Written by Serah Roer , Saturday, 29 August 2009 11:03
Home from the range. Liz Mitten Ryan and her husband Kevin have created a natural wonderland. We arrived at the gatehouse where several had gathered already. The participants were two sisters from the US, Lori and Jessica. Christa from Saskatoon. Betty Louise from California and Tyhson and myself. The instructor/healers were – April from Vancouver who owned one of the horses on the ranch, Billa, The Facilitator/Healer from Armstrong. Dana, EFT Practitioner from Roberts Creek. Carol, Healing Touch Practitioner from Sunnybrae. Susan and Dave, were the barn help/chef/all- around- the- ranch crew.and horses. Feeling fit and touched by so much and so many loving beings.
We had to double back with Liz before settling in, to go to the neighbour’s land where Tyhson had been asked to dowse for a new well. Bryce’s house is over the Kuragh lake from Gateway 2 and he had several differing opinions about his water availability and the drill rig was coming in a week or two. Also at Bryce’s place another neighbour was visiting and interested in the outcome of the dowsing. This happened to be Jane’s boss Bill McLaughlan. Bill tried his hand with the y-rods and found that he could also feel the water talking to him.
Our accommodation was up from the Gatehouse in a wall tent. The same location where Liz and Ryan first pitched their tent to stay when arriving on the property 10 years ago. Over looking Kuragh Lake and the rolling hills to the South East, close to the boundary fence. A square wooden base with beams in the wall and ceiling and a coating of white canvas. Outhouse down at the foot of the hill. We had running cold water and all the necessary appliances so we could brew tea and coffee and even make toast! Luxury campsite.
Meeting at the Gatehouse for introductions and supper over a beer/wine/cider we learned about the other participants and some of the many activities we were to be able to enjoy in the following 7 days. The food was all prepared for us by Dave and Susan on the spot. We ate like royalty with a delicious array of vegetables from the garden at the Ranch, plus organic chicken and dairy etc. Dave is a great cook and he and Susan turn their hands to many and various jobs with the horses and guests! After dinner all went into the property on the main trail towards the ranch. Up this road was a turn off to Spirit Lodge where we gathered every day at this time for discussions, meditations, drumming and chanting and general fun and spiritual times together. Other wall tents around the Spirit Lodge area housed some of the group and the shower hut. The facilitators had rooms in the upstairs level at the Gatehouse.
Liz and Kevin had arrived in their red four wheel drive and others grabbed a ride if they wanted one in Billa’s truck, sitting in the flat deck or on the tailgate. One started to get the idea that this was not a place where there was anyone else around to interrupt the flow of the group’s activities. Everything that you could see that was manmade was done by Kevin and Liz and their crew. The roads followed the lie of the land and trees were considered part of the family and were respected and left alone to live, grow, die, fall and become part of the land mass again.
Spirit Lodge time started with a smudge at the door by Bettie Louise and Christie who were lodging there. Carol had bought some sage from Sunnybrae/Shuswap Lake side to use for the smudge wands. We settled ourselves on the bench/beds around the circular room with a skylight ceiling and Billa and Liz led the group discussions. The Talking Stick was passed. This was a characterised long necked bird, like a grebe, with additions of paintings on the neck with some abalone, pony beads, feathers and a soft deer skin pad. Very touchable and good for much stroking and handiwork as we spoke our piece.
When the Lodge time was over it was dark outside and we trudged home to the Gatehouse with flashlights. As the week progressed the moon was so bright on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings that no other light was needed. Full moon ceremonials, howling like coyotes and other spontaneous happenings occurred as we wended our way ‘home’.
What about the Horses? Well by the Saturday morning after breakfast, I was wondering this too. Armed with daypacks with water, snacks, cameras, journals, neck coolers and etc it was time to go the ranch and meet the family. The weather was extra hot and the land very dry and dusty. Prepared for a long day of exiting activities, we were ready to go to through the Gateway.
Way up the road at the other end of the property we approached a two story building surrounded by paddocks of post and beam fences that we could see from the road, a group of dark brown horses with ears pricked were looking our way. The vehicles with us riding in them travelling with clouds of dust trailing behind. Also there was the sound of dogs barking and then two white whippets came to meet us followed by a large, brown, lumbering, long haired dog. These were Beau, Athena, and Ra. Asleep in his dog house still was Theo the Doberman. A tabby cat was strolling over to see what it was all about. On closer inspection when standing at the gate of the horse yard there were not just horses, dogs and cat around, but also a black and white bullock and two raffish ponies with pale manes and forelocks and a gangling foal. Susan had the rake and wheelbarrow out and was collecting the nightly harvest of horse sh…. This ended up on the largest pile ever, over the other side of the hill West of the Ranch House! The vegetable garden was being watered and looked lush and prolific.
On venturing through the gate into the large fenced yard, there was an awning of tarpaulins against the barn with two high wooden beds with mattresses arranged on them. The horses were milling around, most of them eating hay from the two feeding racks out in the middle of the yard.- their breakfast. The foal, Prospera, was close to her mother Winnie. The ponies, Arthur and Merlin, considerably smaller than the horses, were obviously very much part of the group, and interacted with them amiably. I saw what looked to me like a mature horse suckling a smaller female! This was a four year old who still suckled! With 17 animals there were lots of names to learn. The horses looked very alike until you took into consideration their forehead marks, their legs, some with white socks and some not and their size beside another horse. With instructions to close the gates behind us always, we started to stroll around and get to know the herd. Being brushed down was a favourite thing to have done. They roll in the dust and the flies get annoying to them. It soon became clear that there was nothing to fear from being in front of the horses, reaching out and stroking them, standing close up and brushing their mane and forelocks and bodies. Even brushing the hind quarters and walking directly behind them was fine. The only place to take care was standing in a corner of the fence between two horses, in case they start nudging each other and squash you by mistake! Also to stand several feet behind a horse is not safe as they may not see you and move fast into you. Sniffing and nudging at your pockets to look for treats is common, especially with the younger, less polite horses! Treats are kept in the area behind the yard fence in buckets bought out by Liz and consist of carrots, horse tack and apples. Tesoro, the bull calf, who is much bigger than the ponies and very gentle, is very much part of the herd and behaves like a horse in the exercise yard. Jumps and does tricks with the best of them!
So the morning activities consisted of interacting with the herd. Some of the participants went into the exercise yard with Liz and April to learn how to handle the bridle, to lead the horse, when to give treats and generally how the intercommunication works. In the yard the human practitioners, Billa, Dana and Carol would have one of us on a table and peacefully start their healing process. Soon a horse or two or even three would amble over and lean a head towards the inert body. Nudging, blowing, leaning and even licking where the healing focus was required. The warm soft nose, the gentle blowing and sniffing, gave new meaning to the work of a healing experience!
After a couple of hours with the herd in the yard, it was time to explore the property. It became clear that we were expected to get to know where certain special places were, out there on the land. Over the next three days Liz and Billa led the human herd around the property. Up the steep dusty hills, down the wooded glens, into the special corners where the elementals and spirit animals had created the landscape chakras and other vortexes. We found many very special trees including many with double, treble, four and even a five trunked fir tree that had stood patiently there for maybe 400 years. Places to meditate and talk with the Landscape Devas. It took many hours of walking to cover the three main areas and all the sacred places to be found. Before lunch and after lunch for the first three days was spent like this. The sun continued to shine on us and sometimes there was a cooling breeze that helped to refresh and keep us going. Lots of photographs were taken and the dogs came with us to help spur us on. Ra would find the highpoint to sit on to overlook the group at our rest points. Whippets would take off like a shot from a gun at the sight or sound of a squirrel or a deer. Theo kept close to Liz, not as athletic as the others.
At lunch time we ate in the Main House. Sandwiches and salads and fruit. Yum! On the fourth day- Wednesday after lunch, Billa introduced us to the Mandela Project. Each of us was asked to go to their favourite site on the land and create a Mandela there. So in the afternoon of each of the next three days we had instructions and spent time at our special spot working with the energy of our life up to this time and letting go and working on the next moments. The beauty of the Gateway 2 Ranch is its size and isolated location. One could be entirely alone almost anywhere on the property. The hills and trees made for so many protected and private spots to relax and be with the Mother Earth. It was easy to just lie down almost anywhere and be comfortable. Moss, soft sand, a welcoming rocky seat, a log or up against a welcoming tree. Up on a hill top with the world at your feet or deep in a forest of tall majestic fir trees. In the corner of a grassy field under a ceiling of quivering aspens or beside in a meadow with grasses and wild flowers where water had been in a stream or a lake. No flying insects, ants or mosquitoes to bother you either.
An important project was the bringing water back to the Gateway 2 Ranch. Liz asked us to work on this with her and we spent one afternoon at a likely spot where it was dowsed that water was available. People were getting that water was going to be back very soon and the energy work was done to attract the appropriate elemental forces and vortex energies to focus and manifest an abundance of fresh clean water on the property. The dry lakes were focused on too and some ceremonials and group work there was done.
While we were eating lunch each day the horses were at liberty to leave the yard. We watched from the Main House as the herd took off in single file up and away! The order of the file was always the same. Lead mare, L.E. took them where she chose. That could be and was anywhere on the 360 acres. Evidence of their time spent in every corner of the property was seen as we walked the land. The ponies and the bull always bought up the rear of the procession. The ‘pecking order’ was imperative and not questioned without a little bit of a laid back ear and a toss of the head and some hind quarter shoving.
At two sites on the land where there were vital chakra points, pup tents had been placed. These were for people to spend a night out on the land alone, to work and be somewhere peacefully and learn how it feels to be on the Earth entirely alone. Getting there after dark and waking at dawn to watch the sunrise was unforgettable for me.
Writing in our Journals was an activity that had a lot of meaning. So many things to see and experience required a regular recording of events, so as to not forget the details when we got home!
By the end of the week, some of the group had taken trail rides, ridden bareback in the exercise ring, spent a night out on the land, had several healings by the horses and practitioners, collected a good tan, developed strong muscles, learned spiritual techniques and meditation practices and got to know all the herd animals and people intimately and lovingly.
A truly Life Changing Workshop it was! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
For more information on life changing workshops visit www.lizmittenryan.com
Click on One With The Herd to view slide show.