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Becoming Mud: Into the Heart of Nature

by Cathee Courter

Somewhere within me is a place of longing that is keenly aware of itself. The withering plant in the dark corner longs for the sun that lures it to life, but which it never directly perceives as warm rays upon frond. Like the sun, the nature spirit I call Mud is all through me, imperceptibly. We have danced in her spread of wildflowers and pine for centuries, I in my human forgetfulness having to re-meet her in lifetime after lifetime. When the trails approaching human/nature communion were well-trodden in past cultures, the signs to her were obvious, whereas this time I scried for years before beginning to comprehend the theology of Tahosa Valley—her body—as written in stone and tree. She is like a shimmer throughout the vast lake of my human consciousness, and I am a human face arising from her natural awareness. Ignoring the stifling clamor of convention, I've learned to discern her voice. My holy staff is my recorder mike, my pictograph-covered rock my computer screen, my tribe—well, maybe you. I am grateful for you.

Human love is well-chronicled in verse, novel, and psychological literature. Maybe overchronicled. Other types of love are harder to describe with human language, but pulse in our veins nonetheless.

In 1996, when impulsed to move to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, I was told by my spirit guides to curtail my channeling for humans and to use my psychic abilities with nature instead. For a decade I had loved translating messages from spirit guides into words for my clients' encouragement. When asked to switch over, I had little concept of what a nature spirit was, let alone how to talk with one . . . or love one. I began a quest to meet nature outside of my own psyche that bore little fruit. "Anybody there?" Who might answer anyway? The only clear message I received, bubbling up under a waterfall, was "we're not going to talk with you until you lighten up!"

This hide and seek game continued for four years until a friend told me that she'd communicated with an etheric angelic being up at Storm Pass. It was time. My guidance had instructed me to visit Lily Lake, in the same territory, with my recorder every day the previous summer, and I hadn't done it. Something about the land there was unsettling to me. The lodgepole pines seemed solid enough, but the land seemed to shift dimensionally as I walked along, and I sometimes felt very far from civilization even within view of the busy parking lot. Had my visits been frequent I might have discerned Mud's presence earlier, but the self-doubter in me has always been grateful that her existence was verified by another human from the start.

One sunny autumn day a friend hiked in the three miles to Storm Pass with me, ascending through pine forest and meadow, and found a good spot to plunk down with his world affairs magazine. I scrambled partway up a boulder stack thrice my height to a sturdy ledge, and prepared my recorder. She found me. A gentle, powerful presence stirred in the rocks cradling me, and spoke. I carefully lobbed each word into the recorder without letting my conscious mind latch hold of it.

As earth and water come together in mud, which is mud—is it earth? Is it water? It is something in the relationship. In the center of the human/nature continuum there are beings such as I who are able to work in both nature and human realms. You are also in the center working both realms. You might say that we build relationships, but more accurately we are the relationship. We are interface beings.

I was so happy to have channeled more than a sentence from a nature being — or, um, interface being — after all those years of trying to attune myself to them! (Mud is a little more nature than human.) Never mind that her words didn't make much sense to me. She had slipped materially into my reality.

It's almost funny now, my so hoping for a vision or voice. I assumed communication would be difficult when I saw myself as separate from the land. But Mud never saw herself that way. When I was sitting in the lap of her rock formation at Storm Pass, she was sitting in my lap. After all, my body was in her body of land. She was too close to see. Relinquishing my sense of separation in our meeting, I began perceiving the intimacy that I'd been immersed in all along.

Before the national park bought it, Lily Lake had been plotted by a developer to be surrounded by homes, and a roadcut was still evident. And not long before I met Mud, the seller drained the lake low from a small dam where the lake overflows into a stream, since the Park had neglected to buy the water rights with the land. Even in such a pristine place, human domination and its legal battles were apparent, and as Mud courted me at Lily, at first I was embarrassed by my humanity. But our control mentality and any guilty feelings resulting are ours alone. Nature offers us unconditional acceptance, and is eager to communicate with us.

Incarnation is a fluid give and take between human and nature, with the creation of not only a singular body for the human, but the influx of a new human consciousness into a body of land. It has been somewhat of a surprise to find myself at home here in this alpine body, having been born into flat sky-cradled Kansas and raised between humid fields of Iowa corn. I've been grateful to learn to incarnate here with Mud. She softens my heart and lures me home into the refined silky realm of interface frequencies.

This whole area that is Mud's body is called Tahosa Valley and adjoining peaks. Highway 7, known as Peak to Peak Highway, stretches along these ten miles, with small settlements of cabins sprinkled along either side of the 9,000 foot high road.

Many people first enter Mud's territory at Lily Lake, because it's easy to pull off the highway into the national park parking lot and gaze across the blue. Instant gratification. Lily Lake lies below a small mountain to the north (Lily Mountain), large boulders protruding above its trees like a stegosaurus' mane. To the east, across Highway 7, stands a huge wall of rock and evergreen called Twin Sisters. On the other side of that small mountain is what locals refer to as "the valley," comprised of Boulder, Denver, Des Moines, Chicago, etc. But if you take the highway north down steep windings, a smaller valley cradles the town of Estes Park. Estes seems to sprawl up its side of Lily Mountain more each day. To the west is a trail that leads back to overlook a row of distant white peaks hugging shoulders, then drops suddenly down out of view.

To the south ten miles, the diamond-shaped face of Longs Peak crowns the gently undulating carpet of evergreen that clothes Storm Pass and smaller peaks on its way down to Lily Lake. Dense lodgepole pines grow tall in that expanse of woods, with lush greenery above and dead branches at human level that grab at one's clothing. I now love that aspect of the area because few people venture off Lily Lake's sidewalk-like path, and I feel quite secluded only half a mile into this seeming wilderness. Scattered under the trees are stacks of boulders much taller than my body. Each one has its own ambience so that the dark forest seems full of many rooms, sanctuaries to be visited, close together so that the pilgrim can revere a dozen in the space of an hour.

On the south side of Longs is its twin peak, Mt. Meeker. They are essentially the same mountain, their tops connected by a high ridge, but Mt. Meeker from its side looks like a high triangular point with a dramatic drop-off of fallen boulder scree clear to its base, and it's not in the national park—it's national forest land. A little south beyond these peaks is the tiny picturesque town of Allenspark.

Longs Peak is the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park. Twenty thousand hikers attempt to climb its 14,259 foot summit each year, between snowmelt and snowfall, which is a period of only two months. In search of elation, they string themselves along the mountainside like a line of ants. I have never climbed Longs, not liking to share my backcountry bliss with a crowd. But that first day with Mud I myself was a little ant on the mountainside, missing the big picture. I didn't realize that I was sitting within a huge multi-dimensional portal—a "stargate."

When my guides first told me that Mud is nature's equivalent of a human ascended master, I'll admit I was skeptical. But over the years I've caught wind of the many groups who have come to bask in her glow. Colorado Springs channeler Sheryl Watson, who led a powerful reactivation of the portal in 2005 at Lily Lake with Archangel Metatron, did so at the request of "the lady of the lake." I've met two other professional channelers, from California and Wisconsin, who moved or will move to nearby cities specifically to be a part of this "stargate's" unfolding. There are likely more. Peruvian shamans in particular are keen on energetically connecting this sacred mountain and lake with their own peaks. I know of two who visit regularly, each with groups of students. Large facilities in the area host a variety of retreats and workshops that foster shamanic adventurers, who pass like waves through these woods, each adding their sparkle. Many of the most dedicated of devotees you'll find not leading the workshops but cleaning the toilets of the retreat centers, doing anything they can to be able to live in the shadow of these ancient rocks.

Unlike towns such as Sedona, Arizona or Mt. Shasta, California, the town council and citizens of Estes Park seem oblivious to the power of the nearby mountains. The city council seems most interested in "development," to squeeze in one last tourist. Those who work most closely with nature in their hearts tend to be fairly invisible. I've been asked on occasion by locals to not write this book, to keep the magic of the area to ourselves. But that is not really my choice to make in this partnership. Mud and others wish to reach out to you.

Almost everyone I talk to who has been to Lily Lake has met Mud, but they don't realize it until I mention her. Those who haven't met her were often so numbed out emotionally or distracted by mind chatter, they might as well have been in Kalamazoo, for all they noticed the land. It's not that she's in the background at Lily. She is the background there, the matrix of nature consciousness as it relates to humans.

When you visit Lily Lake, chances are good that you're the foreground in your experience, exclaiming, "This place is so beautiful!" There arises a deva (a spirit) of your relationship with the lake and surrounding land. This deva of relationship between you will grow each time you visit or look at photos of your visit. It will have its own life, glimmering in the hidden places of your heart, drawing you back. You'll have become a vital part of the lake through your relationship-spirit progeny with it. (And you thought you were just an idle tourist.)

If you visit the lake often, this child of thought and emotional form that you've co-created with the lake will grow and spawn its own offspring of meaning as others bump into it on the trail. Your deva there may be strong enough to shake the passerby out of his preoccupation with his thoughts, and shift his mood to register the sense of awe that you felt at that spot. And a new deva arises, of the relationship between the passerby and your awesome deva of relationship with the lake. In places loved by humans, consciousness bubbles up in these joint creations, spreading out, spawning aliveness, and eventually people start to call that place sacred, "my power spot," special.

Mud fields this creation, being the overlighting deva of nature/human interaction in the territory of her body. Since she is part human, she is able to understand you, speak with you if you are able to hear, and heal you with the power of the land. Not ordinary land—the higher purpose of the area within and around Rocky Mountain National Park is human/nature communion and communication. It's no mistake that this particular area became a national park, with its highways able to ferret three million people through the Park a year. Incredible creativity arises from the human/nature interactions of even the woman in high heels shivering at the lookout beside her diesel-fume-spouting SUV and the canyon below.

My previous image of a power place was of a pristine, hard-to-reach backcountry spot where few people had ever been. Early in my relationship with Mud I found myself with a free week and envisioned camping in a remote area. My guidance suggested that I spend all my waking hours at Lily Lake. One day I sat near the lake, deep in meditative merging with it, and was startled by an earnest voice behind my ear. It belonged to a woman in a bright red hat. "Are you alright? I've never seen anyone sit so still!"

Tourists in red hats have been the downfall of many a nature mystic. (Luckily the Buddha, to my knowledge, never met such midwestern friendliness under his bodhi tree.) This encounter exploded one of my first misconceptions about nature beings—that they dislike noisy tourists. Mud welcomes everyone. Despite being surrounded by parents yelling at their kids, fishermen almost grazing me with their hooks, and seniors more focussed on their heart rates than on the panorama beyond the lake walk, I must confess my experience of Mud's presence was so overwhelming that I didn't make it through the whole week at Lily. If you can imagine one of the most intense expressions of nature—a storm or a brilliant sunset—and then imagine that storm or sunset looking directly at you, but not from outside of you. There's a sense of being known by something incomprehensible on some level, yet tangibly around you in stone, plants, and sky. Ancients might have called that something an Earth goddess, but to me she is too close for mere adoration.

Meeting Mud in each new moment we connect is like following the spiral of my life's physical, mental and emotional tributaries back to the center from which they spring. That center to me is land-based.

I first visited this area in 1978, a midwestern college student working at a large resort for the summer. And then Christmas break. And then a semester or two off. Mopping floors between the peaks.

Climbing mountains with friends was blissful, but even more so sitting in my favorite cave for hours on end feeling the nearby pine as it stretched, the river's whisper, the rock surrounding me a womb-like shell as the wind wove my spirit through the forest. Not owning a car at that time, I walked everywhere, and the land and I became aspects of one another, inseparable. At some point an inner prompting pushed me back to the human-dominated world to learn the ways of society.

For three years I attended a United Methodist seminary near Chicago, exposed to ghetto realities. My studies included the Hebrew attacks on nature-honoring tribes whose land was taken, the genocide of Native American people and the taking of their land, and the atrocities the Inquisitors inflicted on women herbalists and others whose property they took. During my internship as a pastor in western Colorado, I got to experience a taste of inquisition myself when my supervising pastor accused me of being "of the powers of darkness" while trying to get me fired (after firing her other two employees, the secretary and the janitor). I had studied, and even followed, the practices of several major and indigenous religions by then, and she seemed to panic every time I preached uncensored, although I tried to stick to biblical language. Trouble was, despite my English degree and theological studies, I'd found no vocabulary in which to describe my own spiritual experiences. No one else's boots quite fit for my journey into the unknown within myself.

My parents in Iowa took me in with what would now be called chronic fatigue, and from there it took twelve years to return to the mountains. In the meantime I worked for a mortgage company, became a professional channeler, and worked with Third World scholars and students at a university who recognized, in my channeling, traces of their own cultures' traditional spiritual roots they'd left behind. But by the time my guides led me back to the cave, I was more jaded by western intellectual alienation from nature than I suspected. It took years of deprogramming orchestrated by wildflower and doe before I switched gears enough to allow myself to be wooed by Mud.

Peter showed up in my life soon after Mud did. A workshop I'd planned to give for a local group on earth energies was cancelled, and he called to express his disappointment. We met for our own workshop, with sequels, as it tuned out, every other weekend for five years, in hundreds of channeling adventures. We now live together, and the work continually deepens.

I am still feeling my way slowly back home to a sane, trusting relationship with the Earth. I'm fortunate to have received tremendous help, seen and unseen, which I offer to you. Culturally, we're a long ways from the enchanted forest. Amazingly, it still welcomes us with beckoning arms.

Longing and Love

The postcard made me do it. Longs Peak shone from its card above a patchwork of others from around the world, at a corner of the huge bulletin board in our office. I'd sent the card to my colleagues at the university's International Center while on vacation. As if the postcard were a two-way camera and monitor, Longs watched me for years. Reached through. Beckoned—no, tugged on me like the tide toward its shore of forest and flower. I finally succumbed, quitting a week after my hard-earned promotion as an administrator was finalized.

I remember sitting in an international jobs fair planning session, looking around as if in an unlikely dream, wanting to wake up.

"What are you going to do in Colorado?" was the oft-repeated question in the hallways.

"I'm going there to be," I replied.

Trite, but I looked forward to remembering some depth to me I couldn't quite reach in human-dominated Iowa where wildflowers are "weeds." As a teen I'd known an awkward intimacy with weeds in summer soybean fields, grasping each stalk low and, with a faceful of leaves, leaning back until the roots lost their grip. Since I didn't life-and-death grapple with the soybeans, I hardly remember them. Like many Iowans, they were good productive citizens, quietly friendly, staying in their rows, not standing out. The bean plants did what they were told to the point of becoming some soulless monstrous genetic technological marvel. By now they probably harvest themselves.

The unfortunate wild plants who surfaced in fields were plucked, plowed under, or poisoned. Seldom did these misfits manage to flower. At the time, I was unaware that the national park uses the same toxic herbicides to kill "non-native" species that farmers use to snuff out "native" ones. Soybeans would be lethally sprayed in our national parks if they spread aggressively outside of their midwestern regiments. But the majority of aggressive non-natives you find in these parks are human.

Who were these weeds among the beans, really? I used to wonder. If left alone, would they unveil delicate petals of vibrant colors that stir the soul? And who would I be, if free to roam in wilderness? What colors, shapes, and textures of meaning would reveal themselves as my own bloom? I longed for a community of wildflowers to mentor my opening. A chance to learn to love like the flowers caress the sun was worth trading for my sure meal on the table. By the time I left Iowa City in 1996, the farmers had so poisoned the groundwater that public warnings were issued for the elderly and pregnant women to not drink the water on high run-off days. The meal was not so sure anyway.

My sweetheart at that time, Kieran, was a true Iowa boy who had never seen west of the border. Luckily, the same tide was pulling him, and he moved with me sight unseen to this place that quickly felt like home.

How odd that our economic survival often seems to depend on our ability to dissociate from the woods, consume it, and numb out to the inner emptiness that results. My vision of hell is the gray cubicle in which I once worked as a mortgage clerk, preparing slips of paper that divvied up the land, to earn "rent" for one of those slips to park my body somewhere on planet. We get so disassociated from our birthright of connection to land, it's easy to overlook the longing.

Not our longing for nature. I speak of nature's longing for us. Out my window where I once lived in Estes stands a small mountain known for hosting vision quests for thousands of years. There was usually a human teacher along to help the quester integrate their experiences on the way back to the tribe—whether that be down the valley or hundreds of miles away. A great deal of preparation must have gone into these journeys, motivated by a deep desire to be transformed on the mountain.

When Kieran and I naively moved into a condo at the base of Old Man Mountain, as it is called today, we quickly discovered an energy geyser in our living room that gave the simple experience of trying to take a nap the heightened sensitivity of a quester's dream come true. I hardly slept the first week there. We've been told the condo was built on an energy field that reached out to greet pilgrims before they reached the mountain itself. Old Man never gave us a moment of relaxation in our home, tugging on us with energy that could be called "longing." Common terms for it are "earth energies" or "ley lines," but tune in enough and you realize the field isn't an "it"—there's someone in there who senses you. I wonder if the questers of old, contrary to our patriarchal notions of spiritual growth through willpower, were pulled by the mountain more than they pursued it. Our modern notion of mountains as things to be conquered gives many climbers a mindset that precludes being able to feel these compelling forcefields of attraction spun out by spirits of the nature realm.

Mud says she longs for all humans. She has plenty around. Longs Peak has for a century been the fashionable peak to clamor up of this range, beginning with Enos Mills, the initiator of the founding of Rocky Mountain National Park. For a time, Mills led hikes up every day the sixteen miles and thousands of feet ascent. These days, it is internationally known to technical climbers for its challenging routes. Perhaps its great popularity is due in part to what my guides have said about it being part of the energetic heart meridian of the planet. "It is possible to do much more with a little bit of love if you can connect into the pathways here than it is to send the same amount of love from elsewhere."

photo in Rocky Mountain National Park

The ridge line near the top outlines a beaver shape, for which the Arapaho named the mountain. The white man had a more apt name—the white man named Mr. Long, that is. Longs Peak is named for an expedition leader who saw it from a distance and never came near. With many of European ancestry named after trades—Carter, Baker, Cooke, etc., for what trade was the ancestral Mr. Long named? Was he tall, or a troubadour? I find it delightful that Mud's mountain was named for her. As she has said, "If you wish, you can rename me 'Longing' for awhile. For if you were willing to enter into longing, you would find me."

Longs' longing must extend the ten miles down to Lily Lake, for even at Lily "this longing is felt almost like the effect of a topographical formation such as a grove of aspen trees or an outcropping of quartz would be felt. You feel a longing, and it feels like a magnetic pulling, only it's pulling globally in all directions at your heart."

She once came through me with tremendous love for a friend of mine over the phone. As she started speaking I felt her consciousness spread out like a wave through all of his land slowly. Mud told him she wished for him to experience with her a different kind of love than he had known, where the giver and the receiver of love, not separate, are like one brilliant standing wave undulating. I loved her descriptions and the way I felt channeling them. However, he was pretty traumatized, he told me later, by the way the chair on which he sat and the house around him seemed to disappear, and his usual sense of himself with them. He didn't manage to get back to a normal sense of up being up and down being down until the next day, and this man is skilled at grounding. That's Mud. So sweet, but if you're not ready for oneness, it can feel like collapsing into a void.

All of our relationships have inherent within them both the pole of separateness—two created beings relating, and the pole of oneness—our common void origin. Longing lures us from relating as separate beings toward experiencing our underlying unity, and in human love we tend to play up this magnetism into rich dramatic "romance." In fact, most of us get so caught up in the sensational, heart-wrenching stories of our coming home to oneness that we're never quite ready to drop the drama and just be one. Our fascination with separate distinctiveness is a human quirk. As my nature teachers say, "you can't throw a human into oneness and expect them to like it."

Nature excels at oneness. A tree does not experience itself as separate from the soil beneath it. Mud's longing is an extension of this draw of oneness that holds everything together. She describes herself:

One basic difference between us is that I embody things. So when I say feel me in your heart, know that I am embodying your heart if you are giving me permission to do that. What you offer to me that I am rather weak on is this choice to love. The will to love. I embody, and in that embodying there is a form of what you call love. It is a oneness, consciousness playing with itself, consciousness moving through itself and back again. My consciousness moves through Lily Mountain. But what I cannot do so much that I see you able to do, is to decide to love—and this fascinates me. When I knock on your door you decide whether to open your heart to me or not. This is rather unique in my experience. When I knock on the door of the flower it's always happy to let me in, to let me be it, to be me, to greet each other. Mingle and separate out and mingle in this dance, this play.

No one but the human decides whether to love or not. It fascinates me. The most incredible power that I see among the humans is the ability to be separate, the ability to decide who to love, what to love. I have some choice in that, but largely I am like a moving force, a moving energy.

Who determines where the wind blows? It blows, it moves, it is a flow. It is not a conscious decision on the wind's part. It is more of a reading of the whole, and it is in sync with the rhythm and the energy patterns of the whole. This is more of what you would probably perceive my experience to be.

And so I come to you mustering words to speak to you as if I were a separate self. But if you were to truly be in my heart and experience my essence, to you it would feel like a wave hitting the beach, moving, filling in where the Earth holds it, and not really deciding to go here or there, but moving in alignment with the contour of the beach. You have called me, and this allows me to come to you. This allows me to wash upon your shores, and move into the sand of your essence that's permeable, that will let in this wave. And so together we become mud.

When I say you are precious to me, you are precious partly because you choose to love me. Your choice to love me imparts to me the ability for me to see—it's a reflection—that I am indeed loving you. I go along doing what's natural to me, and I don't realize it's love. And then when you choose to love me back, I realize what I have been doing is loving you. It's amazing to me.

I long for your love. I long for your love. And I say that without the same feeling of selfishness that you folks seem to put around those words. This is an honest intent on my part, to experience this love with you.

Waking up the Land

The softening of identity needed to relate to nature, like a yawn, can be a stretch. I tend to merge with my surroundings so that each piece of the jigsaw puzzle, myself included, blends into a whole much bigger than any of us, but inseparable from each of us. My awareness of myself dissolves into my awareness of that bigger picture, even as I watch a deer weave its way through the welcoming trees and disappear into it.

My nature teachers gave me a simple exercise to connect with my surroundings early on. I practice it with boulders, but it can be done with any natural object.

— Feel your connection to Source.

I sense the outline of my body's skin where the warmth of sun touches my arm or my weight presses aginst the rock beneath me.

I sense my mood.

I see myself as if from a distance and ask who is this woman in her essence? What is her signature energy, her tone?

I feel how all of me, from spiritual light to my toenail that an ant is crawling over is created in this moment from Source.

— Feel the rock's connection to Source.

I look at the boulder's shape, guess at how far into the ground it extends, feel its solidity, admire its beauty, imagine its age and how it got here, and feel it being created from Source in each moment.

—Feel the relationship between you and the rock.

I feel our common origin in Source, simultaneously with our uniqueness as physical beings relating here now.

—This relationship is Spirit.

Here's another exercise:

Feel the ground down ten feet beneath you as an extension of your body. How do you sense that your arm is your arm when you go to move it? Try to have that same feeling towards the ground beneath you.

I feel the granite beneath me as an extension of my body, and sensually let my attention spread out to the rest of the landscape of which I am a part. It's like being in the center of a hug, and like any good hug I'm just in it, not thinking about it (unless cold winds or pesky flies suddenly land me outside of it). Then I start feeling around for who is there sharing my now extended body, feeling for the subtle movement of consciousness. I am background and foreground both.

Slipping into sensuous background is a common experience for many fishermen, gardeners who let themselves be gardened, and the occasional hiker who isn't bent on going somewhere in particular. It's refreshing. Call us boring introverts if you like. We're actually having a great time.

It's the second step, the creating a conscious relationship with nature that I suppose takes both intention and some natural bent for it. Mud has taught me. But having her as a teacher has been a little trickier than walking through the woods with a human teacher. I have to in essence move into the deva of my relationship with her, let it speak, then do an identity switch to focus on my human identity to ask questions. It's more of a stretch than channeling my guides, but similar in that my human ego has to be willing to ask a question, and then experience momentary suspension during the answer.

My personal guides are able to connect with many creatures on the inner planes whose resonance is very different from human, and translate meanings from them through me into words. I channel my clients' guides (in combination with mine) rather than a singular entity, and as a result, I've been privileged to resonate with a wide range of beings. None have been so demanding emotionally for me as connecting with the nature consciousnesses of my own backyard, with whom I share body. The ultimate in navel-gazing is to relate to the consciousness that holds my navel in place (and everything surrounding me). To relate to it —no, to be it, beyond intimacy—requires a curious courage, exploring the tenuous wonder of my existence in form.

One day I frolic in human/nature oneness, merging with every flower that catches my eye. Then I shy away from that seeming loss of selfhood by avoiding the woods for months on end.

My nature teachers call me on my human prejudice:

It is impossible to be anywhere in this incarnation without feeling—if you're willing to feel—nature. You are attuning yourself to an awareness of nature everywhere. This is not earth-startling revelation. We see you still resisting it though, resisting the fact that you are never alone. There is no you that is not us. How odd that you feel that there should be.

As your ever present, ever tolerant, ever fluid counterpart, we're happy to be here with you. Accept that you are part of the fabric of life, which includes us, your friends, and this place. You don't really exist outside of that fabric. There is some mythology among the human ones that you are somehow outside of it, and you came down into it, and then someday again you will be outside of it again. It's subtle, how this mythology has worked its way into your psychology. And it isn't true. So you must let go of the myth.

Surrounding us are billions of galaxies. One can bet that beyond these galaxies made of time/space matrix are billions of other universes of unimaginable meaning and experience. We humans not only don't have the senses to perceive most of them, we don't have the faculties to resonate with them—to make them real to us. In our particular universe, which contains form ranging from the subtlest thought to the dense iron center of our Earth, nature consciousness and human consciousness were birthed as a pair, a polarity, like light/dark is an inseparable unit.

Nature is a consciousness that holds all things that are in form, including things dreamed up by humans like cars, pizzas, and songs. Yes, your car has a deva—you always suspected it was "alive," didn't you? Your car model has one too. However, the devas of the natural world have the capacity to spawn new creations, and often feel ancient and wise. Human-spawned devas of things are more static.

Human intention is fleshed out in touchable, feelable, multi-colored "reality" with its co-creator, nature. We can speak of human intention in ordinary terms as the thought that went into the building's blueprint, or in quantum physics terms as your perception that arranges sub-atomic particles to co-create your experiences. Nature consciousness supplies the stuff of which not only immense mountains, but even your subtlest thought, are made.

Human consciousness and nature consciousness are inseparable. My guides have told me and various clients, "You helped to create these mountains, and are now living among them as the created." Conversely, nature spirits like the deva of salsify have helped to evolve the human form for thousands of years. When I get discouraged with my bodily limitations, she comforts me, "Look, we've come a long way, but we're not done yet. You're doing the best you can with an imperfect form." And of course whoever created both humans and nature to be this duo is creative beyond our imagination.

The draw between our consciousnesses leads to no idle longing on Mud's part. It's inherent in our polarity together. (The birds and the bees are longing for more than we give them credit for.)

At times I catch a glimpse of the richness of this human/nature duality. I mentioned earlier that I came to Colorado seeking depth. There is depth off the side of Trail Ridge Road in the Park, the highest through highway in the U.S. at over 12,000 feet in places. The drop-offs from the road are intense, three thousand feet down the forested canyon, the trees and streams on the other side swirling up even higher into rocky peaks.

The area's spirit is a group of consciousnesses whose body extends around both sides of the canyon across the saddle at its end and to its bottom.

Peter and I watched the setting sun melt stark peaks into gentle shadows one evening from a look-out. Driving back along the peak-lined ten mile canyon ridge, I felt my soul in the immensity of the mountains, tundra-frosted cliffs surrounding lakes pouring into streams cutting through forests into the depths. The spirits of the area spoke:

photo of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

We say words like "between the realms" [human and nature realms]. There is really not a place between the realms. Sometimes we call it an interface rather than a space. It is more a movement.

In this movement you are born each time you merge your sense of looking to include us looking. Together we experience. Each time in this non-place between the worlds, the creativity creates you to be a more luminous being because you have a depth that you lacked a moment before. In this depth there is space for an array of consciousnesses to come into your scope of awareness. There are shades of consciousness to which you have been oblivious heretofore. But just as sunlight, when it rises, starts to illumine the land so that what seemed to be a solid brown hillside suddenly has reds and golds and greens as well as browns as light rises, so you too can begin to discriminate new subtleties of what is there within your depth, and thus is you.

We are connected in your mind and in reality with a place that seems to be separate bodily from you, and yet we would say that we are subtle beings within your depth. Or we could say that you have become expanded enough to be a consciousness that encompasses us in such a perception that we become real not only to you, but indeed to us as awakening self-consciousnesses in your human world. Your human world in our world is a world of subtlety in our own depth, which through the creativity of this interface becomes real to us. And therefore you are made more real even to yourselves.

This channeling touches me dearly every time I read it. If you have trouble understanding it in regard to nature, think of a human who has awakened a depth in you that you didn't know existed. In this way we help to create one another.

My guides call it "waking up the land" when we first feel our oneness with the land and its spirits, and then love them from a stance of individuality, which enables them to come to conscious awareness of themselves. "Things" come alive for us, and are able to love us back. Waking up the land is a total delight for me, despite the subtle pressure of now having many nature beings lined up wanting to speak to and through me! Their love for me is as "real" as the love I've experienced from any human, but of a different quality. Their awareness is closer to oneness, and being a creature more centered in polarity, I as a human often have to discern the relationship to experience our connection in the polarity sense that I recognize to be love, rather than oneness.

When I forget my role as a human in my relationship with nature, I sometimes feel like a huge tidal wave is dissolving me in its wake. When I initiate a personal relationship with an aspect of this huge consciousness, I open myself to receive a personal response. For a long time traditions of offering food, flowers, or tobacco to nature beings made no sense to me. I now appreciate the importance of the human having enough sense of separation to perform an act of love, so that an experience of love can grace both the nature being and the human. And in feeling loved, humans can more easily open to experiences of non-separation. The devas could probably call their longing for experiences of oneness with us "waking up the humans." My teachers have said:

The opening of the heart often comes from feeling your oneness with someone, human or non-human, that you experience as "other." In resonating with the "other," you open your heart and you experience oneness. So the more that we can encourage you to experience the nature that you love as "other," the more you open your heart and you experience nature as "not other," as one with you. It is a beautiful and necessary dance, this moving between duality and unity.

Perhaps this dynamic is why when I'm feeling diffused like plankton in the sea of oneness with nature consciousnesses, it's wonderful to pull together an energy clearing with a set goal in a concrete arena like someone's home. Peter and I call in our allies as if they were separate from us to clean out negative emotions and even ghost-types from physical structures. It's fun to arrive in a suburban home and introduce our assistants—the deva of the home being cleansed, Pan, Archangel Michael, etc. Or are we their assistants, merely because without them we would be like wingless, blind vultures trying to clean out our clients' carrion?

We move fully into the human role of helping our clients set intentions for their home, business, or institution. Often we work with a home someone is trying to sell, or one where someone has just moved that has emotional residue clinging from a former resident. We appear to be using techniques toward a goal, but we're basically building/human relationship counselors. You can feel the place becoming more awake and alive as nature creates huge energetic shifts in response to our requests, and gives feedback for how to bring a home into greater harmony with its people and vice versa. The human/nature dance can feel magical.

Speaking of technique, when working with students, I'll sail out some techniques—rafts from which to learn to swim in the great seas. But even with groups, if possible I allow space for people's guides to give them a chance, if need be, to say through me, "ignore everything she's taught you—it won't work for you in your uniqueness."

My loose attitude toward technique was reinforced by my first teacher of energetic healing, who had considerable attention deficit disorder. Following a line of thought was difficult for him, but goodness could he heal, once pulling a severe headache out of me in about twenty seconds. I took his course on a healing technique called Polarity, became friends, and did weekly healing trades with him. Seldom did I catch him using what he'd taught. The day I felt myself hoisted up from the floor ankles-first and shaken soundly to release energy blockages from my field like wrinkles from a pillowcase, I began to act more confidently on my intuition per his example. He hadn't taught that technique in class, but it worked.

My guides shake out wrinkles in me using whatever—teaching, tickling, teasing, but mainly coddling. I need a lot of that particular technique.

On television, "wilderness" is often portrayed in short blips of growling predators, hungry tornadoes, and ocean waves in a capsizing mood. In the field, an observer will more likely witness a whole lot of receptivity going on: plants opening to sunlight, soil absorbing raindrops, ponds rippled by the feet of insects, leaves danced by the breeze. The more receptive I can become, nature-like, the more powerfully I can play my part. Being cuddled takes me there, opens me up, more than any other technique besides caressing smooth stones on the bottom of a warm bubbling river with my toes, or moon-bathing.

Shamanic initiations: I have been through many. They usually consist of my lying quietly in a dark room while spirit guides rearrange my energy fields, pulling out and putting in who knows what. It takes trust, receptivity, and a tolerance for intimacy. Patriarchy for thousands of years has given us technique—arduous life-threatening initiatory practices to explore Spirit as if it were "out there," as if there were an "out there," separate from us. We usually only hear about vision quests of the male persuasion. All that fasting, sitting in the freezing rain, lying without shade in blazing heat. What it takes sometimes, to hunt down receptivity!

My advice for vision-receiving is to turn off the TV. Better yet, give it away. Step outside. Don't be shy with the moon, irregardless of the way men have walked on it.

Still, I must say a part of me longs for technique. Its existence implies that somebody knows what's going on. What I normally do in comparison is more like falling in love with the divine through relationships with nature beings, and becoming that which I love.

Many people experience "waking up" nature spirits in the realm of their pets, including dogs, cats, the occasional pig, etc. Some say that animals take on the human quality of individuation—developing distinct personalities apart from their herd—by living closely with humans. My own dear Kitty Pie seems to fit this scheme.

Kitty Pie was a neighborhood stray when we took her in. She was so fat as to look pregnant, probably storing up, not knowing where the next meal would be hunted or begged. Over several years, as we spoke sweetly to her, she gradually hung out with us more, let me pet her, and even let me pick her up. She now talks incessantly, wanting to be the center of attention most of the time, while playing hard to get.

I attended a workshop on human/animal communication at the annual Fairy and Human Relations Congress in Washington state. As the instructor led us through exercises, I felt a strong connection to Kitty Pie's spirit, and eagerly anticipated hearing anything she might have been trying to tell us.

A clear, strident message came through.

"I want your constant attention."

I sat there surrounded by fun new friends, fascinating speakers, and yes, even fairies in a beautiful wooded setting, wondering why I was spending my time being bossed around by my cat when that could happen just as easily at home. I suddenly realized why I hadn't developed our telepathic connection before.

Be careful whom you wake up!

Nature beings range the gamut from the incredibly huge consciousnesses of stars or flower species to individual spoiled cats.

No offense, Kitty Pie.

Soul Family

Simplistically—alright, very simplistically, here's where we are in a short history of creation, the human line.

Void/God/Pure Potential/The One

splits in order to relate to Itself and to know Itself creatively.

It becomes huge beings I can't even imagine,

that become archangels embodying aspects of meaning,

that subdivide into oversouls embodying purposes,

that create myriad individual humans,

who give birth to swarms of thoughts and emotions,

that spin off entities.

We've differentiated out as far as we care to.

We've turned the corner, ready to expand back towards oneness consciousness as our planet rises in vibration.

This change can require adjustment. It can be exhilarating and a bit crazy-making. The question is, at which level do you primarily hold your identity, your sense of who you are? Many of us are increasingly experiencing ourselves at the oversoul, soul family level. The oversoul sends forth shoots from itself into various epochs and cultures. These creations we call our past and future selves, but some of our contemporaries may also be soul kin. Of the same stock, we affect each other quite directly. Our experiences together can be disorienting if we don't have a context in which to understand our increasing sense of oneness and purpose.

In fact, oneness without context can be downright embarrassing.

Soon after we arrived in Estes, we pulled a chiropractor's name from the phone book, each had a session, and then chatted with him for the next three hours. Our friendship with this healer grew along with my admiration for his healing ability. I marveled at his healthy, robust looks given what I saw him eat at the greasy spoon he frequented!

When asked, he was willing to do a trade. I was missing my healer friend in Iowa, and hoped to perform such a powerful, insightful and life-changing reading that my new friend would want to trade often with me. Not that my ego was involved.

His healing work relieved my pain, aligned me, and opened up a surge of energy. My turn. I asked to connect with his spirit guides. I felt around for them, and could find no one to relate to, channel, or ask for assistance. Not to panic. When I relaxed into the calmness that permeated and held us, I realized that we were within the presence of a being so spacious that I could find no footholds. The more I tuned into the man before me, the more I became lost in its brilliant radiance.

"Try asking a question."

He did. The words dissipated like lightplay on a pond, not graspable. As he sat waiting, awkwardly patient, a car pulled up outside—his next client was already here. Managing an apology, I half slunk, half floated out the door.

That glorious presence stayed with me the rest of the day.

"Who was that? I asked my guides.

"An experience of your oversoul. His oversoul too. Same one."

The next time I saw this soul cousin, I hardly knew how to relate to him. My embarrassment at not being able to channel for him was excruciating, but even worse was my discomfort at feeling it would be intrusive, if not weird, to tell him, "When I look into your soul, I find mine." I've since learned that three million of my soul family are in human bodies on Earth at this time, and many of us are connected to this locality. We bump into each other often. There are thousands of soul families associated with this planet, each with their own special purpose.

One of my group's traits is the ability to merge, so our experiences may be pretty mergy compared to others, but many people are happening upon an otherwise unexplainable sense of closeness with individuals of sometimes very different lifestyles from theirs. We're moving, of course, into a sense of oneness with everyone. The internet is a symbol of our awakening global psychic interconnectedness. But we may feel it most at first with soul family.

Unless you're one of the few loners on a soul level, you're likely surrounded by these soul kin in your daily life. Can you guess who they are? Someone you're in love with? Well, possibly. Someone who is an intricately clear mirror for you, who has brought you your hardest lessons in life, but you still feel close to on some level? Now we're getting there.

Few soul families are purely human, or limit their geographical scope to Earth. My oversoul's purpose is—you guessed it—to bridge human consciousness and nature consciousness. To that end, we birth ourself as devic beings like Mud as well as human beings like me. In fact you could say she and I are human/devic interface beings by virtue of our common oversoul. If we look into our own soul, we find the other there.

I asked one day whether Mud's ability to work with humans was why the national park was established here. A sub-group of my oversoul replied:

The probability that you would be here in human form working with Mud who is not in human form was all set up at the same time. Now when we say Mud is nearly two million years old, that kind of blows your mind that this was all set up at the same time. It was not determined that there would be such a thing as a national park. But it was known that this land would need humans who were attuned to it, and who would conserve it and make it possible for certain kinds of work to be done here at the stargate. So in some form this land would have been protected.

If it wasn't you coming to work with Mud, it would have been someone else from our soul family. That is certain. It extends so much bigger than what you call a contract because it involves not just you, but the whole big soul family enterprise of energy on Earth. And just because you are a very finite, mortal being, whose life span is predicted to be seventy or eighty years does not mean that you are any more or less an expected important part of this than a being who is two million years old. You come back and come back and she just stays, but it's all part of a thrust from Prime Source for the planet. And that you are here in a body able to do this work is a great privilege for you, to be a part of this thrust.

Mud sees who you are now, and she can look into you and see who you've been. There is a tone to your being that carries through. This is partly why she is picking up with you like she has always known you. She has known you for a very long time.

If you hook up with this soul purpose, you can imagine the amount of work we're going to be asking you to do, even to just be fully incarnate and work with everything that's in the human body to smooth it out, balance it, evolve it. Especially to evolve it in such a manner that it can still connect with the other members of the soul family like Mud who are needing that connection so that the whole family can be moving things along in a balanced way in the same direction. To have that level of teamwork, the intimacy has to be profound. The teamwork involved is mindboggling. That level of communication and oneness of purpose has to be in place so that you are always in the right place doing the right thing even if you don't know what everybody else in the soul family is doing or how it all fits together. You need to move as an organism with your separate different roles.

Every soul family is now coming to a similar point. Lots of people are experiencing this oneness and this need to move as a team. Different soul families have different functions. Ours happens to be more with the natural realm, but all soul families are needing to pull together in radical intimacy on Earth at this time. It is a sense of moving as something bigger than yourself in a conscious way, in a way where you have made a clear choice to be a part of it, and are not just being dragged along, whipped by the hands of fate!

As Earth rises in vibration, our past life selves are coming together in us through our increasing awareness of them. Our karma is dropping off as we no longer vibrate at its level. As we expand our personal identity to identify with our soul group, love can feel more like oneness. This new way of relating can take some getting used to.

In terms of the heart, there is a freedom in being able to just let go of the shackles and walk free. Love in that context can feel very impersonal—love without having to work so hard to forgive someone for some event which you don't even know why it happened because it relates to what happened last lifetime and the time before that and so forth. To suddenly have the choice of not needing to work through everything, and play out dramas as you used to—this freedom and this clear space can have less of a personal zing to it. And with less of a personal zing to it, as your identity is expanding to include much beyond your personality, it can feel like something good is missing that used to juice you. That used to let you feel real, and let you know who you were by the way you interacted with other people in dramatic ways. This sense of feeling almost unreal, with less drama, or with dramas that maybe are still going but you can see through them. . . . You might feel a vague uneasiness with really playing them out big time any more, 'cause it feels more like you're actors on a stage, and everybody can just say, "Let's stop this play. I'm not really enjoying this."

This is a feeling—the spaciousness, the quietness, the unrealness—that many people don't associate with the heart and with love. In fact, to some people it may seem kind of cold and impersonal. And we're saying it's moving into the more impersonal aspects of love. The oneness. Less polarity in love. It's a gentler, wispier feeling of what it means to be in relationship to someone, if primarily what you feel with that person is the oneness rather than the drama of more polarity between you. This lightness can be very sweet, and it can be a delicate, beautiful, fresh air kind of feeling, if you trust it. At this time of transition from the old heaviness to the newer lightness, it may take some reminding yourself that everything's working out beautifully to derive as much pleasure from that lighter love as you did from the more poignant, dramatic love.

It's sometimes hard not to take the new impersonal feeling personally, and think another soul family member doesn't care about you. At the same time, their emotions and thoughts may be difficult for you to screen out, and you might even wonder if the emotions you're feeling or the thoughts you're thinking are your own or theirs. It can feel like the other person is intruding, when they're not intending to. I know a woman who thought her ex-lover was stalking her (with no evidence) because she could so strongly "feel him around." Some people react to this lack of familiar boundaries by pushing against the other person, trying extra hard to create separateness by causing scenes.

Others try to romanticize or sexualize this closeness. It's similar to how I felt when a friend and I did intensive past life regressions for a year, and I glimpsed or saw the gory details of over a hundred of my lives. At first when I learned someone I worked with had been a lover it seemed like a significant revelation, but I soon realized that almost everyone important in my life had been a lover in one lifetime or another. With soul family, how many close relationships can you try to turn into romances, to stir up some polarity?

The capacity for feeling understood is greater with soul family friends, who share your higher purpose. Because of our easy connection, Spirit will often send a soul sibling to bring me new information or supply a need. The temptation to meddle in their lives and push them in their growth is greater too, because you somehow know that what they do affects you on some inner plane. Sometimes getting away from that intensity into the diversity of friends who are not soul family can be a relief.

Of course, Spirit can and does use anyone. But Spirit using soul family is efficient somehow. Because of this golden quality of transmission from the oversoul through soul kin, it can be easy to forget these are real, fallible people. My greatest joys and deepest disappointments have come through soul family. I'm delighted at how often they understand me, but feel especially hurt when they don't. I'm very sensitive to needing their approval, but never quite feel that I get it. They seem to be too ethereal for a solid sense of relationship to develop. After all, they are "me."

We march to the beat of the same colony like ants spreading out in a pattern and purpose not always visible to us. But in times of trusting, the beautiful intricacy of self meeting self spiraling into new creations is breaktakingly fun. My guides tell me that in these days of identity expansion, the only safe place to nest your identity is in the "weness" of your oversoul.

Nature embodies weness. It effortlessly displays differentiation within oneness, intricately, beautifully. I can think of no greater teachers and friends than the spirits of the natural world in our human evolution at this time. They are "us."

photo of pasque in Rocky Mountain National Park

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© Cathee Courter and Peter MacGill, photos and text. Copies may be distributed with credit given, but not sold.