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Alaska: June 2002
Two days before the solstice, when we were to activate the 4th Soular Disc, we arrived on the tiny landing strip at Dutch Harbour Unalaska, our base in the Aleutian Islands. From here we had planned to fly by seaplane to Akutan, where the energies of the Disc are centred.
On entering the arrivals hall, I heard my name being called, only to be given the disappointing news that the seaplane needed repairs and there was no chance of it being airworthy for our onward flight.
After the respite of the last few days, when the theme of letting go, grieving and reconciliation had seemed to recede, it now resumed its central presence in our ongoing journey. We collectively let go of any expectations and allowed ourselves to be in the flow of whatever understanding and healing were to come.
Renae's local knowledge, however, was about to save the day. During her earlier journey here to make arrangements for our group, she'd met the skipper of a boat who she felt might be able to take us to Akutan.
Unlike the seaplane, the journey by boat in what could be rough conditions would make it a very long day. But everyone was in agreement. If the skipper and his boat were available, this is what we would do. If not, we all accepted that we would be wherever we were meant to be to activate the Soular Disc.
Renae went off to meet the skipper and soon returned with the good news that yes, he would take us.
Early on the clear bright morning of 21 June we arrived at the boatyard in good time. As we made our way to our own boat, I noticed the name of another moored there: Miss Terry. I cried a smile at this reminder of my dear Terry and the truth of how much I missed him.
Looking up, we saw high above us three golden eagles soaring effortlessly, forming a perfect triangle in the cloudless sky, the symbolism of their trinity speaking to us of reconciliation and resolution.
To Native Americans, the golden eagle is an embodiment of the spirit of the Sun. There is a legend that as an eagle ages it will fly ever higher towards the Sun, almost burning itself up in doing so. It will then seek a source of pure water and, swooping down, dip its wings three times, restoring its youth and reconciling the energies of Fire and Water.
The golden trinity of eagles and their mythic connection with the elemental essences embodied by the Soular Discs gifted us yet another wonderful omen. We knew that the spirits of the animals were speaking to us and that our connection would be all that it was meant and needed to be.
After a long and bumby sea crossing, during which some of us, me included, turned the same colour as the ocean that buoyed us on, we gratefully landed at Akutan's tiny and only jetty. Here we were met by Renae's Aleutian friends, who would join us on the boat ride to the far side of the island.
Seasonal workers who come to process the fish caught in these abundant waters swell the population of this small island. Renae's frinds were some of the very few people who live here the whole year round; indeed, two of them had never left the tiny island. They understood our spiritual purpose for being here and their support and comradeship were a joyful blessing to us.
The skipper skilfully steered the boat through the increasingly choppy coastal waters to a small inlet leading to a hidden valley of hot springs where Renae and I had both felt the Disc's energies to be their most powerful.
In the cramped space of the boat we helped each other to don our bulky life jackets. Excitedly, we readied ourselves to enter the small landing craft for the final part of our long journey to connect with the Disc.
But in those last few moments, looking at the surf pounding the steep and rocky beach that would be our only place to land, the skipper realized the sea was too rough for us to safely land and then return.
As he and Renae told me of our situation, I knew I had to make an immediate choice that would decide the outcome of all we had undergone together. I could argue and rail against his judgement, resentful and frustrated that now, of all days, and having come so far, we were halted on the final threshold of our cherished destination. Or I could let go of my plan and release myself and the others, trusting that all was well and that we were where we needed to be.
I chose to let go.
As, with the most beautiful grace, did everyone else.
Quietly we formed a circle in the small space on the deck of the boat, steadying ourselves as it rocked in the heavy swell. What few words came, of intention, dedication and blessing, were quickly dispersed on the wind and only what we felt deep within remained with us.
As we joined hands with our Aleutian friends and connected with the Soular Disc, its gentle energies were a balm for our souls. Against the backdrop of sea, wind and crashing waves, we silently offered prayers for the letting go of old pain, for the release of grief and for ultimate reconciliation.
The simplicity of the moment belied all the complexity that had brought us to this place at this time. As I stood buffeted by the wind swirling around us, I thought of all the tortuous ways in which we continue to replay old hurts and find new ways of adding to them. And I realized that however deep those hurts and however justifiable our pain, the choice is ultimately simple: hold on or let go. To remain imprisoned by the past or to be free for the future.
Suddenly, bright golden light suffused my inner vision and I smiled as I realized that the Disc was activated.
From The 13th Step ?2007 by Jude Currivan, published by Hay House.