Summer is so happening in the Violet household. Erika and I are fresh from our recent vacation to Ojai, a small town located north of L.A. Our trip intention was to nourish our wells, create space for the quiet places within, and connect with the sacred land.
Ojai’s motto is, “Keep Ojai Lame” in order to maintain it’s special beauty, and avoid too many visitors and vacation homes. When we shared where we were going, we either got a look of confusion or a delighted gasp followed by a list of must-see places of the hidden gem. Ojai is a Ventureño Chumash word meaning “moon”. With our love of the moon, you might say it had our name all over it! But wait, it gets better: the land is said to hold 7 vortexes that surround the town, and the valley nestling the town is geographically unique because it runs from east to west. This creates the infamous “Pink Moment” where the mountains are brushed with pink light as the sun sets on the hidden ocean just 15 miles away. We caught one of these amazing sunsets at the foothills of Meditation Mount. The land was so still, the air so alive, the colors so rich. It was pure magic. Ojai spoiled us with some of the best California has to offer: local, organic produce, bountiful and delicious gluten free options, regional wine and kombucha made with green tea and local honey ~ and the list goes on!
On our last morning there we rose early for our final hike. I gathered water, my prayer bundles and the Moon Circle Yellowbird box. The mists were just beginning to clear when we arrived at a wide shoulder on the side of the road. We discovered the hike in a local magazine but it definitely felt like a “locals” hike with no signage and just the faint indication of a path off the road. It was perfect for what I wanted. I was there to be on the land, get a touch of the wild and also complete a few pieces of ceremonial work.
Rewilding has been getting a lot of attention lately and the idea has been romancing me. I love to feel my innate wildness within, the life within my veins. I desire to feel a closer connection to the earth, especially out of my regular urban comfort zone. Rewilding whispers to me of freedom, expression, trust and La Loba. I was feeling proud of us for venturing into unknown territory, and as the path immediately ascended, I felt the hills rise up around me…
…and that’s when it happened. I felt scared. I paused and heard the voice of my mother in my head, warning, and worried. I thought, “I’ll just quickly look to see if we should be aware of any wildlife around the area.” I pulled out my phone and searched “bobcats and Ojai”. My phone thought a moment and then a blank page stared back at me, “You are not connected to the internet.” Yep, I looked up at Erika, and thought, “We did it. We are out here.” This is when the idea of rewilding showed a different face, one of fear but also one of reality. I learned later it was unlikely for an Ojai bobcat to be hunting at that time of day, but the reality is that food is scarce after the December Thomas Fires, and the image of the starving cougar near Seattle wasn’t far from my imagination. My heart aches for the circumstances that led to a wild cougar starving and my human-self freezes in terror at the thought of being prey. Have I fully disclosed my propensity for drama and anxiety? Well, if not, here it is! Stick with me for a moment longer…
Erika was her fabulous self. She said, “It’s your choice. We can leave if you want.” This was actually extra fabulous because I coaxed her out of bed at 6:00 AM - on vacation. I felt the weight of the items in my bag, the intentions strung like lights across my heart and I heard the voice of one of my guides urging me forward, and so I began again up the hill. I didn’t stop having moments of fear, but I also felt held in my choice and trusted the outcome. I was walking with my eyes open. And the land did not disappoint.
Moon sisters, we found the most beautiful boulders over an expanse of tender shoots of regrowth, resilient tree survivors and areas of ash – the life/death/life cycle elegantly and quietly revealing itself to us. It was there we prayed and I sang and gently tucked your prayers into the earth. I also found trees to hold my prayer bundles from the Red Thread with the Ancestors, the bundles finally telling me they were ready to be set free.
Once complete, I made offerings all the way down the mountain. I felt so grateful for my conversation with the earth and the wild – even if I wasn’t the archetype of the fearless wild woman I had hoped to embody. Perhaps my wild woman holds different qualities, and I am making room for them within myself. It was with a vulnerable heart and pocket of wonder and respect I made my way on the journey. On our way down we saw new, silvery sage bushes beginning to set themselves into the hills. I imagined them clearing and sealing all the inner and ceremonial work we did. I have a ways to go in rewilding but I felt the thrill of life that day and the honor of delivering prayers to the earth.