#Consciousness and Being

Generally, in our culture of physical objects, when we speak of self, we mean something connected with our bodies, or something that belongs to us, something that we possess.
On the immaterial plane, this gets harder to judge.
We could frame it differently: what constitutes identity?
Identity is developed as we proceed through our lives, considering, reacting, gathering experiences and drawing conclusions. We experience identity while conscious, but in dreams, another us may come forth. Our disturbing and unacceptable impulses are projected onto our dream selves, who do what we do not dare. Sometimes our aspirational selves are also projected into reveries. For instance, I’ve had dreams where I’ve sung to an audience in a thrilling and profound voice, though in “real life” I can’t carry a tune.
Are those other selves, those partners that exist in a surreal dimension, part of our identity as well? It depends on how permeable our boundaries are, and how flexible our understanding of consciousness is.
My novel is not a book about shape-shifting. Cora, the falcon totem, exists in another dimension, but yet, paradoxically, she exists deep within the human, Peppa Mueller. If I had to localize her within Peppa, I would place her in the limbic system. Her reactions have almost instantaneous results. One could say Cora has more command of Peppa’s nervous system than she does herself, since Cora is nearer to the driver’s seat.
Peppa, as a human with nineteen years of life experience, during which she’s developed analytical skills, soon realizes the peregrine is an integral part of herself. When she realizes the totem protects her, she names the entity. We name that which we seek to understand, and Peppa, being an analytical woman, wants to come to terms with this new creature.
The naming however, also transforms the peregrine totem, who until then has reacted out of basic instinct to protect the human body, which she refers to as her host. Cora states “I cognate. Therefore I am.” From there, it’s just one step to ordering the relationships in her world. Babies recognize their mother, the being that appears most often in their surroundings. Cora, the falcon, recognizes Peppa, the human who has named her.
We are Cora. We are Peppa.
I think discovering who we are is an interior journey that is the counterpart to our exterior one. With grace, these experiences run parallel, reinforcing each other.

Beautiful Falcon contemplating sunset. The power of nature.
Beautiful Falcon contemplating sunset. The power of nature.