Feb 10 2014

The Super Bowl and the Secret Message of Power Animals: The Medicine of Chief Seattle, the Hawk, and the Bronco


Recently driving to a friend’s party here in the Colorado Rockies, a hawk swooped right in front of our windshield. Hearts arrested for a moment, my beloved and I gazed at each other and let out a deep breath.

As a couple living in the Rockies, we have been blessed with medicine from the animal world—deers, bobcat, coyote, elk, owl, rabbit, and bear have all “knocked on our door” here in the mountains. But not all of us are so blessed to be close to nature and her totems. Yet they still appear to us in cloaked in surprising costumes.

Over the exact weekend of the Super Bowl, we celebrated the beginning of the Chinese New Year and the purifying rites, cleansing candelights, and Springtime intention setting of pagan holiday Imbolc. Perhaps the synchronicity of these calendrical days and the Super Bowl has a deeper message for us than might just be witnessed in halftime shows and advertisements.

Although many cities root and cheer for their team, few understand the significance of their mascots on a deeper shamanic level. Sports teams are more often than not named after animals that have a layered and rich symbolic meaning.

Isn’t it interesting that the weekend the Year of the Horse began, the world watched not only the legendary quaterback Peyton Manning take the field but a team named the “Broncos.” The Horse has long been a symbol of communication, travel, and the extension of man’s capacity to connect with itself and the world at large. Equine therapy is a treatment which promotes physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being to persons suffering conditions as disparate as autism, anxiety, ADD, Depression, and Dementia. The Year of the Wood Horse promises to be filled with daring courage, with enthusiastic innovation, and with optimistic and abundant energy to inspire

And yet it was the Seahawks who stormed to victory early on in the game. When the Hawk soars into your space, you take note. You question. Was that a message of forewarning, a promise of protection, a guardian on your ventures? Maybe an invitation to dedicate some attention to what you were just speaking or thinking. Hawk represents all these and the call from the Spirit World for a vaster and higher perspective: the pause that allows us to breathe in the message of heaven blanketing the earth.

Perhaps instead of just seeing the Broncos get seriously “broken and tamed” by the Seahawks, we can combine the visionary guardianship of the hawk with the steady gallop of Horse towards its self-realization, its magnificent goals—the hawkeye spirit guide to focus the strength, passion, and determination to overcome our obstacles and attain our objectives in 2014.

And what of “Seattle” itself? The name derives from the honorable Chief Seattle, whose words may have an important message for us this year, as themes of interdependence, stewardship, and the noble humility of precious human responsibility permeate his words.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

As a child who grew up loving sports, then a young adult who turned away from all competition, and now as an archetypal spiritual counselor and shamanic practitioner living in our contemporary mediascape, I can now watch and appreciate global athletic events such as the Super Bowl and Olympics not only for the prowess of its competitors, but with a different eye, the eye of the heart tuned to Spirit’s acoustics, ready to receive a message which transforms the mundane into the magical.


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