Finally, after taking two turns that failed to reveal the illusive café, Susan rang Julian, her friend whom we were meeting, and he gave her instructions on where to find it. When we finally arrived, it was easy to see how we missed the little old cottage nestled into the landscape with a tiny chalk sign on a blackboard. When I thought of my aunt with her passion for collecting useful used objects, I could see how she would have loved this place with second hand chairs and furnishings, and ‘things’ hanging everywhere.
To say the place was busy in an understatement. There were about a dozen mothers with little children celebrating someone’s birthday, another small party of women nearby, and couples scattered throughout the café. However the busyness came more from the three handymen who were building railing around the edge of the café. They were using hammers and drills, and at times it was difficult to hear yourself think. Despite all the distractions, auditory and visual, I felt a calmness inside of me as I looked out across the road to the wide expanse of the Tweed River full to the brim and lapping its banks.
Julian soon joined us and we made our plans to visit the lighthouse and beach over delicious buckwheat pancakes with tahini and honey cream drizzled over top. He told us the history of the two hundred year old lighthouse, how it had once housed a manager, his wife, and their family of thirteen children in it’s four small rooms. Julian also shared a little of his personal experience of the area and how beautiful the beaches and seascape were. One of the reasons for our visit to this place had been to see if it might be suitable to take a group of people on a shamanic walk, and I was beginning to get excited. The organic atmosphere of the café, with it’s healthy menu and friendly owners seemed like the ideal place for nourishment and a debrief after the walk.
Soon, we left the café and drove the short distance to the lighthouse, with Julian keen to show us this lovely place that he had enjoyed visiting so many times. Walking along the path to the lighthouse I felt incredible joy rush through me as I breathed in the fresh sea air. I stopped in my tracks the minute the ocean revealed itself to take in the beauty of the place. A little further on we came to where the cottage had once stood, with a plaque describing the family that inhabited the place and held dances on their veranda. Images of times long gone flashed by. With barely 50 metres to the cliff edge and the vast Pacific Ocean, the small lighthouse stood nearby in the south of the property. Now electrically operated, I imagined all the time the lighthouse keeper would have invested in ensuring ships and their passengers were kept safe. Having thirteen children may have been a help and I could imagine how much time they would have also spent playing in Nature’s seaside playground.
Julian, Susan and I walked over the volcanic rocks toward the northern side of the cliff where I took my shoes off to connect with the earth. Pleased to be out of the city, my heart fully opened, or so I thought, until Julian called our attention to the school of dolphins jumping in the waters below. My heart now threatened to burst out of my chest it was so full, and I called out to Susan to take some photos. She also took pictures of the beautiful black cliffs that had been separated from the mainland. I pointed out to Susan how different the rocks were on either side of the cliff faces, like each cluster of huge rocks represented its own family with their unique characteristics.
I had already made up my mind this was the perfect place for a shamanic walk long before the time we walked down to the beach through the thick growth of pandama trees that lined the shore later in the morning. There were shells and small stones scattered everywhere, which would give us the means to create our mandala in the sand. Susan had worn her bathers and in only seconds she had run into the ocean for a swim. Julian and I were content to wade in the more shallow water, though if he hadn’t been there, I would have surely stripped and joined Susan. I think he was still stunned from what had happen on the cliff minutes before we walked the path to the beach, so I also decided to keep my clothes on, not wanting hime to expose him to too much in one day! Julian was also clearly enjoying himself, looking after Susan and I with umbrellas and keeping the camera out of the rain.
Preparing to create a mandala of gratitude in the sand, we all searched for the stones and shells that called out to us to pick them. Sitting together on three perfectly shaped rocks, we began to give thanks in turn, creating a beautiful sacred circle of shells and stones in the sand. Within a few minutes of sharing, it became clear that we were all giving thanks for the same things that perfect day. Reflecting on our earlier experience on the cliff when we were overcome by silence all of a sudden when the waves were no longer crashing against the cliff. I shared with Susan and Julian how I had stopped and turned inward, listening well. At that point I had felt the presence of eagles, and called out to Susan to look out for them as we had walked across the southern side, back the way we had come. As we began to descend to the path that would lead to the beach, Susan suddenly stopped in front of me, and took a sharp breath while pointing towards two eagles perched on the cliff edge ahead. Julian was stunned as he had not only never known the place to be so silent, he had not once seen eagles at this place. Susan and I are both Eagle Women and are blessed to have the spirit of the eagle accompany us on our journey in this life, so it wasn’t a surprise for me for us to be in their presence once again on this magical day.
As we sat on the beach, I placed the shell that was formed like the end of an eagle’s wing alongside another shell shaped like the head of an eagle, and I thought of how close I had stood to the eagle earlier in the morning. She had sat there and watched me take one step at a time closer, while her companion had flown a little further away and perched himself on a dead pandamas tree. She seemed to be at peace with me being so close by. Eventually the beautiful sea eagle flew into the sky and made a figure of eight in flight low in the sky in front of us. This kind of performance often happens to me when the eagles come, and I see it as representing the Sacred Circle Eight Direction Teachings and The 8 Ways that I teach. On the other hand, it may be common behaviour for an eagle to fly that way. In any case, I felt so grateful to have the eagles with us on such a beautiful day, and to have my friends there to share it with me. Susan’s sharp eye had seen the eagles, where I had sensed their presence.
Nearing the end of our circle of gratitude, Susan had one more stone to share into the mandala and placed it in the centre. It was a small red, triangular shaped stone, and we all saw it as representing the three of us on our joint adventure that day. Holding hands, we gave thanks for our wonderful morning together, and walked away from the mandala, taking the strong eagle spirit with us into all that waited to unfold for each one of us.