But we did stay, everyone of us, moving through our trial of fear into acceptance of our commitment to live here and come to know the Eagle Canyon, the Butterscotch smelling pines, the 80 foot waterfall, the coyote calls, the passionate purple prickly pear fruit, the life of women on the earth. We found the land stunning and fulfilling all the priorities we had named when choosing a place to go… warm sun, no biting bugs, little rain, caves, canyons, cliffs, water, shade, big trees, big wild animals, no other people, Indian ruins, and much more that we hadn’t even thought of asking for.
We lived in a special area distinguished from the outer world in spirit and physical arrangement, requiring us to slip past the huge Guardian Rock in order to enter the Earth Mission Domain. In passing, the Rock offered a luscious gift… the scent of fresh rain-cleansed air mixed with a dab of sunshine and healthy rock lichen. This particular scent would rise up from one particular small spot on the Rock, but would flavor all the air as we passed. Once past that Guardian, we were immediately entranced into a magical world, (where women cavorted naked or in buckskins studying earth rites and its’ secrets!)
The main trail, which was blessed with fresh coyote tracks and scat every morning, led up the westward slope to the desert meadow… a fragile land with tiny plants holding tenaciously to the loose dry soil. The meadow was embraced by the northern cliffs rising 200 feet high, with few passable areas, and, at least in our fantasy, with hidden cougar lairs. Juliana compared this scene to a giant Medicine Wheel– the universe. The four directions held in the wheel are often associated with certain qualities, animals, rocks, etc. For instance, North may represent wisdom, clarity, earth, winter, while South represented trust, innocence, emotion.
There was no room for doubting the beauty and magic of this land. Indeed, we were overwhelmed and found ourselves for the first week mostly in silence, apart from one another, exploring the cliffs and waters, and drifting through the dreams of this reality so different from what we had left behind, and seeking the way to merge. We were at an elevation of 8000 feet, in an entirely new climate. We were unwinding the patterning and mind conditioning of a society disconnected with Earth rhythm; we were dissolving who we had come to believe we were, waiting and allowing the unexpected process of adjustment to run its course.
Soon though, there were callings for us to come together, to look at what we were doing there. One morning we found ourselves together as a group in the desert meadow, greeting the sunrise. We sang songs of thanks and praise to each of the Directions and finally asked permission of the Spirits of this land that we may live for this time in their home. We made offerings to the Grandmother. Just as we turned to the East, the Sun shone her face over the ridge, and we cheered her on, encouraging her to come spend the day with us.
Time taught us of patience and process while allowing the days to flow as they may, trusting for Truth to emerge. Thirteen women meet very randomly, sporadically, spontaneously, and slowly when there is no leader, and no demands. It could be on par with trying to corral 13 cats. Many hours we sat in council, circled around our altar, processing emotions, listening to our little girls cry, offering mothering nurturing, allowing our tears to cleanse. We also would feel anger and frustration at the lack of movement, at the lack of group activity, or too much group activity, the miscommunications or projections of one’s own issues, the mixture of needs and desires, the splits in the group. After hours in circles of talk, we often found we had no energy for gatherings ritual.. we needed to be alone, and we would move off to our caves or special alone spots.