Bless the Bears.


Bless the Snakes.


Bless the Hawks.


Bless the Oaks.

Walking up the road to the Effigy Mounds

A Samhain Journey to the Bear Mounds

Autumn Earth Conclave


Halloween Afternoon

October 31, 2009

Donald L. Engstrom-Reese

We began our journey to the Bear Mounds on a cloudy, windy, cool morning. The weather fit my mood. This Samhain holiday was more somber than I had experienced for many years. Many of us had noticed that The Mysterious Ones and the ancestors had been abnormally quiet in the days and nights leading up to Halloween. It seemed to us as if the Spirit Peoples were quietly waiting to see what we, the living, were going to choose to do. Though, none of us were clear on what choices were coming our way. But, whatever these unknown choices may be, we had a sense that they were ‘big choices’ that would effect the Earth for many years to come.


Nevertheless, we were all in good humor as we formed our Earth Conclave travel circle in the camp’s parking lot to check in and to invite Mystery to travel with us to the Effigy Mounds. The ride over the river was pleasant. Excitement built as we came closer to our destination. We all were in talkative good moods as we gathered around the entrance sign to pay our parking fee and to enjoy a photo opportunity. We were looking forward to spending time with Grandmother Bear and the Others who often meet us on these sacred mounds.


We slowly made our way up the steep road that snakes up the sides to the top of the bluffs, (home to the Effigy Mounds) that overlooks the Mississippi River. It is always deeply refreshing to walk along this magical path through the rich beauty of oak, maple, wild flowers, prairie grasses and limestone. Halfway up the hill, I again felt the spirit gates of this place open wide. I found myself surrounded by my dear traveling companions, walking into a sacred, timeless place, the abode of ancestors and Mysterious Ones. My lungs filled with blessed air. My heart beat to ancient rhythms. The eternally changing songs of the approaching Dark Days sang out clearly for all to hear who dared to listen. My whole being filled with joy and expectation.


We gathered as usual, on the small conical burial mound at the top of the bluff road. Here we thanked the Spirits of the Land, the ancient Ancestors of this place and welcomed Mystery to continue to journey with us to our destination. One of us made her way to the beginning of the final path to Mounds to ask each of us, one at a time, a whispered gateway question. The beauty of us slowly walking in a long slow processional line to the sacred site always brings joy to my heart. This year was no different. Each step we made towards the Effigy Mounds on this path brought us deeper into the time between time, the place between the worlds, the axis of beingness.


At the entrance to the Ten Bear Mounds, we each went our own way to listen, feel, taste, smell and see the messages that would come our way. Folks scattered again this year, throughout the site, from the farthest Red-tailed Hawk mounds to the nears Bear mounds right at the entrance gate.


I made myself comfortable on the Bear mound where we first fed Rick’s ashes to the Good Green Earth. I placed my offer of a yellow pear and sage on the bear’s heart. I opened myself, and declared to the multiverse that I was ready to listen and experience all that was being sent to me.


These are the Messages I received while wandering the grounds of the Effigy Mounds as I placed other offering of apples and pears on the different mounds.


From Grandmother Bear:


Continue to mark the door steps of power with spirals. Continue to call blessing and power into the world. All whole walk between the spirals will be touched by the transformation that is being called for in these times.


It is time to begin to mark Hecate’s crossroads with spirals. Let each crossing of human roads remind them it is time to choose.


It is time again to remind your Folk that if they become confused, disorientated or lost when they die, they only nyd to come to the Bear Mounds. Here there will be friendly folks waiting to lead them across the River.


Remember to nurture the wildness living in the heart of your domesticity.


Choices have been made and now the processes of transformation, transmutation, decomposition ... will intensify. Prepare yourselves.



From Prairie Snake:


Do not be deceived. Love holds you firmly without weariness, as you scream and shriek out the pain and grief that you have inherited, begins to wrack your bodies, minds and souls, shaking the human worlds’ very foundations and sanity.


Loving Compassion ... does not flinch from the taste of death.



From Red-Tailed Hawk:


Pay attention, pay attention to every detail, to every choice, to every step, to every word, to every meal, to every act you make ... Awaken, look, smell, feel, listen, taste ... use all of your senses more intensely and consciously than you have every done before ... and remember ... everything you already know ... this is a time to make the right choice, the best choice, the honorable choice, the proper choice, the correct choice ...


From Mother Oak:


Choose to look closely at the patterns of the dead veins of the leaves on the ground at your feet. Dig deep into that pile of leaves to your left. See how brightly colored these dead buried things still are. Dig a bit deeper. Look at how rich these transformed dead bodies have become.


        Spring is still many many snows away. So it is with your current civilization.


        Choose wisely.



Time stood still. Yet, I was startled when it was time to leave. I had to choose to step back into the stream of human time, be it organic or mechanical.


We quietly walked back to the burial mound where we first cast our circle. We bid our allies a fond farewell expressing deep gratitude for all of their presence and support. We then made our way back down the bluff and to our cars for our drive back to the Earth Conclave meeting hall.


I for one, came back with more questions than I had when I had left for the mounds. Just what choices were we being called to make? What inheritance were we coming into? I decided that these would be two of the questions that I would take to the Roadhouse of the Dead later that night. But, at the moment, I just wanted to listen to the strong winds continue to sing in the winds.

My offering at the Heart of the Bear.