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A Shaman's Pilgrimage


I wish to share this with you.

In March 2007 a shaman, Snow, undertook a spiritual pilgrimage on my behalf.

This is the account he gave me when he returned.

Let me say how humble I feel that you undertook the pilgrimage for me.

I needed to. There was much that needed to be sorted in your life, my beloved child. I went to make my sacrifice to the mountain spirit and to tell him your needs.

Tell me how it went. I just knew I could not speak with you on the journey there; I had to wait for you to make the journey back before we could speak.

You were right. I set out very early, as the sun touched the trees in the grounds where I live. I set out with my pack of food, no water, a bag of herbs and my special bones. I walked toward the sun for most of the day. I stopped by a pool to eat in the evening, when the edge of the sun touched the horizon I could see. I drank and ate and slept by a very small fire. I did this every day for five days. It was not lonely but I was alone. For a time a wolf walked with me, alongside, saying nothing but being there. It comforted me but he left me before I reached the mountain. I sent thanks after him for being a brother on my pilgrimage walk. I walked with my thoughts of you. I held you in my heart the entire way. Had I been able to, I would have spoken with Brother Wolf of your pure heart and soul, of the pure love you carry for those of us who are with you. I held your face in my heart as I walked. You gave me strength for I walked for you. Each night I lit a small fire and beheld your face in the flames. One night I heard you say 'where is Snow?' for I had not told you I was making the journey. You sought me and I was not there. I heard your man say 'he has gone on a journey. He will be back in a week.' You asked about my home and you were told that it was cleared of any food I might have left that would have perished and then it was laced tight and none were to go near it. I remember this; I heard it as if I was there by the side of your man as he said it. I honour your man, your duke for all that he does for me. I honour him for his great heart and love, for the home he has given me and for the respect he holds for me.

I wanted to speak with you, I missed you.

This I know but I could not tell you I was going, I had to go without a word to you. It was part of the journey. I knew this for you would have begged me not to go.

You are right. I do not like to be without any of my special guides.

So I spoke only to the duke about my going and he told the earl and they kept it from you until you asked. I said this is what I wanted and that is what they did. I walked for five days, five days of walking in a line toward a mountain with a sharp peak. I knew where I had to go although I had never been there in person. I have been there many times in spirit meditation. I walked and as I walked I collected tiny wild flowers in an empty purse I had with me. My food was almost gone. I found enough water and walked on. On the night of the fifth day I camped on the mountain itself, lit a small fire and sat over it all night, cold and tired. On the morning, as the sun touched the mountain top itself, I entered the cave above me. I scattered the wild flowers I had collected, I made obeisance to the spirit that resides there. I told him of your needs: to be free of the terrible bad heads that afflict you, to give the world the words which you write, to make people aware of the great love you carry for all those who are around you, who are drawn to you, who care for you and who love you. I told him of all this and I sat in deep meditation and offered my services to the spirit in return for the favours I asked.

He said he wanted nothing in return but would freely give that which I had asked as I had made the journey in the traditional and correct manner, carrying no water but entrusting that the earth would give me the water I needed. That I had eaten only that which I had carried so I took nothing from the earth that walked or grew at this time. That I had made the smallest of fires to light the darkness that surrounded me as I rested. That I had made my night vigil before entering the cave to speak. This spirit is an ancient one; he serves my people and has done for thousands of years. Only those of us who are shaman know of his existence, know of his service, know of his great learning. He told me much that day which I will keep locked in my heart and use to benefit those who come to me. I learned much that will help me and help others who come to me as well as being of help to you. The pilgrimage did much for me. I sat for the whole day in deep meditation and when the sun left the sky that night my trance state was finally broken. I had no food, no water and no warmth in my body. I made my thanks to the spirit; I left his great presence and returned to the ashes of my fire. I found they were still warm and was able to re-light the fire and warm myself. When the flames flickered I found a gourd of water, the sweetest water I have ever tasted in my life and by the side, hard baked bread which I softened with the water and ate. In the bread were the petals of the flowers I had scattered in the cave mouth as I entered. I was given back that which I had offered as sacrifice.

I slept that night in comfort, for the ground seemed as soft as my furs and hides. The next morning I rose, the fire had died out, the gourd had disappeared. I turned once, looked up at the cave and bowed and then began the walk back. On the way I found food to eat, there was food in abundance hanging from trees and springs and pools at which to drink. On my second night of rest, sitting by my fire, I heard your voice, I heard you call me; I heard you say you loved me and missed me. I felt the burning tears spring to my eyes and I heard you say they were burning your eyes too. I had not realised until that moment that I needed to hear those words from you and when they came, they came with such a light that it lit up the whole of the pathway for me. I could see into the darkness, see the path on which I would walk back. They lit up my heart, for I knew you loved me but you had not said it in such a way before.

I knew I was missed but I also knew I had to walk every step of the way back, I could not miss one or the pilgrimage would not work. Each night you spoke with me it made my sleep deeper and my steps lighter the next day. I wanted to come to you, I wanted to give you the gift of my love but you instructed me to rest for two days and I knew full well you were right to tell me to do so, for I was fair worn out and needed that rest. I came back to my tipi and found fresh food stacked inside for me, fresh clean water and much fruit. I ate and drank my fill and then I slept for hours and hours. I woke, attended to my needs, ate more fruit and meats and drank and slept again. Only when I was done with that could I once again walk out into the sunshine and find Redwood and tell him I was safely back. Your men had told him of my pilgrimage and he had in turn asked them to tell me to speak with him when I returned. This I did and he invited me to attend the Council meeting and report to them on my journey.

All I needed to know is that you were safely back and you had my love and gratitude for all you had done.

This I knew, this I knew full well. I went to the Council and it is as you imagined it, the circle of seats; the place where we stand and talk. I spoke to the Council of my journey and they praised me for my devotion to you and the strict way I kept to the rules of the pilgrimage. They praised me and made me feel humble that I should be so praised for I only did it out of love for you. I was honoured and touched by their words. They spoke of my wisdom in sharing with you the words I do, how you use them to help others. I told them of the wisdom I had received from the great spirit that I would use to help others, too and this they accepted with gratitude. It is good to know I can help others now, even more than I did before.

The honour was due to you, Snow, for what you did. You earned it by your walk.

I did no more than was asked of a shaman working for his woman,.

You did all that and more, Snow. I honour you for what you did. I love you for what you did. I missed you terribly whilst you were gone. We may not speak often but I am aware of you and your going took a part of me which you retained and brought back with you. I am complete again.

You know me well, you know I do not seek praise and fame and honour. It was good to take it for a few moments and then I put it to one side and said I do this for you.

I feel one day you will be appointed to the Council, my beloved one, they will draw on your wisdom. Will you go, for me?

If I am asked, I will go for the work is essential and I would be able to give back some of what I receive.

From here, then, my life should begin to change.

It will change. It will be slow, it will be so slow you will hardly notice it but it will change, it will become that which you wish. I have asked for it to be so and it will be so. Trust, trust and wait and be patient and live in the hope and wish that all you ask for will happen.

Snow, there are no words to say thank you.

I ask for no thanks. This is my service to you for all the love you give me, for the acceptance of me, for the joy you bring me by accepting me and by the happiness I have found in having a home within the beautiful grounds of your duke's home, for having a permanent base so I can make it weatherproof and warm and as I wish it to be, knowing I do not have to uproot it and move on. Thank you for writing all this for me.

No, thank you for telling me so much. I am fascinated and have become absorbed in your telling of the journey. It is time we went to rest, for the hour grows late.

I will sleep with a light heart tonight. I have told you of my journey, I have the prospect of serving the Council. I can ask no more than that. I bid you rest and peace in your heart. I am glad, so very glad and grateful I am here to serve you.

Snow moved on to join the spirit council after that. He and I communicate through my Mayan guide Redwood. I have never forgotten his great journey for me or his lessons whilst he was with me. For the record, my books are now out there in the world, my bad heads are slowly getting better. I hope you enjoyed the read.

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