The Long Way ‘Round, Part 2

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From left to right: Free Bird, Daniel, Jake, Julia, a.ka. “Squirrel Girl”, somebody’s dog, me, and…Patrick, I think his name is?

Getting to Heber City would be no problem. It was the 20 + miles from there to Uinitas National Park that was worrying me. It was going to be hot, and I wasn’t sure if it made more sense to try to hitchhike or just hoof it.

I prayed about it, and the spirits told me that a ride was already being prepared for me, and that I needed to relax.

Once I got off the bus, I went to a dollar store to try to buy some extra water for my long hike.  An elderly woman parked in front of a pet food store called out to me and told me the dollar store was closed, and then asked if I was headed to the Rainbow Gathering. After we talked a bit, she said she’d like to give me a ride, but she couldn’t afford to use the gas. I told her I’d give her what money I had left (turned out to be $8) if that would cover the gas to get me up there. She said yes, and the next thing you know we were driving up to the Rainbow Gathering site.

She told me her name was Yvonne Divine; she was a Native American who had converted to Mornonism, and she told me a bunch of stories from her life – my favorite had to be about how when she was a little girl, she “rescued” two mountain lion cubs from a cave and brought them back to her house, only to be followed later by the mama mountain lion. Luckily no one was hurt, and the cubs were returned to their mother safe and sound.

After Ms. Divine dropped me off at the park, I found myself wandering through the bizarre world that is the Rainbow Gathering; the best way I can describe it is  if a bunch of hippies from all around the world decided to form their own country. People kept greeting me on the road saying to me, “Welcome home, brother,” and offering me hugs and drugs. I actually came across a “Hippie Roadblock” at which I was required to “Joke, Toke, or Smoke.”  I’ll let you guess which one I chose.

I finally found Daniel Suelo and Jake (another member of the moneyless tribe) later in the evening around dinner time – by that time, they’d been joined by an eccentric fellow named Daniel Divine who, among other things, said he was Alexander the Great’s court jester in a past life. Honestly, out of all the things he said during our week together, I found this claim to be the most believable.

The next day, I met Stephanie and Free Bird, and that, for the most part, was our group.  We spent our days sampling dishes  cooked by the various Rainbow kitchens, meeting and talking with random folks,  holding workshops of our own (hosted by Daniel) about moneyless living and gift economy, having dinner at the Main Circle, and spending our evenings either at drum circles or huddled around fires. It was a week of firsts for me: the first time I started walking around barefoot, the first time I wiped my ass with a rock, and the first time I ate live ants.

When it was all over, the moneyless tribe split ways: Steph and Free Bird went to California, Jake to Salt Lake City, leaving just Daniel and I. We hitched a ride back to Moab and within a couple days, I found myself in the cave I’d read so much about over the past year.

And that’s where I’ve been for nearly three months now.

We’ve been joined by others during these three months – some have stayed, some have left. There’s four of us right now (officially): Jake, who came back from Salt Lake, and Julia, who joined us a week after the Rainbow Gathering and has been with us ever since.  I’ll write about the others a little later.

And so what of my pilgrimage? What of the spirits? What of my quest for the Axis Mundi?

I still feel drawn to Mt. Shasta.  Whether it’s my ultimate destination or not, I feel drawn to it.  There’s a possibility that we’ll make for Shasta in the spring.  For now, it seems like I’m supposed to hunker down in Moab for the fall and winter with the moneyless tribe.  In this world – in this Middle-Earth that’s forgotten that it’s Middle-Earth – they’re the closest thing I have to a Fellowship of the Ring.  We’re still gathering companions, so in the meantime, I need to face whatever challenges need to be faced here in preparing for the winter,  learn as much as I can about the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and learn to walk with and communicate with the spirits more often and more readily., so that when the time comes to set off on the road again, I’ll be ready.

I also feel the urge to make a new mask.

And as I lie in my sleeping bag at night, reviewing all the paths I’ve tried to take and all the lives I could have lived, I know, for the time being, that all roads lead to this road. To the One Road.

To the Road that will eventually lead me to the Axis Mundi and beyond.

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The Long Way Round, Part 1

When I first started my pilgrimage trek/faith walk/walkabout, maintaining this blog was easy because I was alone all the time. The blog gave me something to do.

But once I arrived in Petaluma and then Sebastopol and then joined up with Daniel Suelo and the moneyless tribe in Utah, I started becoming a part of communities. And then life sorta just took over.

I had this idea that I’d give you all these ultra-detailed accounts of my journey, that it would read like a memoir or a novel or something like that. But so much time has passed, and now that I find myself with time to write about it, putting things down in that kind of detail doesn’t really interest me. And I’m realizing that if it doesn’t interest me to write it that way, it’s probably not going to interest you to read it.

So I’m going to paint broad strokes of some of the events over the past few months, and if I can go back and fill in some detail I will. Otherwise, I’ll keep going.

It’s hard for me to write about Sebastopol. About Andrew and Carina and Emmy and Lily. About Chloe their cat and Billy Bob their dog. About their chicken coop and vegetable garden. About how Carina showed me how to find and sample wild edibles, and also led me through some deep inner work using acupuncture and gazing meditation. How Andrew, a hospice doctor, took me into a couple trance states using guided imagery, so that I could finally make some solid contact with my spirit allies. About Emmy who taught me to love in a way I never thought possible, and who stood bravely at my side as we faced off against some pretty hostile spiritual forces.  About Lily, who though I only got to know her briefly, opened her arms and her heart to me, and who gave one of the best descriptions of Shabbat I’d ever heard.

I thought I was only going to stay with them for a weekend; it ended up being two months. The Wagners treated me like family; like one of their own.  They are some of the best people I’ve ever known.

It’s hard for me to write about the friends I made there: Ilana and Patrick and Naomi. How being with them made me feel like part of a wider community. The hikes we went on together, the shenanigans we got into, the tears we all shed.

It’s hard for me to write about falling in love while I was in Sebastopol.  Falling into a deep love that made it impossible to sleep sometimes. It’s hard for me to write about that love and then the terrible heartbreak that ensued. And then finding that when my heart was good and broken, a deeper, more profound love was able to finally come out.

Sebastopol haunts my dreams and calls to me still. I hope I make it back there. There may be more details to add later. Or maybe there won’t be. I don’t know; God knows.

At the end of June, my friend Colleen offered to take me up to stay with her at her friend’s place in Tahoe.  So to Tahoe we went, into a little apartment just off the great lake itself. Colleen and I met in Guatemala when I was studying at a Kabbalistic school in San Marcos. Colleen had just finished a three-month course at that school, and we spent the majority of the weekend discussing the Kabbalah and freaking each other out with our various contemplations and realizations.  Colleen was also kind enough to gift me with an old laptop she no longer needed and a copy of the Bible called “The Scriptures” which contains the original Hebrew names of God used throughout the Old Testament.

My plan, as you know, had been to head up to Mt. Shasta, and then possibly Portland. The search for the Axis Mundi and all. But after much thought and contemplation, I decided to finally meet up with Daniel Suelo (https://sites.google.com/site/livingwithoutmoney/) and the moneyless tribe.  I’d been in contact with Daniel for about year, after my last pilgrimage walk ended. I knew I wanted to meet up with him and the tribe, but I felt it would be better to do so during the warmer months. But I’d been following his blog (http://zerocurrency.blogspot.com/) throughout the year, wrestling with the notion of giving up money myself.

In my mind, I thought, “Okay, I’ll go to Shasta, then Portland, find the Axis Mundi, then meet up with the moneyless tribe. But I started to feel a prompting in my heart to meet with the tribe first. So with my last remaining bucks, I bought a ticket for a bus going out of Reno (Colleen drove me there) to Heber City, UT – which would put me about 20 miles away from the 2014 Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes.

That’s where the moneyless tribe would be, and where I’d meet Daniel and the gang for the first time.

 

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