I find that I return many times to past lessons and events as I comptemplate the course of my life and question things. Though perhaps i'd share one journey and maybe you'd care to join me as I walk down memory lane.
The Price of Admission, the Cost of Avoidance
Occasionally I make mention of the fact that one is chosen to be a Shamanic practitioner and failure to accept the selection is painful and costly. In many ways seemingly a constant repetition of accepts the pathway or be painfully guided or directed until you do so. Frequently more painful than any other Pagan type pathway one may encounter, for we do not choose it as it chooses us.
One great difficulty in walking this type pathway is the fact the lines tend to blur greatly. The idea of a cost of admission very apparent upon those who walk the pathway, yet the cost of avoidance or refusal many times masked beneath or within the cost of admission. Other times the lines of separation are very clear and easily recognized though equally painful at times.
My cost of admission simply put my very life. A needle in the arm, an allergic reaction and death, simple and to the point I suppose in retrospect. Yet I truly do not know if that was the only cost of admission or simply the first payment upon my account. An account that has weighed heavily upon my shoulders at times, nearly crushing me beneath its weight and payment demands.
As I stated my initial payment my death at an early age. Yet my parents say it was but the first of many things. Was it payment pending when my parents decided to take my with them on some night only to have it prevented at the last minute by my grandmother who absolutely refused to allow me out of the house? Perhaps, for the wreck they were in found my car seat compacted beneath the passenger seat of the car, which I surely could not have survived. Perhaps it was the kind elderly Colored Man that stopped my mother and myself from entering the bank which prevented us from being caught in the hail of bullets as they came rushing out. Perhaps it was even one of my dogs who sat upon my chest so I could not move as I watched the burglar climb in through my bedroom window before launching himself out my window.
But those are all things and costs over which I had no control or true influence to change the outcome. I was simply at the fate of whatever or whoever was pulling the strings and moving my spirit and life into some desired outcome. Yes, very much influenced and manipulated by them, even guided one might say or claim. However, to those who were watching it was clearly the price of admission they were seeing unravel before me and the payments along the way as I traveled it.
Yet even as the Cost of Admission was high so to was the Cost of Avoidance. I can still feel the teeth of that dog as it ripped into the back of my leg at the kneecap. No one knew why it attacked or choose me on that day but it did. No one knew why I would be on a swing and fall beneath it and have the skin ripped from my waist to my shoulders as it swung over my prone body before they could stop it. Even as the adults debated, “Did I jump or was I pushed?” Yet it didn’t matter in the end for it was done and I had to experience the humiliation of wearing my father’s shirts and the jeers of my peer’s at school. Even the tears of my teacher when my mother removed my shirt to show her the inflamed flesh and tears and cuts upon my back as mom explained why I was wearing such over sized shirts and grimaced in pain when I had to sit back in my chair.
Thus was my youth marked. Accident Prone, an Accident waiting for a place to happen, so many names or descriptions for what was happening to try and explain what was going on. A sort of forgone conclusion that it was bound to happen and I would pay for it with my body most times, my spirit sometimes and even my mind and sense of self-worth all the time. Attempts at friendships that were fleeting as I felt alone or seemed to pay some price for having them. A loner or recluse in so many ways with nothing but my mind and nature to carry me forward into strange places.
While my peer’s ran and played I haunted lonesome woods. Why they read comic books and I read about ancient civilizations and strange occurrences and beliefs. Oh, I had close friends that tried to get me to do things and we did some though many times we got in more trouble than we avoided. I still recall the butt whipping I got when we found that black snake and garter snake on the ice and brought it back to my friends house. The anger and fury of his mother as she awoke in the middle of the night with the snake upon her belly after it had gotten out of the terrium we placed it in. I can’t forget my mother walking me home as the storm ranged about and above us only to get just about to our house when the lightning struck the transformer above our heads and across the street. A fear that sent me running blindly away from that spot where it struck as I felt the burn from it and smelt the air.
Though I realized at an early age one does not speak of things they see or hear. Well not speak of them until someone brings it up and helps you understand. Understand who and what the faces and voices are you hear call you from the edge of the woods or the shadows as the day gives way to the darkness. To understand the caress of tree or vine and the slow voice that fills your head when they do. To put on the face that hides your face from the world about you less you loose your mind or are deemed crazy. Well crazy to everyone but certain member’s of your own family that tells you of things or advice. Even people who are not of your family but feel as if they are family from their closeness to you.
But the Price of Admission and Cost of Avoidance never ends. All that changes are the ways they are applied and the potential outcomes increase in severity for failure.
Who can say what it was that made me turn and look back that night? Sixteen, perhaps seventeen at the time, drunk and walking home on the railroad tracks. Yet still what force was it that made me finally turn and see that approaching train? To evaluate in a heartbeat that I was in a ravine, to steep to climb, too far to run and the train to close to really do anything. Yet I heard the whistle and was blinded by its light but still heard a voice say go. The clock was ticking and all I could do was grab the collar of my friend and move my body in a way I never had before to toss him half way up the ravine and flip myself out of the way. Yet even as I moved I could feel the rush of air and the sucking pull beneath the engine. Act or die, no other option involved or provided. I grow so tired of those tests even as I grow older in my body and spirit. Fear is the mind killer and domain of the mindless animal.
At times one looses themselves in the testing and payment of the process. Lines blur and boundaries change with each new direction one is directed down on some road they walk. Do a thing without proper respect and the forces or peoples smack you hard. Feel a tree without though and it bites back. Cross a spot of land or pass through and gateway without proper observances and you pay with body and soul.
My nephew though I was a nut case and probably joking that night upon the mountain as the moon shown full and bright. He listened as I spoke of what I felt in the darkness and shadows as thing's unseen moved about us. As we became pawns in the game being played out upon the mountain while some general positioned its troops. Yes, he though I was crazy, right up to the moment that scream ripped the night air and neither of us could identify it. How he wanted to turn and run but my mind screamed to run is to die so I simply walked him out of there. Walked as we heard them move in the shadow and follow us down the meadow until we passed the pond as one crashed into it. But how does one speak of things that pass in the night and hide in the shadows to remain unseen?
One might wish that it would only be natural things that charge them but it is never so. The tombstone that I held in my hand and journeyed upon cost me dearly yet my guides tell me to have not done it would have cost an even greater amount. The sudden sensation that filled me and compelled me to stop and simply wander into the woods was one I answered but had I not would I have been in the accident that passed without occurrence? The rooms I have entered and feel so alone is a cost of admission I have paid far to often yet the person who I stand waiting for profits from it. Yet if I hesitate or delay and miss the appointment then the headaches, body aches and illness makes me pay dearly for not listening.
It is clear to me that the lines blur and the cost varies greatly. I have paid the price of admission in more ways than I care to reflect upon and crossed the boundary of death or neared it to many times. Even when death is not the admission price it seems high to me at times and I wonder why though many times to wonder is to challenge and that raises the cost of avoidance. When I listen and follow, whether it be to act as the talking stick or hollow bone or simply to turn left vice right my pathway seems smooth and right. Yet ignore and I do so at my own peril and cost. Lesson’s which might have passed easily have become painful and costly as I experience them later after avoiding them earlier. Painful to me in both the physical application and spiritual weighted sense of cost applied to my life.
The Price of Admission and the Cost of Avoidance how they have rolled into one over the years and continue to do so even today as they impact upon me. I have been told no other can ever know the cost of the shamanic type pathway regardless of the pathway they elect to follow. We are always hearing they choose or have chosen their pathway, our pathway is chosen for us by Spirit or the Gods / Goddesses and we have no choice in it. Other’s may stop and go or even shift focus with no cost, yet those upon the shamanic pathway never can. We move and answer the call of the Spirit that selects us or we pay through destruction of our lives when we ignore it.
While it might seem as if we have no choice in the mater we really do. We can choose to answer the call and act in Spirits name and place, as it desires us to do. Equally, we can resist and accept the pain and cost of doing so and live that way or answer the call and follow Spirit’s purpose for our births.