When I asked for Spirit to bring me signs and animal medicine, I did not know what would happen.
Late one night last week I woke up hearing a strange sound. At first I thought it was the mice family in Mi Casa. No signs of mice as I searched around the kitchen. I was sure I heard the noise coming from there. At 3am I found myself wide awake and so spent time on the couch while Tracy slept sound in the bedroom.
Finally tired I went back to bed. The next morning as Tracy and I were making breakfast, I saw something moving in the water barrel outside the house. Coal the bull had been there in the night and drank half the water in the barrel. I rushed outside to see and found an owl had drowned. The water was too low for it to get out. With tears in my eyes I scooped the little bird out. It was a screech-owl, full-grown. I took it inside and wrapped it in my favorite wool cloth, a piece of a blanket we found on the Land in one of the casitas.
I was so upset with myself for letting the water get down too low. What to do?
I needed to talk to Vickie who knew about ceremony with animals. She had just performed a ceremony with the whale bones that had been gifted to the land many years ago. The bones had been moved from their sacred place behind Towhee. The last resident there had brought the bones inside the house. Vickie felt strongly that they needed to go back outside where they had been placed so long ago.
She called all of us to do a small ceremony for the bones and the gifts they brought to the Land. We stood in a circle behind Towhee where a small grove of juniper trees grew. There we called in the four directions and Vickie said a prayer. She asked Spirit to bless the land once again, to bring balance back to a place that had fallen into disarray.
Tracy, Darlene and I stood quietly as she spoke the words needed now.
It was a simple gesture but felt powerful and we all felt that something special was taking place on the land. Womyn were starting to come again. Volunteers had confirmed to come and work. Visitors were set to come in the next few months. We all felt the energy shifting and we were apart of a small miracle taking place on this wild land.
So when the owl came, at first I was so upset and sad.
I had to do something to make it right. Vickie felt strongly a ceremony was needed. I also knew that Darlene had strong Owl medicine. She had brought feathers with her from a large owl. She spoke of how they came to her, like a messenger on the wind.
I knew I had to bring the owl to her. I headed up to Windsong with the little owl. I was crying before I entered the home. Darlene embraced me, knowing something was wrong. I showed her the owl and she just stared at me exclaiming “Ohhhhh….”
We talked about what to do, how to go about honoring the spirit of the owl in my arms still. I took her out and stroked her. She opened her eyes that had been closed. I realised that my strokes had opened the eyes, and looked at me as if she was alive. She actually still felt somewhat warm, parts of her. Her body was not yet stiff. I continued to pet her, hoping for a miracle, but no.
I still felt life in her somehow and I could not explain why.
Darlene immediately said we needed to wrap it in a red cloth. She explained about using the body, honoring the medicine that had come to me. So I did. I began to accept the gift, knowing that the spirit was already at peace.
Darlene showed me what to do with the claws. I picked out two quartz nearby on the land near Windsong. I curled them in her claws and wrapped them in sinew. They would stiffen holding the crystals. I had to use my cutters. I became very calm and went inside myself, communing with the energy of the animal. We spread the wings out and I used my cutters once again. We sat outside and began the ritual of removing the skin, feathers and all. As I was doing this I felt something round and hard inside the body.
It was an egg!!! Imagine that?! No wonder I still felt life inside her!!
Carefully I removed it. Darlene was staring at me. She explained how unusual all of this was. Spirit was very strongly communicating with me, giving, showing, here.
Darlene and Vickie being there at this important time felt powerful. They were my guides, my teachers, my helpers. I was so thankful for their presence.
The egg was still soft and did not harden. Even so I gently put it in a bowl of sand I scooped from the arroyo just below Windsong. Maybe, just maybe…..
Then I was remembering about the mice. How Tracy and I had discussed the problem. I remembered discussing about predatory birds and how we needed more on the land. We were told to put mice in the trees to lure them in. So I did. That is what brought the owl that night. I had just put two mice I had trapped and unfortunately killed, up in the trees nearby Mi Casa. I checked that morning, they had been taken.
I remember saying a prayer to bring the winged predators to the Land, perhaps somehow, I could raise a foundling to hunt on the land for us. That would take care of much of the rodent problem surrounding the houses. Was this a response to my prayer?
My life was becoming very meaningful these days, in a way I had waited for. Years ago I was told I had strong medicine with animals, the earth and the elements. It had been passed down to me from my ancestors. My own great-grandmother was a Mayan Medicine Woman. I knew she was one of my guides and she helped me and was with me here.
So the little owl, did she give her life so I may learn about animal medicine? What was owl medicine? It is time to learn again.
We took the parts of the body and put them in salt, covered them completely. They will cure for a time and then I will use them, make a fan, use some in a staff found on the land. The claws will be used as amulets and I will honor this spirit by learning and listening and moving forward.
Darlene also shared with me a morning prayer passed down from a Lakota Man. Before he died he wanted to pass on his knowledge and secrets about ceremony and healing. This was many years ago. She says that he is telling her to pass on the knowledge to me now. I am honored and wide-eyed. I feel like a child, learning anew.
Every morning I now go out to greet the sunrise and say the morning prayer. I give thanks for my life, the womyn who are my family now. To all that is.
Thank you Spirit.
Thank you Owl.
I give many thanks to my tribal systers as we move through our days in a sacred way.
One important note….Vickie came up with an ingenious idea to put a piece of wood inside the barrel. So I did. Now there is a piece of wood that sticks out of the barrel. The bottom is weighted down by a large rock. As the water lowers, the stick gives any animal a place to climb out to safety. I am so thankful for you Vickie!!!