Some years back, I attended a “Shamanism 101” weekend workshop. Among several things I learned was how to read a rock. Crazy, huh? That’s what I thought, too. Not having tried it since, I was curious to find out if it’s just the rocks talking in my head or if it’s for real, and so I have decided to have another go at sharpening my rock reading skills. From my garden, I’ve selected a quite ordinary, nondescript looking rock. (It’s the one in the center of the picture with the burnt-out eye sockets.) Sitting it on the table, I begin to examine its rugged exterior. Going so far as to get my magnifying glass out, squinty-eyed, I peer studiously at this triangular shaped rock. Hmm…what is this? Shapes start to form upon the rock. Am I seeing things? Have I officially lost it entirely? I laugh at what my family would think if they could see me now.
It’s as if there is a kind of alchemical force at work in this rock as it begins to shape shift right in front of me. Here buried into its craggy, triangular shaped face is a burnt out looking eye—could this be a kind of scorched All Seeing Eye from too much light pouring through? Now aligning in a place next to the first eye is another eye forming. Between there’s a hump nose, and below an inverted V shaped mouth. I can see there’s no easily winning over the affections of this rock as it seemingly studies me in return. Could there be some semblance of personality in this little craggy curmudgeon?
Ah, now redeeming itself, I see “two” cat heads with whiskers, no less, on the one side of its head; a tree on the top side; a kind of earth on the underside. Feminine wisdom, it says to me; there’s the masculine, too, yin and yang balancing in the number two. Could it be there is a need for more balance in my life? This unassuming and down-to-earth rock certainly has quite a bit to say.
Feeling silly, but after a bit, I think I’m forming a relationship with this rock—this rock that is born of great struggle from the Mother Earth herself. Disconcertingly, I also begin to feel as if I’m being scrutinized by the All Seeing Eye looking back at me. I look again—it’s been a long journey from where it began. There are gouges and scrapes dug deep in its skin; there is the complementary feminine and masculine energy and the tree of life as it reaches toward its divinity. There are roots and rocks, death and rebirth, and flecks of crystal like tiny stars that hint brightly of heaven buried inside.
Fitting so neatly in the palm of my hand, this crazy little rock must have a great many stories to tell. It’s weighty and in a moment, grounds me, ties me to the earth, then floats me to the stars. What has it seen? What does it know in its density? In geologic time, how old might it be? Born from erupting, spewing volcanoes from earth below, their red hot magma in long rivers cooling into wide corridors of land, shaped and shifted by ferocious winds, massive floods and so many cataclysmic things over millions of years? Full of gouges and scrapes, it’s been a long journey here to my hand.
In some crazy metaphorical sense, I see it kind of like my life. What wisdom or healing would surface while I in stillness sit? At what point would the primal soup of remembering my own divinity come forth? Gazing in gratitude at the miracle of my own midnight stars, might I find my heart giving up secrets of its own? Traveling past soil and skin, what discovery would I make about myself that is surprising or beautiful?
What privilege this life, this body and soul born of earth and stars, rooted deep in rock, infinite ray of light traveling far to be here now; this holy moment looking deep into this rock, looking into me, both so full of mystery, revealing the truth of my heart. Mystical and mysterious, question and answer, a cosmos of unfathomable nebulae of many colors, the DNA of the universe imprinted upon every particle that we are. A body formed, spit out from volcanoes, storm tossed on to many shores, the sun’s light encased in our cells. In time, I’m as old as this rock. Outside of time, I’ve no beginning or end. Amazing, this being-ness without end and what rock can teach you…when you listen.