Merry Meet Family and Friends!
So, this Saturday past, I went into New York City for all day intensive workshop called, The Shaman's Way: Healing the Light Body. As many of you know, I practice Jikiden Reiki and I'm always looking for new and interesting modalities to add to my "medicine bag".
I recently rediscovered a wonderful venue in New York's "Open Center". They have a plethora of amazing workshops and speakers on the most interesting topics! The workshop I attended was given by Dr. Albert Villoldo. I had read Dr. Villoldo's books, "Shaman, Healer, Sage" and "The Four Winds", so when I learned that he was teaching there, I just knew I couldn't miss it.
Just before we were about to leave, I heard Ray yelling something from the top of the staircase. The only thing I could make out was, "look out the window". "Which window?", I wondered! I took a wild guess and glanced out through the sliding glass doors to our deck and there, staring back at me, was the most breathtakingly majestic Red Tailed Hawk! She was sitting on the railing in the exact place that I leave my offerings to the Elemental spirits! As I stood there transfixed, it dawned on me, "Holy crap, where's my camera?!". When I moved, she flew away.
I found it amazing that with four dogs just inside the door, she would have chosen to land where she had! She was beautiful and it was such a splendid way to begin the day.
My husband was driving me to the lecture. I don't like to drive, but more accurately, I hate driving in NYC. I find being a passenger in the car only slightly more tolerable, but no less stressful. It's like being in a video game where your goal is to navigate through a maze of streets, while trying to escape the demonic cab drivers that are trying to kill you!
The parking is a nightmare in itself, so when we arrived in the area of the Open Center, Ray suggested I get out and walk the block or so, so I wouldn't be late for the workshop. I wasn't thrilled, but I knew he was right. I hopped out of the car on East 30th Street and began looking for the building.
I got to the first intersection, wondering if I would maneuver the crosswalk without getting killed, when I noticed a man standing next to me on the corner. He repeatedly glanced at me as we stood there waiting for the light to change. This made me a tad uncomfortable. It is a known trait of the New Yorker never to make eye contact. The light changed and I quickly ran across the street, pretending that I was in a rush.
As I walked along, trying to catch a number on one of the buildings, I realized that the signs were reading West and I needed to be going East. Ok, now I'm lost in Manhattan. I began making mental notes to myself to be really pissed at Ray if I ever saw him again!
I stopped walking long enough to get my bearings, when the same man that was on the corner came walking in my direction. He seemed to be looking for something as well, so I said, "excuse me, I've not sure if I'm going the right way. Can you tell me which way is East 30th street. He told me he thought it was in the other direction and asked me where I was trying to go. "Uh oh", I thought, do I really want to tell him? "The Open Center", I replied. To which he responded, "I'm going there too". Is he really going there or is he just telling me he is to get me to follow him?", I wondered. "Ok, now you're just being friggin" paranoid", I thought to myself. He really didn't give me any reason to be mistrustful and I was in no position to refuse his help. We began, two strangers, walking together in the opposite direction.
He asked if I was attending a lecture there and I told him I was. He asked me which one and when I told him that it was Dr. Villoldo's workshop and he said, "I'm taking that workshop too!" Again, I began to feel uneasy. But, a short time later, when we arrived at the Open Center, I saw him disappear into the room where the lecture was being held. What were the chances of meeting the one stranger in New York City that was going to the same place that I was! Phew!
Now that I was safely inside, I called Ray to tell him that I'd arrived and to sarcastically thank him for sending me off in the wrong direction. During the call, I specifically took note that my cellphone was fully charged. I told Ray I would call him to yell at him when we got a break and I settled in to enjoy the lecture.
After a few hours, we got a lunch break. As I ventured out onto the sunny streets of Manhattan, I pulled out my phone to call Ray. It was then I realized, "Holy Crap!!!" My cellphone was...DEAD!!! How could that be?!?! Now, I had no way to contact Ray when the lecture was over!! I toyed with the idea of asking someone if I could use their cellphone. "This is New York!", I thought. No one is going to just "lend" a complete stranger their phone!! Now, I'm friggin' stranded in New York City, with no phone! At that moment, I recalled hearing a news report about how it's virtually impossible to find a payphone in New York City anymore! Fuck! Fuckity, Fuck, Fuck, Fuck!!!
Ok, I needed to think this through rationally. I decided I'd grab some lunch while I figured out what to do. I took out my bag and began rummaging around looking for the money that Ray said he'd put in my purse that morning, but all I could find was four dollars! No big deal, I have my bank card. I made a mental note to kill Ray later. I walked around the corner and I found a little cafe and right next to it, a convenience store with an ATM. Ok, this was good! As I walked from the convenience store I spotted...wait, did my eyes deceive me? Yes, a payphone! I swear I heard a choir of Angels! But, I had no spare change. "Not a problem", I thought. I'll eat lunch, get some change and call Ray.
After lunch, I went up to the counter where two very pleasant young men were working and asked if I could possibly get change. I explained that I was in from Jersey for the day and that my cellphone died. I needed money for the payphone. Before I could say more, one of the guys said, "here, would you like to use my cellphone?". My first, thought..."I am in New York, right?".
Ok, so now I managed to find an ATM, eat lunch, get change, yell at Ray and get back to the lecture in time for the second half! I felt a sense of relief and pride in my own resourcefulness! I spotted the gentleman who'd help me find my way and silently mouthed the words, "thank you" from across the room.
Dr. Villoldo's lecture was fascinating and included a demonstration on "Soul Retrieval". It is believed that if we endure a particularly traumatic event before or during birth or early childhood, a part of our soul may separate in order to protect itself. This can lead us to experience repetitive harmful behaviors, relationships, accidents, illnesses, that will continue until we can heal the trauma, so that this part of the soul can once again be reunited with the whole.
Following the demonstration, we were taught how to "journey" in a meditative state to retrieve the lost portion of the soul. We were instructed to choose someone in the room that we'd never met and we would simultaneously do a soul retrieval journey for each other.
As I glanced around the room, my eyes met those of an attractive woman, who I'd noticed several times during the lecture. She immediately smiled at me and walked over. We were instructed to share little more than pleasantries, no real information. Her name was Francesca and one of the first things I noticed was a ring she was wearing. It was a large round silver ring embossed with a pentacle. I took her hand to look closer at the ring. "Wiccan?", I asked. "La Strega", she replied. Strega is short for Stregheria. Italian Witchcraft. So, now the second stranger I meet this day is another Witch! How cool is that!
We journeyed for each other which we both found a strange, yet very interesting exercise. Afterwards, she said, "Tracy, I do this professionally. I work here at the Open Center." "I have to tell you what I saw", she said.
She told me that she saw me in the center of a circle, dressed in robes, surrounded by dark beings that were pointing arrows at me! Then she said, that she didn't feel that they intended to harm me (hence the arrows), but instead, that they were frightened of me. She said that they were "afraid of your power". Then she said, "You know, you were a Sorceress in a past life". It was then I pulled my pentacle out of my sweater and showed it to her. She smiled and nodded her head knowingly. We talked a while longer and she told me that I needed to continue to pursue my interest in shamanism and asked me to call her so that we could talk more. She was extremely interesting and I am looking forward getting to know her better!
I have to say, it was certainly a day filled with strange and wonderful occurrences.
During the soul retrievals, we are asked to look for our totem animal. When I journeyed for myself, I couldn't seem to connect with any one animal. Then I remembered that Red Tailed Hawk that had visited me that morning and I was struck by the overwhelming feeling that perhaps, I had already found it.