THE JOURNEYS END - THE JOURNEY BEGINS.
Represents the completion of this particular vision and mission and the beginning of the new journeys. The coming together of all on this planet as we begin to spiral up into new beginnings, new awakenings and a whole new way of being.
It is hard to believe that this is our final Sacred Greenstone Journey. That we have reached the 12th one. After 8 years of challenges on all levels it has arrived. I think this one will be particularly challenging for many of us on all sorts of levels and may, by the end, see us completely changed within ourselves. For myself it will probably be physical for Paul it will be coming to terms with the completion of a journey that began over 20 years ago.
So it is with mixed feelings that Paul and I begin to prepare ourselves for our return to Aotearoa/New Zealand to walk the Trail of Peace from Hokitika to almost Christchurch over the Southern Alps via the Sacred Lake Whakarewa/Lake Browning at Browning Pass/Noti Raureka. Excited about the trekking with friends, family and new friends yet to be met.
Seeing Barry Brailsford and Cushla again in NZ will be wonderful for us. They have been there as mentors/supporters from the beginning. It is with their support that there will be Elders of the Arahura Nation to open the trail for us and pray for our safety. It is the Arahura river we will follow and the Arahura people who created the trail in the first place as they worked out how to carry the sacred Pounamu from the river to the lake and over the other side. Having walked the trail now I cannot imagine how they carried those huge stones with them.
They will share with us before we begin how to walk the trail in the old way, in the way of being with the spirits and guardians of the trail. We will need to listen to the birds of the trail and tune in to everything that is around us to be able to move through in safety.
When we met in Hokitika, there were seven of us and one of them was my (Phoebe) youngest son Brendan who had jumped on board literally a week or so before we left. I know this will be an opening into a different view of the world for him. Our friends Gemma and Paul a couple, along with Brian our guide and Evan a wonderful carver from NZ and seasoned trekker, have joined us also. Evan has offered to take us through the challenging purchasing of food for us all to take with us in our packs..sorting out the amounts and anything else we may need for the trail and so we meet up with him, Brian and his wife Helen in Christchurch, which is still shaking from quakes, to do all of that. It was all transported over the Alps to Hokitika by Evan, in his car of course.
The night before we were to set off on the first of eight days of hiking, we met with Barry, Cushla and many of the Elders of the Arahura tribe for dinner and a blessing for the journey. Tangi, whose name means funeral in Maori, and is the son of one of the Elders has asked if he can come with us. It is the first time in over a hundred years that one of the Arahura would have walked the trail in the old way. So now we are eight and Paul and I know that Tangi will bring a few unexpected challenges for all of us and for many reasons that I will go into in book 3.
For now we are excited about heading off the next morning.
Morning comes quickly and reasonably early we drive to the starting point of our trek. Again we gather for a blessing and a prayer to send us on our way and keep us safe. The birds call loudly to us and we know the trail is open.
By the end of the first day I know that my pack is too heavy and after much persuasion and me giving in, I reluctantly share some of the weight with others, feeling as though I have let everyone down. My snail pace also sets the tone for the the trail and I am grateful for the ever present hand of help that Brian has for me....we are all helping each other out as much as we can and pulling together...Tangi has chosen to walk bare footed and sprints ahead of us most of the time.
Again as with the other journeys I could write the whole story now but will save that for our final book on these journeys and as with our Scotland journey just note a few highlights.
Highlights 1. Listening to the birds who lead us on the trail and looking out for the huge stone doorways, the guardians of the trail..12 all up and do we find them all?
Highlight 2. Arriving at the huts each night exhausted and exhilarated from the day long trek..the challenge of all sleeping, cooking and being in the small space together.
Highlight 3. The challenge of dealing with in a talking circle every night, the issues that have come up each day,especially when one of the group has been threatening others with physical harm.
Highlight 4. Seeing the weather closing in all around us and wondering whether to go on or stay until it passed and the reason why we chose to go on.
Highlight 5. Reaching the Sacred Lake.....the emotion it brought out in all of us especially Paul and I as we now faced our final Stone Ceremony. etched in our hearts forever.
Highlight 6. Standing at the top of a 4,500ft drop knowing that we had to go down.
Highllight 7. Arriving at the woolshed of the station where we were to be picked up and taken to Castle Hill with a 1/100 year flood right on our tails.
Highlight 8. The welcome put on for us by our friends Barry, Cushla, Helen and the Elders at Castle Hill. None of us will ever forget that.
Highlight 9. The stay in Castle Hill and our farewell dinner made especially poignant by Aunty Jo who joined us there and presented us with a beautiful momento of our journeys.
Highlight 10. The final closing ceremony on the Ridge of the Wisdom Keepers.
Thank you Barry, Cushla, and all who were with us physically and in spirit on this journey......and to all who have been with us on each. You are forever;
In our minds often and our hearts always.
Paul and Phoebe.