It has been very dry here for many months now. Most of south and central Texas is in an “Exceptional Drought” condition, according to the Western Regional Climate Center. Rain and storms approached Austin for several days during the past week, but none of them seemed to have enough strength to penetrate the core city heat. So when it did happen yesterday (Aug. 12), I was very grateful. Even though the rainfall around my house was fairly light, it was very welcomed.
That evening we held our monthly Deepening Journey Circle. The planned topic was “The Middle World Journey,” which was, of course, completely appropriate to expressing gratitude for the rain. After sharing our individual intentions, we settled in for the journey.
I was the only drummer in this particular circle, so I used Big Brother, the 18″ Community Drum, who was in great throat, and I thought anxious to express his own gratitude for the rain. As I settled in to the rhythm, I noticed how similar he sounded to the rumbling thunder from earlier in the evening. There was a resonance.
I found myself transported into the clouds. I stood before a cloud bank, facing and looking into an enormous open cave that looked like a rock shelter overhang. A large group of beings approached me from within, apparently following four beings that led the way. As they approached, I realized that these human-like beings had painted faces.
One was painted black, with a blazing white streak across it: Lightning. Another was all blue, and the paint appeared to float on has face, rather than being attached to it: Water. The third was very hazy so that I could not make out any particular features: Cloud. The fourth was red and black, sharp-edged and solid: Thunder.
They said nothing, yet as I stood before them I came to realize that they were the leaders of their clans: Lightning Clan, Water Clan, Cloud Clan, and Thunder Clan. All of their clans had come to meet me on this bank of clouds so high in the sky. I was speechless, though I wanted to shout my deep gratitude.
The scene changed. I found myself sitting in a circle with them. I noticed that, even as the five of us formed not a circle but a star, still no one was separate. No one was in any position of importance. We formed both a star and a circle.
None of us said anything. We passed around a pipe in silent contemplation. Yet what we were contemplating was very important. “What do we (humans) need to learn or do or experience in order to bring back the rain and end the drought?” My thoughts led me to an affirmation that we need to bring ourselves – individually and collectively – back into balance.
We need to restore balance with our selves, body, mind, soul; and also with each other in community and with the Earth who sustains us. Until we can do these things, we will continue to express our own “dryness” into the World, and that collective dryness is the heart of our experience of no-rain.
What I heard was: “Stop complaining about how hot it is. Stop complaining about how dry it is. Use the gifts of Heat and Dry to pull yourselves together. Know that they are gifts as surely as Cool and Rain, though you might not understand this.”
I had only an instant to thank the Thunder Beings before I quickly returned to the journey circle and ordinary reality. Grandmother was beating more quietly, and I knew it was time for the call-back.
There was a final rumble of thunder as we all reformed the circle for sharing. It was very quiet, very distant. The storm was over, and I had my homework to do.