Sometimes we cannot help but notice when God, nature, "the universe" or whatever you want to call it, delivers a powerful message.  Such was the case several days ago when a red-tailed hawk came crashing through our family room window.

The sound of shattering glass was unnerving.  When I heard it, I came running downstairs, trying to figure out what had happened.  There was a hole in the window, but I could not fathom what had caused it.  I ran outside and there was no sign of mischief, so I came back in to try to figure out what had happened.  It was then that I discovered that a bird of some kind was lying on the floor, wedged between a sofa and the wall.  I assumed it was a duck (a dead duck) since our backyard was filled with ducks that morning.  After a few minutes, there was movement; slow at first, then more animated.  Suddenly, there was a flapping of wings and the emergence of a bloodied, but quite alive, hawk; a fledgling, red-tail.

What in the world would cause this beautiful creature to fly through our window?  Last year, there was a hawk that sat on the railing of our deck, which was quite amazing to witness.  I was so impressed with this unusual presence, I grabbed my camera and took some close-up photos.  The hawk seemed quite at home and not the least bit anxious to move on. That was incredible enough.  But this?  Crashing through our window?  Hello?  What gives?

Being a Jungian psychotherapist, I often work in the symbolic realm, believing that there is much to learn from the symbols that present themselves to us--whether in our dreams or our waking lives.  Although even the most commonplace symbol can be packed with meaning, the hawk carries an inherently powerful symbolism...all the more so when it comes crashing through one's window!

A bit of research revealed that, particularly among Native American traditions, the Red-tailed Hawk is seen as a strong symbol of visionaries and spiritual messengers.  Because the hawk is able to soar high above the earth, into the heavens if you will, it has a perspective of the "bigger picture," which we cannot experience with our "feet on the ground."

Interestingly, the red tail of the hawk only appears when the bird reaches maturity. The hawk that flew through our window was a fledgling, a young bird that had not yet achieved full maturity; had not yet "earned" its red tail.  Perhaps the fledgling red tailed hawk, who is on its own path of becoming, is a reminder that I (we) too are always in a process of becoming.

The red-tailed hawk may show up when we need to be more observant and to pay closer attention to how we are living our lives.  What message is the hawk trying to convey?  What is the hawk seeing that we are not?  These are particularly important questions to consider as we examine our spiritual selves, given that the red hawk is seen as a spiritual messenger.  Specifically, what should we be doing to live more authentic, spiritually-centered lives?  What do we still need to do to earn our own wings, to have a broader perspective, to see things more clearly, to rise above the day-to-day details of our lives, to soar to greater heights?