dear leonie,

i am writing you this so you may remember.

i want you to know what it was like to go to your first shamanic drumming circle.

it was raining, a dark may night.

we turn up early ~ an hour early, i’d gotten the time wrong,
so we strolled up and down the street, us and chris and his mum,
talking of this and that, sticking our heads into the remaining open shops that smelled of patchouli, plastic tubs of turkey feathers on the shelf.

i want you to remember how we at last entered the circle, smelling strongly of grandfather sage. a man with blue eyes and black boots is the guide.

the circle begins to fill with men and women,
black leggings, eyebrow rings, frog shirts, smiling eyes.
the guide walks around the circle, introducing himself, hugging each of us,
and slowly the circle walks around inside itself,
saying our names, hugging each other hello.
i decide there that it is the best way to meet someone:
to embrace them, to say “lovely to meet you” and to mean it as your heart is pressed against theirs.

then there is talking, and you find yourself thinking:
enough with the talking of doing, let’s just do
and you grin at your own impatience,
staring at the monstrous drum in the middle of the circle
meditating out and into your own core
the sage smoke takes you there.

we are smudged with a huge wing of eagle
and inside my cells i know
i am being changed.

the drum begins
and a journey into the heart
it is heady and hot and smoky
and without words.
it feels like every part of my body is being smoked out.

and then we all begin drumming
on that huge deerskin drum
a flute is played around us
and i move back from the circle.

the guide plays a didjeridoo, and i close my eyes,
and he begins to play it over my chest.
my heart begins to beat with the didj music,
the layers of pain strip away
and there flighting, flying, dancing in my centre
is joy
and i begin laughing.

there is my joy core. i had been looking for it, wondering where it lived and how it felt since my dear friend D saw it one magical night as we held a rose quartz crystal ball together. there is my joy core.

i lay on the floor afterwards, soaking in the beating of the drum,
the sage of past lives,
the sacred sounds of a life unravelling
to who i wanted to be.

i write you this so you may know it, hear it, feel it again,
maybe in twenty years.
i don’t know where you’ll be
but i know it will be fucking magnificent.

i love you older self,
24 year old leonie