I am in favor of personal omens. Sometimes these are hand-me-downs. Not every old superstition is “merely” superstition. Some have a kernel of sound common sense, like the old adage that you should never walk under a ladder; something or someone may fall on your head. Or the old rhyme
Find a penny, pick it up
then all day you’ll have good luck
It’s already good luck to find a piece of change, and when we speak about the find that way, we begin to see see some interesting symbolism in the incident. As in dreams, finding coins may indicate change, of a positive kind. One day, after discussing an idea for a new book, I found notes rather than coin, in a public park; a $20 bill and a $1 bill. A happy find, in itself, but since I also teach and read the tarot, the numbers instants came together in my mind and gave me 21, or XXI, the number of the trump card in the tarot deck that is called the World or the Universe. Whenever that card comes up in a personal reading, its meaning for me is: the world is welcoming you, get out there! I took the immediate decision to go ahead with that book, and the world welcomed it; it was in its third printing before the end of the first year after publication.
The most interesting personal omens are ones that grow on you and work for you over time. They are signs and sightings from the world that develop a personal meaning for you that can be road-tested. In other words, you’ll check what follows after each recurrence of that omen, while being as careful as you can not to make a repetitive scenario (especially if it is unwanted) play out through self-suggestion.
I pay special attention to the appearance of birds and animals in my life. A fox on the road, especially if crossing the road ahead of me, will be a signal to me that the Trickster is in play; I need to expect the unexpected and keep my edge as I enter what could be an edgy situation. A friendly black dog, especially in an unlikely place, gives me great encouragement that whatever I am doing will turn out well; that I have the friends and support I need.
Since I started living in North America, the red-tailed hawk has been my most important bringer of omens. A hawk in good shape, flying my way or grabbing a good meal, will give me a surge of confidence for the day that has yet to be disappointed. A dead hawk in power lines will make me batten down the hatches and watch out for challenges. I was once very late for a phone interview with a California journalist who was irritated and pressed for time. I wasn’t sure the interview was going to go well. She asked me to give an example of how I navigate by synchronicity.
I was standing on the balcony of a villa overlooking Long Island Sound. Right below me, three bunnies had been scampering about in the grass. As I considered my response to the journalist’s question, a red-tailed hawk made a vertical ascent, talons outstretched. It grabbed a bunny and shot straight up with its dinner in its clutches. Given my affinity with the hawk, I took this as a good sign, indicating that despite our bumpy start the interview would turn out fine. I was about to recount what had just happened when some inner caution made me pause. I was talking to a journalist for a Californian holistic magazine; for all I knew, she was a vegan who might be horrified by the scene of the hawk taking the bunny rabbit, especially if I reported it with the relish I was feeling. So I told her a black dog story and she loved it and the interview came out just fine – so the hawk sign was, once again, priven reliable.
The bird photographer who took the marvelous picture at the top got a bilingual message, in the language of the birds and that of humans. I just had to ask her whether there might be any “steep slope” ahead in her life. She said that she may be traveling to a rather dangerous part of the world later this year. I trust the keen vision of the hawk, and its ability to see things from a higher perspective and a different angle, will be with her.