Singing to the Bones

Hello dear ones!
I am Elka, and I am so blessed to live with Jessica, Jules, and Monica at our lovely home full of inspiration, music, good foods, and love! I first met Jules and Jessica at last winter’s Snow Blessing Ceremony up on Mount Ashland. I had just moved here a few weeks before from New Mexico, where I lived in a canyon in the Gila Wilderness for 23 years. And hardly ever left. Whenever I did leave, I felt a lot like an uprooted tree.

For the first 20 years of my life in the canyon of the Anima Center, the name I was known as was Loba. (she-wolf, in Spanish) I took the name in 1993, believing that I had some significant bond with the wolfen clan, having partnered with a very amazing medicine man named Wolf who had already been living in this canyon for 13 years at the time of my arrival.

But also, when I took the name, just as significant to my decision was the story of La Loba in Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ book Women Who Run With the Wolves. I received this book for Christmas, from my mother, the winter that I arrived home from San Francisco with a shaved head. I didn’t warn my mother about the shaved head, and that’s a whole other story, perhaps for a different time. But when my mother handed me this book, and I read the inscription, written in her beautiful handwriting, “For the Wild Woman in our family, from those who set you free”, the tears that are an ever constant river that coexists beneath my usually sincerely happy demeanor, the part of me that always feels a little too strongly and intensely for many others to feel comfortable witnessing– well, they erupted, and flowed…

I wanted to believe it was true. And I do believe my mother feels she has set me free, it’s just not the way it feels to me. But this probably has at least as much to do with me, as it does with her…

But, the part about Loba in the book that really got me, was the image of this wild woman, who gathered up the bones of the dead animals, and brought them to her cave, arranged them carefully, and sang to them, until they were sung into awakeness.

There was a night, about ten days after I’d arrived in that ancient, sacred canyon, after hearing the songs of the cliffs echoing into my being, after singing to the cliffs and hearing my voice become something it had never been before, when I was in the sweat lodge, I felt myself shedding layers of my more contemporary self. I felt in the lodge, my skin burning, the patterns of the wallpapers of all my old houses and apartments that had grown into my skin– in Massachusetts, in Virginia, in Spain, in Prague, all falling away, all the masks I’d ever worn fell away. The me that tried to be something I wasn’t, really, the me that tried to fit in, even tried to fit in with the outcasts, so I would be more loved, fell away, and so it was time for a new name.

to be continued….

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