Insight: Signs

This the is last in our series on Insight. It concerns paying attention to the Signs around us.


A Visionmaker sees the world quite differently from the average person.  To those who pursue meaning, the universe is not empty, mechanical or random.  It is spirited, living, dynamic, mysterious and meaning-filled. Visionmakers listen deeply to the world around them, recognizing that it is constantly communicating, constantly co-creating. Visionmakers watch and listen intently, tracking meaning as it unfolds through the agency of the natural world.


You could say that Visionmakers are animists, certain that the natural world–both seen and unseen–is spirited. Visionmaking has much in common with shamanism in this respect. A Visionmaker sees that everything has a spirit, a purpose, and is a medium of meaning.  


Traditional people the world over watch the signs in the natural world as communication from helping allies. Those who hold this view remain awake and alert to the presence of helping allies, thankful that the natural world is supporting our pursuit of destiny. To ignore or dismiss such assistance is an act of arrogance and disrespectful. Such pride severs the opportunity to see more.


Allies come in many forms–favorite animals, birds, even people. Dr.  Michael Harner, quoting a Hopi source, illuminates this perspective:


"To the Hopi all life is one–it is the same.  This world where he lives is the human world and in it all the animals, birds, insects, and every living creature, as well as the tree and plants which also have life, appear only in masquerade, or in the forms in which we ordinarily see them. But it is said that all these creatures and these living things that share the spark of life with us humans, surely have other homes where they live in human forms like ourselves. Therefore, all these living things are thought of as human and may sometimes be seen in their own forms even on earth..."


A falling apple stimulates an insight by Isaac Newton that is now known as the theory of gravity. A boiling kettle leads James Watt to a breakthrough called the Newcomen engine. The erratic flight of birds, described in oral tradition, saves an isolated indigenous tribe from the South Asian tsunami. There are signs everywhere. The Visionmaker remains awake to them and thankful for them.



© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on November 20, 2009 and filed under Insight.