The other night at our shaman circle, one of the drums became unbearably loud and aggressive, pounding at my temples to the point that my whole body began to tense. I nearly stood up to walk out thinking whoever was drumming had some unresolved issues, and I didn’t want to be a passive recipient of them. But just as I found myself rolling away from the sound of that drum, something in me contracting, a new thought began pushing back against the weight. “I am bigger than that! I don’t need to be afraid. I don’t even need to defend. I just, I just need to expand…” And with that thought, I felt myself growing, stretching out past our circle, past our room, enveloping all of Austin and bleeding into the sky. My breathing deepened, the sound of the drum receded, my muscles softened, and a smile spread across my face.
When the rattle began to pull us back to the room, my spirit glanced down at my body, and I noticed a grey wolf lying peacefully across my legs. It was alert, ears perked. Its eyes, intent as fire, stared protectively at the offending drum but it did not register any sign of danger. I could feel its warm furry belly inhaling and exhaling against my skin as it panted playfully. I felt safe and at ease.