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Walking Where Ravens Fly


Jasmine bounded ahead, tracking scented trails invisible to my human eyes and nose and ears. Fully in the adventure of her four-legged aliveness, she ignited my curiosity about the stories she was gathering up. She held a world of knowing about who had been by, how long ago, and our part in this weaving of webs of relationships in the land we were wandering through.
From high overhead in a towering pine, Raven called out. Jasmine ran to the tree trunk, stopped abruptly, looked skyward, and barked in response to Raven’s cackles and caws. With wide-open wings, Raven swooped down toward Jasmine almost touching beak and feathers to whiskers and fur. Raven lifted back into the air and came to perch in a tree further uphill.
Our interspecies encounter shaped into a ceremonial procession heading up the mountain trail. In a series of landings, flying treetop to treetop, Raven marked the path and led the way. We became a symphony of rhythmic drumbeats of cackles and caws, rustling feathers, yips and barks and panting puppy breaths, and the soft crunch of dried pine needles beneath my footsteps.
When we got to the hilltop, I stood in the sagebrush meadow looking up at Raven perched among the emerald needles of the pine. Raven’s iridescent black-blue-purpley feathers shimmered in the light of the sun. What magic was Raven conjuring up?
The brilliant green of the pine forest, the turquoise sky, the golden sunlight – everything surrounding Raven – began softening, merging, fading away. Raven held my gaze. I felt myself traveling into the spirit realm, becoming a little wobbly on my feet. Raven opened a doorway, a passage into the mystery, and was inviting me to walk through.
Jasmine circled in close beside me. She nudged my right leg with her nose and rubbed her body against my calf, moving fluidly like a cat, not something she’d ever done before.
In her canine ways, she was holding me in the physical realm. With unspoken communication, Jasmine was tending to her pack. She was calling me back, like the hundreds of times I’d called her home from her adventures.
Come.  Here.  Now.


Walking Where Ravens Fly &Raquo; Bird Copy


“Is this what it feels like to be a transplanted tree?” I wondered as I headed out the door. Boxes were stacked in the living room as I was getting settled in my new home. I’d moved closer to town, leaving behind the wide-open mesas where Jasmine and I had ample room to roam, where my spirit and heart felt nourished and soared free. There were reasonable motivations for the move – making a living, commuting less miles, being closer to friends, finding community.
As I walked along the trails snaking through the neighborhood, I questioned if all the reasonable reasons were really the thing to be listening to. Could I dig in my roots in this new place and time? Would I feel at home? Could I stay?
A flurry of beating wings, loud cackles and caws, stopped me in my tracks. My inner drudgery instantly disappeared. My eyes and mind opened up to take in what was happening just a few steps away.
A flock of ravens wildly clamored around. They hopped up and down in branches of a juniper tree, chattering way, fluttering their wings. More midnight-black birds swooped, soared, and circled over my head, cackling, chortling, and cawing.
Hey!  Where are you?  Ravens called to me.
It suddenly became clear that I really hadn’t been where I actually was. Distracted, disconnected, disembodied was where I’d been, walking around in a world of worries.
What are you paying attention to?  Ravens boisterously inquired, hopping on branches and coasting by on outstretched wings.
There’s so much magic, right here.  So much beauty, right now.  So much possibility.  Remember?
Dancing with the earth and sky, Raven showed me the way home.
Come.  Here.  Now.

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Walking Where Ravens Fly &Raquo; Raven

Originally Published on

JoAnne Dodgson Ceremonial Healing

JoAnne Dodgson’s life is centered in the lineage of Ka Ta See and the path of the kala keh nah seh ~  medicine storyteller, weaver of webs of balance, healer, teacher, and ceremonial guide. She offers ceremonial healing, apprenticeships, and retreats to remember our belonging and weave harmony in our relationships with ourselves, each other, our earth, and web of life.

JoAnne has been learning, living, and sharing the ways of the kala keh nah seh for over twenty years. She has a doctorate in Counseling Psychology with a specialty in Holistic Health. As a therapist and community activist, she worked in trauma healing centers and college counseling centers. She has been on the faculty in Transpersonal Psychology, Women’s Studies, and Holistic Health programs. Earlier in her career, JoAnne was a teacher in public schools and residential programs for adolescents. She also served as the director of a women’s shelter.

To share her passion for the healing medicine of stories, JoAnne has written several books including Spirit of Chocolate: A Woman’s Journey to the Rainforest in Search of Her Dreams and UnLeashing Love. She lives in the enchanted desert mesas of New Mexico.

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