When Chainsaws Rest for Sacred Space
A shaman woman friend of mine came from across the water to visit. We only had an hour and a half together and the rare opportunity presented itself that we actually could be uninterrupted by responsibilities, children, deadlines etc for part of that time. After coffee and cheesecake we immediately headed to the river to work with our Lia Malas – our medicine bundles – give some offerings to the land, and send blessings, gratitude and offerings for the work 12 shaman ladies were doing during a sweat ceremony that day.
I asked her what type of place energy would she like – Ocean, Mountain, River, Fire, Forest, Wind… she chose River for its cleansing and clearing, and I knew I needed some Fire to accomplish the same in balance of where I am at. I brought a beeswax votive and we set off to a lovely river I have often visited. It always feels peaceful and quiet even on it’s “busy” days with a few kids and dogs walking along its banks.
Well today was a different story. I hadn’t been down to this particular stretch since the salmon started spawning this year, and had completely forgotten about all the many fishermen who would gather. To top it off, despite the land on the other side being a protected Eagle sanctuary, the buzz of 2 chainsaws cut sharply through the air. The sweet energy of the place was being overpowered with jarring activities. Now, I do eat salmon and so it must be caught to do so. I have much gratitude for salmon, it’s nutrition, taste, spirit medicine, and legends. I do however have a hard time with catching them while they struggle to return to their birth place, full of wisdom, to spawn. To me, it feels disruptive of the cycle and is rarely done with the honour that is due.
We didn’t have time to relocate and I didnt feel comfortable enough to be at the waters edge to work in sacred space among the men fishing and bludgeoning. I half closed my eyes and began to walk away from the river into the trees. I followed with my senses to a place. The right place. My dear friend was beside me and I lit my candle to rest in its cup on the leaf strewn earth under the birch. We took out our Malas and began our separate ceremonies together. The moment I held my bundle to my forehead and began with gratitude – I noticed the chainsaws stop. A sweet relief! The rain drops falling all around blessed us with forgiveness and gentle heart cleansing. The fire transmuted the dense energy I had been dealing with. The earth held and supported us. The trees sheltered us. I made my offerings, said my prayers, expressed gratitude, asked for balance to be had in this place as well as within, and thanked the Airts. When we were finished and tying up our bundles – the chainsaws began to rip through the air once again but a shift could be felt.
I find it amazing what a short space of time working with Spirit can accomplish. I am blessed to be aware of the omens that accompany such wakeful living, for working with community both near and far. For the grounding among the chaos and the wisdom gleaned from the ‘ordinary’. As I walked away, I remembered a similar story I read on another woman’s blog – if I find it again I will post a link to it – it had similar connotations. She was heading into hosting a large ceremony only to be greeted with overwhelming chaos of logging taking place – the messages gleaned from that, the continuance of ceremony regardless, and how for just those moments – the chainsaws stopped.
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A bean feasa of Gaelic heritage shares stories & insights from her animist and 'shamanic' practice on the West Coast of Canada.