Invitations From The Mist

celtic spirituality shamanism story

This summer’s dominating grayness finally crumbled before the dipping sun of late August. The mist dances away around ten and rushes in like a stampede of phantom mustangs around four. The mist is always with us near the coast – we obscure its mystical power by calling it the “marine layer”. Still its entrancing qualities are impossible to avoid, visitors almost always stop to take in the Live Oak forest wrapped in its embrace.
Its sudden comings and goings reveal how alive the mist really is. It seems to move with intention, even aggression at times. It erases this world and invites us to journey into other worlds. Folklore is filled with references to beings born forth from the mist, both brutal and beneficent. From Morgain to Brigadoon (originally Germelshausen), the mist is a well traveled realm.
single tree in the mist     Mist allows the shaman to journey through time, emerging anywhere and any-when in the middle world where mist has been. First you must become something the mist can carry, then it will share with you all the places and times it knows.
I’ve found it to be a place of no-self: in it live of all the possibilities that we are unable to know. Journeying with its powers allows you to see beyond what you were formerly able to ken, putting you totally outside of the boxes you may create for yourself.
Of course you must first give something up, before you can take such a journey. The self that resists trasformation into something mist-worthy is the self that must die to be reborn. Dissolving into the mist requires a level of trust intrinsic to shamanism.
There are beings that only come out in the middle-world once they’re shrouded by mist. Whole tribes unfold their homes, set up shop, only to move on again when the mist fades. They can be known, and perhaps even traded with, but their world may disappear in the blink of an eye. Time is a fickle guest in the mist, who’s to say how many lifetimes can be lived within it?
I find the mist seductive when it engulfs our home. I want to stop, barefoot on the land and not move until the world changes around me, depositing me in another world and time. But the mist does not promise wealth, health or pleasure. If the mist takes us away from home it can deliver us to worlds we never even heard of. I could not bear to leave my beloveds.

For now I must simply dance at its edges, journeying occasionally to taste its secrets.

Image: Single Tree in the Mist by Keith Hall from Flickr, used under 
a Creative Commons license

single tree in the mist


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