The first paragraph of this post was written in July, but then various things happened so I am publishing it, serendipitously, just before my birthday.
It is the first chapter of a journey that started two years ago…
|This is the beautiful scene that welcomed me as I approached the lake.|
I am still there somehow, my heart bursting with joy, swimming in the warm, healing and loving waters of the lake, each of my grateful strokes opening up another set of ripples in the sky – this fluid mirror that does not separate the world from its reflection, but invites you, instead, to dive in, and to feel how everything is one.
|Can you see me, tiny and far away, swimming in a puddle of light?|
And then I emerge from the water and simply stand on the dock, absorbing the beauty of the moment, while the morning sun and the breeze gently bless my skin.
|Ah, lady Dragonfly. Thank you so much for your lively and iridescent company.|
|The water seemed to be breathing.|
This journey actually begins two years ago, when the Fox unexpectedly reappeared in my life. It was early September, and I was resting in my secret place on the hill after an exhausting Summer. The crows were making a particularly loud report on the current situation, when I became aware that there was a message for me in their call. “Come on, get up! Get up on your feet and look over here!”
|Crows are my allies and they often keep me company.|
So I did, and I saw him right away, his rust-coloured fur gloriously revealed by the afternoon sun. He was trotting swiftly uphill while the crows followed him from tree to tree, signalling his presence even when he was out of view, until he eventually disappeared in one of his secret underground alleys.
I hadn’t seen the Fox in person for several years, though he has been active in the texture of my life as a spirit animal for a long time – and there he was in full daylight, three days before my birthday!
|His slender silhouette does not appear here, but it might...|
I felt a deep joy rising in my heart, from the pure pleasure of this encounter, an a secret knowing that his visit was a prelude to something else.
When I came back home that evening, I found an email from Gayá (also know as Mélody at the time), inviting me to a small gathering that would take place in October, at her forest home, to make my own shamanic drum with several other women friends.
My heart, body and soul answered at the same time: Yes.
This invitation, I realized, was an answer to the prayer I had made to the universe in May when I met Gayá, who is a wonderful, inspiring medicine woman: I wish to find my own sacred path within the ways of Nature.
|Spending time with these small, delicate, resilient beings brings forth my true Nature.|
So a few weeks later, in October, I discovered the enchanted land named Earth of Essence, which is nested in the wooden hills of Outaouais, a beautiful region of Quebec, in Eastern Canada, where Gayá lives with her family.
|The Blue House, shining amongst the Maple trees.|
It was thus my first encounter with the Lady of the Lake – this gentle feminine spirit that welcomes you when you stand by the water, particularly in the morning… or at night under a thousands of stars, blissfully and completely bewitched.
(To the point that you don't want to go back inside for your camera.)
|Can you feel the soft, moist and fresh breeze?|
|At the time the water was too cold for a swim, unfortunately.|
The crafting of this traditional shamanic drum (or tewegan) is a story in itself, but I will just say that it was a long, challenging, deep and magical process. I felt sustained by our circle of women, and by the presence of Jacques Nadon, our drum-making guide from Les Tambours Mikinak , who is truly acting “for All Our Relations”, in the traditional way.
|For the drum beater, I later replaced the felt given by Jacques, using instead a small embroidered piece of purple cotton that my parents brought from Guatemala when we were living in Panama.|
We had a ceremony to honour and give thanks to the animals whose hides had been saved for us (a Wapiti and a Bison) – and another ceremony, one month later, to activate the unique, sacred healing energy of our drums within the Native American Medicine Wheel.
|The night before, there was also a women's circle by the fire, just between us.|
This connection with the healing powers of the natural world was transmitted to our drums through Jacques, whose own traditional drum had been activated by an Algonquin elder’s… our drums were therefore linked to many, many generations of drums and drum bearers.
I can feel their presence when I talk with my tewegan, here on this land, where a vast majority of their people have been chased away and wronged in many, many ways. I bow to you, Elders and Ancestors, asking humbly for your benevolence and guidance.
|Grandmother Moon rising at dawn.|
The drumbeat of all shamanic drums also connects us with the heartbeat of our Mother Earth… and this was in fact the very reason I felt the need to make one for myself.
|Last year, I also made a small bundle of feathers to sage myself before ceremonies.|
During the long, snow-covered Quebec Winters, I can’t “Touch the Earth” to ground myself like I do in Summer – walking barefoot on the hill, absorbing Nature gratefully through all my senses. Instead, I drift into my head, struggling to remain warm... By March, I have already stretched myself too thin, and by the time Spring arrives in May, I am exhausted and vulnerable.
|How they long to touch the ground, these pine needles... and yet, how lovely they are in the April light!|
So all through Autumn, that year, I talked with my tewegan often, listening to her voice, recalling ancient memories on how it feels to be connected to the spirits of the land through the rhythms of your drum.
|There might well be a forest deva in this space between the three birches.|
I let my fingers run on her skin to evoke rain splattering the leaves, hooves galloping on the ground, wind blowing in the trees.
|Even silence has its own sound and rhythm in the forest.|
Somehow, I was also awakening to my own true Nature.
And there was no going back...
To be continued in a few days! Thank you for taking this journey with me :o)