Great Mystery: Touching the Soul

Kindling the Native Spirit: Sacred Practices for Everyday Life - Denise Linn 2015

Great Mystery: Touching the Soul

It was the middle of the night . . . and someone was in our motel room. My husband was asleep next to me so I knew it wasn’t him. And whoever the intruder was, he wasn’t making any effort to be quiet. I was afraid and tried to breathe as quietly as I could so he wouldn’t know I was awake.

A few hours before, my husband, David, and I had been traveling through Northern California, on our way to Oregon. However, a torrential rainstorm had torn open the night skies and cold rain pounded the road. The rain sounded like a hail of bullets battering the roof of our car. It was dangerous to drive in such a downpour in the dark, so we decided to find lodging for the night. The closest town was called Lakeport, which is in a rather remote area in Northern California. We finally managed to find a small motel that advertised lakefront cottages. As we pulled up, in the rain-spattered light of our headlights, the yellow cottages with white trim looked like they were straight out of the 1950s. In the cozy lobby I expected to peek through a curtain and see a family gathered around a television with rabbit ears, watching Leave It to Beaver. We were fortunate that there was a vacancy, and when we finally got into our cottage, we flopped into bed and quickly fell asleep. It was startling to be awakened so abruptly by the intruder.

I held my breath, as there were more crashing sounds in the room. I didn’t know if it was better to wake up David or just pray that the intruder would leave. Mostly I was just scared. Then I heard a voice. “I’m angry! I’m really angry! My tules are gone. They took my tules!”

Had a crazy man broken into our room? What was he talking about? Tules?

For a long time the raging about the tules continued. David continued to sleep. Why didn’t the noise wake him up? It was loud. I was sure someone was in the room, but slowly it occurred to me that what I was hearing wasn’t a human being, but some kind of spirit. When I reached out to connect with him with my mind, the spirit began shouting louder saying that he was the Spirit of the Lake and that his tules were being destroyed. He also ranted that in ancient times, the native people of the area used to honor him with offerings and blessings, but now those days were gone and people were taking his tules. (Tules are the tall reeds that grow at the edge of lakes and ponds.)

I didn’t understand what he meant about the tules (I barely knew what a “tule” was)—and I had assumed that all Lake Spirits were female—so I was really confused on two counts. But I slowly said, “I’m so sorry to hear this. Tomorrow I will honor you.” He was gone instantly. I couldn’t sleep after this; it was so real and yet so otherworldly at the same time. I’d never experienced anything like it.

The next morning, to keep my word with the Lake Spirit, I took a cup of water, placed my hand over it, and sent blessings into the water. I then walked out in the rain down to the lakeshore. Offering a prayer, I poured the water into the lake. It was forecast to rain hard all day, but almost as if by magic, the skies opened and a rainbow appeared. It was stunningly beautiful, and strangely, the end of the rainbow seemed to be centered on an area of red earth on the nearby mountain.

To make a long story short, we learned that the land with the red earth was for sale. We made an offer, and thus began the journey to build a new home and eventually move north to what we call Red Earth Ranch . . . all because a spirit woke me up in the middle of the night.

I knew nothing about that particular lake or about tules, so when I got home I did some research about both to find out what the Lake Spirit was so angry about. I discovered that tules are important in the biogeocycling of nutrients, carbon dioxide and oxygen, and water in a lake. They act as a filtering system for pollutants, and they also act as nurseries for organisms that are the energy basis for an entire lake ecosystem. They provide food and habitat for songbirds, small mammals, and waterfowl. Additionally, they are a buffer against shoreline erosion. I discovered that over the years the tules around that lake has been uprooted. As a result, its ecology has been disrupted and even more algae is growing. In other words, the lake isn’t as vital as it can be. Because of the profound nature of my experience, I made a commitment to the Spirit of the Lake that once we moved there I would make offerings to him, and do what I could to help restore the ecosystem.

Curiously the night after we signed the papers to purchase the land, I had a dream in which I saw Native Americans dancing in celebration by a lakeshore with the Lake Spirit . . . and they were all dressed in what looked like reed clothing. After I woke up, I researched it and found that in past times the native people in that area wore ceremonial clothing . . . made out of the tules! They also used tules for medicine, food, clothing, baskets, bedding, hats, and more. No wonder they made offerings to the Lake Spirit who provided the tules. This dream gave me the feeling that the native ancestors of the area were happy that we were relocating there.

My spirit encounter changed the course of our lives, and the adventure of our new home awaits us. When you connect with the mysteries of Great Spirit, it can have a positive effect on your life. In this chapter, we’ll be delving into some of the mystical aspects of activating the native spirit. You’ll discover how to connect with the spirits of the land, the little people (fairies), and the ancestors; you’ll also learn about the profound experiences that can happen when you embark on a vision quest or explore your dreams.