About a year ago, I learned about shamanic journeys and began practicing. To be honest, it completely changed my entire spiritual life and made so many things suddenly make perfect sense. You don't have to be a shaman to journey – you only need to be able to dream since journeys take place in the dream state (and I've never met anyone who doesn't dream).
In the years that I practiced regular meditation, I never did meet a spirit guide. I would see hawks on occasion (and of course, hawk is one of my guides, likely a lifelong totem for me) but that was about it. I had read and heard stories about people meeting their spirit guides, but it hadn't happened for me. I wasn't sure it ever would and it wasn't something I was trying particularly hard to do.
Until I began shamanic journeying. BAM. There they were!
I'm still not sure why they came to me in this way, but am so glad that we have connected as it has deeply enriched my spiritual education.
After a few months of journeying to the lower world on a regular basis, I suddenly began seeing a native man with a big headdress sitting on a paint horse. He was always standing off to the side and didn't seem especially interested in interacting with me. The first time I saw him, he didn't even look at me and when I asked about him I was told he probably wouldn't.
Months passed, I continued to journey and he continued to be standoffish. Until one day, when he decided to let me pet the horse.
This was around the same time that I tore both tendons in my feet. It happened on a hike, but it was bound to happen eventually. I had suffered with arch pain for the better part of a decade and the few times I had seen a doctor about it, it was kind of blown off with a recommendation to wear better shoes. I have just lived with the pain for years as no shoe seemed to improve the situation. After tearing the tendons I learned that I had been dealing with tendonitis for years (due to my flat arches) and one particular hike was the straw that broke the camel's back. Or the tendons in both feet at the same time as it turns out! So, I was spending a lot of time both physically and energetically healing my feet last summer.
That's when “the chief” as I was calling him finally spoke to me and told me his name: Red Eagle. Did I hear him right? I repeated back to him: Red Eagle? And he confirmed that was correct.
Hmmm….interesting. I love birds and know them pretty well but a red eagle wasn't something I was familiar with. I sat on it for a few days, thinking that there must be a deeper meaning and finally just googled “red eagle” expecting to find a kind of bird. Instead, as google predicted my search and I typed “red eagle” it added Montana to the end. What?! Montana?? What was that about?
I clicked on the search and lo and behold, there is a mountain, a lake, a pass and more in Glacier National Park named for a Blackfeet medicine man named Red Eagle from the late 1800's. Could that be true? Could it be THAT Red Eagle who is visiting with me in my journeys?! He never told me for sure, and there are a few famous (and I'm sure plenty of not so famous) Red Eagles in history, but considering that I live near and work with Glacier National Park on a daily basis, it seems plausible that it is THIS Red Eagle who is helping me.
I know I've said this before but seriously….these things blow me away when they happen. It's easy to question what you see in your minds eye: Am I making this up? Could this actually be real? And then you put pieces like this together and say WHOA!
Anyhow, as the summer continued, it became clear that Red Eagle was helping with my healing work. He didn't ever have much to say, but much to do. Initially, he was taking me to the river, which took me awhile to realize was the river near the vortex in the town I currently live in.
I thought it was a little strange that someone from the Blackfeet tribe would escort me to this spot on the west side of the continental divide as their ancestral home is on the east side. However, tribes on both sides of the divide regularly traveled back and forth, depending on the time of the year.
On a (real life) visit to the vortex, I learned that it is believed that the Blackfeet were the first to realize the vortex was there and regularly visited it. So that WOULD make sense that Red Eagle was taking me there. But why? Each time I have visited the vortex, I have had a strong physical reaction. My feet THROB the entire time I'm there. I have since decided that my feet are struggling to process all of the energy there. I have to practice expanding my energy field around my feet to allow energy in and to ground it back into the earth rather than trying to hold it all in my body.
As the journeys continued over the summer, Red Eagle began putting me on the back of the horse with him and taking me to the river and to waterfalls and submerging me in healing waters. I think this was part of the necessary energetic healing for my feet.
By the end of the summer my feet were, for the most part healed. It will take months to fully rehab them, but the worst seems to be behind me. Although I continued to call him “The Chief” since that's what I had been calling him since before I knew his name, he very clearly corrected me in my last healing season for my feet and said “Medicine Man”.
Oh yes, my apologies, medicine man.
As this cycle has been completed, I have seen Red Eagle less and less and a new guide has begun to appear. I was worried that I was just focusing on the new guide and somehow missing messages from Red Eagle. But in a recent journey, there he was, right alongside my new guide as well as mountain lion (who, incidentally told me, Stop Running). I acknowledged the medicine man and asked where he had been. He said his work with me is complete. We were on a healing journey together and it is now done.
I thanked him and expressed my gratitude for his work with me and told him I was sorry that I wouldn't see him any more but somehow I knew this part of our journey had already ended.