Desert Ghosts

I am haunted.

I am haunted by the desert, by the red rock, by the blooming rosemary and the cactus fruit.

Haunted by the coyotes laughing in the pre-dawn light, haunted by the cracked earth in the dry wash and the ravens cawing overhead.

I cannot escape these ghosts. They torment me whether I sleep or am awake, my vision overlaid with mirages of towering rock faces catching fire in the sunset and juniper berries scattered in the dirt. Before I left to go to the desert, before I even set foot on that dry red earth, it came to me in my dreams. In an ecstatic state just as I fell asleep one night the Spirit of Psilocybin -- an entity I have never before worked with but have always been drawn to -- came to me in a vision and made love to me under the moon and stars in the desert. She told me that she could heal me, heal my mind. Release me from the bonds of anxiety and depression.

When I arrived in Sedona, I could feel the energy skittering across my skin. I could feel the earth humming beneath my feet. I could hear the plants of this strange, alien place reaching out and touching the edge of my consciousness... Juniper, Hawthorne, Artemisia, Rosemary... I was here to train, to study in circle with other birthkeepers. But I was also here to try and find myself again. To try and figure out what I needed to be doing. What path to take.

I rose early in the mornings to the sound of coyotes and ravens, my tent in the shade of a new friend's home, the window unzipped to show the sunrise lighting the tops of the cliffs of the red rock towers to the north. I dressed in the crisp November air and ate a light breakfast, greeted my host and her tumbling naked daughter, and set off on foot. Almost every morning I made a pilgrimage to the Stupa, making the climb through the dry wash and past the prayer flags strung between juniper trees, up to the top of the hill where the monument stood. The dirt was worn down in a circle around the base where hundreds of thousands of others had walked in silent prayer beneath the Buddha and the blue desert sky. I donned my veil and began my prayers. Suddenly the familiar sensation of the divine compassion of Quan Yin washed over me and I wept openly. With each visit I would sit and meditate somewhere nearby for awhile before I had to head to class. Peace was found, if but for a few fleeting moments. Revelations were made. More questions were discovered. I was gifted a new name. An ending and a new beginning. As is the way of things.

Since returning to the east coast, not a day has passed that I haven't thought of the desert. Of the energy there. Of the coyotes and the dry earth and the stars at night. It slips into my mind out of nowhere, just suddenly there, and then gone, as if a gentle reminder, saying don't forget me... I struggle now within myself even more so, of trying to find where I am to go next, of where I belong, of where I am meant to be, of where I will find the community that I need and want so badly it pains me. The Pacific Northwest calls me home with an aching in my bones like rainy winter days. Hawaii calls my soul where three generations of grandmothers came before me. Western North Carolina lifts my heart and opens me to the plantworld in a way not found where I live down on the coast. And though I can't imagine leaving the ocean again, I feel afraid here, in this place. Vulnerable, and with no community. I lived in Southern California once in my childhood, and I swore I'd never live in the desert again. But now with Arizona calling me back to it, the red rocks of Sedona or the high mountains of Flagstaff with yellow flowers blooming in the meadows, adding its melody to the siren song of these soul-homes, I crumble. I curl into a ball and know not to stay or go, or where to go if I left these shores. Where to Be. Where to Serve and find support and friends and love for myself and my family. I fear I will never find Home...

So, I open myself. I open myself to Home. To Community. To Family. I open myself to abundance that I may be able to afford to live wherever I am called and to support my family there with my hands and my skills and my knowledge. I open myself to a place where we can have the home we have dreamed of, the gardens and the animals, the freebirth lodge and the red tent and the traditional sauna and the retreat center and the sacred grove and the honeybee sanctuary... I open myself to a community of earth-lovers and medicine-makers and creatives and dreamers to lift us up and welcome us home. Here or there I open myself to peace and love and happiness and the culmination of dreams. To the beginning of a new age. Wherever we are meant to go, wherever I am meant to serve. I open myself to receive and to be that which I am needed to be, wherever I am needed to be.

The aliens are in the desert y'all,

Juniper Wren

#findinghome #sedona #arizona #buddhism #pilgrimage #midwifery #birthkeeping #findingself #cactus #rosemary #ravens #coyotes #redrock