18 Apr 2011
Walking the Land: House Mountain by Marchiene Reinstra 4.12.2011
Copyright Marchiene Reinstra 2011
All Rights Reserved
Here is a closeup of House Mountain, the extinct volcano in the Verde Valley of Arizona. Note the block-like “house” and you know why it was called House Mountain. If you look in the foreground you can see the columnar basal that stand vertically through a large section of Echo Canyon, which is a part of the slope of the volcano.
Early on Tuesday morning, April 12, I got up to write a card to go with a gift I had for Eileen which I wanted to give her when we met today. I was led to pick a beautiful card with a striking picture of a bear on it, and as I wrote the card, I found myself writing the words “GrandMother Medicine Bear” as if this was Eileen’s name now. I was quite surprised at this unexpected turn of events, and asked my grandmother guides for three signs to confirm if this was in fact what I had received….Eileen’s new name. I always do this when I want to be very sure that what is happening is coming from Spirit. I wanted my guides and Eileen’s to give me confirmation, because a new name is an important thing. My first Native American name was given to me by Eileen in a special initiation ceremony, and then this spring at the headwaters in Sycamore Canyon, when we did ceremony there, I was given my new name of Grandmother White Dove.
As I set out on my sunrise walk, I walked by a tree and looking up, saw a beautiful gray-white dove on it’s top branch, and it was cooing loud and clear as I walked by. Of course, I paused and looked up, and listened, and received a clear inner message that this was a blessing and the first sign of the three I asked for. I thanked the dove, and walked on. As I crossed Dry Creek, I paused to listen for inner direction of where to go today, and was clearly led to go up on to El Shaddai (see last week’s blog) to a special clearing on the north side of the mountain where I had created a small medicine wheel about two weeks ago.
As I got up and walked at sunrise, in the distance in the first light is Bear Mountain. It is made of white dolomite limestone.
I proceeded along the cedar-lined path Eileen and I had taken on our last walking the land adventure, pausing to offer cornmeal and seeds to the guardian trees along the way. The climb to the clearing on El Shaddai is steep, and takes about forty minutes walking at a good pace. By the time I neared my goal, the sun was rising above the distant rock formations, and I took out my flute and played the Zuni sunrise song, as I often do, in honor of the spirits of the place and the Great Spirit who brings us light every single day. Then I gathered a spring of sage from the bountiful sage bushes around me (sage signifies a sacred area) and from one of the many cedar trees on the mountainside. (with permission, of course)
When I reached the medicine wheel, the sun was up and flooding the landscape. I placed my offering in the center of the wheel and as I straightened up, I saw two beautiful male antelope with antlers running across the the slope just beyond me and heading towards Bear Mountain, which dominates the landscape in my area to the north. It is made up of lots of white limestone and it was glowing beautifully in the early morning sun. I watched the antelope lope along with awe. Once, they paused and seemed to be looking in my direction, then began running more swiftly towards Bear Mountain, as if drawing my attention to it. Well! That seemed to be another clear sign.
Here is a close up of the white dolomite limestone Bear Mountain.
I stood gazing at Bear Mountain then, and as I did, I had a vision of a huge spirit bear appeared from out of the mountain, almost as big as the mountain itself, and stood upright, looking right at me. “What is this about?” I wondered as I stood looking at it with amazement. The spirit bear seemed to read my mind, for the words that came to me were ” I am Eileen’s bear spirit guide, and have been with her for a very long time, and taught her much of what she has passed on to you and many others. I love her very much, and this is a special day for her.” At that moment, I saw Eileen herself walking up a steep path towards Bear Mountain. She was wearing a hat, and carrying her back pack and drum, as always when we go out together. The spirit bear opened it’s arms and she walked right into the bear, who gave her a big bear hug, and then she melded into the bear and they became one.
The vision faded, and I stood there on El Shaddai, in the medicine wheel, and looking first south and then north, noticed that House Mountain, where Eileen lives, and Bear mountain, were in direct alignment. If I could have reached my arms that far, I could have just stood there and touched them both without moving! Clearly, I now had my three signs, in spades! I took out my flute and played songs of joy and celebration in the four directions, offered cornmeal and seeds in the seven directions, thanked the spirit bear and all the spirits of this sacred place, and my grandmother spirit guides. Then I set off for home. As I began the descent down El Shaddai, I looked back and again, a vision came, this time of the grandmothers dancing and singing in celebration around the medicine wheel!
By the time I got home, I had time for a quick breakfast and a cup of coffee, and then headed off to meet Eileen at her place at the base of House Mountain, where we planned to do ceremony as part of our work freeing up the energies of the land in partnership with Bololokon.
Marchiene is playing her double flute for the spirits of Oak Creek, Echo Canyon and honoring House Mountain.
It was a mild, sunny, absolutely gorgeous spring morning and Eileen was waiting for me. “Before we start, I have a gift for you,” I said, and she nodded and led me to her round table on the deck overlooking Oak Creek, where we planned to do our ceremony. I gave her my gift, and the card to go with it. She read it and looked at me and smiled. “I have a story to tell you,” I said, and proceeded to tell her what had happened earlier that morning. Immediately, Eileen sensed this was the work of her spirit bear, who had chosen to give her a new name through me. “We get our names in different ways,” she said, “and the names and way we get them are just right for the stage in life and spiritual evolution we are at.” Then she described how each of the three signs was of special significance to her—something I could not have known, and were a confirmation of her being gifted with her new name on this beautiful day in her own sacred space as Grandmother Medicine Bear.
After gathering sage and other things we needed for the ceremony, we proceeded down to the side of the Creek facing House Mountain.
Eileen lit the sage, and it smoked very gently as a light breeze sprang up and moved the smoke in the four directions. The sage was set out on an ancient Native American grinding stone—just perfect for linking us with the ancestors as well as the spirits of this place. We next offered cornmeal and blessings and asked the blessing of the seven directions, using our new names out loud as we did so. I then stood at the edge of the Creek and played my special double flute, which I felt was the right one to use on this very special day and occasion. I felt a special joy in the music that was given to me to play.
Here is a close up of Marchiene playing her double flute. Note her hair ornament is wrapped in rainbow colored yarn to honor our work with Bololokan, the Rainbow Water Snake.
Next, we seated ourselves on comfortable stones, got out our notebooks and colored pencils to use to record our journeys, and Eileen began drumming. I went into an altered state, and saw white doves spiraling up from us. (Eileen’s mother Ruth used to raise white racing doves, and they welcomed me to this place the first time I ever came ten years ago.) These doves continued to spiral upwards into the sky, and then shape-shifted into Bololokon’s rainbow serpent shape, which in turn spiraled upwards in a much bigger spiral until it reached the zenith of the sky, and then began moving faster and faster until it became a huge spinning rainbow wheel high above us and encompassing the whole area. At this point, Grandmother Komwida emerged from the side of House Mountain across from us. She was huge, as always, and as she often did, she lifted up her abalone shell with the sage smoking in it up towards the sky. The smoke turned into rainbow colors and became part of the huge spinning rainbow wheel.
Here is Marchiene finishing her drawing and journaling after the journey on the banks of Oak Creek.
Then she invited Eileen and I to come to her in our spirit bodies and sit on her lap. (She was sitting at this point) We did this, and she picked us up and cradled each of us in one of her arms. “Look!” she said, and we saw a huge Dome of rainbow light over the whole area, with the rainbow wheel spinning at the top of the dome, which covered the whole area from the San Francisco peaks to south of Cottonwood. “I am showing you this to celebrate what you have done, are doing, and will do,” she said with a smile. “Keep watching.” We saw the wheel above turn back into Bololokon’s rainbow serpent form, which then snaked towards Bell Rock, and circled it with rainbow energy. Rainbow light began to spurt like a fountain out of the top of Bell Rock, House Mountain, and El Shaddai. We gazed with awe and delight. Then she kissed each of us on the forehead, and gently lifted us off her lap and set us down back on the bank of Oak Creek.
At that precise moment, she faded away and Eileen’s drumming stopped. We sat and shared our experiences and then drew them in our notebooks.
Here is Marchiene playing her flute. The spirits of any place on Earth especially love flute and drum music.
Afterwards, we went out to lunch to celebrate some more, and thus ended another amazing adventure in this season of walking and honoring the land and the spirits who dwell here.