… and Transforming the World.
Joseph Campbell said (before the Internet) “It’s an absolute necessity to have a room, or a certain hour in a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers this morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you might find that nothing happens… but if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”
Traditionally a shaman lived at the edge of the village, in-between the human world and the larger-than-human world that enveloped it. They were “seers,” ones who see more deeply, notice things out of the ordinary, beneath the surface. Without them, one could not know what you were on the earth for.
Leaves and plants grow from the periphery, from the edge, and those who are imaginative or different are not “on the fringe,” they’re “on the frontier.” The following piece of writing came from beyond that frontier, from a willingness to step out of the left brain, out of the known, and play in-between the dream and the daily world.
The Eternal Dance
My fingers, cramping with frost, ache for a hot cup of coffee. The upper reaches of the canyon are bathed in brilliance, while I still wait for the slanting rays to bring comfort on a cold morning.
A woman’s voice cries out on the mesa as sunlight reaches her circle. Awake through the starry night, she held to her resolve to live with power. Warmed by the heat of her purpose, she blew on the smoldering coals of passion to bring them back to life. Kindling a fire, feeding an inner flame, she lit a lamp that could guide her in dark times ahead.
These brave souls faced four days alone without food or shelter, entering the wild that it might enter them. They feasted on the elements, lived on the nutrients nature gave to their hearts. Bless and watch over them on their journey home. Guide them through the deserts and barren landscapes of ordinary life. Sustain them when they’re tired or lonely; return them to their compass at times they feel lost.
May they find balance and move with the stealth of hunters, stride with the purpose of warriors. Help them reweave the web of life, mend what has been broken, and create a home where spirit may grow. Alive with this wildness and wilderness, may they be wary of all chains and those comfortable cages that wish to entrap them.
There are few truly new stories in life. Most have been told before. The great tales of heroes and heroines have left metaphors and maps for us to follow, trails blazed through the labyrinths and landscapes of psyche, self, and world. Some will face dragons and monsters, seductive sirens, evil stepmothers, or a wicked witch. Others wander lost and search for the way home. Many seek gold, greatness, or fabled fountains that will renew life or bring color to the world. One is imprisoned, bound by chains, yearning to be free, while another toils to lift a curse or awaken from sleep.
But on this succulent, sunlit morning the birds are singing. Beauty erupts full-blown from their throats, serenades that ride on the wind, lift our spirits, and stimulate wings to sprout in our souls. The slanting sunlight brings gold to the meadow. I live to see another day with these eyes; grasses and seed stalks shine in the light. Strings of spiderwebs emerge and disappear in sparkling profusion, scattered slices of rainbows that span open spaces between sagebrush.
I feel held, at home in the arms of the proud pinion I lean against. The breeze strokes my body with a cooling caress. Cacti bloom; beavertail and prickly pear weave tender garlands into their crown of thorns. Fresh flowers stretch heavenward on stems of dusky rose. The river roars in the distance. Life goes on.
Love is streaming all throughout the world. There is enough for everyone. It comes in sunlight, cloud, and a million mysterious and simple ways. Celestial spheres spin on their axes; creation continues throughout seasons and cycles. There never was any original sin nor a need to leave the Garden. We can turn, or return to it, for this is our dwelling place. We are of the earth; our mother and father love us, and we belong here. We are joined to all life, a single strand in its intricate web. We can be held, healed, or strum its strings to create splendid music.
Praise be to creation! Open yourself to this world! Let the sun shine in your center, the rhythm of raven’s wings carry you across distances to your waiting destination. The sound of the drum is calling us home to where the heart is. Feel its beating! It takes courage, passion, and the innocent eyes of a child to come upon the kingdom again, and our journey will only be done when the hero opens the gate.
There’s only one way into heaven, and that’s to find it on earth. Tread on the soil; lift your gaze to the sky. The foundation is here — on the earth. This is where we must live and walk. Come join the dance! The circle is always moving; raise your spirits as your feet hit the ground.
A hunter, a warrior, a person of power, a native… a wilderness lives in each of us. This is our birthright, our indigenous soul, our authentic self. Sing, dance, celebrate, or fight for that native. Raise your voice and follow this call of the wild.
~ February 4, 2018. This post was excerpted from the book Letters to the River: A Guide to a Dream Worth Living. To learn more
~ about Letters to the River
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