When I first committed to undertaking an intensive year of study, reflection and journeying with the School of Shamanic Womancraft I was aware that participating in a solo quest was going to be a part of that experience.
My initial egoic thoughts of what would happen to me three days and three nights alone and fasting in the wilds of the Otways flooded me instantly.
Bears, lions, wild boar and most of all tigers (none of which live in the Otways) enjoyed feasting on my flesh and bones for lunch – eating me alive. I’d fallen many times over down a deep ravine in the middle of the night, (never to be recovered), after I went sleep walking for the first time in my life. I fainted from hunger and had a tent peg spear my heart, (clearly bleeding to death), tragically unable to call out for help.
You get the gist.
As I spent time in the incredible arms of my Shamanic sisters throughout the year, my wild fears of physical danger dissipated. My rational self kicked in to tell me that of course my flesh, bones and heart would be fine.
My mind and soul however?
That might be a whole other story.
Channeling the compassionate Quan Yin, I decided to simply put aside any considerable thoughts as to what may or may not happen to me not just on my solo quest but indeed throughout seven nights and eight days away from my home and surrounds, unable to grab my phone and scroll through Instagram, answer a quick SMS or email, or simply speak to my beloved. I knew my head was not serving me and so…let’s not go there.
About a month prior to embarking upon my time away though, I knew it was time to start getting prepared. I started slowly, focusing firstly on the practicalities of what I needed to take care of myself. First aid kit. Compass. Boots. Shelter. Easy enough.
However no matter how much I focused on getting the practicalities prepared for my time away, I kept returning over and over again to thoughts that I was just not going to make it. Or that I would be at the very least highly uncomfortable and miserable. Or worse still…
Arriving at camp with my journeying sisters we spent two days and nights with each other gently preparing for our time alone. They are for me the two most favourite days of all our time together throughout this journey thus far. A space to richly get to know each other and our histories, share stories of love, loss, life and longing. And sit in circle and communion on the beautiful land that we were asking to hold and guide us.
On the afternoon before leaving for my solo quest I began to feel unwell. Not myself. Shaken. At a time when it would have made much more sense to have eaten a decent meal, I could not stomach the thought of food and skipped dinner. And then in the middle of the deeply cold and dark night I woke with a sudden urge to vomit and had to race out of my tent to do so. Crawling back into my sleeping bag a wave of fear washed over me that I had come all this way and I wasn’t going to make it.
Sweating. Head pounding. Heart racing. Nausea.
And meant to be leaving in the morning for three days alone with no food.
This is not looking good.
I felt barely better in the morning. Not vomiting anymore – but breakfast? Even though the last meal I will have for three days?
No thank you.
And here I’d been thinking I would have been eating ALL the foods.
I’m going. I can radio for help if I need to but no imaginary tiger let alone a case of the tummy wobbles is going to get me.
I’ve got to at least try.