Spirit Quest: A Cherokee Guide This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 16, 2018
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Back inside, It came. What I perceived as the Creator had finally arrived. It took the form of an Owl, wise and soft-spoken. It didn’t talk, yet it communicated, told me it had what I was searching for, but wouldn’t like what I would find. What it perceived as thought, was shown to me through image. I saw my parents, almost forgetting what they looked like. They say the first thing you forget about people is their voice. I had no memory of their voice, it sounded so foreign to me. I had always told myself they died, but I got the strangest feeling that they were very much alive, standing there right in front of me. PANIC! I snapped out of it, a flood of stimulants drowned me, I sensed everything; the pounding of my chest, my sweat soaked body, the wolves, the cicadas. Sensory overload. Everything went black.


*Four days earlier…*


“You’ve got red blood in you boy, I can see it. Don’t let that go to waste.” The blind old man stared me down. I grabbed the pack of Cheyennes out of his hand and got my change. The cigarette and the frigid air burned the back of my throat. I flicked the filter and got into my truck. The drive back to the ranch was long and winding, it left me with a lot of time to ponder. I lived with my Ulisi (Grandmother) now. It has been 12 years since my parents left me, no rhyme or reason, I was only 6. The truth of that burned far worse than the cigarette. My Ulisi knew not why they left either, but only that it was her responsibility to look after me. She was tough on me, but understanding.


I pulled off to the side of the road and walked into a tiny book store. In this part of the country, everything bled red; the people, the history, the landscape. An older woman tapped her white stick at my feet “You seek the truth, nature will reveal it to you if you have good intentions, if not, it shall conceal it from you.” ?What is it with the blind people out here? I got what I came for, and left, these geezers are ulvnotisgi, crazy. My mother and father were pure red Cherokees. Born and raised in the s***hole known as Oklahoma, same place they left me. Their grandparents had been forced out of our true home and brought to the Cherokee Nation Reservation here. I got back in my truck and tossed the book on the passenger seat, it read, “Spirit Quest: A Cherokee Guide”. I was going to find the truth.


The concept of a spirit quest is simple, you take away all stimulants of movement, food, and water and only then will everything be revealed. There wasn’t much to gather for my spirit quest, in fact there was literally nothing. Basic clothes, no food, no water, no weapons. Nothing besides myself. Three days alone, the only comfort being my own thoughts. The Creator will show me the truth, and nature will heal my scars. The Cherokee Nation Reservation would be big enough to be alone and remain unbothered. That’s where my day began, in the middle of nowhere. I hiked and hiked, until darkness fell. I sat down on the cold, hard dirt, freezing and alone. So it begins…


It was eerily silent, no wolves, no cicadas, no people. So quiet that my brain began playing games with me; a rustle in the bushes set by my mind would play on a timer in the back of my head, which kept me wide awake and alert. My mind finally drifted and drifted until I fell asleep, but I wasn’t really asleep. When all you see is darkness, and then close your eyes and see the same thing, your mind cannot tell if you’re awake or sleeping. Confusion set in now. The lines between consciousness and disconnect blurred and faded. There was now neither, only existence. It was a state of pure and deep thought. I felt nothing, heard nothing, craved nothing. It was now that I began to really think. Questions fired off in my head without me even having to think about them, my subconscious was in control. Time was no longer an essential. The outside world now ceases to exist.
Outside the river of conscious, nighttime had turned to daytime and the second day had begun. There, waded a boy, alone, in the heart of Oklahoma, lost in his own stream of consciousness. In times of starvation, the body will first take reserves from fat, and then muscle. His body began to deteriorate, but the mind remained intact, only touched by the thoughts that flowed through it.


Back inside, It came. What I perceived as the Creator had finally arrived. It took the form of an Owl, wise and soft-spoken. It didn’t talk, yet it communicated, told me it had what I was searching for, but wouldn’t like what I would find. What it perceived as thought, was shown to me through image. I saw my parents, almost forgetting what they looked like. They say the first thing you forget about people is their voice. I had no memory of their voice, it sounded so foreign to me. I had always told myself they died, but I got the strangest feeling that they were very much alive, standing there right in front of me. PANIC! I snapped out of it, a flood of stimulants drowned me, I sensed everything; the pounding of my chest, my sweat soaked body, the wolves, the cicadas. Sensory overload. Everything went black.


When I awoke,  the taste of dirt grinded in my mouth. The sun had just poked up. The pines whistled a tune for me, and the birds cooed. Nature’s resonant voice was a sigh of relief. Reality came back to focus, and my parents had disappeared. A cruel trick. The owl was right, I did not like what I found. Perhaps my intentions were not pure. I had been searching for the truth this whole time, but maybe that was just a cover up. What I really wanted was closure. I didn’t need the why or the how, just the if. It did not matter who my parents were or why they left me, but that I was self dependent and free from all constraints, able to live without ever looking back. It wasn’t the Creator that healed me, but the calmness and acceptance of my surroundings. I slowly stood up, my toes curled around the ground. I felt connected. My thoughts had chewed me up and spit me up, and nature put me back together. My mind, body, and soul had been cleansed through my snap back to reality. My spirit quest was complete. I, was complete.






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