Out somewhere on 82 acres of land in the middle of nowhere called southern Ohio about 40 of us were on a vision quest. That’s where you participate in a lone camping excursion with or without a tent, no food, just water and not much of that. You opt to do this for 5 full days and 4 nights seeking a vision as individual as you are.
On this particular quest, on one particular day, I was alone as usual listening to the sounds of Nature all around and enjoying the feel of the earth as I sat naked on her cuz most often it’s too hot to wear clothes and no one’s around to see you anyway. There’s not much to do because there’s no cell phones to talk to anyone and no books or anything to read, no TV or radio to distract you. By this time we had become seasoned questers.
I say “seasoned” because when I first did a VQ we were out for only one day and one night because that’s what the Medicine woman we were apprenticing with (known to us as Grandmother) did to first introduce and acclimate a bunch of city folk to the rigors of not having all of the above. In what was to eventually become known as “The Hollywood Quest” that day, long ago, I had chosen my spot very near everyone else because being novices, instead of spreading out on 82 acres, we all chose about 2 acres to plant our asses on because we were scared to death of being alone at night. So after I chose my spot on that first Quest I got settled and watched as people brought their mattresses and even rocking chairs to their sites. That was the first quest we all ever did and I’m sure Grandmother was laughing herself into tears.
We had come a long way since that first quest. Now we were seasoned, having done a vision quest every year for the last eight years. I loved this time out in nature, alone. Grandmother generally began a quest with a sweat lodge or, as she called them, a sacred rock lodge, where you built a dwelling – called a “Lodge” – with tarps and blankets to hold in the heat and cut a round hole in the earth in the middle of the lodge and filled it with hot rocks that are heated in the fire outside the lodge. It can get pretty hot in there and you’re not aloud to leave once you’re in – not until it’s declared complete. A sacred rock lodge is where the rocks do a give-away and sacrifice themselves to the fire for purification of the people in the lodge.
After the rock lodge, it was just a matter of going off to an already established site set up earlier to enjoy the peace and the solitude of nature and enter into what we learned was known as “the violet ray.” It’s important to see, to hear and listen to all that comes, for all are messages, as all of the plant and insect and animal kingdoms are spirit connections and all represent how nature speaks to us.
So as I sat on a blanket upon the earth one early evening I was enjoying the peace and solitude when I heard an almost ethereal flute being played, as though it were all around me. Stereo surround sound. My first thought: Who had brought a flute with them to their site? Hard to tell from which direction it was coming although it sounded as though it was direction-less. I began looking for the speaker set up but couldn’t find it. So I just listened and wondered who could play the flute so well! They should be on stage at Carnegie Hall. As I listened I also began to feel. The flute was affecting my whole body in ways that were, shall we say, quite sensitive. Where my body connected with the earth there was physical sensation that was sensual and erotic, to say the least. Bad flute! But, maybe not. What the heck – just go with it. All the while the flute played it’s other-worldly mystical magic, my heartbeat found itself in union with the earth in erotic waves of pure pleasure.
Fast forward: We always gather round to talk about experiences after the quest so when we were all together and all had shared some of theirs, Grandmother asked if anyone had heard the flute of Pan. All I could think of was that the god really was a badass. He could seduce just by playing his flute! Well, like, no one could play that flute with any more finesse than the original flute player. It never occurred to me to think of Pan being so near but he is the god of nature after all. I just thought he lived in Greece. I mean, isn’t that where he’s from?