Hello and welcome to my Third Eye Chakra. If you have been moving up the totem pole with me, you will know by now that I will write about the first time I have worked with a certain animal as well as my most recent, second, time working with the animal. I will do the same here. Before I get started, I wanted to point out why I do this…

The reason I like to tell you about “working” with the same animal at different points in my life, also happens to be the theme of this writing, as well as the theme of the past couple of months in my life. The theme is: *We are not “arriving”, we are “evolving”.*

My conditioned brain wants to feel a sense of completion. Good god, does it want to feel a sense of completion. My brain does not know a feeling more gratifying than, ahhh-mmmmhmmm, complete. It feels *good* to be done, to mark it off the lists of to-dos, and to catalog it away in that satisfied brain of mine. Well, brain, I have some dissatisfying news for you...our spiritual work is never complete.

At my Third Eye Chakra, I have a raven. My raven is named Stellar and she is majestic. The Third Eye Chakra is our link to Spirit and the unseen world and I could not ask for a more qualified messenger. Ravens are part of the genus corvus, along with different types of crows.  Corvus is also the name of a constellation and when my corvus named Stellar gave me her name, I took note to acknowledge the connection between Heaven/the stars and Earth.

Ravens and crows are extremely intelligent birds. It is my personal belief that their intelligence is far more complex than what I am about to describe here. However, because my limited human intelligence relies on anthropomorphism, or assigning human characteristics to animals, it is the only way I know how to put into words what I have learned in order to drive my point across to you, my fellow-human reader. These birds use tools, they have complex social structures, they have self-recognition when looking in a mirror and recognize other animals’ and specific humans’ faces, they have regional dialects, they plan, and problem solve… they are impressive.

Back to my conditioned brain that wants to be complete with each chakra as we move up the totem pole. That same conditioned brain resists the belief that some animals like crows, dolphins, pigs, and many others may understand far more than we think. That same conditioned brain feels uncomfortable believing in magic, in spirit animals, and an unseen world. It is uncomfortable, at times, to speak about the work I do with my “animal totems” with those who are not consciously on a spiritual exploration because our brains do not readily accept that information and if they do, they want to control the information, as well as categorize it and the truth is… it is not that simple, it is not that clear cut, and it is not that linear. Stellar reminds me that my conditioned brain is a great tool but it is only one tool I have, and many others exist within my Third Eye.

My name, Brennan, means “brave little raven” in the Gaelic/Celtic tradition. I have always thought it was empowering to have a name so courageous and to represent such an intelligent creature, but when learning about my raven at my Third Eye, I realized it meant even more.

Spiritually, the raven represents the idea that when we choose to change, that is when the true essence of change begins to happen. The first time I worked with my raven, I chose to change and it felt great. At the time, I was in the first true-love relationship I had experienced and I felt like life was new and beautiful and I would never go back to the sadness I had left behind. My heart felt good because I was in love and my brain felt even better because I had chosen to turn a new page in my book and because my raven told me true change was happening, I felt like a changed woman and was ready to check my spiritual journey off the list of to-dos. “That’s it,” I thought, “I have arrived.” I remember thinking I felt so happy, I could never experience anything other than happiness again. I have a few vivid memories of this time working with Stellar and it was a real taste of magic/Heaven on Earth. One memory was riding on the back of my love’s motorcycle and feeling the sensation of actually flying. Another was sprawling out in his backyard, working in my Third Eye Chakra workbook for hours, getting lost in cutting, drawing, only to look around and notice small purple flowers in the grass. “How perfect!” I thought, because purple was the color to represent the Third Eye Chakra. At a certain point the sun started to go down and I realized I had gotten lost in my exploration and felt totally in the flow. I truly felt like I had let all of the dark parts of my soul go, I had done the work, and life would never again be the same. I had heard many teachers talk about “letting go” or giving up the parts of yourself that no longer serve you and I thought it was just as simple as that, and I had done it, and I was complete. It felt really good.  

What I now know to be true is that we never arrive, it is never complete if we want to grow and evolve and reach the paragon of who we are meant to be. As we evolve, we have those moments like I had in the backyard, surrounded by flowers, coming down from a high of true-love and wind-blown hair, where life seems complete, where your soul and your heart feel complete, healed, and you feel like you are riding the wave the spiritual community calls, “the flow,” and you will never get off. These moments are real. These moments become more and more frequent as we journey, but in order to grow, there will also be moments of imbalance, out of the flow, and of discomfort and these moments exist so that we can grow/evolve even further and the next moment of bliss is an even deeper type of bliss and connection to source energy. I really had let dark parts of my soul go, but that only meant it was time to look deeper. This is a lesson that is very apparent when looking at the two times I have worked with Stellar side-by-side.

The raven represents change but also represents looking into and trusting the darkness of the unknown. If we are always evolving and there will be ongoing discomfort in our lives, there will always be a need for trust. The idea of trust is probably the most difficult concept for me to wrap my brain around while working through my chakras in the Inner Animal Magic curriculum. It is far simpler to say I trust in the flow, in Spirit, and in the unknown than it is to actually live in a trusting way. It is simple to say I am a “spiritual junkie” or “spiritual gangster” or any other trending, hashtag, term used in the overwhelming amount of information on the Internet about the Law of Attraction or being WILD AND FREE. It is simple to be whimsical or feel like a creative, free being. What is far less simple is applying it to your day-to-day life, responsibilities, and commitments as a functioning member of this society, which happens to be a reality for most of us.

Here is my example: Fast forward to the second time I am working with Stellar. I had just drIven away from my home, my support system, and my source of income. I had taken “the leap of faith” you read about and I was “following my heart”. I had read so many stories, seen so many videos, and met so many people who talked about their leaps of faith and each time, the story seemed to go a little something like this… “I took the leap, and then I lived happily ever after. The Universe answers your leap and provides for you. Leap and you will succeed.” In theory, I believe this. I would have to believe this and trust in this to some degree in order for me to leave home, without knowing where I would be living or how I would be paying my bills while entering into a volunteer and educational program with limited savings. I did this because my belief system told me that if I followed what I believed my purpose was, that of working with endangered species, the rest would fall into place. In my mind, I had come SO far on my spiritual journey that I had cut the ties of my comfort zone and financial security and I had arrived, I just *had* to be in the flow. However, while I was telling myself this was reality, I was actually, subconsciously feeling anxious, scared, and vulnerable. If there was a time for Stellar and I to take our evolution together to the next level, this was it.

While trust was what I was portraying, fear was what I was feeling. Then, I started to place judgment on myself for feeling fear. “Wait,” I thought, “I was supposed to be spiritually evolved and trust in the Universe, but I feel completely freaked out right now? I am a fraud.”  I knew if fear got in the way, my prayers would not be answered. Then the fear snowballed into self-abuse and I thought back to the girl who was in love and getting lost among flowers and I judged her, “How naive!”. Here is where the raven comes in. The Third Eye Chakra represents time in meditation and dedication to your spiritual practice and spirit-self and the raven represents rebirth, introspection, accepting the unknown, and facing our dark sides. Just as the ravens who look at their reflections are known to be self-aware, it was time for me to become self-aware and acknowledge, I was not yet who I needed to be to lean into my greatness… and more importantly, I needed to acknowledge this lack-of-arrival in a loving, nurturing, and non-judgmental way.

One of my biggest lessons from the raven is turning darkness to light or seeing the light in darkness. This was an important concept for a girl who was feeling a little down on her spiritual-self, who had just gotten her reality check, and whose brain just learned there was no completion when it came to cataloging or identifying as being “spiritually awakened”. I was judging myself for having fear. The acknowledgement of the self-judgment was the light in the darkness of the self-abuse. When we are able to acknowledge areas where we can grow and areas where we can evolve, this feels like “more work” to our conditioned brain, but it is actually light/a positive on our road-map to getting closer to living our life’s purpose. Acknowledging this “tough stuff” is uncomfortable but it should feel like a success! You have just gotten to the next benchmark and you are following your guidance, otherwise you would not be able to acknowledge or look at this less-flattering side of yourself.

Acknowledging *without* judgment was the greatest lesson I learned from Stellar while working with her. I spent a lot of time journaling in order to identify some places within myself that needed a little extra love and attention in order to help manage my fear of this rebirth of my life. Here I was starting over, completely, and I did not want to mess it up. Through my journals with Stellar, I realized that a lot of my fear was around wanting to be perfect and to do everything at 100% for my fresh start. After I had this realization, my mantra was “I am not perfect”. As I said those words, a wave of relief crashed over me. Some would say you “should” believe you are perfect, but to me perfection comes with pressures and it *felt good* *for me* to say that I was not perfect. Stellar also helps me with looking inward for guidance because what some may suggest, may not work for me at any certain point in time. Just as, what teachers may teach, such as the concept of “replacing fear with love” may not resonate with me if I am still feeling anxious and terrified and sometimes, with the help of your animal totems and the unseen world, you need to feel through what works for you as an individual. In other words, you have to learn in your own way. At times, after you learn, you still may do the opposite and go against your guidance. That is when you will see if you really have mastered self-love and do not pass judgment on your own process. I am not perfect. I will always be going deeper and I will not wear this reality as a negative, because Stellar has shown me that it is a positive-- it is a positive because who I am meant to be on this Earth is great and it takes many layers of evolution to get there. What I used to identify as steps backwards are actually my clues to moving forward. Redefine the way you see your challenges.