During the years of 2004-2007 on the Journey Home, I studied at a prestigious aikido dojo called Matsubadojo. There, under the tutelage of Sensei House; were we introduced to a technique called misogi; a means of clearing and purifying the Self based on immersion in cold, running water. Preferably beneath a waterfall. As my studies took place in Lake Tahoe, California; there weren’t many waterfalls available; so we would do the practice in the freezing cold water of the lake. It was a special treat, administered not by our teacher, but by another; Reverend Bearish; the first American to be ordained as a Shinto priest by the Japanese government.
Shinto, as I came to understand it, is a major spirituality in the realms of Japan. And the misogi technique is a means of asking the kami; their name for the deva; to cleanse us. To purify our spirit; thus allowing more Light, more Goodness, more radiance to come into our lives. It is a sanctified relationship with the elemental spirits; accessed through the medium of water. During the ritual, we would venture out into the cold waters, plunging ourselves up to our necks; our hands in prayer position. Here, our knees folded on the ground, we were asked to relax; despite the freezing temperature; to drop our shoulders, to let the coldness of the Water bathe us clean. During this time, it was considered good form to be able to relax. To be able to control the shivers, to release our tension, and truly surrender. Such was considered an accomplishment, for if one could control their shaking in the water, they could control their shaking in a martial situation.
It was an intense practice. One that I followed through on, multiple times, throughout my Divine Adventure. Much later in Life I would listen to self development coaches and teachers talking about the benefits of freezing cold showers, cooling down the temperatures of the body; bringing vigor, bringing Life. I saw these practices as the mainstreams initiation into the endless journey of relating with the elemental forces that surround us.
In “2009 – Faerie Roads” I would put this practice deeply into action. Unbalanced by an excess of Fire in my system, I would immerse myself in cold Water, at the top of Echo Summit near the southern edge of Lake Tahoe. Here, with the company of my beloved familiar North, I would breathe into the Deva-Kami, asking them cleanse and clear me, such that I may be liberated from the subconscious patterns and resentments that were burning me from within.
I cannot speak highly enough of working intentionally with the elementals. With the deva-kami; to deepen into living a Mythical Life. Whether we have access to the subtlety of consciousness to perceive them or not; their presence is very, very real; far larger than the small actions of our human agenda. Humbly, it helps us to remember that these beings are much, much larger than we are. That they are older, wiser, and fundamentally more clear.
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