Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Featured Creature: Earth Spirit

"I folded my pants and made a neat pile of my clothes, setting them down with my shoes near the entrance. I stepped tentatively into the cave.  There had been a strong breeze outside that was almost cold in the absence of my clothing, but as I moved into the ritual area and closer to the fire, the air was warm and nearly cloying.  I stood beside a small mat close to the fire as instructed and waited. 

Fivecrows, the medicine man leading the ritual, brought a small wooden bowl and presented it to me.  I dipped my fingers in as he instructed and begin rubbing the loose paste over my body.  The mixture had a thick earthy smell and felt like mud.  I rubbed it into my arm pits, across the top of my head, into my groin, and around my neck.  It was cool on my skin in the heat of the cave.  As I covered myself in the paste, Fivecrows shook a large feather covered rattle over me.  He moved the rattle over my entire body, chanting repeatedly.  I understood that this was to cleanse my spirit for the experience.  

As I finished, he blew a fine white dust over me that smelled faintly floral.  Then he instructed me to sit.  Although a chimney released the smoke, the cave was pungent with the smell of many fires.  The space held the heat well and seemed almost to amplify it.  The closeness of the fire had begun to make the small den feel oppressive.  I adjusted myself on the mat I'd been given and scooted back several inches.  

Fivecrows sat on another mat opposite me with the fire between us.  We sat in silence for a long while, staring into the fire he'd built.  He began to chant again and shake his spirit rattle over the fire.  This chant was different from the first and had a quick steady rhythm.  As he chanted, he had begun to rock gently forward and back.  Soon I found myself unintentionally following suite.  I'd began to sweat slightly. 

I stared into the fire as I rocked.  Fivecrows' chanting seemed to move about the room, coming at first from the man himself, then suddenly behind me, then from somewhere above us.  Soon I lost any separation and it seemed that the chanting had moved into my head, coming from inside me.  The fire had begun to take on new dimensions.  The flames moved like curtains of light folding in upon themselves.  I saw it then, moving just beyond the fire light, in the shadows beyond Fivecrows.  It seemed to be emerging from the walls of the cave.  I blinked repeatedly, but the entity remained.

I heard Fivecrows speak but the words were strange.  They seemed to be mixed and overlaid somehow with his chanting.  His eyes were clear and focused one me.

"Do not worry.  They have come only to observe your transformation.  You are ready now."
{Sharpie and Uni-ball Vision Elite Pen with tones added in Adobe Photoshop}

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