Every now and then a person needs to go on pilgrimage. Mine tend to be some sort of car excursion. But that certainly isn’t the only pilgrimage possible. Of course when you start out on a journey, you don’t necessarily know that you are going on a pilgrimage. If you are headed for some sacred site or something, then that is obviously your intention. But other times, you are on it before you even realize it.
A pilgrimage is a truly empowering and life defining moment or set of circumstances. It is what the knights used to go on and they always ended up having to slay dragons in order to continue. Modern day dragons are always cloaked in the most unusual outfits. And often your pilgrimage is well underway before you even realize that is what is happening.
But a pilgrimage is always about the journey and who you become in the process. And in that regard, all of life is a pilgrimage of sorts. Heroes are those who face challenges and look into the depths of their being and find a skill, a gift, a place of inner peace that they never knew existed. In the face of adversity, they not only survive, but they actually thrive. And we are all given numerous opportunities to prove ourselves that sort of hero.
I ended up on a pilgrimage with a friend a few years ago. A 10-day journey from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Mt. Shasta, California, to Ashland, Oregon, to Gold Beach, Oregon, through Arizona and finally arriving back in Santa Fe an entirely transformed individual. It seemed like a million different things happened. There were enough stories to fill a book and perhaps one day it will be written. We had to deal with wind and rain and air mattresses that collapsed. We found out after driving all day that the road we were on was washed out up ahead and it would be 5 more hours of driving to arrive at our hotel. Something seemed majorly wrong with our vehicle and every time we got it above 45 miles per hour and hit the slightest pump in the road, the steering wheel began to shake and then the entire vehicle. And then there were all the esoteric and other worldly adventures sprinkled in just for fun. It was definitely an adventure and we were being called upon to overcome obstacles and reach deep within. While we were in Arizona, a friend channeled that we were on a pilgrimage. We had gotten on our trusty stead and headed out into the desert to find ourselves. It helped us to understand.
One weekend I undertook another such adventure. I thought I was going to the International New Age Trade Show (INATS) in Denver. I thought the purpose was to finally get to meet my phone and email friend of 10 years, Virginia Brown, President of the BioElectric Shield Company. And to get a weekend off from being a wife and mom, hang out with the girls, get to hear Wayne Dyer, meet Doreen Virtue, Dan Millman, and numerous other well-known authors and musicians, and have a great time. I had no idea I was setting out on a pilgrimage.
On Friday, I was heading north on I-25 and just as I was coming into Colorado Springs my car just quit. I was doing over 70 miles an hour and the engine just stopped. It was brutally hot and a thunder storm was happening up ahead. Oh no. I could see an exit just ahead and I began packing a few things to take with me as I hiked to the exit and then I thought I should at least try the engine again. I was able to get it going – with very little power. It got me to the exit and off the ramp and then died again at the bottom. Aah yeah yeah. When it died the oil light came on, so I thought it was out of oil – a very bad thing for an engine. Then I remembered that Raven had checked all the fluids before I left. I know he would have checked the oil. Oh well, it was all I had to go on.
I was supposed to be at the airport in Denver in an hour to pick up Virginia and obviously I wasn’t going to make it. Now the truly unusual thing is that two of my friends that were originally going up on Saturday, at the last minute had to go up on Thursday. So they were already there. I was able to get one of them by phone and asked if they would rescue Virginia at the airport since I wasn’t going to make it.
All I could do was follow my intuition. I looked across the street from where I was parked and saw a store with driving lawn mowers – little tractors. I thought, wow, they will have oil. So I walked across the street in the pouring rain. As I got closer, I realized I was looking at the back of the store and there was an electrical fence. So I would have to go down the street, take a left, and turn into whatever this industrial area was to make my way back to the place I’d seen from behind. Along this journey I came across an auto repair place. Even more amazing is that it was a Friday afternoon and they had time to work on my car. We were able to get the car up to the shop and then for the next two and a half hours they ran the engine trying to get it to quit. And it wouldn’t.
I believe every moment of every day has significance. So I was searching for the meaning behind this series of events. The mechanic started asking me questions about what I’d be doing in Denver and I began sharing about helping people with their personal and spiritual growth. I said that our company did some shamanic things and he asked me what tribe I affiliated myself with. I laughed and said The Dolphin Tribe. And then I explained that my husband (former) is native and does most of the earth based spirituality stuff and I work in a more esoteric fashion and receive insight through meditation. It turns out that he is half Cherokee and has felt disconnected from his heritage. Was that the reason I was there? I’ll probably never know.
A new car part and $125.00 later I was back on the road. I missed the opening reception for INATS but met up with Virginia and my friends later and we shared a meal. I went on to have a completely grand and wonderful weekend. We drove all over Denver on various errands. The car ran fine.
I returned Virginia to the airport on Sunday and was heading out of Denver when the car died again. No way! I was tired. I had a long drive ahead of me. It was really hot. And now what?
We have friends that live on the south side of Denver so I called and asked for a rescue. We got the car to a local service center who said they could run a full diagnostic in the morning.
As I review the events, I realize that the whole thing was about surrender, following intuition, letting go of preconceived plans, expectations, and flowing with the magic each moment had to bring.
I got to enjoy their hot tub and then had a life changing conversation. One of the friends I stayed with channels Simon, the fisherman who walked with Jesus. We were discussing an issue that has been perplexing Raven and I and also these friends. As we discussed what had been happening, laughing at the similarity of events, Simon came through to talk to us. It has been about two years since I’ve had a conversation with Simon. It was wonderful. He explained the dynamics of the issue and what we could do to make it work more for us.
And then the conversation switched to something I have been personally working on for the past two years. I have been struggling with what I’ve come to call the Jesus Myth. Who was he? What was the truth of him? What is fact and what is fiction? What is his relationship to me? Was he married? Did he travel to places throughout the world and go through countless initiations? Did he have children? Did he continue on for numerous years? Did the family flea to France? Did he ascend? Did he even exist at all? The words they claim he spoke have great meaning for me. But I’ve struggled with why he had to be tortured and killed. I don’t believe Original Source Creator to be the vengeful, vindictive, manipulative, judgmental male deity described in the Old Testament. The need for human sacrifice and Jesus being “the only begotten son of God” has never worked for me. The God I know is loving and even Jesus said something about we are all precious and no one can harm the hair on the head of something. Yet he became this sacrificial lamb.
I have talked with Jesus and felt his presence since I was a small child. I have had visions of walking with him during his time. I saw myself as a small child and it seemed that he treated me like an older brother would. Whether he was actually my older brother, or just spoke to all the children that way, I have no idea.
My questions lead to more questions which lead to more confusion to the point that I had no idea who or what Jesus was and what he represented to me. This left a giant hole inside. And recently I received an email from someone who read my cover story in Maine Well Being. I guess I mentioned Jesus because he asked me why none of the other metaphysical writers mention Jesus. So I sat with the question and was once again faced with my own lack of certainty.
And then Simon said something and this spark ignited within me. And then Simon suggested that I search my own heart and remember the truth of who Jesus is. I was overcome with so much love I could hardly contain it. The freedom from so much confusion was euphoric. The details don’t matter. We will never know exactly what happened 2000 years ago and why. What matters is that Jesus is love. He is available to us when we ask. And I am delighted to once again call him a dear friend.
Is that why my car broke down?
The next day I sat at the car repair place for 4 hours as they did every diagnostic in the book and could find nothing wrong with my car. So I set off on the next leg of my adventure.
The car died again just before I reached Walsenburg. I surrendered. I gave up. I turned it all over to the Universe. I could do nothing to make the car work or not work. It was out of my hands. And in that moment I understood peace to the core of me. I actually didn’t care whether the car worked or didn’t work. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t significant. I knew I would eventually get home, some how, some way. But I had no idea how and that was alright.
The previous 2 experiences with the car let me know that if I let it sit, it would start up again. So I let it sit for a little while and then started it up, drove it over a hill and stopped under a bridge. So now it could be in the shade and do whatever it needed to do to prepare for the rest of the journey. I opened up the trunk and picked out one of the new books I’d picked up at INATS, sat in the back seat, and read for 20 minutes.
This car is new to altitude. It had spent its entire life in Virginia and now it was living with us at 7000 ft. above sea level. The computer on board was supposed to automatically adjust the timing for the difference in oxygen available. But my sense is that it didn’t do that. So as I started up the car I envisioned it surrounded by a cloud that contained higher levels of oxygen.
I thought about what it could use to get us home and I began envisioning various things coming up under the car, lifting it up and propelling us forward. I began with a dragon and saw it fly up under and begin to fly me and the car home. I sensed the wings and the feeling of flight. I then switched that image to a manta ray. Wow, what an amazing feeling that was. It was so fluid and graceful. It felt great. Then I remembered what Simon had said the previous evening.
At the show there was a woman selling a deck of cards related to horses and horse energy. I picked a card and read the insight it offered. I mentioned the card to my friends. Later, when Simon began to speak, he made a direct reference to that energy and advised me to add wings to the horse and offered new information about this horse work I had begun. So I switched from the manta ray into the winged horse, Pegasus. I can’t even describe how fantastic I began to feel.
I literally felt the head moving back and forth as the horse ran, the hooves gently caressing the road as they touched, the wings moving up and down with great power. It was as if Pegasus, myself, and the car had become one. Every time I went up a hill I would rock my upper torso back and forth like the head of the horse moving back and forth with it’s stride, I could feel the legs running beneath me and the wings propelling us forward. I became euphoric.
There are two sensations I love more than any other. The first is becoming a dolphin speeding through open water, gliding, turning, with ease and grace. The other is the feeling of being a horse running at full speed through an endless open field. Now I had added wings so I wasn’t even confined by the earth and I felt absolute and total freedom. It was exhilarating.
It took me 11 hours to get home, not including the extra 4 spent at the car repair place that morning. Under normal circumstances it would have taken 6 hours. I took it easy on the car and on the hills. I had no more problems with the car. I returned home in complete bliss – exhilarated by the experience.
A lot of people would have had an entirely difference experience under similar circumstances. They might have become horribly upset, angry, depressed, or who knows what else. But I realized I was on a pilgrimage whether I consciously signed up for it or not. So I made the best of it. I came out feeling like a hero that had attained an entirely new way of being.
When you are faced with a challenge I encourage you to look at it as the pilgrimage it could be for you.
I offer you blessings on your journey,