A Medicine Woman’s Haven: Down by the River

by on May 4th, 2008
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Here in the SW, spring is well underway. The daytime’s are windy, hot and dry and the nights cool and illuminated by frogsong and poor-wills. I welcome the warmth after a cold, long winter and revel in the multitude of flowers bursting into bloom. Even as the ground dries and cracks under the brilliant sun, the honeysuckle grow fat cream-colored buds and the buffalo gourd spread rapidly across the rocky hillsides and mesas. There’s something miracle like to the growing seasons here in New Mexico, how even in the hottest, driest weather the plants are still flourishing and reproducing, the birds singing in profusion and the baby animals learning their ancestral trade of awareness, playfulness and survival.

In the heat of the day, I avoid sunburn and thirst by heading down the steep rocks to the welcoming river. In the shade of just leafed out willows, the sand is cool and the water sweeps by my bare, dusty feet with a song and a kiss for my splashing toes. Underneath the curving trees, the colors seem richer and the sounds softer as the ravens circle overhead and small animals run through the brush. On the banks, the first climbing tendrils of wild snapdragon vines and canyon grapes are winding their way around olive trees and juniper trunks. I lay back and feel the hum of the earth underneath my body, delighting in the small breeze that weaves through the trees to touch my face.

During the summer, the river provides animals, plants and humans alike an oasis, a faeryland of dappled shade and dragonflies. Each day, the various canyon inhabitants can be seen scurrying up and down the rocks, heading to the river for nourishment and rest, to float in the water’s sweet embrace or to crouch in the company of vines and songbirds. The river is a reward and a haven, a place for celebration and quiet retreat. It is the lifeblood of the canyon, and we cherish the vital flow that has shaped both the smooth stones and the many open hearts of students and seekers. The teachings of Anima and the tools of the Medicine Woman Tradition have their roots in this precious water, and have been fed and formed by the floods and eddies of the current that carries each of us deeper and closer to our truest, rawest selves.

Categories: Practicing Animá Lifeways

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