A visit from Thunderbird (Arizona adventures, Part Three)

In Sedona, the largest mountain is known as Thunder Mountain (or Capitol Butte).

From Wiki Commons
In my mind, I've always perceived a giant Thunderbird, wings stretched out along its back, resting inside the rocks. This mountain has terrified me, just as much as the Spirit that rests inside of it. But for this second trip to Arizona, I decided I would attempt to hike around and climb it.

Note: This climb kills many hikers each year. Don't even attempt to try this without the experience and prep necessary. It is very dangerous.

I won't go into the details of how I started my climb, or where I went up and back, or what signposts I used, cause I really don't want anyone to follow what I did. It took lots of prep, many hours of figuring out different paths, and Lots Of Offerings. In fact, almost a whole bag of cornmeal just to the Mountain itself.
(c) Lonely Coyote, 2015

Around two-thirds of the way up, the rocks began to change, and so did the energy of the climb.

My fear of heights kicked in, and I was unable to move my legs. I froze in terror, and sat down where I was. I tried to ground out some of my emotions with food and water and terrible jokes. I even closed my eyes and attempted a Journey to Thunderbird, to ask for help.

No response.*

The last of my motivation left me. I wasn't going to be able to make it to the top, and I no longer had the energy and drive to push past my limitations. I took a wide view of my location, and tried to figure out the best way down.

I started using the same semi-trail that I climbed, but that disappeared in less than 10 minutes. Suddenly, I was on the edge of a mountain, no clear way down, and no insight from either the Spirit of Place or my own Helping Spirits. Usually, my silliness and good humor get me out of sticky situations, but they were locked up tight by my fear.

(c) Lonely Coyote, 2015
Thunderbird's silence was a message unto itself. I knew that I needed to dig deep and find my Logical Brain, so that I could make it down safely.

I did, but only after many cuts, bruises, and attacks from spiny plants (thanks a bunch, agave, yucca, and desert holly).

Afterwards, when I made it back to my hotel and calmed down, I tried to talk with the Spirit of the Mountain with my Runes. There were some personal messages about my own Shadow Work, and some teasing about my work with Coyote. Thunderbird still intimidated me, and I understood the lesson that I don't necessarily fit with all different kinds of Spirits.*

A few days later, as I flew back to Baltimore from Phoenix, a gorgeous storm had started right over the left wing of the plane. Lightning flew back and forth between two clouds, building up strength before striking the earth below. It was gorgeous, and too fast to capture on film. I leaned back and looked at the storm via a wider angle, and saw an incredible sight: a Thunderbird made manifest!

(c) Lonely Coyote, 2015
It was a wonderful confirmation of some of the more private lessons received on that mountain, as well as a good farewell to one of my favorite places. And it was also a gentle reminder to take a wide angle, a long-view of some of my goals, and to not get bogged down by details. I am thankful for the lesson!

*Sometimes, Spirits are not interested in working with humans, or have a preference for only certain ones. It is the height of ego and hubris to think that everything wants to work with everyone, and can be a sign of projection in the mind of the seeker. It is important to respect the "No" or the lack of communication as a sign that perhaps the Spirit you'd like to talk with doesn't want to talk with you.


  1. Love it! Must respect the "no." Something I will try to keep in mind.


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