Tag Archives: fun

Coyote Moon, Desert Trickster

12th November, 2015

Sipping the ceremonial tea through my cracked lips, I quench my thirst.

The bitter taste sweetened by honey.

Surveying the landscape through squinted eyes, I pinpoint our route among the shattered desert rocks. The sun is bright but the day is cold.

Our company of three, head towards the maze of rocks, guided by intuition.  Buddy behind me and my love at the rear.   

Shallow dry creek beds wind their way through the plains as tumbleweeds drift across our path.  Joshua trees whimsically paint the horizon, as a melody is heard from behind. My love, has started singing.

The wind of insight blows in as we continue to stride along the unmarked path. “Everything is an offering to Itself” I whisper, as the bushes appear to be bowing to the ground. “Unique expressions of the Divine in all.”

My stomach churns as the medicine activates. Coyotes are near, I can feel their energy. I want to run in a pack and howl to the sun.

Buddy and I rush towards a rocky point, that marks the entrance to a canyon. A 40ft cliff standing guard.

   We look at each other and look at the rock. “Reckon it’ll go?”

Buddy puts his climbing shoes on and hands me mine. I look for my love who is happily singing to the plants, immersed in musical therapy and inspiration. “Okay, lets check it out!”

At the base, the rock is steep and overhanging but has huge hand holds leading out to the apex about 30ft up in space…so tempting.

I climb a little to scope out the route and gauge the committing move, a part where you throw your leg above your head and pull yourself over the top.

Back on the ground we “umm” and “err” but the decision has already been made.

Deep breath, Lets do this.

Buddy goes first and pauses on the overhang…my arms out below, in case I have to catch him. Pretty soon he pulls over the top, running to the summit. My turn.

I take a breath with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. We all climb mountains, inwardly and outwardly, you have the power, take courage.

Go. Feet scraping on tiny footholds and following the rail of holds, I arrive at the apex quickly. I look to the ground, Buddy is down from the top and cheering me on. As I cling to the apex, fear creeps in…I’m hanging too long.

I feel the wind of the crow’s wings flapping near by, giving me a boost.

The mind empties and all that is left, is to just do it. One last lunge.

Soon I am running to the summit and howling to the vista. The rock formations resemble brown giants against the infinite blue sky.

My old friend the crow, circles overhead and floats out of sight.

The help is always there.

*

Meditating in the sunny silence, the visions begin. A huge woman with fangs stares at me with hostility. I don’t react and watch her shrink into a little girl, afraid and behind bars. I realise a lot of adults act out due to some childhood hurt. Compassion is the answer.

A new wave of women appear, acting aggressive and lustful. Again I don’t react and watch them change into loving mothers nurturing babies.

I feel the love of the Divine as a massive stained glass image of Mother Mary, the supreme nurturer, appears.

Opening my eyes, the pure blue sky is filled with outlines of children and adults holding hands in a circle above me.

The sacred unity of our essence.

*

The effects of the medicine begin to recede and I scramble down to meet Buddy. We muse over the battles, the fears, and the glory of climbing mountains. The camaraderie is priceless.

Later on, I find my partner in the canyon, who is singing on a rock in the sun. The canyon walls vibrating with her powerful lyrics and strong heart.

I give her a hug and in my closed eyes see her wearing a feathered head dress, like a native american ‘chief-ess’.

I step back to look at her. She has a mystical air about her. Adorned with black and purple raven energy, representing magical self-expression.

The three of us walk back to camp as the sun begins to set. A coyote runs past me and I thank him for the lessons of the day.

“Oh Coyote medicine, thank you for reminding me, the importance of community spirit, to play and to laugh at what I take so seriously!”

Back at camp, our neighbour has chopped and prepared our firewood…what a gift.

“Poof” the fire is ablaze…magic in every moment.

Part IV: Shiva Shambo

Varanasi

Christine and I rub the sleep from our tired eyes, sit up inside the shiny Honda and reanimate with a lung full of frigid A/C.  Our friend parks on the shady side of Shivala street, which is jam packed with market stalls. Slumping over the steering wheel he rejoices, “We are here!”

We step out into the haze of heat amidst the bustling marketplace, it’s only 9.30 in the morning and I’m beginning to sweat, an Indian Summer indeed!

*

Our driver takes us to his friend’s guesthouse and we are met with a smug, balding man with red, angry eyes who insists his place is the best in town. The crummy conditions, high prices, and stench of his arrogance drives us away quickly and I pray that we are guided to the right place.

On the way out, a porter tells us of a better guesthouse close by. I follow him into an alley that leads toward the Ganges river and arrive at ‘Singh Guesthouse‘.

Stepping into a lush, gardened courtyard enclosed by tall cream walls bordered in red, I walk around a small water feature feeling refreshed already. Inside the lobby, two old men are enthralled by an intense indian soap opera.

The first man who stands to greet us is ‘Diamond’ who has lived in Varanasi his whole life. His blue eyes sparkle against his dark face, greying hair and sturdy physique. It doesn’t take long for us to connect and I like his kind, wise and fatherly approach.

His friend reluctantly tears himself away from the show and heaves his bulging frame to join us at the check-in desk. Above us is a rickety fan and a framed picture of Sri Ramana Maharshi, a beloved Indian sage who is a guiding light in my life.

Thank you, this is the place.

*

It’s already noon by the time we drop off our bags, say goodbye to our marathon driver, and sit down for a snack and a deeper chat with Diamond.

We share our experiences in India as he listens intently, especially as the conversation turns to spiritual matters. “People come to Varanasi to be purified by the Ganges.  To ‘learn and burn’ by the Grace of Lord Shiva” Diamond explains. “The river runs deep here, just like the current of Life”.

Many people come to Varanasi to experience this healing power, but with temperatures soaring at 46 degrees,  the tourism is scarce. We listen to his welcomed insight while sweltering in the perpetual sauna.

A cleansing bath in the Ganges is more appealing than ever. 

When the furnace cools off a little, Christine and I sit on the steps of the Holy river and meditate to the sound of the flowing water. Happy and immersed in the moment, we watch the setting sun cast its orange rays over the shimmering waters.

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Sunset over the Ganges    Photo:Christine Idilbi

Later on, we drink chai as the boatmen row, people wash, and fires burn. Diamond’s words ring true as we listen to Bhajans and the drumming of cremation festivities happening along the river. My soul is filled with love and gratitude to be in India’s holiest and oldest city which is a focal point for both Hindus and Buddhists worldwide.

*

Over the next two days, Diamond shows us around town and makes sure we are in safe hands. Inside the mystical temple of Lord Shiva, we give offerings to the many brahmins and deities draped in marigold flowers (see cover photo).The hallways are thick with the sweet smoke of incense, and adorned with beautiful murals, intricate carvings, and the vibrating power of prayer.

We also visit the sacred garden of Buddha’s first teaching in Sarnath. The tranquil garden, lined with lily pads and pink lotus flowers,  allows a welcomed mediation inside the fragrant serenity of this hallowed ground.

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Statue of the Buddha at Sarnath Photo: Christine Idilbi

*

By the end of the second day, the Varanasi bake house is still uncomfortable, especially for Christine as she has developed a fever.  It’s so hot we take multiple cold showers throughout the day to avoid sautéed organs.  We need a break from the furnace, so we book a ticket to Darjeeling for a rest in the mountains before catching our flight out of Kolkata to Bali.

We bid our dear friends and the holy city farewell as our loaded rickshaw sputters to life and we set off on our evening voyage across the Varanasi bridge to the train station.

Off we go!