I’ve been ill and busy working full time for a few weeks, and have not had enough time outdoors. I waitress in a busy little restaurant during the summer, and practicing extended shifts of extroversion when naturally an introvert requires regular re-charging of the soul through connecting with nature. If I haven’t been in the wild for a while, I start to feel feel unhealthy and not myself. I was finally feeling better after my illness, and knew some nature therapy would do me the world of good. The fella and I decided to take our kayaks to the nearest lake for the late-afternoon/evening, and it turned out to be such a beautiful, magical night to go.
When we arrived at the lake, we were greeted by a Golden eagle who flew overhead as Jeff got the kayaks in the water. I took his visit to be a good omen, that our evening would be happy, and powerfully healing.
As I paddled north on the lake, I spotted a Great Blue Heron on the western shore.
Herons are a favorite bird and a personal spirit animal. I just love them. They are a creature of air, water, and earth. Heron wades the shore, where water meets the land. He plunges his sword-like beak into the water, plucking sustenance from the depths, all the while remaining grounded with his feet in the mud. In an instant, he can stretch his massive wings and take to the sky in silent, effortless flight. So graceful and so powerful, and so ancient somehow – like a pterodactyl. I get such a deep sense of knowing and wisdom from them. A sense of grounded spirituality. Water, and the suit of Cups in tarot, represents our intuition and emotion, and the heron can represent the ability to wade and delve effortlessly into the depths of emotion and intuition while still being able to rise above, to the realm of air and intellect.
I had just spotted the heron and turned my kayak to start paddling toward him, when he lifted off in flight and flew directly over me to the other side of the lake. He landed in the top of a gnarled dead spruce. I paddled toward him, and as I neared him I spoke to him. I told him that I thought he was beautiful, that I admired him greatly, and that I was honored to get to see him. He lifted off and flew a short distance, then landed in a shallow spot near shore. As I approached him again, I told him that I would love a feather from him. I told him I would treasure it and add it to my collection, and told him how honored I would be if he would gift me a feather. He sat still for a moment, then bent his beak to his chest, preened a moment, then lifted his wings and flew off above the trees. I paddled over to the spot he had been, and found four feathers!
Four is a number of stability. Four square walls make a sturdy house or foundation. The gift of four feathers to me is a message that my core foundation, my point of stability , my shelter and “home” lies in embracing and emulating the heron. Maintaining a connection with water, wind, and earth. Effortlessly and intelligently delving into the realms of intuition while being grounded, and yet able to rise above at will. Lessons of grace and quiet power. Of waiting patiently, observing.
We stayed until the sun set and the lake and sky turned to purple twilight. Coyotes yipped in the distance and then a hush settled over the lake as the sky began to deepen into a burnished pewter. Now four feathers (in the freezer for a day or two to make sure any mites are toast) are my reminder of this night, powerful fetishes of heron medicine and magic.