Hawk Central

I’ve always had a soft spot for animals.  In the last few years, though, I’ve become almost exponentially more infatuated by them.  I find a lot of meaning in each variety of animal: their vibe, their presence, their appearance, their folklore…  I’ve posted a fair amount here in the past about various animal sightings that I’ve experienced, both in real life, and when I encounter animals in my dreams.  Animals — and any other sets of symbols that resonate for you — can carry messages our way, is how I look at it…

And after that preamble, it should come as no surprise that I had a pretty sweet animal sighting today — a double-shot, in fact.

First, I should refresh everybody’s recollection about how I once theorized that the Red-Tailed Hawk might in fact be a sort of clan totem for my mom’s side of the family: https://arrowinflight.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/clan-of-the-hawk/

So today, I stepped out onto the back patio just to get a sample of the weather.  My eyes were immediately drawn to a large shape perched high up in what’s pretty much the tallest tree that looms over the house from the hillside just above.  It was late afternoon, so it seemed too early for an owl to have been out and about, but that was my best initial guess.  Ravens were out of the question, as this bird was a color mixture of white and brown from what I could see, with no black in evidence.  I also know that the hawks that are so fond of nearby Griffith Park generally stick to that area — for whatever reasons, larger birds very rarely seem to like hanging out in the little valley where my house sits.  But then as I was trying to get a decent picture with my phone, the bird in question got camera-shy, hopped from its branch, revealed itself to be a fairly fearsome-looking Red-Tailed Hawk, and then it went skimming away across that valley that I mentioned.  I was about to pack it in and head inside, when I noticed something up in that same tree:

There was a second large bird there, more well-hidden among the leaves than the first one had been!  A mate, I presumed, and I tried for a picture again.  The spouse-bird was just as reluctant to be the subject of a nature pictorial as the first one had been, and this one, too, hopped from its branch, and then sped away.  Here’s what I snapped wildly as it dwindled from view:

I know, this is hardly a prize-winning photo in terms of clarity and such...hopefully the sheer coolness of the subject will score me some points with you!
I know, this is hardly a prize-winning photo in terms of clarity and such…hopefully the sheer coolness of the subject will score me some points with you!

Interestingly, this second hawk didn’t follow the aerial pathway of the first, and instead veered off toward the East rather than the North, where the first one had flown.  I guessed that they’d rendezvous later on, and I went on about my business, marveling that not one, but two Red-Tailed Hawks had not only ventured into our little valley, but had even been hanging out in one of the trees directly above my house, at super-close range…

Some things to consider, though: as mentioned up above, the Red-Tailed Hawk has come to possibly symbolize one side of my family for me.  It’s also regularly appeared near me — often repeatedly — whenever I’ve gone traveling in the last couple of years.  This all leads me to wonder if I’ll be enjoying experiences having to do with my mom’s side of the family and/or travel in the near-ish future…?  I can certainly keep WordPress assembled updated on all of that.  I do believe sightings like this can carry messages for us, though — it’s like drawing a Tarot card, in a way, except there’s no deck of cards involved, and we aren’t always aware that we’re asking the Universe questions at all.  Still, we often get data whether we consciously asked for it or not, and I make it my biz to always be trying to decipher that incoming info!

What animal-related or other symbol-sightings have lit up your receptors so far in these early days of 2015…?

Panther Wishes and Casino Dreams…

As promised in yesterday’s post, I wanted to memorialize the most recent Panther-related dream that I was fortunate enough to be treated to — this one went down maybe a bit over a week ago now.  I’ve written up a few of these already, including one that featured a winged Black Panther, and I’m still deeply gratified at each new recurrence of this particular dream imagery…

All these dreams...I'm starting to wonder if it's not so much me dreaming of Black Panthers, as maybe it's the other way around...?
All these dreams…I’m starting to wonder if it’s not so much me dreaming of Black Panthers, as maybe it’s the other way around…?

In this latest dream, I was arriving as one of a new small wave of visitors to some kind of casino — the kind where you not only gamble and gorge yourself at buffets, but you also book a room and spend a night or two in-house.  I was aware that my fellow arrivals and I were each toting or dragging various pieces of luggage, and we were being received by a casino employee, who was giving us some kind of standard welcome shpiel.  This mundane, canned intro speech suddenly seemed a bit other-than-standard, though, when the casino employee informed us that oh, yes, right, this particular floor of the casino that we were on was home to two very large Black Panthers and a Tiger, all of whom roamed the hallways pretty much free and at their pleasure at all times.  And not to worry, the grinning employee continued — the Big Cats were all exceedingly friendly and well-behaved, probably even more so than most of the human guests (ha ha: nervous chuckles all around…).

Anyway, I was still digesting this odd bit of information, when one of those Black Panthers appeared from out of the milling crowds…and it almost immediately oriented on me, and ambled over, not hurriedly or with any active menace about it, but I had definitely been singled out as the object of its focus.  I admit to feeling a bit of trepidation as the magnificent, but also gracefully fearsome and downright HUGE feline creature approached…

Imagine this great beast if it was so large/tall that its head was about even with the bottom of your ribcage when both of you were standing upright -- *that's* what came over to greet me in my dream...
Imagine this great beast if it was so large/tall that its head was about even with the bottom of your ribcage when both of you were standing upright — *that’s* what came over to greet me in my dream…

And then when this semi-enormous Cat reached me, it sort of gently butted me with its head such that I was impelled to seat myself in a large plush chair immediately beside me, and then as the casino employee geared up to resume with the welcome speech, the Panther sat down on the floor next to the chair, and very comfortably and with an air of great familiarity, took my left forearm into its mouth…and just held it there, in this very warm, sweet, companionable way.  It was like the Cat was telling the Universe, “I choose this human.  He has my protection.  We’re now officially bonded.”  It was kind of amazing.

Then, as the welcome tour continued, the Panther would release my arm so we could all walk along with the casino employee, but every time we paused, the Panther would again nudge me to sit down so it could resume holding my wrist or forearm carefully and lovingly in its mouth…

And after a few repetitions of this, I awoke, feeling kind of oddly blessed, and sort of like I imagine a Chosen One in a movie must feel.

I’m not sure why the casino backdrop.  Certainly Siegried & Roy proved to us in tragic fashion that Big Cats and casinos don’t always blend well together, so a case could be made that the dream holds an element of warning.  Then again, Roy was mauled by a White Tiger, not a Black Panther, and none of that incident had actually run through my conscious mind in ages at the juncture when I had the dream.  More likely to me is the notion that the casino represents the world at large: vast, frenetic, clamorous, filled with hordes of distractions and possible dangers…but then the Black Panther seems to be a very clear indicator of a protective Spirit of sorts, asserting its presence, and its willingness to watch over me.  Dreaming that dream was an overwhelmingly positive experience, that’s for sure…

And I also found in the past that whenever I would start to document my dreams here in this space, subsequent night-visions would start to grow more vivid and involved in the time that followed, and I began to remember more and more of their details.  These are more good reasons to record them, and I encourage anyone reading this to try the same exercise.  We spend nearly half our lives in the sleep state, so who’s to say that what happens to us there is any less “real” than what we experience in the waking world…?  With all that in mind…what have you dreamed up for yourself lately…??

Blogging & Blogging…

So I slipped badly in my consistency here as a faithful blogger, then returned to post about how I was back in the game…and then I immediately slipped badly again.  And sure, there have been some worthy distractions here (most of which I won’t bore you with), but I also do feel that I need to be keeping up a much more regular presence in this space.  And events of late here in my corner of Existence have been helping me to circle back in general, and they’ve also been providing pretty good fodder for posts, as well…so in the wake of last night’s Blood Moon/Lunar Eclipse, the time feels right!

I figure I’ll start in a small-scale way for now, though, and then swim out toward deeper waters after I get warmed up again.  One of the things I’ve been diverting my energy toward in recent weeks has been the generation of what will be a series of posts for a different blog — one that’s run by someone I met on a Tarot-based website that I like to frequent.  The blog is called Jude’s Metaphysical World, and the owner of that blog — Jude, as you may have guessed — fills it with all manner of fascinating metaphysical work, including posts falling under the umbrellas of such broad topics as Tarot and Crystals.

Go check out Jude's righteous blog!
Go check out Jude’s righteous blog!

Jude’s site can be found here:

http://www.judesmetaworld.com/

For my part in that blog, I’ve begun what will be a series on the Twelve Houses of Astrology.  I’m two posts in so far, and grinding away at #3 as I write this here update.  Please do head on over to Jude’s site to take a gander if you feel so inclined, and then take a tour through the other terrific information on display there — the articles on Crystals are especially packed with excellent information!!

And in coming posts here, I have more dreams to relate (I had yet another fantastic one featuring a Black Panther!), more instances of Synchronicity, more Animal Spirit musings, and some contemplation of the idea that Music and Drumming are either linked with what we think of as “Magic” or are possibly indistinguishable from that concept…  Stay tuned for more!

It's true: I made an appearance in this human's dream.  He wanted to share details immediately following, but he was too verklempt.  Not that unreasonable a response...
It’s true: I made an appearance in this human’s dream. He wanted to share details immediately following, but he was too verklempt. Not that unreasonable a response…

Leopardskin Jasper

I’m a bit of a sucker for crystals and such.  They don’t appear in my every conversation or anything, but I quietly carry one or two along in my pockets with me on most days, and I have probably more than a few scattered around the house.  Metaphysical types will credit different types of stones with different characteristics, and while it can be fun to study up on these, it will also become quickly apparent that as with a lot of metaphysical subjects, the so-called (and self-designated…) “experts” often can’t find very much at all in the way of common ground.  You’ll often find the same stone credited with such a wide array of sorcerous powers, that it will seem possibly easier to start listing out what it can’t do.  So the best approach, then, when trying to suss out exactly what a given variety of crystal can or can’t accomplish for you…is gathering first-hand, empirical evidence.

So, something else I’ve written about in this space before that I also find myself charmed by in an ongoing sort of way, would be the animal kingdom.  I have great admiration for the animals around me in the physical world, and in the more metaphysical context, I also like concepts such as Animal Guides, and I always pay very close attention to patterns of animal appearances around me, whether these be in my waking or my dreaming states.

The Cappy Thompson window at SeaTac Airport. "I Was Dreaming of Spirit Animals," is how the artist herself sums up this piece...
The Cappy Thompson window at SeaTac Airport. “I Was Dreaming of Spirit Animals,” is how the artist herself sums up this piece…  So, apparently I’m not the only one!

With all of the above in mind…last week, I stumbled across a passage on the internet stating that a certain stone called Leopardskin Jasper is excellent for use in either discovering one’s Animal Guides, or, if they’re already known, firming up ties with them.  This interested me: I have a small bowl full of Jasper, all of which I got quite a long while ago when I found heaps of it for sale at a local Occult shop at some irresistibly low, low prices.  I filled my pockets at the time, trundled home all this Jasper-y goodness…and haven’t done much with it since.  This online reference, though, decided for me that it was time to revisit my Jasper holdings…

Now, like such stones as Agate or Calcite, Jasper comes in a whole slew of specific varieties.  You can’t just start holding forth about “Jasper,” and expect people to know exactly what you mean with any real specificity.  There’s Red Jasper and Yellow Jasper…there’s Polychrome Jasper and Brecciated Jasper…there’s Picture Jasper and Picasso Jasper, and there’s Ocean Jasper and Rainforest Jasper…there’s Cobra Jasper (sometimes King Cobra Jasper), Zebra Jasper, Dalmatian Jasper…there are the intriguingly named Mookaite Jasper and Kambaba Jasper.

And then there’s Leopardskin Jasper:

Leopardskin Jasper: not quite as suggestive of the Leopard's distinctive markings as its name might suggest, but this is the stuff!
Leopardskin Jasper: not quite as suggestive of the Leopard’s distinctive markings as its name might suggest, but this is the stuff!

So as it turned out, I had no less than three separate pieces of this rather shamanic-sounding stone in my little Jasper collection.  I decided to give them a mild test-drive by sleeping with them under my pillow, which is often a thoroughly interesting way for me to see if I have any real connection with a given stone.  In brief, here’s what happened:

Night #1: I dreamed at one point that I was outside in a green/wooded area, but still within what we like to think of as “civilization”…so I was under some kind of structure of sorts.  Just ahead of me and a few feet up, at about the height of a standard basketball hoop, was a thick wooden cross-beam connecting one part of the structure to another.  Two birds landed on it, but this was at the upper limits of my vision at that moment, so I couldn’t see them at first.  Tilting my head up, I just barely caught one of the birds stepping along the beam so as to more or less vanish from my sight, the beam itself separating us.  The other bird, though, was eminently, vividly visible: it was a large Raven, glowing with detail.  I could see the slightly down-curving beak, the small tuft of minute feathers where that beak met the Raven’s face, the main body of feathers as glossy and black as ink fresh from the inkwell…  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the Raven is a special creature for me, and I wear its likeness in tattoo form on the underside of my wrist…  Score one for the Leopardskin Jasper (and I should note here that I’ve never been the type to be able to successfully “program” myself to dream about anything in particular, so if you want to credit my subconscious or my dream-warrior self with me having this dream on this particular night, you’re free to do so, but I lean toward chalking it up to the Leopardskin Jasper, especially if you factor in…well, read on…)…

Photo by Marcin Klapczynski, not me, but this pretty well captures what I saw in my dream, although my Raven was facing toward my left if you want to get nitpicky...
Photo by Marcin Klapczynski, not me, but this pretty well captures what I saw in my dream, although my Raven was facing toward my left if you want to get nitpicky…

Night #2: I was traveling somewhere by ship, and in this dream, I chanced to gaze out through a convenient porthole.  It was very misty outside, very wet, although not actively raining.  As I looked out at the dark air, guess what happened to be flying by outside…?  It was another Raven!  This one was just cruising along, unbothered by the prodigious dampness of the air, aside from having to flap its wings a bit more than Ravens seem to like to do whenever I see them out in the physical world (like the large Hawks and Owls I’ve seen, Ravens prefer to glide whenever possible, models of efficiency who are much too cool to need to actually exert themselves to get where they need to go — the wind seems to want to do the work for them, for the most part).  So I could probably write up an entire post on the symbolism inherent in the ship, the wet weather conditions, the mist, the active wing-beating of the Raven versus its usual glide…but I feel that the main point to be taken from the dream here is simply the fact that for the second night in a row with the Leopardskin Jasper under my pillow, I dreamed of what some might refer to as one of my “Power Animals.”

Imagine a wet Raven flying along from left to right not too far away outside this porthole, and you'll have the essence of what I saw in my dream...
Imagine a wet Raven flying along from left to right not too far away outside this porthole, and you’ll have the essence of what I saw in my dream…

Night #3: On the final night of this bit of experimentation (I decided to give the Leopardskin Jasper a rest after three nights, regardless of results), I was again privileged to receive a visit from an animal I view as having great personal importance for me: this time, it was a very large Black Panther that came padding up to me from out of the dreamscape.  I’ve lodged several posts in months past about how I first encountered a real Black Panther while scouting a site for a personal artistic video project I was working on, and how I then began receiving visits from the sleek and beautiful beasts — one even with great black wings! — in my dreams after that encounter.  This one was no less impressive and gratifying!  In it, I was standing about kind of idly, not doing much of anything, and in otherwise unremarkable surroundings, when an enormous Black Panther strolled up to me from out of the hazy middle-distance, clearly coming right toward me.  It showed no apparent malice in the moment, but it seemed to be heading my way with pretty obvious purpose, like it felt we had some definite business to attend to together.  As it reached me, I felt the barest twinge of apprehension, but then it turned and leaned its great shoulder into my thighs, causing me to replant my feet for balance, while it basically let me know that it simply wanted me to pet it.  Happy to oblige, I laughed, and then bent forward to work at the task with both hands, doing my best to grant the stunning creature the greatest petting that any feline had ever received.  It twitched its tail with pleasure and kept leaning into me, hundreds of pounds of streamlined muscle and potential ferocity bent toward the joyous objective of receiving some basic affection (and okay, no small amount of awe).  And then I woke up from the dream…

When a Black Panther requests that you pet it...you oblige.
When a Black Panther requests that you pet it…you oblige.

And on Night #4, when I didn’t have the Leopardskin Jasper under my pillow…I didn’t dream of animals at all.

So what does this all mean?  Does it mean that if you, too, sleep with Leopardskin Jasper under your pillow, you, too, will dream dreams of your own Spirit Animals?  Well…not necessarily.  We’re all different, and what seems to work for me may not work for you, and vice versa — like I said, gathering first-hand, empirical evidence is the only way to determine these things for sure.  But on the other hand, my own experiences here do nothing in my own mind to dispel the idea that Leopardskin Jasper may indeed have some shamanic/animal-related metaphysical properties beyond what simple chance might account for.  If nothing else, you should be able to find a piece of this particular variety of stone pretty easily and for a pretty affordable price, and you can then experiment a bit yourself…and if animals do pop out of the dreamscape for you, too, I’d love to hear about it!

Animal Magnetism

Certain animals attract us.  And the ones that appeal to me and the ones that appeal to you might differ entirely…and the next person might come along with yet another wholly different set of favorite beasts…  This is all pretty obvious stuff, of course…but as the holidays and other assorted wellsprings of busy-ness conspire to keep me further from this space than usual, I thought I’d leave you with a nifty animal-related exercise to try that’s designed to tell you some things about yourself.  You can think of it as a sort of zoological version of an inkblot test…

Inkblot!!  What does it look like to you...?
Inkblot!! What does it look like to you…?

And to be fair, and give credit where credit is due, this exercise was related to me by a good friend, and is not my own invention — I can’t tell you who originally cooked it up.  But if you’re okay with not knowing its murky origins, here’s the gist of it:

First, without deliberating too much, answer off the top of your head, this question: What’s your favorite animal?

Don’t worry about any “wrong answer vs. right answer” kinds of concerns — there are none — and don’t second-guess yourself.  Just note which animal it is that most draws you, intrigues you, delights you.  And once you have the right creature in mind…jot down three reasons why this animal so appeals to you.  And none of these reasons should be of the “It just looks cool!” variety.  Aim for something a bit deeper.  Try to capture certain specific qualities of the animal that resonate for you or that describe its impact or presence in your own life.

The rest is easy from here on out:

Next…write down your second-favorite animal, and an accompanying three reasons why that animal takes the Silver Medal in your own personal menagerie.  If you can, try not to repeat the reasons that you already gave for your first animal, but if they’re honestly very similar, don’t stress too much about this — record them, and then move onward.

And finally…do the same with your third-favorite animal.  Again, you shouldn’t spend too much time doing left-brain analysis on this — you want intuition and instinct rather than deliberate calculation.  Just write down the animal that most catches your fancy after the first two that you listed, and add three reasons why that’s so.

That’s the work part of the exercise — and now you’re done with the work!

But now it *is* quitting time!  Now you *can* put down your tools!  On to the results portion of the exercise...
But now it *is* quitting time! Now you *can* put down your tools! On to the results portion of the exercise…

So…the results!  What, exactly, was the point of all this…?

Take a look back at that first animal that you listed…  In this exercise, that animal represents what you’re striving to become.  It’s the you that you hope to evolve into: that animal’s qualities are the qualities that you’re seeking to build and achieve within yourself.  That favorite animal stands for your own personal, self-directed aspirations.

The second animal you chose, the one you like second-best in all the world…  That animal represents the kinds of people that you like to surround yourself with — as this exercise would have it, you tend to enjoy being in and among those people who embody the traits that you wrote about liking in this particular animal.  This animal signifies “your people.”

And finally, the third animal…  This creature symbolizes where you, yourself, are at in your development right now.  While you hope to become your most favorite animal in the future, this third-favorite creature is you in the present.  This is your here and now, and you exemplify the three characteristics that you found noteworthy and pleasing in this animal.

And it’s as simple as that: the three animals are, in order, who you hope to be, who you like being with, and who you are at this moment in time.

So what do you think?  Does it all ring true?  Does any of it?  I can say that when my friend first sprung this test on me, I found the results to be pretty accurate…and as she pointed out, even if it doesn’t land for you, personally, it makes for a great conversation-starter at parties!  Virtually everyone can relate to the feeling of being attracted to certain animals like metal to magnets…and I believe that this kind of “animal magnetism” must certainly mean something, and must say something important about each of us…and this little exercise isn’t a bad starting point for examining what that meaning might be!

Clan of the Hawk…?

As I write this, my uncle — my mom’s older brother — and his bride are out here on the west coast, trekking down the length of this great state of California as they pursue a string of family-related activities.  They started way up north in Chico, and as they made the long automotive pilgrimage down toward San Diego, where my cousin resides, they stopped off here in LA for an overnight stay.  It was my pleasure to get to meet them for breakfast yesterday, and over the course of a long, leisurely repast, we covered a lot of conversational ground…not least of which involved a very interesting tale that my uncle related to me…

So the relation of this tale was kicked off when the sleeve of my sweatshirt rode up a bit, and my aunt noticed the tattoo that I bear on the underside of my left wrist (I seem to mostly visit the family back east during colder months, so my arm ink is generally obscured beneath the sleeves of several layers of clothing when I’m there, and she’s therefore never had opportunity to really spot this particular image that I wear…).  The tattoo is an image of a Raven — a Bird with whom I feel a very strong bond — but it’s in silhouette form, and I’ve had it mistaken for other Birds more than once, including an Eagle, and even the mythical Phoenix.  So while my aunt was taking a moment to try to guess what Bird this was, my uncle jumped in, and asked if it was a Red-Tailed Hawk.

Now that’s a pretty specific guess, which was immediately interesting to me, and not solely due to that specificity — visitors to this blog may recall that a few weeks ago, I’d ventured into nearby Griffith Park for a hike with a friend and her little dog, and the hike turned into a long afternoon’s excursion after we managed to get all turned around and onto a different trail than the one we’d been seeking…  During that sojourn, we stumbled upon this remarkable meeting of Ravens, and also a few Raptors of some sort  — Hawks or Falcons, I wasn’t positive, as I’m not a full expert on Birds of Prey just yet — were woven in and among the gathering, too.  At one point, nearly a dozen Ravens dotted a particular tree near us, and several more began wheeling about at extremely close range to us overhead…and in that tree, seeming to watch the proceedings like a visiting dignitary, was a single one of those Raptors.  After returning home, I hit the internet hard in a quest to identify that Raptor…and it turned out to be a Red-Tailed Hawk…

Buteo jamaicensis -- the Red-Tailed Hawk...
Buteo jamaicensis — the Red-Tailed Hawk…

So before even disclosing any of this episode to my uncle, he then described to me an experience he’d had, in which he went to visit the gravesite of my grandmother — his mother.  This was way out on Long Island, on the opposite side of the country from where I currently reside.  This is my uncle’s tale, and it’s not for me to air the details here, but the important part of it is that while he was there at the gravesite, he was visited by…a Red-Tailed Hawk.  This Hawk had a very profound impact on my uncle, and it seemed to him to be very connected with my grandmother.

All of which made me reflect on the fact that representatives of this same species of Hawk had appeared to both my uncle and me, and on opposite sides of a vast continent.  Of course, the Red-Tailed Hawk turns out to be the single most common variety of Hawk we have here in North America, which might seem to siphon off some of the extraordinary quality of these twin sightings of ours…but yet it doesn’t do so for me.  I’m still very struck by the “coincidence” of our visitations by the Hawks.  And it calls up for me the concept of the “Totem Animal”…

Could my family be a sort of "Hawk Clan"...?
Could my family be a sort of “Hawk Clan”…?

As I understand the term, “Totem Animal” is frequently misused among New Age types who are trying to speak of what might better be termed a Spirit Animal, Power Animal, or Animal Guide…that is, a sort of animal spirit that has a special relationship with a person throughout the course of that person’s life, advising the person, protecting them, teaching them, and bestowing their own attributes upon that person.  The key element to note here is that this animal is bonding with an individual.  A Totem Animal, on the other hand, is one that puts its stamp upon a group of people: a family, a clan, a tribe.

And to be honest, in all my studies in this area, when it came to my own self, I was always focused in on the individual-centric Animal Guide kind of presence — it never occurred to me to wonder if my family as a whole might share a Totem Animal.  My uncle’s tale, though — which features the strong connection between him and my grandmother — coupled with my own recent encounter with the same exact species of Hawk, has me wondering if maybe my family as a whole shares this Red-Tailed Hawk connection among us…?  I can’t answer that without polling some of the other relatives, but I do like the idea of there possibly being this linking affinity…and plus, the Red-Tailed Hawk is apparently held to embody some pretty great attributes, such a keen and far-sighted vision, a strong bond with the Earth, and the ability to bridge the mundane and the otherworldly.  I aim to continue on probing into this possible familial connection, and I meanwhile also offer up here this notion that while we all may have our individual Animal Guides looking out for us, it might also be worthwhile to consider the possible presences of more group-based Totem Animals in our lives, as well…

Very unexpectedly: Jupiter!!

I’d like to keep this post on the briefer side today if I can, as I’m still battling a fairly whopping case of strep throat, and I didn’t sleep much last night because of it…but that lack of sleep also gives rise to the subject of this post — Jupiter! — so it can’t be all bad, right?

Jupiter: in a lot of ways, this is our Planetary Top Dog, more than twice as massive as all of our solar system's other planets combined!  That's its moon, Ganymede, at lower left...
Jupiter: in a lot of ways, this is our Planetary Top Dog, more than twice as massive as all of our solar system’s other planets combined! That’s its moon, Ganymede, at lower left…

So I’ve mentioned here in multiple posts that since I moved across town — three months ago now! — I’ve made it a habit to climb up to the roof right around sundown if I’m home, so I can watch the celestial proceedings.  It’s really meditative, and sometimes I see some great stuff down here on Earth, too…like last night, for instance, I not only saw a Hummingbird careen past me as I ascended the ladder to get topside, but I was privileged enough to finally catch sight of an Owl again (I feel compelled to capitalize these animal names, which will annoy technical writing curmudgeons, for which I apologize, but it’s happening…).  Consistent readers may recall that quite a few weeks back now, I enjoyed the rare delight of seeing — on two consecutive evenings — an Owl leap silently out of the trees that rise up from behind the house here, and then go gliding across the little valley of streets below us toward the opposite hillside (or maybe it was a different Owl each time, but that seems less likely to me).  Anyway, I’ve been hoping for yet another repeat performance ever since, and last night, that wish was granted!  But that’s not the actual subject of today’s post.  As mentioned above, that role belongs to Jupiter…

If you’ve ever suffered through a case of strep throat, or any other infection-based kind of ailment (like bronchitis, which loves me, and which seems to be attempting to crash the strep party here…), you know that in order to kick them good and proper, you often need antibiotics, and you definitely need lots and lots of righteous, rejuvenating, recuperative sleep.  Which I did not get much of last night.  I was too busy coughing and hacking and trying to swallow through an inflamed throat (but no more gross details, I promise…).  Anyway, I woke for good around…4:00 or 4:30, I think, but I didn’t admit defeat for at least an hour.  Then, after more tossing, turning, re-tossing, and re-turning, I recalled how I always joke that while I love dusk, I never see the dawn unless I actually stay up until its arrival (being so not an early riser by nature…).  I was then struck by this odd compulsion to put on some warm clothing and climb up to the roof to watch the sun rise for once instead of set (you know, if I was apparently going to be awake anyway…)…

Sunrise: okay, this is Angkor Wat, not Los Angeles, but I'd have taken even a fraction of this kind of majesty, you know...?
Sunrise: okay, this is Angkor Wat, not Los Angeles, but I’d have taken even a fraction of this kind of majesty, you know…?

So I donned some polar fleece and stepped out onto the stone patio, where I was immediately greeted by the sight of my old friend, the constellation Orion, sparkling up above.  Quick digression here: Orion was the very first constellation I was ever taught to recognize as a youngster, so he remains a personal favorite, and as a devout Scorpio, I also feel a connection to The Mighty Hunter…  You see, in Greek Mythology, Orion and a huge Scorpion proved to each serve as the other’s doom, the Hunter’s club and the Scorpion’s poisonous stinger both landing on-target simultaneously when they had their fateful encounter.  Zeus, the King of the Olympians, to soothe the sorrow of his dear daughter, Artemis, who loved Orion as a sort of Soul-Friend and Comrade-in-Arms, hung both Orion and the Scorpion in the nighttime sky, that they might be remembered forever, the former gracing us in the wintertime, and the latter in the summer, each chasing the other around the arc of the heavens for all eternity…

All of which is to say that seeing Orion glittering away up there in such refined fashion — my first glimpse of him this year! — was like answering an unexpected chime of the doorbell at some ungodly hour, and finding a dear friend standing on my doorstep!

Orion in the sky: Johannes Hevelius gets it done for us in this work from his Celestial Catalogue, circa 1690...
Orion in the sky: Johannes Hevelius gets it done for us in this work from his Celestial Catalogue, circa 1690…

Anyway, after greeting Orion, I looked up…and saw an extremely bright point of light almost directly overhead…a point of light that did not twinkle, as stars always do.  This told me I was looking at a planet.  Now, I should say that as my passion for Astrology grows, I’m of necessity learning bits of data from the field of Astronomy, as well, but I remain kind of a rank amateur in my knowledge there as of yet.  In other words…I had no clue which planet I was looking at.  I know that Venus can and will at various times serve as both our Evening Star and our Dawn Star, so it occurred to me that this was possibly Our Fair Lady up there, although I had my doubts — for some reason, I had this nagging suspicion that Venus is only doing evening duty around this time of year.  But that left me with…well, I can name plenty of other planets, but I’m going to have to turn to total guesswork when it comes to stating which ones might appear overhead when and where,  and I really wasn’t about to climb down the ladder, fire up my computer, hit the internet to research out which heavenly body I was ogling, and then re-ascend — a strep-stricken guy can only do so much in the stark fields of time that separate night from morning…

So I finished breathing in the wind and the sky, the trees and the stars, and when dawn still showed no signs whatsoever of making her entrance, I packed it in, went downstairs, got maybe another half-hour of sleep, and then went through the whole tossing/turning/etc. process for a while again.  And then when I did hit the internet…turns out it was big, brawny Jupiter I was looking at up there, super-bright and bountiful.

And since this post is spiraling out of all control already now, length-wise, let me try to rein it in and wrap it up:

I’ve been posting recently about Locational Astrology — this offers us information as to which parts of the world may have which effects on us should we visit them, based on the times and places of our birth.  As I’ve become a new enthusiast here, I’ve been daydreaming about traveling to some of the more intense Power-Points for myself that exist around the globe.

In Astrology, the Planet Jupiter represents things like expansion, optimism, growth, generosity, abundance.  Where it appears in your birth chart can signify where you might be especially lucky in life, and where you might discover more joy and success than sheer probabilities might account for.

My own natal Jupiter appears in my Ninth House…and the Ninth House is known as “The House of Long Journeys.”  This refers to long journeys of both a figurative nature (studying “big” and “deep” fields such as philosophy and religion, for instance) and long journeys of a literal nature: actual, physical voyages to far-off places.

So to my fevered brain, it seemed very possible that making the unusual decision to go for a rooftop jaunt in the pre-dawn cold and dark, and seeing kindly Jupiter up there — and especially as I had no clue that Jupiter is even visible to us in this locale at this time of year, and catching a glimpse was certainly not a part of my conscious intent — well, it seemed like yet another sign that there might be even more to this Locational Astrology thing than I’ve been thinking!  Of course, I need to put down the strep bug with some authority and finality before I can even really leave the house, much less the state, country, or continent, but I’m thinking I might have good old Jupiter in my corner, helping me out…  Jupiter!!!!