FROM SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA
Another "Divine Hike" to My McDowell Mtn Apucheto (Altar)
Also, three kullas returned by fire after Hawaiian Despacho ceremony... and other December Arizona stories
SCOTTSDALE, Dec 13 - Well, there just doesn't seem to be an end to various "miracles" that have been happening since I returned from Hawaii last Sunday. The latest episode took place during my McDowell Mtn hike this afternoon. It even included a "UFO," not just a protective clear sky cylinder over me, just like the one back in August (see "Wet Dreams" & "Divine Hike", User ID, password required - Aug 2008) that took me safely down the mountain in the middle of a monsoon.
Hard to believe? Of course, it is. Which is why I took pictures, even a short video clip. Check them out...
The day started pretty benignly. Sort of. For, when I cleaned out my fire pit this morning where I burned my Hawaiian Despacho the other night, I found the New York kulla (shaman's mesa stone) inside the despacho ashes. Brushing off the ashes and discovering a practically intact kulla inside felt like unwrapping a Christmas present and finding a wonderful surprise.
It was the third kulla that the spirits have returned to me (the first two were the two white ones shown in middle shot). So I have now returned the New York kulla to is place in the "water/female" quadrant of my mesa (right).
I also took some close-ups this morning of the two extraordinary kullas I was gifted by the Big Island (middle) and Maui (right) after performing shamanic ceremonies on the beaches of Waikoloa (Big Island) and Wailea (Maui).
The Waikoloa kulla (left) has been polished by Mama Kocha into an "oceanic burger." But this "burger" is made of Basalt (black) with Peridot (green) grain inserts. What's especially interesting for me is that the only other place where I have seen Peridot in Basalt was at the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, some 115 miles east of Phoenix (as offered on eBay). It would appear, therefore, that this Big Island kulla was another sign of my Arizona-Hawaii connection (or ceke lines).
As for the "Maui Heart" which this beautiful island gifted to me after my ceremony on Wailea beach, also in Basalt, well... "picture's worth a thousand words," as they say. It has the two volcanoes and a fertile valley in between, just like Maui.
My Peruvian real estate agent on Maui (another sign!) told me that when she moved to the island in the 1990s, she was told that, "Maui will other embrace you or will spit you out." I cannot think of a more beautiful invitation to come and live on Maui than receiving the island's heart that I can hold in the palm of my hand. It made me feel warm all over just thinking about it.
Another "divine hike" to my "apucheto"
By about 3PM, I realized the day was getting away on me again. So I jumped in the car and drove to the Club in the foothills of McDowell Mtns to do a hike while there was still some daylight left. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, with temperatures hovering around 70F.
I set my sights on that first peak in the left frame. It seems higher than the 4,000-ft McDowell Peak to the left of it. But that's an optical illusion. The first peak looks taller because it is much closer to the camera. It is a little over 2,500 ft. That's where I had built a small "apucheto" (shaman's altar, see "Shamanic Ceremony," Big Island, Nov 2008) when I was there a few weeks ago, just before my trip to Hawaii (see "Hiking McDowells Again...," Nov 2008). I seemed to be the only one going UP the mountain at that late hour of the afternoon. Everybody I had med on the trail was going down. I asked one of the hikers to take a picture of me close to the start of the trail (right). As you can see, it was a perfectly clear, sunny day.
Well, that did not last long. Just like back in August during my first "divine hike," ominous clouds started to gather around as I was going up the mountain. The above shots were taken a little more than half way to the Gateway Saddle, a pass just below my "apucheto" peak (right). And this time, just like the last time, I knew I'd be okay; that I'd be protected by an invisible clear sky cylinder amid stormy weather.
Instinctively, I looked up. Sure enough, there was blue sky above me (left). Not so in the west, from where the storm seemed to be heading (middle left). Nor in the south and north (two middle shots). Only in the east (right) thing were still relatively calm, as the clouds had not quite reached there yet.
Undaunted and secure that nothing will happen at my "apucheto" peak, I proceeded to do a wonderful shamanic ceremony. It was truly heartfelt as I was overwhelmed with continued grace and support that the forces of the universe kept bestowing upon me, including these minor weather "miracles." Strong gusts of wind were hitting me throughout the prayers, which I knew from before meant that they were being heard. How else would you explain that winds that almost knock me off my feat, yet bring no clouds overhead. I watched the clouds pass to the left and right of me.
As I finished my prayers to the winds of the west, and turned to the north to do the same, I caught something in the western sky out of the corner of my eyes. Startled, I stopped in the middle of a prayer. It was black dot. But the dot was moving. And as it was moving, it was getting bigger. I started taking pictures.
I know what you're thinking. So was I. But it wasn't an airplane. This object was obviously air borne by wind. It moved slowly. And it wasn't of a fixed size. It seemed to shape-shift all the time, like a giant bat flapping its wings. But it couldn't have been a bird, either. This "UFO" was too large to be a bird. It flew just under the clouds, which I figure were at least at about 10,000 feet, since I was taking these shots from my 2,500-ft "apucheto" peak.
So what could it be? Beats me. If any of you have any ideas, please enlighten me. I am totally stumped.
NOTE (Dec 18, 2008): Two friends later told me that they had also seen UFOs - one in Bogota, Colombia, the other in Mexico. The latter experience has been recorded in videos. Click here to see them. Suggest you skip to about minute 7:00 out of 10:00. The introduction is long and boring.
I followed the "UFO" for a while, until it disappeared into the eastern horizon, and then continued with my ceremony. By the time I was finished, the clouds still looked pretty ominous in the west (left) and south (right), but you could also see the sun trying to break through to the north and the east (two left shots).
When I finished my ceremony, I was again hit by some strong gusts of wind. I decided to make a short video clip so you could experience some of that, too. The occasional scratchy noises are the gusts of wind. But the sounds of rattle and whistling are made by Jose Luis, the Inka shaman who led our expedition in Peru. I recorded them during a fire ceremony last summer in Oregon.
When I climbed down from my apucheto to the Gateway Saddle, I realized from the lengthening shadows on the Thompson Peak (left) that I would probably finish my hike in darkness. I figured it would take me at least an hour from there to come down the mountain. And it was already 4:45PM (sunset is around 5:20PM at this time of the year). But I didn't worry about that. My heart was singing with joy. My eyes were soaking in the beautiful scenery that Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) was laying on this afternoon. As I was the only one on the mountain at the time, I felt, perhaps conceitedly, that she was doing it for me.
I kept stopping to take pictures of the setting sun, just like I did some 12 days ago in Maui.
Perhaps you've also noticed that the skies have cleared to the south and the west now, too. I figured the Creator put on this little storm out of nowhere just to let me know he/she/it could see me on the mountain and wanted to say "hi." Except for that solitary orange colored fluffy cloud to the south (left). Having been told by Apu Ausangate in Peru to look for signs from them in the fourth dimension in the skies as well as rocks and in dreamtime, I have become accustomed by now to "reading" the clouds the way shamans read coca or tea leaves. And what I saw in that cloud was a puma (jaguar) galloping home toward the west. Home? Yes. According to Inka mythology, the otorongo (jaguar), one of the sacred animals, makes his home in the west. Which is why he is mentioned when praying to the "winds of the west."
But in my case, a call to the west means Hawaii, about which I had just finished praying at my apucheto peak. So "direction Hawaii - fast," seems to be this fluffy jaguar's message. Something that happened in the next two hours only confirmed it.
See what I mean about signs being everywhere for all to see? But how many people actually "see" such things as signs? Anyway, back to this world and the beautiful sunset, it was a feast for the eyes, as you can see.
It was at about that point that I realized what hiking in the dark could mean. The desert around here is full of coyotes. I hear them most nights. And they were probably about getting ready to go and get some supper. I shuddered at the thought of being on the menu. And then my logic consciousness took over. Would a Creator who protected me from a storm let that happen. "Nah, never," I answered my own question. Yet when I heard some coyotes howling in the area a few minutes later, I did quicken my step instinctively. "God helps those who help themselves," I recalled someone telling me. Then I slowed down. "He was probably just teasing me to test my faith," I though and smiled. "The big joker out there in the sky..." :-)
And that's all she wrote from this beautiful sunny and stormy and sunny again Saturday in the Valley of the Sun.
And now, in reverse chronological order...(CONTINUED in Dec 2008, Part 2)