A couple of nights ago, an opportunity presented itself at the last minute.
A full moon.
An opening in a sacred medicine ceremony for the night.
The person who made the opening available to watch Dec for the eve and morn.
We met the shaman lady who wanted to make sure we weren't schizo or had any health problems. She's very interesting... originally from Austria. Very earthy, with a Garbo-esque accent and Egyptian-like haircut. She's totally groovy.
We got the green light and was told to meet at her place at 8:30p... about a 15-minute walk. We could have a light lunch but then should fast for the rest of the evening, except for water. And bring a blanket and comfortable clothing because it was an outdoor experience.
The full moon lighting our way, we snipped some flowers for Pachamama as part of the ceremony which also included something sweet and some red wine. We also brought some nuts and fruit for the next morning.
The all-nighter began around 9pm when everyone assembled. 7 of us, plus Felicia: Mike, me, Scott and Whitney college kids from Tennessee, groovy Jane and Pedro. Oh, and the giant parrot who echoed "hola" when we approached.
Felicia gave us all small barf bags just in case - didn't want anyone walking around and stepping in someone's "purge" - and showed us where the toilet paper was in case we had to go somewhere outside.
We sat around the fire pit - a huge fire pit surrounded by a beautiful garden and somewhat raised up as a terrace. We sat evenly spaced from each other on the grass.
Felicia called us up one at a time, clockwise form her left, to be cleansed - first with sage (amazing sage, not like at home), finishing through each chakra. Then once around again using a thoroughly harmonious rattle that struck exactly some point on either side of my ears so as to make a perfect stereo experience, ending behind me at the very top of my head with a swirly, sonorous finale that eventually... just... tumbled... to a rest. Then she whispered "thank you" near my ear, and I went back to my place in the circle.
That was enough right there to make my night - I felt as light as a feather.
Next came the thanks and blessings for all of nature and the universe and especially Pachamama and the gift of the medicinal cactus, San Pedro, which she had a most wonderful specimen of just sitting there high against the night's skyline looking over us like an angel. It was blossoming and the flowers, though huge, were absolutely delicate and beautiful beyond any description.
After that, a frame drum made of ocelot skin was passed around and each of us was encouraged to play a little something from our hearts and chant if we felt the urge. Mine came as a quickish soft beat with an extra thump on every 8th note or so. It came naturally and was nothing I'd ever played before.
Then, she brought out the cutest little platter of demitasses with a thin, dark liquid and wedges of limon "to wash down the bitterness", she explained in a whisper... yes, it was a bitter medicine, but we all know that the more bitter, the more medicinal it is.
She did explain that it was all she had for this journey, but it should be enough. Sometimes she has a little extra for those who are more "tolerant".
Then we were instructed to just relax and maybe lay down and rest as it may take up to 2-1/2 hours to start feeling an effect. I had no concept of time since it gets fully dark at 7pm here.
Mike and I snuggled up together as the evening turned chillier than expected. It may have been my "low blood pressure" or the altitude, but I was freakin' cold. And yet, smiling at the same time. We huddled together for a good while (again, no concept of time) and occasionally peeked our heads out to look at the sky which glowed with the moonlight, in turns with the halo of light through the passing clouds.
My legs were jumpy and twitchy - never experienced that sensation before except mildly when I was dehydrated... but I definitely was not. I thought maybe it was major shivers from the cold, but I can't be certain. All I know was that it made me smile more.
It was really pleasant lying there with myMike, neither of us trying to possess the other, but just sharing our conjoined heat and a perfectly-fitted snuggle. We do fit well together...
Just when I thought I would go sit by the fire, Felicia came over and asked us how we were doing and whether we needed anything... "we're a little cold" was the response and at that point she noticed our extremely thin blanket from our apartment. "It was all we had," I said sheepishly. She came over with a pretty thick blanket from inside and we re-arranged ourselves as best we could given that we were on a slight downhill incline and that the medicine was beginning to take effect.
I couldn't stop smiling and wondered if I needed to hurl, but really I just dry heaved once and that seemed to satisfy the purge. I giggled at the action. It was no different than doing magic mushrooms.
I got up and walked around under the moonlit glow and touched whatever plant was near me, feeling it's sleepy radiance. I felt connected to each of God's creations, especially the Earth upon which I stepped and slept, foraged and crept. I was never more thankful for my place in the Universe.
I could not stop smiling. A feeling of bliss came over me and stayed. I ventured back to the fire to reheat my core. Mike and Felicia joined me there and we whispered profundities of everyday life that took on a different meaning. Or did it?
Everything seemed the same: my thoughts, my beliefs, my intuitions... except one thing was different and I knew it immediately as I know who I am. I had no ego. It wasn't allowed to co-exist with this journey through the night. It simply couldn't.
I wasn't looking for anything in this - only to be. And I was. It came to me out front like an epiphany, but I have no label for this knowing I had because I already knew it before, it's just that my ego has been pushing it into the background with more important things to do:
The way to connect Declan back to nature was to show him how to draw it... landscapes, flowers, animals. Things I took for granted growing up, because that's what I was drawn to as an artist. This was what I needed to do to get him back to nature. It was crystal clear.
As we ventured back to our spot to once again refit ourselves together, Mike and I spent most of the rest of the time just watching the clouds drift past the moon as it rotated through the theater of our night, layers of clouds separated and yet connected. At some point in the early morning hours, a light sprinkle fell softly on our faces and we both smiled and felt not a drop of fear that we may get rained on. It was priceless.
And I understood more than ever that our perspective changes every moment. We choose to look at things with our ego rather than with our hearts. It's what separates us from each other and nature.
As the sun raised itself up over the mountains and the sky gradually lightened, replacing the moon as it went, I began to feel tired and tried to rest, but smiling took precedence and my consciousness would not sleep. All through this journey I thought not one bad or negative thing. Not one. Curiously, I also thought of no one else (other than how to bring Declan back to nature, and that was a fleeting moment).
I stayed in the present the entire time.
That's a record for me.
I wandered through God's creation.
It was all within me.
I smiled at the wonder of love all around.
And knew that I was unbound.
It was not even profound.
Being not lost and also not "found".