Hawk Tales and Birthday Wisdom From a NYC Apartment

Today is my birthday! Yay!

I’m the ripe age of 31 and I’m stoked! As I told my brother two nights ago, “in 10 years, I’m going to be 41 and that seems old, but I’m so excited!” He laughed at me and said he was glad that I was one of those people that doesn’t dread aging. I’m glad I’m not one of those people who don’t dread aging, either. I find that there is something so magical about aging. If you take care of yourself, aging does not have to be the horrible process that many of us think it to be.

I think more importantly the real issue is that aging brings our mortality to the forefront. It makes us more aware that our time on earth is/will/can be limited. After all, my dad died at 52.5, I’m not saying that that number is the same for me, but who knows.  Because of this unknown, I look at every situation as having a powerful meaning. Especially if the situation involves nature. For example, after my dad passed away, I swear he came back to me in the shape of a bull dog that I loved more than anything I thought I could at the time.

Sometimes that dog would look at me and I could see my dad. Crazy, I know and yet, not so crazy at all. We all mourn in different ways.

My relationship with Gus, the dog, relates to the present because Monday night, I got home to find a hawk sitting on my air conditioner unit. I thought it was an owl. It seemed too big to be anything else. In the end, he turned out to be a hawk, a HUGE hawk and possibly one of the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen.

I should point out that penguins aside, I don’t really like birds. I find them odd and not cute. You can imagine how after staring at the hawk for so long I ended up not just being mesmerized, but wanting to understand what it meant.

I took this picture Tuesday morning around 7am. I slept, but couldn’t really sleep because I kept waking up to see if he had left or not. I was surprised that he stayed as long as he did. The only reason he left was because I startled him trying to get a good picture.  I kept trying to get photos of him to document that this bird was sitting on my air conditioner and well, none of them came out properly. The photos I took with my iphone Monday night either were blurry, or too dark, or if I attempted to use flash ended up with no image what-so-ever, leaving me to settle for the photos I could get.  Below are the images from my iphone Monday night.

What I can tell you from first-hand viewing is that he was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I’ve never seen a hawk up close before, so I was enchanted. I felt so close to nature, even with a wall and window between us.  From my window, I was able to see his eyes get that white film over them (which was freaky), I was also able to watch him flex his wings a few times and clean his feathers. Watching a hawk clean it’s feathers is almost like watching ballet-graceful and captivating.

Now, there were moments where I found the hawk scary. The moments when he’d follow me with his eyes as I walked around my bedroom scared me. Much as I’d guess he does when stalking prey before swooping down to attack, he watched me with his eyes half closed. The other handful of times where I wish I didn’t have a hawk outside my window was when I noticed his eyes go white.  Ummm…talk about creepy, satanical image! Otherwise, I never felt bothered by the hawk. I felt awed. I felt lucky to have such an experience.

Remember that at first glance, I thought he was an owl. I was terrified when I thought he was an owl. As a matter of fact, I called my mom and talked to her for an hour about what seeing an owl could me. My google research brought back tons of lore about owls and Native Americans and Ancient Greeks. The Mayans (some of my ancestors), believed the owls to be sneaky and be messengers of death. Some tribes of Native Americans also found owls to be representative of evil and death. On the other hand, Ancient Greeks found owls to represent wisdom and they regarded the animal highly. I was torn between believing that someone I love was going to die, or that I was going to die and that I might just end up being the wisest person ever starting on my 31st birthday.

After many debates of whether it was an owl or hawk on facebook (my friends are so smart), I realized this hawk just happened to be a fat hawk. I decided that he either makes it a habit of eating rats, or small dogs. Regardless of the fact that I thought his breast resembled an owl’s, his curved beak and shaped head make him a hawk. Also his eyes are not those of an owl. Even if his head is bigger than a hawk, his eye spacing and shape is not that of an owl. This determination led me to researching hawk symbolism and this is what I came across (courtesy of http://alltotems.com/hawk-spirit-meaning-symbols-and-totem/):

People with Hawk Totem are…

  • Observant
  • Cunning
  • Decisive
  • Visionaries
  • Leaders
  • Creative
  • Strategic
  • Messengers

Hawk people aim to initiate and lead, and may be impulsive from time to time.

One of the greatest gifts a Hawk medicine person can give the world is their visions of a better and brighter future. Visionaries are always ahead of their time and it’s not easy seeing what others are not ready to see.

If you are a Hawk person yourself, understand that Spirit can give you a special task to hold the energy of what could be, of potentials that are waiting to be envisioned. Seek out other people who can support you in your life and never allow others to cause you to lose sight of what is really important to you.

Hawk people have their own unique challenges in life. As messengers, Hawk spirits must share their insight with others.  Sometimes the messages may not be what the other person really wants to hear and yet the Hawk totem feels duty bound to relay the message, no matter the consequences.

It is important however that Hawk people do be aware of how they are presenting the messages they receive. They need more than many others to try and deliver the messages as gently as they can, only becoming more forceful if their inner guidance absolutely says it is needed. Sometimes simply thinking through for a time what needs to be said can help Hawk medicine people find just the right words to use that will make all the difference and in this they should be encouraged to take their time and soar above for a while before speaking their truth.

Hawk medicine people, like many who carry strong predator totems, may be shunned by others who sense and fear their inner power. Others may sense that this is a person who can see straight through them and as many people think in terms of judging things as being good or bad, they are afraid that the Hawk person will see who they “really” are and so they strike first in an attempt to keep the Hawk person at bay. Hawk people need to learn how to veil their energy somewhat, not as an attempt to deceive others but to allow people to get to know them and understand that Hawk Spirit has no interest in judging others. Often these people have seen so much of the best and worst in life that they find they have no need to judge.

Some Hawk people may have a tendency, because of their vast ability to see clear through to the heart of things, to become arrogant. This should be avoided because it keeps them earthbound and causes interpersonal conflicts! This can start as confusion on the part of the Hawk person who cannot understand why others seem less aware of the larger picture and their own issues. It is important that people with the Hawk totem understand that others are not as well developed yet in these areas and avoid blurting out what they see and know without thinking of how it may impact another person.

Hawk’s Message: The hawk is a messenger of insight, adaptability and openness, it is also about visionary power and guardianship.  Hawk’s meaning teaches us to be observant and to pay attention to what we may overlook. This could mean a talent we don’t use, a blessing for which we haven’t expressed gratitude, or a message from the universe.  The hawk has keen eyesight, it is about opening our eyes and seeing that which is there to guide us. Hawk awakens vision and inspires us to a creative life purpose. Look to the world around you for there are symbols buried in everything.

Hawk in Dreams: To see a hawk in your dream, denotes that suspicions are lurking around you and your activities. You need to proceed with caution. Alternatively, a hawk symbolizes insight. Consider the phrase “hawk’s eye” to mean that you need to keep a close watch on someone or some situation. The key is to sense the subtle meaning carried by the winds of change.

Cultural Symbolism:

  • Native American: Among Native American traditions, Hawk served the role of messenger guide, bringer of messages and portents of change. Hawk reminded the people they needed to be awake and aware. Many Native American tribes admire the hawk for its speed, endurance, perseverance, and sharp eyesight.
  • Celtic: In the Celtic tradition Hawk empowers a person to seek out their ancestral roots and to examine in depth that which is positive (so that it may be integrated into a person’s life) and that which is limiting (so it can be released). Tradition is only worth honoring when it supports joy and fulfillment in one’s life! In this tradition Hawk also supports the solar side as stated above, helping a person to move forward in life and to seek out great quests to embark upon.
  • Greek: In Greco-Roman mythology, the hawk is the ‘swift messenger of Apollo/Mercury,’ and is associated with the sorceress, Circe.
  • Chinese: The Chinese associated this bird with war.
  • Christian: In early Christian symbolism, the wild hawk represented evil; the tamed hawk signified the convert; and the hooded hawk symbolized the Christian hoping in the Light of Christ even though surrounded by the darkness of earth. Because of the hawk’s swiftness in darting down and grasping its prey, this animal is a symbol of death, injustice, violence, and those people who prey upon the weak.
  • Egyptian: In ancient Egypt, the hawk was considered a royal bird and a symbol of the soul (ba). Isis is said to have shape shifted into a Hawk to save Osiris. Horus also carried Hawk medicine which allowed him to see the “unseeable”.
  • Indian: Gayatri is the Hindu hawk who brought an intoxicating drink of immortality known as ‘soma’ from heaven. He is also a vehicle of Indra.”  

So um, I think the moral of the hawk on my air conditioner is that I’ve got to spread my message and be the leader I’m supposed to be. Which goes right along with what I was hoping for my 31st year anyway!

After my hawk buddy flew away, I was left with amazement (I’m still amazed!) and a sense of ease and calm. I have not seen the hawk again, but I think he came and did what he was meant to do-inspire and teach me.

I have some BIG plans for 2012 and 2013 (as we know) and I believe this hawk showed me that I need to open my eyes, ears, mind and heart more to  discover and understand what is coming (hopefully)  and what I don’t need to fear.  Just like the hawk Tuesday morning, today, December 1st, as my 31st year begins (or comes to a close-however you see it), I have change to prepare for.  It is time to clean my feathers, spread my wings and fly.  What a way to kick off a new year!

As I said to all of my friends on facebook today, today may be my birthday, but for those whom I love and have relationships with, I hope it’s a happy day for you too. Everything touches everything, never forget that – my words and thoughts may have touched you, reader, but know that you’re reading my words, touches me as well. Thank you. Let’s party like hawks!

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s2 stationery & designs

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

4 thoughts on “Hawk Tales and Birthday Wisdom From a NYC Apartment”

  1. Hi Sara, this is Jackie-Printing Resolutions, I finally navigated into you website…very impressive, love it! just read your blog (I usually don’t stop and read blogs) but must
    say I started reading and could not stop 🙂 loved the hawk story :).
    I hope you had a wonderful birthday! See you soon!

  2. Today I am having an exact same thing happening to me right now. He’s been there for 7 hours since I noticed it. He’s still there. It’s not my birthday but I am 31. I googled it online after someone recognized the type of bird on my Facebook and googled then I run into your blog. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ahhhh, that’s so crazy and thank you for sharing! I was wondering where he had moved to and if he were happy. I think he’s a symbol for the person whose window he sits near/guards. It may not be your birthday, but it’s definitely a way to usher in the New Year!

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