Simon explained that we’d be making our first journey to the lower world to see if there was an animal there who wanted to work with us.
He explained the drumming signals, i.e. the steady beat for the intention setting and the journey, the rapid beat that signals our return, and the beats that would signal that we be fully present in the room.
So, with blindfold in place, (as the journey needs to be taken in the dark without distractions), we lay on our rugs or sat in our chairs and waited for the drum beat which would be the signal for us to set our intention three times before finding our axis mundi and beginning our descent.
As the monotonous beat of the drum began I repeated the intention we’d all been given three times.
‘My intention is to go to the lower world to explore and to see if there’s an animal for me’
My axis mundi was through the roots of a magnificent copper beach tree at the front of my house. I had to make myself really tiny to get into the roots, and became smaller and smaller with the descent as the roots narrowed.
It was a weird feeling and I opened my eyes to look around – only to find I was looking into a blindfold, and realised why we’d been asked to use them.
I finally emerged through a tiny door at floor level into a round room, very much like a mouse hole. As I stood there trying to acclimatise my eyes to the dim light I grew back to my full size and became aware of my grandmother sitting at a table. She wore a white veil which covered her face and was looking deeply into a candle on the table in front of her.
When she became aware of me she lifted her veil, stood up and held out her hand to me. Without speaking she took my hand and we walked through the wall (there were no doors in the room) into blinding sunlight outside. We were standing in what appeared to be a small village in Africa.
We walked for a short time till we came to a large circle of animals, all kinds of animals, from lions to boars, from elephants to deer.
‘Are one of these mine?’ I asked, but my grandmother didn’t answer.
As we walked up to the circle the animals parted to let us in, and then closed the circle around us again.
My grandmother walked with me to the centre of the circle then beckoned me to continue walking while she stayed there.
As I reached the other end of the circle the animals parted to let me through then closed the circle again.
After a little while of walking on my own I became aware of a black jaguar walking beside me.
‘Oh, it’s you!’ I exclaimed, really pleased to see him.
‘Yes, it’s me,’ he smiled.
‘I was so happy to have you with me last night on Kilburn High Road when it was late and I was lost because I’d been given the wrong directions by somebody who didn’t know.’ I gushed.
‘That’s what I’m here for,’ he said reassuringly.
‘I have a question for you,’ I said, remembering the question from the meditation in the circle on Thursday about how I get rid of fear.
‘Yes?’ he encouraged.
‘How do I get rid of fear? I don’t mean how do I manage it, I mean how do I get rid of it.’
He paused for a moment. ‘Well, you can always jump on my back. I will carry you.’
‘I can do that?’ I was incredulous. Me? Travelling on the back of a black jaguar?
‘Yes, because you have a lot to do that could be scary. When get really scared jump on my back,’ he said as he turned his head to look at me, as if to make sure I knew he meant it.
I was about to say how grateful I was when I heard the rapid drum beats which signalled our return to middle world.
‘Thanks, but I have to go now!’ I said, giving him a quick hug before running back the way I came, through the ring of animals, back through the room, said a quick goodbye to grandma and headed back up the roots. This time it didn’t feel so strange to be small again. I was moving with a sense of urgency. I didn’t want to be left in the lower world when the beats ended. I didn’t know what would happen.
I made it. By the time the signal for being back in the room sounded, I was there, marvelling what had just taken place.