"Oryx and the Desert" (May 5, 2008)

Oryx is one of the most intriguing and enticing guides I have had personal experience with.  Many aspects of him speak to me, most especially in regards to this basic point in time and my life, of which he stepped up and directed my attention toward him.  In so many ways he seems so fitting for what I need now in a guide, and his energies speak so strongly of what I feel I need the most now in a spirit guide: a spirit who knows how to survive and travel through the desert, who knows how to serve as a ‘guide’ toward better conditions and toward the rains.  To me, he is like a god within the desert, a place that has persistently held a strong connection for me and that has deep significance to my spirituality, particularly the deserts of Africa, the Middle East, and India.  Although I appreciate the efforts, help, and attempts from my previous guides over the past few years, I’m hoping that maybe Oryx is the one who can speak to me in a language that my soul can understand much better, more clearly than that of the Boreal, grassland, mountain, and other forest guides I have had, and further more because of his connections to Africa and the Middle East rather than North America, which having such connections is another way to speak with my soul.  I believe similar energies were offered to me in help through Elk/Wapiti, and then later with Kudu and Giant Eland, but consistently I think Oryx (including through Gemsbok) has connected with me the most, and he seems to carry that energy better and more deeply than the other three did for me, maybe in part because I can more accurately recognize and attune myself into those energies through Oryx than I could with the others.

For whatever reasons (and I have my own understanding of some of those reasons), Oryx came to me as the best or most appropriate guide for me during this time of my spiritual development, and that lies in large part I believe in the importance of the Desert to me.  In some ways, as I sit here I find it so hard to decide where to start or what to say in regards to my connection to Desert (this is to indicate the particular type and areas of desert I am strongly connected to beyond other areas or forms of desert).  For years I have felt my draw toward it, and my mind is only recently putting the feelings and understandings together in a way I can better explain and work with along my spiritual journey.  A point that stands out to me though is last year when I decided to change the background/side image on my journal to something that reflected my change in mood, perspective, and spiritual matters because I had finally decided to start seriously walking forward on my spiritual journey again, and the phrase that resonated with me was “In the desert we find Paradise in ourselves”.  Though few people may relate to that, to me it is brief yet speaks much spiritually to me, and after almost a year I still continue to use the phrase in my background image.  That Paradise is a place, or rather a state of mind, being, and self, that I am searching for in this lifetime, but not a paradise by many people’s ideas and standards, instead it is a deep, extensive balance of my Self--good, bad, and between--and it also being a balance between self, spiritual entities I work with and will work with, the world around me, my body, and my life.  It’s not a state of pure benevolence, perfection, or idealism unbound to reality, it’s much more grounded, realistic, healthier, and hopefully attainable than such things as those former ones, even if I lack the words to describe my mental concept and feeling of it.

The theme of the Desert in that phrase though is one that holds for me and my connection to it—it’s a land of parched, arid terrain and harsh conditions for survival, with sand dunes rolling on seemingly endlessly compared to a lone wanderer who can see no physical markers to indicate what path to walk.  In such an arid, harsh environment, I feel myself metaphorically seeing any deep, wondrous Paradise to be found as within myself, and further as I’ve realized along my journey, is also finding it within those who guide and walk the journey through the Desert with me.  What Paradise I do not find from without, I seek to find within, and hopefully in my inner search and embrace of my ‘inner world’ and myself that maybe my senses will be better opened up to finding my way out of the Desert to reach sanctuary, nourishment, and better safety that lies in the solid land, the rains, and the waters outside of the Desert’s boundaries.  Desert is both home and shadow energy to me—it calls out to me as I call out to it, feeling I belong there traveling across vast collections of sand dunes, and yet I understand that it is a source of negative things for me, it is an unhealthy place to be, at least among the driest places in it (including the sand dunes), and I inherently understand it is a temporary place to be rather than a place of ongoing residence.  For a shadow energy it has proven the most welcoming and comforting of them I have been through in my life—it’s a place I am at and need to be at because I need to overcome it and pass across its boundaries again (if not for the first time) into scrubs, grasslands, forests, lakes and rivers, and more.  And it is through that I seem to amazingly feel a strong sense of acceptance of my place in being here in the Desert, rather than denying or rejecting that path--which is so important to my development--simply because it is harsh, unfavorable, and arid.

Most of my spiritual life has been a desert, it seems, with its dry conditions and seemingly rather empty, vacant expanse of life because I never had any spirituality until 2004, that of which I “stumbled upon” unintentionally.  Since then I have remained within some form of desert, and since summer of ’05 that form has either been within the edges of sand-dune desert or within the dunes themselves.  Yet I have taken up responsibility and motivation to carry myself through this and find my way out of this place, even if it does feel as home to me.  And perhaps that’s something else for me to take heed of—that home is not always the safest or a healthy place to be; desert is familiarity to me, even though I strive to live spiritually and symbolically beyond it, particularly in lush grasslands edged by forests.  Desert is also a place which reflects my Elemental connections, with its particular manifestation of Air/Wind, Fire, and Earth together and little Water (as I feel most prominently with the former three and the least with Water).  Fire strings through it with the Sun’s rays (another energy, the Sun, which I am deeply connected to, along with other stars), Air rushes through it as it carries the vast grains of Earth from place to place, and Water is left scarce.  Water needs to be more balanced with the other three for me, such as in the grasslands most especially.

Thus in order to find my way out of the Desert I needed someone else to guide me, and though numerous animals (or animal energies) have tried before as well as the Spirits allowing indirect attempts to point me in the right direction sourced from my ex mate.  However, none have proven suitable enough yet, they were too easy for me to superficialize their intent, or to just pass over it fairly quickly without letting them actually guide and help me; that is until Oryx stepped up more prominently.  He has drawn my attention some times before, but he never to my knowledge took the position of being a guide for me.  Oryx is, in my understanding of him, a wonderful desert guide—he is adapted for the desert and can even at times journey across the dunes and find his way outside of them again.  Although there are other desert animals, including Camel, that could have taken such a position as a desert guide for me, Oryx turned out to be the most appropriate thus far in part because of my prior connections to his group of species and him (especially gemsbok) and my connection to various other types of antelope.

His horns stand as long, near-straight in form contacts to the spirit world and deities, and his ability to sense far off rain in order to follow it for the nourishment it leaves behind in new flora is a wonderful attribute for my guide to have.  Most particularly with his Arabian oryx energy, there is a sense of mysticism he carries—like a desert ghost wandering nomadically across the desert, and the semblance he holds to a possible concept of the fantastical unicorns.  And there’s something to be valued for me in the “painted mask” across the faces of oryx.  In numerous ways he also stands as an appropriate and certainly significant guide because of my openness to welcome in his energies, lessons, and adaptations (albeit symbolically, as most of this journey is, although it yields notable “real life” results), and because I hold various aspects of myself which correlate with Oryx’s energies and with him prominent in my life I can better understand how to ‘organize’ and make sufficient use of those aspects which I already hold within me.  As well as something else Oryx represents for me (among other things I haven’t listed) is deep hope and revival even after standing on the brink of loss and failure, through the Arabian oryx’s continued recovery from the brink of extinction and being returned to the wild.  Hope for a better future and survival thrives amongst the energy Oryx carries.

I have to renew myself, and not just to a previous version of some point in my life and how I was then, but to a better version of my life and self that is beyond what I have ever allowed myself to be and experience.  To other people, sure it probably wouldn’t end up being anything notable, amazing, or such things, but to me it would be wonderful improvement that I strive for because I strive to better myself, to become an ‘improved version of me’ not someone or something else.  For all that I have denied myself to do, become, or to be, I am jaded at the thought of continuing on like that strongly or going back to “where I have come from”—not that it was really so bad, as compared to other people or even just my own life, but that it is not where I belong and not how I should be living my life and allowing myself to continue being.  From path to path, I have transitioned many times even within the past few years since finding spirituality in me, and many new things lie ahead for me now, from educational matters, to jobs and a career goal that is important to me, to a new way and place to live, as well as other changes and developments and how those will affect how I view myself, live my life, experience my spirituality, and interact with the world, people, and environments around me.