“I’m here for initiation,” I said as the fire roared and 7 other women listen in the sacred space of the bright full moon, the stars, the red rock canyon and the truth.
I spoke for several minutes and finally heard myself say, “I want my Sovereignty.”
Those words trickled out of my mouth in a stutter because I was honestly afraid of what asking for that might mean in my life. But we were here for truth, and that was what came out of me. Among other words, I asked to learn to receive, that I was here to just receive. I didn’t know what that meant for me either.
The best part about not knowing what I’m really asking for, is that I get to learn what I mean through the asking and then the life experience that comes to me. That’s how I like to live life, ask and receive.
Experience and respond. Ingest, digest, integrate and learn.
What happened during my 4 days camping deep inside the belly of this Red Rock Canyon ( I’m fondly calling it the Vagina Temple, more than one cave in this canyon is literally like walking into a sacred yoni of the earth), is a story worth telling and lessons worth sharing.
I THOUGHT I was there to LEARN from the Canyon. But what I actually did was receive from the canyon.
She didn’t “teach” me. She held me. She rocked me. She gave to me. She reminded me. She took me in and had her way.
I asked and she gave and I received. She infused my bones with so much sovereignty I came home with a fierceness about me that I havn’t clearly seen in myself maybe…EVER.
Not this grounded.
Not this stable.
Not this reliable.
Not this clear and calm.
Her “lessons” came in whispers to me. Little whispers that lit me up inside.
If you listen long enough, you’ll learn the language of nature. Don’t beat yourself up for not getting it immediately. Forming a new relationship takes time. Learning each other’s language takes time.
Her red sandy hips inspired me. Her big curvy breasts nourished my desire to climb and prowl and play like a cat. Her wet, wild creek calmed and soothed me. Her round, dark caves nurtured me. Her bright green willows sang me to life. Her cool thick mud gave my feet permission to follow my pleasure fiercely.
Her hot sultry sun blazed my soul to sovereignty.
On solo time I was annoyed that I had shoes on. My camping sandals broke and my feet were sweaty and muggy and I hated it. I am a foot person. I get information literally through the soles of my feet touching the earth. As a child I could walk on scorching black pavement and poky rocks no problem. So when I wanted to commune with the canyon, naturally I wanted to use my bare feet. I found a dry creek bed and took my shoes off immediately and another whisper came:
I WILL TAKE YOU THE WAY YOUR BAREFEET CAN ROAM FREE. I KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE.
That’s when the Canyon started to seduce me. And I liked it. I explored closeness with the sand in between my toes. Intimacy with the shape of the rocks and the layers that formed them. I felt myself wondering, I can see how much the Canyon has to offer me, but what can I offer it?
I was in the Canyon with my MogaDao Sacred Daoist Sexuality teacher, who had given us the invitation to form a relationship with the canyon, with nature, with mother, with HER as our sacred other. We were there to experience the erotic goodness, the sensual essential of nature. We were in the belly of sex itself and it was dirty, wild, pure, and humbling. It was the most natural easy thing ever.
You are here to be fed. Another whisper. Fed what, I wasn’t sure at the time.
We were wild. We cleaned our plates with the dirt. We drank water from the creek. We used hot rocks to keep us warm in our tents. We went on solo adventures. We did qigong together in the mud. We spoke our truths. We were a *community of solitudes*. I learned to poop outside and that there is something about squatting that activates the rectum and the body to do it’s thing and that there is no better way to get connected to the cycles of my body when I don’t just have an easy toilet I can rush in to sit on.
My favorite lesson during our trip was on receiving. It was about not projecting outward with my sight towards the canyon walls or beauty all around us. Instead I practiced staying inside my eyes, inside my body, heart, and womb and allowed the canyon and beauty to come to me. A much different way of experiencing things. I spent the whole weekend doing that in service to forming a bond with the land, treating it as I would treat a friend, a lover, a new person whom I’m wanting to know more of.
But one thing bothered me our whole trip. I didn’t have these profound realizations or big questions to get answered. On our solo time I often felt like I wasn’t doing it right or that there was something more I could be doing to get the *most* out of my time.
It wasn’t until the drive home from the Canyon that I GOT it.
HOLY SHIT! I thought
I said I was there for initiation. I said I wanted to receive. I said I want sovereignty. I GET IT!!!
The Canyon laughed at any and all my questions (playfully of course)… “You can ask them but I don’t have any answers for you. Just enjoy being here, take me in, breath me in, see me and I will see you. ”
SEE me and I will SEE you.
And isn’t this the great lesson of the sacred other. The great lesson of communion. The great lesson of why we love relationship. Just as I have been shaped and formed by my human partnerships, friends, and lovers, I was shaped by the Canyon, by HER. Just by being my cat-like, playful, fierce, wild self, I received exactly what I wanted. I didn’t need to GIVE anything except for my presence and my vulnerability.
The canyon made love to me for 4 days. She made love to me by only asking me to be myself. All she wanted from me was to be who I am. It was as though she took all my old skins and ways of being, things I have been trying to slough off for so long and just absorbed them gracefully, said “thank you, I love you and now off you go into the world, enjoy!”
It was as though she replaced all of what I WAS with HER.
Steady. Stable. Rooted. Beautiful. Wild. Instinctual. Erotic. Alive
And now I live with the Canyon inside of me.
Even now I sit here writing I feel the Canyon inside my bones, inside my body and I remember that I am sovereign.
Suddenly everything I have ever studied about feminine energy, essence, spirit, soul, embodiment, and healing grounded itself into my body and being and since I’ve been back, my medicine woman is coming out in full force.
In Women who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes says that the Wild Woman has four food groups: Time, Belonging, Passion, and Sovereignty. This is something I didn’t come across until after my trip. Turns out, I was in that canyon to stock up on all four of those nourishing foods. And oh I was fed well. Very well.
On our first day our teacher said something that struck me: Life needs You and You need Life. Nature needs You and You need Nature.
Tears came pouring down my face. And even now I feel how true that is for me. I needed that Canyon and the Canyon needed me.
Talk about initiation!!
“Go out into the woods, go out. If you don’t go out into the woods, nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin”- Clarissa Pinkola Estes