Tuesday, September 6, 2011

garden guests

Over the long weekend I have witnessed quite a few rare sightings of fabulous creatures visiting our gardens.  It is something to see them once in awhile, but they all gathered within a few days, which is my message from the universe to listen up.  Animal totems play huge roles in our lives.  They aid in self-discovery and capture our imagination, giving us incredible avenues of self-expression and awareness.  They assist in understanding our past and if we are attentive, can reveal glimpses of our future.  I researched the air animal totem symbolism as they have a penchant for assisting us in matters of higher knowledge.  Air being the most ethereal of elements (and I am an air sign) it is understandable that the creatures who inhabit it are able to lend the best understanding as they are closest to the heavens.  They are symbols of physical and mental strength which is important when we are experiencing new transitions or surroundings in our lives.  If air animal totems are catching your attention, you should feel very heartened by their presence.  Allow their spirit to boost your confidence, and remind you that the ultimate power is within this present, unseen moment.  Air animals are good omens, powerful symbols in our spiritual toolbox, and their appearance is like a wink from God.
The butterfly stayed very close to me for a long while and out of all the visitors, I was able to capture only her beauty on camera.  She is the symbol of transformation because of her impressive process of metamorphosis in her unfurling glory.  Consider the amount of energy it takes in such a short amount of time.  Her lesson is that she asks us to accept the changes in our lives as casually as she does.  The butterfly unquestionably embraces the changes of her environment and her body.  This unwavering acceptance is symbolic of faith.  She beckons us to keep our faith as we undergo transitions in our lives.  She understands that our toiling, fretting and anger are useless against the turning tides of nature and we must recognize the same.  In many cultures, the butterfly is associated with the soul.  We are on a long journey of the soul and encounter endless turns, shifts and conditions that cause us to morph into ever-finer beings.  At our soul-journey's end we are inevitably changed ~ not at all the same as when we started on the path.  Look to the grace and eloquence of the butterfly and realize that our journey is our only guarantee.  Our responsibility is to make our way in faith, accept the change that comes and emerge from our transitions as brilliantly as the butterfly.
The praying mantis comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives.  Usually the mantis makes an appearance when we've flooded our lives with so much business, activity or chaos that we can no longer hear the still small voice within us.  The mantis takes her time and deals with stillness and patience.  She lives her life at her own silent pace.  These traits have lead the mantis to be a symbol of meditation and contemplation.  The mantis never makes a move unless she is 100% positive it is the right thing for her to do.  This is a message to us to contemplate and be sure our minds and souls all agree together about the choices we are making in our lives.  She is a symbol of stillness and an ambassador from the animal kingdom giving testimony to the benefits of meditation and calming our minds.  An appearance from the mantis is a message to be still, go within, meditate, get quiet and reach a place of calm.  It may also be a sign for you to be more mindful of the choices you are making
I held my gaze to the skies for quite a long time as two hawks hovered over me.  Hawks are the symbol of our primal life force and remind us of the hunter and the hunted and the circle of life.  They are a reminder not to take anything for granted, savor every moment and to be thankful that we are alive.

The unexpected and the incredible belong to this world.  Only then is life whole.  Carl Jung
The woodpecker is an attention-grabber and is sent to shake up our awareness.   When a woodpecker is knocking, think of opportunity, as in the old saying, "when opportunity knocks, answer the door."  Woodpeckers are extremely opportunistic themselves.  Each tree is a door, revealing tender morsels of food and providing mansions for their young.  When the woodpecker is tapping into our awareness, it is a signal to use our heads (intellect) in finding solutions to our own barriers.  The symbolic meaning of woodpeckers also point to a need for creative vision.  Being opportunistic, woodpeckers see value everywhere, even in dead trees.  Perhaps he is telling you to breathe new life into a project just as they build homes in dead trees.  The symbolic meaning of woodpecker indicates a return to our roots, or having trust in our basic gut feelings.  Dr. Carl Jung observed the woodpecker as a symbol of a return to the womb of creativity.  The tree is symbolic of a womb, earthy, grounded, sturdy and secure.  The woodpecker's home within the tree is as that of a fierce determination to return and protect that which is sacred to us.  When this bird comes pecking, it is a call for us to return to our roots, back to the womb of our ideas and use our intellect and discernment to follow through with our plans; prime, protective energy to be aware of our core impulses, our basic beliefs. The woodpecker may also remind us to be mindful of our words.  It has a narrow tongue, extremely effective for picking up food in narrow places. This is symbolic for using a narrow route to get the most profound effect.  The woodpecker asks us to use fewer words to make a stronger impact in our statement.  
I was in awe of three dragonflies dancing around me for quite a long time.  As a creature of the wind, the dragonfly totem represents change.  It's iridiscent wings are incredibly sensitive to the slightest breeze and so we are reminded to heed where the proverbial wind blows ~ lest we run into stormy weather.  Dragonflies are also creatures of the water hence the symbolism is relative to the subconscious or dreaming mind and thoughts, and relates to the thoughts we have in relaxed/meditative/sleeping/subconscious states.  Dragonflies carry messages that deal with deeper thought and they ask that we pay attention to our deeper thoughts and desires.  As the dragonfly skitters across the top of water surfaces, this implies that our deeper thoughts are surfacing and we must be mindful of the outcome we wish to have.  The dragonfly is a reminder that when our deeper thoughts rise to the surface we must pay attention ~ let it rise to the surface of your mind's ocean ~ see that thought float lightly up to the water's surface.  Now upon the top of a smooth, calm glass-like surface ~ visualize that thought moving across that water ~ sliding across ~ smooth and fast.  This is an exercise to to use when we want to visualize positive outcome in a situation.  We see the thought of hope happily moving across an ocean of peace (peaceful mind) and skitting to a perfect outcome.  Lastly, dragonflies live a short life, and it knows it must live life to its fullest with what it has.  Huge lesson for us all.

Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.  Charles Ketting
The last little visitor happened to sample the nectar in the same place as the butterfly, so the circle was complete at this area.  A cute little ladybug hung out on Wayne's tee shirt for awhile which is always good luck, but this hummingbird has never come to these here parts before.  The fluttering wings of the hummingbird move in the pattern of an infinity symbol, further solidifying their symbolism of eternity, continuity and infinity.  By observing the hummingbird, we see they are seemingly tireless, always actively seeking the sweetest nectar and remind us to forever seek out the good in life and the beauty in each day.  Amazing migrators, some hummingbirds are known to wing their way as far as 2,000 miles to reach their destination.  This quality reminds us to be persistent in the pursuit of our dreams and adopt the tenacity of the hummingbird in our lives.  The hummingbird animal totem is a messenger of hope and jubilation.  The most important message to you is the sweetest nectar is within!
Now that I have shared my recent inspirations thanks to the universe and its amazing creatures, I thought you would like a quick and easy (my style) baking concoction.  This is loosely based on Ms. Paul Dean's recipe so it is not at all a weight watcher treat, but rather something to indulge in to satisfy the sweet tooth using the divine home grown peaches so abundant these days.

peach cobbler

5 large peaches, peeled and sliced
(make sure they are just ripe enough, but not too soft)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the peaches, 1/2 cup sugar and water in a saucepan and mix well.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Put the stick of butter in a 3 quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.  Mix remaining 1/2 cup sugar, flour and milk slowly with a spoon to prevent clumping.  Pour mixture over melted butter ~ do not stir.  Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup.  Sprinkle top with cinnamon.  Batter will rise to the top during baking.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.  To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Happy days...xo