animal arises in our experience.
Developing this awareness in both waking and dream is a living system of divination that is as old as time and perception. Every “pre-modern” culture had direct access to the interpretation of these moments and also had a living tradition seers and shaman to help guide them to seek and interpret these visions and experiences into their life path. These waking dreams were rediscovered by Carl Jung and called archetypes of the collective unconscious. They are also referred to by the aboriginals as the dreamtime. This is the tradition we are rebuilding, in some ways with a brand new mapping by direct intuitive experience.
Anthropologists translated these teachings of indigenous perception and way of perceiving teachings through animals as totems. All of our cultural roots, no matter where you come from, are steeped in the reading of nature, even including the foundation of science. To truly face direct observation dictates that the universe is a communicative living organism and you are welcome in on the dialogue if only you enhance and develop attention.
Merging with the animal Self in dream
It feels as though Animal totems and the significance of their messages are again coming alive through dreaming as the collective unconscious breaks through toward waking us up and accessing our spirits. To do this work requires tremendous levels of self-empowerment and clarity, as well as developing community based sharing circles.
About the Author
Dan De Lion
Founder of Return to Nature