Animal Symbolism—The Woodpecker

Animal Symbolism—The Woodpecker

A winding dirt trail snakes upward, hugging the ridge that overlooks a shallow lake, as geese and ducks float on the sparkling water below. The sound of tap-tap-tap echoes nearby in the woodland of oak and pine trees. I slip on my woolen hat. Even though it’s spring, the air is chilly. I inhale the loamy scent of leaves and moss and growing things with delight as I saunter along the sandy trail, glad to be free of technology and my to-do list.

Tap-tap-tap! Much louder this time—Woody the Woodpecker must be nearby. I glance upwards, scanning the old trees for a red-headed bird, which should be easy to spot since all the trees only have the tiniest of buds forming. I wonder if Woody found any insects yet?

Up ahead on the trail, I spot a woman dressed in a winter coat, with a pair of binoculars pointed upwards. Her brown mutt greets me with a few sniffs, then wags his tail.

“Did you find a woodpecker?” I asked, petting her dog.

She lowers her expensive looking binoculars and smiles. “I did.”

We share our love of birds and nature. She reveals that she likes to come to the woods often and see what she can find. I tell her that I always wanted to get into birding and she suggests that I go to the Cape May Bird Observatory to find a pair of binoculars.

“Would you like to take a look?” She offers her binoculars to me.

I take them and locate the woodpecker first, then bring the binoculars to my eyes. What a beauty! It’s brilliant red head so bold in the sunlight. I watch it slip in and out of a hole in the uppermost part of the dead tree, looking for grubs I suspect.

After a few minutes of bird watching, I return the binoculars and thank her, then go on my way. And then it hits me—this was no accident! It’s a sign. I have been meditating regularly and connecting to my Higher Self in an effort to get answers directly from Source. And here was a communiqué! Let me explain…

If I look at this entire meeting/synchronicity/sign like a Waking Dream, the message becomes clear. But first, what does the symbol of Woodpecker mean?

The woodpecker is connected to the rhythm of life, communication, and discrimination. Are you following your own rhythm? Are you discriminating and communicating your needs clearly? If a woodpecker shows up there is an opportunity for you—the door is wide open. It’s also a time to use determination and become more resourceful.

The symbol of woodpecker asks you to feed your creative vision. Have you neglected a project? Maybe it’s time to dust it off and start again!

Also, the woodpecker can signal a time to trust our intuition, our deep roots of being. Dr. Carl Jung believed the woodpecker was a symbol of a return to the womb of creativity as well as our ideas. The tree is a perfect symbol for the womb with its deep roots securely in the ground, and a nest safely in the strong boughs.

Woodpecker also symbolizes a fierce determination to protect anything that is sacred to us.

And what does meeting this woman with binoculars mean as a symbol? Binoculars represent being able to see something or someone more clearly and taking in ones environment and possibilities. It might also suggest looking ahead into the future to see what is before you.

To sum it all up, I believe the message is that I’m on the right path and to pay close attention to opportunities that may be coming. And to keep the right rhythm of my life going so that I stay healthy; trust my gut and communicate my needs, and remember to use discernment and discrimination in all of my dealings, so that I protect what I have already created.


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Shelley Shayner

Also known as the Artistic Mystic, Shelley is a published author, an award-winning artist, and an intuitive. She has written and illustrated children’s books, adult non-fiction books, and journals. She has a B.A. in Illustration and there is always a painting in progress on her easel; her favorite subject matter is animals, nature, or some kind of fantasy. Shelley is also a spiritual advisor, a Reiki master, and a dream expert. She teaches workshops on Spirit Animals, Dreams, and Art.

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