Thursday, July 15, 2010
A walk in the woods with an Animistic Druid
I stepped out of my jeep, into the cool, relieving air, and took a deep breath. I never knew how good clean air felt flowing into the lungs until I moved away from it. I gathered my gear all the while keeping an eye on my dog Orion. He's a good boy. On with the extra large camo fanny pack, then my Crane skin pouch, then the camera, last but not least my over sized straw mushroom head hat and magical staff. Orion and I set up the hill on the two mile hike to the summit of this sacred Mountain. I am told the natives of this land still hold summer solstice ritual up here every year as they have for thousands of years. I can't help but wonder what it would have been like to get to the top if this 5,000ft peak without the aid of a car or horse. It's 104 down in the valley, but only 75 up here. Ahhhhhh. As I start up I am almost knocked back by the overpowering smell of the Jeffry and white pines. It has been almost a year since I was last on this hike. I can tell the rain spirits have been more forthcoming this year from the amount of greenery and flowers. We hike up a ways and come to the first tree with a big spirit. I dip into my Crane skin pouch and pull out vervain. I dump some in my hand and spread it about the tree in offering. I then take a huge suck on my waterskin and with a big breath spray water on the tree. These are my offerings. I then touch the tree, humble asking it for it's blessing. I feel a bit of it's energies flow down my left arm and into and around my whole being. It's an exhilarating feeling for sure. It's been to long since I took time in the deep woods. It's like rain on this parched land. When it ends, I thank the tree spirit, and move on. Before I do, I marvel at the blackened trunk. I wonder how long ago the fire that came through here was. I remember this spirit was like that last year. Would those scares ever heal or wash away? It's a testament to it's will. Moving on I come to the large rock. The one that heads the top of this very blog. I repeat the little ceremony, quietly whispering to the rock. I ask it for it's blessing. I feel only the smallest trickle of energy, but then a chunk of stone falls off and hits my foot. I pick it up and place it in my crane skin pouch. I thank the stones, and move on. Orion and I hike on for some time. Stopping to take photos, or just to listen. I don't speak. Orion and I are in tune enough he knows what I want with but a small whistle or click of my tongue. There's no one around so he gets to run leash free. He always seems to stay in eye contact with me. I chuckle at his bird chasing antics. Never the squirls, just the birds. I don't know why, it's just his way. He never comes close to the birds, but he never gives up either. I like that. Another tree, another offering and blessing, though this tree was stingy. I thank it anyway. We come to the peak, and up Orion and I climb. At the top, I drop the gear, and dig out our lunch. The bees are buzzing. A swallow tail butterfly glides over head as I sink my teeth into the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I wonder if the butterfly realizes it's the highest flying butter fly in Kern County? If it did, would it care? Orion doesn't notice it, he's to busy scarfing his half of the PnJ sandwich. I think the butterfly is the same. It's to busy looking for some nectar and a good lay. After lunch I put on the Crane Bag and take up my staff. I walk to the offering stone. I know it's the one. It's about as big as a toilet and flat like a table. I talk to the spirit of the mountain. I tell it who I am, where I am from. I give it offerings of vervain, water, and incense. I sit and meditate for some time. How long? Can't say, didn't bring a time piece with me. A good while. Long enough for my entire left leg to go numb. When done, I get up and grab our gear and we head on over to the look out on the other side. It's much more windy there. Better to talk to the wind spirit. Orion and I arrive. I sit at the bench for a while hoping to be lucky enough to see a California Condor. No luck. I stand and offer vervain to the wind spirit. Then I listen and look and listen some more. I feel the wind until I am the wind. In time I am me again, and I pick up my gear, and Orion and I turn and head back to the jeep. It was a glorious 4 hours. My gifts given and received. I came back renewed, energized, with some good photos and a sunburn to help me remember it all for days.