One of my very favorite divination decks (surprise, surprise) is Bird Signs: Guidance & Wisdom from Our Feathered Friends by G.G. Carbone and Mary Ruzicka.
Instead of my usual process of spreading out the cards, meditating on an idea, and picking a card, I just opened the interpretive book looking for courage.
I knew there had to be a bird that represents courage in some way. Lo and behold Mr. Rooster popped off the page on page 102 cock-a-doodle-doo–ing at me.
I’ve been thinking about courage a lot lately, especially as it relates to the small acts of courage we all experience or encounter on a daily basis. (Now there is BIG Courage with a capital C, and many of us know what those experiences are like, too, but I want to focus on the little acts of courage we engage in every day.)
And the thing is, we don’t know each others’ struggles. We really have no idea what courage it took for someone else to get out of bed in the morning and make it to work or show up at a social gathering or eat dinner alone in a restaurant. For instance, it can take courage for me to be the center of attention. When I know that I am the focus (or that my art is the focus) I need to take a deep breath and say to myself, “this is just a little fear caterpillar crawling in, just a creepy crawly that likes to undermine my confidence.”
According to Bird Signs, the message of Rooster is “Courage means acknowledging your fear.” Carbone writes that “Rooster calls you to have courage to face the day. Remember that facing a fear is a huge accomplishment; you don’t have to do anything other than have courage. When you have courage, fear has no power over you.”
To tap into the Rooster energy, Carbone suggests being an early bird once in a while: “To tap into Rooster wisdom, glean knowledge during the predawn hours.” Apparently Roosters are sensitive to infrared light, which is why “Rooster sees the morning rays almost an hour earlier than we do….”
Learn to see like Rooster (which is essentially seeing in the dark). Name what’s in the darkness. One thing that I’ve noticed is that fear doesn’t like being named. It loves to be mysterious and unclear, like nighttime, so we’re walking around in a thick fog of icky feelings. One act of courage is in naming.
So, name the unknown. Feel the fear in your body, describe it (is it like a bowling ball in your gut or like wispy feathers on the back of your neck?), and feel how your courage gives you strength like Rooster’s boisterous morning call. Cock-a-doodle-doo!