Ann Mortifee and I are teaching a session at Hollyhock, on Cortes Island this August titled Moving into the Unknown. But before we can intend to move into the unknown and experience the Mystery, we must first believe it is possible to do so. How do I know that I am developing a relationship with the unseen forces of nature, and the creatures who inhabit the other-than-human world? Here are three examples from my daily life.
I meditate, read Buddhist texts and go on retreats, yet my heart is loyal to my shamanic practice of more than 30 years. Recently I felt a yearning to reconnect with indigenous teachings, and thought to find a new book.
The next day finds me in Campbell River with 10 minutes to spare between appointments. The Coho Book store is across the street. I walk in with purpose and a soft focus. Someplace here is just what I am looking for. I turn toward the closest sections of books from the entrance and see this book turned out to greet me.
Robin Kimmerer has become a new favorite author. Indeed just what I wanted. An articulate and sensitive weaving together of indigenous, scientific and spiritual reflections.
But how is this timely purchase of a new book a moment of moving into the Unknown?
I understand it is all in following the signs that invited me to move. Being aware of my intention (wanting to reconnect), seeing the means (the bookstore), having time to act (the space between appointments), and especially, feeling the inner certainty that I was being led to the resolution of my desire. There is no empty hoping in this story–there is a purpose, and a trust that I will be shown how to achieve it.
This second example came at the end of a lovely three day sail on Pearl into Desolation Sound.
We passed through the Sound heading toward a favorite local anchorage near Otter Island. There is already someone moored in the slot so we go further along to Tenedos Bay, a favorite stop but one usually crowded with sail an motor boats anchoring in its sheltered waters.
What a blessing! We are sharing Tenedos with only a lovely old repurposed fishing boat, and a wee little motor launch. We are able to drop anchor in a perfect location–sheltered from a wind yet open to a breeze during the hot late afternoon.
The next morning, just after we have weighed anchor and I am steering us out of the bay, I turn back to look at the cliffs, saying aloud,”thanks for the great stay.”At that moment a pair of eagles rise over the rocks and circle in widening spirals between Pearl and the cliff face.
The sensation of mutual regard is profound.
What makes this moment a moving into the Unknown? The action of gratitude: I turned back to say thank you to the place. The sensation of connection with the eagles was a gesture of reciprocity.
This third example needs a bit of history. In 2011 I participated in a collaborative installation at the Old School House Gallery called “the Bottom of the Garden” about the realm of Faerie. My contribution was 22 micaceous clay masks, each one a portrait of a faerie creature. A friend purchased a number of these, and just days ago called to ask if I would help her design an outdoor spirit garden where the energies of the masks could feel at home.
But how to begin? I can’t just make something up. So how to ask the creatures in a way that feels authentic? I am having this very thought while looking for a piece of paper on which to make a phone call note. I take a piece from the scratch pile and turn it over to make sure nothing important is on the other side. I am surprised to discover a very old text version of Oracle pronouncements from the Journey Oracle deck that I have been continuously creating since 1992. When Ann’s company, Eskova Publishing, brought out the oracle cards in their present form, I discarded previous versions. Except not quite all, apparently.
When my friend accepted that this synchronicity was guidance, many Aha moments happened.
A sense of wonder shifted questions into intentions, combining masks with plants resulted from a balance of action and consideration, the entire planning process felt surrounded with bright lights of energy from the faeries.
During our workshop at Hollyhock August 23 – 27 how will we experience moving into the Unknown? Ann and I are never quite sure what will happen when Mystery is invited to enter us. We do know that we will follow the signs that show us the way, make gestures of reciprocity, and experience the synchronicity that occurs when we join in relationship with the seen and unseen worlds.
Kristen Scholfield-Sweet, Ph.D. and Ann Mortifee, CM respectively have journeyed the pathways of many spiritual traditions. They have invited the daemon, the genius, the gift to come. They believe in it coming for you. Whether you have gone deeply or are just beginning to explore a living relationship with Mystery.
Join Kristen Scholfield-Sweet PhD and Ann Mortifee CM for Moving into the Unknown, August 23-27 on Cortes Island.Register Now
Images Courtesy of Kristen Scholfield-Sweet