Listening Through Nature
For those of us who have deep roots in Judeo-Christian theology, sometimes listening for answers from Divine Power has significantly limited options. We grew up knowing that God answers prayers, but I’m not sure many of us have ever known exactly how he does that. I mean, yeah….it’s easy if you ask God for a car as a teenager, and one is in the driveway on Christmas morning, or if you ask for healing and voila! the doctor’s report comes back with the desired results. But what about those questions that may not have such black and white answers? What about the day to day stuff where we seek guidance from a higher power? How do you know where and when to find those answers?
Anyone with some basic Bible knowledge will be familiar with some stories in the Bible where God revealed his will to those who asked of him, and even some who did not. There is Moses and the burning bush, the children of Israel and their clouds and fire, Balaam and his stubborn donkey, Gideon and his wet/dry fleece, Samuel and his dreams, Joseph and HIS BIZARRE dreams, Ezekiel and some really creepy dry bones, Jonah and a big fish, Saul/Paul and a blinding light, Jesus and the Doves, and on and on.
In almost all of these, God spoke to his people through nature. In many of these situations, the Divine initiated the conversation. In some, the mortals with whom conversation had been initiated then requested tests or proof of the authenticity of the message. If you are Gideon headed into battle with only 300 men, it is probably prudent to test the source of the message.
Did all of that cool communication go away on a magically assigned date somewhere around 100 AD? Nope. Religious oppression over the centuries just squashed a lot of it so that most people were too busy surviving day to day to seek divine guidance and answers. Those who did and actually told of their encounters were often times put to death as heretics. A very powerful communication tool was almost lost in the name of keeping people subordinate to the church leadership. After all, the dominant religion for centuries has been one that says only church leaders should interpret messages from God.
Since I have a habit of stepping outside of the bounds of conventionally accepted norms just for the sake of annoying leadership, it probably won’t come as a surprise to those who know me that I have some strong opinions on the subject of communicating with Divine sources. It also probably won’t come as a surprise that I believe many of the communication resources recognized by non-Christian religions are in fact very valid and reliable ways to receive messages from God.
So how does one receive communication from Spirit beyond just reading the Bible? If you believe in an unchanging divinity, it might be suggested that you should look to nature for your answers as did the heroes of the Bible. I have found this to be a very effective source of guidance.
I have a really cool book called Animal Spirit Guides
by Steven D. Farmer. It is a book based on Native American Shamanic beliefs. It is NOT my Bible, and Shamanism is NOT my religion, however, it is a very nice resource for helping me understand what Divine Wisdom (God for those of you who are freaking out about now) is trying to get across to me. Essentially, it gives Spirit a way to get through to my sometimes dense self.
The concept is simple. Anytime a creature from nature crosses my path, especially in a repeated or unusual way, and especially when I am seeking guidance, I can look it up in this book. As an example, a dear friend of mine made an off-handed comment this week asking if I was a camel in reference to my not needing to be relieved of testing duties long enough to go to the bathroom. I really didn’t think much about it for a couple of days. This morning I was glancing through the book looking up some critters who tend to throw themselves in front of my car as I drive down the road, to see if anything rang true with my soul. I came across camels, recalled the comment, reflected on my knowledge of the source of the comment, and realized that this was a message meant for me.
Some may think this is silly since our part of the country has lots of suicidal animals, however, some creatures tend to be repeat messengers as if they are trying to get my attention in some way. There was the week when white breasted hawks were stalking me along the road. There is the recent nose-burning pungency of fresh roadkill skunk that has become quite annoying of late. There was the weekend when two separate individuals both mentioned quail. They were connected through a common love interest, yet unaware of each other’s interest in quail. It was an unplanned accident that I even crossed paths with the second source of quail-age.
Other creature messengers that have grabbed my attention in recent months include the bumblebees that seemed obsessed with me last fall. It was as if they were seeking me out because some of our encounters were in very “un-bumblebee” places. Squirrels, horses, hippos, and others have crossed my paths in unusual and unexpected ways, and each have messages that encourage me and support me at a time when I really need it.
Back to my camel message, there is a pretty lengthy explanation of the message a camel might bring, however, what got my attention were these:
The road ahead may be difficult and you won’t have a lot of support, yet you must take it with complete trust that you have everything you need within you and that you will succeed.
Although you’ll never want for anything, it’s still a good idea and a practical move to store away some supplies and money for future use.
Call on the camel when—You’re about to embark on a new adventure, a literal or metaphorical journey that will take you into unknown territory where you’re not sure how your basic needs will be met.
No, I am not putting my faith in a camel. Yes, I realize this could apply to anything and almost any circumstance. However, I have asked God specifically for guidance in this area, and I am open to receiving his comfort, wisdom, and reassurance in whatever way he is able to get through to me. This is no different than listening to a donkey talk or heeding the words of a burning bush. It only requires a willingness to listen, receive, and be grateful. When combined with frequent visits into the recorded wisdom of apostles and Jesus, it is a comforting compliment.
How do you listen to the Spirit?