Thursday, June 23rd 1994
Tomorrow’s weather: cloudy with thunderstorms in the afternoon, rain all night. Oh, good grief! Tomorrow is the workshop and it’s going to rain. It rained last year at this workshop. I pick one night out of the whole year for a workshop and it’s going to rain. Oh well, I guess we’ll just get wet.
Friday, June 24th 1994
530pm: It’s pouring. I wonder if people will show for the workshop. I’ve got all the materials, but I only covered a small amount of wood. It will not be enough for the entire night.
7pm: Park and Ride. People are arriving to be shuttled to the workshop site. We will be in a pine woods about 800 yards from the nearest shelter. The rain has stopped and everyone is looking forward to the ceremony. Only one no-show. Good!
We car pooled to the tree farm. There is plenty to carry – food, water, rocks for the wheel, blankets, drums, lanterns. Are we staying for a whole week?
9pm: We are chanting to invite the fire beings to our circle and light this damp wood. Finally, the wood is coaxed into igniting and the fire begins.
We have laid out a Peruvian medicine wheel. The south is our door back to ordinary reality. We have a gatekeeper posted there. Throughout the night, when we would take a break, we would go as a group outside the circle to gather wood for grandfather fire.
The ceremony began in the south, moving around the wheel to the west, then the north and, finally, the east. We sang several songs, journeyed to the three different worlds, performed healings on everyone with everyone’s help. I am always impressed how a group comes together to work and hold the energy of compassion, healing, and love.
The night was long and dark, but dry. We saw the full moon through the breaking clouds for a moment. I believe each person was challenged at some point during the ceremony. My challenge came.
430am in the morning. I got tired – really tired. I had been channeling spiritual energy almost constantly since 930pm and my energy was low. A beautiful and long (thank you) story was being given and for a moment I felt relief and everyone concentrated on the storyteller. I went inside, felt my power animal hold me, and was renewed. A short time later, a bird chirped. Morning had started. I knew we were going to make it then. In retrospect, it was amazing how quiet the night had been.
Friends, a wonderful healing celebration is now concluding. We are, as a group – tired, dirty, happy, and looking forward to the new day. The final prayers are said, the healing is complete, and the fire extinguished. I thank all who attended from the many worlds. Until we meet again, next time June 23rd 1995.
Friday, June 23rd 1995
It’s raining, I mean its pouring and it’s not going to stop, at least not tonight for the workshop. Fortunately, the Spoutwood Farm has a barn so if we need to move inside we can. We need to move inside.
This circle is tight. Some people are shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors. However, everyone is full of excitement, be it anxiety or peacefulness. Since we are indoors our “fire” becomes a candle but modifications to a ceremony are expected in some traditions. A Peruvian medicine wheel is laid out with stones that each participant has brought for the ceremony, charged and sealed for our healing ceremony. The energy begins to swell from the positive affirmations of the group. The circle is divided into four clans to correspond to the four directions. Each clan will move to the center of the circle to receive a healing from the other members of a group.
The opening ceremony begins with a journey to meet/select a power animal. The attributes of the power animal will help guide each participant on their own personal path of healing through the all night ceremony. As a spiritual community we begin to move around the healing wheel, stopping at each cardinal direction, first the south, then the west, the north, and finally the east with the greeting of the dawn. Our community becomes extremely tight spiritually/emotionally to match our physical surroundings. People share their journeys and other experiences openly and freely. We journey, chant, sing but because of our space limitations there is no dancing. The rain is a constant throughout the night, sometimes slowing down, only to pick up with a heavy shower again.
As in previous workshops of this type some people become very tired and want to sleep. However, it is part of the ceremony to stay awake and see/feel what happens to you during the night. The spiritual energies that are always present seem to have a more profound affect when we let our defenses down. Giving up sleep tends to open our spiritual senses. When the community became extremely tired, I would get them up and moving. We eat, take walks in the rain to keep ourselves refreshed, but open to the process of receiving energy from the many activities each person takes part in. The goal is receive messages about ourselves, our lives, and experience the other worlds available to us.
For me, the morning came very quickly this year and I had an intense desire to go outside to greet the dawn and be with nature. There is a break in the rain and, with more thought than intuition, I ask the fire tenders to build a fire for the closing ceremony.
Now we are outside in a circle. We are tired, dirty, but feel renewed from the spiritual work we have done. Each clan presents a skit about the animal associated with their tribe. Then the dance of the power animals, one of my favorite dances of the ceremony. The final blessing is competed and the ceremony has ended. However, the experience will continue for much longer. I am so grateful for being able to do this work.
Thanks Rob and Lucy for providing the space and coordinating the event. A special thanks to Jim for his support and love. Lastly, thanks to the participants for it’s your desire to learn, grow, and experience life that makes every ceremony in the medicine wheel so incredibly rewarding.