Thursday, October 4, 2001

Nature, Soul and Vision Pilgrimage: Reflections from a Grand Canyon, Zion, Antelope Canyon journey

by Sandra Cosentino 
This article is reflections from my spirit renewal journey Sept. 8 - 11, 2001. I was on the 4th day of my personal pilgrimage enroute to the base of Page Dam to go on a raft trip on the Colorado River, when we heard of the attack on the Twin Towers and that the dam and all federal facilities had been locked down. Now almost 10 years later, I remember the long drive back to Sedona in shock taking in the the growing dimensions of this tragedy as I listened to NPR. Somehow this 4 days was a foundation time I was guided to do. And that, like all of my intentional power places time outs, is still resonating in frequencies recognized by the soul. Though indirectly understood by the thinking mind, these primal experiences continue to provide support and on-going sense of direction.

The Call to Pilgrimage
September 5, 2001, NASA spaceweather news reported a visible flare was recorded from a powerful X-ray outburst. Scientists say the black hole gobbled up a comet or asteroid or that the flare might have been caused by the reconnection of magnet field line near the black hole, a process that also triggers solar flares on the Sun.
This is an artist conception of the
supermassive black hole at the center
of our Milky Way Galaxy.
Just as the sun shifts its poles and the galactic center realigns its magnet lines releasing tremendous energy, I felt the call to come into greater alignment with my soul's destiny and let my creative fires flare.

Here on the edge of the unknown me--the Black Hole at the center of my being relentlessly stalks, pulls like a magnet. Take a chance, leap over the edge, let the fire of your central sun burn away the dross and realign you. Allow the old carapace to dissolve and make room for a larger boundary to come into being. Tap into the power that lies deep in the vortex of my inner center.

This image triggered a response, a gut feeling: go into canyons of immense power and beauty in northern Arizona and Utah. Once again, the spell of the Colorado Plateau called me out to explore. This primordial force of crystalline rock and sun embeded with prayers from thousands of years of human presence, is the second largest plateau in the world.

Over the years, each time I responded to my heart's yearning to go to places of natural power and energy, it became a doorway into a new reality. Responding to a cellular level vibrational charge, I was encouraged to step out past my comfort zone. This in turn, opened more doors of creative expression than I had previously imagined.

David Whyte speaks eloquently of this edge place in Crossing An Unknown Sea.:
"We all have our own ground to work, you know. You have yours, too. You just have to find out what it is. But you know what? It is right on the edge of yourself. At the cliff edge of life. That's the edge you go to. Put yourself in conversation with that edge no matter how frightening it seems. Look down over that edge."

North Rim of Grand Canyon
Sitting on the edge of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the jagged cliff face sheers straight down toward the turquoise ribbon of the Colorado River far below. A Holy Place, not far from the sipapuni, the Hopi mythological place of emergence into this the fourth world. A vast birthing place womb of Creation. 
junction, Little Colorado-Colorado River, Grand Canyon

I revolve around my own abyss, magnetized, irresistibly attracted by force greater than my mind can grasp. Time and again when my mind wants to spin, I come back to staring at the textures, the purple, green and red layers of the landscape temples before.

Every nuance comes into sharp focus: the abrupt ree..eee squawk of the pinyon jay announcing his presence, the soft feel of cool early fall breeze quivers the needles on the pinion pine and flows over my body like silk, then gusts in a strong who-who whooshing voice. Senses heighten and subtle awarenesses flow through.

But when my mind want to analyze, plan, spin me out of the moment of connectedness to the vastness, I notice it. I make a choice to deepen my breath and come back down into the body. Back into deep observing, just being here, now. This is my practice of Presence, divine communion with Source.

The quote below is a good example of how the Grand Canyon evokes a larger sense of reality even within the context of a western novel.
Vast canyon scape evokes sense of freedom:
from The Call of the Canyon by Zane Grey, a Western novelist who wrote this while living in Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona in 1920.

"She could not estimate distance. But she did not need that to realize her perceptions were swallowed up by magnitude. Hitherto the power of her eyes had been unknown. How splendid to see afar! She could see--yes--but what did she see? Space first, annihilating space, dwarfing her preconceived images, and then wondrous colors! What had she known of color? No wonder artists failed adequately and truly to paint mountains, let alone the desert space. The toiling millions of the crowded cities were ignorant of this terrible beauty and sublimity. Would it have helped them to see? But just to breathe that untainted air, just to see once the boundless open of colored sand and rock--to realize what the freedom of eagles meant would not that have helped anyone?
And with the thought there came to Carley's quickened and struggling mind a conception of freedom. She had not yet watched eagles, but she now gazed out into their domain. What then must be the effect of such environment on people whom it encompassed? The idea stunned Carley. Would such people grow in proportion to the nature with which they were in conflict? Hereditary influence could not be comparable to such environment in the shaping of character."

Zion Narrows
Slim waterfalls cascade over the rounded cliff face rising over 1000 feet above. Hiking in the Virgin River, I lean heavily on my walking stick to keep balance on the slick algae-coated boulders. This cleft is the Narrows in Zion Canyon, Utah. Rain upstream can bring a sudden torrent of water rushing through the narrow, winding confined slot. Knowing this adds to my sense of exhilaration, adventure.

One of many natural temples of Zion NP

Moving water is a constant background hum and carries a moist, organic smell. Hanging gardens form in seeps wonderfully exotic with moss, ferns, orange stars, red firecracker penstemons. Giant stone temples tower overhead and in a flashing moment we merge and I too am a temple alive with celestial music and light shining on water, in orange rock, in my heart.

Antelope Canyon
On the open plateau lands of the Navajo Reservation, Arizona, I walk into a deep dry crack in the Navajo sandstone--dunes frozen in place from the time when dinosaurs walked the earth. The sandy floor is only 4 to 8 feet wide narrowing overhead to a slit arching in domed swirls and jagged promontories.

This cross-section reveals angled bedding of the wind-driven dunes now cut through by water in sensuous corkscrew curves. My fingers caress the surprisingly smooth, nubby textured wall, more like a tapestry than stone.Sun light illumines the crack like a sand lantern burning in luminous shades of orange, yellow and red. Painted by light. This is my quest to be infused by Light direct from Source. In hushed awe I am right here now a radiant star of light.

After the Journey
Stimulated by this journey, a powerful Navajo guide came to me in the dreamtime showing me the essence of being the new vision. Sitting still with her body curved forward, alone amid endless dunes, the Navajo grandmother sees through the sands of time. Her tiered skirt ripples in the desert wind. Lines etched in her face reveal the sculpting forces of wind and sun. She does not doubt who she is. Confidence radiates out from eyes that penetrate my inner truth. Nowhere to hide, I am drawn into her aura of natural power. She evokes this chant in me:
With Beauty before me, I sit.
With Beauty behind me, I am in the center of life.
With Beauty below me, I am life.
With Beauty above me, I am held in the hand of Creator.
first posted Oct. 4, 2001, updated March 3, 2008 and Jan. 17, 2011

Special Experiences with Nature, Soul and Vision...
Time of Vision Retreat in Canyon de Chelly, Hopi
Solo Overnight in Nature in Sedona area
Re-Visioning Your Destiny, all day experience in Sedona area

Crossing Worlds Journeys and Retreats
P O Box 3288
Sedona, AZ 86340 

1-800-350-2693 for initial info calls
main number:  928-282-0846

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