About 10 years ago, I began a journey of great transformation within. There were many forces guiding me on this path, through words, art, music and the essence of nature. I learned to accept-and expect-the miracles the universe and Spirit had for me each moment. A great part of this process was learning to turn to the natural world for wisdom and inspiration. Our Native American ancestors understood this and theirs was a remarkable kinship with their world.
In my quest to find “myself”, the me that was lying dormant and restless deep within my soul, I reached out to the written word. I read everything from ghost stories to alien intervention, earth and elemental magic to religious doctrine, past lives to lucid dreaming and beyond. Still I could read on and on and be enriched. So many ideas, so many “truths” and so much curiosity that we humans possess in our desire to know ourselves and Great Spirit on a more personal and intimate level.
When I was studying animal wisdom I had many dreams in which animal totems appeared to me, as well as in my daily life. Turtle has always been in, with and around me. When I took the time to study its ways things became much more clear to me. This piece of art that you see is the result of those animals whose presence in my time of healing and awakening made the most impact. They represent my emerging understanding of who I was. Since that time I have continued to have encounters and love affairs with the animals that exist all around us.
Is there any creature within the living world around us that is present in your world commonly? Do you see a certain animal or insect more often than others? Perhaps there is a message within its life for you. Messages from Spirit come in many forms. I feel we must each seek those messages in ways that we can accept. For some it is angels, some see loved ones who have passed, while many observe and study all of life around them in an attempt to connect to the All That Is. I don’t believe it matters which way you seek, only that you do indeed seek-seek to know yourself better, improve your relationship with the Essence of Life, and reach out to the All That Is in whatever way you can.
For excellent information on Spirit Animals and their meaning in our lives, I recommend books by Ted Andrews. You can find information at dragonhawkpublishing.com/Ted%20Andrews.htm
Two of his original works are Animal Speak and Animal Wise, both very good reference materials for animal wisdom.
This is the ultimate message in my novel. Although is is a work of fiction, I have tried to pull from the deepest human experiences I can so that anyone might be able to relate. These are not my personal tales, but they are the tales of humankind from its very inception. I am sharing another chapter here. My story may seem slow at first, as are many things; but life is speeding up for the inhabitants of Dohman. Before the end of my story, it will seem to be spinning madly for the humans born of the need to love and be loved.
May you all have a beautiful weekend.
Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion
(Bandia considered revealing the events of Mac an Mor’s rise to consumptive power and the subsequent destruction of his daughter, but this was not the time to plant fear within the hearts of her beloved children. After the infant arrived safely there would be time…meanwhile they would accept the gifts of friendship and knowledge shared by their new neighbors when they ventured into the garden.)
M’na had grown large with the life forming in her belly and was getting impatient for this child to be born. How long must she wait to welcome this miracle? She kept busy by preparing their home and making a special place for it to sleep.
Eolas soon arrived at the Garden so that he could show its Keepers how to make tools for building and helped to prepare an enclosed place for the family to live. Eolas was very gifted in the task of building and was eager to share his knowledge, but M’na and Fireann were confused. They had always lived and slept under the open sky and wondered why they should be asked to change this way of life now. How could they know what was to come, for how could anyone know that which was unknowable? Still, it did not prevent the Mothers from planning. Everything would be prepared for. Eolas was wise as he sought to ease their concerns, “Your world is a peaceful one, my friends. There is nothing here on Dohman which presents a threat to any living thing. For now we must appreciate this gift; but it does not stop us from preparing for things which may come to pass. Just as the winds change and the skies may bend the grasses with their fury, so might come a day when our own strength is tested beneath the fury of that which is beyond our control.” Fireann understood, even in his innocence, for his subconscious mind saw a flicker of the vision that was his at the moment of his birth. It would be as the Realm desired and M’na wanted only what was best for her world.
Fireann, always an excellent gatherer, had never before known the desire to hunt any living thing for food. The first time he saw Eolas hunting with a spear made from wood, he was both horrified and awestruck. Knowing that his beloved M’na could easily take form as one of the animals caused him not a small measure of concern now that he saw this new danger. He had so many questions for his friend, “Eolas, do the Creators know that you eat the other living creatures of our world?”
Eolas found this truly amusing since killing for food was the first act he performed after rising upon Dohman. The idea that anyone could live on the fruits and growths of the vine alone was amazing to him, although now that he saw the garden, he could understand how it was possible. There was so much more that flourished here, so many trees, vines and plants he had not known until now. Stifling a chuckle and placing a hand on Fireann’s broad shoulder he replied, “My friend, it was my Creator who gave me this knowledge. Where I live, there is not so much food that grows on the vine or tree that I can find sufficient sustenance from them alone. When I consume another creature it is only for sustaining my life. I stalk it in its own way, becoming one with its movements and finding its Spirit. It knows what is to come and many times we have a great dance before I finally succeed in overcoming its own power. I offer prayers for its Spirit to be returned to the All that Is before I accept its Essence into my own. See how they live in me.” He lifted a muscled arm upward, flexing it so that the sinewy lines were more distinct. “I have the strength of many beasts. They are with me always. I can swim like the water beasts and run with the speed of the yellow-eyed ones that hunt at night and sleep on their lazy haunches in the daytime. These are their gifts to me. ”
Seeing the wide eyed look of wonder on Fireann’s face, Eolas was again forced to choke back his laughter before he added, on a more serious note, “It is very important that you choose your prey wisely. It is not against the will of spirit to kill a living beast for your own survival, for it is the way within their own world; but, you must use every part of the creature whose life you are taking. And you must know that its essence becomes a part of you, and so honor that gift .”
Eolas drew from his side a pouch, long and tanned with brown hair across it. From inside this pouch he withdrew a long bone, rubbed round at one end. Its surface was smooth and yellowed. The other end was pointed; and he went to where a tree was fallen, striking the hard surface with this tool. Instantly the hard surface was split. He then wedged it deeper into the wood and struck it with a large rock until, soon enough, the one piece of wood became two. “This was a gift from my swift friend, the great yellow beast. We met on the edge of the forest many times, but never shared the need to dance until one gray morning when I was unable to find small beasts for my meal. I found his leavings as soon as I entered the sparse forest, and he was wasteful. So many had been killed to appease his thirst for blood. I could smell his approach and Spirit spoke to me. It was time to share his energy. When I looked up, he was standing close enough to fall upon me, but he didn’t. As soon as our eyes met we both knew what was to be. He wanted to live so turned and fled; and although he gave me a fair chase, at last he died as greatly as he had lived. His hide now covers my dwelling, to cool it from the sun. There are not so many tall trees as here.” Eolas lifted a finger to the lush, dripping canopy over their heads and shrugged; but seeing the look of sorrow that crossed his new friend’s face, he sought to comfort, “Don’t look so sorrowful. I am very happy in my home. And I am your friend. We must keep counsel for many cycles before the child arrives. There are things which you need to learn.”
Fireann’s heart was glad of this, for he enjoyed Eolas’s company. Something about having the other male there kept him from feeling so foreign in his own home. All of M’na’s preparations for the new life which would soon arrive seemed to consume most of her attention, at the same time pushing him to the fringes of his own life. With so much to do, worry became a new sensation for the Father of Dohman; and he made sure to express his concerns about the hunting ritual. “We must explain your hunting ways to our M’na, for if ever she is out again…” Fireann shuddered to think of his beloved, dropped from the blue skies by an arrow through her tiny beating heart.
Eolas patted his new friend on the shoulder. “We will tell all, my friend. But surely you must understand that as the Daughter and Keeper of the Dohman, she possesses a great intuition. She would never be taken in this way; and, after all, she is immortal..” He smiled a broad grin as they sauntered off and began another project. Eolas continued his visits, staying for many cycles at a time, for the journey to Foirfeachta was a long one. Together the males built a shelter for the Garden Family as well as another for the visitor to use when he came. Eolas never ceased to be amazed by the Garden, with its perfect beauty and perpetual sense of peace, its inhabitants so very innocent yet undeniably strong.
Laoch spent his own days making tools from stone and finishing his own home, deep within a cave he discovered atop a cavernous hillside among the cliffs-a cave suitable for a dwelling. He hunted and fished for his food, explored his lands, knew every grain of sand that covered the desert and every manner of rock which lay within it. He learned which creatures were for eating and which should be avoided if not destroyed, and how to go about that grim task if necessary. Still he felt inadequate in the shadow of the Keepers of his world. He was very glad for his life on Dohman, but often the Warrior felt the emptiness of a life yet unrealized, as though something was left undone inside him. In spite of this emptiness, he had great faith in the Creators-had faith that their wisdom was beyond his own, and found comfort in knowing he was a part of the All that Is, whatever that part turned out to be.
He kept his promise and made the journey to Foirfeachta, leaving behind the sands of comfort he had come to know. As he neared the land of Foirfeachta, the only world he had known began to change drastically. What was already green and flourishing became lush, wet and more alive somehow than anything he had ever seen in his dry land. Cool breezes brushed his dark skin; and, although the sun above felt warm on his face, it was not the blazing heat that scorched his own home. It was like taking a cool drink from the river. Laoch’s heart became very light as he approached the edge of The Garden where he soon spotted a figure near the tree-lined clearing. He watched curiously as this figure began tugging at leafy branches from the tree which stood nearest what appeared to be a path. The other looked up, now aware of the Warrior’s approach; and Laoch could now see that this was a tall male, one who quickly flashed a broad, welcoming grin that would become a familiar welcome to his soul. The Warrior felt an instant sense of connection to this Father of human existence; and Fireann felt the same connection toward the Warrior, in spite of the rough exterior of the massive form approaching him through the clearing.
In the wake of realizing the stranger’s obvious strength, Fireann felt a momentary pang of uncertainty; but it quickly dissolved at the sight of Laoch’s own arm rising in a gesture to return the wave, along with his friendly shout, “Greetings from the land of the Cliffs! I am Laoch.” He was close enough to touch now and so extended a thick arm as he offered his broad hand to Fireann. The latter reached out and grasped the stranger’s hand in his own, feeling the brute strength in his grip. He returned the grasp firmly and they exchanged steady looks, sizing one another up in an instant. Fireann couldn’t help noticing that the male had an abundance of thick dark hair which hung wildly about his head, springing out in rough ringlets that fell nearly to his shoulders. Around his waist he wore a light cloth that covered his lower body loosely. It was made of an animal hide, of this much he was certain. For a moment his mind wondered at these men who hunted animals and lived outside of the Garden area. Why were they coming to him now? He would get an answer soon enough; but it wouldn’t fully answer his questioning mind. “I am Laoch,” the newcomer repeated. “I was sent to help you prepare your home in ways that you have not yet known need of.”
Fireann began to inquire of this new stranger, “In what ways are we not prepared? We have food, shelter and one another. We know our Creators and keep peace with the living things that surround us. The child will be with us soon and the miracle of completeness will be with us.”
Laoch’s response came slowly as he sought for a reasonable answer to the unanswerable question. When he could think of nothing more definitive he offered, “Consider it a task to keep yourself busy through this time of waiting for the child to arrive. I know no physical danger to you or your companion, other than those natural things of this world; but it cannot do harm to be prepared for anything that may come to pass.” Knowing he was out of ways in which to reassure Fireann, he added, “And it is better than sitting upon a bed of thorns and wishing for a bit of grass, is it not?”
The questioning male grinned sideways at his new friend, for he understood his meaning. Of course anything was better than the long days of waiting without knowing when the moment would arrive for M’na to welcome their child, he thought. And these new friends were certainly a helpful distraction.
“Then let us begin, my friend,” urged Fireann. “I am willing to accept what you have to share.” A rustling behind them drew the attention of both males to the shady entrance of the Garden home. Hearing voices carry across the woods, M’na had come out to see what her companion was doing, and with whom. She was slightly taken aback at the sight of this strange, new male in her home; but as soon as he smiled his toothy grin and lowered his with deference in her direction, she was relieved of any worry. Before she could return the smile and the gesture of their guest, the life within her leapt and kicked as though in response to the stranger in their midst. M’na took this to be a good sign and a blessing from Spirit, and so welcomed Laoch eagerly into her home-and her heart.
Laoch showed Fireann how to set traps near the edges of their garden, small nearly invisible markers that only he would know about, so that entrance by anyone or anything unwelcome would be quickly discovered. Fireann, innocent and forthright, could not imagine anything on their world that would not be welcome in The Garden; but once again he deferred to the wisdom of the Creators. Together they made tools for hunting, even though Fireann assured his new friend that they did not eat the creatures of their woods, nor did they need their skins to cover their bodies. He inquired why Laoch wore any covering at all and was in awe when this new friend described the arid days and chilly nights in the land where he made his own home. “You must come to see me there after the miracle has come to Dohman,” implored the gentle but rugged male. Fireann promised he would come; and he sincerely wished to see this place, so different from his own land.