Monday, April 9, 2018

How to talk to spirits of place

I live in a beautiful place.  It is easy to imagine the light always glowing through stands of ancient cedar,  to delight in the sparkle children made of the sun's dance with mother ocean.

Yet not everyone imagines the same thing for a beautiful place.  Change is coming as new landowners carve driveways through old forest and design docks anchored to headlands of wild stone.  These changes are not necessarily bad--certainly most of us live in clearings that were once deep forest.

But what do the spirits of place want in regard of these changes?  How to talk to spirits of place so I can be awake to the other-than-human-beings when I meet new humans in their place.

I decided to do a Journey Oracle reading--not so much about how to talk to spirits of place, but to explore my hidden biases when I imagine change impacting spirits of place.  Certainly I assume that change is disruptive and dismaying for the creatures and forces that inhabit this land, but is it really?  Am I imposing my own answer even before I frame the question?

This is an image of my situation.  I did not try to focus on one aspect of the change in my neighborhood, I just let my feelings and thoughts circle about me in all their complexity.
My first impression is of a face with indeterminate features and somewhat blank eyes.  A lack of focus.  This is the oracle card representing Teacher.  It's message is "Don't need to know everything."  This creates a frisson of attention, but when I read this statement I feel a chill of recognition and responsibility: The momentum of this situation is fed by hearing the cries of the world. 

This is the oracle card representing my experience in this situation.  A figure partially outlined in blue is carrying a human form while moving up vertically. The blue figure seems to have wings.
When I read the phrases that are part of my situation experienced, they all feel potent:
insights from ancestors 
receiving blessings
the lightness of being in human form, facets, not quitting on relationships
light reflected, a bird is just a bird
giving into weakness
staying centered

When I treat this list as a map of my experience, I feel I am at the location called not quitting on relationships. So what's the next location on this journey?

This is the oracle card of change.  Creatures are watching, waiting, still patient. But the edges are burnt. This is the oracle card representing Halloween.  Its message is spirit prayers answered.  This feels very positive.  A statement from Divine Will is The wisdom of bringing back to life will empower the transformation.  I am beginning to intuit that asking how to help the spirits of place reassemble is the focus of my conversation with them.

This last oracle card in the Journey Oracle reading is an image of the resolution.  Wow.  What a powerful picture.   This is an oracle image of Lammas, sometimes called the holiday of hope and fear.  Feels just right for a situation of dramatic change. I see a skull with rivulets of blood, and also a creature striding along with considerable attitude.

In the Journey Oracle the resolution of the situation is presented as a fairy tale.   In this story a workshop leader finds a remarkable stone that becomes very important to her, but then she realizes that she must give it away in order to behave in an honourable way.  I understand the wild beauty of Cortes Island, and its spirits of place, are like this special stone.  Sometimes we have to give away what is dearest to our heart, in order to receive back its treasure in a new way.  I will ask the spirits of place how I can best support their transformation in this time of human change.

A Journey Oracle fairy tale
Several women were out walking when their leader saw a peculiar stone. It was a small piece of rough rock that looked like a bear, with a dirty piece of string holding a blue plastic bead around its middle. The leader picked it up and the others said “this will be our mascot!” But the leader placed the stone bear back on the trail. When none mentioned the stone bear again upon returning, the leader put it in her pocket.
At their lodging, the leader put the stone bear on a table, but no one mentioned it. Apparently the other women were not attracted to this, and so the leader believed she was receiving rewards for staying mindful, and took it home.
The leader carried the stone bear with her everywhere, and in a measured pace came to a great accomplishment: she could talk to the stone by deciphering the sensations she felt when holding it. The stone bear became a great and mysterious teacher to the leader—her most prized companion, sung to and feasted. But in her heart she had a small place that feels like chaos. The leader knew she had stolen the stone bear from the group.
       The group met again and the leader felt the anticipation and anxiety of Armageddon. She passed the stone to the first woman, telling the story of her caring for it. “Now I withdraw from it, she said, I give this away to the next to care for.” This woman was interested, but did not want to give so much attention. The second was not interested in stones at all. The third supported the leader keeping the stone, and so the bear arrived to the fourth.       
       “Grandmother Bear, I’ve longed to see you again” she said, and the leader felt an emptiness that looks like menstrual blood with no egg to nourish. But the woman said she did not need a symbol of a bear and passed the stone back. And so the leader learned that to receive what is dearest to the heart, she must give away its treasure.