Death to Life by IxChel Rising
Death isn’t scary anymore, not when you really think about it and definitely not when you’ve lived it over and over again. Parts of us die all the time; friendships, plants, pets, and old belief systems. It took for me to lose a pet to learn that I could really die of a broken heart, still by physically breathing, and emerge into a completely new person. It’s not the first time my heart had been broken but it was the first time I witnessed a soul leave this earth. This beautiful, protective, loving soul spent its last days, seconds, and last terrifying cry right by my side as I did everything in my power to help him live. His name is Njambi which means “protector of the forest”. It seemed so fitting because I live on the side of a mountain that’s covered in thick waves of cedar and pinion trees, crawling with herds of elk and dens of snakes under the layers of ancient volcanic rock that was originally Mexico.
This wasn’t the first time I experienced this deep deep darkness but it was the first time I allowed myself to go so deep, so close to death that I thought “I’m not ready to die”, turned and walked the other way. I saw it and the only reason I knew it was because of this land we live on. On a New Moon, it’s so dark around the mountain you can barely see in front of you. Eventually, my eyes started learning to adjust and grab the light from the stars and planets that pepper my mountain sky, but there were times when the clouds made sure it was pitch black. That’s exactly how it feels when parts of me are dying to give birth to a new leg of the journey, and it can be absolutely heart wrenching to not be able to see the road in front of you. In the same respect, I learned that I instinctually still know where the road is and from this, I was able to deeply connect with the secondary meaning of “seeing”.
Not being able to “see” the land around me was scary because there’s coyotes, bears, elk, bobcats, and all other kinds of wildlife that has been untouched for almost 100 years, this is their land. Over time I’ve learned to speak to the spirits here and built up to walking in the dark with the lights off and allowing my intuition to guide me down the roads I’ve made with my husband and our bare hands. The last two years of my life on the mountain has put me through long periods of experiencing the development of my spiritual, third-eye sight. So many times I questioned my purpose and thought maybe I took a wrong turn somewhere. Had I misunderstood my mission? Does everything falling apart mean I need to walk away? What if everyone is right and I should leave? What if there is something better somewhere else out there for me? We can drive ourselves insane with all the hypothetical scenarios that can plague our minds, and that’s exactly how I started to spiral.
As a Scorpio Sun and Moon, with Scorpio in six other places in my astrological chart, I’m evolving to understand this darkness. This darkness that I feel like I’m supposed to be afraid of and have spent the better part of my life trying to stay away from because of the way society views “darkness”. My heavy, spiraling thoughts that plunged me quickly to the bottom of this deep darkness in my soul had accelerated my depression. Until this period in my life, I never claimed I had depression but I had been here before, in this dark, cold cave of doubt with, what seemed like, no way out. Over the weeks that went by, I grew accustomed to the dark, cold cave I fell into, I knew what to expect there, I was comfortable.
I could expect loneliness just like I could in actual life. All my life it felt like I’ve been walking this journey alone. But there was something about having everything you’ve worked for, your life, and your freedom threatened that made me feel like this world really is just about “every man for himself”. I could expect the cold, which I’ve always naturally preferred anyway. I’ve always lived by “It’s easier to warm up from the cold than it is to cool down from the heat.” But the spiritual manifestation of this idea was not as easy as it sounds when we’re simply talking about temperature and weather. This was the day I prayed for death so hard and let go of my soul so easily that it scared me back into my body.
Two years ago my husband and I sold our first home and used the money as a downpayment on four pieces of raw land in New Mexico with the determination and assignment from our guides to create a community living space. The one that sounds cliche because it has almost become the latest fashion in American society in the 21st century. We wanted to grow food, facilitate community classes, create jobs, and open up the land to host a beautiful community of people who would live in harmony with Mother Earth and also do our part to protect the animals, land, and water. What we didn’t take into account was how this was going to sound to the small-town people who took over this area over 100 years ago. It sounds like a threat to their way of life, much like their presence here has threatened everything natural. At first, I didn’t see it, but in this space, I get it now.
The people in this area don’t see this land as indigenous, sacred land. All they see is ranching land, ways to make money and their own personal agendas coming to life on this land. That energy is part of the reason the land, plants, water, and animals in this area are struggling. Mother Earth is a paycheck more than it is a place of healing like it was intended to be. And when the people in the area started to meet us, they realized that energy had died with us. We were not here to make the land a paycheck, or to come up. We’re here to restore what has been lost, restore nature’s gardens, revive the water that ran through these mountains and give back Mother Earth’s power.
Here were these two “kids from the city” living on raw land with this extravagant idea of creating a community from nothing. It was threatening to some people that we were able to survive for four months living in a tent during monsoon season. The land is at least an hour from any city or town, at least an hour from any street lights, and far enough from other people for us to potentially lose our lives out here to a number of wild factors. But we marched forward anyways! Our stories of coyote standoffs and their tails rubbing against the side of the tent at night sparked fear in the hearts of those that don’t have the want or will to do what we’re doing. We survived cold nights with no electricity, no running water, and days with no food. We really “roughed” it! The longer we spent out here the more obstacles we overcame and every day the dream of building up the land as we’d seen in our dreams solidified a little bit more.
During the short period when we initially started to occupy the land, we started meeting people who were more interested in seeing us like we were some kind of attraction to the area and starting rumors about us being drug dealers, most likely because of our dreadlocks. Dreadlocks have become a common fashion trend around the world, but ours are not. They’re not neat, twisted or kept up in any way and the reason for this is purely spiritual, we call them freeform locs. When we decided to loc our hair five to six years ago it was to embody the Rastafari belief system, a vow of separation. Rastas believe that dreadlocs are a way of outwardly showing the world that you do not subscribe to the common belief system. They are a way of showing the world that this entity is one with nature, focused on living in harmony with Mother Earth and signifies that we stand against every atrocity done toward’s the Creator’s creations. Our hair is what separates us from what we refer to as “Babylon”. This chunk of our journey in New Mexico has shown me what I truly signed up for with this vow I wear on my head.
On one morning, in particular, we felt the call to perform a ceremony in which we sent prayers to the four sacred directions. I set up earth grids on each of the properties with volcanic rocks and sticks from Pinon and Juniper trees while my husband found an area to sit and create sound and energy on his Nyabinghi drum to carry our prayers to the ancestors. As he drummed, I lit sage and began my process of sending prayers to the four sacred directions but something we didn’t plan for happened that day that changed our lives forever. My heart felt this calling to offer myself up to the mountain, Mujeres Mountain is her name, which translates to “Mountain Women”. I instantly added this to my prayers, “I offer myself to you to be used to rid this mountain and this area of anyone with hate in their hearts.” The more I chanted and prayed the more the winds blew, the louder the howling, and the less I could hear my husband’s drumming. I felt the earth, land, and spirits around me rejoice, kiss me with drops of water with no clouds in sight and something shift the energy of the area.
A few days later I was in handcuffs, my dogs were impounded, and the family dynamic my husband and I built began to die slowly. Rumors turned into criminal complaints. Those turned into a week in jail with two separate arrests. That trauma led to my death. The death of our relationship and the death of innocence. We thought we were doing something admirable, something that people in the community could benefit from. Yet there we sat behind bars, looking at each other through glass and metal, hungry and without water. The woman I was that cold March morning is no longer the woman sitting here writing this story. That woman died that week, that woman has continued to die over the past year and a half, and that woman is renewed, reborn and revived as a whole new being!
I didn’t grow up being told that life could get really ugly. I grew up with my parents sheltering me from the horrors they experienced in the law enforcement profession every day, like the deep-seated discrimination in law enforcement would never touch my brown skin. It wasn’t until I turned 18 years old did I start seeing and experiencing the world for what it was, a mix of “good” and “bad”. Over the past 5 years, I’ve delved deep into my personal healing journey, following whispers from my guides that pass through my consciousness like shooting stars in the night sky. In those years I’ve learned that “good” and “bad” are all objective energies depending on how we see the world through our soul. I’ve seen death, right up front. I watched the soul leave my German Shepherd, Njambi, it can be painful. I’ve seen life rise up and love strengthen from the roughest patches of my relationships. Every single time something in my life shifts, so do the people around me, the energy, and my view of the world.
At first, I thought it was just me, this deep Scorpio woman, that this cycle of life and death was going to continue for, but the reality is, THIS is LIFE. Much like a growing snake that needs to shed its skin to have room to grow larger, travel longer, and endure more, our life is growing through all the pain. So now when I see my life-changing, the people around me fall off, and plans start to fall apart I think to myself “So it’s time to change and evolve again hu?! Fa sho! Let’s go!!” I’ve learned that it’s pointless and draining to fight what you can’t see. Have you ever stood in thick fog and tried to punch it?! You might as well be trying to punch the wind and that’s sometimes what it feels like when we’re trying to hold on to the old life we had. That life we snuggled into like a big, fluffy comforter in a thickly snowed chunk of land with a cup of hot chocolate. We don’t want to move from that place of comfort but only so much can be accomplished in that comfort. I challenge you to think... if you never got up and moved what would you accomplish?
IxChel Rising is a wild spirit who was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and has been writing since she could read and write. Although she grew up in the suburbs surrounded by buildings and concrete, she currently lives as wild as it gets for a city girl. In 2012 she left California with her husband in search of a more natural lifestyle closer to nature and ended up in Denver, Colorado. After spending 4 years there developing a natural wellness product line with her husband, they decided to go after that “close to nature” lifestyle again and ended up in the mountains of New Mexico an hour away from any city or town. Now, IxChel spends her days tending to the land, connecting with nature and learning how to live in harmony with the plants and wildlife in the forest around this volcanic mountain, Mujeres Mountain.
IxChel has always had a passion for verbal expression, poetry and spiritually supporting those in need. She has learned to embrace her natural Scorpio being of fierce emotions and passion throughout her journey across the country. One of the reasons for this move to such a wild area is her desire to connect with her true nature, ancestral healing and to create a place where like-hearted individuals can gather, live together, grow food together and improve the land that once flourished with noe extinct plants and trees. Her desire for her writing and stories is to activate the souls around the world who have a similar calling, so we can gather and be the force of change so many people wish and pray for. https://ixchelrising.wordpress.com/