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The Wisdom of the Owl-An Instrument of Spirit

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

Years ago, I found myself in Peru, riding a bus that climbed higher and higher into the mountains, and that, like my spirit, seemed to be reaching for the heavens. What did he know about my soul's desires?

The indigenous people of the region and their land were so warm, vibrant and so close to my heart. How long in my life had I unknowingly missed and searched for them? For a long time, dear brothers and sisters.

The clean air, sweeping views of Andean peaks, and the thrill of the unknown were almost too much for my heart. But my soul sang.

Reaching higher planes, altitude, time and space merged and valleys without much fuss turned into deserts and snowy lands, I was just eyes. Passing every inch of the road, I felt like I was part of a big fluffy white cloud that enveloped my perceptions, passing thoughts and anticipation.

And I wondered what stories this immense land and its creatures, the river, the sparse vegetation and the huge rocks in the distance would tell me.

When the bus finally arrived at its destination waiting for me was the National Sanctuary of Huayllay - Bosque de Piedras with its majestic fourteen-thousand-foot peaks of icy ground warmly kissing the fresh air. There, too, a ceremony awaited me offered by the guides of the local Q'ero indigenous community. Boiling coca tea and a hearty dinner cooked on the ground on stones followed. In their company and human warmth, I embraced my first night sleeping in my tent.

Frozen water bottles the next morning predicted a different story. However, for that first night, everything had been fine.

The next day, sometime after breakfast, I excitedly began my first solitary journey into the thick Stone Forest. Taking one short step after another while breathing slowly and deeply, my lungs and sweaty skin pores began to absorb the weight of the load on my back, and my heart the lightness of spirit that this vast, barren, and magnificent land begets. At every step my eyes discovered illusory and real images of majestic forms and figures of this and other ancient worlds that the giant rocks projected in my mind.

Delighted like this, I spent long hours walking while in silence waiting for an invitation from earth to fall into her arms. Suddenly in this desolate space a dandelion flower showed itself in all its splendor. That was my signal. I’d arrived.

Modesto and Toribio Quispe Lunasco. Q'ero brothers.

I unloaded my large backpack and very judiciously took out my new ceremonial tools. These were a fan of feathers, a newly acquired colorful fabric that wrapped memories of nature and the deepest desires of my soul, called Mesa, tobacco, and a small bottle of flowery water—a cologne used in shamanic ceremonies.

Under a crystal blue sky as a witness, I thanked Spirit, the earth, the four directions, east, south, west and north, and the four elements, air, fire, water and earth for supporting my journey and all the ways of life. Then before setting up my tent, my home for the night, I blessed the ground, sprinkling it with the flowery water giving thanks for sheltering me.

Exploring the area, searching for the crystals that only grow in the most sacred places on earth, time consumed the remainder of the afternoon. My day ended with a wonderful display of the sun sinking below the rocks and the sky turning purple, pink and then crimson red.

Q'ero Ceremonial "Table"

And there I was alone in the dead of night. It was a moonless night. It was indeed a very dark night with little stars twinkling or fading into other worlds. The day was over and, in my evaluation, it had been a smooth ride. A calming and peaceful journey.

Contemplating my perfect loneliness as I prepared to go to sleep, I noticed that I didn't have the emergency blanket that the night before had made up for the warmth that a summer sleeping bag couldn't offer. After much unsuccessful searching I knew there was nothing else to do but go to bed hoping for the best.

Feeling the heartbeat of nature beneath my body and the invigorating freshness of the icy air, my senses wide awake on such a day finally began to rest, or so I thought until my arms and legs began to go numb from the extreme cold. Images of the emergency I experienced on another occasion returned to my memory when hypothermia paralyzed my muscles in the frigid waters of Lake Michigan in the United States. Here there was nobody to rescue me. Assessing my resources, to compensate, I began to meditate calling on Spirit and the stars to shine on me. I tuned into my own energy and into the energy of the cosmos, but nothing warmed me. I was all too aware that my already hypothermic limbs wouldn't be able to move much longer.

With no other recourse came the thought of my imminent death.

It was powerful and yet subtle inspiring me to summon the life force beneath my body by uniting it with that of the frozen starry night this time to accept with full peace, love and gratitude this as the hour of my return to eternity.

I said goodbye to my dear husband and all my loved ones thanking them for being part of my experience on this planet. And just when I was deep in my sacred surrender to return to eternity, the song of an owl broke into the silence of the night. His intensity resonated with my entire being.

The owl had arrived right next to me outside the tent. What a divine sound and feel. How powerful he was. Without a doubt, his appearance was the work of Spirit. My heart was beating with happiness. And in my delight my frozen mind and body disappeared or perhaps melted into the experience of the owl's divine presence. I felt that wherever my next step went was not a problem. At that moment I was just a joint vibration with that of the disturbing, inquisitive and, above all, fascinating hoot of the owl resounding in the afterlife—the hallucinatory world of unknowns where we humans and everything that exists belong.

And so, among these beautiful emotions and thoughts, I only knew that the next morning I woke up in front of a large space illuminated by a warm and radiant rising sun. Every bit of my body and mind overflowing with spiritual strength full of trust, faith and hope. I’d survived.

Not so long before this time death had been hovering around me. First was the death of my father, then that of a dear friend and another acquaintance and, the most dramatic of all, the death of a child whom, on one of my walks through natural parks, I saw fall off a cliff. This agglomeration of cases had inevitably invited all sorts of thoughts and emotions. Staying with them after a while they all burned out and disappear and all that was left was a mind and heart that knew and understood that dying is an inevitable part of life. Thinking like this, I was not afraid of death, so I couldn't help wondering how to put into context my experience with the owl in which I was the subject of death.

I contemplated that I was on this path of stones seeking to open the doors of understanding of two spiritual revelations that I had received a decade earlier. Answers that I had not found and that I was inclined to believe the mind alone cannot offer. And then I thought that this extreme experience did not help. But someone versed in shamanism, after hearing about my encounter with the owl, offered a different perspective. He said that there is nothing more powerful than confronting our own death.

It would take some time for me to understand these words or, understand that I experienced a "more real than real" exercise on surrendering, on letting go of any lingering idea of control of my mind. The time to comprehend the meaning of my revelations would have to wait. It is said that in spiritual terms we only get what we need not what we want.

What was crystal clear though, right then and there, was that in this faith journey travel Spirit, through the owl, informed my experience about life's eternal nature. A fundamental point that nurtures a gentler human experience.

Copyright © Aura Camacho-Maas – January 2022. All rights reserved.

Photos: Aura Camacho-Maas

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Enjoyed this article. Excellent!

Aura Maas
Aura Maas
Feb 14, 2022
Replying to

Thank you. Love.

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