Gifts from the Forest

Sometimes I look back at the younger person I was and think about how much I’ve changed… don’t we all do that? And I like the changes, hard-earned as they’ve been. To some I know it’s pure eccentricity, my Druidry and snakes and plant-whispering and…well all of it…to me it’s allowing who I am to just…be.  When we get older many of us feel freer to be who we are, and that’s certainly true for me. I look back at some of the things I wanted and longed for and I both smile at the silliness and cringe a little at what looks like wasted time… but, in the end I believe as long as we get to where we need to be, it doesn’t matter how long it took. I still like jewelry and clothes and art and good food, don’t get me wrong, but some of the things that mean the most are, shall we say, different from what some might think of as valuable.

This morning on a walk I had one of those compelling feelings I get just out of the blue – stopped in my tracks and right at my feet was a very fresh owl pellet…with the tiniest bones imaginable. I’ve only found two in all these years of living here, loving these forests and Hills – and one of THOSE, was left on my doorstep by a little saw-whet owl who spent a few days with us after Jasmine died.I… felt sure it was thank you note, in that case.

The other was on a small altar I built out in the woods. It’s a place I go for spiritual quiet time, and one day, an owl had just left me a pellet there. Those are the wild magics in my life that mean more to me than anything. I prayed at that altar many times,  and sent up  offerings in handcrafted incense made from the resins of the conifers, but  I hadn’t asked for anything. Somehow, the forest knew what would delight me most.

But today, and recently: I keep receiving gifts from the forest and I’ve been so torn up about moving, it took a while to be clear  about meaning. To be fair, I am always wary of the idea that anyone can be *always* 100% clear and certain about omens and visions; in many cases, part of the whole point is that we have to work for it, to figure it out. But in this past 12 years, in this house and surroundings, I’ve grown confident in what I see. I just can’t figure out if these gifts are in support of my plight, or if they are saying goodbye.
The forest keeps speaking to me and I’m intently listening. Here is my gift from earlier today:              P1360836So, this is Owl Medicine, which advises me to shore up energy, stay true to my path and higher purpose,trust my own intuition,  and make Right Use of magic. I as called out to that precise spot in this large field and called to stand still and look down – when a Voice like that speaks, I think it’s good to listen, and take heed.


Now, many of you know I have fed deer here, and on occasion, nursed an unwell deer, and that my affinity with and love for them is deep and abiding. I’ve written about them elsewhere on this blog and a fair bit on my Facebook Page; I love these creatures with all my heart and have felt gifted by their presence all the time I’ve lived in Rupert. I know it is controversial to feed deer, but I’ve done so very specifically, to help build them for the winter, and until recently, to bring them in close while hunting season was on. (The area is crawling with sport hunters, but until recently the land out behind where I live was protected, no hunters allowed.) I read extensively on deer over the past few years and there are a range of ideas and perspectives about feeding. In many cases it’s not  good idea, but since this area was off limits to hunters, and since I fed mostly in fall when they are fattening up for the winter, I felt it was fine to do.

Some of my sweetest memories of this house will always be of the deer.


Stripey Doe, the last time I saw her, fall 2014.

So: I received a beautiful gift from them, too (and yes, all this does feel like the forest saying goodbye)      just last week, out walking Danny in the back, and it was a hard walk (since the bursitis in my hip started, pretty much all walking is challenging, but I’ll be damned if I’ll let a little pain tie me down)..and here is what I found right out back, by the entrance to our yard:


Now, in my own spiritual life and practise I am a great believer in learning what others have written about an omen, a spirit animal – I respect the insights of other witches and medicine people, and like to research across cultures to see how, various animals and birds may figure in ways both similar and unique, in world mythologies and religions. But at the end of the day I heed my own counsel;  what  something meant, what lesson it offers, how am I to respond (if indeed a response is called for)… these are personal conclusions. With these antlers I felt something so powerful and important,  that it can’t be ignored. I also believe, that once we have received a message and understood it, in many cases the wisest thing is to keep that knowledge to yourself.  In this case, that’s what I’m doing- sharing the gift but not what it means to me. I share a sacred bond with these deer, and these lands, and there are challenging times ahead. No matter where I move to or when I go, the spirit of the forest will be with me..and my spirit will always know how to fly back here, when needed..  and so these gifts have eased the pain of what has been a terrible time of uncertainty and loss.
May the animals bless you as they bless me, and may you honour those blessings and send them right back.