Wednesday, May 6, 2009

On The Road Again

After meeting Grey Wolf in September of 1991, we began a correspondence and learned more about each other. I sent him the stories I had been told and described my meditations and meetings with the old woman at her campfire. In return, Grey Wolf shared many stories, poems and song-lyrics with me. My songwriting partner and I put music to one of the sets of lyrics and recorded "The Lone Wolf's Last Call," as a gift to him. It still brings a smile, remembering his delight when the tape arrived.

We would talk on the phone for ages, like friends who had known each other forever. I will never forget his reply when I formally asked him to be my teacher.

"You ask me to be your teacher...wauggghhhh! Walk beside me and be my friend...perhaps we will teach each other something." I can still see how his frail body would shake with those silent chuckles.

He also began to join-in on the Monday meditations and his presence was felt in our circle, three thousand miles away. It was during one of these sessions, the following Spring, that I began to get a vision of a gathering of people. I saw Grey Wolf and, standing next to him, a woman with the headdress of a butterfly. I wasn't quite sure what it all meant.

Now, whenever we meditated, we would take the phone off the hook so as not to be disturbed. When we were finished, my friend Dale replaced the phone into its cradle. Immediately it rang. Dale called me over and handed me the receiver, my husband on the other end of the line. He told me the mail had come and there was something for me but he didn't know who it came from. I asked him to open the letter and tell me what was in it.

It was an invitation to a Wolf Clan Gathering in Spokane that coming July. My husband read to me, "The Elders invited to this gathering are Grey Wolf...and Grandmother Butterfly."

Yes, I was going to this gathering.

On the last day of June (a beautiful afternoon) I flew into SeaTac, rented a van to be both vehicle and accommodation, then headed across Highway 2 for Spokane. I wanted the more scenic route and had plenty of time for stopping by rivers and writing in my journal. I love to travel with only pen and paper as company. Sitting by the Snohomish, a Monarch butterfly came and landed on my knee. To come from New York City and be surrounded by all this beauty and peace was such tonic. For full-bodied flavour, I carried the love for my best friend who had journeyed-on, the November before. I cried while driving through a high desert rainstorm and laughed with delight at the following thick, stubby rainbow.

In the wee hours I relaxed my driving muscles at a rest stop, under a blanket of stars. It was time to recheck the map I had been sent...but couldn't find it, no matter how hard I looked. No point in panic; set my inner compass for Grey Wolf and got back on the road.

By sunrise my van pulled into the driveway of a country house, the paddock beyond a pond was filled with tents and two beautiful big tepees. Over to the right was a barn and an enclosure for a young female cougar. As the morning mist lifted I saw the rise beyond and quietly walked to the top of the ridge to watch the camp wake-up, sitting amongst a cloud of bluebells in the sweet-smelling dawn.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Crystal Flower

Once upon a time of the Medicine Wheel, there was a young girl of a desert tribe. She was afraid of death and, in holding onto her fear, her spirit became misplaced and she became ill. None who loved her were able to help.

Now, at this time there was an old, old woman who lived by herself in a canyon, close to the pueblo. This grandmother was held in great reverence by the people, though few came close to her, for spirits had talked through her since she was a child. She heard of the young girl and sent for her.

The girl's father carried her to the old woman's fire and set her gently down beside it. He stroked his daughter's hair and disappeared into the night, leaving her to face its magic. She turned her head like a frightened fawn at the rattle from the other side of the fire.

From behind the red rocks stepped a tiny woman, clutching her hides around her with claw-like hands. Her face was as lined and as red as the parched earth beneath her feet. Amber eyes shone in the fire's light. Her braids, thick and white, came down to her ankles. It seemed as if they glowed with a light all their own, making the young girl shrink back in fear.

"Do not be afraid child," said the old woman, in a voice like wind over sand. She reached under her robes and brought out a pouch. Loosening the ties, she sprinkled some strange powder on the fire. The young girl found herself staring deeply into the flames as the old woman began to chant her story. Suddenly there appeared, in the depths of the fire, the most beautiful flower the girl had ever seen. Her breath caught high in her throat. The petals were crystal prisms and the fire's light sent rainbow shafts shooting into the night. The girl's eyes began to tear with the light and sheer beauty, but she could not look away.

The old woman sang in a voice as soft and sweet as a maiden's. She told the girl of the quest she must make to find this flower and the secret it held within, for it was the secret of immortality. Death would be unable to claim her. As she sang, she walked slowly around the fire and laid her surprisingly gentle hands on the centre of the young girl's being, returning her spirit. Joy danced in her breast and she felt her strength surge to meet the task. She embraced the old woman and curled to sleep by the fire. With first light she would set off in search of this most magical of flowers.

For many years she walked Turtle Island, growing within and without from life's experiences. She had many adventures...but they belong to other stories within this one. Everywhere she went, she looked for the flower. She asked everyone she met and was shown many wondrous things, but no one had seen or heard of the crystal flower.

The young girl grew to womanhood, each turning of the seasons finding her in different country. Passing years began to sprinkle her braids with silver and the elements sculptured her form. Her walk became slower and her back became bent with the weight of her years.

She wanted to go home. Her braids were now as white as bones in the desert and she knew she was going to die. Slowly she made her way, labouring with every breath until, at last, she came to the arid land of her birth and to the very canyon of the old woman's fire, so long ago. She collapsed on that red parched earth and tears of anguish fell hot from her eyes. To have searched for so long, to have worked so hard for only an illusion of light! She hid her face in her arms and became quiet to take stock of her life. In the darkness within, she searched for the answer that had eluded her for a lifetime.

Painfully she raised her head for one last look at the world...and there it was.

Where her tears had fallen, grew a tiny and delicate, beautiful and perfect crystal flower. A light seemed to come from the centre of the blossom and, in the centre of her being, she felt a warmth begin where the old woman had laid her hands, all those years before. Now she understood. The light of the universe was hers, had always been hers just as she had always belonged to that light. She was now ready to return. She shed the body that had aged and slowed, the mind that had feared and doubted...soaring effortlessly over the landscape, higher and higher into the sky, to the light beyond the stars.

Going to the Campfire

1980 found me in New York, where a close-knit circle of women friends meditated together every Monday. During one session I was brought to a campfire, joining a very old Native American woman with long white braids. She began to tell me a story of a woman's life quest and, as I stared in the flames, I watched myself become the character in the story. To say it was an incredible experience would be an understatement; friends gathered around after, concerned at the flush on my face and completely dilated pupils. I was tingling from head to toe.

Many times after that, I returned to the same campfire and was told more stories, experiencing them as they unfolded. I began to write the stories down. The first tale had been the larger story that contained all the others, being about life, the fear of death and the connection to the infinite Great Mystery. When I wrote that first story, my mother-in-law was dying of ovarian cancer and I was taking care of her. I gave her the pages to read with a little trepidation (she was a very practical, real-world sort of person) and was gratified to find that it helped ease her fear and doubts in the final months of her life. It also opened the door for us to talk about life, death and love...not the daily conversations in my first husband's family, that's for sure, but she was desperate for just that.

The meditations and stories were very helpful to me during this difficult time, my first marriage crumbling around the events and my husband's alcoholism. What I didn't know at the time was that the woman always waiting at the campfire for me had plans and needs of her own, searching as she was for the old grey wolf.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

National Poetry Month

Three Wolves Running

He runs on my right side still,
four legs and the road's freedom
to turn.
Yes Beloved, I remember
a truck, a bedroll and that
great grey head.
Curling in your fur and stories,
a playful growl between us.
Deep in the dark of Steeple Mountains,
all trails led to your door
and let go.

She runs on my left side still,
amber eyes and the road's reading
to learn.
Yes Beloved, I remember
a fire, a teaching and your
panting breath.
I followed the scent of your
for the old grey between us.
Singing songs upon the moonlight,
three wolves running 'cross time,
and the ribboned line
of a howling highway.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Siah Ah Tai

Meditation has always been my practice, thanks in great part to my second mother, who was also my first spiritual teacher. She was a human manifestation of Quan Yin (Chinese Goddess of Compassion) inside a tiny package, just the right size for a Brit toddler in Southeast Asia. Siah Ah Tai was my Amah (nursemaid) for a good chunk of life's first decade, spent in Malaysia and Singapore.

Tai was a Chinese Buddhist woman whose voice only raised in the marketplace, over the price of crab. With me, she was always soft-spoken and unconditionally loving. Her harshest discipline was to turn the black pearls of her eyes away from me...and I was immediately ready to make amends. She was my constant when the world was unreliable in its movement; her smile punctuated every understanding.

She would welcome me into the morning with prayer and meditation. While a light pink mist hung in the dawn and the muezzin called the faithful to Islamic prayer, I would be transported on the pungent smoke from her joss sticks, her bowing prayers and then...stillness. No words were necessary in the hours I rubbed coconut oil and the morning sun through the blue-black of her knee-length hair, or the hours she spent bringing me tea and moonlight in the night when I was writing. She taught me being...and how to listen for all the names and thoughts of the Creator within quiet, humble waiting. She is the Far East and the yellow chrysanthemum robe still met within meditation.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Flicker Connection

A young woman I've been counselling online made a major painful step yesterday morning, admitting to me that she has been abusing her dog because of her despair and panic. Though it wasn't physically beating the dog, this situation could only escalate, so it had to be confronted...carefully. She suffers devastating physical and psychological symptoms...very manic and paralyzed in her life...becoming moreso over the last eight months. After I wrote what I had to say...I was weeping...and desperately needed the heart-comfort of walking our pup, so off we went...tears still streaming down my cheeks...and asking for help.

I am never turned-down.

Walking up the first hill, I began to hear a line being sung in my ears..."Ain't that love baby...ain't that love," and it was a comforting little mantra while picking-up the pace with the pup. A few blocks later...some other lines began to come...sweet and old-fashioned. Just off to my right, in the woods, a flicker suddenly began to sing...then flew right in front of me. The back-story to this is that the flicker was what Grey Wolf used to call "the telephone ringing for our connection." Whenever he saw the flicker come, he was about to hear from me.

A few blocks later...some more words...then a flicker in a garden on the left called...and flew in front of me. The connection grew...lightened and lifted me. A few blocks more and we reached the paddocks that we circle, open area...but ringed by the woods. Suddenly...a chorus began, all around us...flickers everywhere, calling, laughing, singing, flying. Now I was weeping and laughing with the joy of my beloved's coming...and the filling of my heart...and the rest of the song. I asked him to walk a bit with this young woman...and thanked him for always walking with me...there on the right side, where he always is...some can even see him with me.

I came home and checked the computer...first my heart sank a little when I read her defensive reply. Then there was a second reply (I'm so glad I was out for an hour) and this wee beauty had taken a second, honest look. My heart flew as I read her admit the defensiveness of the first reply (sweet I love when people get this brave in front of the mirror!) and how, in reading it herself, she realized the truth...realized she had asked for the truth...and running away only meant it was certainly truth...then promised me she would bring this up to her therapist immediately. She wants help...and she works hard for it, bless her.

I suspect tick-borne infections in this girl...she checked-off so many of the symptoms on a chart I sent her, that even she was gobsmacked...and has lived in three Lyme-endemic areas (NY, Penn., and Mass.) and now Colorado, where the numbers are growing fast, but I will not drive anyone down the Lyme-highway...only offer some maps for checking. I've given her the name and number of a Lyme-literate doctor who is forty-five minutes away from her...offered some help with the payment (LLMD's don't accept insurance because insurance companies are the ones to begin the witch-hunt by complaining to Medical Boards about "excessive treatment")...and explained that they don't want to drive anyone down that highway either...they want to find answers for people, the way other doctors just don't anymore. This particular doc was actually in the Lyme documentary...was told, as a patient, that he had Lou Gehrig's disease and was dying quickly. He went down the Lyme highway as a last ditch effort...and damn, if he didn't get better...out of the wheelchair...feeding himself...and finally...back to work to help others. I won't push any more, I've given her information...will just be here for her now.

So, here's the lyrics...sweet like my beloved Grey Wolf, with more said between the lines...that being the work of the listener...that being his way.

It was a hard and sacred day.

Everything's A Love Song copyright 2009 Walking Wolf Woman (& Grey Wolf)

I just met just met me
But there's somethin' between us that we can see
Ain't that love baby...ain't that Love
Friends we made years along the way
Still ask us to come out and play
Ain't that love baby...ain't that Love

It's love that makes a drawing from a pencil
Love that molds from clay a work of art
Love never makes itself a stencil
Each piece is a unique treat for the heart

Tender souls that we help through
Now they're makin' it somethin' new
Ain't that love baby...ain't that Love?
I miss you so though you're always near
The flicker's trill still brings you here
Ain't that love baby...ain't that Love?
Lip-smack from Above baby...ain't that Love!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Still & Moving

The trust I have in the moving current of this river of love that life flows absolute...still with the knowing, it is half the current and half my awakened love's responsibility to swim...while everyone else's halves swim in the same current, our atoms bumping this way and that. The thing about the laws of that magnets (like everything else in this existence) always have two polar opposites...for each being. Suffice to say...there's a lot of stuff flying within the current.

Still one can swim with trust, keeping the fins pumping...and eyes open...working it in our daily lives...bringing the exercises to life...watching carefully that 'life' goes on outside of the ego-mind connection illusion (a-thing-thought-is-a-thing-done, sort of illusion) which can make us feel really good while we plan, map, hold ceremony, ask for manifestations and life moves smoothly...but life is not designed to move smoothly and we panic easily in emotional riptides.

That's what it is to be have these through us and trigger hard drive instincts of fight, flight, or flirt. No one is exempt from the current within us as the fishy...swimming within the current of this river of opposites...but when I accept and submit to half and work the other half, calm deep waters wait where they always have been. There again is the trust, like a great stillness in the space between the atoms.