One of the amazing gifts of tending to the Dagara lineage is that its tools and listening technologies are allowing our community to tap into the wisdom of this land that we live on. This land in California is vastly different from Africa, so it would make sense that a new language might develop along with some different shrines to the beings of this land. We have been nudged, ever onward by our guides to begin the journey of connecting to a spirit elder of the First people of the land here. As a medicine group, we were asked to learn the art of creating shell beads. I attempted to flake shards of flint for each member of the group and we slowly began the process of drilling the holes into local shells to start the beads. This process of creating offerings with our own hands allows us to feed the entities of the land with the potent energy from our hearts. The little people say that they were the ones to gift us these technologies.
As we continue to follow the breadcrumbs, allowing one ritual to expose a new voice that leads us to the next, I discovered a property that started to call my family to it. I introduced myself to the land. I spoke that my intentions would be to steward it. To allow the land to speak to me of what it needed. I was asked to visit the connecting stream and to make offerings to the First Nation and to salmon. I was told that by feeding the salmon, I would begin to find my way to an elder spirit guide. A few days later, it was my birthday. I chose to make the drive to sit with our Earth shrine, or Tengan Tempalo, who is an ancient old growth redwood. I brought offerings for the rituals that were requested of me for Solstice and headed down the mountain with just enough time to visit a mentor with deep connections to the land. She stepped from her home and presented a request for my assistance. The local bear shaman was not able to return from Europe due to the pandemic. Each winter, there is a ceremony to dance the bear into hibernation. She had in her possession one of three bear skins that this medicine man tended to, and had been asked to fulfill the ritual. She needed a drummer for the ceremony. She began by explaining that it is at this time of year that the salmon would run. The grizzlies would gorge themselves on the salmon which would provide the fat store that would hold them through their winter slumber. I felt at that moment, that my recent offerings to salmon had opened the door to be present for this ceremony. I was told that women were never the ones to wear the skins. It is apparent that the tides are turning. I was able to create and hold the container and witness my friend as she danced this loving being, Mataa, into his winter slumber. As I sat and listened to her words of invocation I was reminded that often the key to opening these doors is humility. She whispered through tears that she could only step into the ceremony with the wonder of a child. Knowing that this was not the ritual of her own people, that she did not have the know how, but that she had the willingness and the humility to bow before spirit.
This friend spoke to me about a conversation that she had once with the bear shaman. She had asked him how they could allow the oppressor into their rituals, knowing that our ancestors were the ones who had stolen their land. He replied that they never owned the land, so it couldn’t have been stolen. The land owned them. Our ancestors may have stolen their lives, but not the land. He spoke that his people were once the children of the land, but now it is us. We are the children of this land. How can we show up in service?
I drove home north on Highway 1, watching the beautiful colors of the sunset play across Tomales Bay. I was brought to tears at the beauty of this moment and of the gifts of the day. I had received a healing from bear. Bear had whispered that those in their realm loved me. Bear tends to the darkness in the cave and the journey through the dark night of the soul. My last many years of work with spirit has been in this space. Journeying deep into the Earth to find my allies so that I can help to hold space for others as they greet their shadow. I learned that we must hide our relics of bear during these winter months. We do not mention bear so as to not disturb this necessary time in the dreamscape. I just discovered the term chthonic. It means belonging to the Earth. The role of being a diviner has guided me to connect deeply to the many layers and dimensions and guides or gods of this Earth. And there are many hopes and dreams that I have planted in that space for what I would like to see emerge into this world. Perhaps when bear is dance out of slumber at the Spring Equinox, these seeds might sprout.
And now I turn, looking for the next breadcrumb. Knowing that in this journey with spirit, when I offer myself fully with humility, that I can trust that the next portion of my path will reveal itself and that my helpers will appear.
© 2020 Sarah Wieland
Sarah Wieland is a diviner and cofounder of Strega Tree Apothecary. She considers her divination work to be a tool to discover what is needed to tend to the Earth at this time. Sarah feels that she is a star being living in a human body to understand how to move the light from the higher dimensions through the human body and into the Earth. Her divinations help clients to understand how to be in right alignment. The Wedeme and Kontomble craft beautiful rituals with her through these sessions that bring those that are willing to step into the mystery back into relationship with their elemental allies, ancestors and the Greater Powers. She is based in Sebastopol, California but available for online sessions.