The Language of Intuition: Challenges of Interpreting Signs and Symbols


/ Photo by angela7dreams /

“Events need not be hostile; like a river, the Cosmos flows along a certain course; when we paddle our boat sideways, we hit the bank; when we paddle upstream, we become exhausted and give up, when we go with the Cosmos, all goes well.”
— from A Guide to the I Ching, by Carol K. Anthony

Here are some challenges I’ve faced in interpreting signs and symbols and how I’ve learned to relax into their natural current.

1. Judging events as good or bad.

Events are not good or bad, they guide, instruct and inform. Rather than categorizing them as “good luck or bad luck,” they are merely life instructions and directions to guide you along the way. If you stay neutral, then you will welcome the signs that life brings. If you churn up images of fear, then you will push away messages of Divine assistance. For example, it’s easy to think of witnessing a car accident as a “bad” sign. I’ve certainly felt that way when I’ve seen the aftermath of an accident. But, seeing a collision often means you may hear of a conflict between other people — not a “bad” experience, just something to be aware of.

A sign can also serve as a warning, but it’s not bad luck. It can even save you from a problem or difficulty. A warning can make you aware of a situation before it gets worse. I was driving around a corner in my car and saw another car that looked exactly like one I used to own that was stolen (and later returned) several years ago. I knew right away to be more alert in my driving. I drove a little further and someone almost side-swiped me with their car. Had I not had that little warning, I wouldn’t have taken as much precaution, with who knows what sort of result…

2. Over analyzing life events for their meaning.

Endlessly dissecting a life event with your mind fragments your awareness. Let your intuition be an open window by letting the images and experiences in, then sit down with them in your “living room,” a comfortable welcoming space within. Keep it friendly, and get to know them. Over analyzing scares the intuition into a frozen, fearful state. The intuition is naturally open and focused at the same time, a relaxed state of mind.

When my husband and I lived on Maui, we had a few peacocks living on the property, a male and female named Jamal and Jalal. I left for an hour to go check out another house to rent that would be less expensive, and the two peacocks flew in front of the car and sat in our long drive way blocking the road. I got frustrated and said to them, “Are you telling me you don’t want me to go?” They finally, somewhat reluctantly, moved aside and I went and took a look at the other house. But I soon discovered why they had blocked the way. The property was in a crowded area, and it didn’t have a good feeling about it at all. The peacocks in their own way were saying “Just stay, you won’t like the place anyway.”

The temptation in this situation would be to say: “These birds are annoying, why won’t they get out of the way? Am I supposed to watch the road?” Birds are messengers. Their flight patterns give you hints about life situations and what is to come. Think of signs more like short illustrated stories not complex novels, and the meaning will unfold naturally.

Also, be entertained as if you were watching a life play. The intuition loves to have some fun.

3. Jumping to conclusions rather than staying open.

When you are interpreting a symbol, work broadly first and then zoom in on the meaning. Identify several meanings before choosing one. Practice internal seeing which is focusing on the spiritual meaning not just the most obvious physical meaning. Let’s say you dream of a house where the kitchen is missing. Your first impression might be that you need to replace the kitchen sink again, an external interpretation. But, start with the broader spiritual meaning — a kitchen is the room in which food is prepared, representing health and nutrition. In this case, a missing kitchen might represent health concerns or problems with digestion or nutrients missing in the diet. Recognizing that, then work to the specifics. The key to staying open is to acknowledge the spiritual meaning first. If you thought your kitchen sink just needed fixing, you might miss altogether that your health needed some attention.

4. Ask this question with each life event: How were you healed?

Your intuition serves many roles: the advisor, the peacemaker, the muse, the grandmother, the grandfather, the cheerleader, the protector, the ambassador and language interpreter of many worlds and dimensions. Your intuition desires most of all to keep you connected to your soul and to the heart of the Divine.

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