My friend Andi’s insatiable craving for knowledge has her signing up for all kinds of workshops and lectures. I am more selective in how and where I spend my time and money, so when she called up and asked if I was interested in a private audience with a medicine woman, I said I’d pass.
“Will you at least go with me?” she pleaded. “I’m a little nervous.”
So, book in hand, I accompanied Andi to meet her newest guru. “Come inside,” she insisted, when I indicated I’d wait in the car. Grudgingly, I obliged.
The woman of honour was visiting from New Mexico, and was being housed in a bungalow belonging to a friend. The house was small, and unassuming. As we stepped through the front door, we were confronted by a wall, which opened on either side to reveal either the main sitting area, or a hallway leading to bedrooms. But all of that immediately became a blur to me, as my attention was captured by a large portrait hanging in front of me.
Pictured was a man poised majestically, with feathers adorning silver hair that was pulled back from his face. Intense dark eyes peered out from the portrait and seemed to penetrate me to the core. A chill ran through me as I felt an onslaught of tears overtake me.
“Do you know Bartholomew?” a voice asked to my left.
“No. I’m sorry……I don’t know what came over me.”
“Don’t apologize. Go with it. What are you feeling?”
The voice was calm, and soothing, and I seemed unable to tear myself away from the image long enough to see who was speaking.
“It’s sounds crazy,” I blurted between sobs, “but I feel as if I’ve been lost for a long, long time, only I didn’t know it until just this moment, and now I am home.”
“Well then, welcome home.”
This was absurd. How could an image cause such a reaction? What was happening to me?
The woman gently ushered me into a room.
“I only came to keep my friend company,” I panicked. “I don’t have an appointment.”
“Not to worry.” The woman had long flowing hair, and her face glowed with a soft light that defied any telltale signs of age. She was not what I expected.
She began to run her hands just above my body, as if searching for something. The flow of tears continued, and by now my nose was running, and I felt an urge to use the toilet.
“I’m sorry,” I apologized as I quickly exited in search of the bathroom.
“No problem, Running Water,” she joked, and added, “That is surely your Indian name.”
After what felt like an uncomfortable length of time, I finally got ahold of myself.
“What happened?” I asked the woman.
“Your soul made a connection to something that is obviously of importance to you.”
“And what is that?” I was stilling feeling somewhat vulnerable.
“I like to call it the Great Mystery,” she replied. “Some call it The Way.”
It was definitely a defining moment for me, from which I would be forever transformed.