Learning the Language of Nature

Eucalyptus grove

Last week I facilitated my very first ‘mini vision quest’.  This was a day I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I had put a lot of planning into this event and after condensing outline after outline I realized I have SO much to share! How could I condense all of this learning and information into five hours? My answer came clearly… I need to go slow and teach little pieces at a time.  And really, this is how one lives a shamanic lifestyle….slowly and simply over a lifetime.  I’m always being reminded to s-l-o-w down.  I’m hearing the message!

I wanted to put this mini vision quest together to let people experience how you may feel on a “real vision quest”.  A traditional vision quest takes months, if not years to prepare for. But if I were to take just a little piece out of a quest experience and share that, beautiful things could happen. And guess what?…  They did!!

Pond reflections

Typically a vision quest would happen deep in the wilderness, away from man and man-made things, and the participant would be gone for day or longer. However, on this mini quest we met at Vasona Lake Park in Los Gatos California. This area of Silicon Valley is very beautiful, but also busy.  Although we were not in seclusion, we experienced how you can unplug completely and ground with nature, even right here in the hustle and bustle of the Silicon Valley. This is a great reminder that it doesn’t matter where you are, you can always get away.

We burned sacred herbs

We started our morning by smudging and calling in the Directions. During the process of calling in the Directions I was reminded that the three participants standing in this small circle with me are all moms of adult children with special needs. Isn’t that interesting?   I know this is not coincidental, and there is heavy meaning here. I am look forward to what’s to come.

As a teacher and facilitator, I was both excited and nervous about this day. Excited because I knew it was going to be awesome, and nervous because well… my head starts to get in the way sometimes and I start to doubt myself. I had a quick flash of anxiety in relation to this self-doubt,  and in that moment a Hawk swooped down and landed in a nearby tree. The timing was perfect. I knew all was right. Hawk represents one of my teachers, Nancy Bowman. Although no longer here physically on Earth, Nancy visits me often via Hawk Medicine. I could feel that Nancy was there supporting me, and that she was proud I was passing on her teachings.

Sherry in her element

We had a casual morning sitting with Mother Earth and I taught the group about some ancient practices that are often used during a vision quest. These are practices that are often part of a shaman’s ‘toolbox’.

Before venturing out on our own and spending time in solitude, we took a short hike to a creek-side meadow. This one particular spot had been calling to me and asking for healing. As a group we sent healing energy to Mother Earth, and we worked on grounding ourselves. During this exercise I was drumming while participants were in meditation. During the drumming, I heard a rattle in the bushes behind me, and as I turned around I expected to see a Deer walking by. I was surprised to see a Coyote standing there. She was large and gray and curious, and beautiful. As I was staring into her golden eyes I question myself for a quick moment… “Am I really seeing a physical coyote right now?” I realized I was and quickly knew we were exactly where we needed to be.

Lory took a quick pic as Coyote was leaving

I gently stopped drumming and quietly mentioned to the group that “we have a Coyote visitor walking by if you’d like to take a look” and then I continued to drum. The coyote walked by very slowly with no fear. She showed us how she could walk through an area filled with ivy and disappear completely. She popped out the other end and stood stoically on a walking path looking back at us for quite some time. We let her know that we honor her, and that we are aware that we are visitors in her territory, and that we’sorry for encroaching on her space and land. We offered gratitude for the medicine she brings us, and we said thank you for her visit as we knew it was part of our teaching. We offered her wide berth and lots of love. She slowly turned and walked into the forest. We continued to drum.

Raquel drumming

With newly learned techniques and fully grounded, the group separated and ventured out on their own throughout the park. Their goal was to remain connected to nature, and learn to speak a new language…the language of Nature. To simply listen and observe, to just simply BE.  Each participant set their own intention and were guided to follow their intuition.

Sherry in meditation by the pond – do you see here in the reeds?

Individual moments of learning, and favorite moments were had be each participant.  Here are some shared thoughts from the participants of the mini vision quest:

Lory capturing elemental photos

“ Getting to the Mini VisionQuest event was a bit challenged by Earthly family issues but once there and submerged into the Quest – I was mesmerized!  From the pulling of a Shaman Wisdom Card, Tree Dancing, Spiritual Drumming Circle and appearances of Coyote, Hawk , Heron etc.  My most magical moment was drumming in solitude by the running creek surrounded by tree branches, reeds and a Heron. It was as if the trees swayed to join my rhythm.  Makes me want to Journey yet again with Spirit and the Elements! SOON” — Sherry

We made smudging fans

“The mini vision quest was absolutely wonderful!!! I would do it again in a heartbeat!!!  I learned how to do a Tree Dance, which seemed might be silly at first but wasn’t at all for me. I learned how to make a smudging fan, which was something I had wanted to do. I was delighted to have the opportunity. We had so many things to choose from. As always, Karen was very generous with her supplies she offered for the project.  Karen made each one of us a special gift that we were given at the beginning of the day. A gift from her heart which she was guided to do.  Another thing that made the day that much more special.  My favorite part was the entire day…The special gift, making our smudging fans, seeing the Coyote when we where drumming. It seemed to linger. I was truly in awe and honored for its presence. Hawk came also.  When we where trying to figure out what tree we would work on.  There were  beautiful butterflies, ducks, dragonflies and flowers. I really enjoyed being at the creek. The elementals where amazing!!!
Looking forward to the next one!!!  It was an amazing day!!!”  — Lory

Feeling happy and grateful

“I had not heard of a Vision Quest until recently, but thanks to Karen I am now looking forward to participating in another. The day started with a special handmade gift which Karen presented to each of us, then finishing the day off by making a beautiful feather fan and many teachings from her in between. I learned so much that day! The biggest lesson for me was that I CAN be by myself out in nature and actually get something from it. At first I was a tad skeptical and not too thrilled about being on my own, lol but it quickly turned out to be an amazing experience! I received signs, messages and confirmations from spirit that totally resonated with me and have made me excited for what’s in store for my future. Being visited by a coyote, a hawk, very friendly caterpillar and several other animals was beautiful as well as a group of young children I met that day who I shared crystals I was leaving behind as gifts to Mother Earth.” — Raquel

Thank you for your time today.  I appreciate you visiting my page and especially reading this entry into my journal.  I hope that you are feeling inspired in some way.  Me, I am feeling super inspired to plan more ‘Mini Vision Quest’ events…..there is soooo much I have to share.  I will keep you posted.  May you always walk in beauty, no matter where you roam.  A’ho.

Namaste — Karen

Find your air FLOW and BE


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