by Michelle Ida Fairchild
I sat in the creek, sweet water gurgling and caressing my naked body. I gazed at the greenery, the light reflecting off the water, and felt the very chilly water pour over my thighs, while the gentle breath of warm air on my face and shoulders offered a stark contrast. Under the canopy of tall trees and dappled sunlight it was easy to feel small, but in a good way, in the way you feel awe struck and full of wonder about the breathtaking beauty of our planet. Nature often has that effect on me, but to experience being completely naked and so remarkably peaceful as I listened to the natural sounds of birds and the water, was spiritually soothing and uplifting. Harmonizing with the rustling of leaves and the babbling water flowed the spoken word of a sacred water dedication,
“Water Spirits know this child as your sister…
Give her the ability to flow in life’s stream…
Great Spirit, this child is of the people…
guide her to always walk in beauty.”
After reading this idyllic descriptive narrative I now want to share how the build up to this remarkably peaceful moment in time had been fraught with anxiety and strong resistance. My naked water dedication took place on the precipice of entering into the last month of my thirteenth month long Vision Quest. This Vision Quest began in June of last year when I began working with a guide and the Clan Mothers from the book The Thirteen Clan Mothers by Jamie Sams.
The quest is grounded in the stories from the book and instructions from my guide. There are commitments to fasting on full moon days and abstaining from alcohol and other mind or mood altering drugs. Additional ceremonies, rituals and creative projects also took place over the course of the thirteen months. During the journey you create an art shield each month. My particular shields are a series of prayer flags that I painted each month. The idea to create them as prayer flags came to me the first time I met with my guide. This was even before we confirmed beginning the journey together. Somehow the art knew it wanted to come forth and I listened.
Yet, as my Vision Quest journey entered into its final months I began to resist and question finishing it at all. There were other life struggles and challenges and I found myself pushing back on things that asked of my time and energy. My Vision Quest became one of the things I started to label as a “chore.” When I learned of the naked water dedication my inner rebel thought “What is the point of doing it naked? If I want to wear a swim suit I will. No one can make me do it!” I began to consider becoming a Vision Quest drop out. In May there was a Clan Mother gathering on the lovely property of my guide and women from afar were traveling to participate. I am normally a person who loves gathering in circle with other women, but again I found myself resisting and dreading participating. I went back and forth from questioning my own issues to feeling that maybe it just wasn’t the right soul fit and I needed to quit.
I did attend the gathering In mid-May and found myself in a gathering of loving and kind women, who also knew how to embrace irreverence and the coyote trickster, and laugh at life. I participated in my first sacred sweat lodge. I created a warrior shield that flowed together naturally and beautifully from the supplies available. I had quiet time, away from technology in the middle of a forest and I listened meditatively to the two creeks that meet on the property (Dos Aguas) and then mingle into one stream. I made prayer bundles, was cleansed with the smoke of sage and petted wolf dogs and a giant cat who loves ceremony. At night we lay in sleeping bags, with a drum beating, and crystal skulls above us gazing out into the night, as we gazed at the stars above.
On the last day I revealed tearfully to my guide that I had been considering dropping out and in her loving way she responded “But my dear, you haven’t done anything wrong. You are meant to be with the clan mothers. You are one of us.” I shared about my concern about doing the naked water dedication. She again responded lovingly, “Oh it will be alright. I will be with you, but looking the other way as I recite the dedication for you. No one will be around. In fact, I have already done two this weekend and we could do yours right now. There has been a power of three this weekend and it could be a wonderful way to end the weekend.” I found myself agreeing and proceeded to participate after all right then and there.
In just a few weeks the culmination of my thirteen month Vision Quest will take place as I participate in a sacred sweat lodge and then spend 24 hours alone on the property of my guide with a jug of water and layers of clothing and a sleeping bag. This last portion is called Becoming Her Vision, with the emphasis on the word Becoming.
My intense resistance these past months to change has had me contemplating how doing new things can push us into uncomfortable places. I found that the changes circling around me had me drawing inwards and desiring to be more reclusive in recent months. New activities, events and schedules were pushing me out of my comfort zone. I was therefore pushing back and looking for reasons to stay small and safe in my known world.
I am sharing this story, because upon first hearing that we were entering into dangerous new territory round these Cosmic Cowgirl parts and would be exploring the world of Taboo, the thought that crossed my mind first was “Oh dear, what is this going to ask of me?” While I have grown leaps and bounds in my life in regards to courageously sharing my writing, my art and my stories, I still erect protective boundaries, barriers and walls, and can find leaning into vulnerability to be very uncomfortable and sometimes even anxiety inducing, so much so that I sometimes want to run in the opposite direction or put the brakes on.
While I have had to face some fears and trepidation upon tackling this new assignment for Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine I trust my tribe of Cosmic Cowgirl sisters. My experience has been that each time something new was proposed or offered within this community, even though it sometimes made me nervous, it led to positive change and growth in my life. Trusting is not always easy. It can be one of the hardest things we do, especially when something pushes us into new territory and makes us feel a naked vulnerability.
Join me this year as we embark on an adventure of discovery and exploration into topics related to Taboo. I am still a bit nervous, but I am leaning into the love and support of the red thread connection that weaves its way between all of our souls.
Experience the meditative sounds of Dos Aguas
where I participated in the Water Dedication Ceremony.
Michelle Fairchild is a writer and artist. She has a small business called Red Boa Productions through which she sometimes offers Sacred Playshops. She also works for a non-profit foster-adoption agency in Northern California. At Heart she is a soulful and sensitive intuitive, a courageous creator, a resilient visionary, a self-esteem fluffer, a marvelous music mixer and one who offers up bridges of connections to her fellow travelers. She considers her family her heart, which includes her hubby of 11 years, a former science & math teacher who now leads a program called STEM and provides guidance to middle school and science math teachers, and her identical twin daughters, who are very active 8-year-olds who shine and keep her dancing. She believes We Are All Meant to Shine! You can learn more about Michelle’s vision, read more of her writing and peruse or purchase her art on her website We Are All Meant to Shine!