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Shaman Elder Maggie WahlsI was in Chaco Canyon this past June. I was invited by a Shaman to take a hike down into the canyon. Now first of all I cannot see in 3 dimensions as my eyesight is "flawed" LOL! so it is difficult for me to walk down hill when there are no stairs and no controlled elevation. Its like walking in a post card. I cannot tell where to put my foot. I am also quite an old lady now, that is why my people call me Elder, I surely qualify! But of course I could not pass up the invite!

So off we went with a few other ladies who knew nothing of shamanism and I had the worst time getting down the steep, narrow boulder ridden trail! I mean I wanted to completely quit about three times. It was terribly hot and even though I brought water I felt I was getting sun stroke and dizzy and wow, just awful!

At one point going along the canyon wall like pack mules risking our lives (!!) the Shaman stopped and pointed to an overhang, actually a rock that looked unattached to the trail somehow suspended over the cliff, I don't what was holding it up except if it was on its own separate column several hundred feet tall! And he said, "Here, step out on it!" Yeah right! here I am weak and dizzy and tired and hot and tripping over every stupid thing and he wants me to leap out on this pinnacle about two feet wide and hang suspended over this ravine several hundred feet up from the river below! Ahem!

But, the Shaman in me went right over to him while the others were still pondering the risks and told him that if he held my hand I would do that. So he agreed and took my hand or rather I took his like it was the safety rope of all safety ropes, squeezing so hard I must have been hurting him and I jumped out on this pinnacle. No sooner did I get there than, whoosh! a huge gust of energy, not wind, energy, comes up with the force of a 747 jet plane from below and nearly blew me off my feet! There was no wind that day, not a breeze, but this huge blast of energy came up from below and I reeled back ward nearly falling down into the gap between the pinnacle and the trail. I caught my balance by gripping my guide's hand like he was an oak tree and then proceeded to look out over the vista and the canyon below until I was righteously motion sick which took 10 seconds and then jumped back across the gap to the comparative safety of the narrow walking trail. I sat down and tried to collect myself as others then dared to do the same.

By now I am completely done in! But we are not half way to the river below! LOL! As we walk the Shaman is showing us some of the caves that the Indians used here as homes and how they were interrelated and how they faced the calm side of Mother Nature for protection.As we went further down things began to get greener and more verdant and I saw that the river was the lifeblood of this place. It attracted the game and gave the sustenance to the people who lived here. It was the milk of the people.

We finally reached the bottom and our Shaman guide gave us time to go into the river and refresh ourselves. Some had brought bathing suits and went swimming in the fast current that was cold. I quickly found a steady boulder and put my legs in the water and washed my face and arms and just tried to recuperate. I felt much better sitting there as the Shaman was also in the water cleaning the river of debris, sticks, anything the rains had washed down that was caught and obstructing the river, being gentle and working with Mother Nature. Looking up I could see all these homes built into natural caves above me. I thought about this river when it might be swollen and could imagine it raging through the canyon destroying anything sitting as low as I was. But today was hot and the river was beautiful and cool a stark contrast to anything else I had experienced this morning. I was glad to be in this mother, this water.

The Shaman then had us lie down on the river bank and proceeded to tell us the history of the canyon, of the peoples, and of their beliefs that they had and that he too believes in his heart. The stories of the medicine wheel and the connection of all life to Creator. He led us on a visualization to connect with mother nature and to receive healing and then he smudged us and drummed for us his own special blessing. It was quite beautiful and I felt honored to be there!

Then it was time to pick up and climb our way back. The Shaman gave me a good walking stick from the river bank, a piece of wood that had died. And that helped me so much! I can climb up better than I can go down so he took his time and we climbed and looked at the ancient homes in the cliffs and even the ancient drawings that are seen there of game and hunters and Father Sky and other symbols of Spirit for these long ago people.

We climbed for an hour and reached back into the heat of the day but the climb up was never as hard as that spiritual leap of faith I had made when I decided to go down. I wasn't fighting anything on the way up. I was fighting a lot of things on the way down. Maybe it was the healing he performed for us. Maybe it was my mingling with Mother River. Maybe it was just a personal fear I had overcome. But I reached the place where we had left the vehicles with a sense of peace and wishing that the journey had not come to an end. I hope someday to be able to take this journey again. I highly recommend Chaco Canyon to anyone searching for a mystical experience. Shaman or not, guide or not, be ready for a magical day in Chaco Canyon! It is truly Mother Natures holy ground.