My quest site has been lovingly named ‘Little Meadow.’ It’s nothing like where I imagined I would be spending the next three days and nights of my life by myself.
I had envisioned being in a place that was small, dark and closed in. Instead the meadow is spacious and lush with a vista that overlooks the majestic mountains of the Otways National Park. Willowy eucalypts provide a fragrant frame to what will be the first sight I see every morning from my tent.
The sun is shining brightly but I know this land well enough now to appreciate it may not do so for long. I feel worn out and weak from simply arriving with my gear, as well as lingering nausea, but the dappled rays provide a chance for me to set up in dry weather. The gift of this is not lost on me in this place where I have known it to rain so hard I could barely keep my footing due to the treacherous slide of land from underneath.
I feel like I’m moving at a snails pace setting up my small home and I realise how often in my daily life I worry about getting things done quickly and with efficiency. I need to slow down. Even more than I have been in my Priestess calling. There is no rush here. I need to honour my body and deepen into this experience moment by moment.
By the sun I feel it is just after midday and the birds have given me a glorious greeting. I see and undeniably hear a white cockatoo, magpies and a petite king parrot with a blazing red chest and cheeky wing flit. Not to be outdone, the kookaburras are also in fine song.
I cast a circle of bracken, bark and fallen branches around my tent for protection, placing four blue lace agate crystals at the place of each direction. I cleanse the area with smoke and say a small prayer to the Great Mother and Mary Magdalene who has been so deeply journeying with me throughout this past year. I have thought of her so much in my preparation for this quest and my desire is to call her closer to me as a potent energy of strength and compassion for all that lies ahead. When she first came to me she was holding blue lace agate.
I sit to catch my breath once set up and with the sun streaming on my face a buzzing bee rests nearby. I see this as an incredible sign that all is well. The bee is a very special insect for our gathering of women. We have adopted its symbolism of believing in miracles, personal power and sweet abundance in our hive. I have come so deeply to learn that there are no coincidences of this kind in life anymore and I feel grateful for the visit and welcome to the land.
As the sun goes down it gets cold very quickly and as the light gently begins to fade I get inside my tent with the deliberate intent to keep warm and never let myself get too cold. I am surprised at how content and even happy I feel and my nausea has finally lifted. I feel safe, held and warm. All things I thought I would I may not experience feeling at all on quest – let alone on the first night. My only fearful thought is that I am not fearful, even now as the dark night descent begins and I can hear a wild wind rushing through the trees outside.
By the dim light of my torch I decide to pull out my drum to gently beat it. Slipping it into my sleeping bag to help warm the skin for a beautiful sound, I lay down with it for awhile. The wind continues to rush with impatience outside, heralding something urgent to come in the night. Inside my cocoon however, it feels the opposite.
A deep slowing down and drawing under into my first night alone.