My family recently took a trip up to the northern woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For me, this trip has all the energy of a pilgrimage. This is because it was there where I had my first encounter with truly “wild” nature at the age of twelve. I would go every summer with my grandparents who were avid rockhounds, bird watchers and all around nature lovers. We’d comb the beaches for stones and agates, climb the copper mine slag heaps with metal detectors looking for copper pieces and sometimes simply sit and watch amazing sunsets while eating local ice cream.
Up there is where bears roam and the spirit of the land is incredibly strong, where the presence and power of Lake Superior puts you squarely in your place while awing you with beauty and majesty. There are historical mysteries, Lake Superior, virgin pine forests and it has always been one of my “special” places where I travel to reconnect with not only myself but with Mother Earth. Even before my wife and I confirmed the trip I was feeling the pull to go again. It was an added bonus to share it for the first time with her as well as our three kids. The trip was grueling since we decided to do it straight through but the end result was well worth it.
It had been over ten years since my last trip and this time I was not only bringing my dowsing tools but ten solid years of spiritual experience. I was curious to see what I could find or encounter. I was also interested in seeing what might encounter me! However, once up there and with three kids in tow, it was a bit of a mistake to think I was going to get a large chunk of time to do any full scale, lengthy dowsing. However, I did get in some but it ended up to be about far more then just doing some dowsing. It was about reconnection and about a two way relationship with a beautiful, magical part of the world. Overall there was not ONE story that stood out amongst the many so I thought I would just list the coolest of the magical experiences of the trip.
- On our second day out and the first on a beach looking for agates/beach stones, I saw something odd poking out of the sand near the top of the beach. I’d seen that sort of thing before when I was younger and crawling the mine heaps. Touching it I new instantly it was native copper and I pulled out the piece in full amazement. It was about three inches long and a perfect specimen. I knew instantly it was a gift to me from not only the spirits of my grandparents but also the land itself welcoming me back. Later, while talking with a woman from the historical society I mentioned what I used to do with my grandparents, she nodded. “Yes but no one is finding any copper any more. The piles are all hunted out. No one finds copper anymore.” When I told her what I had found on the beach she was stunned, “You found some on the beach? You’re joking me?” Convincing her of what I had found, she confirmed it was an incredibly rare and fortunate find. This was something I already knew before talking to her.
- One evening, a storm was blowing in from the west. High winds had buffeted the area and thunder was rolling across the lake to the North. The area felt like it was coming alive since it had been experiencing a long and unusual drought. I stood outside the cabin and reveled in the energy. The next night, a storm rolled through but not nearly as severe. I awoke in the middle of the night and I knew not why. What I did remember was that our folding chairs had been left outside and with the winds starting to blow I needed to bring them in. I stepped outside and the energy was incredibly different. What I encountered stepping outside was a spiritual and, honestly, frightening presence. It was the full force of the Wyld. The minute the door shut behind me I felt as if a presence was telling me, “Go back inside. Right. Now.” The overall feel was that something very very big, powerful and dark was glaring at me, baring its teeth at me. I nearly panicked but somehow stayed calm! I folded up the chairs, offered a quick apology and headed back inside. It was incredibly humbling. Though I mentioned my experience to no one else, my wife commented on how the evening had felt at breakfast and none of my children slept well. I still do not fully know what was going on. I’ve only felt that way in three places on the planet so far; Scotland, The Olympic Peninsula of Washington and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
- We had the good fortune to visit the Estivant Pines which is a grove of virgin pine trees, many aging over 500 years in age. Since childhood this had always been a magical place for me and, I thoroughly believe, my first encounter with a “magical wood.” With my wife, children in tow and L-Rods in my pocket I led them on the full hike through the area. I wasn’t able to do much dowsing but what I did do was startling. As you might expect, the auras of these ancient trees are simply amazing and their energy lines moving away from them are huge. As we walked along the path I asked for the rods to point to nearby power centers. I was stunned to see my rods swinging left and right as we moved along the path. Not only power centers but Fey centers as well. I lost track but I know the rods pointed me to a minimum of twenty different spots and that was only in the last mile and a half of the hike! Most seemed to be centered around two things, rock outcroppings or ancient trees. I would have loved to have explored them further but I had tired children with me. Perhaps another time?
- Interestingly enough, the battery in my Canon camera died quickly and suddenly while photographing a landscape shot featuring a lush and remote stream. One minute it was fine, the next it had no charge. Now, what I will say is that the battery was older. I won’t discount it. However, in my work on ghost hunts I’ve seen firsthand how a fully charged battery can suddenly have the life sucked out of it for no reason. The battery refused to hold a charge afterwards and I was left to using the small camera on my phone to photograph the rest of the trip. The paranormal or the normal? Who’s to say? The area WAS full of nature spirits though.
- This one may be a reach for some of you… Early one morning I was working with my new system of using the L-Rods with an alphabet system. (Much like a pendulum and a letterboard. More on this in the future!) Though I was hoping to get some information from a trusted spirit guide I’ve been working with but what happened was another entity coming through who claimed he was a spirit of one of the original native americans of the area. Unfortunately, I had gotten up later than I had wanted, the session took a bit of time and I was interrupted by the pressing day and my family. Interestingly enough, when I asked if I would be able to communicate with him once at home I was told, “No.” When I decided to push a bit further because of that answer I was told, “No,” and then “Another time.” The session ended as quickly as it begun. The name I received appeared to be a simple jumble of letters until, of course, I saw some Ojibway and other native names in a historical text later.
Speaking of history, I happened to stumble onto a limited edition book in a gift shop that focused on the prehistoric copper miners of the area that left large scale pit mines across the area sometime around 3,000 BC. I was delighted because it gave me a first solid scientific look at something I had heard about since coming to the region. There are several mysteries about these prehistoric mines and the copper they gathered and I’m not going to go into much detail on all of it since I’m not sure I believe much of the claims. The bottom line? Prehistoric miners came and in feats of engineering, endurance and strength mined native copper from the area for several thousand years. The estimated total of copper is between 100 million to 1 billion pounds of copper over more than a 1,000 years. No one is really sure where the copper ended up. I’ve yet to dowse for more information because, honestly, I don’t think I’m supposed to.
The biggest gift received from the trip? Clarity and connection. There is something that happens to me when I connect with that particular land. I go there in the dreamtime very often so when I am actually there the first few days are always a bit disconcerting. It is a magical refueling spot for me. All the extraneous things I’ve allowed to gather in my life fall away and I can concentrate on the golden thread of not only who I am but what I care about. It’s invigorating and transformative. I returned changed for the better and ready to begin a new phase in my work.