New Year Tortoise Journey
I went to an amazing gathering on Saturday because a friend called out for help. So often there is struggle, yet we don't ask for help. I want to honor everyone who bravely reaches out for reassurance and offer encouragement to those who still experience their challenges alone. May we all find our sacred circles this year! While I sat in this circle of deep-feeling women, so in touch with their sorrow, anger, shame + immense joy, triumph, and gratitude, I felt very blessed to have this in my life. I sit with women on a really regular basis and it saves my life almost every time. I am surrounded by women well versed in sacred ceremony, feminine ritual and healing. How in the world did I get here? I suppose it isn't a mystery at all, but it does seem a lifetime away from my life in the city six years ago. In our circles, we do a round of sharing first (after ritual smudging & prayers), which used to be really difficult for me. Being vulnerable has been a problem for me until the last few years. The mistress of ceremonies had built a fire outside and in the new year tradition, we all brought along something to burn up and let go of. I actually brought four things! One woman wore a snakeskin printed shirt and pants over her black leggings and top and when she spoke of what she would be letting go (her grown children as well as the shame of many past events) she peeled off the garments and tossed them on the altar. So cool. One of the aspects of gathering in sacred ceremony that I like best is journey work. Shamanic healers use journeys to travel to other realms of consciousness to bring back tools and wisdom for the tribe. We typically use it to locate help and then, in sharing about them, give that information to those sitting with us to ponder as well. Helping oneself evolve is also, to me, of great help to the near and dear ones to us. As I see it, everyone benefits on this path of growth and healing. Journey work is not always easy for me. My mind gets in my way, so I'm often nudging it off the path to try to be more open to the vision. Sometimes the process whizzes along like a dream, others limp along until a spark ignites and I can get to work. In this particular journey, I met a guide whom I have never travelled with before, the giant tortoise. I think of turtle medicine to be about slowing down, so I was dazzled when I rode this giant reptile as he plodded along steadily, without being slow at all. His giant, elephant like feet clomped and I splayed over his shell, admiring the colors and striations as the events of my life passed along beside us on the blue and sandy evening landscape. I was in no hurry to get anything done, a huge lesson in patience that I need in this realm bigtime. I experienced some other unfamiliar sensations that don't happen often for me, also, with shapeshifting. My neck began to scale over as I lay my cheek on the shell, and I felt his medicine come into my body. We conversed about meditation and how reconnecting each day, each hour-to be exact, with my intention is what I must do in order to see that intention manifest. He also offered me some pink jasper for earthly assistance. I have this thing about clutching rocks, which the turtley friend in my unconscious was obviously privy to. Tortoise medicine is a reminder that we will succeed in time over the burdens and changes occuring in life. They also tell us that we never face anything that we can't handle. They point to primal senses, rhythms and using skills appropriately. They ask us to focus on life's essential needs when we feel overwhelmed or hectic. When the drumming callback arrived, I was still dialoguing squawkily with Mr. Tortoise. As I scurried up the rabbit hole and back to consciousness, I heard a horse whinny. The house mistress had put her beloved Sundance down on Wednesday, and I do believe he was galloping across the valley of my journey as I returned to her living room. Wishing each of you all of the tools required for you to see the magic waiting for you in 2007.