The 2008 Shaman’s Path Intensive
The second annual Shaman’s Path Intensive took place July 4th weekend, 2008, a yearly immersion into the dynamic connection and communication of human, earth and other. This workshop often draws some of the most sensitive and motivated participants, and Wolf, Loba and I are always excited to see what opportunities and gifts each new event brings.
The weather was beautiful and enchanting in itself, with dark clouds dancing in each afternoon with light showers blessing us and keeping the temperatures cool and sweet. The Rocky Mountain Beeweed is flowering in all it’s purple glory, covering the riverside with their six foot tall spires, leading us like living candles deeper into the canyon.
Our gatherings are well known for their feasts, and this event was no exception! From chocolate acorn cake to Loba’s Mediterranean extravaganza to the blackberry studded beauty of the closing circle’s creamy chocolate pie we ate very well indeed. Many meals were wrapped in the jewel tones of wild grape leaves, and fresh berries accompanied nearly every eating experience. Herbed flax bread as well as a hearty rye caraway loaf were set out to be smeared with sweet cream butter by eager fingers and spoons. Veggies and meat were roasted on an open fire while fresh raw salads were prepared with vibrant greens and colorful sweet peppers. All our eating took place out of doors, on the Gifting Lodge’s wide wooden porch so that we were sheltered from the rain while letting the trees, sky and stones in. Many thanks to the caring hands of each person who invested love and intent into each meal, helping to make every eating experience yet more satisfying and tasty!
One of our most popular workshops was the afternoon devoted to the study of the Animá Medicine Wheel. Together we gathered the stones to form a medicine wheel for an afternoon of exploring self, earth, energetics and relationships through this tool created from the direct observation of nature. While very different from indigenous models, the Medicine Wheel has become a foundational understanding and teaching of our work here. More than one person told us that their experience of the Wheel has forever changed their perception of themselves and others.
Some wonderful highlights included seeing our Medicine Woman student Stacey joyfully receiving the many gifts of the canyon. Whether spending time with the river or climbing high into the Alder trees, she listened and learned. She is beginning to accept her gifts as a healer, visionary and teacher as her own, and to know herself fully. Allison and Dave, themselves passionate teachers and facilitators of Earth-based wisdom joined us in deep connection to place and self. Their openness and understanding is huge, and their presence very meaningful to us! NancyAnn, a gifted woman who has spent her life serving as an intermediary between the sensory, sensual earth and people, shared her experiences with us even as she immersed herself in the magic of the gathering. Carol arrived from her home in the desert searching for a deeper understanding of her purpose and self and walked away with a full heart and plans to undertake a vital and courageous journey of transformation in her life. Our wise apprentice Shay has now taken the name Resolute as part of her solid commitment to her self, to the earth and to Animá. Her exceptional capacity for integration and sensitivity coupled with her intense desire to learn makes her not only a great gift to us, but to the whole world as well. Student Suzen returned to the Center for yet another pilgrimage of healing, growth and magic. Her openness to the power of this place and to her own deeply feeling nature provide an excellent example for us all. Everyone was so generous, bringing with them gifts of food, financial assistance, wisdom and most importantly, an open and receiving heart!
One special evening we silently journeyed downriver, carrying dry wood to the foot of the sacred cliffs. During the time fading into dusk we each found a special place to rest, cooling our feet in the river or curling up under dangling grape vines. Coming back together, we all crowded around an exceptionally beautiful Sacred Datura plant, three and a half foot tall and flush with flowers waiting to open. We praised the intricate spirals of the bud, noted the blue purple tinge running the length of the plant and remarked over the extreme contrast between flower fragrance and the strange scent of the leaves. And we watched – ever so closely- for the night blooming buds to unfold. As we stood, patient and admiring, the flowers began to open –slowly at first — petal tendrils unwinding moonwise until they burst in a three second show of the night arriving in a flower, rich with the intoxicating fragrance so particular to the nightshades. The group exhaled a simultaneous breath, full of the oohhs and ahhhs of wondrous children.
As night fell, we built a small fire and circled round it, speaking quietly of the history of this place, of the miracles that were required to sustain and restore it, and of the transformation and healing it gives to those who journey here with an open heart. Wolf slipped out of the dark with drum in hand. As we each turned to face outward into the canyon, he played for us an ancient rhythm. In the sound of his music was the bliss and agony of a world in transition and a species that longs for the vital connection to place that has been stripped from so many of us. In his beat was the heartbeat of each one of us — he walked the circle, pausing behind each individual, giving a profound gift of unique and deeply needed energy shifting rhythm. The drumming was a dance between drummer and land, land and person, drum and heart – altering and opening us, bringing us closer to an awakened and aware relationship with all things.
We walked back together in a line under the dark of a new moon, weaving and twisting across the textured terrain of the riverbank. Laughter, song and tears could be heard as we slipped through the night, and the echo of the drum followed us all to our beds.
Throughout the weekend each individual spent special time with the land, and especially with the river and its iridescent dragonflies. The medicine of this place sparkling and swirling into the touch of every bare foot against smooth rock and fingertip rippling the cool water. There were so many special people at this gathering and so many searching for profound transformation and personal self-discovery.
Even as the last of the guests walked slowly out of the canyon towards their individual homes and purposes, I could still hear their voices, still feel the imprint of their footsteps against the soft ground and still sense the great love of their hearts and hands, all woven together in the canyon’s wide open arms. To each and every one of you, thank you. We are honored to serve you in your journeys towards wholeness, authenticity and connection. The river’s song remembers you and our hearts hold you.
~~~All pics (c) 2008 Kiva Rose~~~
Categories: The Shaman Path