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Returning from the Ojito Wilderness has been a more difficult transition than usual. I’m chalking this up to the power of ceremony and the cleansing that must follow after everything has been churned up for release. From the flooding rains to the terrifying cracking sounds of gunshots to the surprise appearances of three rattlesnakes, the Ojito simultaneously drained us and filled us up with the fundamental energy of pure life force, inspired us to new possibilities and showed us where we need to pay closer attention.

Vision Quest is an ancient rites of passage ceremony where individuals go out to the wilderness and choose a spot where they will spend the next 4 days and nights alone fasting with nothing but water. Here they will engage with spirit, drop down to match the vibration of the Earth, and pray for their intentions, their communities and the planet. I lead these excursions once a year.

One of the mental pitfalls of such an experience is expecting a huge firecracker aha moment where the light shines down from the heavens and all of creation is seen and understood. This of course is a possibility, but the thing is…it’s rare and it’s certainly not meant to last. We are meant to keep circling around the medicine wheel, which I relate to as a map of the psyche.

You have the South which represents the child, the earth, summer and innocence, the West, which holds the adolescent, water, fall, emotions and the soul. Then we have the North, which symbolizes the adult, air, winter and the mind, and finally the East, the shield of the elder and rebirth into a newborn, fire, spring, spirit and transformation. Each shield has power and shadow, and lessons to understand through experience. None is better or more important than another as circling around the wheel keeps us in balance.

On my first Vision Quest, I spent a lot of time stewing in anger, over all the things I was missing in order to spend hundreds of dollars to spend 4 nights alone in the wilderness with no food. Was I crazy? Why on earth would I do such a thing? I was called to remember that’s why and travel around the wheel I did. I had much to confront in myself, my fear, my expectations, my poison. And this I did, along with meeting the guardian spirit of the land, partnering up with the power of the white stallion, finding a nest of black widows in my camp and releasing a tremendous amount of stuck energy while surrendering to the mystery of the universe.

Ceremony is simply an opening to the self, a way of working with the powers that are all around us all the time, but unseen to the naked eye and misunderstood by the western mind. We pray for all 2 and 4-leggeds, the winged ones, the plants, the air, moon and stars, the rocks, the trees, the rivers and all our ancestors as integral parts of an interconnected universe. One may distract oneself with technology, shopping and gossip and that is fine if that’s your choice, but this is not a choice that brings you any closer to what you ultimately seek. It is merely a detour. Our journeys have many detours, some more than others.

My point is that it is not about feeling good all of the time. It is not about what’s easiest or most comfortable. These are parts of the wheel, not landing points. Fear, devastation, confusion, grief, rage and hopelessness are all part of the human experience as well as excitement, joy, fulfillment and ultimately love. There are no landing points, it just keeps going and going and going and going……So let go, there is nothing to figure out, the only thing to do is experience it all in relationship…relationship to you! The point is know what a blessing it is to be alive, to have the sacred breath animating our bodies, to be a part of this experience...

Circling into the center…the center of the wheel…I am the weaver, I am the woven one…I am the dreamer, I am the dream…

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