"Good morning Sunshine." The big orange tabby sat staring at Gloria. "Do you ever sleep in?"
It had been the same start to every day going on nine years. Gloria lived in a small seaside cottage in South Carolina. Sunshine had shown up one day after a terrible rainstorm, not very old and very hungry, he stayed.
Gloria swung her legs to the floor. "We are going up to the University today, have been invited to lead a group of believers through the labyrinth, I told them eleven this morning, so Sunny boy let's get a move on it."
As always Sunny sat in a cushion-lined wicker basket on the passenger seat, staring out the window. He went everywhere Gloria went, was kind of her right-hand man. They drove through the gates of the old Charleston Christian University, she felt the energy start to stir. It was her gift, every Shaman had a special gift. Hers was the ability to see and feel the energy. In the past, over the years, they had walked the labyrinth many times. As always the energy around her shifted when she passed through those gates and onto the property.
The University was over two hundred years old, many scholars had passed through here and still were passing through here. It housed a large seminary and nunnery. Many although no longer of the earth plane still wandered the grounds. These were the ones Gloria was interested in on this visit, the children of the residential schools of the early to mid-twentieth century.
Gloria was a transplant from Ireland, a Celtic Shaman. She did lectures on plant medicine, lightworkers, worked with animal spirits, taught meditation, shared her knowledge of Shamanism as well as the fifth dimension. She was well known for her ability to connect with spirits and angels, now quite a common place in the twenty-second century.
Today she was asked to host a circle with members of the Cherokee and Catawba tribes. They too would have a Shaman with them. Because of her affiliation with the University, she was asked to be the host. After parking her car, both she a Sunny made their way to an area on the far east side of the grounds, into a grove of huge oak trees drooping with Spanish moss. The sun felt warm on this July summer day, she followed the well-worn pebble path.
In front of her, a Shaman in full regalia, holding an eagle feather and a smudge pot was walking the labyrinth, he could be seen and heard by a small group that stood and watched.
"Good morning." Gloria greeted everyone, they opened their gathering to let her pass. Returning her greeting as she did. She set her fur sack on the ground, opened it. There were many small leather drawstring bags, each containing plant medicines, stones, crystals, leather laces, feathers, sacred water, and a cast-iron smudge pot.
She gave everyone a clear quartz crystal, a piece of red cedar, and tied a leather lace to their wrist. "These are yours, you keep them." She lighted the sage pot, turned counted, thirteen in all, perfect she thought.
"You will follow me in reverse order. When I will call out your number you will stop, turn and face the center. There is no talking, you can not leave the circle once it is closed. You may see and feel things but, please say nothing. You can sit if you wish." She looked at them and rested a hand on each arm as she gave a number from one to eleven. They lined up. Gloria then turned to the slate rocks that formed the three-hundred-year-old Labyrinth. Looked at her watch, two minutes to eleven.
She stood a moment, then started with a protection and invitation prayer, one that was very familiar to her. Beside her sat Sunny.
With a wand of red cedar and a hawk feather in her right hand, she wafted the sage smoke from the pot. The smoke drifted to each side of her as she started to move forward. Sunny, on her heels. He too wore a small crystal on a leather lace.
She counted eleven steps, "one," eleven more, "two," until she hit eleven.
When she got to the center she placed her smudge pot and wand next to the one already burning there. Bowed her head to the Cherokee Shaman then stood beside him. Gloria followed his start and they chanted softly in their own languages. Long Feather saw them first, then they showed themselves to Gloria, there were dozens and dozens of children playing in the labyrinth. Running laughing, yelling, jumping, some were older and seemed to be in charge of the younger, there were balls made of wood, ropes for skipping, sticks for tossing, and cats wandered through.
A young man came and stood in front of Gloria and Long Feather.
"I am White Owl. You have come to check on us." He smiled.
Gloria thought he looked to be about sixteen, tall, he wore his hair long and loose, a beaded band around his head, buckskin leather pants, and vest, a white feather hung from the headdress.
"Yes, my name is Gloria and this is Long Feather."
"Yes, we know you, Gloria, you come here often, we see you and some of us walk with you. But, you have never asked us to show ourselves until today.
Long Feather, please tell our people we are all fine and happy. Some of the others may see us, we are your ancestors your connection to the past. We are happy you have come."
Long Feather held both arms to the sky and let out some howls and repeated words only recognizable to the Cherokee. Then he stood motionless and watched.
Soon it all faded, the smudges went out, Gloria asked everyone to reverse and walk out. When she was the last out she turned said a prayer of thanks, closing the connection she had opened.
All but one had seen the children, everyone was happy for the experience and knew their ancestors were happy and thankful for the experience. After everyone had left Gloria turned to face the Labyrinth, in the center stood White Owl holding Sunny.
"We brought him to you, you brought him back, we thank you." He smiled and they were gone.
Gloria smiled back. "Was not expecting that." she turned towards her car. "Should have been."