20th February 2016
By Maria Teresa Solomons
A Journey of Transformation
It began with the sound of scratching on the ceiling of my camper, a light-footed, scratching which then crossed the ceiling and down onto the sides of the van to where the windows and mirrors are, like the sound of small scratchy branches blowing in the wind. However, there was no wind and it was still dark, the sun hadn’t quite broken over the horizon across the water. Then there was a solid knocking at my door as if some uninvited guest were outside, wanting to come in. My alarm had gone off about half an hour earlier but I was still enjoying the comfort of the warmth. I climbed down off my bunk and opened the door. There was no-one outside. Oranges and yellows peeled in layers over the sky.
Two black shadows pecked still at the side mirrors and cawed like the gurgling of an over-ready espresso pot. I'd never heard the Raven sound so close and never thought they´ be here but two campers across the parking lot, where Roberto, one of the panga boat driver´s family stays during the whale watching season was, of course, the treasure they were stalking, a big Osprey nest alive with three fledglings. At some point in their story, whether the Ravens were responsible or not, two would fall and one would remain.
This strange combination of sounds repeated themselves for about an hour every sunrise, from about 5.45am for the entirety of my stay at the camp and had I not already been familiar with the Raven as a traditional shaman totem spirit, I might have felt a sense of ominous foreboding.
The shapes we perceive, in the form of animal bodies or human bodies, in fact any and all life that around us are the clothes worn here for a time, but still they may change according to circumstance.
It is true that the Raven came out of darkness, but its trickster, enigmatic nature was what enabled it to capture a stolen sun and bring the seed of Light to the world.
Tired of the cold and dark the Raven had determined to trick the old man out of the sun he had hidden away in a box. The old man had a daughter who fetched water from the spring every day and as she was drinking he transformed into a seed and dropped into her glass whereupon she swallowed him. From that seed a child was born who stole the heart of the old man who would do almost anything to have the child play, but the little box remained locked away. As the child grew the old man softened to the laughter in the house and decided to show just a glimpse of the beauty and warmth of the sun. He opened the box for a second but shut it away again. Raven played more and the old man´s heart grew warm with the love he felt growing for the child until he decided the sun would be his gift to him. They played, and throwing the sun like a ball between them, the boy kept hold and as the sun warmed his hands, was transformed into a mighty Raven, the sun clasped in its strong black beak. He made a huge sweep of his wings, swept upwards and released it to the heavens where it exploded into a fiery blaze where it has stayed to this day to separate us from the darkness.
In this place, in the time and space of this lagoon, I feel I have a good spirit at my door when they visit and always feel blessed by their presence on my camper top and welcome the deep throttled clicking of their voices as I awake to the colours of the morning.
I can swear that for those who visit Laguna San Ignacio it is a journey of transformation, and regardless or not of whether their external human form changes visibly, something subtle happens in the three days that they are out on the water. Who is to know if the change started because of the emotion of their direct encounters with the whales of the lagoon, or if the stories they read before they came drew them in, or if the stories themselves are alive, and the words of the story is the teller in disguise.