Ted said if I wanted I could head out in the wilderness a few days before my birthday and stay out until it felt like time to return.
He called it a “Power Walk.” From the way he talked about it, I got the impression it was an initiation, a vision quest or something.
I asked him if Deon went on a Power Walk when he stayed with him.
He said, yeah. Deon was a few years older than I am, but he had a lot of growing up to do and some discoveries to make, so even though he was a little old for it, he went on one.
“Do I have a lot of growing up to do?” I asked.
“Starshine,” replied Ted, “you are all together. You are exactly as you should be. If you want to take yourself out into the wilderness to greet the sun when it swings back around for its sixteenth return, then you do it! And if you want to keep hanging out here with old me, you do that, too. It’s up to you.”
The idea of being in the wilderness on my birthday really appealed to me.
I went to the back country, where there are no trails.
I guess part of the power of the Power Walk comes from being alone in nature–no supplies, nothing. Just one’s self and the whole of nature.
For me, that’s no challenge. I’ve done that. That whole year I lived in the desert had lots of spells of solitude in the wilderness.
I learned how to live off the land during that year in the desert. Finding food in the mountains, while still a challenge, was a lot easier. And up here, there’s water.
It felt neat to be alone up here. And it felt normal.
Somehow, I didn’t think that this was supposed to be a normal experience. If it’s a rite of passage, an initiation, a travel from one way of being to another, then it seems like it would involve some unusual experiences.
I mean, aren’t you supposed to see visions on a vision quest?
After a while, I stopped thinking about what it was supposed to be like. I realized I’d failed at the vision quest, that I couldn’t do the Power Walk, so I gave up trying to make anything weird out of it. I simply enjoyed it.
So, I’m not cut out to be a shaman or a mystical warrior or a bruja. I’m just a normal person, living in the normal world, not the world of magic. I felt OK with that.
After I gave up trying, my mind became still.
I had days and days without thoughts. My feelings guided me and connected me to the world around me.
When my period came, my cramps were bad, and I walked through the edge of the forest. Some of the plants stood out, as if they were lit up inside. I harvested a few leaves of the lit up ones. With one plant, I felt to harvest the roots.
When I went back to my camp, I made tea out of the plants, and as I drank it, my cramps faded.
I lay down in the clearing and watched a meteor shower. I think this might have been my birthday.
I woke up and saw this funny little man–he was my dragon, really. He was bent at the hips, with his torso leaning forward. He looked at me and said, “Walk this way.”
He walked off, lifting his knees to his chest, keeping his arms bent.
I closed my eyes. When I opened them, he was gone. I shrugged it off. It was a dream. Nonetheless, I got up and tried the walk he showed me.
I felt really powerful.
I stayed out there until the full moon. Then I felt that it was time to return.
I knew I’d have to tell Ted that I’d failed the initiation. I didn’t have all sorts of visions. I didn’t meet my spirit guide. I was destined to be a normal person. But somehow, I didn’t care. I felt really strong. If I can be strong and normal, then that’s OK by me. It’s only if I’d have to be weak and normal that I’d object. So I failed my initiation. I didn’t get transformed. I won’t be a bruja. That’s OK. I feel good, and that’s what counts.