The entire universe of my body, of her body, the room, our vessel… was steeped deep in sage and stirred by a vulture’s feather. Jane Anne Thomas’ animal medicine cards were fanned before me. I’d placed them, but so did her fire, enlightening our journey. Having begun my ceremonial totem reading by Jane Anne’s House of the Standing Moon, I was suspended and observant – my energy, hers and a divine boogied in our co-creative space. I was reminded of an intense dream that called last summer, several weeks before having my first child. It kept coming back to me echoing, so I explored and got lost in it.
Set in an ornate temple of red and gold, encircled by hundreds of dancers, we were empowered as one. A strong rhythm, then a woman full of light sped towards me. Her brow strong, eyes determined and knowing, she began somersaulting. Intimidating, yes – but I gave way, surrendering to the force. It showed me that I knew how to work with the female energy, giving me the confidence I needed to birth and to mother. I had become fearful in those final weeks of the last trimester – I questioned my abilities… I was desperately trying to be at peace with the unknown. The words “Shinto dance” were repeated throughout the dream, and stayed imprinted when I woke. I realized how key it would be to explore Shinto on my new journey. With limited exposure to the spiritual heart of Japan’s essence and meanings, I studied further and saw that the essence of my new Bunnyhawk project embodied many of its virtues. When higher selves speak, listen up folks!
These days around winter solstice, I wanted to be immersed head to toe in mud – something I confessed to Jane Anne once we completed our wellspring meditation. We only met that morning but her open heart made me feel at peace. She arrived as sunshine, a breath of salty air, frost kissed blades of grass. Beneath a wide-brimmed coal-black hat, and ocean deep baby blues, her arms abounded with sheepskin, Aztec cloth, animal cards, sage, and an army green tackle box of goodies. Though her physical presence was captivating, my heart swiftly resonated to the unseen instruments this graceful soul carried.
Jane Anne sweetly admired my home – the geometric chandelier and brass himmel wall prisms, and my abundance of animal art! I apologized for not burning sage earlier as was suggested to neutralize the space’s energy. There must’ve been plenty of it somewhere, I just hadn’t quite gotten around to finding it. Clothed in a milk stained tee shirt, wooly pancho, and Bohemian Island yoga pants, my daily “new mom” attire was conveniently composed of the loose fitting recommended clothing – we would be on a three hour trek (seated on the ground – would my pelvic floor take it?)
My new friend sang “Ong namo guru dev namo” (meaning I call upon the divine wisdom, and self-knowledge that is within us.) I knew it from my yoga practice, but her incantation was uttered from the dwellings of ancestors, a knowing place of tribal roots and mossy muddied forests – and me, sitting in mud: I’d let the earthy blood envelop and nurture and hold me in the way I needed to be comforted. Jane Anne, particularly attuned, commented on how much of myself I was giving – that as mothers we needed to remember to connect and nurture ourselves, to be balanced and able to receive.
Onwards the path, we meditated “as above, so below”… through the iridescent clouds, to the celestial bodies of stars, gazing upon other planets… my kindred sister led us higher… Then back below, to the earth (where feet joyfully submerged into a muddy forest) – further into the soil, the hearts of rock, the burning sweltering magma, the Earth’s core… and there, at peace, I saw in Jane Anne how connected, in love, and aligned she was to the elements. Awestruck, I imagined her in an earthquake gliding to refuge without fear, whilst even thanking the great mother for her bounty. This ethereal dame, my new hero, would feel the earth move, singing softly “hello mother.” As a Californian, I occasionally deliberate nature’s imminence, and admit my hypothesized tremors would be wayyyyy less elegant, potentially ridiculous. Our modern culture magnifies fear and anxiety rather than inner peace – it “venerates jester over king” Jane Anne succinctly noted. Having a totem ceremony honored my desires for a “reset” button, for stillness with nature, and an open heart – and my guide’s inspiring wisdom supported this revival.
My very own totem shield was comprised of seven animals, all revealed within the medicine cards, brimming of story and symbol. They were placed across a beautiful alter cloth woven by Diné (Navajo) Grandmother (elder), who was Jane Anne’s teacher’s teacher. These dear creatures are now close to my heart, and so my little heptad will stay secret. They arrived with many offerings… to be conscious of walking the line in balancing power with delicacy… to bring wisdom back to the tribe and make them stronger… to blend masculine and feminine in tantric balance… to protect the inner child… to give people access to their wildness again, igniting their romantic desire to return to nature… to see the ancestors in everything, as they speak to us through nature… to forever and always remember the ability to rebuild… to be in the free fall, then fly through the storm… to discern and see the big picture, to take the spirit of pure love, and bring it to earth… to learn to be a clear vessel for blessings… to teach someone to receive…
We ended with a kundalini mantra of awareness, “Sat Nam,” an acknowledgement that the Great Mystery is who we are: “I see your true nature.”
There is a still space within us all, yearning for the wild. What do we receive when we are open? We can discover whatever that is when we are unlocked and at peace. Winter solstice here, the days of light are short. It’s time to go inward, to face and release fears, to heal our many wounds – and deeply connect to and align with our selves. Bunnyhawk will be hibernating for a month to do just that, and I will be grinning in the mud. Until February, Sat Nam. Peace and prosperity to all!
This Lady Dreamcatcher is Founder + Chief Dreamcatcher at Bunnyhawk. She often sits beneath a tree in California with her son – sipping matcha almond lattes.