Twas time to go west, and I thought I’d stop at the Inn before I left. I was sitting near the fire, sipping a hot apple cider, letting my thoughts dance with the flames. As I pondered on the trail ahead, a man of nondescript character and theme approached me, stating he was also heading west and could accompany me, if I wished. The sense of his intent was somewhat hidden and uncomfortable to me, but – as I would rather have him in sight than following – I said if he was heading west as well, then he could be in my company. He turned to go retrieve his travelings from a far corner, as I tried to puzzle out his interest. While he was gone, a young lad of the Inn, with a lanky kitten draped across his shoulders, walked up to me. "Here, Lady; this is for you," and he handed me an envelope, and quickly departed. The puzzle-man ambled up at that moment, so I tucked it into an inside pocket of my cloak. We headed out into the late evening, figuring on getting several miles down the path before the full darkness of a new-moon night descended. There were no encounters along the trail, the breeze was light, the air edged with emerging crispiness, and a lone Stag watched us warily pass by. I "heard" him repeat the words he had spoken to me so long ago, "Trust me to protect you." And my heart was lightened to know that Stag was nearby. A few more miles down the path, we found a perfect campsite, with boulders as a windstop and a large live oak tree with long low branches. I could choose to sleep beneath them or among them, and be protected. As I thought about this, I "heard" the tree say, "No matter which to choose, your protection and journey lay elsewhere." This seemed such a strange thing to say, but I decided to lay my bedding in the triple crook of branches not too far from the ground. To my consternation, I couldn’t discern where the puzzle-man was, and I began to suspect this would be a long night of no sleep for me. As I was lying there, picking out Orion’s stars between the leaves, I remembered the envelope in my pocket. I took it out, and looked it over. It was plain and white, longer than wide, with no writing on it whatsoever. So how had the lad known it to be mine? Puzzles within puzzles… Still wary, I glanced around to see if I could glimpse the man who had accompanied me this far, but nothing revealed itself to me besides leaf-crunchy noises coming from outside the camp. I decided maybe he was gathering firewood or something similar, and put him out of my mind. I looked back at the envelope, turning it front to back, and then open it. As I ripped it carefully across the top, the whole thing dissolved into sparkles of white light that expanded to include all of me… and suddenly, a shift… and I was not in "Kansas" anymore. Instead, I was in the room of an old wise friend of mine. The fire was on, tea was steeping in a pot on the small oaken table, and two cups waited. I was so glad to be there, and gave him/her a big hug. I said, "I’ve tried to come and visit, but something was not permitting that." "Yes." "Maybe something was following me?" "Yes." "But now I’m here!" "Yes." "Why…." "… is not important. Understand that Spirit knows and you were protected." "But…." "No more. Sit. Drink. Be. Still." And so, I did; I was. Later, after we had finished the pot and shared a bread-type pastry, he/she began talking once more. "West is outside the Door. Your Elven friends await. You need to leave your baggage here." "What baggage?" "Your wounds, your thoughts, your ego. You need nothing to identify you, for Spirit knows you and we know you through the Spirit. You are what you are. Sleep in your bed and rise with the prophet-star. Set your intent and leave with only the clothes on your back. Trust. You are protected." Knowing that was my cue to get to bed, I tucked whatever extra I had been carrying in my box underneath and snuggled under the layers of bedding. Before I could ponder another thought, I was asleep.
It took me a long time, thinking about the ramifications of leaving all my "baggage" behind. I mean, I understand about wounds and thoughts and ego. I understand about "all identifying markers." But I started considering how that might manifest in my mundane life. I mean, would I be so changed that I wouldn't recognize my partner, my children... that I would walk away from my job, my education, my "responsibilities", my life? That's very scary. Very scary. Would I be so changed that my perspective would be incomprehensible to others? This was the feeling that I had. That stepping through the Door would bring that about. That this was a BIG step. And I've spent my life jumping, sliding, and falling off big emotional, psychological, and spiritual "ledges". This was More. That's how it felt, at least. Then I tried to reason my way back to my spiritual knowledge and incorporate all I've learned into a logical syllogism that would resonate for me. So understanding that Spirit is in everything and everything is in Spirit, I knew therefore that the person who I presently "am" would be accessible somewhere within Spirit, and thus within "whoever" I transformed into. Holding such knowledge, and trusting in its Truth, I knew I would be able to open the Door and step out. Shifting my Sight to the Door, I opened it. Blinding white Light pervaded my whole essence. I stepped into it and was at One with it. I had a sense of being naked to it and felt resistance -embarassment, I guess - to that. I let the resistance go and tried to still my thoughts. Suddenly, I realized that I had huge golden brown wings attached to the Lightness that was me. My first thought was the realization that the wings and Light represented a "Lighthawk." But I panicked, could go no further, and returned... because I thought I was wrong. I thought I needed to meet Elves and do the proper journey west and this seemed a more Spirit-oriented quest for Self. Regardless, I knew I had to better prepare myself, so I could return without panic, and follow this Path.
This time I had a better understanding of what was unfolding. This time I saw myself, not only as a Faery Shaman, but also not limited to that... more like what my Moon-elf Friend had indicated a long time ago: that a Shaman was a way of being, a state of being that transcended any environment, integrated into any environment, was the same - in essence - in any environment... different only by the perception of others. I understood being able to say: "I am who I am." Knowing that I stepped back to my Friend's home and opened the Door once again. I let go and allowed the White Light to integrate with me, or the other way around -- maybe both. I saw the golden brown wings and understood their mystic connection. I became "Lighthawk" and soared high up in the air. It was a calm day, and I was enjoying the feel of air ruffling through my feathers; the lift and drop of the current, as if I were drawing a thread through the weave of some spiritual tapestry. Far, far below lay farmland, with homesteads and meadows surrounding a large lake. I knew I was in that Place indicated on the ragged map given me by an Elf at the Inn... I was beyond the mountains and above the lake. The land was green and fruitful in the fullness of summer, rolling gently like a calm ocean. I could sense in the limitless construct of time and space, that I was - at once - hawk, roc, dragon, and pteradactyl. Fascinating! I knew my shadow would seem immense to those below, so I looked for some quiet, isolated place to set down. Off to my right, in the distance, was an outcropping of rocks at the top of the falls which flowed into the river meandering through the valley to the lake. One huge ancient boulder invited me to land, and so I quietly did. I got still... and transformed into an acceptable entity of this place. Not quite Elven, not quite Human -- some strange blend... clothed in denim blue jeans, light blue velvet calf boots, white shirt with a tiestring front, and a bluish-silver cloak. I sat very quiet for a long time on that boulder, soaking up the sun, assimilating the environment. Not long often that, a young Elf climbed up on the boulder with me. "Who are you?" "Who do you think that I am?" "Hmmm... a friend, I think... a stranger, but not." "Close enough." "Want some bread?" "Yes, thank you." And he drew out a small loaf from his backpack and a container of water. We sat quietly for a time, sharing the bread and water. "Would you like to visit my village? It's just a half-day's walk through the forest here." "Yes, I would." And so we traveled upriver for some time and then cut somewhat to the right on a sun-dappled path, wide enough for two to walk comfortably. The late afternoon sun welcomed us into his village where curious glances met us from all directions. He led me to the largest tree, in which was built the most amazing arrangement of buildings. The whole village was mostly tree-borne, but this was incredible! I knew it had to be a meeting hall of sorts and climbed the steps after him. Off one end of the meeting hall, at a slightly higher level, was where he beckoned me... and I sensed this to be the place where dignitaries are met; where chief, shaman, whatever, sat in council and deliberation. Making sure I was comfortable, he left. I did not wait long before an Elder Elf appeared with a most lovely Lady by his side. He then spoke in a wonderfully melodious voice: "You have returned, as I knew you would, but you are not what you were - you are... more." "I am what I am." "That in itself speaks volumes. Will you stay for a while with us?" "As long as is right." "That is enough. We have much to discuss, and our young people many things to learn. Tonight we will feast, with song and dance. Let tomorrow bring what it will." "I am honored to be welcomed here." "You honor us. Come, see your room. Explore our village. We will talk later." This last came from the lovely Lady herself as she came to stand beside me and lead me to my room. And the afternoon blended into twilight, with the increasing sounds of a very large festive celebration.
Later, in the mystic time between evening and night,I asked permission from the Oberon to share the wisdom I had gained and thought important to speak. He agreed, but added wisely that many in both our Realms would not be ready for such knowing. I just shrugged, and said that it was mine to sow these seeds, regardless of what happened afterwards...