(published Nov 15th through my newsletter)

Yesterday I went to a medicine wheel ceremony intended to introduce me to an animal guide that held insight into the next steps on my path.

It was shockingly beautiful.

Funny how this event came about. One of you who reads my posts (hi Toni!) told her dear friend who used to come to my yoga classes in LA many moons ago (hey Debra!) that I was in a desert town she often visits.

Debra texted me and said “hey! I’ll be there soon building a rock labyrinth. Let’s get together! And you wanna come to a medicine wheel ceremony?”

I was like, DUH! You don’t quit your city life and follow some strange calling to the desert to NOT randomly go to medicine wheel ceremonies.

Part of this journey into the desert was a call to be close to animals, as I have shared. But not just to hang out with them, to cede my “power over” to a sense of humility, a surrender to the wisdom of nature as it works through the furry, the scaled, the feathered beings that also inhabit the planet.

There have already been many auspicious animal encounters. Including seeing a long bluish silver snake on my Tinder friend’s rugged rocky high desert property.

The snake was breathtaking… the iridescence in the sun… and also a little terrifying.

I backed away slowly but couldn’t stop looking at it. How does nature make so many beautiful things? Nature’s creativity is endless! Nature even made ME! What?!

Anyway, back to the medicine wheel ceremony. I picked up Debra and her awesome friend Anna and it was nearing sunset as we drove up a narrow sand road to the guide’s home.

Upon arrival, he met us and took us along a trail, past 12 white sage plants, cacti, and other flora, into a ceremonial space he had built to honor the four directions. He said it took 5,000 sandbags to build the benched walls encircling the fire pit. The space had been blessed by a long list of native tribes.

Immediately upon stepping into the circle, stillness filled me.

When I become still, something happens with my spine. It feels like a stem… a very healthy stem supporting a blossom – that blossom being the top of my head. The stem is flexible and bendable, but barely subject to the pull of gravity. There is so much lift through my spine and so much pleasure in just being in this body.

As I chose my drum and took a seat, there was also immense gratitude.

Gratitude for my ten strong years of yoga practice that has now made simply sitting tall and breathing such a pleasure… plus gratitude in knowing I was about to be led on a journey beyond the typical.

Our guide lit the fire.

After a series of small rituals and group drumming, the moment came when we were going into meditation to encounter our animal guide. I was transported to the edge of a birch forest, beside a pond, facing east – as a symbol of new beginnings.

There was movement in the forest amongst the trees and a pure white beast was making its way toward me.

It was a stallion with long mane and tail. He was so strong… the chest, haunches, flank… the muscle was bursting beneath his white coat.

I followed him up a mountain path to a cliff where he stood tall and looked out over the land.

What he was showing me is that in moments of indecision I should make my way to a high vantage point, and just take in the whole vista.

No plan necessary. No need to force a destination. Just take in the whole picture from up high.

I could see the way the breeze lifted his mane and tail. I couldn’t wait to stand on that high ledge and survey the land myself. It was wonderful to receive this permission.

Upon coming out of meditation, the sun was nearly down and the sky was splashed with purple, periwinkle, fuchsia. We all (there were five of us) shared where we went and what we encountered.

It was such a joy to hear of the other lands and wise animals that were conjured in the circle.

After dark, Debra and Anna and I got a slice at the local pizzeria, then parted ways, full on many levels.

What is the essence of this note to you…? Perhaps it is just that the guidance is within. Always.

I’ve been having many deep meditations with quite an array of guides (human and animal) in them since arriving here. White horses have been showing up for about 10 days, but I hadn’t received such a direct teaching from them until now.

I want to share with you how to receive guidance through visualization and inward journeying, so I’ve decided to put on a free online event:

Nature Guides Meditation Journey guided meditation with Ariel Kiley

Click that link to take a guided journey to meet elements of nature that carry messages for you…


Ps. If you want to receive notes and news and join upcoming free webinars from me, be sure you’re subscribed to Ariel’s List