View Full Version : Natural Omen: A Personal Perspective on Spiritual Development

R. Eugene Laughlin
29 Nov 2015, 14:18
An axiomatic tenet of my spiritual orientation includes the As Above, So Below construct, as it does for so many. For me specifically, it means the macro and the micro are mutually reflective, as are the global and the local, the external and the internal, etc. I claim a (pantheistic) Pagan orientation too, which for me takes the form of accepting Nature (broadly defined) as the Great Teacher. I assume that everything that I need to develop myself to whatever degree I may is encoded in the patterns, cycles, and rhythms of the world in which I live. By that I mean that all dimensions of life here on this planet (biological, ecological, astronomical, social, etc.) reflect my own true nature in some way, and it's on me to suss out the truth of it.

With that basic framework in mind, divination of any sort can be applied to development goals, when used routinely over the long run. Many years ago (20+ I think) I read about a systematic, personalized method for learning to read omens in the appearance or movement of your own local birds. I don't recall the exact source but I'm almost certain it was written by Stephen Flowers under that name or the pen name, Edred Thorsson. I adapted what I read and have used a personal version of it when living in one place for long enough. I'll relate how I've used it with no claim to how faithful my method is what I read those many years ago. In fact, I'm sure this is different in at least some respects, particularly the associated journaling method I recommend.

The following system requires that the reader establish a developmental routine and stick to it for a long, long time. Unlike many sources that provide pat interpretations for certain birds (like what seeing a hawk means, or a raven, etc.), this method is empirical and personal. The reader learns what the movements of their local birds mean by associating the common and uncommon appearance/movements of birds with the actual events of their life Here's a basic way to go about it.

1. Define an area that you can visual survey. If you have access to a relatively remote area where birds are likely to frequent, that's great, but there are birds fairly well everywhere. And, there's no reason why you have to be secluded to do this. Therefore, even deep city dwellers can make good use of this strategy. Selecting a place should be based on the most practical constraints: being able to go there routinely without restriction, and of course the potential for bird activity. I have found that my own front porch has more often than not been my best option.

2. Visit the area at the same time of day several times per week and spend a set amount of time there, 30-60 minutes. Spending more minutes per day is not necessarily better, but more days is better. Daily is the best you can do, obviously.

3. Take a journal to record the bird activity you observe. It's also a good idea to get a bird watchers guide for your area, to help you distinguish between bird species while you're learning. The general tips you get from local bird watchers should be helpful. Early on while you're learning, using binoculars is also probably useful, but later on you won't use them for reading omens.

4. Name all of the birds you can identify within or passing through your defined area. Note their relative numbers and describe the behavior your observe. For example, do they fly by in a flock? Do they fly through from North to South? Do they sing? Do they express a preference for certain types of trees? Or a specific tree? Do they lit on rooftops or power lines? Etc.

5. Periodically, following every 10th session for example, review your notes and make a summary entry that will help you start to see patterns in which bird types are common, what types of behavior are common, and what constitutes uncommon birds or bird behavior. Add an index that cites the day of the most unusual bird observations for that time period.

6. After you have made at least 3 summary entries (so after a month or so, for example), start a generic life journal to record any daily events that stand out as unusual or important. Don't try to capture details of your thoughts and feelings. Just record factual events, and don't write down any interpretive thoughts about why events might be happening. Don't record trivial events that are common in your life. Stick to the unexpected things, and the important things that might lead to a significant change. For example, if you're dating someone for awhile there's no need to record that you had a good date, but you might note the first time you have sex with them, or the first time they tell you that they love you, the day you decide you want to marry them, or the day you break up, etc. Again, keep your entries factual. This is definitely not supposed to be a diary of your thoughts and feelings; it's an event log and don't let it become anything else.

6. Periodically review your event log and bird journal summaries together. Specifically, look for unusual birds or bird behavior that closely precede the most important events you noted in your life journal. It's best to keep these grand reviews fairly infrequent at first, once a year for a couple of years for example. Up to this point, the method is essentially an associative learning process. While it may not seem so, much of what you learn, the associations you form, never actually appear in the journals at all. Don't worry about that though. The method works well for most people who have the fortitude to stick to it.

7. Most people journal less and get more out of the practice as time goes by. After a couple of years of practice, one usually and naturally moves from developmental mode to production mode. Observation sessions can be less frequent as they become individually more meaningful, and life event entries tend to follow a similar pattern, etc. Bird observations tend to naturally extend to the rest of ones life as they go about their business, and tend to spark meaningful intuition based not only on the bird behavior but on the context in which it occurs, etc.

I suggest waiting a good long while before making predictive entries in your journals, to forestall artificial patterns of self-fulfilling prophecies. True intuitive skills within such a specific application need time to development, for most of us anyway. Mind you, I'm not suggesting you try to control your thoughts and feelings that spontaneously arise. That would be useless and counterproductive. I am, however, suggesting that you control what you write down in your journals. That's because intuition and language are partially incompatible. Most naturally intuitive people recognize that some of what they intuit is lost in translations when trying to speak what they know, or write it down. For those of us who have to earn our intuitive skill, sticking to the descriptive journaling method while practicing seems to help avoid some of the natural pitfalls.

Finally, I'll note that the basic empirical methodology applied here can be applied to a lot of things.

Sean R. R.
30 Nov 2015, 02:48
Did you want to discuss this particular method and compare with others or you're like, just sharing your technique?

R. Eugene Laughlin
30 Nov 2015, 06:38
Did you want to discuss this particular method and compare with others or you're like, just sharing your technique?

Anything I post is up for comment, criticism, comparison, questions, complaints...