The Groundhog Story: Guidance From An Unexpected Messenger

On many occasions I have used waking experiences for divine guidance in the same way I use dream experiences. I look at what is playing out before me, and assume it offers a message as guidance on my journey to being my true self. The Groundhog Story, recorded in May, 2015, is one example.

It is late May and I am enjoying a cup of coffee on our screened in back porch, totally absorbed in the sounds and scents of our backyard.  It is early in the morning so I am hoping to see the bunny that often appears either in our yard or our neighbor’s yard, but only the birds are showing themselves as they peck at the grass.

Suddenly a large furry animal comes from behind our shed and scampers right up to my screened in window.  It moves swiftly, straight to me, with eyes on me all the time.  It rises up on its hind legs and stares right into my face! It appears to be about 2 feet tall.

It is big, healthy looking, and full bodied, with a thick golden-brown coat of fur.  It stands there staring at me and I stare back in amazement.  I acknowledge the animal with a bow of my head.  Then it scampers off to the neighbor’s and scurries under their shed.  I feel this is very significant, that this is a messenger delivering a message.

I am not sure what the animal is but I suspect it is a groundhog.  I had never seen it here before, and I have lived here 10 years. I go straight to my book on animal symbolism to see what it says.

Interpreting the Experience

When there is an encounter with nature, especially one that is that unique, I have found it is worthwhile to pay attention, to consider it to be more than a coincidence, to stop, look, and listen for a connection with something going on in my life. There is a wonderful resource on nature’s creatures and their habitats by Ted Andrews, Animal Speak. He also provides myths, symbolism, and spiritual connections associated with the creatures that offer a way to shift my perspective when looking for deeper meaning.

When I looked up “Groundhog” in Animal Speak, the following aspects in the second paragraph stirred a reaction in me.

  • Known for digging and tunneling ability
  • Reflects the ability to get deep within an area of interest
  • Can appear when a new area of study is about to open up
  • Groundhog takes 2 years to fully mature – can reflect an endeavor that may take two years to come to full fruition
  • This may reflect 2 years of intensive study, digging, and building

Although the description of the groundhog covered two pages, it was this section that captured my attention with a sense of discomfort. That discomfort was the invitation to look deeper, to seek a connection.

Finding Divine Guidance in the Encounter

Since retiring seven months earlier, I had spent significant time sorting stacks of papers with stories, dreams, and sketches into selected journals – morning meditation journal, evening prayer journal, dream journal, art journal, and daily journal. This was in preparation for writing my first book and launching a practice in spiritual direction. Retirement meant I had the time to be fully committed.

Everything in that paragraph on the groundhog felt like it related to this endeavor, but what was bothering me was the reference to two years! I thought I would be ready by the fall, or by January the latest, to publish and launch. After all, I was spending every waking hour on this. I really resisted the notion that this could take two years!

When January 2016 came and went, I let go of my angst and trusted the wisdom of my divine messenger. This was going to take time, even with my full attention, and with intensive study and digging deeply it would come to full fruition. My practice was launched as a registered business in March 2017, and my book was published that June – two years from that encounter with the groundhog.

Questions for Circle Discussion

Nature is a wonderful venue for feeling a real connection with Divine Wisdom and seeking direction. Whether it’s a
walk in the neighborhood, a trip to the park, or a stroll on the beach, we can invite Divine Wisdom to reveal the insight we need for our journey. Then, whatever captures our attention becomes a message. (
Or a messenger!) The ABC Path to True Wisdom, p.80.

However, like dreams that offer divine guidance, there are also occasions when encounters with nature happen for our health and well-being through Divine Grace.

  1. When have you had an unexpected encounter with nature that impacted your journey to being your true self?
  2. When have you turned to nature seeking wisdom and received an insight that brought clarity to a troubling situation?
  3. Scientists continue to make discoveries on the interrelatedness of all life. How connected do you feel with Nature and Her creatures?

To get the most from your Circle gathering, read the Circle Guidelines.


©2021 Teresa Lampmann

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