I enjoy being outdoors. Not really just outdoors – but REALLY outdoors. Like waaaaay out there. For the past few years, during the breaks between classes, I’ve had the chance to take a vacation out into various locations. I’ve had the chance to see Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, and the Sacramento mountains in New Mexico; the Gulf Coast region down in Galveston; and the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming. Each holds its own measure of majestic beauty and awe – as did the traveling to get to each of these
locations. In two weeks, I will travel again into the Rocky mountains – this time into Montana and the Glacier National Park, by way of Nebraska and South Dakota for short day-long jaunts. In each location, I plan to stop for a while – and take in the spirit of the Land itself. I do this at nearly every place that I visit, and I’ve had people look at me funny. I’ve also had other people nod in agreement. Regardless, its a deap-seated part of my own spirituality – that there are Kami in every location, including within the cities of concrete and steel that we (mankind) have built.
Nature is everywhere. Concrete, steel, rock, dirt, grass, mud, sea, river, lake…all of it is natural in my eyes. Sure, we (mankind, again) utilize some of the materials in a way that is harmful — not just to the land and the first inhabitants, but also to ourselves. That’s a point of stewardship — and slightly off-course for what I am writing about here (what else is new with my writing? LOL).
In the Shinto belief, the Kami are spirits or natural forces in the world around us. Manitou is a similar concept in Native American culture (Algonquian is the source of the word). Regardless of what word you wish to place into being – I prefer Kami, simply because it is easier to remember in my mind – I have experienced, and continue to experience these spirits within my personal practice. Sure, I’ve been called “crazy” for my belief — I don’t worry about the labels that other people place on me. Its difficult to provide words for a description, other than a feeling of something/someone whispering in your ear in a language you don’t/can’t understand (again, I’m not worried about the labels people place on me).
When I do my meditations, I typically bring some kind of offering for the Kami of the area. Typically, I bring some water – and provide the offering to a nearby bush or tree. Generally, I see the Kami as residing in and amongst us – not being destructive or invasive, but trying to get a point across that we can live and coexist together (and easily).
I do work with my own totem animal as well. Or I should say animals. For some reason, I’ve managed to get strong connections with both the Crow and the Coyote. Really weird
combination, but generally the two don’t cross often. Lately, the Crow has been the Email system of my mind – bringing and sending messages through my dreams. To be completely honest, I used to scoff at the idea of totem animals. Until about six years ago – when I started seeing crows nearly everywhere I went. Along with the obligatory Grackle (Texas seems to be the home-base for these birds), I’ve grown accustomed to seeing these birds in my backyard tree…or at the bird-bath in the backyard…or perched in the stone circle I have built around a statue of Kokopelli (also in the backyard). Surprisingly, at least to me, they poop on everyone else’s cars…. 🙂 During the trip to Montana…I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of a Coyote (though we do have a pack that live here in the county)…
…some folks call me strange for these thoughts….I don’t worry about that. I have more than enough positive things going on in my life to not worry about whatever negativity someone else is trying to transmit to others like an STD….