121_Vision Quest Four – The Morning Star

I don’t know what time of the night it is. I expect the magic of the experience to end just before the rising of the Morning Star, but I find myself sitting for some time, waiting to see the sparkling light of possibility climb above the horizon. As time passes, my enthusiastic hope for the new day becomes a patient calm. I continue to wait until enough time has passed for my peace to now move toward exhaustion.

My Vision seemed to last hours. I am just now realizing it must not have been the number of hours I initially anticipated, and I am exhausted. Emotions consume energy, and I spent more than my share during my time here tonight. I feel drained. There is nothing left in me.

I sit for a long time staring at the mountain ridge in front of me, trying to remain committed to my process, but without the distractions of my Visions, I eventually find myself wanting to sleep. I fight to maintain my commitment. I want to watch the Morning Star rise and the day behind it. I want to relish the dawning of this new day. I pray sleep will not take me. I pray they will not come for me too soon. Then, I make myself busy by organizing my altar and gathering everything I will need when my Tioshpaye comes. I do as much as I can to stay awake and present.

Just as I settle myself to once again look longingly toward the horizon, I hear a noise in the bushes before me. The bushes are just beyond the Grandfather standing to the East of my circle. At first, I’m sure it must be a cricket, but the noise reminds me of a cell phone, sitting on a glass table, set to vibrate. The noise is something I imagine could only come from an insect, but I suspect this must be an enormous insect as its sound finds a way to fill the vast desert landscape around me. I can’t imagine what size cricket might make this sound. I have never heard any noise like this in nature before. 

Having grown up a weekend camper, I thought I would have heard everything here. What new thing might exist in a terrain I feel is as much a part of me as my own flesh. I am awake again and intrigued. I shift to peer deeper into the brush, trying to catch a glimpse of the insect. Occasionally, there is a scuffling noise in the bush, but nothing emerges.

I find myself hoping I might have an experience with this oddity, almost willing it to come and commune with me. Still, after a time, I realize it is not likely to show itself. When the noise becomes less frequent and eventually stops altogether, I allow the idea of the insect to pass from my thoughts. 

I occasionally look to the bush, but my focus is once again upon the mountain and the Morning Star I hope to soon see on its horizon. I am starting to feel as if the star isn’t lying in wait on the other side, refusing to rise until some significant event occurs. I think of the teachings I’ve received and the Natives who have shared this teaching with me. They do not take for granted the coming of another day. They do not assume it belongs to them, that they are entitled to life. They celebrate the Morning Star as a messenger, as a promise. There is no guarantee of a new day until the star has climbed from behind the mountain to be a sign.

I begin thinking about what it would mean if the Morning Star did not rise. Do I take for granted my new day? Do I assume I am entitled to sunrise and the warmth it provides? How would I move forward if the Morning Star did not rise for me today? Scientific minds would think me ridiculous for these thoughts, but these thoughts are essential. These thoughts will teach me gratitude for the simple gifts in life which I have taken for granted.

More time passes while I play with my new ideas until eventually, my mind is empty once again. I am tired from emotions, and I am finding it difficult to remain awake. I need to rest. First, I kneel and lean forward, allowing my head to fall to the ground only for a few moments. Then I force myself to sit once again, watching for a shift in the light, looking for the mountain silhouette to sharpen. I work in this way for some time, until the ache in my bones and the shaking of my hands drives me to the ground, where I lay, staring at the night sky, shifting from mountain to stars and back again, willing my eyes to remain open.

I scan the sky for different constellations and recognize a few. Either one or both of my signs should be in the sky tonight. I am a Cancer born on the cusp of a Double Gemini, and it is almost my birthday. I only follow astrology enough to know my signs and to read playful horoscopes. I don’t know enough to recognize the constellations. I’m a little saddened by this thought. It would feel good to close this quest by honoring the day of my birth with the night sky, reflecting something back to me. I guess I will just be grateful for the pleasant distraction of figuring out which stars might be something I could call mine.

There is before me the opportunity for distraction after distraction, but none last long. As time creeps forward, my eyes become heavy, and I must fight to keep from falling asleep. As I lay on the ground, looking more often at the back of my eyelids than at the stars, I feel myself begin to fade until I hear the buzzing again.

Snapping awake, I turn to look at the bush where I first heard the noise. As I turn, the noise stops. A voice in me reminds me to lie very still. Maybe it will come close if I do not move. I rest my head again and close my eyes, concentrating. I am as silent as I can be, and after a few moments, the buzzing returns. It’s working!

I just know it will come to my circle if I just lie silently. It will trust me. In my mind, I see an animal, like a squirrel, small and timid. I don’t know why it makes a noise like a bug, but I can tell it is shy. It does not reveal itself to strangers, and this is why I have never seen or heard of it before. I can see it by the edge of the bush now, watching me. I send it silent messages, willing it to come, telling it I am safe. I would never cause it harm. I’m sure it has a message for me, and I want to have this experience. More than anything, I want to see the creature making that noise.

I hear more shuffling in the bushes as the buzzing seems to come closer. In my mind’s eye, I see it creeping from the bushes and scurrying like a mouse toward the place where my head lies on the ground. It’s coming. This is why the Morning Star didn’t rise. This is what I needed to see. I will open my circle and allow it to enter my sacred space. It will be safe with me in the circle. It will teach me what I have come here to learn. Excitement builds within me as I think of the experience to come. It will be like none I have had before.

I lie motionless on the ground. There is a light noise just a few feet from me now. The buzzing is low and quiet, but I can tell it is close. I must be patient. I mustn’t move, or I might scare it again. I will wait until it is comfortable with me, then I will move slowly. I’ll need to open the prayer ties to allow it in. It is something we never do, but this animal needs me as much as I need it. This will be an experience like no one has known before. My heart races, anticipating great things of this unique opportunity.

In the distance, I hear faint voices, like people having a conversation. I wonder if it is another ghostly pair, but I am not afraid. Everything is fine now. My visitor is so close, but the voices are near as well.

I’m confused for a moment, and then anger consumes me, ‘Don’t scare it away,’ I think. ‘This is my chance.’

The voices stop, and I relax again until I hear twigs break, and the buzzing stops. There is quick movement, followed by a rustling in the bushes. ‘No! This was my chance.’ I sit up quickly, trying to catch sight of it as it escapes my new guests.

Sandra speaks first, “It’s time to go.”

My mind races. I can’t leave now. I need to have my experience. There was an animal or insect or something coming to see me. It was scared, but it trusted me. I look around, trying to think of a way to tell them, to convey what I am not allowed to speak.

Sandra doesn’t need words. Her response is flat and definitive, “No. He says it’s time to go. Now! You’re not safe here.”

Her response startles me. Did I say words, or did I think them? I don’t’ remember speaking, but she knew.

Shaking the thoughts, I return to the interruption. I’m mad, I think, but I’m not. Am I relieved? I don’t know what I feel. I wanted to let it in. I wanted… I don’t know what I wanted, but now I can’t have it. It was confused. I’m safe. It felt safe. I felt safe.

I flash a look at the Sponsor Tree and see a flash of Heyokha. I’m confused. Was I in danger? I don’t know what to do.

“We have to leave…now!” Sandra is adamant, and I can see, very serious.

I look to the sky and see the Morning Star shining above the horizon. How did it rise? How is it so high? I missed it, but I didn’t rest for long. My mind is going in a million different directions as I gather my belongings. Looking, I realize there is not much to collect. I already organized it. Why did I do that? It appears I was ready for a quick escape or for someone else to retrieve my belongings, maybe. The thought sends a chill racing up my spine. But why? I felt as though I could have stayed all night. What’s happening?

“This way,” Zachary and Sandra alternate, leading our way back to camp.

There is a low, grunting noise running parallel to our left like maybe something is tracking our progress. I imagine a wild boar, but I don’t think any live in this area; perhaps someone released a pig. There are farms nearby. I hear pigs take only a generation to become wild again, but I’m still a little confused by the flurry of events. 

I crane my neck to try and see it around the trees. It’s tracking us. I feel it tracking us. I look to where Zac and Sandra walk ahead of me. I can’t speak. I can’t warn them, but I think they hear it too. We are walking a little faster now, and they can’t help but look as well. All of us seem to be waiting for what walks beside us to reveal itself. It doesn’t. It stays about ten paces to the left and just behind us, moving behind the trees. I don’t like the sensation of it behind me. Still, I stay on task and follow them back to camp. 

As we find our way back to the circle and the people there, the noises stop.