On June 6,1989 my first husband, after 18 years of marriage, informed me that he was starting a new life without me. He stated that he would be moving out on June 30th. Needless to say, it was like an atom bomb had been dropped on my world. I am eternally grateful for God's support, guidance and strength and for the inspirations given to me by the angels in helping me put one foot in front of the other and move forward in my life. One of the angels' inspirations was to register for a week-long herbalist class held on a mountaintop in Vermont.
The class took place only a month or so after my husband's departure, so I was pretty much a shell-shocked woman. I flew to Vermont and my suitcase which departed with me in Baltimore didn't arrive with me in Montpelier. It would be days before it would show up. In looking back I know that God was helping me acclimate myself with the little unknowns, i.e. I didn't know where my clothes were;I didn't know when I would ever see them again, etc, and of course, the big unknowns, what would life be like on my own?
In the middle of the week the teacher - a master herbalist - taught us a Native American ritual of creating a prayer bundle. We each made a prayer bundle and then were instructed to go out into nature and find a tree we connected with. We were to hang the prayer bundle on the tree and release our prayers to God. I made my prayer bundle with the request that my suitcase would show up. I went to one of the biggest trees on the property as I wanted my prayer to go straight up to God. I attached my prayer bundle to one of the branches. I crawled out from underneath the tree and was walking on the road back to the house when I was approached by an automobile. The driver stopped and asked if I knew where he could find Jayne Howard as he had a suitcase to deliver to her. I remember being very impressed with the expediency of God's response to prayer bundles.
I greatly admire the woman who was my teacher. She is someone who has literally gone into a woods and has been able to find dinner in the plants and herbs. She epitomizes self-sufficiency and I know that God placed me in her care so that I would start believing in my own self-sufficiency. However, I wouldn't be truthful if I didn't admit that this was a very challenging week for me because of the emotions I was experiencing from the separation I was in the midst of and the divorce on the horizon.
I guess I was pretty pathetic and the woman took pity on me, because she suggested that maybe an emotional breakdown diversion would be for me to watch videos in the basement of her house. I am someone who loves going to the movies and watching videos. So I was thrilled with her suggestion. I went into the basement(a place of pure base chakra security/foundation energies) where the video player was and began watching a series I had never heard of before: The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell.
I now know that God guided me to Vermont to meet Joseph Campbell (via video) because the experience was life-changing. The diversion from emotional heartbreak became a passionate experience of pure heart joy. I loved the wisdom of Joseph Campbell. I couldn't wait for the herb classes to be over. During free time, when others were doing creative herby-type activities, I would go into the basement and put on another vhs tape. I was enchanted. I was mesmerized. I was reborn. There were so much that spoke to my soul in the six-part series. I drank in every word that Joseph Campbell spoke.
To this day, I remember the chills I got in hearing Dr. Campbell say the Sanskrit words, "Sat chit ananda" - Follow your bliss. He commented that one of his students from Sarah Lawrence University asked him, "Dr. Campbell, what is my bliss?" He replied, "That, dear one, is what you get to spend your life finding out." I felt he was speaking the words directly to me and my new life.
I was empowered by the wisdom shared of the Navaho having a powerful shamanic ritual that they call the pollen path. Pollen is the life source, The pollen path is the path to the center. Dr. Campbell shared the Navaho's wisdom words: "Oh, beauty before me, beauty behind me, beauty to the right of me, beauty to the left of me, beauty above me, beauty below me, I’m on the pollen path."
I didn't know what was ahead of me; however, I was choosing that my path would be the pollen path. From that moment forward, my life would be a path of beauty and bliss. Dr. Campbell explained in The Power of Myth videos that we are all on own hero's journey. The Pollen Path is such a journey. I could identify with our hearts being the hive and that we are called to be diligent to our sacred pollen path creating honey that is sweet to the Divine's lips.
Years later, in my travels I came across a Native Amrican sand painting of the Pollen Path. The art was created as part of a Navaho blessing ceremony. In researching the art I learned from Margaret Schevill Link's The Pollen Path and Joseph Campbell's Inner Space that the art depicts the Initiate entering the path of the rainbow. The Initiate passes onto the yellow pollen path between the two mysterious Ethkaynaashi Spirit Bringers or Guardian Beings, and comes into the white field of ritual ceremony through the Navajo Tree of Life, the Green Corn Plant. The corn plant has seven markers which correspond to the seven chakras. The Initiate has to pass through both the female and male experience as he goes on the path. The female experience symbolized by the smooth curved lines of the rainbow (red and blue) and the male by the crooked, dynamic lines of the lightning. Passing out of the top through the corn tassels, he comes to the Blue Bird, which signifies blessing and peace.
As I mentioned, the week on the mountaintop in Vermont was a stretch for me. I remembered one of the most bliss filled afternoons was when our group took a field trip to a bed and breakfast. We were served afternoon tea and we got to walk the property and see the owner's magnificient herb garden. On the way home we stopped at a Ben and Jerry's and had ice cream.
At the beginning of the week, the teacher had made mention of the ice cream outing. One of my emotional life preservers was the thought of having ice cream. Ice cream is one of my bliss foods. Driving from the bed and breakfast, on route back home and going to the Ben and Jerry's, one of my fellow students riding in the car I was riding, made the suggestion that we should skip ice cream because of dairy products not being good for us. I am certain to this day she still shutters at the thought of my threatening voice of what was going to happen to her if we didn't make the planned ice cream stop. The short version goes like this: "Jayne gets ice cream, and no one gets hurt."
When I think of my week in Vermont, I remember: prayer bundles; Joseph Campbell; the Pollen Path and ice cream.
Those sweet memories came rushing back to me today when I came across an advertisement by Haagen-Dazs (I have no ice cream prejudices). Haagen-Daz is promoting a campaign: Haagen-Dazs loves Honey Bees. I am giving you the link to their page of Gardening Tips for attracting bees:
In our own gardens we can link ourselves with the mystical pollen path by creating an environment that is beautiful, attractive and supportive of honey bees.
Until my next post: BEE HAPPY.
PS: Don't miss reading the book or watching the movie: The Secret Life of Bees