As I write to you, it is now the beginning of August. I have just completed a 6-week hiatus in Canada, and I am now back in Costa Rica. When I started writing this entry I was sitting in my one-man tent listening to the light rain, the date was June 29th and it was 3am. At that point I had already completed nine days of being on the land at Boréal Wasteskun in Quebec, the last 7 of which I was alone. My reason for being there early had much more meaning than preparing the lands for this year’s upcoming Vision Quest. I was preparing myself for my Vision Quest as well.
I can tell you my workload was pretty big. There is a fantastic amount of preparation needed in order to be ready in supporting others. Due to the timing of other events it meant that I was on my own to do them. Since Isabelle Iris (my car), was written off in December I had no way of driving into town to get off property, this added to the remoteness. I remember being in my tent thinking, “This is great” and “Just what I’ve been looking for.”
In my tent my body could now find comfort in sleeping on Mother Earth. What once felt like hard ground had morphed into firm embrace. Free of niceties such as a sleeping pad I felt fully grounded and connected with her. Even after receiving hundreds of mosquito bites my body now barely reacted to even getting one. The Black flies and Deer flies were a little more noticeable, yet still good. Even the five tick bites I received weren’t a concern.
While it may have been my intention to be alone, the outside world, the one beyond these lands, still called. A mobile phone can be a lifeline in case of problems yet it also means the world can check up with you too. I remember listening to Sir Edmund Hillary tell a story about how his son Peter phoned him from the top of Everest. His point was the technology was very different from when he first summited the peak. My point is we never have to be alone, even when we want it.
By the time people began arriving on the 2nd of July, nine quester sites had been cleared, raked and prepared. Kilometers of trails had been raked, weed whacked, stones moved and then the trails raked again. I moved and stacked 3 cords of firewood, cut kindling, cut grass and the list goes on. Why do all this work before my own vision quest? It’s a good question. So I would be as physically, emotionally and spirituality ready as possible for my time alone in the forest. I wanted to clear my life and leave the outside world, outside.
After many years of fire keeping, I would be fasting for the fire, deepening and broadening my relationship with Mother’s sacred flame. The daily chores were more about a working meditation than a to do list. I wanted those 4 days of my life, on my site, without food or water to be as moving as possible. As my teacher of the fire Stéphane reminded me, this is my time to decide the kind of Fire Keeper I want to be. In a metaphysical world, it is a very big ask.
So each quester site I treated like one of my chakras, prepping for someone else, yes, but choosing to clear my own chakras. The couple of kilometers of trails represented the pathways within me. The land’s sacred hearth where the fire would burn for the next four days was my sacred flame, my connection to the fire as well. And of course the list goes on.
While sitting in my tent I knew I probably wouldn’t write about what I experienced in my fast, it would be, naturally, between Mother Earth and I. I just knew I was ready. All preparations were being made, my paths were clearing and I was feeling very grounded.
It was interesting to me that as much as I tried, I know no man is an island. I knew in my fast, as I sat in my sacred place, my totems, the elementals, the little ones, my spirit guides, the ancestors, Grandmother Dianne and Stéphane, the fire keepers and all those in camp holding space for the vision questers would be supporting me. In fact, as I sat in my circle made of prayer ties, I was counting on it. This is why I wanted to be ready. To honour all that support.
I will share something that occurred to me on one of my days in my fast. As I was clearing the trails I was aware that I had cleared them last year and the year before. The distracted part of me, that one that finds significance in accolades and paying for things, may have felt that with rake and saw I was creating a path through the wilderness. What I came to appreciate was the forest was smiling at me for what I felt was important. It watched how carefully or carelessly I performed my great act. The forest knew that in the months to come it would once again reclaim the space, and in time, if untouched, only the most sensitive would ever know of my efforts. That they too would notice how carefully or carelessly I attended to my duties.
Even if an island thinks it’s alone, it leaves ripples.