I heard legends about this hidden valley long before I found it, and now it takes my breath away—a place where the animals have no fear and communicate with humans through mental images; where birds gather to fly before you and guide you if you have lost your way; where the trees shimmer with life force in the sunlight and the plants and grasses heal your ills; where the water is clean and cool and sings mantras as it rushes over smooth grey stones; where the natural world is a living, breathing, magical thing; and where the spirits and local guardians welcome visitors who have loving and compassionate hearts.
It sounds idyllic, and I’m sure it is, but my real destination is the mountain in the distance. It’s said that travelers who make the ascent come down the mountain changed somehow—either crazy, or gifted with the power of poetry.
I’ve always loved poetry. I have decided to take my chances.
I have found this valley, and the way to the mountain, by what feels like serendipity. I saved this red fox, or one of her kin, from a hunter once; now, she has trotted ahead of me up this almost-hidden trail, and we have come upon this magic valley. She has turned to see if I will follow. Yes.
Yes, although I am barely equipped for such a long journey. I set out today only to swim in my favorite spring and then sit a while in meditation beneath my favorite oak. Luckily, I brought my walking stick and my pouch of precious objects—a labradorite wand, two flint stones, a tarot talisman, a small bag of cornmeal, and my sacred feathers, these last a gift from my grandmother, long ago. I’m not carrying water, but with that clear river down below, I don’t think I’ll be thirsty. I’ll feast on the plants and grasses that I find.
My life, up until now, has not been entirely satisfactory. I know that there is much I need to learn about how to live in harmony with Mother Earth and all Her creatures, and with my fellow humans. Some people would say that my journey is a fool’s errand; I prefer to think of it as a gift, a blessed opportunity. And I get the distinct impression that when I come back, I will be a different person.
I hesitate for a minute, taking in the vista and feeling the soft grass and firm earth beneath my feet. I feel grounded; I feel ready.
I wonder who I’ll meet.
In the Gaian Tarot Circle, one of the exercises we're encouraged to do is to write about the cards. This was my first effort—for The Seeker card (pictured above), created by Joanna Powell Colbert as part of this lovely new deck, the Gaian Tarot.