A few days into the new year, I asked my guides their thoughts on me doing a tarot card spread of the upcoming year. I was told no. That took me by surprise. Some years I get told to study or to focus on different card layouts or even different divination systems. This year, I was told that looking into the future in any form or method I could use (beyond the glimpses of vision that I rarely receive) that was focused on the topic of my own future was forbidden and it extends to a few other individuals as well. It’s simply forbidden. Kinda weird how they reacted. I felt it like a shout in my head, “No!” In asking why “we don’t want you fucking up anything.” Yes, they said ‘fucking.’ Dirty-mouthed spirit guides, they be! It bugs me. That was more energy directed at me to make sure I understood how strongly they felt about this than in all the long years they have been with me, guiding me in my personal practice.
Over the years, I’ve become tight-mouthed about how I practice. I have no desire to fight over UPG vs. tradition or even if what I practice belongs to Witchcraft or Wicca or any other magical tradition. I’ve been a solitary practitioner from the start. But I miss discussions of the things of Woo. A few years back I started walking away from UU-Pagan community and I’ve never found a good group since then. Now, I’m alone in the desert with a land who choose to watch and test me, who is still testing me even now. And they found out I can hear them in my dreams. The Land Spirits here, if I can call them that, are old and hold on to the old traditions. I feel like an interloper here, deaf, blind and dumb, stumbling around like an idiot because I’m a foreigner. They do recognize me and the tendrils of my roots that stretch across the forests of the East coast. I left my power base in moving.
I under-appreciated what I had. I see now how strongly I was tied to the land, so deeply have my roots grown. Here I am a surface creature, whose roots seek to burrow into the earth, though I am no desert creature. I am one of those who is of water, who needs the companionship of the trees. Yet, I am a Daughter of Gaia so my roots tap down in the deep beneath. The Land Spirits here guard what is their own fiercely.
Last Thanksgiving I had a face to face encounters with those of this land. We camped out instead of staying in and making the whole production of a Thanksgiving Dinner. My husband took us to the Windy Hill Campground up in the Tonto National Forest. The whole ride up was surreal. My vision kept overlapping with photos from books I had read as a kid that showed different pictures of the area. I had made it to one of the places in my books! I had never expected to travel in my life. I assumed that I would live and die in Virginia without ever leaving home. There is a giddy feeling of recognizing a place without having arrived before then. It is a beautiful land out there. Desolate and windswept and sculpted by time and water. Windy Hill Campground contains so many strange sensations. The Land Spirits are watchful even there. My first night there I dreamed and faced them. I faced their anger and puzzlement as to the why I was there and on that weekend. I’ve heard their warning and their challenge. In letting the cat of the bag, I knew what the land contained, felt the surface of it near me and knew there was a second place that I knew without having arrived.
The next morning, my husband took us up to the Cliff Dwellings, unplanned, just to see what we could see. It is a choice of a two-mile walk up or the five-mile walk up the mountain to see the dwellings. And I, in my dreams, had walked about the hearths the night before. As my heart was racing from the altitude and my fitness is poor, I choose to look up as I winced of how I got this close. 2 miles, so close yet so far away. Next year, I am walking up that mountain on a pilgrimage into the pictures of a book I’d dreamed with as a child. Next year, I will succeed. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be welcomed home.