An Introduction to Tracking Signs and Symbols

/ Photo by Ralph Hockens /

“Recording the news means to keep the lines of communication open. It is a real loss when spirit dials our number and finds out that we aren’t listening. Every times it’s busy some major thing passes us, walks away.”
~Malidoma Some, African healer and medicine man

Signs and symbols are life’s divination tools. The key is to keep your eyes open for the unusual. Someone who is driving the wrong way on a one-way street could suggest a friend is misdirected, or the message is for you to reconsider the direction you are taking. When spirit is trying to communicate, a spontaneous, unexpected event will show up.

Tracking signs and symbols requires similar skills as hunters use: patience, movement recognition, and the ability to sit quietly. When you track signs, you are tracking yourself — you are receiving a message on how your life is unfolding.

Here’s a beginning list to start tracking signs and symbols. Have fun!

1. Animals are teachers. Did you notice a deer in your yard or did a special bird come to greet you? Even insects have something to say. Each animal represents a spiritual quality and general habitat that you may need in the moment or during a specific growth phase in your life.

If you see a deer, the deer is a gentle messenger. You will receive relief or positive news in your situation. However, if you see a deer that died on the side of the road, you may encounter a situation where there is no kindness and consideration.

2. Overhearing a conversation. When you hear part of conversation, that line or two that you overheard could be the message you were waiting for that day.

Spirit wants to give you answers. You don’t have to wait to know the answer. When you want to know whether your house has closed yet, or whether you’ve gotten into your college of choice, ask spirit for an answer. Then, listen to conversations that come up near you.

3. Read the other street signs: License plates, billboards, and sayings on T-shirts for messages. If you find a greeting card in a library book, the card may be significant in some way. If you see someone wearing a T-Shirt that has a saying on it, the saying has meaning.

When you see a license plate that stands out, ask yourself what you were thinking that moment or what issue was the issue of the day. I’ve noticed two license plate types: 443owl (numbers with a word) or Golden (a solid word). Some have letters left out, but they seem to make a word anyway like taich4 could mean taichi 4. Fill in the letters as you see fit to retrieve your message.

4. Not your everyday mail. When you receive a letter that’s not yours, it could still have meaning. Lots of mail from a horse trainer who you do not know could suggest you have a connection to horses. If you receive an email from a Peter, but don’t know of one, the repeated emails are hinting that you will meet someone with that name in the near future.

I received a brochure from someone I did not know offering a workshop on how to deal with loss and grief. Within a few months, I encountered a period of loss and grief in my life. Spirit sends you ‘life workshops’ and an announcement to go with it.

5. Strange visitors. If someone comes to your door at your home by mistake, it’s probably not an error at all. This could announce the arrival of a guest, new friend, or significant event.

A man from a real estate agency knocked on our door one evening and asked if we knew of any homes for sale on our street. We said we weren’t aware of any homes for sale currently. Our landlords decided to sell this house and this man’s question and appearance showed us that this was coming down the pike.

6. Sticks, stones, and feathers. Ever walk down a trail and see a group of sticks or stones in a specific formation? Divination symbols (circles, crosses, Runes, etc.) can show up in nature on a trail, on a large stone, on a tree trunk.

I see feathers frequently, and they are always reassuring signs. For example, a feather means a confirmation. We all need a little confirmation that we are on the right track.

Grandmother Twylah of the Seneca says that a feather represents good news. When the feather has no openings in its plume, the news is welcome and it comes all at once. When the feather is separated with holes, the news will come in intervals.
~Brad Steiger, author of American Indian Medicine Dreambook

7. Hearing a song on the radio. Spirit speaks through songs too. Listen to the lyrics closely when a song comes on the radio that stands out to you. Also, if a song keeps playing over in your head, you are receiving a message.

Listen for songs that come on when you first turn on the radio or after a pause on the radio. Spirit doesn’t like clutter and always looks for an open space, that special opportunity to send you a message with an exclamation mark.

8. Colorful landmarks. When you are trying to make a decision, observe the colors in your surroundings. Spirit loves color and will paint your world a specific color to answer to your question.

If you are considering whether to take that new job or not and you’ve seen three bright red cars that day, spirit may be saying — stop, look before you leap. If you are trying to decide between two homes to buy, watch the colors of things on the drive there. Green would suggest a green light. Yellow — yield, reconsider.

9. Honor your emotions as an intuitive signal, your Soul’s Morse Code. We often treat our emotions as junk mail that pours in with no method or magic. Next time a feeling surfaces, listen to the message behind the drama, and you’ll find guidance, instruction, and direction to behold.

Your body and your emotions are some of the best symbols to start tracking because they are close to home. An injured shoulder could suggest you’ve taken on too many responsibilities and rest is the prescription. Crying every morning might indicate that you’ve stayed at your office job too long when you’ve got singing talents that need expression.

Your body and your emotions demand your attention. If you turn the other way, they’ll twist your arm — literally — to get your attention. Spirit is similar. Spirit repeats the message several times in order to reach you.

What signs have you noticed that you would like to share, and how did they actually manifest in your life?

18 comments on “An Introduction to Tracking Signs and Symbols

  1. lynn says:

    on the subject of animals as signs..I recently had a few experiences that I don’t understand and am wondering if anyone out there might have a thought to share…I live in a place where coyotes are not commonly seen and I’ve never seen one until recently..I was driving to a friends house and saw a coyote run towards the center of the street in a rather populated area..he stopped and ran back as I approached..then two nights later on my way home from the same friends house I saw another one closer to where I live..again it was going into the middle of the street and ran back disappearing into the darkness as I approached..this too is a populated area..a few nights later I had a dream of a wild fox that curled up in my lap then later tried to get on top of my head..I mention it because it seems similar to the coyote to me..the following morning on my way to work in the lane next to the one I was driving in lay a dead coyote..his face was so peaceful he looked as if he were just laying there sleeping..I got the same weird feeling and chills I got when I saw the second coyote..any ideas?

  2. Hi Lynn,
    Thanks for your comments and questions! When I see a coyote, I know to stay low, step back, and not get involved usually in some kind of relationship. Coyote warns of getting involved in a sticky situation or drama. He helps us to know when to be visible or invisible.
    I look for other ‘stage props’ that appear when a sign occurs. The primary one is you were on your way to your friend’s house and back. Based on past experience, I would recheck the nature of the friendship. Be cautious of stepping into an emotionally sticky situation that you would probably rather not be in. I’m curious what experiences other people have had when coyote or fox appears?

  3. Dyanne says:

    in the past year, when taking a walk with my spouse, we would pass near a regular street light and it would shut down.

    This would happen to me on different streets while taking a walk.

    It must be a sign; my thoughts are perhaps I am drawing or draining their energy. but I know its odd to think this so; what message could I be getting.

  4. Hi Dyanne,
    Thank you for your comments and questions! One technique I use in interpreting signs is very similar to dream analysis. Consider several options of possible meaning at the start, and then choose the one that feels right to you. Sometimes, all of them apply.
    Lights going on and off around you could suggest you are intuitive and electromagnetic. It’s not uncommon for intuitives to have strange interactions with electricity: watches stop, washers and dryers don’t work, lights go on and off, computers go on the fritz in their presence.
    Spirits will also communicate with lights. If you have a loved one who has died recently, that person could be trying to communicate with you via light switches. Also, we can’t ignore that you were with your spouse when the lights went out. When the lights go out, it’s a mini power outage and your relationship may go through a period where it feels out of sorts. Or something may just need to be brought to light for the relationship to feel its best. Be gentle and flexible with each other.

  5. Melinda says:

    I am always looking at subtle signs to direct my paths. A few weeks ago I noticed the huge paw prints of a bobcat in my garden…………..she use to wander in our neighborhood frequently 3 years ago because it was wooded and underdeveloped….. the area became more populated new houses have been erected and more yet are being built. I found it quite amusing that she would wander so close and in my flower garden….what could that mean?

  6. darcy says:

    Wow, this particular article hit me like a ton of bricks! First of all On the way home from work around 12:30 am one morning I was hit by a deer. It came out of nowhere and jumped into my left front quarter panel. Then on another trip home I saw a coyote running towards me on a bridge, it turned around and ran back from where it came. A couple of weeks later I was in an accident. Someone was trying to pass me on the LEFT while I was taking a left hand turn and yup, hit my left front side of my mini van. The post just above with the lights going out gave me a chill. I had lost a very dear friend of mine and one night driving home from work I asked her for a sign and told her to put out a couple of street lights. Over 15 lights went out ! I also seem to have trouble with electronics not working for me, be it the remote or the computer a camera. I never thought it was my intuitiveness playing havoc!
    I love your website.

  7. Hi Melinda,
    Wow! I haven’t seen a bobcat before, so I had to pull out my trusty reference book to discern the meaning — a book I’d highly recommend called Animal-Speak by Ted Andrews. Andrews asks the following questions if bobcat shows up:
    “Are you being too solitary? Do you need to look for new learning opportunities? Are you or those around you being indiscreet? Are you not trusting your inner senses? Are you allowing others’ outside appearances to sway you? Whenever bobcat is around, it will teach you that there is true power and strength through silence.”
    This book is an outstanding reference book on animal totems that you’ll refer to again and again. Buy the book and read all that Andrews has to say about bobcat. Thanks for sharing your bobcat experience!

  8. Penny says:

    I have recently been smelling the smell of green apples near my pine tree. There are no apple trees in my neighborhood. I know I have psychic smell. Any guesses to what it means?



  9. Hi Darcy,
    Thank you for your comments — you helped interconnect several comments that people have made with your own life stories. It is interesting that theses signs appeared before a car accident — the deer and the coyote. Accidents, especially where another vehicle is involved, often indicate a conflict with another person coming to the surface. Getting ‘sideswiped’ in this accident could suggest that someone let you down, and didn’t come through on an agreement. This person could have a temper. When we are experiencing a conflict like this, it’s a good idea to put some extra protection around ourselves and our vehicle.
    I hope that you are okay and that you didn’t experience any injuries from this accident. Blessings to you and your dear friend…

  10. Amy says:

    #6 Really speaks to me. I have been walking a path around a pond at work. The past couple of days I have noticed sticks in the shape of a pitchfork, diving rod, all pointing fwd or up. Then suddenly today they were all pointing down. They seem to be everywhere I look, on the ground, in the shape of trees. There was also some red berries to the left all still connected to one another in a clump. I noticed there were more red berries on the opposite side today. A few sticks were horizontal big and small. I found one on my front porch in front of the door. I had 2 animal encounters as well. 1s a big rabbit was in the front yard as I was leaving for work. Then later that night I saw a deer by an old gravel pit site. It was unusual to see it there. It was a baby. Neither of them stayed put very long.
    Each time I read your postings it resonates with me.
    It’s so cool 🙂
    I know there’s meaning here but could u help me out a little?

  11. Jim says:

    Thanks Michele, it’s a great article.

    In a recent dream, I saw a herd of cattle which were being fed by a number of people. However, the cows were more furry than I’d have expected. If I remember correctly, I should be in a vehicle looking out at that time (hence I watched that in passing). The dream seemed to be just so short – I couldn’t remember anything else. Any clues on this?

  12. Hi Penny,
    The olfactory sense is very intuitive and also has the ability of retrieving personal memory and history. Given that the green apple scent and pine are working in tandem, this suggests some kind of emotional healing is in store for you. Pine tree is healing and protective, and apple trees radiate joy. This could be the perfect time for a massage, Reiki, cranial sacral, or other healing treatments to assist you. Something from the past may be resolved now. New possibilities open up for you emotionally. Thank you for your comment!

  13. Hi Amy,
    Thank you for your comment and for highlighting #6. Many of the signs are connected to your work, the pond at your work, or on the drive to your work. This suggests changes are afoot with your work. Click on the Rune link under #6 and read about Algiz. It resembles a pitchfork shape. This is a protective Rune. You could make new work associations, expanding your work circle (the pond). Let’s note that the sticks were both upright and also reversed. Screen any new work opportunities and people connections and discern who is the best fit for you. An opportunity may arrive at your door seeking you (stick at your door). The red berries can suggest a passionate, vital connection with your work. Certainly, given all these symbols, follow your bliss in your career! And, don’t delay. Opportunities are ripe between now and December (all the red colors used around the holidays, including the red berries of mistletoe).

  14. Hi Jim,
    It’s easier to interpret a sign when we look at a life like a dream. When we dream, look at the signs unfolding in the dream. It is a reciprocal relationship. Cows represent fertility, earthly matters. I’m also reminded of the term “cash cow” — a business or product that generates reliable and steady cash flow. There are insights into financial possibilities in your dream. Pay attention to ideas and inspirations you are having around establishing your own business. The cows were hairy in your dream. On the one hand, this can suggest insulation and protection from financial challenges, or that things are feeling hairy — chaotic — financially. Listen to the ideas you are having and may they lead you to a prosperous outcome. Thank you for sharing your dream!

  15. nancy says:

    Each day for the past week, I am sitting in my office and around the same time (usually around 2pm) a ladybug will all of a sudden land on my window, directly in front of my desk and crawl upward until it flies away. I am on the 6th floor of a highrise building and I am always fascinated by the ladybug and wonder where it is coming from. I have been struggling a bit out of a relationship lately, and often wonder if this ladybug is some sort of sign.

  16. Leesa says:

    to Nancy…

    if you see a ladybug, it is good luck… count the black spots on it and that is how many months of good luck you will have now 🙂 good luck!

  17. Scott Fernatt says:


    Thank you for the excellent introduction, to understanding signs and symbols. I am in the curious position, (of not being a student or practitioner of any esoteric art), and am having them take over my life. I would truly appreciate any help or direction.
    At age 3 (June 2 1975), I was struck in the back by a teenager on a playground swing. I was knocked unconscious for several hours. When the impact occurred, I was thrown approx. 10 feet and remember laying on my back and watched the light slowly retreat from my eye sockets. The odd sensation of falling lasted till the two pinpricks of light were gone. Being totally self aware , of your existence without a body, or any of the five senses is a strange and terrifying experience. What seemed like a matter of seconds a speck of white light appeared. This speck grew until it formed a symbol. The symbol was that of a circle with a equal length triangle inside. Inside the triangle was a blue fire (or strange pulsating light), It came closer and closer, but with no sense of direction or sense of anything, it seemed to come from everywhere. When the symbol had engulfed me, everything went white, my eyes opened and I was in the hospital.
    I was only three when this happened. I have very few memories past the age of 5, but this one fells like it happened yesterday.
    This symbol has been with me for nearly 40 years now, and I draw it, paint it , doodle it constantly. Unfortunately, dozens more have joined it, along with other strange and terrifying events. (Could write a book at this point). Being the son of very conservative parents (Dad -strict former Marine) and (Mom – a devote protestant christian) I’ve struggled with the mystical and scary quality of my life. Any help, on the meaning of this symbol, would be much appreciated.

    Scott Fernatt

  18. Hi Scott, Thank you for your comment on the New Vision Blog, and for sharing an amazing symbol experience you had at the age of three. Seeing a triangle inside a circle at such a young age suggests you have an affinity for seeking higher consciousness. You have an intuitive sensitivity, an awareness that there is an existence beyond the physical world. You are likely to have more of a spiritual focus in your lifetime. Give yourself permission to explore and study the spiritual, the sacred, the mystical.

    The symbol of the triangle inside the circle reminds me of the symbol for spiritual alchemy. Alchemy is transforming your state-of-being – changing internal elements – turning lead into a gold. A purification process. An awakening. A change of identity to the point that you realize that you aren’t the person you used to be. I’ll email you directly with more information.

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