Last week I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday visiting three spectacular mountains in succession, to do ceremony and reconnect with these great Beings. The mountains are ones I've been working with spiritually and shamanically for a few years now: in New Mexico, the Sandia Mountains above Albuquerque and Mt. Taylor near Grants; and in Arizona, the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff. These three are aligned in a straight line that runs east to west, a fact that I discovered only after I began our work. In the Andean tradition in which I was initiated, the spirits of nature are central and mountains and their spirits, known as Apukuna, figure very strongly. The process I've been led to use is probably much less formalized, as I work directly with the nature intelligences, or Devas, that overlight the mountains, although I suspect that what we call Devas and what Peruvians call Apukuna are one and the same. I make offerings and share and move energy with the mountains themselves, and help maintain a conduit of energy that connects them, which in Peru is called a ceque.
Why work with mountains when I am such a "desert person"? The Devas that overlight the mountains watch over entire regions, as the influence of the mountains' energy extends well beyond the mountain itself. In this way these intelligences help manage the energy flows on the Earth, as well as those coming to the planet from elsewhere. They also help the evolution and quality of life, including the human, so what they do affects us very directly. My spiritual/shamanic work is centered around working with these energies as they arrive on the planet and are distributed around it, and it is in this capacity that I work with the mountains. And...these mountains are in the desert, after all.
I started with our mountain, the Sandias, a magnificent wedge of upthrust granite and limestone towering above the Rio Grande Valley. I see and connect to the Sandias every day from my studio, and have come to know this mountain as a benign guardian presence. From my secluded perch on the crest I looked westward, directly along the ceque connecting the peaks. For each mountain ceremony, I opened my mesa, or shaman's bundle, along with three sets of stones from Peru, each of which has been attuned to one of the mountains.
The next day I packed a bag and headed out on I-40 to Mt. Taylor. It was another warm, brilliant day, but I still needed a jacket in the wind up there. I only saw one other person up there on the jeep trail. Mt. Taylor is an ancient stratovolcano, and I returned to a spot high in a spine-like outcrop in the caldera for my work. Like the Sandias and San Francisco Peaks, Mt. Taylor is a sacred mountain to the tribes in the region. To the Navajo it is Tsoodzil, the sacred mountain of the South.
I find the Deva of Mt. Taylor to be a distinctly feminine being, whose vast, calm presence holds the land around in balance and beauty. I have come to associate this lovely mountain with the stars and the color blue. It is also a mediating influence along the corridor of energy. The quality of energy here is stronger than in the Sandias, more intense...it may have something to do with it being a volcano.
After completing our work, I bumped back down the very rough track and continued on towards Flagstaff. The Navajo sacred mountain of the West, the San Francisco Peaks are much farther out along the line, and I always love watching them appear on the horizon on approach from the east. Alas, when I got to Flagstaff (hoping to quickly find a room and then dinner at Beaver Street Brewery), it was sheer pandemonium. The streets were full of traffic and when I tried to check into a hotel I learned it was Homecoming weekend and there were no rooms left in town. So...I got back in the car and drove down to Sedona for the night. That little detour turned out to be full of very serendipitous happenings and it was made clear to me that I was meant to be there...at this point I've just learned to go with it. The next morning I watched the sun rise on Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte, and then drove up Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff and the mountain.
Another spectacular day. The circumstances were very different here, though, as the heights are closed to vehicular traffic and the closest I could get without a long hike (which I was in no shape to do) was the Snowbowl at the end of the road on the western flank. This is a gorgeous area, at about 9500', and as you can see the aspens were at their peak, and I think everyone in the state had come to see them. Privacy was a major concern, so I walked out across the meadow and considered where to go, as I did want to be able to see the peaks while we were working. As I stood there a large hawk, which had been circling over the trees, flew straight out to me, did a U-turn, and then flew back over to the forest: Follow me. So I did, and found a cathedral-like grove of aspens that framed a view of the peak. Exquisitely beautiful.
Again, this mountain was quite different. My first encounter with it was challenging, almost austere, but this time I felt truly welcomed and at home. Also volcanic, the San Francisco mountain is a tremendously powerful receiver of energy coming onto the planet, and overlights a huge area in service to all life. This exchange felt more like an initiation than work, and I came away feeling greatly blessed.
Not a human soul came in sight during the entire time I was there. When all was complete, I packed up my mesa and the mountain's stones for the last time and made the long drive home with much to think about. This work will continue as I learn and remember and grow along the path. It was a great privilege to be able to visit these magnificent beings.
By the way, if you are curious about learning more about Devas and working with the subtle realms in general, I highly recommend David Spangler's excellent, clear, and very grounded books, in particular Subtle Worlds: An Explorer's Field Notes, and the sequel Working With Subtle Energies. David was a founding member of the renowned Findhorn Garden. If you want to explore the Andean shamanic tradition, I recommend Masters of the Living Energy by Joan Parisi Wilcox. It's the best overall book on the subject I've found.