I have taken the red-tailed hawk out of my drum bag. He's a stuffed toy, but when I squeeze him he delivers an excellent recording of the hawk's skirling cry, Keeyrrrrr. When I want to save my vocal chords, I squeeze him instead of attempting to mimic the cry myself. I also use him to appeal to the child selves of participants in my workshops, and to encourage them to connect with the bird tribes - and remember they can fly - for shamanic dream journeying.
I am sitting on the floor of a workshop space with some of the participants. Nearest to me are a young Asian man and woman. I am delighted to see that the idea of the hawk has come fully alive for them. Each of them now has a living red-tailed hawk. They handle their birds gently, though they are clearly very excited. Equally gently, I rub my toy hawk against the live birds. This is so good, so happy. My toy hawk - should I now call it a hawk fetish? - is bringing living hawks to those who are learning to fly.
I wake from this dream into the golden morning light with the sense that there are hawks in my house. I can feel the stir in the air where they passed. I track, with my inner sight, into the upstairs library, illuminated by a large skylight. I sense the hawks flying up, through the skylight, into the clear blue sky.
I am always open to friendly visitations from the red-tailed hawk. I moved to a farm in upstate New York after a hawk dropped a feather between my knees when I was sitting under an old white oak behind the house wondering whether to make the move. Later the hawk appeared to wing the lucid dream journeys in which I met the ancient Native shaman, called Island Woman in my books, who taught me that dreaming is the key to soul healing. When I was engaged in writing my new book, Dreaming the Soul Back Home, hawk came to me, batting my arm with its wing while I was drumming for a circle, to carry me to a place of vision where I could renew my contact with Island Woman and her indigenous tradition of seeing and healing.
Hawk brings the gift of vision. Look at the skull of a red-tailed hawk and you will find that half the space is reserved for the eyeballs. Like all the high-flying birds, it also brings the gift of being able to see what is going on down on the ground from a higher perspective and from different angles. And, at least for me, it is second to none as a mode of transportation.
Tekateweiarikhtha, as Island Woman taught me to say in the Mohawk language. "I take off now beating my wings."