It was only a half day gig, but I was covering French. I know maybe five words of French so there would be no winging it if we ran out of things to do, which we did. The teacher left very limited assignments, which were accomplished in the first third of the class time, and it was a lovely day for December. Blue skies, a light wind, temps hovering around 50 degrees fahrenheit….
So we went outside, naturally. Apparently the French class never goes outside, but yesterday we did. I have learned that playgrounds are not limited by age, only the imagination. Who doesn’t like the weighty drop of a swing after the soar? Well they don’t have swings on the middle school playground in my town, but they do have a things to play on that integrated into the natural environment. There are wooden beams to balance on and hang from, ropes to navigate, and plenty of fields surrounded by trees that beg to be run through and explored. There are few things better than watching a middle schooler give away all cares and run with abandon outside. And, our work was done for the day. We had no excuses.
Nature is transformative. Before we went outside, clusters of middle schoolers were beginning to form to talk not about French, but each other. They were supposed to be practicing their vocabulary words in small groups, but the inevitable “Who do you like?” game quickly formed between two of the clusters. I observed for a while as I pretended to read.
“Okay, let’s go outside!”
The transformation was instant. Everything else forgotten, except who was going to get the football from the gym. If truth be told, I’d spend the whole day subbing outside. Weather permitting. Nothing beats Nature’s Classroom. The benefits are pretty much endless.
I often tell my yoga classes to “get outside” to ground their bare feet through Earth, which has a magnetic polarity just like our bodies do. We need that connection to feel balanced and well. Even if we have to wear shoes. We need the feel of the elements. The wind moving into our lungs, the sun activating joy and that essential nutrient called vitamin D…
I spent the first have of this past Saturday in a suicide prevention workshop and one of the issues we discussed was the high rate of suicides here in the Northeast where are winters are long and sunlight is limited. When we don’t get outside and receive that essential connection to Earth and the elements on a regular (daily) basis, we fall more easily into depression. As a substitute teacher of the middle grades, I care more about the wellbeing of my charges than I do their grades. I believe that’s my job. I can’t possibly know the ins-and-outs of each subject in each grade that I cover, nor can I know the performance record or learning habits of each student, but I can pay attention to their wellbeing.
With the exception of the underdressed (there are always a few who refuse to gather jackets), there is always reluctance to head back indoors after the allotted time outside is finished. That, to me, is a sign of time well spent. Before we went inside yesterday, I noticed that even the underdressed child with her arms tucked into her shirt had been singing for the entire ten minutes. There is nothing better.
The next morning, my husband and I returned to the site of the dragon/lizard, leaving our two teenagers behind to sleep in. The night we arrived in California, the moon was full. Three days later, it had begun to wane but the morning held onto the image of its fading face as we set out into the dry, dusty landscape of Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks once again.
This time we lingered at the junction of paths, debating whether to venture left towards Paradise Falls, or take a sharp right up the hill. The coyote from the day before was nowhere in sight, so we followed the tug of the hill and took the hand of chance. Actually, we both borrowed baseball-sized rocks from Earth, holding them in our palms just in case…before returning them on our descent.
The journey up the back of the dragon, although shorter in distance than the day before’s path, was quite strenuous. It didn’t take long for the heat to build inside us and soon we were both peeling off our outer layers to be tucked around our waists. We could not help but chuckle at the two hikers coming down the path in their matching pink windbreakers, zipped tight to the chins. “Must be locals,” we concluded.
Aside from the the passing by of the two ladies in pink, our hike was almost eerily silent. No coyote. No snakes. Not even a raven…Somehow, like the prior day’s encounters, today’s lack of visitors seemed perfectly fitting. But I’m not being entirely honest either. There were the watching stones that filled the spine of the dragon, bringing the kind of discomfort that makes one turn to look over one’s shoulder. More than once.
But I’m okay with watching stones. I’d have been rather disappointed with the alternative. Watchers remind us of the living spirit(s) that embody the land. In such a place as we were, they are expected. No wonder the coyote had watched us the day before. Testing. Seeing if we were worthy of the climb.
I don’t know if we passed the test, but we were, at the very least, allowed to enter a space still bearing the imprint of magic. That, to me, is enough. I have learned the land’s secrets are not always revealed in one (or two) visits, if they are to be shared at all. Most often there is first a test (the coyote) before initial entry is allowed. And, sometimes the stories unfold in their own time. Imprinting the cells with a whisper before they dig into the marrow of magic.
There was, though, at least a glimpse of what once was, and what could still be…In the distance, uncaptured by camera, I spotted the head of a second dragon. Miles away from the “Lizard Rock,” it jutted over a faraway valley, tracing the undulating length of the spine we had summeted. And I wondered, for a long moment, what it might be like to walk the entire length of the body…
It’s that time of year, again. At the end of the driveway, the machine is parked. The man who drives it has had to move it twice. First for my daughter on her way to class, then for my husband on his way to work. Each time the bucket descends and the engine roars back to life. It’s now blocking the entrance and exit, again. Parked at the end of the driveway it has better access to the maple whose branches are threading the electric wires.
Who was there first? It doesn’t matter. We humans have taken over time and place to claim them both as our own. I have been reading a lot of nonfiction these days. Books about the land and our relationship to it. Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer took much longer than its short length would insinuate. It was not an easy read, just like Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass was not. The words both beautiful and heart-wrenching, reminding us that we are a part of this living land. Stewards, if we choose to be, but always Earth’s children.
I can see the workers outside the dining room window. They lay their tools on the snow bank. A red metal can holding gasoline lifts to fill the chainsaw. I can hear its whine getting ready to work. I recall Sue Vincent once remarking, “I like to think of it as a haircut” when trees and bushes are being trimmed. Her comment was filled with empathy, but also reason. When we take away the guilt and the sorrow, we can move into the space of gratitude and abundance. Limbs grow back, just as hair does.
Yet, we also know that plants, in their own way sense pain. They send out warning signals to their neighbors when they are in danger. Their energy spikes into a wavelength that indicates panic. We cannot truly know what a tree feels. We can only guess. We can take scientific readings of chemical reactions. Infuse our own emotions upon their bodies.
And, we can always move into the space of gratitude and love. Science has shown us what we already know, that all life responds to love. And so I find myself residing with intention while the maple outside my window is getting its branches trimmed. I am thinking of the tree, but also of those tasked to trim it. They are both worthy of my love and gratitude. Working, in their individual ways, to support life. I am grateful it is winter here. The live force within the maple less active than during the growing season. Hibernation, I hope, is a type of anesthetic to the cut. And, perhaps, so is my love.
We left the eye with more questions than answers. Inside my mind’s eye I could still see the figure of white light standing over the pyramid stone. Waiting for our arrival. Waiting for the white pillar of crystal I had promised to seed at its base.
It was a short walk, through the tangle of roots and moss, to get back to the stone that had filled my thoughts for two months. I dropped my backpack nearby, and began digging through the contents for the wrapped selenite and Sophia’s small pyramid of rose quartz. As I searched for the pink stone, a noise rustled the forest into alert and we knew hikers were approaching.
Worry set in a bit as I wondered if we would be interrupted when it really matter most, but I soon discovered that our visitors were, in essence, just what we needed. A heaviness had set in after leaving the guardians and the white boulder. I, personally, felt a bit of an unease as to whether we were really meant to be near the “eye,” or had tried to “look” too closely at what was not meant to be observed. But there had been the wren, and I had to believe there was a purpose to our visit, even it if was not wholly revealed.
The wolf-dog appeared before his human companion. Later, Deb would remark about how even her appearance seemed more than accidental. A tall blond with blue eyes filled with an ethereal light. She and her rescued husky brought a joy that was much needed. That had somehow dissipated after our climb.
Ari and his caretaker had lightened our collective mood, and after their departure we decided to take a few moments to ground ourselves with some food and water. It was clear, through our visitors, that we were not meant to rush.
Trusting the inner guidance I was receiving, I suggested we form our own pyramid to seed our offerings and then join our energy with the energies surrounding us.
It was a natural unfolding, the white pillar slid into darkness, settling well below the base of the mighty stone above it, while Sophia and Deb seeded their stones at the points of their calling. No one else appeared from the trails as we gathered together again to extend our arms into three sides. Each voice, in turn, opening to words of gratitude for our presence being allowed. And, our offerings being received.
Our work soon felt complete, and a quiet fatigue settled in as we began to make our descent down the mountain. Although we shared words, we were also individually wrapped in the processing of our experiences. I, wondering if the lines might shine a little brighter than when I had first arrived on the serpent mountain two months prior. And, perhaps, a little more opened. Lines rejoining as the crystals settled back into the body of the Mother.
“It’s a snake!” Deb announced, as I shrieked and jumped back into the arms of Sophia.
“Oh gosh,” I apologized. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare it away.”
A garter snake, well into adulthood, its brown and tawny body blending with the earth, slithered away from our path and into the underbrush of the forest.
I thought of Shesha, the snake-boy from my book. The fourth character in the six to appear that day. And we all thought of Isis. It seemed a fitting guide for the end of our journey.
The small blue car coasted down the mountain with more ease than it had ascended. As we turned the corner to join the main road, a bear arose from the wooden face of a store placard. There, before me, was my sign from Sula, the bear-girl. All that was left was Dell. The otter girl. I realized the chances of seeing an otter that day were slim, but still I wondered if the hexagram would complete itself.
Less than twenty-four hours it would. Opening the screen of my computer, an otter would appear. It was time to await the next journey. Wherever and whenever that might be.
When we arrived at the pyramidal stone that had caught my eye during my first visit, I found myself worrying a bit about encountering other hikers. The stone is not far from the intersection of three trails, making it likely we would not be alone. Yet I need not have worried. All beings we met seemed to be messengers even when they were not aware that they were.
I pointed the stone out to Sophia and Deb, who could not deny the significance of its shape. It also seemed to mark the entrance to an area that pulled us into a desire to explore, and so after paying our regards with the knowing we would return, we ventured off the beaten path.
I immediately had the sensation of entering into what felt like the body of the dragon. Dimension began to slip away, and the mind softened as the inner sight opened. I knew my companions were feeling the opening too, but I would not know until we rejoined how similar our experiences were.
As I walked, past dreams and visions started to knit together, as worlds folded into each other. As strange it all seemed, it also made sense. At least to the degree I was meant to understand that day. I soon discovered the land here holds its secrets tightly guarded and a trust must be earned to enter into their mysteries.
An other-worldly presence was undeniably evident, it turns out, to all of us. The face in the pyramid stone that had appeared during my trip in July, along with the large stone head at the beginning of our walk that day, could no longer be claimed as mere coincidences. I am a skeptic by nature, but I could not deny what I was seeing once Deb and Sophia revealed that they, in fact, had seen the same.
Yet it wouldn’t be until later, after I had some time to digest the experience, that I would begin to connect the dots and wonder how lives past and present were weaving together for a purpose just beginning to be defined. “Ammon Ra!” I was nowhere near Egypt, but the pyramids were everywhere, dimensions had collapsed the stars into Earth, and one tiny messenger was about to lead us to a mysterious eye.
I believe it was Deb who first spotted the tiny brown bird flirting among the shadows of the trees. It flew just beyond our reach, and difficult to detect. Were it not for its voice, we may have lost it. Yet despite its illusive nature, the bird seemed to beckon us to follow, and so we did. It was, in my mind, without a doubt, another messenger. Perhaps our most important one.
“I think we need to go there. In fact I know we need to go there,” I announced as I pulled my companions into the undergrowth of a path that wasn’t marked by human footsteps. The energy of the beacon had an undeniable force, yet there was a point when I knew we must stop.
Surrounding us were guardians staring out from the trunks of trees, peering through the visages of moss covered stones, and leering up at us through darkened holes. I was beginning to feel rather like I was in some Tolkien novel and the words, “Thou shalt not pass,” echoed through my mind.
We gathered between the grumpiest “troll” and the wooden head of a dragon guardian, forming a makeshift triangle on the uneven earth after we placed offerings of herbs and corn near the watchful eyes.
On one side of us was the alpine forest, on the other, an immense white stone. If I had any doubts it housed the treasure being guarded, they soon disappeared.
Soon after our eyes closed in meditation, the serpent appeared. Its body emerged from the white boulder just over the head of Sophia and quickly wrapped the crown of our trinity. There it held us until we were finished.
“She’s standing in wait,” I whispered, eyes still closed and fixed upon the pillar of white energy waiting by the pyramid stone. Who she was, I still cannot say for sure, but she knew we were coming, and I was pretty certain I had seen her before. I recalled the “white goddess” who appeared in England at the foot of my bed years before, pulling the bedclothes back, urging me to surrender to the fey queen’s bidding. I thought also of Sophia, who had pulled the card for Isis before we had left. Was this her serpent energy that wrapped us tight?
It was after we rose from our mediation that I really looked at the white rock we stood beneath. “It’s the eye,” I don’t know how I knew it, but I was certain of my words.
Sophia, drawn to the curious markings that crisscrossed its surface, tried to get closer. The soft earth of the lid pulled her back and she lost her footing. “I don’t think we’re meant to go any nearer,” Deb and I both declared.
After a taking a few photographs, it was clear the “eye” had given has all of its gifts for the day. It was time to complete the mission of our journey and return to the pyramid stone and offer up the white pillar from Mystery Hill.
There were at least as many pyramids as there were hearts along the journey that led us to one particular stone pyramid at the crown of the dragon. Too many to count, and probably a lot that were missed by our eyes. It seemed, though, like the hearts, more than a coincidence… Pyramids carved into the faces of stones, stones opening to their portals such as the one above, and rocks that had somehow fallen from Earth’s openings into perfect pyramidal shapes.
Guides continued to appear as we ascended the mountain. Soon after the chipmunk, a call rang through the canopy above. “It sounds like an eagle,” Sophia remarked, “I was told an eagle would be here today.”
We did not see the eagle, but days before I had seen an eagle twice in my travels. Three times in total this summer.
Followed by the eagle, was a yellow butterfly spotted by Deb. It was becoming a little uncanny. Not only were these common guides in my personal life, the eagle and butterfly are two of the totems in my Warriors of Light series. And it would get stranger from there…
Worlds started to collapse as the mountain watched us walk its body. So many watchers, I would later remark that I was grateful I did not take this journey alone.
After that rather shocking encounter with the rock face that looked like the head of a galactic being, we were constantly aware of being observed. Ents appeared in the taller trees and trolls below them. Some seemed happier than others about our presence and it was clear we were walking in a land that did not really belong to humans.
A land, we would feel every-increasingly, that was guarded with a purpose. And, was alive with forces that, well, seemed other-worldly. Unlike in many of the places I have visited in England, where the magic of the land was enhanced by an ancient sophisticated society that moved and placed stones with deliberation, here mighty stones formed uncanny alignments by the forces of Earth.
Yet there were so many similarities. The feeling of dimensions collapsing and realms mixing. The feeling of forces dormant and waiting to be reawakened…it was more than obvious a dragon lines ran through this land, and the three of us could not help feeling and seeing that the stars also had a special alignment with this serpent mountain.
And, even though we had not chosen to walk the path of the water lines, the feeling of the element was present. It was held in the body of the stones with whale beings seemingly embedded into the body of the dragon. Fire and water. Alchemy. I couldn’t help but think of how the magical hexagram was here. And I could only hope that the lines were still alive here, even though there were obvious disruptions. Most notably, the towers of metal we could not bring ourselves to linger near for too long (much less photograph) that several feet (thankfully) away from the crown.
Memory and intuition brought us to the crown even though we were walking an unfamiliar path to get there. The increasing pulse, pulling us to our destination to place our offerings and heed the land’s calling, whatever it may be. And if it were not for the wren, we may never have seen the eye…
We left at 9:30am. Three women, piling into my little blue car to fulfill a promise I had made with a dragon. And a stone. We had everything we needed, or so I hoped. To be honest, I wasn’t wholly sure what we needed, or what at all to expect. All I knew was where I needed to go and what I needed to leave behind.
My offering was wrapped in gold satin at the bottom of my backpack. A gift unearthed six years before at in a place where it shouldn’t be by my daughter. I couldn’t deny I would miss it, just as I had the Raven’s Crystal but this too was not mine to keep.
Inside the pack, with the pillar of selenite, were my snacks and water, some tissues, bandaids, my wallet, windbreaker, and three bundles of sage and lavender from my garden. There had been no more dreams or visions, aside from the returning memory of a journey with my two companions to the Mystery Hill where my daughter had found the offering years before. They, in turn had brought their own offerings, which later we would realize were perfect. Being led, like me, with few clues but with a willingness to discover whatever awaited.
The signs began to become obvious when we pulled the car into the base of the mountain. Although its electric charge was now at zero, the gas meter read 333 miles remaining in the tank. When I glanced at the sequence of 3s, then shared the number with my companions, it became obvious why we had formed a trinity for this journey. There had been a moment of guilt days before, followed by an extension of the invitation to others to join, but in the end we were left with the three I had envisioned. And, somehow we had settled, without knowing it, to embark on the day of a new moon, because it was simply the only day that worked.
Deb and I jumped out of the car to pay the park fee, get maps and make an inquiry.
“Can you tell us how to get to the Serpent Ridge trail,” Deb asked a dumbfounded attendant. I had an impulse to nudge her when I saw the look on the attendant’s face.
“There’s no trail by that name.”
“Yes there is,” Deb insisted, “readying her phone to pull up the evidence.
“Never mind,” I interjected.
I’m okay with not being considered “normal,” and perhaps a tad bit “crazy” by some people’s standards, but I saw no point in further alarming the poor woman behind the glass who seemed pretty close to making use of her own phone. To call the authorities.
“We saw it online,” I said. “It was probably just named that by some hiker, never mind.”
The car chugged up 2/3 of the mountain with some effort while Deb and I shared our experience at the gate with Sophia. Marking the beginning of a steady stream of jokes and much laughter that would carry us through to end of our day.
The air was colder than I had anticipated, and the sky threatened a rain that never released from the clouds when we disembarked from the overheated car. Resting nicely in a near-empty lot, we left the vehicle behind to eat lunch.
“What time is it,” Sophia inquired.
The next time I would look at the clock on my phone it would be 12:44.
“Should we take the slut trail or the slab,” Sophia wondered as she studied the map.
“Slot, Alethea, Slot!” That was it, we were doomed. I could have blamed the wind for the tears, but it was pretty obvious that the three of us had reverted back to childhood. Laughter would turn out to be the balm we needed as we descended into the darkened forest.
Our first guide was a familiar one. “I was wondering if you’d be here,” I greeted the chipmunk as it scurried from stone to stone beside us.
“Do you remember the chipmunk at America’s Stonehenge,” I asked my companions. They recalled its uncanny hoping to the stones where our eyes needed to linger. This one, though, stayed with us for just a short time. There was another guide yet to make its appearance. A guide that would make me think of Sue.
I took it as a good omen we were in the right place, but I think the old man who passed by moments later thought I was as looney as the gatekeeper did Deb. More laughter, of course, ensued.
The next being we encountered stopped us in our tracks. Nestled into the roots of two birches aside the path, it was impossible to miss.
“It looks like…”
“I had the same thought.”
All three of us, apparently, saw the same image encased in stone. And what we saw foreshadowed what was yet to come.
She stands alone in the vast echoing darkness, as she does each day. Her hair ripples a night without stars from her crown to her waist. “Ammon Ra!” She calls through the portal. “Ammon Ra!” She raises her scepter to the apex, heralding the opening. “Ammon Ra!” Darkness slips away to the effortless lift. Stones becoming an illusion to weight. Her body, the channel for the sun, her voice, the gateway. “Ammon Ra!” Dimension collapses into waves of light, filling the great pyramid it searches for the veins. “Ammon Ra!” The scepter meets the floor and gold spills into the ground in a vast web without endings. Below the feet of the priestess, Earth pulses with energy. Tomorrow she will return. And the day after that…
It’s a hot morning in mid-July and I am climbing a mountain that has called to me through the channel opened to the higher self. I am not thinking of Egypt or a long ago time that has rippled back to this one. Instead, I am trying not to think, allowing myself to surrender to whatever will be. It is hot. Airless. Just as it was a year before when I climbed another mountain with my husband on our anniversary because it called me from a place beyond logic.
Instead I have brought a packet of tobacco leaves, as I did when I climbed to see Chocorua. It is not yet time to bring the crystal, now I know why my daughter dug the wand of selenite out of a sandlot six years before I would find myself inside a vision of life that is woven into this one.
It’s no big deal. There are others who call in the opening, collapsing dimension in the path to the stars.
Admittedly, despite the attempts to expect nothing, I am looking for signs along the path. At Chocorua I had several: the ghostly figures of Native Americans watching us walk beside the sacred stream, the white feather fallen upon the path, two snakes, the crow greeting our arrival and the pileated woodpecker, my “feathered seer” calling through the silence. And, finally, the face of the chief in the clouds just before we turned for our descent, not having quite reached the peak of our destination.
Today there are no ravens promising magic, only a woman and her dog who quickly disappear ahead of us and out of sight. I have a feeling it will be a quiet walk and I will be watched more than I will see. This is often how it happens, I am learning. A trust needs to be earned, and I am heedful of my steps and mindful of noticing where I feel the nudge to drop a few leaves of tobacco for the spirits of the mountain.
But the energy is there. I can see the serpents in the stones we pass by and I can feel the lines of water, even though it is nearly dried up.
We find the spring empty of people and I am grateful for the chance to linger beside the stones (who watch us closely) and cool my skin in the cold, clear liquid.
It is a place I’d like to linger longer. Light dances with water here, creating alchemy with color on the stones. The veins feel alive with the pulse of the dragon and the stones eroded in a way that does not feel accidental.
But we have a long way yet to go, and I am determined to reach the peak, unlike last year. I don’t know what to expect, but I am expecting something. Our walk, though, is quiet and intense in its ascent. The path we have chosen gives us few breaks from the vertical climb and the heat is strong today.
Before we leave the waterfall, I notice the metal on the rock. The chiseled words feel, well, perfect.
I take a final look that the stones and the light’s dance on the water. Grateful that it will be there on our return.
Ahead of us is more heat and the rigors of our climb. But we will not rest in one spot for too long. The stones watch us while we walk, and I leave my trail of tobacco leaves hoping it is enough.
I still don’t feel home here the way I do in England, walking the newer lands of America, but I am learning to trust that the pulse that feels like magic beats here just as strongly. Even if it’s not quite as close to the surface. I have noticed during my walks through the mountains and forest paths of New England, that the land here is cautious of my footsteps, as it should be. Our ancestors here have left a troubled path, and my veins do not course with native blood. I am often acutely aware that I am an intruder who needs to earn trust.
Yet, the stones show me their faces and forms when I look close enough, and sometimes a bit of unexpected magic is revealed.
Like the cube of quartz we find as though it has been tossed to be seen, just inches from our feet in the bed of dried leaves. It feels like a gift to be left, but noticed. Not photographed. A reminder of what I will bring with me next time.
Instead I photograph the tiny orange mushrooms that look like a trail of the fey, and we continue our climb to the strange little hut that I cannot imagine falling asleep inside.
“You’d need to bring a pad with your sleeping bag,” I tell my husband as I press my fingers into the unforgiving metal mesh. I’d rather not think of what else might venture inside the opening in the darkness of night.
Did I mention my bladder has felt the need for release before we began our decent? A minor inconvenience that my mind returns to each time I take a drink to quench my thirst. For some reason I can’t bring myself to relieve myself behind a stone. There’s no one around.
Just the stones of a former habitation as we get closer to the top.
And lots of large, curious looking boulders that call for a better look upon our descent. But we are nearly there, the signs promise us our feet will soon reach the peak.
I am expecting, even though I have tried not to expect, a vast rocky face with clear vistas, but instead we need to climb once more. This time it is stairs up to a guarded platform. Here, finally, we meet more visitors and it feels crowded on top of this large mountain.
But I am not wholly disappointed. Up here I can see the peaks beyond and take in the contours of the land from a point not seen from the ground. And, I can see the ripples on the back of the dragon.
But we are hiking in the midst of a pandemic, and others are waiting for the view, so we don’t stay too long atop the constructed tower. Besides, I still have to pee, it’s lunchtime, and the stones below are calling.
Although there is a great deal of the mountain remaining for me to discover at perhaps another time, this place beckons to me. And soon I have an idea why.
It’s not just the stones piled into caves that will have to wait for my eyes to peer inside, it’s the stone in the middle, curiously shaped like a pyramid. In the distance, far beyond sight, a bird calls through the forest. It is a pileated woodpecker. My “feathered seer.”
A few dreams ago I found myself floating down a sheer, jagged rock face when physics says I should have tumbled bruised and battered into the river below. The climb back up, though, required the help of other hands.
I’ve been thinking about who we will be when we emerge out of this period of isolation. In particular, I have been thinking about how we have lived clinging to the covers that we choose to wear, which separate us from our true selves, as well as from each other.
I am so ready for emergence, my body aches. Before I fell into that dream a few nights ago, I crawled into my womb. It’s something I’ve never done before, but suddenly that’s where I was. Sinking into the orange-red chalice of my being, surrendering to my inner creation.
Here inside the womb of self, I returned to a five-year-old-child. Emerging to be seen was the little girl who is still a part of me, naked in her truth before she donned the cloak of the false self. I felt her body sitting atop the first stone she fell in love. Not her own stone, but her neighbor’s. So huge she had to climb it. Here the sun fell around her, and through its golden beams danced the fairies she adored.
I felt joy before the collapse into fear and conformity as I watched my child self grow with rules and beliefs that offered her a false sense of security. A few nights before, my dream teacher had shown me a shelf filled with books he had chosen to leave behind while all the others were being cleared. The books were filled with fairies and magical beings.
We live in a time when magic has been largely forgotten and often shunned as nonsense. If you talk about “magical” beings most people will look at you askance. It’s likely you will be labeled as not quite sane. Yet the lore of the magical landscape stretches far back into the past. Further than written memory. When did we forget who we were? How many children fall in love with fairies, dragons, and unicorns before they are taught they are fanciful?
After I made my way back up the cliff-face in my dream, with the aid of other’s hands, I returned to a classroom with my dream teacher. Together we surveyed long tables of stones and crystals, all formed from the body of Earth. Out of the myriad I chose a citrine. Into my hands I took the crystal, feeling its weight and size, before I swallowed it and the impossible became possible. Too large for my body according to physics, the crystal dissolved into liquid upon my tongue. In an instant, I became pure light. I became the inner sun, set free.
I find the hiding of the true self wearisome. I wonder how many feel the same. This daily donning of false garments, which weigh upon us heavy and burdensome. Most of us walk cloaked, covering the light of the true self as we allow ourselves to follow rigid laws and codes designed to confine and conform. We peer outward, ever-searching, instead of inward to the magic of the inner light. We believe we are Earthbound and body-bound, yet even the Earth, for most of us, has become just a vessel to be mined.
Back inside the red-orange womb, I watched the four-year-old child grow into her world of separation as she learned to forget the magic of life. I watched her swallow her essence to guard her light as she moved robotically through her phases of physical growth. I watched as she checked off all the milestones she was expected to earn. Awards for academic achievements and races won. Marriage. Children. And then, finally, she arrived at schools of her choosing and the true self began to emerge. The child who once danced with magic in the sun was finding home inside the self, again.
I grow weary when I wear the cloak of society’s expectations, and I wonder who the cloak was really designed for. Pretenses feel more false than they perhaps ever have as the world struggles to rebirth us. Or rather, we struggle against the world to be rebirthed. It is becoming more and more apparent that this struggle is of human design. Nature is thriving while we try to figure out how to live. Truly live with the magic of our beings.
I realized, after my dream of swallowing citrine that it was the first flying dream I have had since the pandemic instilled fear in all of our minds. It was different from most of my flying dreams, though. The body had dissolved entirely. There was no need to defy the laws of physics, because I had become the light held inside the stone. The light of the sun. The light of the true self.
I long for the feeling of home while I struggle with the rules and conventions that still form our ideas of normalcy. Some days there’s a longing to fly across the pond and sit inside a circle of stones and never leave, because it is a place where I feel most “at home.” Why? Because the magic of the land, and of us, still lingers there. It has not wholly been erased.
There are other days when it is enough to sit outside on my deck and lift my naked face to the sun. To let the gaze soften to magic and watch the dance of the sylphs against the limitless blue horizon. Here, I know, is also home. The free soul one breath away from release.
Yet the struggle persists. Inwardly and outwardly. I wonder what will prevail in this world seeking our rebirth? Will we erase more of the magic, erecting more false monuments of power, or will we rekindle, slowly and with love, the magic of the light held within?
It was 3:30 in the morning when my husband got up to use the bathroom and I woke from an owl peering at me. A Great Horned Owl.
I had been walking at dusk down the roads nearby my house. When I arrived at the crossroads in my dream, I turned towards my left, the direction of home. There he was, getting ready for flight.
You have returned to guide me.
I was sure it was Eagle. I had seen the white of his tail as he stood. The white crown of his head, turned to face me, was unmistakable.
And then he transformed into Owl. Feathered features became nearly camouflaged into the darkening day, but unmistakable were the ears. They were tufted into horns.
She rose to take the place of the one I had depended upon for so long. The bird of great strength and vision. Filled with yang energy, Eagle showed me how to harness the sun and look with keen vision at the world below. The guide of the nation that I call home. A bird sacred to the native people whose voices were silenced, their stories erased. A guide stolen to adorn the new nation. The great horned owl calls us to hear the truth that has been hidden. The truth that many refuse to hear.
I had a lot to think about. So much, that each time I tried to will my mind back to sleep, it would write lines for me to record. And, so, at 4am I rose, thinking of everything that the birds were telling me. Three in total, but more on the third later, as well as the white light blinking over my neighbor’s garage, Strange, it has never done that before, like a beacon in a lighthouse, calling a ship home.
It was all starting to come together.
Yesterday, before I went to bed, I had been cleaning out the office room. Culling through books and dusting shelves before I tackled the plastic storage unit filled with photos and various mementos of memories. I hadn’t sorted it, just added to it, since the year my son was born. That was nearly 15 years ago. Now seemed to be the right time.
To get to it, I had to move pictures resting on the floor and not on our walls. I chose only one to rehang. An owl with tufted ears made over scraps of words by my son years ago. I took a nail and found a place amidst the other art that adorns our stairwell. Choosing a spot a hands-width from the railing, I knew it would be bumped, and might even fall upon someone’s descent. Oh well, I thought. I’ll place it there anyway. Its silver frame standing out amid all the blacks, bumped lightly on my way down this morning.
In the dream that pulled me from sleep, it was not Eagle’s voice who replied, but Owl’s, I am the one guiding you now.
The “you,” felt like a “we.”
A few days ago, I was drawing cards for someone else. Someone who was considering a new path in life that would also affect me and those I hold dear. The first card I drew was the Queen of Cups. The Significator Card. The Queen who has guided me since I shuffled my first Tarot deck many years ago.
It had been awhile since I had been called to bring forth the cards, but they still brought a feeling of home to my hands. There she was, sitting on her throne. Her familiar face gazing upon the chalice in her hands. Her feet, crossed at the ankles, blue like the water around her. Baby mermaids gazing down at her, a cherub nestled, partly hidden, at the base of her throne, while her eyes fix on the golden chalice, too large for one hand, held in her grasp.
Strange, I had never paid much attention to the right foot hiding the left. The left hand touching lightly the hold of the right as it balances the hold of the chalice. So intent she/I was on the vessel.
I have been dreaming about water a lot at night, but that is nothing new. Water is my primary element, followed by earth. It pulls me into my dreams, and into the hidden realms within.
When I woke early this morning from the owl, I knew her to be female. Whereas Eagle embodies the divine masculine energy of the universe, Owl is a master of the divinely feminine forces. Owl rules the night. She sees through the darkness, a guide of the hidden. She asks us to explore the paths we like to hide, guiding us through the shadowland to get back “home” to the true self. She is master of the element of water, whereas eagle, her masculine counter-part, dives by day into the element of water for sustenance when he is not ruling the sky. He is part water and part earth, but mostly he is air and fire.
When Covid-19 started spreading rapidly across our globe, I kept thinking about the fires it was replacing. All those fires ravaging the lands across Earth, extinguishing so much precious life. Feeding fears of survival worldwide.
Now we have a corona viral host trying to nest in our lungs. If it brings death, it feels like drowning. It is nearly undeniable there is a struggle of forces occurring within and outside of us. A struggle for a return to balance.
About a week ago, I had another dream that woke me. I had been walking another path. This one filled with the light of day. Blindly wrapped in my own thoughts, I passed a large doll severed at the waist, and thought of Russian nesting dolls, instead of seeing it for what it was.
It didn’t wait long to catch me. Before I had taken a few steps beyond its severed bottom, the doll took life. The bottom half rejoined the top, and it began to chase me. Look at me? See me! You cannot escape me, it glared into my face. I recognized her by her teeth, long gnashing fangs.
Years ago, I took a shamanic journey to meet fear. I thought I would be afraid at what I saw, but I wasn’t. Instead, I discovered that it was both empowering and a relief to look at the face of my fear. Before me was an almost shapeless form, like a nesting doll, but all black. Its skin glistened like tar. The only feature recognizable as living was its face. Its dominate features were long, white teeth, shaped into fangs.
And so it would appear fear has made her return to me, calling out to be seen. I don’t think I’m alone. There is a global fear, in the form a virus trying to find a host inside of us. It is already taking over life and destroying life as we are used to knowing it.
It is difficult not to feel fear right now. To feel uprooted and insecure. It’s difficult to know what to do, or where to turn to for security and comfort.
Yesterday, while I was taking a shower, I found myself inside the image of a giant redwood tree. There I sat, cradled into the base of her trunk. Held inside this nest created by this mighty tree, rooted firmly to Mother Earth, with her boughs extended towards the sky and sun, I felt safe. I felt home.
Many of us have been washing our hands excessively, using water and soap to rid ourselves of the fears of being contaminated by a virus that is transmitted by salivary excretions. Trying to remove unseen forces that threaten to take hold of our lives. Even if the virus itself has not found a host inside of our bodies, it has found a host inside of our minds.
This fear has severed us at the waist. We are hoarding toilet paper irrationally. The virus does not attack our guts, but our lungs, yet we have allowed ourselves to become uprooted by our fears. We are buying more food then we need, leaving others to go without. We are scrambling for stability while the foundations we have so long depended upon are crumbling around us.
I have been walking a lot outside, as many of us have who are spending time outdoors in nature to try to lesson the communal spread of the disease. When I am outside, I feel connected. The inner joy starts to spark its light within. The roads, these days, are scattered with more people and dogs, then they are with cars. Seeing fellow walkers pass by, fills me with hope. Each time I journey outside, I see or hear a woodpecker. Most days it’s a pileated. Flying over my path, calling form the trees. This is not usually such a common companion to my days, and I am grateful for the gift of its constant, guiding presence. The pileated, which I, have been referring to as my “feathered seer” for nearly three years, has become nearly a constant companion in this time of unrest.
The pileated woodpecker, with its cardinal-like crown of red feathers, and streak of crimson at its throat, has a lot to teach us about fear. The color red is symbolic of fear and also of love. It is the color of our root chakra, and also the color of the blood that gives us life.
I have now seen The Queen of Cups card from Tarot three times in the last three days. Once drawn by my hand, the other two times by people whose blogs I happened to come across. I was not searching for her, but she has found me again. She has found all of us. And, so has Judgement and Fire.
Three times, in the same manner, I have seen the Judgement card and the Two of Wands. I have also seen the fiery wands held in struggle in one path, the air of freedom in another.
There are many ways to read the cards, and one must follow the guidance within to understand their messages in light of the circumstances one is working with. Each time I see the Judgement card, I am given the image of rebirth. The card literally shows naked bodies rising from caskets floating upon water. Could there be a more fitting card for our time?
The word “judgement” is subjective. The human mind judges, the higher mind does not. This card, next to the Two of Wands, strengthens the choice we seem to be offered by this viral pandemic that can be perceived as a harsh, or even cruel, gift. That is the choice of our free will. We can face our fears and explore the shadowland of the self in the path back to unity and balance, igniting the true light along the way, or we can succumb, as we have many times in our collective history, to the fear that severs and divides us.
The Two of Wands literally offers us the world in our hands. The old path, the wand to the right, is being traded for the new/truth path, as the querent takes the staff to his left, while holding the world in the palm of his right hand. He has, it appears, chosen his inner truth to become his new guide. Before him is a land open and fresh, wrapped in the embrace of water. The womb of Mother Earth.
Can we, collectively and individually, make the return to our true roots? Can we face our fears and weave the broken threads of our global community back into unity? Can we clear that which threatens to drown us individually, and realize that we are all, in essence, seeds from the same source? All elements reside inside all of us. There is light, and also darkness. There is the sun, and also the moon. Long, long ago, our ancestors knew that when fire joined in perfect balance with water, united through spirt/air and rooted in earth, the true, divine star of the self thrived.
The birds give me hope. Their paths can guide us back home.