I left Big Sur last Friday, after a week of Visual Questing with 20 AMAZING women. We covered more sacred territory in five days than I typically do in a month! We were blessed to attend a sacred Inipi Ceremony, hosted by two men who are so dedicated to being in service to The Great Mystery that all of us were blown away, as well as rebirthed on the Beltane-day of holy fires in honor of the season of fertility and impending harvest.
The sweat lodge itself is something I have never done with a large group of newbies before. There were a lot of questions and a few anxieties. The sweat was optional and I mistakenly assumed not everyone would go in. Wednesday at Esalen, for VQ and Matrilumina is traditionally Exquisite Self Care day, so we spent it eating light, dosing with tinctures, having bodywork done, lying in the sun, drinking 100 oz of water with medicinal flowers floating in them, napping, climbing the river trail and honoring silence.
It was hot. Even for me. But the sisters hung in there and processed through the heat, releasing and sending the energy into the Earth like seasoned ceremonial lodgers. I was feeling keenly motherly about each of them, monitoring them even in the darkness, listening for each sister and asking them to voice their needs. So much wisdom was shared inside that womb, and much shedding of superficial discomforts took place as well.
The thing about shamanism is that it's the most ancient spiritual practice in the world. So when you're *looking for a way in*- to reconcile what's in disharmony, to tap your intuitive wisdom, to get a look at your own insides, to heal relentless issues of the past, to engage your creativity, to source yourself and your inifinite guides for answers, to bring about big shifts and revelations- there's no more colorful and mystical path than taking a shamanic journey and creating ceremony.
Sixty hours after arriving home from leading my first solo five-day workshop, we made our way to Portland. We took two days to get here, but could have taken a week considering the fair amount of complaining coming from the back seats. What a lengthy adventure for lil bits!
The Cascades breathe so deeply, I could feel their wet kisses on my cheeks greeting me as I drove hundreds of miles North...
The PacNW feels like the lungs of North America, not unlike the rainforests of South America. Maybe it's the diaphragm? Having this thought reminded me of the grief that settles into the lungs, my own lungs, and the work I did around them when I got whooping cough in 2010. Coughing for two months straight caused me to look back into the history of my family, into the generations of folks intent on surviving and doing a damn good job of just that. But the grief. It's thick. Back in the Central Valley, there is so. much. dust. The Dust Bowl that blew my ancestors West still blows, and the results were all over our porches when we left town on Monday. I realize that in order to do what I am here to do, I have to step away from what I've so far called home. I was never meant to continue suffering the sorrows of those who came before me. I don't believe any of us are. I see that it's brave to make a new road for myself and my family. I also see how I resisted it for so long, going and returning, answering the call and, finally, knowing when to hang up.
I'm not yet certain that Portland is where I'll make a forever home, (my word for the year, and a nice way she did manifest, eh?), or if I even want a forever home. Home will always be wherever I lay my head: the Earth, and with my little people. Until they begin to make their own roads, that is.