Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day One

Today, Running Bear and I began the process of trying to cleanse the temple... Remember how I thought it was going to be difficult? Well. I was more than correct. We decided to tackle it in a series of steps, to maximize the possibility of success. The next few posts that follow are basically simple accounts of our days spent at work.

Step One: Remove the body and the bloodstains, ceremonially bury Bear's mother.

This is potentially the most emotionally taxing of all our work...Burial ceremonies are never happy things, for obvious reasons. For ancestral and tribal respect reasons, I will not account the details of the ceremony. Suffice it to say, her body rests under a desert tree about a mile to the south. I didn't see Running Bear for the rest of the day, but I don't blame him. He wonders if his mother's spirit was stolen somehow....He says he couldn't feel it. I couldn't either, honestly, but it is not my place to say something like that. Spiritstealer....That was written on the wall..I don't want to think about the possibility of something stealing another's spirit. That is so....evil. Such a crime against the balance of the worlds..

Anyway...I went back down later and began to wash the floors and the walls of blood and whatever else I could get. Most of the blood and drawings washed away...

And that's where it got weird, my friends. As the blood and charcoal washed towards the middle of the room, it appeared to....re-form.

Into the shape of the tall figure in black with no face. 

Hi, this is Running Bear. Don't worry, Zia gave me her password. I didn't hack her, she'd probably bury me if I did.
Anyway I just wanted to let you know that we made our first attack on the temple today. It was really sickening. Basically it was all about removing the body and the blood. I tried to help her but it was very hard for me. 
I buried my mother though. That at least I owe her. Maybe her spirit will find peace, if she even had one left. Whatever is in that place is rotten enough that........ Can man really have created this much horror? 
Even I can feel it. What she described in that other post. If I concentrate, I can feel it. Zia said she figured it out today, but I'll let her tell you about it. She can explain it better than I can.

Running Bear

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Running Bear broke the silence first. Around mid-morning yesterday, he came over to my side of the fire and laid his head on my shoulder. Just like that. He proceeded to apologize for acting like a scared child, for..all kinds of things that made no sense. I told him not to worry about it, because, let's face facts here-That covered every single level of the category "not good". We talked for a while then, about his mother, his tribe, seemingly small things compared to the shocker that came next.

~~Zia, I want to clean this place. I want to bury my mother, and then cleanse the evil. I don't really know how, but...It's possible, isn't it?

I am going to be honest here when I say that cleansing the entire temple of something this foul is just a bit beyond me. This kind of taint doesn't just stay here in the physical world-Oh no, I wish it were that easy. With something like this, realms of the spirits are affected as well. And guess what-One has to check each one, level by level. There are seven levels, with ours being the fourth. The average human being only deals with levels three through five, three being where the spirit comes from upon birth, five being the dwelling realm of most ancestral spirits. I have a feeling I'll be talking more about the others next time, so I'll leave that for now..
Back to this being beyond me-It's a touchy process. And Mystery was right, rock holds on to memory far longer than most other things. I have cleansed houses of various minor things, but those are cake walks compared to this. But I'll try it, for Running Bear. And because it seems like the only right thing to try in a situation like this...

I'm going to need a lot of fire, and lot of bear clover, and a lot more sleep.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Running Bear and I woke up early the next morning, neither of us able to sleep well. After a short meal of leftover snake (which by the way, is not wonderful cold...), we headed up towards the temple. I could literally feel time spinning, dragging, warping around us as we walked closer to the entrance. Running Bear seemed oblivious to it, but I felt like I was going to be sick. I always imagined I would feel this way on one of those 'roller-coasters' I've seen pictures of. Humans are not supposed to literally feel time. We notice its passing, but...this was like...being touched...So foreign, so strange...

The twisting stopped as soon as we crossed the threshold. Thank the spirits, I'm not sure how much more of that maddening sensation I could have handled. The interior of the building was covered in ancient calendars and time-keeping devices. Some of the paintings were of the never-ending cycle of the seasons, some marked the solstices and equinoxes, still others were markings of the years passed since the building of this great temple. I found myself wondering how long it has been since the markings were updated...This place could easily be a thousand years old. I asked Running Bear if he could read any of the paintings, but he said he couldn't, and didn't know anyone who could. I did recognize one, vaguely, a strange but recognizable depiction of the seven ages.

Time for business. Running Bear and I made our way to the back corner of the room, where there was a circular hole in the ground with a ladder running down into the darkness. He lit the two torches we brought, then pointed at the ladder.
~You first, I'll follow. Let's make this quick, I feel like we shouldn't be here. I feel sick already.
I agreed. I was beginning to feel unsafe. Not so much that I wanted to flee, more like there was an unspoken boundary that I was crossing.

The ladder felt solid for something that had likely been standing for hundreds of years. I focused all of my energy on climbing, so it was only when I stepped away from the ladder that I noticed the room. I couldn't help myself. I screamed. The room was very small, only about 8x8. The woman was in the center. Blood, everywhere. Oh spirits... She had carved the symbol into her skin several times before she died, on her face, her arms, her legs. The walls were covered in charcoal drawings of the black figure, sometimes with two arms, sometimes with more. There were words, also..SPIRITSTEALER. FACELESS. HE IS HERE. Others that I couldn't make out. There were several pieces of paper near her hands...Steeling myself, I walked over and picked them up. Too much. Have to leave..

Running Bear was in the corner of the room, huddling against a wall, shivering. "Zia...Zia...Can we leave now? My mother....This isn't just about my father is it Zia? Someone was after her, they killed her..." He broke off, crying.

Oh spirits, what is this madness. We have to go. The walls are closing in.

I grabbed Running Bear's hand and put in on the ladder. Climb, come on, let's go, run, get out... We climbed out as fast as we could, and collapsed against the opposite wall of the temple. And this is where we woke up, two days later. Since then, no one has spoken, but Running Bear did gather wood build a fire, if only to stare into the flames. I can't bring myself to think about what I found there, or look at the pages I gathered from the mother's hands...Later. For now, I should try to eat, I suppose. Or at the very least, find some water.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Seeking by Foot

There are some ancient places that the spirits won't let you enter in spirit while you are still alive. I found a cluster of these located near the back end of Canyon of the Ancients.. So I decided to trek up there, as it wasn't too far away. I thought I'd get these sites out of the way, make a base camp nearby, and resume my search by spirit walking.

I spent the last few hours of yesterday and all of this morning checking the sites in the cluster by foot. There were no signs of human activity in or around any of them. The last person to come visit could have been 200 years ago, for all I know. The kivas were empty of prints, the dwellings free of disturbances, the ground itself seemed untouched by anything.

And then, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. By chance, or by fate, I will never know.

I glimpsed the two-story structure off to the left, beneath a  deep natural overhang. The sun touched one of the corners, reflecting off of some sort of strange purple rock set there. My breath caught. This...this was an ancient holy site. A temple ((though that is only part of it)) of sorts, to the greatest of the Spirits. The Greatest Spirit, our Creator.. I climbed down to the base, staring up in awe. Of all the great places I have seen or heard tell of, strangely nothing compared to this simply built structure honoring The One Who Is.

Time gets lost in these places. The One Who Is is a timeless being, unlike his creation who was made to mind the seasons. He was the one who gave us the sun, the moon, the seasons of the year..All to keep us from losing our sense of time, and going mad.
But here, so close to this place, time seemed to lose its grip..Maybe it really does go by without entering. All I know for certain, is that the next time I blinked my eyes, it was close to nightfall.

And I was not alone. There was a fire burning not 20 feet away, and a man in his mid-twenties sitting on the other side watching me.
~"I wondered when you would be coming out of your little trance, there. Don't worry, it happened to me, too, the first time I came here. If your spirit is caught at unawares, you'll get caught up in the Timelessness. You're lucky, though. I stood there for two days. Call me Running Bear~I lost my true name when I lost my village."
~~"I'm Zia, Running Bear. I hate to be a bad guest of your fire, but I have to ask you, why you are following me?"
~"Following you? I'm not. I've been here in this spot for four days. I saw you wandering the ancient site above, searching for something. I thought you would stay above, but instead you saw the sun catch the amethyst on the roof. Lucky again, there aren't too many people alive who have seen that."
~~"I'm sorry for invading your space, then. I'm awestruck at this place."
~"Don't be sorry. You are welcome here, as is anyone who comes here with no ill intentions."
~~"How do you know my intentions? For all you know, I could be after anything."
~"You're looking for someone. I was looking for her too, but I think I know where she is now."
~~"You found her! Wait...How do you know about her? And how do you know where she is???"
~"She's my mother, Zia. I'm her eldest son. I watched her slip away from herself at home, and I watched her leave in a madness."
~~"Your father said he sent her away to purify herself."
~"He's just trying to save his honor as much as he can. You must know that symbol is blasphemy, Zia. The truth is, she ran away in the dead of night, after he caught her drawing that symbol in their bedchamber."
~~"He told me the last part. Running Bear, I am so sorry. Where did you find her?"
~"Oh, I haven't found any proof, other than a strong urge to vomit and run whenever I attempt to visit the underground portion of the temple."
~~"Would you mind if I tried to go in, tomorrow? There is something I have been following, and I think that maybe your mother is connected to it."
~"The Faceless Death. I know a very little about it. My mother was not killed by the Faceless Death, Zia. It's just a story that was taken too far, and blamed on some deaths a long time ago. My mother probably just killed herself to get away from my father, which I wouldn't blame her for, really. It would explain why I want to throw up whenever I go near though. I've always had a strong reaction to untimely deaths. But I don't mind if you try going in tomorrow. Until then, why don't you sleep here by the fire. I'd like the company, and I'm sure you have more questions."
I agreed. Running Bear and I have been talking on and off about things both serious and not. Right now, he's cooking a snake that he found close by. I admit, it has been a while since I have actually enjoyed simple conversation that may or may not mean anything. A night to relax before a potentially unpleasant day. I don't care what others of the people may say, I believe The One Who Is intervenes with us sometimes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Plan B it is

After another day of  *fruitless* spirit trail hunting, I have decided that I'm moving on to Plan B. ((Sidenote: I don't think I've ever spent this long in spirit. Ever. I'm hungry as hell right now.))

As I said before, there are approximately 58 different plausible sites to explore. Of course, I may be able to do some weeding out. For example, some of these sites are acceptable only for certain people or uses. There is a great kiva 20 miles to the north that is considered so sacred that to enter, one must go through 10 days of rigorous spiritual exercise and fasting. Half the people who decide to make that journey die before they get there. I have always wanted to make a journey like that. Not for the acclamations from the people that so many go seeking, but for the great sense of spiritual accomplishment. Let's face it, I'd probably be the only living person to ever know about it.

Anyway. I'm getting off topic. Of the 58 sites, there about 30 of them that would be considered acceptable for her to visit for this type of cleansing. So, my plan is simple. Eat a LOT of food tonight. Study a map. Carefully consider my previous knowledge of the area and it's sacred sites. And find this mysterious missing woman, hopefully alive.

I have to admit, I don't know why I am searching so hard for her. Bringing her alive back to her village would only get her exiled permanently. Bringing back her remains..Well. It would be better for her remains to 'remain' where they are at this point. Maybe it's just because she's my closest link to that symbol. Giving up would mean going back beyond square one, and I'm not really interested in starting over.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"Spirit Tracking"

It's a bit of a task to track the spirit trail of a person you don't know at all. It is much easier to pick out someone's energy if you have spent time with them. The more you know, the easier it becomes.
That said, I spend all of yesterday and most of today unsuccessfully following spirit trails. You'd be surprised at how many trails a small village like this can create..Imagine trying to find a trail through a large city. ((Hint: It's nearly impossible unless the person happens to be your best friend or something of that sort.))
I followed one that looked to be promising. It led out towards what I knew to be a popular religious site on the 5-day radius. I sent my spirit into that area only to find a young boy from the tribe performing a sacred ancestral rite for his passage into manhood. I think he noticed me, too. I hope I didn't disturb his ritual too badly, though he will probably mention a spiritual disturbance when he talks to the tribal elders upon his return. Meh, they'll probably think it was an ancestor or a god or something.

I'm going to try for one more day, and if that fails, I will go to plan B. Plan B being, search the sites themselves for any evidence of her spirit there. There are approximately 58 of them within the 5-day circle, so I hope it doesn't come to that.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Family Story

I have located the family of the missing mother after a few weeks of searching for their village. What I heard of them before was rumor, and before looking for the woman herself I wanted to speak with them so as to get the story straight.I also wanted to see if she kept any drawings or writings like the grandson that started this journey.

The family home is a hand-built, one-story adobe house on a reservation not too far from Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. The village is almost exclusively an extended family unit, and the father of the family just so happened to be the village chieftain. Dealing with these types always makes me somewhat nervous because of the politics that so often happens when they tell stories, but I was hoping that his concern for his wife's safety would permit him to tell me the truth. 

After being granted permission to enter the village, I was pointed in the direction of the home. Of course, I would have found it anyway. It was the only home in the village to have the black taint covering it. The same black taint as covered the grandmother's home. I felt the creeping evil from quite a distance-It's very hard to ignore and even harder to approach. The family's eight children were all outdoors when I walked up, but they weren't interested in play or chores. The father felt very strongly of worry and..anger? Yes. Anger.

He was also not particularly interested in  friendly conversation. He pulled me off to the side away from his children and simply said, "I know why you have come, but it is too late. She has abandoned her family. She forced us to abandon our home after she violated its sacredness with that vile symbol. " At this, he pointed to a pile of rubbish about 30 feet to the north. "Go take a look if you wish. I woke up one morning to find her drawing it over and over on the door to our bedchamber. She disgraced us both.. To draw the anti-symbol over the circle of life! Blasphemy! I wanted to give her another chance, so I sent her away to purify herself, and she has not returned. She abandoned her family and her village, and almost cost me my leadership. When you're done looking, I'd suggest you leave. You're welcome will be short." 

He called his children inside, and that was the last I saw of him. Is it just me, or did he seem more concerned with keeping his title than with his wife's behavior? Sickening. I understand why he was angry, though I think he misunderstood her. She drew what he calls the anti-symbol, the X, over the universal circle of life. He took this to mean a refusal to bear him any more children. For a woman, that is understood as an act of blasphemy against life itself.

I did find out some useful information, though. He sent her away as purification, so that would mean to her taking a 5-day journey to an accepted sacred location, spending another 5 days there, and then returning and stripping away the symbols. So now, all I have to do is find all of these locations that are 5 days walking distance, and seek them out. No. I won't be walking to them all. That would take far too much time. The up-side to being able to communicate with and walk with the spirits is that they grant me access to some of their paths. It's a bit hard to explain, but basically it means using my spirit to either track her energy from the village, or search each of the sites for this energy. And since the spirit moves much faster than the body, it should not take too long to locate her. I hope.

The trouble is, spirit energy does fade after a while, especially if a person has died. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

By The Book///A Legend

Though I am not usually accustomed to following the rules, I suppose I should do this one by the book. An introduction, then.

I am a wandering soul. I move from place to place, never staying anywhere long. I prefer the old homes of my ancestors to the newer places the people have built. The spirits dwelling there seem to accept my presence in their homes for a time, though they do let me know when the time has come to move on. I am not afraid to dwell amongst them as most of the people are. They fear the spirits and their dwellings, as if they have completely forgotten that no one ever truly dies. Rather, they move from one area of existence to another. I suppose I can understand why the people stay away-For a while, it did feel like I was invading someone's home. I had to grow and accept that I was a guest, and welcome for a time.

Occasionally I wander among the modern people as well. I learned many things from many different people, though they never truly accept me because I belong to no one. I honestly prefer it this way, to visit, learn, and move on. I am beholden to no one and nothing except the great guides who point my direction, and the spirits of those whose homes I borrow.

I am also a dreamer, and somewhat of a spiritist. (These are the only words for it I could find in the modern English language...It is a close enough description.) It means that, through training and years of lessons, I can communicate better with the spirits and guides that many either refuse to acknowledge or cannot sense at all. As such, the old legends and the old places have always drawn me.

The reason I started this blog then, is because of one of the legends I heard about one year ago. I was visiting an old woman in a tribe in Northern Utah. She complained of evil dreams brought on suddenly when her grandson disappeared suddenly from her home late at night. At first I brushed this off as an old woman's grieving, but as I spoke to her more I noticed a certain darkness around her and her home. It was strongest in her grandson's sleeping area. I asked her if I might take a look at his things, to see if I might be of help. She first hesitated, but then relented when I told her about the darkness in her home. Naturally, she blamed it on the spirits of the dead, and how her grandson must have offended one of them.

While searching through his things, I found a wooden box buried in the dirt. It was so black with evil, I had to force myself to touch it. It was covered with X's, which is a rough equivalent to a warding symbol the people use when faced with things they feel are very evil. When the dead are buried, for example, they draw a large X on the burial box to prevent the spirit from doing harm. The old woman and I chose to bring the box outside in order to not release the dark thing inside her home. She first covered herself in the same symbol to ward off the darkness. Not wanting to be rude, I did the same.

The box was full of drawings, carvings, and written notes. The drawings and carvings all depicted the same thing: A tall black figure on a field of gray with arms stretched out to the sides of him. The arms were too long for the body, and the figure lacked features. The X had a circle around it, which I find strange. The circle is a symbol for the connecting portal between this world and the spirit realm, which lies beneath. Our birth legends tell that when we are born, our individual spirits come from below to inhabit the body. Why then, would there be a warding for evil over the circle representing life?

And then, there were the writings. They mentioned something about a legend of a tall, faceless spirit of evil who drives men mad with fear and anger. I only got through the first few lines introducing the legend when the grandmother snatched the papers away and covered them with dirt. I remember the following words as vividly as I remember the blackness surrounding the box.

"You must never read that legend!! It is evil!! Forbidden to tell, forbidden to read!! It always comes before death, death always follows soon after!! Long ago, an outsider came to our village and told this to some young scribes, who wrote it as they write all new stories that pass our way. The story was later retold by the scribes to our storytelling clan, who passed it on to us as is our way. Months later, half of our village was mad. People killed their families to save them from the Faceless Death. After this it was forbidden to mention anything of that legend, or to seek after it. My grandson was a foolish boy, and did what ought never to have been done!! His spirit will never find peace now-It has been claimed by the bringer of madness and death. Do not seek it, or it will find you."

She allowed me to stay one more night, but my spirit guides told me that it would be wise for me to leave the village before morning light and not return to it Since then, I have been searching for the rest of the legend, and searching for more who may have been affected by it. Currently, I am on the trail of a mother in Western Colorado who fled from her home mysteriously. Her family said that she dreamed of a symbol of death. I wonder if these are all connected, somehow.