Time for that story I’ve been promising in pursuit of replenishing the practice of wonder.
We crawl back into the sweat lodge for the third round. Dripping with my own sweat and feeling a bit melty/crusty with a coating of the firepit’s hot-rock-water-sprinkled steam-now-drying-on-my-body, I settle into the earth. Men sit on one side of the fire pit and women on the other in this traditional native ceremony. More rocks, grandfathers alive with heat, come in, herbs sprinkled, scent released along with smoke. Chatting quiets.
Bantering ceases when the door closes.
Hush deepens as the dark blankets us.
The sweat lodge leader has called this particular lodge of family and friends for a specific purpose – healing from cancer. His cancer. He’d also invited an old bush medicine man from far north in Alberta to doctor him in support of his chemotherapy. He clears his throat, splashes more water on the rocks, remains silent as we all listen to the hiss of steam and the crackle of sparks.
I sense something momentous is coming but I don’t know what. He clears his throat again and instead of beginning a prayer song, starts to speak. He shares the experience of last night, the journey that the medicine man’s eagle feathering inspired. He describes flying out of his body and traveling through layer after layer of cosmos…blue upon blue upon blue…He flew so far beyond blue that he entered black, so far beyond black he entered more blue, then the black beyond the black of our galaxy, so far beyond that he encountered a feminine presence there who somehow, someway drew him back into living.
Overcome by weeping, overwhelmed with wonder, cradled by the black blanket of gratitude, my puny brain ignites with the colors of magic.
I finished painting that feminine presence only the day before! I know the image belongs to him, not me.
A few days later, I meet him on the sidewalk in front of the hospital. I unwrap the painting and he says simply, “Yup. That’s where I was.”
My question to you, dear reader, is not so much how or why these events happen but what makes them so rare. I bet opportunities for telepathy or intuitive communication abound but in our modern day we’ve turned off those channels, turned away from those senses. I think it’s time to reanimate them. Telepathy, communicating beyond words, singing instead of speaking, so many sources of communicating we’ve eschewed as not worthy of attention by modern urban civilized – but handicapped – humans.
How can we remember common ground when we think we can’t communicate without words?
This conversation merits continuing. I hope you’ll help me! Words or no words.