When I started writing the “Birds, Snakes, and Airplanes” series of blogs, I had wanted to end it with my experiences and all that had occurred in my transition to new spiritual paths. However, there has been so much to date that it would be impossible to convey them all here. I will though transcribe the events that led up to starting my new path. I believe others might find it beneficial and maybe relate it to their own transitional periods.
“Picture it, Pennsylvania, 2017.” I was getting the itchy feeling of going on my yearly vision quest, something I have done for the last five years. However, right from the first thought, I knew something was going to be different about this one. Normally when I begin a vision quest I start off with a month of prep work, which begins and ends on the full moon. Although, I do offer private quest facilitating, with respect for my tradition I cannot describe the details of this prep work here. Prior to even planning for my prep month had conducted a dark moon ritual for guidance. It was here that I received my confirmation that a quest was in order. The received guidance had come from multiple sources, which had included my usual animal spirits and someone I was not expecting. Hekate! Who usually came only when I was about to go through a significant change in my mundane life. This time however, she seemed to be there for spiritual reasons and not the mundane. Much of the information I received was focused on service, more so connecting through service and giving back. How and to what I didn’t know. I understand the message, but was lost on what I could do to give back. Strangely enough, or not, that night after I finished my ritual, a close friend and spiritual sister had posted on Facebook about the Native American march on Washington, D.C., which was happening in a little over two weeks on the day of the full moon. I knew instinctively this was something I had to do and would be a perfect way to kick off my quest work. The next night had given me yet another activity that fit into my “directed” quest goals. Another close friend of mine had phoned me from Florida asking if I would conduct a séance and house cleansing for her and her boyfriend, of course I agreed. It had seemed that things were coming together before I could even start fully planning them.
Based on all the information I obtained I began planning for my four weeks of prep work. The only hurtle I could foresee was; would my new job allow me the time off for all this? Well, it turned out that even that had been an interesting twist to my story. When asking for the time off for the march, the séance, and the quest, I had done something I never thought I would do; I was honest as to why I needed the time off. When I began to explain the march, my boss interrupted me with her own story in that she herself was of native descent and was from a powwow family. Another confirmation I was on the right path and doing what needed to be done. The day of the march had arrived and I was excited not only for the march and being around my native brothers and sisters, but for what I might learn in this part of my quest.
Besides the cold and rainy weather, the march was very eye opening and powerful. Although, I didn’t have the spiritual moments I thought I would, it in itself did reveal some important message in relation to my quest. One of the oddest moments was when I went to look at my phone and its location was Cannon Ball, N.D., if you have followed the NODAPL movement you already know this was where one of the camps were stationed. I WAS IN D.C.!! There were some other minor occurrences that I am choosing not to share for, as they were for me alone.
The experiences and messages didn’t stop there, they continued over the next three weeks. During this time, I had begun to understand where all of this might be headed and why I had felt that my vision quest was going to be different than before. From my understanding I was to focus more on my Native American spirituality and culture and step away from the modern practices that I had been following. This of course sent me into a whirlwind of feelings, as I think any magickal practitioner it would have. Was this to mean that all my magickal training and practices were now null and void? Was I about to give up a major part of myself because this was to be my new path? There were an endless amount of questions I had and unsure where to get my answers.
This brings us back to Hekate making herself known before the start of my quest prep. By this point of my questing she had stayed pretty quiet allowing me to do what I needed to do. Problem was I had no idea what I should be doing; I understood that I was to concentrate on more of my cultural spiritual practices, but in what context. For the last five years, I have always combined my traditions into my personal practice, what else did I need to do? So what would any Witch do? but consult and employ one’s resources. First, I was trying to search for the answers within myself, meditation, nope! I tried tarot. I tried scrying. I even attempted to seek my answers through my ancestors. Now, I started getting frustrated with not getting answers to what and where I should be focusing my energy on. So I decided to go to higher. I went straight to Hekate herself. In her normal mysterious way, she avoided my question, and gave me a less than satisfying answer. “Wait, now is not the time.” What kind of answer is that? Disappointed in not getting any answers, I gave up searching and decided to just roll with it. I took her advice and waited. And waited. Of course, being in the middle of my quest prep I could not just sit by and do nothing. I kept up with all I had to do. The one thing I did differently than I hadn’t done before during my four weeks, was that I focused on more of the traditional ways of doing things. I decided to work more closely with the different animal medicines of my tradition.
It was not until I had finished my second week that I was given a little more direction. I had attended my local groups Ostara ritual, which contrary to being directed to focus on more of my traditional ways. I still have to support my community.
It was during the Magick portion of our ritual that I was presented with some insight to where things were headed. The group was to create a personal vision board based on what you wanted to plant within your life for spring. So there I am sitting on the floor with my coven mates going through magazines, looking for the normal things, love, money, etc. But what I had been drawn to cut out was not the norm. Every page I turned to seem to have an image of Hekate. I tried to ignore it and pass it off as my imagination. Hekate wouldn’t have it. I felt like Shelly Long’s character in the shining when she discovers Jack’s manuscript. It was the same thing on every page I turned to.
I knew then that this was something I had to look further into, was I supposed to be focusing on Hekate? but how does she fit into Native American traditions? In a matter of seconds I had millions of questions and then, I came across this image of a wolf and another image of a man in a wolf skin. I knew that was where my answer lies. I needed to work with Wolf medicine to gain the information I needed to continue. After that I located additional images for my vision board that were more in line with the magickal intent.
On the following Monday, I conducted my own personal Ostara ritual and used this opportunity to connect with Wolf. The encounter was rather interesting, but not at all helpful. Wolf had the same answer as Hekate, “Not yet, I will have to wait for answers.” He then took me to see Coyote, who was laughing and playing games with the same answer. The typical trickster that he is. Although, this medicine did not leave me for over a week, I still could not get an answer.
Over the last two weeks of my prep work I had worked with Bear medicine and Buffalo and a few other animals that had popped in to help me along my way. When working with Bear I felt the need to extend my prep time, but this was impossible I had only one week left before I would leave for the actual vision quest. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to listen to what he had to teach me, I had already made reservations to camp and couldn’t take another day off of work. So I respectively moved on, or so I thought I did.
On the first day of the full moon I set off on my 3-hour drive to Four Quarters Interfaith Sacturary. A place I had done previous quests two other times before. I was packed and ready to go, except that I could not find my car keys anywhere. After two hours of tearing apart my house in search of them, I had realized I might have left them at my friend’s house. Turned out that I did, which set me off of schedule now by four hours. With my keys in hand, I set my GPS and finally started my drive. On the way there I started thinking about my missing keys and that this may be the last time I will use Four Quarters for my quests; the trip is just too long. I had this overwhelming feeling that maybe this wasn’t the right time or that I was missing something.
My thoughts were broken by that annoying GPS woman, telling me that my destination was on the left. Looking around I was on this small country town’s Main Street not in the middle of the wilderness. Somehow my GPS rerouted me to Boonsboro, M.D, and an hour out of my way. And yet I still didn’t want to listen that I was not ready for this quest.
I had finally reached my destination just before sunset. First thing I needed to do was locate my sacred space where I was to connect and my sleeping area and set up my tent. While feeling out the land I was drawn to this one particular spot under an old knotted tree. As walked closer I could see that it was in the middle of three trees that had made a triangle. As I was preparing the site I began to notice there were triangles everywhere. Was this Hekate making herself known? I acknowledged her presence and continued on with what I had to do.
After all was ready and my tent was up, I started the ceremony to begin my journey into the unknown.
Unfortunately, I cannot pass on the visions I had as they were meant for me only. However, what I can do is list where the messages have taken me along my path, at least up to this moment in time.
– I have fully immersed myself in the medicine of the animals that cross my path. This is achieved by journeying to receive and learn their medicine. A good rule of thumb for determining if an animal has a message for you is the rule of three. If you come across the animal three times consecutively, then in most cases, they have a message for you.
– I have devoted myself to Hekate and the teachings and practices she leads me to. After my quest I was led to the Covenant of Hekate at which I became a devotee. Many of my personal practices now come from her in the way she wants things to be done. Despite the fact that at first I could not comprehend how she would fit into my having to return to my Native American spiritual practice, she has now revealed to me along with Wolf how it all works together. I cannot give any more details of this, but what I can say, and you can draw your own conclusions, is Grandmother Moon.
– I was given a project to do for Bear as a service to someone who is in need of a certain medicine. This project will not only enhance this person’s connection to tradition, but my own as well. It has given me the opportunity to relearn the Piikani language and our “ways of knowing”.
– I have reevaluated and began to change many of my practices. Yet still work within the confines of what I have been taught magickally. In other words, I haven’t fully packed up my athame yet. This has been a gradual learning process on how to combine traditions and practices. I take it as it comes.
As my journey into the unknown continues, I will share as much as I can because this is the way of the medicine pipe. Kitaitamattsitsipssato, Niitakaiks, ki Niksokwaiks. (We will talk again, my friends and my relatives.)