19 Mar 2011
Walking the Land: Airport Mesa with Marchiene Reinstra, Part 2
by Marchiene Reinstra
Copyright 2011 Marchiene Reinstra
Marchiene standing with one of the old Grandmother Junipers on the Airport Mesa trail. She is probably close to a thousand years old. And trees that are old are great teachers if we take time to work with them, talk with them and listen
It was a crisp sunny beautiful spring morning, and more than that, it was International Women’s Day, March 8, as Eileen and I started the next episode of our adventure of honoring the land and its spirits, and freeing up the great energies of the great Water Snake of Native American lore in this area.
We began with breakfast at the Coffee Pot, famous for its 101 omelets, and discussed the significance of the day and the place we were going, which was the Airport Mesa, a famous vortex center in Sedona. On our topographical maps, the mesa looks like a huge turtle, and it is right smack in the middle of the greater Sedona area. On our last hike there last season, we had named it “Turtle Mesa” as being more fitting both because of its shape and because of the great respect for Grandmother Turtle in Native American tradition, to the point of calling this whole continent “Turtle Island.”
From the trail we were climbing, we could see Mingus Mountain and the round sipapu where our trek had started. The winding energy of Bololokan, the Rainbow water snake, began there. There is satisfaction in following her trail from one sacred area to another to unplug it, open it up and get it back on line and working properly. That way, we will receive the rain we need. Otherwise, if these sacred points in the landscape of the Verde Valley were continued to be shut down due to lack of human inter-action and ceremony, drought is the result. And we’ve been in drought for 20 years in our valley. That says it all.
When we finished breakfast, we drove up the steep winding road to the trail head of the narrow trail we would be taking around the mesa—not for the faint-hearted and out of the question for anyone with a fear of heights! As we parked, we both felt an inner urge to start at the end of the trail that began below the road (the opposite of the usual way to hike the trail). It was the hardest and steepest section of the trail, and it wound counter-clockwise, which is the direction of the movement of feminine energy.
As we began walking the steep and rocky trail, we agreed it was entirely fitting that we would be doing it this way. This was confirmed by an unusual chorus of birdsong that greeted us all along the early part of the hike, and the cawing of a raven flying overhead nearby—always a sign of welcome, indicating we were doing the right thing. Another sign turned out to be a white butterfly with orange wingtips, which flitted along the path ahead of us.
Here is Selene, which means “the moon.” She met us on the trail two times. The young woman who owns her told us her name and that she’s a female Black Lab. Here, Marchiene is petting a very happy Selene. Black is also the color of Mom Earth’s womb: the creative darkness. All good signs for us and for our intent for the day to help the area.
Then a young woman came along walking a black lab. It was a lovely dog, a female, whose name was Serena! (meaning moon) More signs of feminine energy. Further along the trail, we encountered the woman and her black dog again. Double check. Today was a day to especially honor ancient feminine energy, symbolized by Grandmother Turtle, the mesa we were on, International Women’s Day, walking counter-clockwise—“it all adds up,” we said to each other with a grin.
After we had gone along for some time, pausing by huge guardian grandmother cedar trees to offer cornmeal and seeds, gratitude, and ask permission to continue on to do our sacred work, we came to an open area with grand vistas to the south, west, and north. Someone had built some remarkable pillars of stone, which carried strong prayer-energy, at this point on the trail. After pausing to honor them and appreciate the gorgeous landscape spread below us, we continued onward and upward. As we got higher, we both noticed how the red rock formations below us were in the shape of two huge dragons in the landscape, one facing south and the other northeast. It was truly remarkable, since the dragon is another form of the Water Serpent, named Bololokan by the local tribes. We also noticed from where we stood that we were lined up with very important formations in the landscape: Cathedral Rock to the south; to the west, Mingus Mountain and the sipapu where we had begun our ceremonial journey many weeks ago; and in the same general area, El Shaddai, the big breast shaped mountain that is a vent of the extinct volcano called House Mountain, which reigns over the whole area. We were also lined up with Thunder Mountain, which dominates West Sedona. The centrality of Turtle Mesa was so clear from high on our trail. It became even more evident as we rounded a large curve in the trail and found ourself at the far south end of the mesa. From here we could now see more important formations of the area: Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, Elephant Rock, and the Twin Buttes near the Chapel of the Holy Cross—all south and east of us.
Here Marchiene is on the northern side of the trail after leaving Grandmother Cedar tree. It’s a good three-hour hike around the edge of the Grandmother Turtle’s shell.
After pausing awhile to take it all in with wonder and gratitude, we reverently approached a huge grandmother cedar which stood at the end of the mesa. Eileen prepared to do her journey. She began again with a sageing ceremony, and after cleansing ourselves and the area, we sat and watched the thick sage smoke for awhile. I noticed that the wind was blowing it in all four directions, although it returned most often to the north/northeast.
Watching the smoke put me in an altered state, and when Eileen began drumming I immediately saw Bololokan emerge from the sipapu below Mingus Mountain, circle it three times, and then soar over Sycamore Canyon. There, she circled low three times over the headwaters where we had been, then flew swiftly to Vultee Arch, and circled it three times. Next, she flew directly to Rainbow Bridge. There, she circles seven times, and on the seventh time, her color turned from a dull green to all the colors of the rainbow, and she began to glow brightly. Finally, Bololokan flew to Turtle Mesa and circled overhead three times, after which, surrounded by a cloud of sage-smoke, she flew north towards the Grandmothers, (aka the San Francisco Peaks)
up near Flagstaff. There, she hovered over the peaks, fanning her huge wings as she faced south towards us. I could see rivers of energy like streaks of white cloud fanning out from her wings over the whole area, covering the sky with beautiful flowing patterns.
At this point, much to my surprise, Grandmother Komwida suddenly emerged from Grandmother Cedar, which I was facing as I sat on the ground against a big rock. She looked down at me and smiled, saying, “You and Eileen used to be my little grand-children, climbing this tree as high as you could, and gazing out over the landscape with delight, just as you have done today.”
Then she lifted the abalone shell with it’s smoking sage and held it high up in her hands as she had done at Vultee Arch, lifting her face to the sky as she did so. I could see that she and Bololokan were now gazing at each other. A great wind blew the smoking sage in all four directions again, and the smoke turned into more streamers of white cloud filling the sky, mingling with the energy of Bololokan’s huge flapping wings. I heard her say in a loud voice, ” The energy is growing and flowing clearer and stronger now. Well done, grand-daughters. You are on the right trail!”
Her voice faded, and her huge form became a shower of sparks in all the colors of the rainbow, falling on us as if in blessing.
Here are the rock piles beside the trail. We always enjoy seeing them.
I noticed there was a deep silence now. Eileen had stopped drumming and was writing in her journal. I took mine out and began to write and draw as well. When we were ready, we shared what we had experienced. Eileen’s blog will tell you her story. We found again that we had experienced some things differently, but much that was similar, and a couple things exactly the same.
With smiles of satisfaction and gratitude, we shared our lunch as we sat under the great tree, then packed up and hiked the second half of the trail around the side facing east and then north. Once again, we were led by the white butterfly with orange wing-tips, and we knew we had accomplished our purpose. At the end of the trail, we got in the car and headed for home, looking forward already to our next stop: El Shaddai.