Communicating With Nature: The Cardinal Speaks


Sunday, March 2nd, I heard our local Cardinal chirping away happily while I shoveled the snow. Therefore Spring is only a couple of weeks away!

How’s that for sticking my neck out? Well,why not? That is my recollection of how it happened in two snowy years past. On those occasions I was shoveling the snow, the Cardinal sang his happy song and viola, Spring came soon after. OK, it could have been three weeks, but it was relatively soon. You think I’m buying more time? Yes, but I am also simply providing my best recollection. Personal observation is empirical, not scientific.

I Googled the topic (animal behavior and the weather) and found an online article (2009) by Jessica Toothman. She notes that some animal senses surpass our own. For example, birds seem more sensitive to changes in air and water pressure than humans. But apparently science has been busy studying other topics and there are no good scientific, peer-approved studies I could find.

The only available evidence is anecdotal. In December of 2004 a tidal wave hit Indonesia. While there were an estimated 200,000 human fatalities, there were no reports of great loss of animal life. But then animals don’t report the loss of loved ones, and the humans are focused on the human condition. Still, one can legitimately suggest that the animals were aware of the danger before the humans were. Human experience over time suggests animals sense things we don’t.

After reading about swallows, I have observed they do fly close to the ground when rain is approaching. Most of the time they fly higher, well above our heads. Perhaps their prey, insects, are hovering closer to the ground. But bird observations are easier to make. Still, observing the swallows can help you avoid the rain.

So my past experience with Cardinals tells me that we should see a major break in the weather just before St. Patrick’s Day. Or … maybe the weekend after that. I know … this is March we’re talking about … but with the way our weather has gone this year I’m still sticking my neck out. As I blog this, our projected high for today, March 3rd, is eighteen degrees and Weather dot com indicates this is going to be a cold March for the midwest. Who is correct? I’m rooting for the Cardinal.

Communicating With Nature


In the last week of October, 2013, I started a strenuous exercise program: walking two miles three days a week and swimming a half hour two days a week. All the way up to Thanksgiving I was keeping to my schedule. My swimming goal was to swim a half mile non-stop. I was almost there, splitting it up into two quarter mile segments. Then winter arrived. The next thing I knew I was limping because arthritis or bursitis or whatever in my left hip was acting up. I decided to treat it with heat, witch hazel and cold compresses. Finally it cleared up. But then my right heel acted up and I was limping again, so I focused on that. The holidays also slowed my program down. In short, I stopped exercising. Then I got a cold New Year’s Eve which lasted until January 16th. And of course the fiercely cold winter temperatures and snow hit us as well. That’s my long story of how I haven’t been out communicating with nature for over a month. I especially miss the walks.

In the warmer weather I always see lots of birds and animals when I go for my walk. Squirrels, rabbits and sometimes a glimpse of a possum or raccoon are my reward. Most of my animal friends are in the bird kingdom: wild parrots, chickadees, robins, cardinals, sparrows, woodpeckers, house finches and  American goldfinches with their bright yellow, white and black feathers darting in and out of the trees. I even know some of them by their chirping. My favorites, however, are the hawks. I’ve seen red-tailed hawks here in Blue Island, but most frequently I see the Northern Harriers that live in the neighborhood. Harriers are one of the few birds that actually hunt other birds.

I always stop and listen to the bird calls and watch the birds if they are within view. It’s a great way to get exercise and commune with nature at the same time. When the temperature gets up over twenty degrees again, I plan on slipping on my hiking boots and going out for a walk, even if there is some ice and snow. I may be lucky enough to see one of my cardinal or hawk friends. And here’s a tip. The next time you hear the cardinal singing his song, you will know that full-blown winter will end in two weeks. Honest! A little birdie told me so.

Two Dreams and an Omen

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In May of this year I was getting ready to start a blog on writing. In the back of my mind I thought about starting one like Spirit Walking Journal but I balked. I wasn’t sure I should. I wondered what other people would think, and I thought I should go with the one about writing. One night I had a dream that I was back in the army. My surroundings were dark and dreary. I was writing but I was writing what a man standing behind me was telling me to write. Since I was in the army I had to do what he ordered me to do. The next day I told this dream to my friend Ze. She said, “Maybe you aren’t supposed to do that. Maybe it’s not what you really want to do.” That made sense, but I still wasn’t sure.

The next day I was at a friend’s house. I went out to my car to get something. As  stood near the car I became aware of something very large flying my way. A blue heron flew directly overhead at roof level. The Great Blue Heron is a wading bird. It stands about 42 inches tall and has a wing span of 72 inches. When it flies low overhead, you notice it. I made a mental note to check “Animal Speak” to see what symbolism it carried.

That night I had a second dream about being in the army. this time I was helping prepare food for the other soldiers to eat. As I stirred an enormous pot of chili, someone came along and poured a disgusting substance into the pot. I can’t describe how bad this stuff was. I was forced to keep stirring the pot, mixing the material into the chili. I thought, “Other people are going to have to eat this shit.” Then I woke up.

The next day I read that the key energies associated with the blue heron are Aggressive Self-Determination, and Self-Reliance. That did it for me. I put my writing blog on hold and started to prepare for this blog. As I look back on my life, I can see that I always did what other people expected me to do. In more recent years I have been forced to scrap my past expectations and figure out what I, Paul McAllister, wanted to do. I have been following my own path for a while. But the dreams and the omen were strong messages. I know I must place absolute trust in my decisions. Although my life is different than it used to be, I enjoy it, even though there is more uncertainty. The price of freedom is accountability.

Communicating With Nature – the element of water

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A couple of years ago I was in a store buying incense when a Reiki partitioner asked me if I’d like her energy water sprayed on the palms of my hands. I said, “Sure, why not?” She sprayed them; at first I didn’t feel anything. However 30 seconds later, I felt a surge of energy run up my arms. It gave me goose flesh, a pleasant surprise.

During a recent seminar my friend and teacher, Lauren, introduced me to a book titled The True Power of Water by Masaru Emoto. Mr. Emoto started experimenting with water in the late 1990’s and he found out how to photograph frozen water crystals. More importantly, he conducted experiments to see how music and words affected water by photographing the frozen crystals. The details of this can be found in his book and also online; just do a search on “Dr. Emoto’s Water Crystals: What The Bleep …”. Then watch the one minute fifty-three second video. The pictures are fascinating.

In his book, Mr Emoto shows the results of taping words to bottles of water so that the message is ‘facing’ the water inside; just as though the water could read the message. In one example, the message is ‘Thank You’ and the resulting crystal resembles a beautiful frozen snowflake-like structure. On another bottle he taped the words ‘You Fool’. The resulting picture is a circular swirl of frozen water, definitely not a crystal. The video compares the results of ‘Thank You’ to ‘You make me sick, I will kill you’. The difference is amazing. Another one of the best word sets to tape to a bottle is “Love and Gratitude”; producing a full, beautiful crystal shape.

At the seminar mentioned above, we performed a ritual where we brought the divine light of creation into a bottle of distilled water, the kind you can buy at the store. I brought the water home with me and take a little every day. It has a more ‘velvety’ taste than tap water or any other water I’ve had. I feel other effects as well, but they are difficult to describe. I may also put a “Love and Gratitude” label on another bottle to see how that goes. I’ll keep you informed.

Next blog: Healing With Spiritual Light: a seminar and more journeys

Communicating with Nature

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In his book, Animal Speak, Ted Andrews discusses the role of Nature in the lives of our ancestors: “To them, every species and every aspect of its environment had the power to remind them of what they could manifest within their own life. It was an aid to bridge the natural world to the supernatural, awakening the realities of both within the environs of their own lives.” (Page 1.)

As I walk this path I find my connection with Nature grows. I first noticed this with birds. I’ve always loved birds. I had a pet parakeet, Whitey, when I was a kid. He would perch on my index finger and let me stroke his blue breast with the index finger of my other hand. We were buddies. I never lost that connection.

November 23, 2011. I went for a walk in a nearby park in the afternoon. As I left my house, a flock of Monk Parrots flew overhead. There were eight of them. They live in the Chicago area all year round even though they are not native to the area. I have seen them here in our snow-covered winters.  I believe they survive by living near heat ducts on the roofs of buildings. According to Animal Speak, parrots are associated with the power of color and light. They are also considered a link between the human kingdom and the bird kingdom. I didn’t know that at the time, but they could have been an omen to what happened next.

Moments later as I entered the park, they flew overhead again heading east. I walked into the deserted park and turned toward the pool. Suddenly I heard a piercing screech above, eeeeeeear. I looked up to the top of a tall light pole and saw a large bird. It took off, flew across the football field and landed at the top of a seventy foot tall oak tree. I stopped and looked up. As it landed it spread its redish-brown tail feathers and I knew it was a red-tailed hawk, like my power animal. As I walked closer, it took off, circled high above me three times, and flew away.

I confirmed my sighting using the “National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America”. Many months later I would read that the red-tailed hawk was associated with visionary power and guardianship, the element of fire, noontime, the direction North, and the process of creation (birth, death and rebirth). It is 20 inches long crown to tail, and has a wingspan of fifty inches. Ever since that day, I have noticed more and more hawks as I travel outside. I know they are common, but they always give me a feeling of a special connection with nature.

Next blog: A different hawk.

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