We all knew what to do next. We got up and went to our Clan-Hearth across the Mississippi River to join the whole of the Earth Conclave for the delicious lunches and amazing tales that awaited us.

The view of the Mississippi River from the Effigy Mounds.

Samhain Earth Conclave:

A Heroic Journey to the Bear Mounds

Donald L. Engstrom-Reese


November 1

© 2008

    A group of Earth Conclavers choose to take a Heroic Journey on the morning of the Day of the Dead to the Marching Bear Effigy Mounds over looking the Mississippi River (one of the homes of Grandmother Bear) to seek information on the growing and nurturing of a Heroic Community. Another group chose to stay at our hearth-fires (kitchen) to engaged in a heroic working of the Conclave Prayer Beads also in search of information regarding the Heroic Community.

    This was the Intention for Both Workings:

        We seek visions of the thriving, compassionate, wisdom filled Heroic Community.

    This was the Subtext of the above Intention:

        As an emerging Heroic Community, we the Earth Conclave, dare to seek wisdom and knowledge in the blessed Heart of the Clan-Hearth and at an ancient sacred Home of Grandmother Bear. We dare to gather not only wisdom and knowledge, but also common sense, astuteness, prudence and compassion. We dare to walk past theory and into the realities of nurturing a Heroic Community of Beauty, Balance and Delight. We dare to live lives of intentionality.

    The winds sang songs of the coming of Winter. The sunlight shone through openings in the thin clouds to sparkle on the colorful turning leaves. The temperature was a comfortable 60 degrees. The atmosphere was filled with the perfumes of a woods just entering the Dream Time. It was a perfect Autumn day for a long walking ritual.

    We slowly and silently made our way to the sacred grounds wrapped in our shawls and  prayers. Expectation and blessing surrounded us as we each declared that we were ready to open to whatever information came our way. We each found our own places to seek what we had come for amongst the effigies of bears, hawks and snakes.

    I made my way to the bear mound on which we first fed the ashes and bones of Rick, Donald and Dickie Lee to the Earth. I sat on the mound’s heart and opened myself to the welcoming warmth of sun and drowsy love permeating my whole being.

One of the Effigy Bear Mounds

    Suddenly I found myself fully alert. Someone was coming.

    Grandmother Bear joined me on the mound. We sat eye to eye. She leaned over and whispered into my ear,

        ‘What is the difference between group-mind and group-heart?

        What happens when the two are connected?’

    Grandmother Bear then sat up and said,

        ‘It is a good thing for the embryonic Heroic Community to continually explore what it means to consciously practice horizontal hierarchy; the planning and the installation, the dreaming and its manifestation.

        What does it feel like to walk beyond theory?

        Why do you hesitate?

        Are you threatened?

        Are you afraid of the work?

        Are you afraid that you will succeed?

        What do you lose if you dare to become an actual Heroic Community?

        What do you gain?

        What are your visions of a Heroic Sustainable Community of Beauty, Balance and Delight? Be clear. Choose your visions with care. It is not unlike building a beautiful thriving garden which is a mingling of the wild and the domestic rooted in the rich black soils of chaos.’

The Black Twig Apple offering shared by the nine of us in the circle.

    Ing joined us.

        ‘We are all in this together. Our family, our hearth-clan, our tribe includes us all. Some of us are humans (the living and the dead).  Some of the members of this family are Mysterious Ones. Some of us are wild fey, dark elves, land wights and many other types of beings some call the Others, but we simply call family.

        How do we gather and manage our resources?

        How many of us can daily gather around one hearth?

        How many can gather seasonally at the larger clan-hearth, at the tribal gathering grounds?

        Where are our regional geographical centers?

        Where are the centers of our bioregions?

        Where are the centers of our spirit lands?

    Bridget joined us, forming a circle of four.

        ‘Group Trance Journeys are very helpful in the growing and nurturance of Heroic Communities.’

    Ing continued.

        ‘I tell you this again and again:

            Play together.

            Eat together.

            Build together.

            Grow together.

            Fuck together.

            Choose to make a life together!

        There are no hidden secrets, formulas or recipes.

        Use the magic, the knowledge, the understanding that you already have.

        Recognize the mysteries in which you already live.’

    Singing Bear joined us.

        ‘Sing the songs of power that you already know to each other.

        Let healing words pour forth from your lips.

        Make room for possibility in your lives.’

    Bridget spoke again.

        ‘The hardest part, it seems, is simply staying the course while fully embracing change.’

    Hera joined the circle.

        ‘It is essential that you are together, face to face, heart to heart, if you actually expect to grow a vital Heroic Community.

        See with Clear Eyes and Open Hearts!’

Red Oak leaves shinning in the Autumn Sun.

    Freya joined the circle.

        ‘Humans must be able to smell each other to fully share your deepest selves and richest lives.’

    Bridget continued.

        ‘It is up to you. It is your choice to step into this magic. No Mysterious One can make this happen for you. No ancestor can make this choice for you. It is only living human beings that can open the gateways into this way of life with their conscious decisions, with their mindful intentions and willing choices.

        You know what to do.’

    Freya spoke again.

        ‘Again, remember that a family, a clan, a thriving community is made up of many types of individuals: humans (the living and the dead), Mysterious Ones, Green-Bloods, Red-Bloods, and many Others.’

    The Queer God joined our circle.

        ‘You know this.

        We choose to grow a Heroic Community together as feres and partners or nothing will happen at all.

        Do you wish to merely survive or do you wish to thrive?’

    Freya then said,

        ‘As the Nornir tell you over and over, they can only weave with the weft thread that you give to them.

    Kwan Yin joined us to made our circle nine.

        ‘It is up to you.

        Practice the Ways of Informed Compassion.

        Practice the Craft of the Cold Heart of Compassion.

        Practice the Art of Loving Compassion.

        Practice compassion for yourself each day of your life.

        Practice compassion for each other with every breath, with every action, with every dream you dream.

        You know what to do.’

    Grandmother Bear concluded the circle’s conversation.

        ‘Learn the taste of compassion.

        Learn its songs and rhythms.

        Learn its seasons.

        Notice that there are many Heroic Communities forming in all of the Worlds.

        When compassion flows freely between the members of our Hearth-Clan, our Heroic Community will have been made manifest on the Good Green Earth around the hearth-fires of every member of this family.

        You know what to do.

        Do it.’

The path back home.