April 10, 2015
Some of you who come to this site which we call Raven’s Medicine might wonder what it’s all about and so, after about 4 months of our progression called Journey of the Lotus, I decided today to talk a little about this.
For the average kind of white folk, those of us who belong to the White Lodge, it is difficult to wrap our heads around the idea that a bird, or the spirit of a bird has anything to do with anything. The notion does not live anywhere in our experience so this piece I’m writing may be the very first take on a very old tradition of the Red Lodge our native or first nations peoples.
Our world separated church and state.
The Indian world considers everything as part of the Great Spirit, part of the Creator and its creation. Everything is imbued with Spirit. We are all Spiritual Beings, sacred and divine. Red Lodge people know the eternity of all life, being born was not our beginning nor is death our end.
The world of the two legged, the four legged and the winged ones, the bird tribes, is one world which we all inhabit, where we make the contribution of love, honor and labor.
Raven is powerful. It is said she is stronger than eagle even though eagle soars higher and farther. Raven is part of a large tribe including crow, magpie and jay. They are all bold birds. They cooperate especially during nesting cycles when young birds show up to be helpers for the parents bringing food, sitting on eggs, and then feeding and teaching the fledgling birds until they become part of the tribe.
Around Victoria, BC when I was a kid, the crows teased and mobbed the seagulls until the bigger birds ganged up to banish the tricksters. I watched them over and over again all my young life.
Later, when I made it to California and regularly went in my car to the then emptier lands north of the valley, and north still to Pearblossom, I made acquaintance of the soaring birds, watching their flight and observing them as they strutted the dirt near me when I sat very still on a rock. I became fascinated by their, to me, quite obvious personalities similar and unique at the same time. Their voices spoke to me.
But it was not until 1998 when Raven showed me her medicine. I had taken myself in my first van, Tulip, to the lookout at the Grand Canyon, north across the flat land from Flagstaff, AZ. I parked next to a tall bushy tree on my left side and walked over to the overlook across the rims and down the cavern to the Colorado river only a blue thread below.
Somehow it did not impress me. I thought that I had seen some much better film and video footage. Staying only a short while, I walked back to the van to make myself lunch.
When I turned the key and fired up the engine, a mob of at least 18 to 20 birds – Ravens – flew up out of the tree, made a circle clockwise all around the van and wheeled themselves off eastward. It seemed all pretty obvious a message to me.
“Okay, Raven, I’m coming.” I exclaimed and follow I did, out the parking aea continuing east on the highway leading to the north rim of the canyon, to Kaibab, north across the bridge through Navajo territory and on into southern Utah.
I drove past the artisans as intriguing as their silver was. Although Raven had flown off somewhere, the directions were clear. Later in the afternoon, I saw a forest road off to the right, I turned and wound my way up its clear track up into the sparse, dry pine forest, further up easily 5 miles from the highway. I found a turn around and set the van in a place facing the road I had traveled.
I made myself some supper and quite soon the day was darkening, the brief high color of the sunset above the trees had faded and I closed the door as I had done many years and sat contemplating the day.
Then it was just very dark and I was very by myself somewhere 5 miles up a nearly indistinct forest road. No one knew I was there. I did not know how often, if at all, a forest ranger in a truck would be on that road for any reason. I could not see the road in headlights to go back to the highway.
FEAR. Palpable, dry mouth, gripping paranoid fear utterly possessed me. I shook I terror in the darkness now like a heavy wool cloak almost smothering me. It was hard to breath.
Slowly my pea-sized mind began to talk to me: You have been in the dark before. The door is shut. The locks are set. No one will hurt you. There are no critters that can get in here. Just breathe. And so I did just breathe long slow counts inhale count, exhale count and soon the grip on my heart eased, my normal fertile intelligence returned. I fixed up the bed, the pillows, and the blanket, put on the shirt and pants of my jammies, crawled in and just went to sleep.
When I woke up the sun, already above the horizon was glinting dusty shafts of light between the spindly new growth pine to the forest floor. The path of the forest road was easily seen. I climbed into the front, turned the key and drove down to the highway taking a few swigs from my jug of water as I went.
Raven had shown me how to erase my fear. It is a great gift to be without the ego driven, fear stories that form fantasy barriers and boundaries in our lives. It also sharpened up a renewed sense of real danger and the calm deliberation it takes to operate through it. Raven’s Medicine.
On this Journey of the Lotus (that is another piece) I did not know how far Raven might fly. So far, all through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and now Costa Rica at the boundary to Panama, there she is in her favorite whirling mob doing a magic spiral dance above me floating in and out of the humid wispy clouds, her whole tribe together just for me here. I am sure this is true because I know no one here has any notion of her medicine.
I give you the gift today that she is here being Raven, showing me every day how to erase my fear while I sit waiting for the world of money to gas up the van and drive on to Panama.
Now it time to teach you to make your own Medicine.