My friend arrives, confidently walking in the door as the Medicine Elder. I am anxious to see what is possible. Most of my spiritual study is of Native American teachings. I feel a deep drawn to the way they live Spirit. I do not recognize their honoring of life in the world around me, but it is something I want to know. I am excited to think of what the night might have in store.
The Native Elder ‘comes through’ and speaks to me. I do not understand his words, but he guides me to what he expects from me during his time here. He walks me over and sits me on the couch, and then, he points at me with firm words. I understand. I am to sit and ‘stay.’ Like a dog, adoringly loyal to his command. I am surprised. I have been working so diligently on changing my life and how I live it that I assume the work will be done with me as a person, but I do as I am instructed.
He gathers his tools, sacred objects, and herbs from nature. He then moves towards the bedroom door. It is still full light outside, but the panic wells within me. My brain is screaming again, ‘He can’t go in there. Don’t let him go in there.’ I begin to rise from my seat, to stop my friend, but he turns her and motions, telling me to sit.
I do as I am told. The panic consumes me, and I feel myself sink below the surface again. With my heart pounding and heavy breath in my ears, I try to listen, but everything is distant and muted. The world around me fades I begin to feel myself losing consciousness, but I look down. I can see myself still sitting on the couch, hands in my lap, still awake to the world around me. I must be here.
I stare through the doorway and into the bedroom. He has moved into the closet, singing prayers in his native tongue. The volume of his voices rises, and I hear him with all the power of his position. Even through the haze, I can tell that he is fierce and forceful in his prayer.
From far away, I hear him pray, and as I look around the condo, I begin to feel that I am a stranger to it. I feel lost and disoriented. The hands in my lap do not look like my own. I can’t seem to comprehend what is happening around me. He is singing, and then I realize that there is something else. In the same distant place where I hear his voice, I think I also hear dogs barking. Whatever existed of me in the past that believed I could handle this myself vanishes. This is real. The threat I was feeling is real.
It is some time before he emerges from the closet and out of the bedroom. I am barely coherent by the time he returns. I watch from another dimension as he systematically moves through my home, leaving ‘medicine’ in all places that give life to my fear. I am stunned that he knows where to go. I haven’t discussed what has been happening with anyone, not even my therapist. It all seemed so impossible and in the light of day ridiculous. But now, I sit dumbstruck as he revisits every room that I avoid.
Eventually, he returns to the bedroom, and he closes the door. He then lines the base of it with medicine and hangs a totem on the knob. After he has completed these tasks, he comes to stand before me and gestures for me to rise. I am not sure that I can, but I try.
Using the couch for support, I bring myself to stand before him. I am touched by the deep wisdom in his eyes. I only linger on them for a moment before I bow my head to his position. He sings prayer and smudges me while I gradually regain my footing. When he is finished, he taps me on the shoulder, and I raise my head again to see IEO now standing before me.
His eyes are kind as he tells me of the healing and explains all that has been done. He speaks of a vision the Elder had in the closet, and I am left dismayed. “You have been pursued your whole life. You have always felt them behind you. As you become stronger, they come closer. They are a pack of coyotes, and they wish to eat you. You are gifted with a purpose, and you are a threat to their Master. They are sent with only one duty. They are sent to spill your blood and so end your life. You stand now on the edge of a cliff, and they would push you over. You are in danger, but he (the Elder) has put protection on you, and you will not be harmed. Do not return to the bedroom tonight. Do not open the door. It is not safe for you in that room yet. Tonight will be difficult, but you must remain here, on the couch. If you do, you will be safe.”
By the time his story is complete, all I can do is nod. I am still astounded by their sense of what I have been experiencing and the overwhelming reaction I had to the Elder’s entrance into the bedroom. I do not know anything else to do in this situation but to nod. IEO puts his hand upon my shoulder, and I am immediately calmed by his touch. I think that he senses my confusion. I suddenly feel safe and stable, and as his eyes continue to peer into mine, I come to accept a deep knowing within myself that I can do this.
He smiles at me for just a moment before my friend returns and reiterates the importance of what IEO has said to me. Another major difference between these men and typical ‘splits’ I know, is that my friend can fully observe what they do when they come forward. Even in the events that she does see her other personalities, there is usually some detachment from knowing what they do. If she remembers any of their activities, it is usually only in pieces, put together through internal conversations. However, with these native men, she sees all of it and often translates what the Elder says for me.
We speak for a while about what has happened until it becomes time for her to go. “Remember to stay on the couch,” she says firmly as she rises to leave. “Do not go into the bedroom at all, for anything! I will call you when he says that it is safe.”
I nod. I, of course, have no problem with this instruction. There is only about an hour left until dark, and I probably wouldn’t go there anyway. As we walk to the door, I promise that I will call if there are any problems. Then, I watch her descend the stairs, and as I close and lock the door, I am aware that I am alone, more alone than I have ever been.