Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Asked and Answered

I have a love/hate relationship with prayer, deeply rooted in my Catholic upbringing, dented and dinged by my days as a Pentecostal Christian, and beat to snot by the public ranting of American evangelicals of the past twenty years.  I don’t like to pray FOR things.  I am convinced the Almighty knows what I need, so I don’t need to ask.  And I firmly believe that some of the things for which I would petition would NOT be, in the end, things that I need, or that would even be good for me.  I don’t like the idea of playing the game of “Be Careful What You Wish (Pray) For.”  I prefer to believe that the Creator is not petty or capricious enough to give us bad or unhelpful things when we point at them and whine, just to teach us a lesson. 

So it came as a surprise when, some time before Christmas, a shamanist friend exhorted me to boldly ask the Universe for what I want when I perform a fire ceremony.  “Be very specific,” she said.  This was at a time when I was wubbiting about wanting/needing a job, and running around in circles trying to find something to DO with myself. 

I very well could have asked for a job, or an inspiration for a business, or some unmistakable sign pointing to the right path out of my confusion.  As I sat staring into my fire, I thought about these things, and it just did not feel right to request specific help in that direction.  Hell, I wasn’t sure in my own mind what I wanted to do, what I had the capacity to do, or even  whether I was at all ready to pronounce myself regenerated and ready to go on to the next thing.  So I was pretty sure the Universe was not going to plant its foot on my butt and launch me in some new direction for which I was in no way prepared. 

Still, I thought I should ask for something, since I had been advised to do so.  I thought about it for a bit, lifted my eyes to the moon, to the sky, where my friendly spirits tend to soar and sail.  I thought about the bird spirits I had met over the past year.  Pelican.  Kingfisher.  Heron.  Woodpecker.  Eagle.  Hummingbird.  And the one I had not seen, but wanted to very badly.  The one I had little hope of meeting, because I had no idea where to look.


That was it.  And I said as much to the Universe, very calmly and specifically.  “I want to see an owl.”  Then my ceremony moved on to the next thing.  And, frankly, I forgot completely about my request.

Now, when I asked to “see” an owl, the best I could imagine was to catch a glimpse of one soaring across the road in the near-dark of evening.  And that would have been enough for me—as long as I could see it sufficiently well to positively identify it as an owl.  When we made plans to travel south to Klamath, the objective was to see the “hundreds” of eagles wintering there—the stuff of birding legend.  In the end, there were no flocks of eagles.  In fact, I didn’t see any more eagles there than I might have on an afternoon trip across the channel to Sauvie Island. 

But let’s just say I was not disappointed.

Because the Universe gave me two gifts.  Owls.  And the understanding that the Almighty does indeed hear and grant specific requests.  Abundantly and in ways you would not venture to dream.

If you know what to ask for.

great owl pic


  1. Lisa, your photography is nothing short of amazing; always has been in my opinion ever since I "found" you on AOL.
    Did you ever think of turning your amazing gift into some sort of part-time venture? I know, I know, probably easier said than done. Just a thought.

  2. Meredith! Just when I start walllowing in sorrow about no one coming here or commenting anymore, you show up. Thank you, my friend! I miss you!