Spirit Walks and Nature Talks, #4: Still Hunting

Log book – still hunting – entry 1 – experience time “20 mins” – 11:36 am – 11:50 am – 7.8.15

Saw: over 20 doves, 10 sparrows, 5 orange headed sparrows, and 2 humming birds, a yellow butterfly, tiny flying bug

Feeling: calm, unsure, drained but a releasing of tension, feeling of mind expanding

Doves: 1 male per 3 female, 1 male wooing a dove; hierarchy system, each dove had its place and feeding area; social but only with each other. Ignored the sparrows when feeding upon ground. One adolescent dove was ignored by adults. It stayed close to female, seemed nervous, trying to find a place to fit in.

Sparrows: social, skittish, curious, playful, feed in trees (higher ground) more so than on ground; doves are around rocks, using beaks to peck and find seed; sparrows stay where bare dirt reside, less rocks, and prefer the trees when feeding – dove feed upon ground; sparrows social and accepting of each other and appear less aggressive to their specie, compared to the dove. I feel dove may be an older species compared to the sparrow. Dove (larger) = move dove than sparrows – dove are dominant and possessive, sparrows are not. They can live in same area – co-exist together.

Trees move differently with the breeze based on it species (2 tree species I saw (Palm, fig, and 1 other I don’t know name of)

Fig – barely moved with breeze due to being smaller.

Palm – swayed in a fan like fashion, side to side

Other – moved in a dancing, wavy circle like fashion, but subtly; it is a playful species that greets all, good backyard tree.

Different species of flowers, plants, and trees move differently with the breeze

Check out Nature-Speak by Ted Andrews for more about connecting to your self through nature’s silent messages.

Willow Rose, Chapter 4

Days flutter by, on the wings of a butterfly

***

“I went out into the world with a fierce spirit, eager to please my father and make a woman of myself, to obtain a profession to create my own prosperity,” speaks Willow to the children gathered before her beneath the Willow tree, on the first day of the newest year.

“Each day, for 1 whole moon, my father gave me a few coins so I can purchase nourishment on my hunt for professional freedom. But instead of talking to professional individuals, who have mastered the different professions, I saved these coins to purchase a beautiful outfit, in hopes that my wear will attract the profession I so desired.

“So each day, for 30 days, I pocketed the coins my father gave me. I ventured out in the morning light, and came home in the evening glow, and each time my father would ask me in an eager tone, ‘What did you learn today?’ And each time I would respond with a light shrug, ‘Nothing new.’

“Days went by with this normality, robotic in its nature, but my father kept his faith in his Willow Rose.

“On the 30th day, I had enough coin to purchase the attire I so desired, the attire I wear to this day, for it has not worn out. The material seems to be made with magic threads of lace and velvet.”

Willow stands up before the children and does a short twirl so they can take in her attire which is: green sugegasa to keep the sun out of her eyes and off her fair skin, a green woman’s kimono, green hakama, and a pair of red chikatabis, and a red obi. The children gasp and giggle in delight. A small girl of age 4 states, “You look like a Geisha, a Willow Geisha.” The girl giggles at her light hearted joke, her cheeks turning a rosy red as she does so.

Willow smiles warmly at the child as she takes her former seat beneath the willow, for the child spoke a truth without realizing.

Willow continues her tale. “On the 30th evening I returned home. From the wooden rocking chair he sat at, with a linen sheet over his lap, his typical evening seat, my father raised his eyebrows with thin lined lips as he looked me up and down. But, for my father never spoke words of judgment, he uttered the familiar words, ‘Did you learn anything new today?’ And I responded my response with a light shrug, ‘Nothing new.’

“But the following day something special did happen. As I was strolling the streets of Koya, humming a happy tune in my new elegant wear, a man came up to me carrying a forging hammer, muscular arms sweaty from the morning’s work. His brows were furrowed.

“My heart began pounding in anxiety, for I have no idea why this man would look at me so. After a few silent moments the man spoke.

“‘Your music has disturbed my work,’” He said warmly, in a soft tone I was not expecting from a man with his physique.

“I let out a sigh of relief, and my tense shoulders relaxed. ‘Pardon me, sir, I am just humming a happy tune for this special day. Despite the chill in the air, the scent of Spring is here. I saw the first, tiny speck of green, beneath the willow tree last eve.’

“The man only nodded as he looked me up and down, ignoring my bantering. I went on, ‘I am looking for professional work, so that I can one day support myself. I am looking for the kind that will bring enjoyment to my heart and to those I hold dear. Do you know of one?’”

“The man smiled proudly, eager to hear my innocent words. ‘That is exactly what I came up to you about. Your attire and youthful appearance is perfect for a show of entertainment. Would you like a profession where you can be your beautiful self, in elegant wear, to perform and entertain the masses?’

“I smiled broadly to the man and said in an eager tone, ‘Oh yes, I would enjoy that so.’ I fluttered my eyelashes then at the man, not to be flirtatious, it’s just a tick I have when I am excited.

“The man smiled slyly, but course I was too innocent to notice, but his sly smile quickly faded into a friendly one. ‘My boss will fill you in on the details.’

“And so I was introduced to an elderly lady, who pinched my cheeks and bum, while examining my waist. She nodded in approval and stated, “You begin tonight, come here at this time,” and she gave me a slip of parchment with the address of our local theatre upon it.

The children looked at one another, some murmured to each other. Willow waits in patience for the children to turn their attention on to her once more. Soon, all were quiet, eager to hear more.

“I eagerly went home to my father, despite the fact it is only high noon. I ran up the mountain path, adrenaline running in my veins, ignoring the pain in my thighs from the strenuous fast paced hike.

“‘Father, Father!’ I shouted as I rushed through the open door of my family home, forgetting the time of day.

“‘Dear child why the shouting?’ my mother asked sternly as she wipes her hands off on the apron around her waist as she was exiting the kitchen area of our home. ‘And why are you home so early?’”

“I smiled broadly, and handed over her the address on the parchment. ‘A lady gave this to me, and stated to meet her at this address. This will be my new profession I feel.’

“My mother read the address, and knew immediately what it was, but said nothing. She looked at me with raised, furrowed brows, and stated, ‘Hmph, well. We will see what your father has to say about it. Now, run a long then. I am busy in the kitchen.

“And off I went to join my merry thoughts beneath the willow tree until my beloved father returned home.

“‘Father, Father!,” stated I as I ran up to him later that evening, barely giving him the chance to close the door behind him.

‘My Willow Rose, you are home early today. Did you learn anything new today?’ he asked me in a tired, hoarse tone. His eyes were droopy now that I recall, but at that moment my eyes were blind with naivety and wonder from the note I received today.

“I nodded my head happily and stated ‘I learned something new. A lady spoke to me. I feel this address is for my future profession.” And here I handed him the note with the address up on it.

“He was quiet for a long while, taking in the address of the theatre. In time he did say after a nod, “All will be well, then. You may go tonight,’ and handed me back the parchment before exiting the living area to change into evening wear.

“Now, little ones. The rest of the tale will be told tomorrow. Come on now, the sun is high, let us eat some udon and rice.” All the children, cheerfully chattering away, followed Willow Rose to the Shrine Temple to eat their midday meal.

***

Willow Rose, a character I had in a game called Renaissance Kingdoms. The game has three ‘kingdoms’ connected to the renaissance era: Europe, Japan, and Aztec. This character is Japanese, from Shogun Kingdoms. I connected the main role plays I had there, gathered them into a document, and a collection of tales were created. This is, Chapter one, of Willow Rose, an imaginative piece of me, who kept me sane in years of confusion (February 2007 to August 2016). I Have edit the post only a little, you may take note as I post the chapters, the improvement of my writing style. Stay tuned for more throughout the year, one chapter per month. Enjoy. Further tales will include my other characters, Arial de Grey and High Priestess.

Dream Journal 10: Hermetic philosophy

Collective works – Jung

Nor should it be taken for granted that dream sequences are subject to any governing principle. The process of development proves on closer inspection to be cyclic or spiral. We might draw a parallel between such spiral courses and the processes in planets: in fact the planet motive tree, flower, ect., frequently recurs in these dreams and fantasies and is also spontaneously drawn or painted. In alchemy the tree is the symbol of Hermetic philosophy.

A series of dreams which contain numerous symbols of the center or goal. The development of these symbols is almost the equivalent or a healing process. The center goal or justification signifies salvation. The justification of such comes from the dreams themselves, because these contain references to religious phenomena. These processes are concerned with the religious-creating archetypes.

[7.28.2011]I’m recalling another dream now, one I had say… some time last April, I am not sure. I am unsure how this dream began. I was being chased around town by a killer who was recently on the news. He is a rapist killer. He was a short fat man with a receding hairline. He dress up as a clown to lure his victims. I remember now, he was in my pantry in beginning of dream. I was in my kitchen. It was a clown then, I left the house, it started running down the street, scene then changed to a busy street in town. I crossed and entered a diner that we don’t have in town. I sat down at the bar. A waiter asked what I wanted. I said ‘nothing. I am hiding from a killer’. The man didn’t seem to believe me. Then the killer entered the diner, now out of his clown suit. The waiter apparently didn’t recognize the man from the TV, because he went up to the man and asked what he wanted. The man gave me a devilish grin. I got up and hurriedly left the restaurant and ran down the street. The man soon caught up to me. I was running but not fast enough. Scene changed to a hotel room the man took me to. I woke up before getting raped…

Fear Not to

Below is a snip-bit from a Yogajournal article, Fear Not to, related to the benefits of meditation and accepting/conquering and working with your fear. Through meditation we connect to our chakra systems, our energy system, and through this connection, our emotions can be noticed, accepted, and decrease the affect of fear on our lives.

Featured image found on: yogalifestyle.com

…The truth is that fear doesn’t have to be paralyzing: For a person on the verge of transformation, fear can be a great teacher. But if you want freedom from fear, you also need to learn how to work with it…

Unfamiliar territory

“Meditation is, among other things, a journey through the layers of your psyche. As you move deeper, you’ll travel past the fairly superficial level of your conscious mind—with its mental chatter, problem-solving tendencies, and the like. You’ll also encounter your subconscious, with its insights, feelings of blissfulness, waves of irritation, volcanic pits of anger, or swamps of sadness. One of the great boons of meditation practice is that it can teach you to move through these layers without identifying with them. With practice, you learn to recognize that all this stuff is arising, passing through you, and subsiding. If you can learn to stay with your meditation when fear shows up, resisting the impulse to believe the story that fear is telling you, you will allow your psyche to cleanse itself of the fear. The basic practice is to recognize thoughts and feelings as just what they are—thoughts, movements of emotional energy, and nothing more.”

“As you practice noticing “Ah, here’s a repetitive thought pattern” or “Here’s a layer of fear,” you’ll eventually have the direct experience of watching these inner patterns come to the surface and then fade away. Over time, you’ll find many layers of fear, guilt, and desire begin to release. Meaning, they’re gone. You’ll no longer find your subconscious fear or resentment running your life from beneath your awareness. This is one of the ways in which meditation brings true inner freedom—it liberates you from being run by the emotional currents of the mind. And as you train yourself in meditation to hold steady with emotions and not be completely subject to them, it becomes easier to do this in life…”

“In the high-stress environment of contemporary society, the fight-or-flight response is triggered over and over and becomes chronic. Meditation will help you process that agitation, and part of the processing happens simply by holding what is sometimes called a spacious mindfulness. To create this state, you must first recognize the way anxiety feels in your body. As you breathe, tune in to the way it feels in your muscles, the different sensations it creates. Do this with a soft, gentle feeling of affection for yourself. Once you recognize it, you can practice releasing stress on the exhalation. As you do this, talk to yourself, coach yourself by saying, “It’s all right” or “Let go a little.” Don’t feel that you need to get rid of your anxiety all at once. Instead, use the first moments of your meditation practice to release, little by little, the anxiety that is layered into your body and breath…”

“As long as you identify with your body, your mental and social abilities, your roles, and your conscious experience of personality, you are going to be afraid of losing them. In fact, the ego is essentially a controller and protector, concerned with keeping “you” safe and improving your ability to cope. But most egos define “safety” rather narrowly. Most egos don’t like the unknown (that is, unless the ego defines itself as an adventurer, in which case it may feel more threatened by the ordinary). So when you find yourself in unfamiliar territory (for instance, deep meditation), the ego is likely to go on hyperalert and send out danger signals—in other words, it will manufacture or trigger feelings of fear…”

“In fact, when you go deep into meditation, you will begin to experience yourself as part of the whole, as part of the earth, as part of the energetic substratum that connects all living beings. At that point, the primal fear that arises from your sense of being separate from the whole (and hence subject to annihilation) can leave you. The joy that this creates is one of the most powerful gifts of meditation. Yet, paradoxically, this feeling of freedom is the one thing that the ego resists above all else! The ego will protest when you begin to experience the inner shift into meditation—that sensation of sinking into a deep place, or the sense that your awareness is expanding beyond the boundaries of the body. For some of us, the ego’s protest takes the form of pride—”Oh, wow, I’m making progress.” Sometimes, it takes the form of fear. Understanding this is crucial. Once you recognize that the fear is largely a product of the ego’s storytelling mechanism, you can work with it without being hijacked by it.”

“When fear comes up during meditation, two practices can help you move beyond it. First, imagine greeting your fear and bowing to it. Ask the fear what it has to say to you, then listen to the message. Tell the fear that you know it is trying to protect you, that you appreciate this, but that you would like it to back off for now. Then sit in meditation a bit longer, allowing yourself to experience the spaciousness that this will create.

When you soften to fear and treat it kindly (as opposed to trying to get rid of it), you make space for fear to relax. At that point, you will begin to realize that fear is not something concrete and solid, that it will pass, and that you can even see through it. You can recognize that it’s a natural reaction to the new, and let it go.

“You may also try the classic method for activating the observing self, the so-called witness of the fear. You can use any self-inquiry question here, such as “What is it in me that observes fear?” or “Who experiences the fear?” or “Who am I beyond this fear?” This allows you to begin to find that part of yourself that is unaffected by fear—the part of you that can not only observe its own fear but can also see it as part of the whole panoply of your experience in the moment. In this way, fear becomes less implacable.

Kinds of fear

A health crisis, the loss of someone dear to you, or a natural disaster touches two kinds of fear. One is the biological fear that is built into the body and helps ensure our survival. This is the kind of fear—call it primal fear, or natural fright—that gets your heart pumping, impels you to defend your safety, and ultimately protects you.

The second is psychological—the fear that you create by anticipating a painful future or by dwelling on painful past events. Most of the negative outcomes you dread will never happen, and yet when you think about them, you trigger the physiological reactions in the body that actual danger would set off.

A genuine threat will often activate not only the primal, biological fear of death but also your habitual anticipation of catastrophe. You can deal with the psychological pattern primarily by finding the part of you that is not touched by fear. However, in order to find this, you will need to become present to the experience of fear itself, rather than simply try to get rid of it. I believe that this is what you are being given the chance to do.

To work with your fear, you’re being asked to accept and even welcome what your health crisis is trying to show you—that loss and death are natural parts of life. The more you try to protect yourself against loss, the more fearful you become and the more likely you are to be thrown by the natural uncertainty of life. It’s a paradox that when you try to insulate yourself against the things you fear, you make yourself more susceptible to them.

When you accept that you, too (yes, even you!) can lose a job, lose love, lose health—and still remain you—you also open the door to recognizing your own place within the larger fabric of life. And, combined with your meditation practice, this acceptance of large and small deaths can, paradoxically, let you see that what is most deeply “you” cannot be lost.

One step beyond acceptance is the practice of actually welcoming the health crisis. When you welcome events that threaten your ego’s sense of well-being, you affirm the truth that you are bigger than the events, that there is a wholeness to you that can withstand even the big-time ego busts that come through sickness, loss, and failure. Welcoming what comes, whatever it is, is a powerful way of loosening the grip of fear and anger.

Spirit Walks and Nature Talks 3

Understanding language of animals, pg 29 from Ted Andrew’s Nature-speaks

Still hunting: still and observing what surrounds you in a natural environment.
1. Feel and imagine yourself as part of the natural environment, the natural surroundings. E.g. imagine yourself as the leaf rustling in the breeze; feel the ticklish joy of the butterfly as it dances from flower to flower; let the songs of the birds fill your heart, noting how it affects the body and where.
2. Quietly observe the various sounds e.g. note how the animals and insects
respond to each other. If you must move and adjust your position for comfort, keep your movements slow and as infrequent as possible. The more still you are, the more likely you are to experiences curious animals coming in for a closer look at you.
Pay attention to how animals and plants use camouflage. Note how they move. Begin to keep a mental log of the number and kinds of insects, plants, and animals that you experience.

Tips:
– keep a logbook of still hunting experience
– Keep track of dates, animals observed, and other unusual observations.
– Write down your moods, what you felt as you made your observations
– Research facts about the creatures and plants you saw
Benefits of still hunting: as you practice still hunting you’ll find yourself becoming increasingly observant, recognizing by intuition the presence of creatures before they become visible to you. You’ll see more around you than you ever imagined. Great ‘shamans’ are first great still-hunters. “Listen to the sounds around you (songs of birds/humming of insects). Listen to the sounds of your feet on Earth. Each sound awakens your inner symphony. It makes us more alert and perspective.

“As you walk along, stop whenever something catches your attention (flash of sunlight on the water, the brightness of a flower, the dance of a butterfly). Quietly note the colors that stand out for you and know that you are absorbing all colors of nature into you with each step you take.
“Feel the sun upon you. Feel it energizing you, increasing your circulation, making you more vibrant. Touch things as you walk. Feel the roughness and strength of trees. Feel the daintiness of a spring beauty, so tiny and yet powerful enough to grow among such diverse life. Step to the water’s edge. Hear/feel the stream. It may whisper to you. Feel your blood moving in rhythm with it. Feel yourself cleansed by being in its presence. Know that you’re healed.

Make a mental note of anything that stood out for you on your walk. Before the day’s over, study its significance. The symbology of it will often provide wonderful insight into things
occurring within our life. Offer a prayer of gratitude. Know that the benefits will grow
throughout the day and with each return visit.”

Willow Rose: Chapter 3

Hildgo coughs harshly as he walks up the snow packed path that leads to his mountain home, while securing the cloak around his core tightly, tucking his face within its collar, attempting to protect himself from the wind that is blowing. His mouth fills with mucus he knows is the color green and gray, mixed with the smokey ash of the mines he works in during the winter time. This cough is worse than last years. He spits the mucus out and watches it immediately freeze as it lands upon the frozen ground. His legs are stiff as he walks, and his joints pulse with pain at each step. He knows this will be his last winter he can support his family in the mines.

He enters the hearth of his home, and closes his eyes in silent thanks to the warmth the lit stone fire pit in the center of the room provides. His wife is knelt beside it, adding vegetables to a pot of stew over the fire. He nods in greeting to her, she nods back, then he asks, “Where is our Willow?”

“Exploring in the snow filled forest, you may go find her,” his wife responds as she cuts up the last winter vegetable to add to the water.

Hildgo goes to the back door and leaves without further word to his wife. He knows the path to walk to find his child, for it is a well walked one since before her birth.

He walks slow, but steady, for 30 minutes. The walk would take a young soul only around 15, but he is no longer young in physique.

He stops along the lake, and a few feet before him is his love, his soul: The Willow. Beneath the Willow tree is his soul companion, his Willow Rose. His pain grimace on his face fades into a soft smile as he catches his daughter’s image, who is gazing up between the bare branches of the Willow, lost in her daydreams.

He walks to her and stops in front of her. His voice is gentle but stern as he speaks to her.

“My child, you must learn a trade. You must become independent, you do not know when your mother and I may pass.”

“I am waiting, my father, for my love to meet me, beneath this willow tree,” responds the young adult child, whose eyes twinkle with the light of distant thought as they continue to gaze between the branches of the willow.

Her father smiles a knowing smile to his only beloved child. He hides the pain he feels in his lungs and joints, for the love he has for his Willow Rose covers the sting of physical pain. He repeats his words, knowing the more they are repeated, the more likely they will be followed.

“My child, you must learn a trade. You must become independent, you do not know when your mother and I may pass.”

But again she responds. “I am waiting, my father, for my love to meet me, beneath this willow tree,” with eyes still twinkling with the light of distant thought as they continue to gaze between the branches of the willow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Willow Rose, a character I had in a game called Renaissance Kingdoms. The game has three ‘kingdoms’ connected to the renaissance era: Europe, Japan, and Aztec. This character is Japanese, from Shogun Kingdoms. I connected the main role plays I had there, gathered them into a document, and a collection of tales were created. This is, Chapter one, of Willow Rose, an imaginative piece of me, who kept me sane in years of confusion (February 2007 to August 2016). I Have edit the post only a little, you may take note as I post the chapters, the improvement of my writing style. Stay tuned for more throughout the year, one chapter per month. Enjoy. Further tales will include my other characters, Arial de Grey and High Priestess.

Dream Journal 9: Knowledge of the Collective Unconscious

Collective works – Jung

True, the unconscious knows more than the consciousness does; but it is knowledge of a special sort, knowledge in eternity, usually without reference to the here and now, not couched in language of the intellect. Only when we let its statements amplify themselves, [e.g. numeral sequences], does it come within the range of our understanding; only then does a new aspect become perceptible to us. This process is convincingly repeated in every successful dream analysis. That is why it is so important not to have any preconceived, doctrinaire opinions about the statements made by dreams. As soon as a certain “monotony of interpretation” strikes us, we know that our approach has become doctrinaire and hence sterile.” [dreams]

7.28.2011

A dream I am recalling now was one I had say… 5 years ago, I don’t know, I just know it was before we moved here to this house. It took place at night, I am unsure how it began, I just know it had star wars characters, maybe because I had recently watched the new star wars movie. My younger brother and I were the only ones home, he was helping me fight the clones inside, battles were going on outback as well. Soon I was in my kitchen fighting Darth Vator, but at some point I made it into the laundry room, feeling I was losing the battle, but then I was no longer fighting darth vator. It was now a man with short spiked hair in a white shirt and black jeans. I felt he was going to rape and kill me. But no rape happened, thankfully, but he stabled me twice in the chest with a butcher’s knife. I felt the prick of the 2 stabs. Before the 3rd hit I woke up.

Spirit Walks and Nature Talks 2

Discovery my spirit animals:

Totem animals of my chakras – creating the inner totem pole 

Tips and procedures before beginning meditation:

  • use dream totem exercise for lower 4 chakras [spirit walk category]
  • choose fragrance associated with chakra and candle of correct color -> sort unobtrusive music helps i.e. steady drumbeat rhythms
  • benefits of music: enhances imagery and overall experience (drumbeats are believed to be the heartbeat of earth; it connects us with the rhythms of Mother Earth ~~~water – earth; fetal waters
  • creating inner totem pole:
  1. use breathing techniques to relax and warm the body, soothing every part of your body.
  2. as you breathe, slow and steady, relaxing completely, visualize the color of the candle and chakra forming a small ‘crystalline’ sphere of light in the appropriate body area. * feel that part of the body, warm and tingling; from center of focused chakra, appears a tiny spark of light…

Visionary meditation process:

“As you focus upon that spark of light in your minds eye, it begins to shimmer and dance, growing brighter with each breath  you take. As you relax, breathing deeply, you feel a cool brush of air across your face and body. In your mind’s eye, images begin to appear.

“A meadow begins to form. You feel the earth solid beneath your feet. The air is cool and sweet. There is fragrance of new mown hay and spring flowers. The sun is warm upon the face and body.

“As you look around you see that this meadow is surrounded by tall stately trees. At one end of this meadow is a path lined with flowers and stones of every color and kind, leading up a distant mountain. The crest of the mountain is lost among the clouds. On the opposite side of the meadow, the path continues, leading down to a distant valley. As you look down toward that valley, you see your present home there.

“And you begin to understand.

“This meadow is a plateau, an intersection of time and space. It is where finite and the infinite come together; where the physical and spiritual meet. Here nature and human are one. This knowing is the freeing of the senses, because here is only to be

“You feel that brush of air across the face and body once again.

“a shadow now passes over you, the brush of air is felt again. As you look across the field you see the shad of what appears to belong to a large bird. As the shadow circles the meadow and over you, you feel the brush of air again, you watched the shadow, each time it passes over you. You feel that brush of air as if powerful wings are fanning you.

“You raise your eyes to the sky and far off you see a bird circling over head. You are amazed. You are also quite sure that it must be immense to be able to cast a shadow from such a distance.

“As you watch it, it descends and circles the tops of the trees. You are awestruck. It is so large and so magnificent. As you gaze up at it, it’s shadow now fills the meadow, it hovers. Before you can respond it swoops down and grasps, holding you firmly but gently, and it begins to carry you up and out of this meadow.

“Those tremendous wings beat, sending guts of wind past you. As you look down toward the meadow, you see the grasses waving in response to the currents created by its wings, and for a moment you are sure they are waving goodbye to you. Still the bird climbs higher, leaving the meadow far behind.

“The air becomes cooler, but it isn’t uncomfortable as you are carried higher and higher. You realize you are being carried in the direction of that distant mountain.

“Then the beating of wings stop, and this magnificent bird begins to soar, riding upon the winds. Slowly it circles, gliding, slowly and beginning to descend toward the mountain crest. As you look down toward it, you see a large nest at its very crest.

“You catch your breath as you descend, drawing closer to the nest. You are afraid that you will hit it too hard, but with a powerful flapping of its wings the bird hovers over the nest and lays you gently within it, with more powerful strokes of the winds, it rises once more and disappears into the sky.

“You are standing in this nest, on what you are sure is the top of the world. You move to the edge and look down, but the view is dizzying and you step back, breathing deeply to relax. The wind begins to rise around you, swirling, rising, and falling.

“As you continue to breathe deeply, you begin to hear faint whispers in that wind. As you relax those whispers harmonize and a clear voice issues forth from the winds. ‘you are part of nature. You are within nature, and are touched by all of nature. When you learn to attune to the animals, to the other creatures that live within It, you will become more sensitive to all environments. You will learn which environments to avoid, and which to embrace. You will find yourself awakened and empowered. You will once more be ‘animal-wise’.

“And then the voice fades into the wind, but it grows stronger around you. You move once more to the edge of the nest, standing upon its side. You breathe deeply, air moving around your body. You see the wind as crystalline spirals of energy.

“Every cell within you seems to be breathing, and with each breath you feel yourself becoming lighter and lighter.

“You extend your arms outward like an eagle spreading its wings. You feel what ever bird has felt when it prepared to fly from the nest for the first time. You breathe deeply and step off.

“There is a soft drop and then the wind catches you, lifting you, sending you upwards. You begin to relax into the wind, soaring with it. Riding upon it, not against. Never have you felt so free.

“As you relax into the currents, you realize you have begun a gentle spiral down toward that meadow. As you look down, everything is brighter. There is a shine that wasn’t there before, slowly, gently, the currents carry you toward that meadow.

“As you get closer, you realize that there is now a tree standing in the middle of this meadow. It’s roots extend deep into the heart of the Earth and its upper branches seem to reach toward you. Gently you reach with your hand, brushing the top of that tree to slow your descent, and you land softly on the grass at its base. 

“You are filled with wonder at the journey you just taken. You look around you and everything looks so much more alive! And then there’s a subtle movement from the opposite side of the tree. Your breath catches and you watch as there appears a magnificent creature. You are again filled with wonder, realizing this is the animal at your feet chakra [baboon?]. It will connect you to all things of the earth.

“As you gaze upon it, you are filled with awe at its beauty and energy, and then you realize that this creature has your eyes. It’s your eyes that are looking out from it to you. In that moment it begins to shimmer and with your next breath it melts into you. You feel it coming alive within you, growing stronger with every breath you take. You feel a tingling in the area of your feet. You feel the pulse of the earth. You feel yourself being connected.

“You breathe deeply and close your eyes, offering a prayer of thanks for that which you have just experienced and for that which you will unfold in the days ahead. You see the chakra within you, bright and strong connecting you to Earth. You see and feel that animal alive within you.

“As you open your eyes you are amazed to find that tree gone. In its place is a wooden staff. It’s upper third is carved in to 8 sections. In the bottom section is a carving of the animal that now breathes within you. You reach out and take the staff in your hand, placing your palm against the carving of the animal. You close your eyes and breathe deeply as a soft tingling runs through your body. A brush of air passes across you and you feel a wave of joy and strength fills you. 

“You raise the staff above your head and speak a prayer of thanks and honor to this creature, and you breathe deeply feeling more whole than you have felt in ages.

“As you open your eyes yet again, you see that the meadow is fading from the vision. The distant mountain; the valley below; the meadow itself. Yet the staff is strong in your hands, and the animal alive within you. You breathe deep and again there is that brush of air and it fills you with promise. As the images fade from the inner vision, you realize that they do so only to be born into the outer life.”