In the two years since we came to Kokiri, we have managed to avoid getting sick and then we got a surprise. It’s been a 5 week surprise and there have been moments where we thought we may have bitten off more than we could chew. In addition there has been an extended deep freeze here. Huge respect for folks who live closer to the land!
While there have stunning mornings of sparkling snow and cozy evenings sleeping in the living room by the fire, (because the electricity was out!); it’s required a lot of humour to get through. Just keeping the house warm the past few weeks, while feeling yucky, has been a challenge for us. It’s been a lot of work, nap, work, nap…repeat. Some days it’s been an effort to just cook supper.
Thankfully the variable fevers and chills and coughs and aches have gradually faded away just like the snow. We are so very grateful to all those who brought us food, medicine or just checked on us out here in the forest. Thank you all! While doing much prep work for the Spring and trying to move along with our plans for Quintessence Collaborative has been hard, there is always a silver lining. Not being able to work in the domes gave me the time to focus on course creation, manuals and channelling and new a client healing protocol.
We have some truly incredible friends. Whether we are outside or indoors working on programs, there is always encouragement. Remarkable people show up! One of these great gifts was a visit from Tim Yearington and his partner Shannon Parsons. The visit has opened the door to having the opportunity to have Tim share his Native Bird Shamanism Teachings here at Kokiri. To begin this process, Tim held a Sacred Fire Teaching afternoon that was very healing for me personally.
When I finally had the energy to climb the stairs and return to the greenhouses, I was greeted by a sign that read “Alani we understand you’re busy but we miss you. Love the greenhouses” written by our carpenter friend, Carl.
Walking around the greenhouses I was encouraged by how many plants had survived the extended deep cold. The over night temperatures in the domes often dropped below -10c. Then I saw that the Hascap bushes were already blooming!
Still exhausted and being careful with my voice when it was time for the Ostara Ceremony, my dear friends Crystal, Jason and Nicholas helped write, plan and set up for the ceremony. I knew they had my back if my voice gave out. The night before the space still wasn’t ready but I was too fatigued to finish. So I messaged our Wolf Camp friends Tamara and Bernardo (and family) who came early and finished the set up. The ceremony and gathering went wonderfully!
Our friend Ian came by to check on our “sketchy” internet and figured out a way he could check on it, to take care of us, from home! More friends came by and offered a way to build a floating dock through the marsh to the lake, this Summer. This a dream we have had since we came to Kokiri.
Every spring Tom and I feel a huge sense of relief as the snow goes away and the birds come back and the buds begin to swell on the trees. We made it through the cold and all the challenges of winter. Much of the Winter we have 3' deep snow near the house and deeper in the forest, to give you some context!
As the snow melts away my determination grows. It’s been a challenging winter everywhere and many people are seeking ways to rekindle their inner sense of peace and balance. Many people long to rekindle their sense of hope for the future. This is what we are building and working for here at Kokiri, to offer a way of thinking, at whatever stage you are in life, whether you are ready for “retirement”, re-evaluating your life and career in your mid-forties or trying to figure out how to create a meaningful life for yourself just starting out. Sustainability is about adaptability, with ways to bring people together, as well as work in balance with the land, any land, even the wild, maple and cedar covered glacial sand dunes we live on.
While I really expected to feel more rested by spring I’m humble that I don’t, however my spirit has had time to recover and I feel more deeply committed to our vision than when we began. In reference to our previous blog, Tom’s vision was right, now we are in the depths of figuring out how to really make this huge project work and bring people together. What is clear is that Kokiri itself, is bringing those people with its own magic. I’m so grateful our premise is collaboration, simply based on the number of naps I’ve needed this winter!
Can we talk about Bugs? Warning, you may feel itchy after reading this next paragraph.
Similar to the rush to prepare for snow, we now have a sense of urgency to use the next three weeks (maybe) before the black flies hatch…and then the mosquitos…and then the deer flies. Finally by the middle of July we will be able to venture outside without our wilderness hazmat mesh suits. Oh!..and the ticks! Where there are deer, there are ticks! We are now collecting tick jokes. Example:
As ticks become more active will they be carrying signs?
There is an up-“tick” in the dear population.
But mostly, wrapping our legs in tape before every time we venture out… just ‘ticks” us off!
(By the way we are accepting ticks jokes via email)
Looking forward, we are excited about our plans for improving the living dynamics of the soil in the greenhouses with cover crops and compost worms in the beds. Now that we understand the greenhouses a little better we are looking forward to growing more herbs and veg for our growing community. I trust that no matter whats going on there will be food and friends, helping hands and laughter. With more minds and hearts than just our own, we can figure it out and make it happen. Summer is coming!
Blessing and gratitude,
PS. It is definitely spring. As we are typing this a fly fell into my coffee! We started making jokes about whether you can do a reading similar to tea leaves or coffee grounds by how the fly is floating? Shhh… don’t tell, everybody will want one.
Following Tom’s intuitive calling we found ourselves driving through clouds of deer flies, pelting the wind shield like rain, to arrive at our destination. We pulled into a dirt laneway of what could be called a hunt camp. The tiny stone cottage was cute but everything else…it just looked like work!
But Tom saw a diamond in the rough, he had a vision and I trusted him. So in August of 2020 we found ourselves moving into that bachelor style stone cabin in the woods. We “wrastled” in our queen sized bed and set up camp in our new “living room”. Most of the windows didn’t open or were caulked shut and the ones that did open, didn’t have screens. The next morning I got up early and walked the property for the first time, already owning it. To my dismay, I found garbage everywhere. So I’m walking around, recording it for my 3 sons, so that they can explore it with me and everywhere I look there’s weeds, and erosion and rock and garbage, a worn out swing set and used shot gun shells.The perimeter of the yard was marked by at least 5 piles of ten foot high of brush that also contained furniture and more garbage.
I quickly grew to hate the sight of empty red Folgers coffee containers. When I returned to the cabin, I was welcomed by the sight of drying turkey feet on the window sills ( yes, turkey feet placed intriguingly on the dining room window ledge). Staring at those turkey feet, I began to wonder if I was up to the challenge of Tom’s vision! But Tom was steadfast. The basement was concrete and dry and he said, in a way only Tom can “I can work with that”.
The greatest beauty is when something that has been damaged has been restored and I promised the spirits of this land that we would clean up all the garbage.
So we got to work.
I quickly realized that the room we had picked for our bedroom was not going to work. There was no door between it and the kitchen, closet was 2’x1’ and there was no heat. So we “wrastled” our mattress again in to the other bedroom which featured knotty pine panelling on all 6 surfaces of the room. Ceiling, floor and all four walls. We could hear the mice in the walls. Sleeping as really hard! It took one brave mouse, running across our duvet the middle of the night , which had me sitting upright gasping, to start calling pets stores the next day. We needed cats! The challenge was our two brother cats were 8 month old rescues who liked to hide. They didn’t have a clue about hunting.
As we began this adventure, we were also in the midst of covid lockdowns, material shortages, sky rocketing prices and it was almost impossible to get contractors to even call back. But we had a vision, so we started praying and asking the spirits of the land for help. The things started to shift. The excavating contractor came to meet with us within a couple of hours of my first call to them. I was amazed. We explained our vision to level the hill so that we could put up three geo-dome green houses to “feed some people” during this crazy time. He liked our sense of humour and see about moving a few things around. He called the next day to say that the excavator and the bulldozer were on their way. And before I knew it, they had sent us one of their best operators and stone house rumbled all day long. The sketchy burn piles disappeared into piles of earth and stone. Then the mystery was…what was under the hill? Was it solid “Oh Canada rock” or was it sand? Our prayers worked. It was a mix of different colours of sand and some very large rocks.
Now it’s early November and I’m trying to get foundation contractors to return my calls and well-meaning people are telling us that we are going to have to wait until spring to pour concrete. My heart said ,“watch me” and my mouth said “we keep going until we get a hard no, and then we adapt”. Our prayers were answered again. The owner of an ICF family business was intrigued by our project. Pouring the concrete in November was not an issue, round foundations with straight forms was. This was a challenge requiring innovation. Cheering them on and plying them with good coffee, they persevered even when the wind blew the forms apart and they had to start over. Everyone seemed to be getting inspired by the vision! It became normal to hear contractors singing while they worked . Kokiri was working her magic. Finally the foundations were done, we had run all the cables and pipe for the utilities and the trenches were filled. Now it was time to level what we have come to call ‘The Mesa”. Level enough to instal the domes. If I thought the house rumbled while they were digging, I had no idea what it was going to be like when they ran the compactor. For days the house buzzed.
They snow was beginning to fall as the crates of dome parts were delivered. I was amazed to see my name spray painted on each crate. Then the most amazing thing began to happen. Every day we prayed the snow would wait so it was safe for the dome crews to work. While the first dome was going up, the retaining wall at the opposite end was still under construction. Cedar beams and giant rocks were being placed at the same time. We were parking on the front lawn to stay out of the way. Most days the snow waited, we even had a heat wave. More prayers answered.
Winter arrived permanently the day after the small dome was closed. It was ten days before Christmas. A rest was needed but it was warm in the domes and so we started building the raised beds. By February, I was transplanting the strawberry plants I had brought with us. By March, the tulip bulbs we planted in cloth bags were in full bloom. It was breathtaking in the domes, even as they were still being finished I could garden in my t-shirt while the snow was piled six feet high in the other side of the wall.
19 months, three domes, two bunkies, two shipping containers, one wood fired sauna and two cats later….we are still a work in progress and Kokiri now has expanded her call. Through the process of this journey of faith, the most extraordinary people have been attracted to help us and share in her magic and we feel called to further action. Kokiri’s magic is touching the lives of all those who experience her. Her magic is sparking a new vision for the future.
This is a place where the wisdom of the land can be heard and experienced.
That leads us to what’s next on the journey.
In the midst of all this magic, we came to understand that what was unfolding here was astoundingly bigger than our original plan for ourselves. At the same time, I get a message asking if I would take on a new student. Then came another asking for teaching, then another and I knew it was time, even thought we hadn’t finished building. So even with all the changes still happening around us..we begin.
Arriving at this adventure with a tool bag full of ”treasures” from previous adventures and now we are called to use them in an innovative way. The world is changing so fast, we need a way to navigate the unknown that holds joy and hope, fellowship that is balanced by stewardship, transparent respect and heart centred compassion. The Shamanic path offers a land connection that resonates with the magic of Kokiri. So we have decided to offer our “treasures” and teachings to those who feel called. We are also blessed to have others who we have invited to share their gifts and teachings. We are truly a Quintessence Collaborative.
We weave the energy of Power, available within the shamanic path.
We draw upon the energy of Wisdom, available within hermetic studies that access the upper realms of spirit.
We create balance with Love through the shared experience of ceremony.
So how did we get here? We ask ourselves that question every day as we look out the window. How we were led here we continue to discover and every day we are grateful.
Our collaborative offerings are located on our website with all contact information. As well I am announcing the first of our signature programs The Year and a Day Celtic Shamanic Empowerment Program.