Knowing that this operation is not dangerous, but there is always a slight possibility of complications with any surgery (only last month a dear neighbour died of a haemorrhage following a routine hip-replacement) I went on a journey.
That is to say I opened my senses to spirit as I walked through the village and accepted all the messages I received from each encounter.
Just out of my house, a low-flying military jet thundered over my head, making me smile – remember, shaman, you were a warrior once. Recall that ferocity you had in those times and be brave.
The stones of the houses in this village were once in the earth, they have stood since then for centuries – how long is your time here compared to that? Even if you die, these houses will still be standing, the stones with their memories of the time in the earth so long ago. However, the spirit of this village is the folk who live here. Generations have peopled this village for a thousand years or more and your presence here has been important but only a blink of an eye in the life of the community.
Turning the corner to go down to the river, I looked back to see the statue of Our Lady on the wooded hillside, placed as she is to look down on and protect us. Given that she is just another manifestation of The Great Mother, I know that even if I go and they lose their village witch, the Mother will still be watching over them.
I faced the steep forest where once I saw deer running up through the snow, the brown of their coats vivid against the white and realised that even if I weren’t there to see it, that would happen again. Snow would fall and deer would race up the hill.
Turning the bend I found that the river was overflowed with snow melt and impassable. Normally I cross the ford and walk on up to the fields where the herons and coypu live but my way was blocked. I stood and thanked the spirits – their message was “No, shaman, not this time, you will not pass over the water. Go in peace.” As I returned home, smiling to myself at the wonderful, uplifting gifts the spirits had given me this morning, the fifteenth century church bell tolled once as if to remind me that he is counting out the hours of all of us, not just me. So remind yourself again, shaman, that all life is finite and all is part of the cycle. The bare orchard of today will be full of blossom in the spring and heavy with apples next autumn. With or without me …