A few weeks ago, I received a notification on Facebook that I had been invited to an event. Monika Healing Coyote was offering an advanced journeying class, and I’d been invited to attend the first session. I was immediately interested, and so I agreed to attend and put it on my calendar so I wouldn’t forget.
It had been a while since my first time journeying under Monika’s tutelage, but I was excited to attend, so early this afternoon, I made the hour-long trek up to her house.
Psychopomps were the theme of the day, though my journeys veered down a bit of a different path from those we were attempting. There were three goals, one for each journey, that we had for the afternoon: to ask our helping spirits to bring us to a psychopomp spirit that would assist us in our work; to learn a technique for guiding a soul to the afterlife; and to learn a technique (or more) for guiding large groups to the afterlife, all of which were more guidelines for my experience today.
The drumming began, and I closed my eyes, finding myself in the autumn orchard after a bit of a rough start. I made my way down the path between trees, heading to the grand yew I had encountered before, growing in the midst of a cemetery with aged headstones. The grass was springy beneath my feet, which I only now realize were bare. I slipped into the gap between the roots and began the long walk down the dark earthen tunnel.
Once more, I emerge from the tunnel between two tall stones; this time, I notice they are encircled by a string of bells, about head height. I lick my palms heavily and press the damp skin to the left stone, then the right, before sitting at the base of the right-hand stone, called for a helping spirit once, twice, three times, and then settled in to wait.
Soon, I caught a glimpse of movement to my left, and I stood as the red fox trotted up to me. Kit, as I would later discover was what I was to call him, trotted on my left side as we made our way through the scrubland that I had found myself in the last journey with Monika, back to the rich forest where I had come across my own body. We went back to that spot, and I lay upon my bones, burying myself with the earth around us, and soon fell deep below the surface.
We landed in darkness, feet first. I could feel the water beneath us, but did not feel as though I were getting wet. It was dark, very dark, and you could feel the moisture in the air.
In the distance, I saw a white light, a doorway of light, and we began to make our way there. Upon reaching it, we stepped through, and I found myself in a large white…room? Area? There was no way to tell, for everything was white light.
Anubis stood before me, and I quickly felt the Morrigan at my back. My other gods appeared, all of them save Hermes. I realize now this is because he is not included in the oath I made years ago, for he made his presence known years after those words were said.
Surrounded by my gods, I see also an old man, leaning on a staff. At first I think, this is Hermes, but that does not seem right. I then think of Tiresias, the elderly prophet from The Odyssey, and though I am not sure, this seems true in some sense.
There were no words spoken, but the message seemed clear enough. Monika began the recall and I made my way back to the stones wreathed in bells and my orchard.
Kit and I made our way back to the dark, damp cave, the same way we had before, with my laying upon my body and burying myself with the rich dark earth. This time, the lighted doorway was gone, but I could see a paler area in the darkness, a sort of greyness that I headed toward. Soon, I found myself at the mouth of a tunnel, with the water growing deeper here but still my bare feet are not wet.
Gradually, the tunnel opens up, and I see to my right a stony outcrop where a man sits beside a fire. To my left, a little farther ahead, I see another man sitting beside a fire. Kit walks ahead of me and sits before me atop the water. He tells me I must choose.
“If I choose one, will I be able to come back to the one I did not choose?” I ask. Kit tells me that the one I choose would be the one that set my path.
I choose left, and I make my way up the stone and towards the man by the fire. He is old, the same man I had seen before, I believe. Kit goes ahead of me, curling up in the fire, beneath the cauldron set atop the fire. I sit on the log, the man on another to my left, before he stands and begins to stir the cauldron with his staff. I can see various herbs, roots, and fruit in it: what looks like red potatoes and strawberries, and I somehow know there is rosemary heavy within its contents.
Soon, the man bids me to drink from the cauldron. I told him no, that I knew better than to drink or eat that which I find in the Otherworld. He seems frustrated, but asks me if I know of the legend of the kappa. I nod, I say I do. He begins to ladle the cauldron’s contents over my head, but it pools and forms into a bowl over my head, the liquid hovering just inches above my crown. A few moments pass, and then it falls, drenching me. I bathe myself fresh from the cauldron, ensuring I get every inch of myself covered in the reddish liquid.
Now, the man nods at me, and he points to the water just a few yards past where we stand. It is an underground river, separating us from where the other man had been, but his small rocky island is dark now. Not far past the entrance of the cavern, the stones I had been walking upon drop off suddenly, forming this large underground river. The man tells me that I can now swim the waters in the cavern, swim this river. I walk into the water and begin to swim, now feeling the presence of the water and the sensation of growing wet from being submerged, something I had been missing before. I swim the wide circular river before coming back to the man. He spoke something to me, told me something, but I cannot remember.
The recall drumming begins, and I make my way back once more.
It is our final journey of the day, and I find myself back in the cavern with Kit, my feet still wet in the cold water. I choose right this time, and join the old man sitting there by the fire. He is the same man, I believe, as I have seen in the previous two journeys, but I am not sure. It is much colder here, and I can feel frost upon my feet.
I explain to him the intent behind this visit, and he stands and begins to walk up the ledge that curves around the tall cavern. I begin to follow, before noticing that Kit has not joined me. He does not like the cold, it seems. I tell him he can sit upon my shoulder, and together we walk up the ledge.
The old man has not stopped, and I am following him up a very thin path very high up the cavern wall. At one point, I look down, and when I look back again, I see the man is now two men, one continuing up, and one continuing through a door on the right, glowing brightly.
“You must choose,” Kit says in my ear. I hesitate for a long while before continuing up the ledge where the man has not stopped, now far above me on the path.
There is a dark cave at the top, and as I approach, I find myself in complete darkness as I head into the cave, following the man as he disappears within it. I am walking for a long time, and then the drum beats change. I call into the darkness, stopping, and tell him that I had to leave. From the darkness comes his hand, bearing a lantern lit with flame. I take it from him and turn around, carrying it with me as I return to my body.