Book Review – Divining With Animal Guides: Answers from the World at Hand by Hearth Moon Rising

Book Review
Divining With Animal Guides
Answers from the World at Hand
by Hearth Moon Rising

I was delighted to discover that Divining with Animal Guides is not a cookbook dictionary, concretizing the “meanings” of animal encounters. Author Hearth Moon Rising has created a manual for learning to observe and discern and ultimately, to shift our strictly human viewpoint. Only when we look at the context in which the animals offer us their messages are we able to fully understand their invitations and gifts.

Rising weaves science, mythology, mathematics and storytelling into each of the chapters. There are 9 in total, covering the cat family big and small, alligators and crocodiles, horses, bees, scorpions, ravens, woodpeckers, deer and the antlered ones, and cranes. This is not a purely “magical” discussion of these beings, although she provides a short review for each animal guide, briefly listing magical qualities and applications and other associations. She focuses instead on laying the groundwork for an understanding of the animal’s place and workings in nature through its evolution and biology, and then delves into its mythology and historical associations. So, in the chapter on Cat, Rising brings the cat forward from its origins in Egypt to its association with witches in Europe right up to its appearance in quantum physics as Schrodinger’s Cat. She also provides a story or poem to place the animal in a particular cultural context so we can begin to sense how its powers interact with its world. I was fascinated at how well Rising created this weaving of science and mythology and found it difficult to put the book down at points. She evokes the energetic field of the animal’s entire biological and historical existence so we can connect to it and make our own associations.

Rising’s instructions for using math and geometry in observing and interpreting signs and messages are wonderful. For example, she asks us to consider that bees construct hexagonal honeycombs and launches into an analysis of the hexagon and the significance of the number 8 that is guaranteed to deepen your understanding of any messages you have ever received from Bee. And if you find a lone animal that usually travels in pairs or groups, reflect on why only one appears now.

Rising emphasizes scientific observation of the animal and an appreciation of the context – environmental, biological and metaphoric – in which it appears or communicates with you. Observing it closely where and how it appears rather than jumping to a conclusion about what it “means” makes the difference between a superficial understanding of its message and truly receiving it and allowing it to unfold over time. Rising uses each animal to demonstrate a different aspect of observation – ravens for sight and seeing, woodpeckers for hearing and listening, deer (rarely seen nor heard) – tracking through confusing signals until you find your way. In other words, discerning the root what is meant and which clues in the message to follow. As she points out, “A paradigm shift cannot occur with the disintegration of beliefs and the subsequent disorientation…The most profound animal signs are not the ones that tell you where to go next or what to expect in the year ahead. They are the signs that open the world, allowing you to see something new, even to realize a deeper lever of truth.” She pushes us to cultivate observation skills beyond our “usual” boundaries so we can feel the energy of the deer we hadn’t seen standing next to us in the bushes. She asks us to lose our limited human viewpoint and remove our ego-centric blinders so we can receive the fresh information that the natural world continually offers to us – “divination in nature is not for those who have no room for questioning their beliefs.” In order to help us loosen the grip of our firm convictions, Rising offers provocative questions for reflection in each chapter, too. I found them to be koan-like; I had to stop and really consider what those questions were asking of me.

This book is a jewel. It is much more than a book about the animal powers. It is a guide for how to open our perception to the world around us and broaden our ability to communicate with our co-inhabitants. It is so much more than a dictionary of totem animals. It will challenge you, make you laugh and invite you to step into “the moment of power, the instant when a door opens and one thing changes into another…” as Rising says in her Final Words to us. Divining with Animal Guides: Answers from the World at Hand is well-worth adding to your library.

Divining with Animal Guides: Answers from the World at Hand on Amazon


About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

Open Channel Astrology: openchannelastrology.com