First, they ask me to close my eyes in the face of this nightmare, and now I must turn my back on it. It feels as if it is the single most terrifying moment of my life. I imagine the couple still inching forward and climbing upon my exposed back. The image starts to consume my mind, and I freeze. I doubt I can move. My shoulders sit tight against my ears as I wait for the cold sensation of death to lay its hand on my warm flesh.
“Stop!… Move!” Grandfather’s voice feels like a slap on the face.
I push the thought from my mind and force myself to move. Gradually, with my eyes still closed, I turn to the West.
“Love them, Linda. Love is the only power you have against fear.”
Love. I am supposed to go from stark terror to a place of love. I feel the ancestors must be mad for what they ask of us, at times. I wonder if they remember what it was like to be in a body overwhelmed by emotions. Most of us know we are the masters of our bodies, but it is a challenge to live this knowing. How am I to find the feeling of love at this moment?
“Think of your children. Think of your friends. Think, Linda, of those you love. It is a place to start.”
I do as he asks, and it works. Of course, it works. I think of my children and how much I love them. I think of the people in the circle, praying for me. The group is smaller than the vision quest camp, but I know how returning to it will feel. The welcome will be ticker-tape compared to the last time I quested. I’ve failed, and these people have stood beside me and loved me through all of it. These people love me and I them. I think of my abundant life, and I feel better.
Chancing a look over my shoulder, I notice the couple distant and fading. Still, the moment I see them, their light brightens, and they begin to move forward again. Fears stir in my belly, reminding me to close my eyes tight against them and return to my Grandfather and the focus of this lesson.
I sit for a long time, feeling this love for my family and friends and relishing in their love for me. Then, I allow myself to bathe in the love of Spirit. I open myself and let the Love of the Creator to fill my heart. I know He has been there for me. I feel shame and arrogance for my rage, and I speak aloud my forgiveness. Buried in the recesses of my heart, I find the forgiveness of my childhood. I return to the place I knew then, where I could look upon the most degraded soul and believe. I give that faith to myself and the world, and I think I finally let it go.
As love fills my being, I forgive myself as much as I can for my failings. I know this fear will look different in the light of day, but tonight, I think I forgive myself a little, and I allow myself the small step of letting go. I let go of my past, and I don’t think of the future. Today, I am worthwhile, and this is good enough for now.
As I allow the warmth of Universal Love to settle over my being, I am grateful for how it has protected me. I might have been one of those wandering souls, lost and confused because I knew it was not my time to go. I bless the couple, and I pray for angels to come and guide them to Heaven. Maybe they did come for my help, but I became lost in the fear of my assumptions. It is not easy to peer into the eyes of lost souls. I think it is a reminder of how easily this could be any one of us and how valuable and frail life truly is.
With my prayer complete, I calmly open my eyes and look to my left. As I expect, the air is crisp and clean. There is no fog, no ghostly couple, and I believe the lost souls have found their way home to their Father, and I am grateful to have had a part in it. To be honest, I prefer my previous methods of communication with those who have passed, but I am thankful for the lesson of love. I remember again how love heals and how it can be challenging to live this knowledge. I feel, after today, I will live it better than I ever have.
I turn again to the first Grandfather in the circle, and I thank him for the teachings. I know I will use these well in my life. I thank him for the protection and my circle. I thank him for the love which surrounds me, and I promise to always appreciate it as the gift it is. When my prayer of gratitude is complete, I turn to the Heyokha Tree, and I thank my sponsor. I know the teachings of this night will continue for years to come, and I know he has given me only his best. He would offer nothing less, and for this, I am always grateful.
Turning slightly, I face the mountains to the East again, and I wait, as I have waited during each of my Vision Quests for the rising of the Morning Star. I will not miss this event. I am full of the Love of Spirit, and I am ready to pray toward a brand new day.