I did part of my undergraduate work at a small college in southern Colorado. One of my friends there was from Albuquerque, and I visited both that city and Santa Fe with her. By that time, I’d begun having the experiences that were part of my second shamanic calling, including an illness — a persistent and very painful gastric ulcer — that was unhelped by allopathic medicine. Through an aunt who’d had similar problems, I learned about chamomile tea, and through it healed myself with the help of the spirits. Chamomile has been one of my allies since.
I’d been immersing myself in the mythology of the region in an attempt to understand the things that had been happening to me; those stories, and my love for the colors and patterns of Southwestern tribal art, are with me to this day. I also got my first tarot deck in Santa Fe, which still have, as well. The terra cotta storyteller figure my mother bought on the trip to bring me to college sits on my desk. it is one of a small handful of things I have from her.
The storyteller raised her eyes
To the thirty-three children in her lap.
Here you breathe in wonder with the dust.
Here Coyote sings for the passing of the Age.
La Llorona wails at the river.
Shrouded, she will call,
Sending child after child —
Living after dead —
To the gray sands beneath the water.
The Lady of the Serpent Skirts sways in the hills:
Our Mother, eater of the sins of the dead,
Goddess of the Earth that crawls.
Talon-handed, claw-footed Coatlique,
Swallowing desert-rattler hearts like oysters.
(photo: original work)