Tag Archives: outdoors

Mount Liamuiga

1185510_10151854289507790_1387038499_nFirst off, I owe an apology to those who read my blog. I am very sorry that I have not written in quite some time. I have several posts in the works but the words just have not flowed well. I think writing about my adventure here is a good, easy start off to get my jump started back into blogging. Hopefully after this I can get the other posts done that I have been working on.

On Friday, I finally got to complete one of the big things on my bucket list for the island. I finally hiked the volcano here on St. Kitts. What an experience that was. I have been on the island for a year straight now and sometimes it’s difficult to find time for nature here in vet school. Often times it is just my time on the beach or my walks in the toxic plant garden on campus. There are several hiking trails on the island and I have yet to explore any of them. There is also the fact that life here sometimes feels like a constant battle with the island. We are always dealing with massive, poisonous centipedes, thousands of ants bent on eating your food, and humidity that would crush all productivity. It is hard, sometimes to enjoy the nature when it is downright oppressive, but I try my best and work hard to find beauty in every moment. So when my friends said they wanted to do this, I leapt. The six of us got up bright and early in a failed attempt to avoid the heat of the day.
It was possibly the most challenging hike that I have ever been on. The volcano itself is just under 4,000 feet at the summit, but the trail switchbacks the whole way up. It took us the better part of four hours to get to the top. I was determined that this long hike would be a spiritual experience. I packed an offering to the spirits of the land and meditated on the path before we set off.

A tree that happened to catch my eye.

A tree that happened to catch my eye.

The dog made a troupe of monkeys rather unhappy. They shouted at us and threw things as we passed by.

The dog made a troupe of monkeys rather unhappy. They shouted at us and threw things as we passed by.

This is the first time I have ever been in a rainforest. The plants and animals were almost entirely foreign to me. I only recognized the green vervet monkeys that we disturbed at one point. I found myself in awe as the plant life and bird calls changed with the rising altitude.  It was not very hot on the mountain, but under the rainforest canopy, the humidity was extremely high. We had all sweat through every piece of clothing we wore within less than an hour of hiking the trail. It was a trance-inducing experience. Between the physical exertion, the constant sweating and the forest close in all around us, I was quickly in another state of mind. The volcano became more of a challenge as we hiked on. Some of our group just plowed on up the mountain, while some lagged behind, needing breaks. I played the middle man to keep the two groups together and it gave me a lot of time to just quietly observe the jungle around me and listen to the sounds of nature over the sound of my pounding heart.  There was a tree that caught my eye because the area where old branches had broken off looked like evil little, laughing faces, taunting us as we struggled up the mountain. I called them the jumbie trees, after the local spirits. They seemed to be daring us to go on. I also found a natural doorway  to the otherworld in a tree alongside the path. I made friends with that doorway while waiting for stragglers.

Jumbie Tree

Jumbie Tree

Tree Doorway

Tree Doorway

After almost four hours of hiking and scaling boulders, we finally made the summit. Most of it was under heavy forest, but there was one area where you could get on top of a large cliff and look out over the crater and out on to the Caribbean Sea. The crater was amazing. I am normally terrified of heights, but for some reason, my inner mountain goat took over. I climbed out onto that perch you see in the first picture and some time there, just listening to the wind and drinking in the beauty of the island.  The photo is deceiving, because that rock is actually pretty high up and out over the forest. You can sit there and look right over the crater and the sulfur lake inside or turn left and see Saba and the Caribbean Sea. It was a breathtaking seat.

DSCN2478

The cliff face and Caribbean Sea from my perch

I meditated for a bit on the summit, then brought out what I had to offer. A shot of rum and my some of my white sage and tobacco. I got a big feeling of joy and relaxation after that. I had finally been to the highest point on the island and seen the crater. It felt like a big achievement, for some reason. I did not really question why, just basked in the feeling. The volcano itself is sleeping. It has lain dormant for over a thousand years since its last eruption. It is still active, and we get occasional tremors on the island. The rainforest on its summit is very much alive though. It was a great treat to have been there. I really hope that I can do it again before I graduate. Maybe spend more time at the top. There are also many other hiking trails to be explored.

Blue snail

Blue snail

Caribbean fiddlehead

Caribbean fiddlehead

fungus!

fungus!

This was an amazing experience. I loved seeing all kinds of new plants. I am determined now to learn the names of as many of them as possible in my time here (as if I don’t already have enough to learn in vet school as it is).

So what is your next adventure? What is your mountain to climb? I say, go for it. You may be surprised by what you find.


Releasing

Sorry guys, I have been an awful blogger these past few months. It’s been so extremely busy. This semester is trying its hardest to kick my ass and I am not giving an inch. Boar and Stag have taught me how to be a warrior, and I am using that to fight my way through some difficult classes. This means I have very little downtime and what time I do have is rarely devoted to writing blogs or even thinking about what the hell to write. And on top of school I’ve had some unwanted matters of the heart to deal with, but that’s neither here nor there. On free moments I try to continue the spiritual work that I want to do. I still meditate daily and I have started hiking down to the campus beach at least once a week to escape people and do some deep meditation surrounded by nature and Grandmother Ocean. These little things have helped keep me sane. I have also observed the full moons and played with my animal oracle a time or two. But that is all the paganness I have had time for.
This week is a bit of a deep breath before the plunge of a three week marathon of tests and quizzes from hell. In honor of that and some recent events in life, I’ve decided to talk about releasing. Specifically, a ceremony that I learned to release energies, emotions, people or pretty much anything you want from your life. Anything that holds you back from your goals and dreams. I learned this technique last semester while casting some unnecessary anger out of my life. I was inspired to do it while sitting on the beach in meditation. Since, it has become a frequent practice of mine to help deal with anger, It truly helps, and therefore I wanted to share this simple and effective little ceremony.
I began on the beach sitting comfortable on the ground in meditation. I spent quite some time just grounding and centering in order to address the issue in a calm manner. Once I felt sufficiently grounded, I bring the emotions to the surface. I focus on the negativity that tends to build up. Focus on the frustration of whatever does not seem to be going right. I tear open the wounds that hold me back. Sometimes it induces shaking or tears or other natural responses to frustrating things in life. It may be unpleasant to revisit these things, but it is necessary to see them in order to get rid if them.
When I feel ready, I walk along the beach until I find a rock or pebble that catches my eye. I sit down with this item and pour everything into it. All those negative thoughts and feelings. All that frustration. Force it all into that stone. I hold the stone to my heart or head, whatever is appropriate for what I am getting rid of. Blowing the negativity into the stone is highly effective. I will spend up to 15 minutes filling the stone with what holds me back. Then, when I have nothing more to put into the stone, I hurl it as hard and as far as I can into the ocean. The main point is achieving a clean break from the negativity you have rid from yourself. Almost immediately, I feel lighter and happier. I can feel less weight pulling on my shoulders. I am exhausted, but refreshed.
The main part being done, I usually sit back down and meditate a little bit longer. I thank Grandmother Ocean for her help. Usually I will leave her an offering of some flowers that I picked on my hike or some food that I have on me. Then I just enjoy a few moments in nature before returning to my studies.

campus beach
This has been highly effective for me. I have been calmer and more level headed. I also think this is highly versatile. I have used it for emotions, for a specific person who was holding me back, and even for matters of the heart. It also helps to perform this in an area with which you are familiar. A body of water or area of nature that you have built a relationship with will be more effective than a random one. It does not take a lot of time. You could spend as little has a half hour on it or you could spend several hours on it. So go out and try it. Think of what has been holding you back. Think if what is unhealthy in your life that you could do better without. You could even do this more than once if one time was not as effective as you had hoped. You could use the associations of the moon and stars to increase effectiveness if you are astrologically inclined. I have usually done it as needed, regardless of moon phase and it has still been effective for me.

I hope that you find this helpful. I challenge you to go and try it, even once, and you will be better off for it.