It is already three in the afternoon when we start our hike. It is late fall and the temperatures
In Northern Pennsylvania are cool and almost freezing at night. The area is graced by waterfalls
Which are spectacular to both see and hear. I step carefully on the steep, slippery steps, carved out
of stone by the river. My partner, more surefooted than I, has no problem with a fast pace on the
difficult climb. We wander onto an unintended trail after reaching the top and turn away
from our downhill destination. A wolf quietly spots us and disappears as quickly as he came onto
the path. We know that to make it back to the truck before dark, we must move very quickly.
There is no short cut or easy way out of the oncoming darkness. We finally succumb to hiking one sure way down the steep river bank, as the sunlight becomes twilight. The waterfalls peek out of the shadows, shining their white lace faces toward our concerns. I feel a wash of soft peaceful sound
into my tired being. We have already hiked at least twelve miles and how many more will we go in the moonless night? I must move quickly, to stay close behind my partner, even though fear creeps into me as I move almost sideways down the damp steps. One wrong move, a bone is broken or I would be somewhere down the deep ravine. How can I make it? I heard a voice say, “shape-shift into jaguar”
It was the voice of Alberto Villoldo, as he had said the same thing to myself and another girl when we were climbing down a rocky wall to enter a canyon in Arizona, over a year ago in September. I have no choice. I either become more paralyzed with fear, or surrender my ego to Mother Sister Jaguar.
I call upon the Jaguar and ask her to come into me. I sense her power, her great heart and massive body becomes mine. Fear dissolves breathlessly into the night air. My partner moves quickly ahead of me. I
Now I feel the warm power of the jaguars step and can hear her breath in mine. I am no longer human, my feet and legs are jaguars, my face is hers. I spring quickly down the dark steps, feeling exhilarated by each moment. I am in a state of joyful prayer. We came out of the dangerous dark rivers edge with ease.
I am thankful for the opportunity to be pushed beyond my limitations. I realize that I could not know the meaning of shape shifting into the Jaguar without those circumstances. My body and mind have been exhausted by what became a difficult eighteen mile hike. The moonless night is dark and cold. I am confronted by fears of falling down into the river or ravine. Only then could my ego surrender, only then could I fully embrace and allow her powerful presence. She carried me down the slippery steps along
the steep black riverbank and filled me with of seeing the pleasure of seeing in the dark through her eyes. My feet became her paws as she and I moved gracefully through night.
As Ben and I reach the parking lot, we laugh and are relieved to be safe and out of the cold.
Later he said to me, I sensed something happening along the river and when I looked back at you, I could see that you were close behind me… and you were smiling.