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the hunt

i am a Hunter, from a long line of Hunters. many of us carry the name.

i am/we are on the hunt for truth–the scent of love, liberation, life.

it is suiting that bo, a hound dog mix, has found his way to our family. Spirit is so exact (a term i’ll always credit to Jojopahmaria Nsoroma for its perfection).

sunday, on the hunter’s full moon, i set out to the farm for some solo time with bo, just the two of us. it wasn’t planned that way, in fact, it was far from our plans. life often has something better cooked up for us than what we can imagine.

on the drive there, a coaching client reached out in struggle. there was pain. there was heartbreak. i was reminded of Chögyam Trungpa’s invitation in these times–to “lean into the sharp points”.

i asked her first, slowing her down: what hurts?

there are layers of hurt. some ours, some ancestral, some collective. we don’t always know what the hurt is. in many ways, it doesn’t even really matter. the question supports our relationship with the hurt. it opens up curiosity, room for possibility.

and then, this offer: stay with the hurt. this is not the time for analysis, diagnosis, learning. simply be with it. allow the hurt to have its way with you.

lessons of the descent have been central in my training as a Hunter. western culture has conditioned us to fear the descent: it is hell; there is darkness; it is unknown. and for this, we have suffered. we turn away from the hurt with fear, from fear. we masterfully create walls, lies, compartments and take refuge there, in small worlds that exclude parts of our story, parts of ourselves.

this is a trauma reaction. it is both what has kept us alive and also what entropies. the time comes when this refuge is too constricting, when the lies no longer hold up, when the walls serve up an encounter with ourselves that reveals an ache, compelling us to either take on the fetal position or to spread our wings and glimpse beyond those walls.

the descent.

as a Hunter on the hunt for truth, i honor the importance of the descent. in a time of such collective awakening, i’m drawn to the power of the descent and also see trauma’s genius in seducing us instead into patterns of avoidance and denial–often through distraction and busyness. sensing this push and pull (to and away from truth) is a gift of unlearning whiteness and the devotion to turning inward and growing intimate with my fear, my pain; this conditioning has trained me well in my hunting. i honor the wounds for the medicine they offer, in time. i know truth resides there/here.

descent feels like a balance to the over-emphasized journey of ascent, a spiritual and mystical path that is a vital part of healing and transformation and yet, without growth in equal measure in descent, can result in spiritual bypassing, another form of avoidance and denial. the roots and the branches grow in balance.

bo and i arrive at the farm. we are Hunters on the hunt who have journeyed here in ceremony, to honor Life. to call it a farm feels somewhat ridiculous. the land is completely wild, barren. the earth feels naked, exposed, wanting. farm is an invocation for who we will grow into, together.

after some time in the pond, bo and i along with a newly aquainted neighbor-friend, german shepherd, make our way down to the dry creek bed. sycamore and autumn olives and cedar meet us along the way. ravens fly overhead, making quite a raucous. the brush is thick and the sky is blue. i am keenly aware of this track as a descent, in awe of Spirit’s exact teaching. here in this place, at this time, i was being offered an experience of the very journey i’d been honoring. and so we go. there is a spot at the depths of the incline that invites me to sit. alongside a wall of limestone and near a fallen sycamore, with wild roots unearthed, i stay. for a while. listening to the raven and the unfamiliar sounds of this place, listening to my heart.

listening to my heart.

giving thanks for my own intimacy with the descent, my relationship with the wounds, the evidence of the medicine those wounds promise. there is peace.

then, the shepherd and hound begin ferociously growling. gathered at my feet, their relaxation turns quickly to high alert. i could not see or smell or hear or feel or sense what they could. terror reached her long and crooked fingers around my neck and choked me.

i turned to bo, my first time doing so in this way of seeking support. let’s go, boy. he knew precisely what i meant and led us out, turning back periodically to check on me. i followed right behind him, my heart–just moments before so peaceful–now beating so loudly.

i am Hunter and i am hunted.

three minutes later and we ascended the hill and arrived at the first landing of wide open earth. the sun greeted us as we moved out from the canopy of trees. the dogs and i did a happy dance as we felt the relief of the landscape that offered absolute visibility, where all was exposed. mystery receded.

we did ceremony under the hunter’s full moon. we offered gifts to the land, to the earth, to the water, to the fire. we drummed. we chanted. we prayed. we sat.

i am a Hunter. i come from a long line of Hunters.

to be guided by grandmother moon and mother earth in the remembrance of who i am/we are with teachings on the nature of the hunt…for this and more i am grateful.

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