Spirit Leaves: Beyond the Sliding Doors


It is winter, and a fringe of pinkish white light clings to night’s hem. I gaze upward through sliding doors at a dew-encrusted moon and feel a hollow aloneness, until a gentle moan rises on a wave of unsettled air. I realize with a chill it is Song of the Wind. I need to open my heart and consciousness to hear her tell me things. She reminds me that the sadness I sometimes feel is from them — the spirits of the Ancient Ones.

Thanks to a gifted psychic, I learned that one of my Spirit Helpers is a Native American named Song of the Wind. She’s an enlightened being who makes her presence known via a soul-penetrating chant, a haunting cadence rising on the inky night air. Song of the Wind’s voice could easily be interpreted as a mournful winter cry; to me, it signals comfort from a sacred friend from a dimension I can only dream of.

Everything the First People once loved has faded. Theirs was a place brimming with deer, owls, badgers, eagles, sage, sweetgrass, and plenty of firewood. Pure water cascaded down from the mountains. This place, crisscrossed with roads and wires, was once named “The Big Woods.” Now it is “Minnesota,” and many of its beloved trees have been felled to make way for square boxes spilling over hillsides. Song of the Wind wants me to remember. Perhaps I lived here among the people before; I don’t know. My guides told me I have the ability to “quantum leap” into past lives and that I do this in dreams; yet, I have no independent waking memory of past lives. What I do know is that I long to feel the earth under my feet. I feel connected to her, and to all of life.

For months, it’s been below zero. I’ve lived out much of my spoiled existence in the padded comfort of the great indoors. I have two recliners and an electric fireplace. I snooze on a pillow top mattress. Water rises through PVC pipe. My feet rarely touch the soil; instead, they romp across a sea of padded carpet, buoyed by insulation in layers. I’ve grown indolent, lazy and forgetful — and I realize that the natural world outside is my salvation.

The brisk air of winter makes me come alive again, stunning my skin into icy awareness. A crow calls from a stately pine, atop which he’s recently alighted. From his beak dangles a large, juicy object of some kind. How does he find food with all the insects and tiny creatures gone, asleep in icy burrows? The river is a frozen lace of layers stiff and delicate as bridal slips; water beneath it has stilled. Trees icily rock and groan in the stirring wind. Amid the torpid beauty that surrounds me, I think of the First People of this land.

The Mandans, Cedric has told me more than once, were a happy and peaceful people. They lived in Earth lodges. Since their homes were built right into the Earth, they stayed cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They felt a part of the Earth herself, and of the life that surrounded them. There were no such things as “artifacts.” The People made objects of utility; yet, everything they created was also beautiful and reflected their identity as a Nation.

I have created for myself a polarized existence out of which I strive to evolve. I seek to transcend a number of perceived separations: my Higher Self from my ego self; the Great Spirit and my individual soul; ethereal planes of existence beyond and my dense, third-dimensional life.

This month’s Edge topic forced me to confront another seeming separation: the world indoors, and the Universe outside. Let me not deceive myself: I am not going to get there from an arm chair. However well-intentioned, I must pull myself out by a large crozier and draw myself towards the vibrant world outside. Alone in a grove of trees, by a river or lake, I can listen more intently to the compassionate voices of the Ancient Ones, letting me know the journey is much simpler than I imagine. I only have to remember.

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Janet Michele Red Feather, J.D., M.A., is a ceremonial singer who has learned over 60 traditional songs in Mandan and Lakota and sings in nine different languages. Janet was a full-time defense litigator in California for nearly eight years. Her life changed significantly after she traveled to North Dakota in 1993 to fast and pray for a way of life. A regular columnist for The Edge, she has also appeared in Psychic Guidepost, FATE Magazine and Species Link. Her book, Song of the Wind (2014, Galde Press), dealt with her experiences as an empath, and her journey through Mandan spiritual culture. She is currently a full-time, tenured English faculty member at Normandale Community College, having taught Composition and Literature for a span of 20 years.



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