“It’s a rare man who is taken for what he truly is,” he said. “There is much misjudgment in the world. Now I knew you for a unicorn when I first saw you, and I know that I am your friend. Yet you take me for a clown, or a clod, or a betrayer, and so must I be if you see me so. The magic on you is only magic and will vanish as soon as you are free, but the enchantment of error that you put on me I must wear forever in your eyes. ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
“When I look at you, I see an eagle locked in a cage.” Her words struck my heart with arrows of hope breaking through some of the chains binding it. Someone had seen strength in me. They had seen something powerful and majestic that could ride the wings of the wind. Perhaps the emptiness I felt was only that –the cage. There in the darkness of my life, a light of hope was shown. I could envision the skies somewhere ahead if I could be healed of what had become broken in me.
The power of words, of naming has a magic that does not require unicorns. They are mirrors reflecting back to a person who we see. These mirrors can clear or distort the image in the person’s own mirror depending on the angle from which we aim them. She had aimed the words from presence in the darkness as she, and the others around me that day walked the road toward healing together. Adding to the lights others had shown into my sense of worth words of hope flowed from my pen.
Dancing to the rhythm
Here inside me
Singing out a song
High above the mountains
To an eagle’s song
Wheeling to the rhythm
Into the sunset’s glow
Floating on the northwind
Only eagles go
Walking down the sidewalk
Houses around me
And the trees close in
But inside me
I still hear the music
And I’m dancing
Anywhere I am.
But for an animal held long in a cage, sometimes it takes time to learn to fly again. When first I had come on the computer and found others who could talk with me in the closed off world my life had become, I took the name hopeseeker. When incidences and others helped me see the need to take a step in my life toward living again I changed the name to hopeseagle in memory of those words.
But this eagle had forgotten how to fly and having been separated from other eagles for so long stumbled and fell too often in those first years of trying to find her way to the sky. For a time she chose to walk – safer than the sky – how could anyone ever believe you could actually ride on the wind?
There were moments her inner instinct rebelled and she would find some high place and launch herself into the air. These short flights would reassure her that, indeed, there was an eagle within but the conditionings of her life would set in. Once more she would feel held to the ground.
In 2007 the pain of some memory would crack open another cage she still found she was held within. I would realize how I had allowed a hopelessness to limit my faith and I would begin searching to find a place in a faith community again. It would feel like a foreign landscape with songs that had changed but more, a knowing that I had changed and could never accept form for reality. I had walked among those outside of the safe confines of sacred dogma and had seen a need of something far more real. I could no longer fit the simpler exclusionary faith that had led the way to the cage I had found myself in. However, I also knew that I needed to find my way to others who could support me as I learned to fly again by learning to be the person who could attune to instinct, the essence of who I was born to be, and live out the gifts within.
I felt shame for the years as hopeseagle, hiding the many hard landings as I stumbled in my desire to fly. I took the only name I had left, Coeuri, from the French word for Courageous with its awareness that courage comes from the heart. This would be my nom de plume for forays into conversations on line as I sought as well to find life out here in this wider dimension of living. I would walk, climb a few times, but would come up short when others would not see the eagle.
A name, a song, a story. For too long I have listened to the Mama Fortuna’s within and without whose magic of labels held me bound in the image of their choosing. The eagle within as I was named that day long ago or Kihiwinitsiko — Eagle-friend-woman — later named in Cree by a teacher, lives within me. She is worth the dismantling of the bars or scripts that I have accepted so long to keep me bound. She is worth the time for grieving honestly for what was lost.
We are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream. Still I have read, or heard it sung, that unicorns when time was young, could tell the difference ‘twixt the two – the false shining and the true, the lips’ laugh and the heart’s rue.” — Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
It’s time to let the unicorn of truth show me who I really am.
*By clicking these images, they will open up larger in your browser so you can better read the words of this songs I wrote when I first heard someone could see the eagle inside.