After a particularly hard day I found myself uncontrollably sobbing in my window. It felt like the world was moving without me; I was alone, my partner was in China for several weeks and I was very ill. My birdcage / home was my own little impenetrable bubble used to isolate me from the world but in moments like those I felt like the world enjoyed me not being part of it. Blah, woe is me.
I looked out my window and I saw nothing new, the sun had set but the sky was still a dull blue and I could barely see anything between the sobs and blurry tears. I heard it before I saw it, I think… On top of a fence right outside my window there was a blackbird. Not a huge distance away like most birds, but right on my window at this late hour of the day. It started singing. It looked right at me and would not stop singing. It flew up to my window, looking right at me and continued singing loudly.
I’m clearly looking for significance in something insignificant, to make myself feel special, blessed or noticed. –But the bird wouldn’t move, kept staring at me and would not stop singing! And I felt weirdly comforted. Having been brought up through catholic schools and I am aware stories of people finding Jesus or God after being visited by an animal or some kind of symbolism. The idea of finding comfort or significance to create meaning has always been nonsense to me; as long as it pleases others it clearly does no harm. It was just strange.
While I looked at the bird warbling away I saw something out the corner of my blurry eyes and saw a screwed up tea towel, it looked like the shape of a person cowering or crawling. It’s a pose / position I recognise from particularly tough times in my life, and I looked at it while listening to that bloody bird singing at me.
Desperate to shake off this stupidity before I became a born again Christian, I drew the image on my fridge so I wouldn’t forget what I had seen or how it made me feel. The bird continued for about 20minutes until I decided to leave my window and go to bed.
A few days later I was in my window feeling worlds different while enjoying a coffee in the sunshine with a smile on my face. I looked up while I was smiling about something and I saw a blackbird (probably not the same one) on the end of my fence, it looked at me for a few moments as I smiled and then it flew away.
I have heard references of blackbirds in pop culture, music and poems but I never really knew the reference. The album Blackbird by Alterbridge to me is just a bad memory of an ex-boyfriend I’d rather forget. I was curious to find any religious, spiritual relevance of being visited or comforted by a Blackbird.
The most common results I found said the blackbird represents wit, intelligence, freedom and perspective – but that’s a description of the bird as a totem. There are several religious symbolism interpretation of being visited by a blackbird; in the Christian faith the blackbird is a representation of temptation and cardinal sin or seen as messengers of god linking the mundane life with the spiritual and generally seen as a good omen. Anyone else getting mixed signals?
Druid legends say the singing of a blackbird can put a listener to sleep or induce a deep trance taking the listener to a new world. No more mushrooms for you druids!
So I guess there’s no definitive interpretation of what mystics might assume to be a spiritual visit all I know is:
Significance or not, it’s weird to think out of all things… I was comforted by a bird.
And I hate birds.