Flight to Freedom
Book Review by Angela Earle
How One Woman Defies the Odds to Assist Injured and Orphaned Birds of Prey
By Diana Lynn Siderides, 172 pages ©2000
This isn’t only a book about birds of prey, or a book about one woman’s journey in establishing a habitat and recovery center for them, it’s about the deeper soul’s journey of wounded beings, of willingness, healing, and of listening. Birds of prey don’t have a lot of nuances to their emotions regarding people: they either love or hate you and the only way you know the difference is by being able to speak their language, or through broken bones and nearly-pecked out eyes (both of which the author has survived during her training). Diana Siderides, who began Flight to Freedom in 1985 in Boise (and now living in Bozeman, MT), was listening, not only with her eyes and ears, but with her heart and soul.
What makes this book so special is that Diana is very upfront and matter-of-fact about her usage of alternative and complimentary treatments on the birds that come her way. She is a Reiki Master, trained in a prestigious lineage, and uses the energy modality daily in her work with injured, abandoned, and non-releasable birds. She not only works on them, though, she works with them. She communicates with them, gives them what they need, what they ask for, and
helps them “transition” when it is their time to move on. She doesn’t perceive herself as “special” in any regard, and in fact, she thinks we all have these latent abilities and simply need to open ourselves up and learn the language of the world around us. She respects the birds’ instinctual habits, and seems to ask nothing in return except the opportunity to be of service.
In addition, Flight to Freedom is her own story, how she came to be here, what she has gone through on her path, and her own process
of self-discovery. Through her work with the birds, she is able to go deeper within herself. Through her work with what appear to be abandoned, misfit, outcast creatures she is able to heal experiences in her own past and through finding the beauty, love and glory in the birds, she is finally able to see those qualities within herself.
There’s no happy ending with all of the loose ends pulled together perfectly. This story asks us, What if every step were made in spirit, and our eyes and ears were always open? For Diana, this is a necessary way of life, and as she is a student of the birds, she becomes a teacher for us.
I mentioned earlier how hard it is to watch an owl or a hawk die when it is in my care. On the other hand, I feel that I must not allow myself to get in the way of this happening if this is what is meant to be. All raptors that come into my care do so with the knowledge that I will be unconditional in my efforts to respond to their needs….Five days after I stopped force-feeding the second baby barn owl, he transitioned. In human terms, this little fellow put up one brave attempt to beat the odds but he finally succumbed to his fate. My heart was broken for he was a very courageous little boy. Yet he did it his way, under his own terms. I realized that he was now totally free of his physical burdens and pain and had become spirit. This brought happiness to my heart. (pp. 93-4)
To order Diana’s book, or find out more information on her workshops on Reiki and Animal Communications visit: www.pathwaystounderstanding.com