New Year's Eve, and I found myself extremely restless. I had to get out of my apartment and found myself at the nearby park, looking over the still waters of Clark Lake at Grandmother Moon, and speaking to Her of all the things I had to be grateful for over the past year...
- I have published some of my comics through an online publisher
- I was able to strengthen my path by taking courses from a couple of shamanic teachers whom I've admired for a very long time
- In one aforementioned course I learned Soul Retrieval, which, besides making me feel like an "official" Shamanic Practitioner, allowed me to witness and experience amazing results in people's lives
- Another course allowed me to expand my horizons by arranging my own flight and accommodations, which were not only not to Minnesota to visit family, but were to a state and city I'd never been to before
- In the aforementioned course I met someone who could very well be the love of my life
- After the aforementioned course I was accepted into Sandra Ingerman's Two Year Teachers Training program
- I taught my first Shamanic class
A couple weeks prior, realizing all the growth I'd been through and the significance of the possibilities of all the things to come that perched somewhere on my horizon, I recognized the timing was right for a rite of passage for cleansing and releasing the past in order to move uninhibitedly into the coming year. Enter a sweat lodge ceremony at a magickal place I knew of on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound. It had been a while since I'd been in a sweat lodge, but I found myself excited, and a bit nervous, at the prospect of such a perfect ritual with such perfect timing. Even as we were taking our turns touching our heads to the ground at the door of the lodge with a prayer, "Aho Matakwiasin, All My Relations," and crawling into our places in this womb of the earth, I was nervous and excited.
It is an amazing thing to sit in the semi-dark with like-minded folks in the trust and innocence of nakedness as the glowing stones are passed through the small door into the pit at the center of the lodge, the kiss of sweet grass and lavender upon the stones tingeing the air with invigorating and soothing scents, before the door is closed, leaving us in total darkness aside from the stone people's soft, orange glow. Then the water sings on the heated surfaces with a woosh of billowing steam a mere moment before the wave of heat hits my body, and I breathe the hot dampness through my mouth all the way into my lungs, realizing that sweat is pouring out of my every pore. My hands dig into the coolness of the earth to balance the heat, and I roar, and cry, and sing, the river of sweat carrying from me all that needs to be released to make room for the blessings and promises of the new year.
After two of the four rounds I check with my guides and, feeling my time inside the lodge is complete, I leave, again pausing at the door to touch my forehead to the earth and whisper a prayer to All My Relations. Then, after the exhiliration and freedom of literally running naked through the woods, I put on a robe and take a place next to fire where the lodge stones are being heated, feeling cleaned out and content.
Once the the lodge is finished and everyone is in various states of getting dressed and gathering their things, I head up to the main house where we will share a pot luck meal, and stepping out of the meadow into the trees, am struck by the pure enchantment of the woodland path being lit by the half-full moon. That took my breath away even more than the lodge itself did.
Aside from the lesson I'm already aware of, and taking care of, of taking breaks for myself between work and projects (cormorants are famous for standing in the sun after fishing in order for their outstretched wings to dry), the main power this bird brings is the ability to reach and attain seemingly impossible dreams...
...THIS is the year!