Yesterday’s trail at Devils Garden held both beauty and challenge, as we traversed the 4.2 miles of duality and deeply rooted, collective symbolism.
I had no idea that I’d be holding so much energy for all who had been called to explore the same area and energies on this day, but it became clear to me on our return route back what the theme of this journey was – reflecting the shadow and misconceptions around it.
So much so, that by the time we reached the car at end of the hike, I was energetically exhausted, having challenge staying awake while driving us back, and then feeling the need for major recharge when we got home.
The day began with the warmest temperatures we’ve had in a while – mid 70’s – which meant I got to wear my hiking dress and not get layered up.
So I put on my colorful dress I bought at a Himalayan shop in Sedona, grabbed my cowgirl hat, slipped on my favorite Chaco hiking sandals, and off we went.
This was the first day in a while that my “spiritual skin” of sacred tattoos was completely exposed, and how fitting that we were exploring Devils Garden – as I wear misunderstood symbols like the dragon and serpent, not to mention, in totality all of my dark, black, symbolic tattoos to many whose beliefs are rooted in ways different than my own, would connect to “evil”, dark, wrong, and yes, the Devil.
I even had someone once a long time ago ask me about these symbols saying they were Illuminati connected and asked me about that and if I was connected.
My only response to them was, “Only you know the answer to that by looking inside your own heart.”
I had no need to defend or explain anything. One doesn’t when they embody the truth.
So on our hike, many eyes were upon me. I received several compliments from a few people, as well as shared smiles with a few passers-by that had a tattoo or two of their own.
But apparently there were other kinds of looks too, which Dave shared with me with giggles, as he said he finds it fun and fascinating to watch some people and how they will stare or react to me – most of them being middle to older aged people and couples that come from a different generational belief system that has been strongly conditioned and rooted beyond simply ideas – but rather a programming within their DNA they react from.
And he too thought it was all compounded by the dress, sandals, cowgirl hat, AND tattoos, as no one else was dressed like that since most people have a “norm” way of dressing when hiking.
So it all created quite a looking glass, but was it “me” they saw, or something about themselves?
I explain this briefly in a very short video I felt inspired to do at our destination point on the hike – Double O Arch. I’ll share it after this post.
That felt like the perfect portal for this share, as it is an arch that has two O-shaped arches, one atop the other.
To me, this felt like mirrors of duality that reveal and reflect your belief system and the hidden energies around your beliefs on the light and the dark.
And when one can face these truths, you can move on into integrating them, which is the shared bridge between the two O’s.
There is an extension to this hike that goes further to what is called Dark Angel.
We did not feel called to go.
Well, Dave asked if I wanted to, us both feeling complete at Double O, and I said, “there’s no need to go there, as I’m holding the energy of Dark Angel right here.”
Interestingly, when we arrived at Double O, people dispersed, allowing me time to sit alone within the smaller portal, as Dave felt called to ascend further up the canyon and sit atop a rock there overlooking the view of the Double O and beyond, which is how he captured photos of me down below.
While he was there, and I was at the portal we would periodically hear screeches from what sounded either like a hawk, falcon, or eagle that echoed through the canyon.
We met some very nice people along the hike there and back, and exchanged some words, as well as took photos for them.
Saw many lizards and ravens – one that cawed at us from across a canyon.
The trail first led us to several cool arches – Tunnel Arch, which had two deep arches, Pine Tree Arch, which as you can tell by the name had a pine tree growing from center (I took two photos here, loving the symbolism of a little girl that was in the foreground on one reminding me of my own inner child and a book I’m reading where the woman embodies the medicine of a Native American Indian girl named Little Black Wold Dancing), Landscape Arch, which was huge and looked like a frame to a landscape painting, Black Arch, and several unnamed arches.
Most people only go to Landscape Arch, as the trail then becomes more challenging to reach Double O, other arches, and Dark Angel.
You can either do the primitive trail to get there, which is unmarked and longer, or climb over sandstone slabs and fins with narrow ledges and exposure to heights on another trail – a bit scary for those with fear of heights.
I, once again, got to face that one head on and did.
I thought about the symbolism of this challenging trail to Double O and Dark Angel and how only those ready and/or willing to journey into these energies and reflections, would pass through to receive the messages awaiting them there.
But it wasn’t until I return back, as mentioned earlier, that things really sunk in as to the energy I was integrating myself, as well as holding in mirror for others. I believe my time sitting in the portal of Double O revealed this to me.
And on our return, I had this thought go through me about the connection of Devils Garden and my serpent tattoo, thinking on the irony of this and all the misconceptions around it.
I kid you not, the second after I said this to myself and integrated the depth of meaning, both Dave and I heard a loud, long hiss come from the bushes we had just passed.
He stopped in his tracks and we both looked at each other and said, “what was that?”
We both agreed it sounded like a large snake, like a rattlesnake before they are about to strike.
Dave decided to explore the whole area, but found nothing.
There was no snake in the flesh.
But it was unmistakably a snake.
I said, it was the cosmic serpent and shared with Dave what I had just been processing and receiving right before the hiss.
Talk about powerful messages.
I continued to further deepen into the energy here for me to process and embody more fully.
And found myself in deep dreams last night wandering through rock garden portals.
I’m feeling much more balanced again today, but still recharging from all that I was mirroring, integrating, and holding.
It made me go quiet and perhaps might lead to taking a mini break while things continue to integrate and renew.
So, just in case you don’t hear a share from me for a day or two, you’ll know why.
We embody both the light and the dark, but it is not seen in these limiting terms that words define and judge them by.
It is a melding reflection of both and beyond, where the creative impetus of Cosmic alchemy can be harnessed by turning everything inside out within the vortex of you.
(BTW, right after I posted this blog, I saw the word count and thought it would be fun to add it here: 1313)
I am extremely connected to the animal world and power animal guides and totems are prevalent in my spiritual and daily experience. That connection runs very deep, more than I can explain in words, and I feel that they channel through me so that I may share their messages to help integrate into the healing work I do. So it is no wonder that I carry many of them on my “Spiritual Skin” body canvas art of sacred tattoos and that they consistently show up in my paintings and in all aspects of my work. I see no separation between anything and that every thing has its own consciousness equal to our own and is interconnected. It is simply the channel of manifested expression each part of that consciousness chooses to express itself as, that conveys in visual difference, but the heart of their personal petal is from the same flower essence whole. When we understand this, a whole new and beautiful experience of life opens up – and the way we walk through life completely changes.
According to shamanic belief, everything is alive and carries with it a wisdom and power. Shamanism is found in all cultures of the Earth and is the world’s oldest healing tradition. This ancient, worldwide practice involves engaging with spirit helpers and the forces of the natural world to develop relationships, solve problems and perform healing. Shamans travel to the parallel worlds where time and space have no meaning and use the powers of those worlds, the subconscious and the realities of this world to cause change.
I created a painting, the one you see to your right (which you can see larger on my website: www.taniamarie.com) to honor the energy of what I’m sharing here and to provide a healing portal that can be utilized for embracing these energies. I combined the Incan Medicine Wheel, with Tarot, seeing its connection with the World Tarot Card symbolism and created a visionary interpretation of the two synergized.
Prompted by dreams of portals and moving in and out of magickal experiences and processes, I was reminded of the Mayan Vision Serpent, that became a prevalent and potent symbol in my life. Symbolism can help to trigger us to remember, as well as potently encapsulates the essence of something bigger that is limited through mere words or explanation. They can help us to tune in consciously and act as portal keys to walk through and into new experiences we desire,
and that await.
Integration is key to healing on every level. The Ancients knew this and now we are remembering that which was once known. The Mayan Vision Serpent was believed to be a direct link between the spirit realm of the gods and the physical world. It is often depicted with the spirit of a god or ancestor emerging from its jaws. According to the Maya, it is the axis atop the World Tree, which lies at the center of the Universe. This center axis, which the two create, communicates between the spiritual and the earthly worlds or planes. They create a doorway to the spiritual world, where one can access their innate power and integrate it into their physical experience.
To the Maya, serpents were a very important social and religious symbol. In Maya mythology, these revered serpents are described as the vehicles by which celestial bodies, such as the sun and stars, cross the heavens. The shedding of their skin made them a symbol of rebirth and renewal – a means by which we constantly regenerate, as we walk through one doorway of experience to the next.
The Earth experience is one of learning to consciously integrate physical and spiritual into an abundantly limitless, joyful, creative, magickal and unconditionally loving manifestation.