Carry the Rock – an excerpt

May 15th, 2016 | By | Category: Articles, Books for Shamans

jhp53fde5056ca92Carry the Rock is a memoir for every spiritual seeker who signs on for a shamanic apprenticeship with their whole heart and soul, yet they find that something is wrong. The apprenticeship feels like a failure, but no one is talking. What’s an apprentice to do if failure is not an option?

Here’s an excerpt:

The Nagual asked for a volunteer. Linda raised her hand. We stood in a circle underneath a monkeypod tree in a state park on the far side of the island. We were a circle of apprentices, studying with a leader in the Toltec tradition called a Nagual. The Nagual is a conduit to knowledge that leads one to recognize the unseen in the world and to merge what we know with things we don’t know. The lesson that day was to gain the ability to recognize energy in ourselves and in those around us.

“I want you to lie down; close your eyes,” the Nagual instructed Linda.

Linda lay prone on the grass, and the Nagual kneeled down, placing her hands palms up underneath her left shoulder.

“The rest of us will place our hands in the same fashion.”

The remaining seven women shifted slightly to form a tight circle around Linda, and placed their hands underneath her.
“Now lift her up,” the Nagual instructed, “to here,” indicating for us to lift Linda to elbow height as she stood up and held her forearms straight out from her hips.

Linda’s eyes flew open at hearing the Nagual’s instructions and she giggled. Several women laughed with a nervous twitter and gaped at the Nagual as though she were daft.

“Go ahead, do it,” she instructed, nonplussed.

Turns out it wasn’t as difficult as most of us imagined it would be, nor as strenuous. We lifted Linda, who was quite petite, into the air as though she were a fragile patient being transferred from a paramedic gurney to a hospital bed.

At the moment of our collective sigh, the Nagual instructed, “Now turn your palms and drop all fingers except one on each hand.”

Everyone adjusted to the new directive, and there was a second sigh as Linda remained in the air with only a motley crew of single digits holding her up.

“What are we doing?” the Nagual prompted the group.

“We’re challenging the idea of what we think we can achieve,” said Suzanne. Her response was assured but her tone carried an inkling of doubt.

“We’re following directions,” said Carol, who loved to counter the Nagual’s directness by sidestepping the issue (yet always in a way that couldn’t be faulted), as though she knew what the Nagual expected to hear and she wasn’t going to be the one to give it.

“We’re scaring the hell out of Linda?” ventured another. All of the women laughed, including Linda, although her giggle cut short. “You guys are moving me!” Alarmed that the laughter caused our finger positioning to shift her body ever so slightly, Linda held still as a statue.

“Now close your eyes. I want you to feel the energy as you continue to hold Linda in the air. Tell us what you feel.” The Nagual was moving into the heart of the lesson. The group grew pensive, feeling whatever it is one feels when directed to “feel the energy.”

Images popped onto my mental screen. I saw a plumeria blossom, an aromatic flower used in Hawaiian leis. The feeling was lighthearted, a breeze that carried a sweet scent. Linda was no burden to hold up; she was a new member to the group, curious and respectful to those around her, eager to learn about
the Nagual’s teachings. Each woman had the opportunity to be carried by the group.

One woman declined. One woman was on the heftier side, and I assure you, all of us wondered whether or not we’d be able to lift her with our little collection of single digits. Each woman’s energy was different. Some, like Linda, were buoyant and carefree; some were dense and even dark, while some were playful, reaching out in order to connect to those in the circle. I wondered what my energy was like. Once we were all seated on the ground, the Nagual continued the lesson.

“Carry the rock, not the weight of the rock,” she said, eyeing between the koan and our recent experience. “How is it that everyone felt different?” she queried, “and I’m not talking about a difference in pounds here.” The Nagual looked pointedly at Carol before she could utter a word. The discussion continued as the group talked about differences in energy, what it felt like to carry another’s energy, and the experience of muddied energy as opposed to a clear, direct exchange.

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