Since my last blog I have traversed the pond to my adopted home, California USA, Turtle Island for an initiation in the Dagara tradition to become a stick diviner
After a month, I returned to South Africa my home, to a mouse infestation, droppings in my bed where they went for warmth in my un-lived apartment and 2 days later The mice were my first teachers.
The second was shingles,a viral infection of the nerve roots. And I hated that teacher with a vengeance. 2 days after I return I get an earache and what I thought was a toothache on the left side of my body. Ancestral side.
I blamed the 34 hour plane journeys and lack of sleep. I applied arnica freeze into the pain on my left shoulder and by day three the rash appears. Only then I hit the doctor’s office. Shingles, no doubt. she says. I suddenly feel very alone.
I research on the internet avidly and my spiral into the black hole begins when I read the nerve pain afterwards called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the result of the shingles virus damaging the nerves of the skin, in some cases, the pain is mild, in others, even the slightest touch — from clothing or even a breeze — can be excruciating, and can last for 6 months and in some cases years.
I am now an expert on natural remedies for shingles, very few things actually work. One or two did. Shingles kept me down and in for a month and then another three weeks of nerve pain. It took me to places, I have not visited for some time, as well as moving me to a vulnerability so gentle and heart opening I just wanted to curl in a ball and weep,and when I had no energy after being up for just two hours, I gave myself permission to catch up on sleep I felt was overdue for years.
In the sudden bouts of energy I flew around the house cleaning or walking at the ocean or catching up on work, until the pain fried my brain and I crept back into bed. There was no relief, unrelentless is a word I now fully understand, and I was mad with my ancestors.
I resisted daily painkillers and definitely not prescription, so I took ones here called Grand-pa when I just need a respite. In the end they too stop working, I seem to be getting better from the shingles but not the pain. The pain of the touch of a soft t-shirt on my skin drove into my brain for 24 hours of each day.
What I became curious about was that the shingles virus is dormant in the body some say the spine and the brain , I believe for years, if, as a child one has had chicken pox. I waited for the connections.
And yet all the while I knew I was strong in a way that was inexplicable. In these times when I shouted at the ancestors for this curse, I also knew they were working on me and something I had forgotten. I had no patience to lose, little physical strength to push my self and no desire to eat . I was relegated to deal with my old stuff, maybe stuff since I had the pox as a child, to sort through and reflect on and heal. I was immersed in the water of my life with very little fire to ignite.
One or two angels came to my rescue with herbal medicines and phone calls and Facebook friends in The Caribbean and US talked me through it but other than that, I was left in my black hole, grumpy and a bit confused, where I continued to confront my demons.
I emerged to mentor the three young men I am working with, in Return To Origin, a three-year program. We are working with tracking, self and others amongst many other incredible teachings, and each time I sit with them and teach , I remember what I have to do when I return to my friend the black hole. I too have to track. Where I had been, where I had come from and where I am now. I realised with a smile that I had done quite a bit and been quite heroic. Those were the light times. In the darkness I sat with the age-old, whats the point, the meaning of life and whats it all about, simple questions. It was just shingles after all. One unfriendly friend actually said on only his 2nd call in 7 weeks, well it could be worse, and I also wondered if I had ever demeaned someones reality and experience in that way. Now though I remember my teacher Michael Meade who I revere as a wise elder saying, “its not about getting over it, it’s about getting through it.” And I did and I emerged. Teaching what I need to learn and learning what I need to teach. To see, to listen, to hear, to smell, to touch and feel and to witness my nutty self, when I am not in control of my pain. Mostly I returned literally to my senses and my God given body again and again. .
A gentle oesteopath called Erwann said,
It’s what you have been given to experience this lifetime, return to it.
Truth of what I learned is that I am still (is it ever going to end, ) simply becoming more of who I am meant to be, here in this body. Please forgive this new age cliché, but it’s friggin true, and then there’s the big cosmic joke, that when you finally get there, this body, it WILL die. Now that’s worth 7 weeks of pain! And some people often don’t learn that lesson, for many lifetimes.
At week 4 of all this rich dark stuff, I accompany the Return To Origin trainee leaders on a 4 day training into Eden, here in the Western Cape. A home to me. It is old and ancient. I received a message that their grandfathers were hungry for connection and they spoke of feeling their grandfathers a few days earlier. We worked with these elders over the 4 days in honoring and ritual.
On day one, as we sat on the rocks on what I now know as my father’s favorite beach and talked about our welcome home water ceremony for the guys and their ancestors, that we were about to do, a double rainbow appeared and the baboons surrounded us. As we walked to the water a light blessing rain came from nowhere. Whilst in the water during the ceremony the baboons rifled through our belongings. All signs that the other worlds had come to support this ritual.
In our rented cottage at the foot of a Mountain covered in Fynbos we created a beautiful altar where we were staying, and by candle light, I introduced them to the notion of ancestors as allies and support for their ever-changing lives. We delved into their creative cosmology and the elements and elementals. We cooked together and went deep together and told stories together. That night we honored our ancestors with a fire ritual deep in the rock face of the surrounding mountain.
Transformation, deep soul work and remembering were manifesting in front of my eyes. All three of them connected with their grandfathers and the work that came through and the signs and symbols were magnificent. Some of these stories remain in the cottage or on the land as secret and some will at some point be part of a legacy these young men will leave for their children or families.
By day two It felt like I had flu, I couldnt get warm even in bed. I heard get out of bed. I would not have missed the incredible wild beaches, or watching while the trainees tracked but I had to push myself that day. I was not sorry. I couldn’t walk far but sat on rocks with my beloved mother, the ocean and the wild beings.
On occasion I would wonder and wander with the guys, struck by the incredible remembering that was being channeled through them as we peered at shells and animals in shells and nature at its purest and best. The wind was an important cleanser that day, it swirled around me and through me, clearing my head of old stuff that I now associated with the black hole, and I felt clearer and sharper. My eyes which were blurred most of the time, when I was sick and the light which was painful to my eyes were also able to tolerate the elements. In nature and out of the hole, I realized I was feeling much better.
Day two we found a whale bone. Day three it poured with rain and the guys continued their cold adaption practices by walking up the mountain barefoot in just shorts in the heavy heavy rain. The ancestors were happy.
The tracking skills we had been working with prior to these days were now taken into the land, the ocean and sand dunes. We used our gifts of smell, deep listening with whales ears, deep seeing with the eyes behind the eyes, touch and the gift of higher self, old mind, intuition and most of all our ancient being. I was grateful that my return to my senses was in such a place of wildness. I wanted to play.
By the 4th day of being in nature I felt stronger more alive less distracted by the pain. By the time I was home there was an immense turn around. I realized I had not taken pain killers in three days.
I am honored and privileged to spend time with these three young men, who also with each day became more vital as layers are being removed. As they get closer to lifting the veils to the other worlds, their ancestors and the natural world, they too are getting closer to their essence, their true nature and their true selves. Each one spoke of finding home. I am thankful for my body as home because without this I would not remember to track myself when I am sick or walk that land in the way I had to force myself and allow nature to heal me.
By day 4 we were being given gifts of immense proportions, a washed up whale, the guys did a beautiful ritual to honor its presence. They discovered shell middens from ancient feasts or last meals. Tracks and tracking became a magic journey into a world unknown yet remembered, and at night we returned home to a fire and debriefing of the wonders of nature imprinted in our memory and the cells of our body. What we saw was old and ancient in a way that many people may miss, and we had the gift of Craig Foster our origins specialist to guide us into the world of mystery and Nature’s Matrix.
On the last day, the trainees’ last dip into a natural tide pool and cold adaption ended our incredible time in Eden and just as they were coming out of the water one of them, a golf coach and father, found a golf ball on which was written FEEL. It was a message for us all and in particular for his personal work. Magic! Later he shared, that both his grandfathers played golf and with each other.
Just before dusk we made a prayer of gratitude on a deserted beach where I have seen my old old ones walking in leather tongas, they were carrying spears. I brought water from Medicine Lake, a sacred place of healing for the Native Americans, Pit River Tribe, close to Mount Shasta, USA , Turtle Island. I mix waters of South Africa in Eden, and the Native Americans and the indigenous ones are united. We asked for all the prayers to be taken to all the waters in the world and in unity. I felt the love of the ancient sea people I had seen walking that day a few months ago and again I am healed. Still that nerve pain twinges just to remind me of my body as home and I that am alive, for today, I have no further questions. http://www.returntoorigin.org.za
Thanks to Kassie Naidoo for the first 4 photos the others by Craig Foster, with thanks.
May all worlds bless and protect you always –