Birds of a Feather

My father was a person who in ordinary reality loved birds and bird watching when he was still alive.  It was a bit perplexing to me because of the rough around the edges type of guy he was.  I guess he passed that love to me, because I also, have an affinity for them.

As luck would have it, I also have an empty chicken house in the yard that could easily be converted into any type of bird house.  I was reluctant to jump back into it after my chickens were eaten by a raccoon.  Then, I began thinking a while back about what type of birds I might want to fill the house with, and it was really down to one or two types.  Please allow me to digress for a brief moment.  Whenever I begin a sentence with “I began thinking”, what it really means is a seed has been planted and I must at least follow the path for a while.  This also typically means that there is probably some profound wisdom to be discovered down the road a ways.

During this process of thought, I remembered a story my father told me about birds that he and his grandfather had when he was a kid.  The prize was to have a white bird of the species.  They finally had a baby white, which shortly after hatching was eaten by a snake.  My attention turned to a particular type of bird to populate the house.  Through some research, I learned that even the type I had in mind were not really what most people in ordinary reality believe them to be, when used in ordinary reality ceremonies.  They really were the type that my father and great-grandfather had bred (go figure).   I was actually excited, because I could feel Shamanic spirituality present in this process.

After letting these thoughts sit for a while, I decided it was time, so I ordered a pair.  Once I did that, my spirit helper in animal form came down and clearly let me know how happy he was to be coming home.  Now, there was a sudden feeling of full immersion in spiritual reality, as if it were driving this action.  I’m not sure why, but in most adventures with spirit guides, they are called and ritual and/or ceremonies are performed with a strong intention.  In this case, it was almost the opposite.  So either the specific intention was embedded in my physical being, or something else was happening.

To examine this one step further, I had some work to do to get the cage ready for the birds, so I began the process of cleaning, purchasing supplies etc.  It’s taken a few days, but I finally got to the point of actually seeing it almost complete this morning.  After being bitten by a thousand mosquitoes, I walked back from the cage to the house, and it occurred to me that this exercise was the exactly the same spiritual healing process I had experienced while building altars to ancestors, saints, orishas and other spirit guides with express intention to do so.  I don’t know if the intention wasn’t necessary because I’d been working with this particular spirit guide for so long already, but it was clear that this was my spirits altar in ordinary reality.

I was in awe of this event.  I had actually just observed a spirit helper in animal form successfully find a permanent home in ordinary reality from his perch in non-ordinary reality, where I’d been working with him for years now.  But really, the image of the spirit guide in animal form actually originates from ordinary reality experiences anyway, so that’s why he told me he was coming home.

So I thought further and wondered why he wanted to come back.  Very clearly, he said that his physical presence would always be a very gentle reminder for me to take care of my spiritual self.

All of this was relayed without performing a Shamanic Journey once.  I can’t wait to visit with this wonderful spirit guide while journeying.  However, maybe he just dragged me through the journey in ordinary reality without the necessity of ritually having to perform the Shamanic Journey.

(It is a very well-known practice for Shamanic practitioners to keep the identities of their spirit guides to themselves.  That is why I refer to them as just birds)

Mark Glynn, CSP


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