Tonight I finally did my ritual to officially finish off my Water month and head into the final month of my six months. I know the full moon was a few nights ago; however, I caught yet another cold which developed into a sinus infection, and Bear told me to spend a few more days healing (she didn’t mind keeping me a bit longer). However, the transition has happened, and the last month has begun. Once again, as with my first month, I examine all four elements together, only with the experience of the previous months to use as well, and reflect on what I’ve learned so far. It’s definitely going to be a powerful experience.
The Animal Father called me into the ritual room and had me sit in the center where the four directions/etc. meet. Then he told me to start drumming. At first I got distracted by the drumbeat; I kept speeding up and slowing down, and I was a bit irritated with the tone because the drum head was just a little bit damp. But he reminded me to focus, and over time I felt myself at the center of all four of the directional totems–Wolf, Hawk, Fox and Bear. It was an incredibly powerful combination, the totems and the god, all there at once. And apparently, this is supposed to be my starting point for journeying in general! No wonder I’ll need practice.
The Animal Father had me recount, briefly, what I had learned from each of them. We distilled these into four basic values:
North – Wolf – Earth – Grounding
East – Hawk – Air – Communication
South – Fox – Fire – Love (Passion)
West – Bear – Water – Healing
These are very much shorthand for a lot of complex concept and multifaceted interpretations. It’s easier to say “Grounding” than “Finding the basis of what’s most important in your life; figure out where you stand and where you’re coming from; etc.” as well as extending concepts to other people, other beings, the world around me, and so forth. “Grounding” is therefore a convenient tag for something much bigger.
I felt very safe and very centered during this time; it was much stronger than the neopagan circle castings I gave up early on in my therioshamanic work. I had a very clear idea of my cosmology, and it imprinted itself more strongly on my brain. However, I’m still building up endurance in my rituals, so the Animal Father had me begin to drum down again, to say farewell to the totems and to get myself downstairs and fed. We’re going to work on lengthening my rituals over time, especially as I start doing more complex things, but for now I need to be focusing on consistency.
So I’ll be spending the time between now and the spring equinox not only preparing my everyday life for a schedule change to allow more time for shamanic work, but also reflecting on the cosmology I’ve helped to develop over the past five months. It still has a very neopagan feel to it, which is fine, because it’s built on the concepts that I’ve adhered to most strongly in the past twelve years. But we’re definitely taking it to a higher level here, as far as intensity of work goes. I’m excited, and nervous, but also confident in my ability to continue with this.