harrier hawk chicks

“Finding a Nest” from Gracious Wild

In this early passage from the book Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks, I share the excitement of finding a nest of a pair of northern harrier hawks. I later confirmed that this discovery was not only novel for me, it was the first ever northern harrier hawk nest found on the island. I joined Jack one evening out above Karana Canyon to help set the live traps. Our hike brought us past the coreopsis forest and stone cross, but the…

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fate free will and karma

Fate, Free Will, and Karma

Most, if not all, of us have a desire to know our futures. A testimony to this is our media. There are so many movies, books, and TV shows that are based in the future. Then there are those that explore the concept of predicting the future and these stories either include an the oracle (think The Matrix) or a time traveler (think Back to the Future and The Lakehouse). There is an entire workforce of psychics that thrives on…

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character courage and commitment

Character, Courage, and Commitment

March is women’s history month and the theme of the month for 2014 is: Character, Courage, and Commitment. This is an interesting set of words, two of which I wouldn’t be inclined to usually study. Typically, I’m interested in words like compassion, kindness, honesty, integrity, and, yes, courage. It was a helpful to spend some time with the theme for the month that includes character and commitment and gain a little more insight into what it means to be a…

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meaning of red-tailed hawk symbolism


Red-tails adapt easily to life with and around humans and, in general, are more in service to humanity than other hawk species. There is a famous red-tailed hawk that has nested on the side of a skyscraper on the edge of New York City’s Central Park for over twenty years. The male hawk, known as “Pale Male”, has an entire film documentary about him, his various mates, and his young. It seems that the spirits prefer to send red-tails as…

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stacey couch on montezuma mixtape

Listen to Gracious Wild on the Radio

Here’s the story… Author Stacey L. L. Couch contacts Ian Mott and Greg Harpel of the radio show “Montezuma Mixtape” about reading excerpts of her book Gracious Wild. She drives two hours to Cortez, CO to meet them for lunch at The Farm Bistro and they all walk a block over to KSJD Dryland Community Radio Station which is located in an old bank. All three of them pack into the recording studio hosted in the vault of the bank. Stacey…

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shamanic journey workshop

On Ambition and Being in the Moment

“What does it take to use the life we already have in order to make us wiser rather than more stuck? What is the source of wisdom at a personal, individual level? The answer to these questions seems to have to do with bringing everything that we encounter to the path. Everything naturally has a ground, path, and fruition. This is like saying that everything has a beginning, middle, and end. But it is also said that the path itself…

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cougar power animal


I stayed at camp, alone, to journal and spend time by the low-flowing Gila river. The sapling cottonwoods I sat cross-legged underneath were failing to provide shade as the sun steadily moved across the sky. The round gravel of the riverbank was growing hot, and the grackles carried on in an otherwise quiet bosque. In a pause between written sentences I stared blankly off across the river and into the forest. The mosaic of green was strangely interrupted by the…

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hawk shamanism

“Passage” from Gracious Wild

The advanced student of shamanism learns many techniques including extraction, soul retrieval, and what’s called psychopomping. Psychopomping involves assisting souls that have died but not yet crossed over in getting to the other side. In this excerpt from me book, Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks, I share how my hawk companion, Thalia, takes on the task of psychopomping the soul of her prey to the other side. This special glimpse into hawk shamanism shows how nature can be…

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what does seagull mean

Spirit Animals: SEAGULL

Seagull Spirit Animal Why do you spot “sea” gulls thousands of miles from the ocean? Do you know if all sea gulls look alike or how many places on earth they can be found? Have you stopped to think where you would find a seagull’s nest or chicks? Have you considered how gulls fish? These were all questions I didn’t have the answer to before the summer of 1999. Then I was offered the opportunity to work with a PhD student…

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polar bear power animal


His world is frozen, with landmarks often hard to find. To make matters more challenging, the wind constantly moves the drifts and the floes carrying his plans and thoughts asunder. He does not have a preference for one way, the way, but rather relies on the wisdom of the ages and the abundance of the underworld to carry him through. He’s been doing this for a long time you see. He was the one who knew who we were before…

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