I decided to create a sacred time of listening, making the commitment to follow whatever guidance I received.
The following day, Laura and I descended the cliffs and entered the magical land of the waterfall… we built an altar beneath it, asked for the protection of the spirits, and spoke our intentions for the day. We removed our clothing and crawled onto large boulders that straddled the creek. Water flowing over rounded stone silenced us… the listening had begun. I felt a tingling, something was about to come through and I moved to another boulder, cool and egg-like, smelling sweet of moss and lichen. “You are to be still during your time here. DO not stray far from camp.. learn to travel the universe inside yourself and in your baskets. Your quest is to practice readiness.. .learn to weave your intuition into form by creating a basket of each of the women in your circle. Sit with their spirit and allow it to guide you in the design and material that make the vessel. Offer your giveaway, and know that in doing so you are empowering your spiritual journey.. you are moving closer to your vision.”
Hello? Oh my goddess! Laura found me moments later, saw a change in me and asked what I was experiencing. I think it was spiritual shock and recognition undeniably strong. I was stunned that my higher self answered so swiftly and with such clear direction.. that was a powerful lesson that I learned again and again during our journey.
And so I honored my guidance and sought to learn about an art form that I thought I knew nothing about. I was greatly challenged to weave my personal time with the demands of the circle. Everyday required increased flexibility and discipline. I spent mornings sitting with my teacher tree, a young ponderosa pine rooted precariously on the cliff over which the creek tumbled 80 feet. I would sit at her base, around which a perfect seat was carved by nature in the rock.. legs and arms wrapped tight finding great comfort and strength from her spirit… both of us understanding each other’s love of living on the edge.
I spent many hours gathering material to weave.. the baskets for some women required roots of juniper, cedar, and fir. .. others called for the flexibility of willow, for pine needles, wild flower, yucca and small creek side plants. Each woman’s basket grew as I did. Some were easy births. Others took weeks to complete. As our days in the wilderness drew to a close, my work became more intense… having surrendered many day of basketry for the benefit of time spent in council. Balance of group and personal time called me to return to my inner voice, to seek guidance again and again as the circumstances of our circle changed.
My sisters had known little of my journey through the weaving of intuition and form. I shared my struggles and successes… and sitting there before my creations, in the circle that honored my process and never doubted my ability to fulfill my purpose, I joyfully gave away my lessons in being a beginner, speaking to each woman, telling her how I had journeyed with her while making her basket. Though there were insights that didn’t always make sense to me, they of course understood. We passed each basket around the circle, and I asked each of us to feel, smell, and sense the power held within it. I asked that we visualize filling these vessels with feminine power, this being part of my original vision. At the close of this ceremony, I gave silent thanks. The giveaway had so empowered them and I know that my vision was now being held by 12 women I deeply love and trust. I buried the 13th basket in the pit we dug for our sweat lodge that night.. giving back to the earth the beauty and courage she has given to me.