Day Quest--Mt. Woodson

Despite the weather and the early hour, two of my really great friends showed up to be my guardians for a day quest on Mount Woodson near Poway, California. When we started up the mountain in the morning it was sunny and nippy, but bearable.

But quickly, it got cloudier and colder. Probably one of the worst choices I could have made in terms of timing! The wind had picked up and it was in the high 40's with drizzle and fog from low clouds. About as wintery as it gets in the inland valley of Southern California. It was mid-January, after all. And our goal was to climb up a mountain and just sit for a few hours. Nuts. I was sure I had gone nuts. But, AND, my friends were there for me. And, I had some life-changing decisions to make and wanted answers.

My guardians schlepped my gear as we started hiking from the trail head. Each of us set our own pace, but Sun Wolf and Bear Rock, my guardians, stayed within earshot. One thing that we could say for the weather was that we pretty well had the mountain to ourselves and it is a fairly easy climb with a road and path going to the top. Well, some positives to offset the negatives.

Mt. Woodson from Blue Sky Reserve, Copyright 2012 Kaliani Devinne
Mt. Woodson viewed from Blue Sky Reserve, Poway, CA
I did a short ritual near the trail head to announce our intentions and request permission from the land, and repeated it where the the uphill climb begins. At that point in the trail, there's like a "doorway" between two boulders and two trees that are perfectly balanced on either side.

Sun Wolf handed me a piece of wood that caught her eye. It was in the shape of a bird's head, and told me that it gave me Spirit's message to "pay attention to temperature changes." As I did my ritual, I happened to lean against one of the boulders and noticed it was surprising warm for an overcast rainy day at 9:30 am. So, I investigated. The rock on the other side was cold, speaking to me of balance. I took the warmth of the first boulder to be my permission to do my quest.

It was a quiet morning, the gathering mist muffling distant sounds. The mist was settling into the exposed granite boulders that dot the mountainside and although I had scoped out the site for a place to sit where people would not disturb us much, hawks began to appear to guide me to a higher spot that Spirit had in mind. A hawk insistently hovered and circled over one particular outcropping of boulders way up the hill for a long time, so I decided to follow its guidance.

Along the climb we saw what I held to be confirmations of my choice of guardians. I'd managed to find again the boulder with the sunburst underneath that someone had, on a previous hike, pointed out to me. And then, our eyes were all drawn to what appeared to be a small cave opening in the rocks. Sun Wolf and Bear Rock.

I picked up my pace, encouraged by the hawk and the clarity and focus of its seemingly stationary flight. As we approached the upper switchbacks in the paths, we went through an area where the trees and rocks closed and narrowed the trail and the wind howled through with an unexpected gust, and it felt like we'd stepped through a vortex or portal. At first I thought it might mean we should go back because it blew at us with such a force, but then I got the message that the spot we were destined to stop at would be perfectly still, like the hawk, so keep going. A raven alighted on that same boulder up the hill and cawed in agreement.

Huntley Meadows Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk 2, by Mr. T in DC, Creative Commons License
Red-Tailed Hawk 2 by Mr. T in DC

So, we kept going. There were people rock-climbing near the rock, a big egg-shaped rock with a huge cleft in it--big enough for the climbers to "chimney" in. So, not wanting to stop where the people were, I started to look for a way to get up behind this egg rock. A little further along, I saw what looked like natural "steps" built into the terrain leading up there. It was a "staircase," plain as day.

"Well, then, I guess I should take the stairs," I said aloud as I ascended up the hill off the trail. It was harder going than I expected, as I had my moccasin boots on, not hiking shoes, and the soles of the boots weren't stiff enough for the footing. Panting heavily, I finally pulled myself to the top of the steep earthen stairs.

And then, I looked up. From this vantage point, it was blatantly obvious that the other end of this "staircase" up behind the rock was the original trail itself that had switched back again. The trail I'd been on. The one I could have continued on with a tenth of the effort! And, as I emerged from the brush, there was Sun Wolf, standing on the trail. We both simultaneously burst into hysterics, both doubling over with laughter at the coyote trick. Sun Wolf laughed so hard, she fell to the ground. It was pretty damn funny! OK, so I'm not to take myself quite so seriously and I need to find the EASY route, and not the hard way that I often create for myself!

Recovering from the hilarity, I continued on just a short way to the spot where there was a flat topped boulder just off the trail, where I was directly above the cleft egg rock, and that's where I decided it was right to stop. Sun Wolf and Bear Rock went to the other side of the trail, up the hill a bit, where they could separately keep track of me and see other hikers as they approached. It was their job to explain to other hikers that I was "in silence" and not to disturb me.

I plunked right down and began asking my questions. The first few answers came very clearly and quickly. Later, the process seemed to get bogged down a bit, or maybe I got tired and more spacey as I let my mind drift more. I did feel like I stepped outside of time into sacred space.

Hawks came in pairs, singles, threes and fours. A smoke plume in the distance from a house in the south formed a "5" shape. I hadn't asked a question to which the answer was 5, but there it was, clear as day and then disappeared.

I felt the mist curl around us as the clouds lowered and the breeze stilled. The mist, like some kind of baptism or purification, appeared to me to be Mother Earth's tears dropping and clinging to me, my gear, and the rock. I felt like I had melted into the stone, the clouds surrounded me, the rain gently misting, and in the distance I thought I heard thunder. Mt. Woodson was sharing its peaceful stony silence and creatures all around delivered their messages to me.

Mt. Woodson
Mt. Woodson
At one point, a turkey vulture circled overhead, and many many ravens, signifying to me new vision and magic. Near the middle of my time there, there was an amazing display of hawks that neither Sun Wolf nor Bear Rock recorded. Was that because they didn't see it, or because it was a vision for my eyes alone, or because it wasn't real, or I stepped outside of time? I don't know.

The four hawks came from each of the four directions separately, to join in the center right in front of me in my line of sight up in the clouds on this solitary mountain. In the fog and rain and clouds, they danced an incredibly beautiful soaring dance together, like an old English country dance. Strikingly beautiful. I was crying and awestruck. I kept hearing in my mind the song, "In Beauty Come," from Maria's Child Returning Home CD playing as I watched this hawk ballet. I was so mesmerized by them, that I didn't turn to see if Bear Rock and Sun Wolf were watching, too.

From my perch, I could see so far out to the valley to the east. So much activity with birds, cars, houses, roads. What was different about my perch, of course, was my point of view--A hawk's eye view. Looking out over Ramona gave me a view of civilization intermingled with nature. Above the fray, seeing the whole picture, balance and integration, living in harmony. I asked what my next step should be, and waited. My sight was drawn to a house in the distance, surrounded by nature, not too far off the road--exactly what I'd been envisioning for a home or a place for me to heal.

I asked about my relationships with several key people in my life. For my mother, Spirit showed me a beautifully lit house with a homey fire burning. About the two men in my life, I one answer came in a vision of a pair of hawks dancing and soaring together, the other answer came with a lot of noise and distractions as a group of hikers all strung out along the path, passed by, all talking loudly and carrying radios with barking dogs, that completely disrupted the calm peacefulness just moments before. I asked about my son, and was told to teach him what I know. Teach him how to do this.

And the cold wind? It signaled me to understand that sometimes I could be cold, distancing myself emotionally from people, and to consider the consequences.

I asked what hawk energy could teach me, and I saw majesty, beauty, silence, peacefulness, power, being a messenger, soaring above the hustle and bustle, "oversight," perspective, strength, and its predatory nature (swooping in at just the right moment to capture your prey/taking decisive action when the time is right). I saw eagle shapes in the rocks, in the clouds. I saw a snake shape in the trees on the rise to the south.

The more I looked at the boulders, I realized that the rocks surrounding me were like a basket of eggs that had cracked open. I kept receiving messages about trusting Spirit, and following my heart. About allowing the cracking to happen, as it would open me up to so much more.

Shortly before we were to leave, one solitary, silent, still hawk appeared below my sight line, hovered for a moment and then raced away. Moments later, it reappeared, with another hawk, circling and spiraling up until they disappeared into the cloud cover.

Two crows flew by and cawed, right at 2 pm, our quitting time, to signal the end of the quest.

Flight by Martin Cathrae, Creative Commons License
Flight by Martin Cathrae

I was stiff and sore and very cold. I signaled to my guardians that I was ready to go, and they joined me on the trail in silence. At the base of the mountain, we agreed to meet at a diner for a hot chicken pot pie lunch and coffee. I so needed that hot cup of coffee!

As we pulled into the Poway diner, there was a teenager in the parking lot with a vivid green Mohawk hair cut. Sun Wolf would write down on her report of the signs she saw as "mo(re) hawks". I had to laugh. They each told me what messages they'd received on my behalf, and Bear Rock handed me a gorgeous colored drawing of all she'd seen, picturing me sitting in the middle of beautiful creatures and scenery.

On my way back to the highway and home, there was a huge cloud formation in the sky that looked like a hawk or eagle's wing, with a bird's head turned back looking over the wing, back over towards the mountain. Initiation in the clouds, communion with hawks, on a mountain shrouded by mists.

Mt. Woodson Boulders
Mt. Woodson Boulders
Sun Wolf wrote, "Work needs to be done here amongst the fissures. She is making huge changes, not cracks, not small chunks, but huge, splitting of her foundation. This place represents the completion of the split and honors with confirmation."

Hearts cracked open, rising above the ordinary, bridging earth and sky. Messages of heartbreak and challenge. Gentle strength and self-mastery. And, humbling self-awareness and not taking oneself too seriously. Egg-boulders, representing rebirth. Time for change.


Kaliani Devinne said…
If you're interested in Mt. Woodson, there are two trails up. One from Lake Poway and Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, and the other at the top of the hill where the road curves on the way to Ramona. Enjoy! On a clear day, views to ocean and mountains!
Anonymous said…
What a beautiful account of the day! Thank you for sending it to me to remember... Much love to you dear sister.
SunWolf Dreams Original Memory

Popular Posts