‹ Go Back

The Oracular Egg



I worry about how unconscious, how absent, people are becoming, as though all that matters resides in their smartphones. They are missing a lot. Reality is so much more interesting.


And the human gift for observation, the ability not only to see but to make deductions from the thing seen, was essential to the survival of our species. Every day, it’s looking more and more like a skill we should resurrect personally rather than assign elsewhere. I had a teaching in this matter in the kitchen the other day.

I had finished my daily journal entry and was preparing to make scrambled eggs for breakfast. I had bought organic, free-range jumbo eggs. I wanted to consume the issue of happy chickens, and I know that cage-free doesn’t mean they get to ramble around a pasture; they could be wing-to-wing in a big barn.

Now, I have cracked many an egg; but on this morning, I found myself staring down into a bowl of double yolks. I don’t remember ever seeing this before. It made me stop and think.


And now I must detour to explain the circumstances. I’m sure everyone gets to little “pause” places in life when you have to slow down, rethink, consider a new course of action, and reboot in some way. I was at that place the morning of the double yolk, having settled into my new home after an arduous move that began three months ago. “Now what?” was the hovering question. Questions are important, essential to answers, let’s say.

And I had learned years ago that inquiry is like an energy that may somehow mobilize a response resident in the wise self–or some other source. The curriculum that introduced me to this possibility existed in walks in the natural world.

Early Cassie and Me on a Lake Michigan Vacation

You can learn all sorts of things if you go into the woods with a good dog, and I had one for many years in my Samoyed, Cassie. By watching her during our morning walks in Nashville, Tennessee, beginning in my early 50s, I tuned into my own senses as never before.

Over time, I began to set out on our adventures in a state of mind like a greeting to attending spirits: “I am here. I am paying attention. Please speak to me.” I could imagine a response: “Oh, good. We’ve got a live one.” And then as some wonder loomed, “Would you look at this!”

Pumpkin Spider

And then on a fall morning as I sadly neared the decision to leave my marriage at age 60, I approached the end of my walk with Cassie feeling downcast because nothing comforting had shown up. And then suddenly, as I approached the car in the parking lot under big trees, a very large, very orange spider dropped and dangled before me.

Its body was round as a marble, its legs striped black and white. It was ascending a web, collecting the material into a bundle of white fluff at its chest. At a juncture with another line, a second bundle waited. The spider collected it and moved on.

It had two black dots on its back like the eyes carved on a pumpkin. I learned later that it was actually a pumpkin spider, and the date was October 26. I was delighted. Not only a greeting had been delivered but also confirmation that it would soon be time for me, like the spider, to bundle up and leave.

Who can explain this? The only thing I know for sure is that if you don’t pay attention, guidance can’t get through.


And I was paying attention a few days ago as I made breakfast. I had cracked the big egg in a moment when I needed some reassurance about my future. After staring for a moment at the two golden eyes looking up at me in the bowl, I went to a section in my library with a hefty collection of books on symbolism and “the spirit language” of nature. I pulled out The Secret Language of Signs by Denise Linn and looked up “egg.”

There I learned that “The egg is a very powerful sign that signals new life and new potential.” Linn goes on to say that it represented immortality in many ancient traditions and even the container for “the mystery of life.” She said that an egg floats above a mummy in one Egyptian papyrus illustration (which I haven’t been able to find) that might signify “life forever in the hereafter.” The entry concluded with the statement, “If this sign appears to you, you are truly about to step into your potential. It is a time of new beginnings.”

Wow! What a great way to start the day! And what about the symbolism of “cage-free”?  I realize that my perspective is a bit unusual for a blog, but the egg said, “Run with it.”

So there you are. I remain grounded in reality, of course, and mummydom is probably more imminent than fame and fortune or some other form of delayed fulfillment, but what a wonderful little coincidence. And an important point is that it was grounded in nature, as in the pasture of the free-ranging chicken. If we lose nature and its wise and eloquent voice, we are done for. Nothing on the screen of the smartphone could ever replace it.

As for any signs about my emerging true potential, I’ll let readers know. I feel like I’ve been given permission to relax, though.


P.S.  A friend sent me the following comment, and I promised that I would share, so here you go:

Two great blogs, Ellen.  Brava!
And whenever I get the chance, I make a point of explaining that cage free and organic eggs sadly do not mean cruelty free. As you so rightly say this often means these poor birds are in an overcrowded barn, wing to wing, never experiencing the joy of a natural outdoor environment.
I urge everyone to buy PASTURE RAISED eggs only, which one can now get at most super markets. Paying SIX bucks for twelve beautiful eggs is not only affordable, healthy protein, it is the difference between ethical, compassionate animal farming and the heinous alternative.
Buy a carton of eggs from Vital Farms next time you are at the super market (Whole Foods carry them) and you will find an informative leaflet in the carton which will explain their mission – “to operate with a well defined set of agricultural practices that accentuates the humane treatment of farm animals”!
Please pass on this information and educate. Thank you.




2 Responses to “The Oracular Egg”

  1. Maggie

    Well, I thought your OK Citi Bug Off was my favorite blog but now this one has me thinking about that. You have some great lines and so many deep observations that once again I am impressed and delighted reading your blog. Of course having Cassie in this one and your love for her and acknowledgment of how we learn from our dear 4 legged family members was striking. Your comment about potentiallly losing nature is right on! It ties back to losing our ability to make observations because our faces are tied to screens. In closing you are again absolutely correct about reality being more interesting. Love it! Thank you so much, Ellen.

  2. Carolyn

    Dear Celery Ellen,
    A very dear Native American man was riding with me in as I drove to the Bosque. He was talking about the ‘old ways’ and how his father drilled into his mind and spirit,”PAY ATTENTION!”
    He talked about voices in the forest. I told him that I look to the clouds.
    We all find our way to Nature when we pay attention.
    Thank you for a beautiful blog.