Seven weeks ago, I started taking a level one Peruvian Shamanism course at The Green Man Store in North Hollywood. I have always been fascinated by Native American traditions and knowing that my Great Grandmother went to extremes in order to go to Peru (and possibly died there), Peruvian Shamanism just seemed like the appropriate next step in my spiritual journey.
But something was wrong. I didn’t feel like I was really connecting and I wasn’t sure why. Actually, it felt like my life was continually getting worse over the course of the class. My depression was coming back–it had been over a year since I had been in such a funk. My family on the other side of the country was taking turns in the hospital. My worry nerves were in overload. I try to be a fixer for my loved ones. It was hard facing the fact that there was nothing that I could do to make things better. Even worse, I was faced with learning that someone I cared deeply for didn’t want my help, he just wanted me to go away and let him be alone and depressed. Then this week culminated in a clusterfuck that just pushed me to the very edge. But tonight, I finally understood why.
The last seven weeks were so magical that I wasn’t even aware of the transformation that was happening in my life. I thought I was depressed and detached but I was actually healing. All of my issues were coming to the surface–one right after the other until they were all before me in this dark, massive mountain of denial. Then just two days ago, an Opossum literally forced me to see the light.
The apartment building next to mine has a motion light right by their dumpster. It shines right in my window whenever anyone throws out their trash. I was sitting on my couch when I noticed the light come on but I didn’t hear the sound of the dumpster. Maybe it wasn’t the light after all. Maybe it was someone using a flashlight and shining it outside my apartment. I grabbed my baseball bat and swung open the door–I was not going to allow someone to steal my gnomes again (whole other story). To my surprise, there was no one there but a rather large opossum sitting on the fence, staring at me. There was no hissing or running away. He just looked me in the eye. I greeted him and he appeared to acknowledge me with a nod before he switched directions on the fence and scurried off–heading West (which actually has meaning to me now).
I looked up the meaning of an opossum spirit animal and it talked about needing to come up with a strategy. Opossums are great actors–playing whatever part needed for survival. I finally realized that I have been doing that for a very long time. As I read more and more, I realized this was actually perfect and made complete sense in accordance to my current life status of chaos.
The following day, after the encounter with Mr. Opossum, I went to Hahamongna Watershed Park (where Devil’s Gate Dam is located). I was on my way home from work and I needed to get sticks to make death arrows for my final shamanism class. Once I found the perfect specimens, I decided to walk over to Devil’s Gate Dam, since I was there. On the power lines over what used to be a water filled dam (drought), I saw two crows looking at me. One stayed and the other flew away. I instantly thought, just like the two men in my life–one just left. So I looked up the meanings of the crow totem and for this particular situation, I would say I was being told to focus on my intuition and sight. I also believe the one crow leaving represents the loss of the male “friend; ” a loss that turned into a life-changing moment for me.
It was at this time that I noticed the sun had set and I better get back to my car. The park closes at sunset. I ran back just in time to see the police leave, locking the gates behind them. Yep, I was locked inside “Devil’s Gate Dam.” Just as I was about to lose it, this kind jogger came up to me and said that the officer knew he was jogging and had put the lock on the gate but it wasn’t actually locked. He kindly opened the gates for me so I could escape my imaginary park prison.
For me, that was the cherry on top of my mountain of denial. Little did I know, it was the last bit I needed to finally make my real “death arrow.” A death arrow is a representation of your need to bring death to certain parts of your life or your past to make way for new beginnings. So when I got home, I pulled out my yarn, matching the chakra colors, and took all my frustrations out on the making of my death arrow for our fire ceremony on the last day of class. I took the picture I had of myself and my former friend, wrapping it around the arrow. I used blue and green yarn to secure it as well as marking the love and communication problems that occurred throughout that relationship. It was finally time to let it all go.
I carefully chose each color and the order, wanting to make sure I dealt with everything that had surfaced over the last seven weeks. There it was, my real “death arrow.” I was so proud and beyond ready to let go. Bring on the new beginnings.
For the first time in weeks, I am happy and bubbly. I have high amounts of energy and I feel reconnected with my sight. Tonight, when I threw my death arrow into the fire during our ceremony, I got my fresh start. The heaviness, the depression, the self-doubt–it is all gone. I feel like a new person. I feel like I have a new outlook on life. I suddenly feel the need to dance around to “Disco Inferno.” I also have a clear mind as I begin creating a strategy to fix the other problems in my life. No more denial or “acting.” I know what I want and I am going after it because I’m free. I don’t have the past holding me back any longer. I am a phoenix rising from the ashes and I am ready to soar!