I remember my first time trying out the art of shamanic journeying. I was a senior in high school, hanging out with friends after school. My friend Robin had been learning about different shamanic practices, and was sharing her experiences with me. We headed to a back storage room in our friend’s house, I laid a bunch of blankets to lay down on as she sat close by with her drum. She began drumming, and I tried to relax into the sound. I remember how hard it was. It didn’t help that our friend’s younger brother busted into the room a few times for some reason or another.
Something did happen that afternoon, though. I clearly saw the underside of a bird flying over me. We looked up what I saw in a bird book and I decided that the Broad Wing Hawk was the most likely candidate.
I don’t know how many years passed until I decided to research this hawk a little more. I did eventually look up the Broad Wing Hawk on a bird song website, and what I found gave me shivers.
For a little background, I live on old family land. My grandfather bought the farmhouse I live in sometime in the 60s. He lived on the Connecticut coast, but wanted a place to go to disappear in the woods for a bit to hunt. He found this run down farmhouse built in the 1850s on a dirt road that closed in the winter. It made the perfect hunting cabin. Eventually, my parents moved in, having a proper basement replace the cellar hole and arranging for power lines to be run down so we would have electricity. I was about twelve when we moved in. I was never really good at identifying birds when I was younger, but there were certain bird calls that strangely wormed themselves into my memory of home.
The Broad Wing Hawk was one of them.
I cannot remember a time that there wasn’t a pair of Broad Wing Hawks that lived in the forests surrounding my house. They’ve always been these strange guardians in my life that I never really knew were there.
Hawks are the messenger of the day. They have keen eyesight, which is ironic to me that I have them as an animal spirit in my life, as I have glasses. The connection to hawk isn’t about physical sight, though. It’s more about seeing the bigger picture. They are strong guardians. They travel south for winter. That travel lust, that longing for adventure is what I most strongly connect with when it comes to them.
I love my home. I always return home, as hawks always return to their summer nesting grounds. But, I love a good adventure. That’s part of my love of hiking. It’s an adventure to the top, a pilgrimage to the skies for those of us not blessed with hawk wings. Once you get to the top, it’s all wind, mountain spirits, and a better view of the world. For me, it usually coincides with a better view of life. The hike up is processing time, matched with time to connect to the land. At the top, the clear view of the land matches a clearer view of the situation.
I know. I wax poetic about the mountains often (when I’m not doing it about the ocean). It ties back into it, though, doesn’t it? Hawk and his fondness for a clearer view of life situations. This is why I love journeying. You can discover something as simplistic as the underside of a bird that you can’t identify, and, through exploration, meditation, and spirit-led discovery, you can still be talking about it years later.
It amazes me how this sort of work ties into everyday life. When I was exploring the shores of Assateague, in the midst of this mystical experience miles away from home, I noticed a feather sticking out of the mud on the bay side of the island. I walked over, picked it up, and gave it a good look.
Oh yes. It was the wing feather of a Broad Wing Hawk. Even miles away from home, hawk was still with me.
You may have noticed the website has been reborn as Deep Earth Arts. It’s been an amazing (and amazingly busy) few weeks, but we’ve settled into the new space. It’s pretty awesome. We’d love for you to visit it! We’re having an Open House this Saturday. Live music. Prizes. All the things a good Open House should have.
You may have also noticed that the blog has been released on Wednesday. This isn’t an accident, or a product of procrastination. I’ll tell you all about it in my next blog. Which brings me to another point…
Josh wants to get in on the blog writing. So, he and I will be alternating weeks. Next Wednesday, he will be publishing his first blog entry. He’s a great writer, so you should check it out. I know I’m looking forward to seeing what he cooks up.
Finally, check out the calendar section on the website if you get a chance. I have an Herb Walk and an Amulet Making Workshop scheduled in July. If you’re around and you’re looking for something fun and maybe a little educational, sign up. I will also be doing a Reiki Clinic (with Josh) and a Shamanic Journeying group. Both are monthly and both are by donation. If you show up and have some money to put towards it, great. If you show up and don’t pay a cent, great. Just show up. Who knows? Maybe you’ll have a journeying experience that you’ll talk about years down the road…
Until the next time
The Green Mountain Mage