First Shamanic Journey

I followed the tunnel down deep into the earth. It widened to almost cavern size and as the light to the opening disappeared from view, I took a torch from a wall sconce and walked on. There was light in the far-off distance. As I neared the end of the cavern, I put the torch back in an empty sconce and walked to the edge. Spread before me was lush greenery, huge, wild, growing everywhere -- like a rain forest -- like the Amazon as I would imagine it. I stepped out into it and then noticed a thin trail. I followed the trail on, and soon it ran parallel to a river. When I ran onto its banks, I was able to see ahead. I saw an absolutely beautiful waterfall. The highest I had ever seen. It was awesome! It took my breath away. As I drew nearer, I stopped before the descent's turbulence to drink from a quiet pool. As I drew up, I noticed a man beside me -- like a tribal aborigine or Amazon Indian native, with only a loin cloth on. We did not speak, but I knew enough to follow him. We followed the trail around to behind the waterfall, and entered the cavern concealed there. I saw a council meeting with power figures sitting about the fire in a circle. There was an empty place that I went to sit, as it was apparently meant for me (or perhaps it would be mine, if I could make it so -- claim my power, claim my shamanism). Anyway, I sat down and a pipe was sent around. I did not recognize anyone clearly. The visages seemed vague. I imagined that in time when the need or reason existed, I would know. I felt like an apprentice at a job interview. It seemed as if there were two elders discussing whether or not they should even bother with me -- because of my lack of concentration, my lack of belief, my immaturity... and yet, there was an innate power, a sensitivity, a communication ability, that would warrant a trial run. "Who, then, will assist this one in the growing", the eldest One asked. And the one who I had met at the river's edge said, "I will", and bowed respectfully to the eldest. "So be it." Then he looked at me and said, "Put your hand in the fire." He waited as I hesitated, but then I put my hand in. Not for long. I burned it some. "You let it burn you", he answered. "It is there. It is not there. Communicate. Be friends. Put your hand where he is not. Co-exist. Don't let him burn you." My mind was filled with not-understanding. It was buzzing with analysis and integration and the truth in his words. Suddenly, sand erupted from the earth in front of me, showering me with dirt. I was even more confused. The one who asked to assist me, who had stayed back from the circle in the shadows, came to me and lifted me to my feet. He motioned for me to follow, and led off into the darker inner regions of the caverns. Time for my Journey.