The women in attendance were from all walks of life, ethnicities, and cultures, and their ages spread from the late teens to nearly 90 years old. I was welcomed warmly, and invited into their affirming circle, which was a wonderful way to start things off!
We began with a group exercise to raise the energy of the circle, and then those who wished to do so were invited to speak the names of friends, loved ones, or even strangers who might benefit from healing. After that, a member led us through a meditation that took us up a ladder, each rung representing different aspects of our selves: our hopes and goals, our relationships, our connection to the divine, etc. As I climbed onto one of the highest rungs I felt the urge to fly, and I could even feel a particular sensation in my shoulder blades where wings would connect. When we finally retreated from that meditation I felt very calm and no longer had the nervous tension that I'd been experiencing, which was nice.
As the basket had been making its rounds I silently asked that whatever I felt/thought would resonate with the person I was reading for. Relying solely on intuition can be scary. How do you parse out true "hits" from passing thoughts influenced from your own daily activities or personal situations? What if nothing makes any sense?
I chose not to look at my item; I didn't want its appearance to influence me. I felt its shape, oblong and sort of flat; definitely metal. And I just let my mind go. The first impression that came to me was "eagles." Over the course of the next ten minutes I "saw" all sorts of wild birds. I wrote that down, though it seemed a bit strange. I saw fish and frogs, which felt like a pond environment. Later I sensed the ocean, and thought perhaps there was a general water connection, that perhaps that person might benefit from spending time near water, for healing purposes. I even picked up on a dragon! This seemed like it could be metaphorical, so I thought perhaps it represented an inner ferocity of the person's character. I decided to try to pick up on a guide energy, and immediately saw antlers, and sensed the forest, and a goldish/yellow color. It was a male energy. As I reviewed everything that I was writing down, I realized that I had recorded every element: water, fire, earth, and air. The only thing that was "obviously" missing was a "spirit" element.
When it came time for me to show my item and report my reading (which each person did in front of the entire group) I was pretty anxious. I noticed that most everyone had written full narratives, whereas I only had words and phrases jotted down across the paper - kind of like a brainstorm, and certainly not remotely sentence-like. I was nervous, and the first words out of my mouth became a sort of disclaimer. Then I launched into it. I said that "nature" was the overarching theme, and that the first impression I had was "eagles." Everyone burst into laughter and looked knowingly at the woman who owned the item I was holding. I took that as a good sign. I said that birds as a whole figured large in what I picked up on, and listed off some of the names (owl, dove, etc.). They kept laughing. Finally, a friend of the woman told me that they often go bird-watching together, and that this lady had recently returned from a birding trip in Minnesota, where they had been particularly focused on eagles. Whoa! That was amazing. Apparently they even did the bird watching in a marshy area that required them to venture out on boat, so the fish/frog, pond connection made sense. I told her about the guide energy I'd picked up on and I got the sense that she didn't know much about her own guide, but she did say that she loves the forest, and that in general nature is her church (there was that "missing" spirit element!). In regards to the dragon, she said that she used to be a Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master, and though she doesn't play anymore, she continues to love reading sci-fi and fantasy novels.
I was pretty bowled over by the whole thing, and later I spent a lot of time reflecting on intuition and how we honor (or dismiss) its messages. It can be terrifying to place trust in something so intangible, and it can be equally scary to risk talking about it. What I really appreciated about that group of women was how able they were to create a safe and affirming space in which to develop and learn to trust in those skills.