In 2013 I went on a wildflower spirit journey through Kakadu and almost didn’t make it back alive. For a while, writing the story was good medicine. That was, until I got to the part of the story where we were about to climb down off the escarpment onto the cliff face. The writing stalled for a year and just recently I’ve been re-reading, editing and reflecting on what I had written. The fact that I’ve been able to read it without nightmares makes me think I’m ready to pick up where I left off, but I can feel myself skittering around it nervously, so I’m backing off and looking for safe ways to re-enter.
Why do I think this story needs to be written at all, given that it could simply be a fruitless exercise in re-traumatising myself? I instinctively feel as though it may be an integral part of my recovery from a large disc-extrusion 6 months ago that has left me with numbness, tingling and altered sensation in my left foot and leg. And the following words, channeled through to me from Spirit during a healing from a friend, keep resonating in my mind : “I will help you down the mountain”.
I have the sense that part of me is still up there somewhere and I need to write my way down the mountain to bring her back. Real or not, this idea holds powerful healing possibilities for my psyche, but I also know I need to be gentle and careful with myself. It struck me recently that I need to revisit the cave I entered while on this journey, where spirit showed me stories and called me a ‘wildflower brujio’ or ‘wildflower spirit walker’. I have two strategies in mind for the writing/healing process:
- Write backwards, starting at the end of the story and working my way back to the worst bit on the cliff-face.
- Lean on the flowers for support. It’s time now to let them do their healing work. Between them and the spirit in the cave, I know I will be guided safely. I’ll use my imagination to revisit the cave so I can be guided from there.
RE-ENTERING THE CAVE
I find myself standing outside the cave. I look around, getting my bearings, waiting for guidance. I see a black bird on the escarpment ledge, high above the cave. He has something in his claws and is picking the meat off it. He tosses it down to me. I pick it up and see that it is a knuckle. I slide it in over my own knuckles, like a boxer entering the ring with his gloves on. It feels less like I’m preparing to fight, and more like I’m preparing for training, and being asked to stay sharp and aware.
The free flow of thoughts triggered by this gift makes me think of white knuckles, hanging from the cliff face and gripping every source of support I can find; baring my knuckles and staying in my strength because I will not be cowed; playing knuckle-bones as a child and calling in that blend of playfulness with skill; and lastly, a sense of being stripped back to bare bone as though nothing less than raw honesty is required from this land.
I walk now, towards the cave, one step at a time, and it feels strangely like the walk one might make towards the wedding altar. This reminds me of the amazing work the cave did with me on the merging and balancing of my male and female selves and suddenly am seeing a cave I met at The Rock during my last visit there (Uluru). It feels like the Kakadu cave has sent me to the Uluru cave and before I know it, I am inside. There are so many people in this cave, at Uluru, and they are all crowded around me, slapping my back in greeting.
I am handed a hot drink. I drink it, knowing it will help take me deeper. Now I am coughing and someone whacks me good-naturedly on the back. I cough up a grey-white cloud, shaped like a speaking bubble in a comic book, and inside it are the words, “I am afraid”. My friends around me reach up and shuffle the letters around, as though to create different words, and then they start to sing. I feel my spirit body rising on a cord of light up through the rock, high into the sky.
Looking down I see The Rock beneath me. The cord of light comes out of my heart, and stretches off into the distance, shimmering and disappearing in a cloud. In my mind’s eye I can see the cord leading to the Kakadu cave, connecting me with the body I was wearing during my Kakadu journey. I am here writing this, but I am also in Kakadu and at Uluru. We are all connected, and suddenly my Kakadu self doesn’t feel so alone. I am being here for myself. I feel as though there is a triangle of light being created between these three places, selves and times. A circle of support with warmth and love flowing through it. A triangle inside a circle.
Now I see a pyramid. The base is triangular, formed by the thread of light connecting my three selves. At the apex of the pyramid is the crow. The crow seems to be carrying our pyramid of light in his beak, flying us, taking us somewhere. We are flying towards the portal I remember being shown during my Kakadu adventure, the one I was told not to enter.
For a moment it feels like I am back-peddaling to get away from it, desperately turning and swimming back against the stream of light that is carrying me towards this deep, dark hole. But you told me I shouldn’t go there! I protest.
Timing issues, my dear. Now it is time.
I felt as though I was treading water to hold my position, while a waterfall washed down over me.
I felt immediate trust and surrender as the power inside me kicked into high gear, and a friendly boot in my bottom shoved me forwards into the black hole.
For a while, everything is quiet. But now I see a pink dress. Blonde hair. A child singing. A doll’s hair being brushed. Mother’s skirts.
I am fascinated with the way the sunlight through the window falls on her hair, making it glow warm like spun gold. I am brushing her hair and singing. I am the mother and the child, both dreamy, both entering deep inner worlds. We are startled when the room suddenly turns red and we see a wolf’s head like a shadow on the wall beside us, jumping towards us, the mouth open, the sharp teeth glinting in the light from the moon who seems to have eclipsed our sun.
We are mother and child. We turn to face each other. I seem to be the doll, the child, the mother….all three. Again, a triangle, surrounding and connecting us, with a wild wolf howling at our core. When I open and accept all four characters, I seem to billow and grow in power. I am more than all of them, and yet they are all part of me. Rising above the characters in my story, I find myself swinging on a swing shaped like a golden triangle, again being carried by the midnight bird with blue-black feathers. I see stars in the sky around us and feel as though our triangle is playing music by tapping gently on the stars as we pass by. I am being harmonised. And all the while, surrounded by light, breathing light, I am totally connected with the emptiness and darkness around me, like a child surrounded by the loving darkness of her mother’s womb.
“This was a place of birth”, says the cave spirit, walking towards me. I look around, realising I’m back at the Kakadu cave again. He walks towards me and places a bundle at my feet, a baby wrapped in yellow cloth. But he isn’t the only one here. A woman walks towards me, placing a second bundle at my feet, alongside the first. Now a third person, a third child. When everything is still again I count. Six. Six bundles. Six babies. The triangle twists and turns around me, and now it looks like I’m standing inside a six pointed star. A triangle pointing upwards like a mountain, a triangle pointing downwards like the spaces between the mountains. I see Leonado da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, with his perfect dimensions, a picture of a naked man inside a circle, inside a square, the various angles of his outstretched arms and feet also creating beautiful triangles.
The cave spirit circles around me again. “Each one of these children is you.”
I peer curiously at the six bundles, each one wrapped in a different colour. Alongside their radiance I feel like the blank canvas of the night sky, being brushed with a crow’s wing. I dip the paintbrush into each one of my children and start to paint, wondering what creative story will pour forth. The pink story is filled with candles and the peaks of castles, weddings and shoe’s breaking, stairs and muddles. The blue story is a blue fairy, a blue butterfly, my father painting, everything laughing as our eyes catch the light bouncing off the ocean waves. The orange story is calling me, pulling on me, and I can no longer just sit here and paint. I have to follow the orange rabbit as it disappears around the next corner.
Is this rabbit my fear? I bounce back from a chest-bump with a very large rabbit dressed in a top hat. He looks silly and keeps doffing his hat to me, bowing as he passes. I watch as I stand with stillness, listening to my body as he passes. For me, rabbits in visions are, amongst other things, a metaphor for fear. Everything in me says to keep this rabbit in my sights. And yet I’m also aware of the saying “Not everything is as it seems.” The bunny turns to walk away and the zipper at his back slides open to reveal a little man inside, dressed in a leprechaun’s costume. I smile, because we are old friends, the trickster and me.
He bows majestically, looping his hat through the air with a theatrical flourish, and suddenly we are on stage, in the circus ring. I am ‘dancing’ with a little white and pink pony, all soft and fluffy like a child’s stuffed toy. The rabbit is the ring-master. I know not to engage overly, when the trickster is involved. It pays to stand back, be observant and not take yourself and life too seriously, otherwise you are ripe for having tricks played on you.
Clowns enter out of thin air, climbing into being through the hoop held aloft by the ring master, who now looks like a wooden toy soldier with a painted face. Leaning towards the hoop to see if any more clowns are coming through, a lion’s head appears in my face, roaring ferociously, hot breath and mouth dribble making me freeze.
I embrace the lion with joy! My courage! I have found it, and I didn’t even know it was missing.
Suddenly the scene resets itself and I am surrounded by the coloured baby bundles again, a lions costume held in my left hand. I see a scene from the tarot where a woman is tempted, in a dreamy way, to wander after what glitters in the distance, dropping the lion’s mane of courage from her hand as she steps over the line into a cloud and disappears. I am furious with her! Stay here! I order her/myself. I feel like she is about to abandon her childhood, her doll, her vision of herself, her mother. She is about to step into the jaws of the wolf and be consumed.
And yet, I must know. I must know what it is to be consumed. i must know what treasures the wild wolf holds for me. Will he help me find my own inner wildness?
We compromise, myself and I, the part of me that says “Stay and be the lion (wear the costume/mane)”, and the part of me that says dive into the depths of the black hole, the lion’s mar, the wolf’s den. She dresses in the lion’s suit, just to make me happy and I gladly bless her as she steps into the darkness, with me tagging along behind.
We leave the doll with the mother.
Lopping, panting, my long legs stretching out in front of me. I am the dog, the wolf, the dingo hound.
I am one with the land. I am your spirit animal, for this next phase of your life. I am you. You are me. Embrace my capacity to watch quietly, softly padding by without anyone noticing. Feel my connection with the mountains. Feel the earth through my paws as she sings! Feel the lithe movement in my limbs and the way we run with grace. Feel the moonlight on my back, filling me with the quiet of night. Feel yourself as a child sleeping more soundly, because we have turned the shadows on the wall into friends.
Welcome to the circle of power.