Old wives tales and folklore superstition; signs from the universe have been recognized for centuries and, much like pagan rites and traditions upheld by families on special occasions, we are probably much more knowledgeable about them than we may think.
There are common meanings that one can become well versed in, although many meanings may be highly personal.
Rather than looking for universal meanings, look out for what Roland Barthes calls ‘punctums’ in photography – The wounding, personally touching detail which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it – Something which stands out as unusual and meaningful to you.
That said, here are 6 common signs, or categories of signs that usually hold a weight of meaning and could be your angels trying to give you messages you shouldn’t ignore:
The money spider, a flock of birds denoting travel, a snake of healing, or a panther of higher calling lurking in the jungle; animals provide us with literally thousands of meanings, all intertwined and positively complicated.
Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D Farmer is a good reference if you’re interested in in-depth interpretations of animal sightings, but again it’s good to trust your own hunches.
What does a stork at her nest mean to you?
Are you feeling maternal, or perhaps your travels are interfering with your family… do you feel stuck in an awkward place and wish you could break free? Let your intuition be your guide.
As we know, mild illnesses can already be a sign that something greater is at work in the body. They may just be a sign to wake up to how great your life is and stop complaining (think 3-day flus that leave you feeling wretched but grateful and ready for action when they pass), or they may have a deeper significance.
Blocked ears may mean you aren’t listening to yourself and what you already know, styes on an eye may mean you’re not seeing what’s right in front of you.
Shortness of breath can mean unexpressed grief but also a rejection of life, constipation can mean you’re unable to let go of something from your past. It might seem funny, but actually if you tune in, you can learn a huge amount from the state of your body.
Keep wanting to look at the stars? Perhaps you need to have a good long think about an area of your life to gain some clarity.
Noticing the sudden rainstorms that keep pummeling down on your roof? Perhaps you’re being too hasty or black and white about something and need to be less direct.
As well as the weather, the stars and the planets have a huge affect on us globally as well as individually, so why not?
When you participate in the rising and setting of the sun, you’re sending a message to the universe that you are just that; open to participation and willing to receive guidance and love from higher energies. In this way it becomes a spiritual practice.
It’s no coincidence that repetitive labor is often used to aid us in meditation. ‘Work is love made visible’ as Kahlil Gibran once wrote, and it’s true; the repetition of a task is one of the humblest statements one can make.
It opens us up to all sorts of pathways, leading to a deeper compassion and humility in our spiritual work.
If your attention is drawn to the work that needs to be done; weeding, brushing leaves from a courtyard… even peeling potatoes! All may be signs that instead of analyzing a problem as a whole you need to slowly but surely pull each fragment of it from the root, or a piece at a time.
Get the wheelbarrow rolling (it’s difficult at first isn’t it?) and then it will take off down the garden path.
Trust Your Instinct
Bumping into the same person again and again – perhaps you should start a relationship with them in order to balance your karma, or perhaps they represent a habit you need to take up, like being more assertive (are they annoying and persistent), or gratitude (do they have it worse than you or have some advice to offer you?)
Does the same ad keep coming up on your computer for a trip to Thailand? Or do you keep stubbing your toe when you go over the same past mistake, beating yourself up about it in your head?
Do you keep being reminded to get something fixed or replaced; your car or your front door lock, and doing so will finally release that whole back-log of energy you’ve been trying to manifest for months.
Or perhaps you find something you’d thought you’d lost forever, triggering a memory of how optimistic you used to be, or perhaps a reminder of how far you’ve come.
These are direct commands from the higher self to spring to action and open up pathways in your life.
Perhaps you hear yourself saying the exact thing you need to do to your friends week-in, week-out until they thump you over the head and tell you to stop talking about it. Or it could be a full on ‘hearing’, depending how tuned in you are – can you hear an old friend thinking or talking about you?
This can often be just a feeling; perhaps you feel sticky and uncomfortable after speaking with them but can’t quite put your finger on exactly why and should not ignore it; perhaps they don’t have your best interests at heart.
Whatever the message, it’s time to tap in to those signs and read them aloud. You never know, it may even lead to divine timing… if you only let it. Make the unexpressed come to the surface and let energy blockages flow free.