The canyon keeps calling me back. I decided to return to Canyon de Chelley during the holiday when many people gather for turkey feasts. It was my late father’s birthday. I sensed that in spirit my dad and many others were nudging me on for the adventure.
Once the inspiration for a roadtrip came alive in my heart, there was no turning back. I couldn’t not go. I began packing a bag with sweaters, woolly socks, cozy blankets, and ceremonial items. I looked forward to creating an on-the-road Gratitude Ceremony, returning to the canyonlands that had shown up in my dream.
The vivid dream had come last spring. I was surrounded by towering red rock walls. There was a shimmer, like starlight, in the rocks. Immersed in the awe-inspiring beauty, I felt within me and all around a deep contentment and aliveness, a peaceful, thriving existence. The clarity of connection, the pure crystal clear love, was tangible and stayed with me as I opened my eyes.
I wanted to stay in the world in the dream. This dream was a remembering that held what I wanted. For my life. For our life. For our earth. For us. The wildly diverse us. The community of humans all around our planet living in harmony with ourselves, one another, all life.
This wave of awareness spiraled through me in a matter of seconds as I made the transition from asleep to awake. And I heard: Window Rock, Arizona. That was perplexing. Never before, during a dream, had I been given the name of a place on a map. Curious, I did some research and discovered this place actually exists.
In the heart of the Navajo Nation, this area is known by the ceremonial name, Niʼ Ałníiʼgi. Translated into English, this may be understood as the “Center of the World.” These are sacred grounds for traditional Water Way Ceremony. There are stories of a great serpent who lives here. A memorial honors the Navajo Code Talkers.
These pieces of information were more than plenty to wrap my mind and heart around. Then I found pictures of Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelley, the traditional homelands of tribal peoples prior to colonization. Instinctively, I recognized these red rock canyons as the place that had shown up in my dream.
Spider Rock, in Navajo stories, is described as the home of Spider Grandmother (Na’ashjé’ii Asdzáá). Spider Grandmother, in Hopi and Navajo traditions, is known as a creator, protector, and companion of humans.
So last spring, inspired by my passion to learn more, I went on a roadtrip to find these sacred places. Funny thing is, I never made it to Spider Rock. (In case you missed it, here’s the story about that journey.)
And here I was now, in late November, even more intent on visiting these sacred lands. I felt pulled by an unshakeable calling, weaving the present with the past and the future, the seen with the unseen, the dreamtime with everyday life.
While I packed food for my journey, a spider crept out from her hiding place. I watched her crawl across the floor, following whatever she was following to find her way. She stopped underneath a basket of elk bones I’d recently collected in the mountains. Elk, in my Bone Throwing ceremonial bundle, is a Council of Grandmothers who bring elder wisdom and teach about honoring the feminine.
Spider. Grandmothers. Making their presence known in my home in the early morning hours as I prepared to visit the home of Spider Grandmother in Canyon de Chelley.
Grandmother Spider was making it very clear that she was with me, watching over, as I followed whatever I was following to find my way. She wanted me to remember that I, too, was a weaver of webs, creating fibers of connection with every step along my path. With deep respect and gratitude, I gathered the spider in a jar and set her on the ground outside. She was free now to roam the land too.
The sky brightened with the sunrise and I set off on my journey, driving down my bumpy dirt road. Before I even had a chance to sip the warm cacao elixir I’d made, the cup slipped out of my hand.
The entire cup emptied, a tsunami of cacao splashing onto the floor beneath my feet. A cacao blessing. An unexpected initiation for my journey. Showing me again that the adventures of life, love and awakening may be messy. Yet every drop, every moment, is sacred.
I tried to mop up the pool of cacao with a few crumpled tissues. It was futile. So I continued on down the road, laughing. Because just a few minutes before, as I’d walked out the door of my house, I’d ignored the suggestion that passed through my mind to bring along a roll of paper towels.
Okay, I told the Spirits. I’m listening. To every little thing.
(…to be continued…here’s Part 2)