I wanted to be an ecologist. I was ready to set out, equipped with binoculars and maps, on scientific expeditions in aid of the Earth and her ecosystems. So in my early twenties I went to study marine conservation at College of the Atlantic in Maine, but as we sailed off the shores of that magical Mount Desert Island in the school’s research boat, I realised I was more interested in listening to the songs of the whales than recording the salinity of the water. So I jumped overboard and started swimming. I did not know which way the shore was and the sea was rough. I was scared. But armed with the courage to observe Me, I dived inwards, inside my own waters.
In the depths, I asked about the new direction I was taking. I wanted to get a new job description, to know where I was heading, but the only thing I was given was a clue; a blessed recognition of my hands.
'They are your tool, your path, your treasure', I was shown. 'Use them.'
Well I didn’t know how to use them so I went looking for Rick the mechanic. Summoning up my courage sails, I drove to the other side of the Island, to his workshop. ‘Pablo told me you might be able to teach me to weld’, I said, sweating my embarrassment in the snow chilled wind as his fishermen buddies looked me up and down.
‘I’m no good with my hands’ I confessed and we became good friends.
He taught me to weld, melting steel with electric lightning flowing down the rods in my hand.
Later that year my hands took me into the metal sculpture studio at the school of visual art in New York. They made a small figurine that had an uncanny resemblance to the Venus of Willendorf, I was told, though at the time I had not heard of her or about that primordial force called the Divine Feminine. In those days of blind research, my hands parted the trembling veil for me to have a peek into the invisible realms.
Curious about these invisible realms, I found teachers who taught me how to sense into them. Feeling the energy between my hands, scanning a person's energy body and tapping into the energy of a place. Intrigued by the fact that invisible structures were so palpable to me, I let my hands become my ears, my eyes and my mouth. Years later, apprenticing within a European shamanic tradition that works with the wisdom of bees, I also learned how to invite fire into my belly, thawing parts of me which had been frozen for lifetimes. I was waking up from a lifelong slumber. My body becoming a finely tuned tool through which I could summon lightning to melt steel hard pain, blocks and distortions in people's memory bodies and in invisible structures of the land.
“It's time to get the maps and binolculars and all the other tools you have gathered and be the ecologist you wanted to be.”
I knew which tools those were. Tools of perception into the earth's multidimensional layers, the tools of the Shaman who weaves anew the bonds between people and their environment. Remembering what its like to communicate with nature and to tune in to the consciousness of the living Landscape.