Do I really have to answer this? ; I’ll try.
Over two years ago I was fortunate to allow myself to attend a Men’s Ceremonial Circle Shamanic Healing and Integration Workshop at the Pocket Sanctuary in Arizona.
It is kind of hard to explain the experience but it boils down to reclaiming ones true original essence which is free of the ego, fear based reactions, distortion, pain, illusions and which allows us to live our life with love and intention free of the limitations we have created for ourselves over the years. In order to move from the conceptual to the spiritual mind in order to identify past pains, difficulties and hardships we participated in age old shamanic rituals of sweat lodge, drumming, story telling, journeying, animal retrieval, breath work, dance, visualization, etc. These rituals and my participation in them allowed me to achieve soul cleansing, acceptance, healing, forgiveness, and closure with the past and experience a new and empowering sense of freedom and understanding and tapped into my inner energy, creativity and courage to move forward. In one of my journeys into the “underworld”I was asked to find my traveling animal. The journey started with me crawling down into a cave in the jungle in Peru I had entered as a kid. My visualization carried me out another opening up a hill over looking a river and the jungle around. As I worked my way down the hill, across the river and into the jungle, through the surrounding vegetation I caught a glimpse of a lion’s tail moving through the tall grass; I pursued it and while doing this I caught the image of an elephant to my right but I ignored it and continued going forward in my pursuit until in a clearing I observed this lion turn around, lay down and look right at me in the tall grass, I watched quietly then suddenly the lion went into the tall grass back towards the river and again I pursued only getting a glimpse of the tail in the distance. Once in the thick of things I heard the crushing of the vegetation behind me, I stopped and suddenly next to me was a huge, majestic, calm, powerful elephant that had followed me. I suddenly started to shed tears; I felt secure, cared for, loved, and concerned for. I put myself up against his left front leg and face. I then proceeded to climb up on to its back and head back to the river and up to the cave that would take me back to the “middle world”, the place where we physically live in. The message I received is that that in my pursuit of commitment and seeking a life-long partner, I had to stop chasing the ever evasive, flirtatious “lion” which could destroy me and in turn give value to that which is loving and nurturing and is next to me in the here and now. On the second day we journeyed again, this time I felt comfortable to have the elephant by my side and go toward this clearing in the jungle which was a field of golden wheat. Once in the middle we stood and faced to the west towards an opening to the distant ocean. After a few moments of a being there in the middle all of a sudden from the South, East and North edge of the jungle friends and family started to appear and move forwards towards us side by side and ended flanking both the elephant and I in a straight line on each side of us. I felt strong, loved and complete. The elephant to my right and I walked towards the west to the clearing where the edge of the wheat field met the high desert. As we descended towards the Pacific Coast we both looked back and saw the line of friends and family at the wheat field’s edge that all glowed white and looked towards us as if supporting us and our journey forward. As we progressed, we came up the back side of “Cerro Colorado” and when we reached the top we took in the view of the ocean, the desert, the bay and felt the powerful winds and the orange setting sun. Up in the hill, I recall a glimpse of someone in white and glowing on the right side of the elephant but could not see who it was. The elephant and I continued our journey toward Paracas. Once there we entered my deserted beachfront property and walked westward toward the bay. The elephant sat down at the edge of where the property slopes down towards the water. I stood to his left up against his front leg, next to his head and ear as I had throughout our journey. As we watched the sunset and birds fly by I got a glimpse by looking under and across his armpit of a white glow and fabric fluttering in the wind. I was wondering and scared to find out who it could be. As nightfall brought up darkness we were greeted with the illumination of the moon and shooting stars above. We just sat there facing the bay and sky above in absolute serenity. Not for long; the night passed and gave way to the sunrise behind us and with it arose my curiosity again of who was on the other side. I tried walking around the front of the elephant to see but he used his trunk to block me and return me to his left side. As the afternoon arrived so did the winds (called Paracas) the elephant covered my head with his ear to protect me from the winds and sand. I saw the struggle of birds flying against the winds. Later when the winds died down I started to get playful, rolling around and trying to get to the other side, but was not allowed too. I didn’t like this impasse so as if pouting I walked back 100 feet to a tunnel opening and started going down stairs into darkness and into my past.. I remember getting to a point were I stopped and told myself I do not need to revisit this again; this journey has already been addressed and completed in a previous journey the day before. I then turned around and worked my way up and out; the elephant was still there sitting and facing the west and sunset across the bay. He then looked back at me and with his trunk along his side he whisked it forward as if to indicate for me to come and sit alongside of him, which I did. I felt safe, nurtured and developed an understanding that he wanted me to experience some more sunsets, starry nights and sunrises before he allowed me to be introduced to my soul mate on his right. I needed to understand and accept the wisdom, guidance, love and safety my elephant has given me so that I can be ready to allow myself to give and receive love. He was asking for patience. I embraced this direction and wisdom. I knew my soul mate was somebody that I knew because only people that I knew from the past and present in my journey glowed white. At the moment of this understanding the background music which had helped facilitate the trance-type journey came to an end.
That same year in September I returned to Paracas to attempt and face what I though was my biggest life long desire/fear; the courage to climb the steep side of “Cerro Colorado” on a motorcycle. After breakfast and writing down a quick will, my Dad, Ricardo and Andrew, Victor and David (support crew) were off to the challenge. I was scared. My first attempt was unsuccessful after hitting a rock near the top. My father had to go back to town and get some ropes to drag me up the hill as it’s so steep and going down was not an option for me. My dad told me that as far as he was concerned I had climbed it; I told him this would eat away at me in the states not having done it fully. I tried again and made it on a wheelie. When at the top, I let the bike go forward and threw myself on the dirt and broke down. What a release! Victor, our mechanic came running and asked me if I was ok and I proceeded to tell him I had conquered my biggest fear; he responded Mr. Russell, Mr. Russell when are you getting married?!!!.
So it’s on top of Cerro Colorado that here I am 2 years later making the commitment to marry my white glowing soul mate Cecilia alongside family and friends and I bid farewell to my fears and embark on a journey of love, wholeness, nurturing; allowing us to explore, share and support our potentials and dreams together.
We thank you all for your love, support and contributions to our individual life’s experience and that of our journey together. Come watch the sunset with us.
For a summarized description of journeying visit: http://www.kondor.de/shaman/journey.html