It was the eyes catching the light that caught my attention as my headlights panned through the turn. And I wasn't sure if what I was looking at was live. I actually thought it was something like a plastic decoy sitting by the side of the road and had this momentary wondering about how that decoy got there. Until, as I watched in my rearview mirror, it turned its head. Owl.
I pulled over half expecting it to be gone by the time I stopped, but it was still standing there, watching me. I carefully got out of the car. As I did that I gentled my energy and sent Owl a blessing and a greeting. I walked a little bit closer. And still Owl stood there.
I did not have my camera but did have my phone. I said “Is it OK? Thank you,” as I took a photo. But it really was too dark even with the street light. Mostly I was curious and concerned. Was it injured? And so I asked, “Are you OK little one?” Owl watched me and then a car went by and it looked after the car and then turned back to me.
I stepped a little bit closer and sat on the curb right across from it so that I was more eye level. I looked to see if I could tell whether Owl was injured. And I don't know about owls really, but it didn't look injured. It was just still there. Why? And so I simply watched and sent it loving energy. There was something sort of sticking out the front under Owl’s body. I wondered what I was seeing, if it was feathers that had been injured. I couldn't tell. But there were no obvious strange angles, there was no blood. Owl continued to watch me, watch the various cars that went by, not very many, this is after all a little bit of a rural-ish area.
After a while I noticed someone walking up the road with 2 dogs on a leash. I quietly stood hoping to get his attention, but he was on his phone walking and texting and paying no attention. The dogs hadn't yet noticed Owl. When he finally got close and looked up I gestured “Shhh” and slowly moved to indicate across the road. By this time the dogs had seen and turned toward Owl. The guy finally looked just as Owl lifted up and flew away. As Owl rose I could tell that what I had seen earlier was that Owl had something white and furry in its claws. Dinner. And then was gone.
When I was reflecting on Owl this morning I got a sense that this interaction carried a message connected to my Samurai, my Seiki lineage, my ancestors guiding me in ways to look and to pay attention and to learn. I know having Owl appear to me in this way is not random and is not to be taken lightly.
We often think of owls as being wise. The attributes of an owl include the ability to turn its head 360 degrees to see all the way around, to look in every direction. And owls are night creatures. Night time is when they hunt, when it's dark, so owls teach something about the gifts of the night, nourishment of the night, learning to see in darkness.
I remember a story my cousin told about our Samurai Grandfather who studied judo and kendo as well as Seiki. My cousin was about 5 years old. One night Grandfather was practicing with a wooden sword and my cousin was curiously creeping down the hall to watch. Grandfather's back was turned to him as he crept closer and closer and closer. And just as he got to the doorway Grandfather turned and with a large howl raised the sword and started to chase him back up the hallway. It was as if Grandfather could see behind him. I have other friends who have studied in other traditions of martial arts who have talked about their Masters who could also see behind them. ....
So learning to see all the way around. Owls hunt at night, can see in the dark. So learning to see the gifts of the darkness. Owls can also blend into the trees or whatever is the backdrop of the place that those particular owls come from. An owl standing still often cannot be seen. So learning to be invisible, to be still enough to be invisible. In Japan owls are symbols of luck and also protection from hardship or suffering as well as symbols of knowledge.
I honour Owl's teachings and will continue to listen and learn ....
Just to sit and have that moment, eye level to beautiful Owl. Wow. Thank you Owl. People from Indigenous traditions often say “all my relations” because we are connected to all things. So even as I think of Owl’s connection to my ancestors, Owl itself is my ancestor. I am grateful for the wisdom of all my ancestors ....
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