October 1, 2014

Living Well: Back to Mama

 

DRAWING BY DAN MAZUR

Living Well: Back to Mama

The rains have returned. I stand outside, barefoot, as drops of water land on and around me. The dirt feels cold under my feet. My clothes are damp, and my glasses need little windshield wipers, but I don’t go inside. I have prayer work to do. In front of me sits my “mesa,” a small bundle of stones I have gathered and worked with over the past eight months. They are wrapped in a piece of African mud cloth, handwoven and named for the process the women use to dye the fabric with rich, black clay. Many mesa carriers use Peruvian cloth, but I resonate with this simple black and ivory swath colored with dirt. The bundle is folded a specific way, in a technique handed down from teacher to student in the Four Winds South American shamanic tradition.

Most mesa carriers secure their bundle with a tie of some sort; I simply wrap mine tight. The mesa likes “spirit water,” a fancy term for enhanced vodka. I add fresh herbs like lavender and mint to mine, and a little essential oil. Mesas also like breath, fire, and prayerful attention—like people do. Energetically, they are alive.

I do my practice daily, and this day is like any other, except for the rain. I begin by opening my “wiracocha” (a luminescent field of energy surrounding the body), and then do movements that activate clarity of vision, clean my chakras, connect to the earth and sun, check my “ayni carpi” archetypes, and feel my “bands of power.” To anyone outside the tradition, it may sound a bit farfetched—and look a little strange.

To me it’s as natural as can be. The entire process takes about thirty minutes, and when I’m finished, I feel deeply centered and grounded, connected to the earth. I do it anywhere: my back yard, a park, or on campus between classes. I learned from local energetic healer Claire Davis. She’s offering the training again in March. Do yourself a transformational favor: Sign up, and tell her I sent you. This is not the only way I connect to the planet. Once a month, I sit in a Native American prayer lodge. Many people call it a “sweat,” but Miguel says no. We don’t come here to sweat; we come to pray. We meet on top of the Santa Monica mountains on sacred land overlooking the ocean. In the tiny womblike structure built of willow branches covered with tarps, we create total darkness, like the original void. The intention is to re-enter the womb, go back to the very beginning, and sit in the safest place on Earth.

Glowing red stones are brought in one at a time and placed in a pit in the center. Then the cloth door is pulled down, water is poured over the “rock people,” and we sing songs, offering up our prayers to Spirit. I’ve come to recognize these stones as my ancestors: ancient, powerful, loving. We are told that after even one time in the lodge, paying respect to these stones, all stone people will recognize us as family, and we will never again need to feel alone.

These are two ways I come home. Perhaps it is my Native American blood, though only 12.5 percent and not recognized by my tribes (I get the genes from my father and the Native Americans trace lineage through mothers). However, I know my blood. I feel the connection. When I hug a tree, I feel its love. I sense wisdom and serenity in all trees. Some have stood for hundreds of years, quietly witnessing. Stones are even older.

As I finished the Medicine Wheel training and stood in the closing circle to declare, “I am Sage Knight, full mesa carrier,” I did not want to leave. We’d had four intensives over eight months in Temescal Canyon.

We’d done sand paintings, held fires, received sacred rites, and gone through our own deaths. We’d created altars for our ancestors, traveled on soul journeys, laughed, cried, and walked through fear. After the final fire, we parted, but I was not done.

I walked down the road from the hilltop classrooms to the big grassy field at the park’s entrance. Claire let us go early; there was still time for my weekly dance class, but I had no desire to get in a car and drive away. I wanted only one thing, more time with the earth.

So I called my sweetheart, asked him to bring food, and found a place to lie belly to belly on Mama. It had rained. The grass was squishy, but I found a good spot in the sun. Like a kitten, I kneaded the ground, blades of grass between my fingers, my claws. I became a newborn, gently nursing at her mother’s breast, feeding directly from this great source of love. When my man arrived, he lay next to me, and we napped like children. This is how I want to live.

I am not here to heal the earth. I see her as perfect and beautifully flawed, like the rest of us. She has tenacity, resilience, and a dynamic will to thrive. I am here to love her, to appreciate her, pay attention to her, and live in a way that honors the gifts she gives. The planet will survive—the humans may not. I remember my young child not wanting to go sing at a peace rally, because the energy was violent. There is another way.

I am dreaming my life into being, creating my world with my intention and my attention. I can see the earth as vibrant, beautiful, and whole. If there is something that needs changing, I must accept it first, as is. Only then will I have any power to make a real, lasting change—without resistance. It’s simple. It’s not about fighting, but allowing. I pray for myself. I pray to live in joy, to be of service, to walk in beauty. To give thanks for all of the ways the earth provides for me. I pray to give something back to She who gives all and asks for nothing in return. Then I lay on the ground and allow my troubles to drain into her loving lap. I get very still and listen as the leaves and stones whisper… “Welcome home.”

Sage Knight is a local everyday shaman, Literary Midwife, and singing teacher. Please visit her at www.SageKnightWrites.com or call 818.264.6163.