The airplane from Miami to Belize City was bit older than I was used to traveling in. Thoughts of malfunction raced through my mind, as I walked down the narrow isle between the seats of torn sea foam green and light pink fabric that revealed its 20-year-old construction, I began talking to The Bird. The Bird, my childhood friend, always showed up in moments of loss, confusion and overwhelm. At the moment, I was neither lost nor confused, I was totally excited to be traveling to explore some Mayan ruins in the forests of Belize. Taking the outer condition of the airplane into consideration, fear started to creep up my spine. So I called upon The Bird directly and as I sat down I began to visualize a request, that it would with its huge white raptor wings, envelop the whole craft and if need be through its sheer will and magical determination, keep us a loft while we soared over the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
I could feel my Intent expand with The Bird’s agreement to serve as sentry. The aperture of its nest, in my heart, break open and grow as large as the planes own electrical field and as we lifted off my mind relaxed and I didn’t think again about worn-out airplanes. I just enjoyed the ride.
My husband, at the time, Lee Scott, was with me. We were traveling to celebrate his graduation from the Jepson Leadership School in Virginia, where we lived at the time. It was also, in a way, our first real honeymoon, as we were married when we were just 20 and 23, and didn’t have enough money at the time for a voyage of this kind of adventuring. So we were excited, both elated really. And I layed my fears to rest, in the company of my childhood friend The Bird and Lee’s reassuring hand holding my own.
From the airport, we traveled by taxi towards our retreat destination. A simple eco-tourist thatched roof cabana. Complete with small scorpions in the bathroom and large hand-sized spiders clinging to the roof. Thank goodness we stopped for a Belican Beer on the way there, so I was amused and in the mood for whatever would happen to come.
After our dinner of homemade tamales and the most amazing papaya pie, we went to bed early both exhausted from our early-morning flight and long drive. I lay down on the bed dosing off to go to sleep when I remembered The Bird. I needed to release my Intent at release my friend from his duty of surrounding me with so much protection. I brought my awareness into my heart where I communicated he was free and that I was grateful for his help in calming my fears and surrounding me with such love.
With that thought, a wild fluttering started deep in my chest. I could see in my mind’s eye The Birds wings rise and fall creating a whirling sensation like a storm wind’s blowing inside of chest with so much force I could barely breathe. In a flash, I felt a strong popping sensation in my chest as The Bird broke through the barriers of my body and leapt in an instant up to the top of the rafters where it looked at me with beaconing eyes.
The Bird, he wanted to fly. And I, I wanted to follow. I saw the big spider up in the thatch that I noticed as I was laying down. I wondered if I could see it closer. With that thought, my consciousness rose out of my body through the opening in my heart made by The Bird and suddenly I found myself looking right at the spider up close and personal. Down below I could see my body resting gently with my eyes closed next to my husband who was sleeping.
The Bird was no longer up in the thatch, he had flown through the roof. I wondered if I could follow him and with that thought, my consciousness moved into the expanse of the night.
The sky was ablaze with the light of a million stars shining and the moon was a mirrored disco ball aglow and pulsing. I saw The Bird dancing over the tops of the juggle canopy. Diving and soaring upside down and in figure-8s, he called to me, jesting. Desire in my will rising, I felt like running. Clothed not in my body but still carrying the outline of my body’s form with me. I clumsily moved my legs and began running slowly at first and then with great speed over the tops of tropical trees. The night songs and winged creatures enveloped me as I felt the sound of “weee” move through my body. I didn’t question what was happening, I simply let the spirit of The Bird guide me. I felt safe, and free and connected to the energy of this wild country.
Running turned into a feeling of soaring eventually and we rose in elevation easily. Then the landscape changed and suddenly instead of plumes of thick tropical trees I saw pine trees outlining a cliff where a beautiful waterfall plumbed down at least a thousand feet to a rushing river and dark forest floor.
A thought occurred to me that I must be dreaming and my vision not really happening as an out of body flight with The Bird, it looked too much like something I’d see before in the Tahoe National Forrest. With this thought, that I must be “making up my journey,” I found myself back in body with eyes wide open staring up at the ceiling and the same large spider in the thatch rafter.
I stared at the spider for some time going over the flight with The Bird again and again. I had had the sensation of out-of-body experiences before with him, beginning with I was just 12 during a middle-school PE class, but this was different. It had more energy in it. I felt more wild, more free. I know I was supposed to be “dreaming” but it felt as if I was truly awake in my awareness of self and surrounding with long ago tucked away memories breaking free.
The next couple of days we explored the local area of San Icnacio, Belieze where we were staying. We took a tour with a local medicinal plant gatherer through the local river, hiked into the Mayan ruin Caracol where red blood made into paint could still be seen on the stone walls and we ate amazing local food. Somewhere along our travels, I saw a brochure for a tour to the “1000 foot falls at Mountain Pine Ridge.” I immediately got the chills, and convinced my husband we had to go.
So we took a long bus ride up into the mountains and sure enough the pine trees were just as I had seen them, lining a large cliff face with a very long and beautiful waterfalls spraying off the edge into large pools of dark green water below.
I was stunned. I had not imagined the flight with The Bird. I really ran on the tops of the trees using my consciousness to propel me and a desire to follow my Spirit protector in a playful journey. Was it because I was close to Mayan ruins? Was being this close to such sacred land affecting me in new and wonderful ways?
I was just 26 years old at the time. My mind was full of ambition and a desire to succeed in the culture I had been born into. I couldn’t sustain the feeling of bliss that flying with The Bird that day gave me, but I received a taste of what it meant to be free of limiting thoughts and what was possible when I trusted my instincts.
Since this time, life has unfolded for me in deeper and deeper shamanic experiences that have come at first unbidden, and then by design and request. Next month, I am leading a trip to another Mayan energy-center, San Marcos Guatemala along the edge of Lake Atitlan.
My deer friend Yehuda Mayaan has built a beautiful home from scratch with his own hands here just steps away from the water’s edge. Yehuda will be a great host and guide as he is culturally very savvy and knows the local terrain with intimacy. Our journey will be one of service and of shamanic initiation.
The first step to becoming a shaman (not just studying shamanism) is to commit Your Will to the Will of the Divine. It is a marriage that comes before all others. It demands letting go of trying to control your life (or others) in favor of being guided in each moment by the impulse of love that arises without judgment.
In this retreat we will Bare our Soul and Seek to Be Blessed by the Spirit of the Land, The Soul of the World and by our own Aumakua (our highest god-Self form). We will come to see how we stand now in the spiritual realm and in the physical realm, and we will anoint ourselves with the sweet water of the lake in preparation to take up the journey of discovering the shaman, or the fully realized and awaken heart-human being, we are meant to become in this lifetime.
Our journey will be an adventure, it will also be a prayer, for those who come will be called at this time to bring their soul force into the world to help heal the physical health of the Earth. It is the calling of all shamans, no matter what culture they are from, to speak for the elemental beings and the animals and to caste a vote towards right action creating harmony and rhythm between what is man and man-made.
On this journey into the mystical Mayan country, your adventurous soul will be nourished as will your desire to create an Act of Power to crystalize your heart’s desires this spring.