But the archetype of the ferryman — is a character of modern fiction, namely Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha. Vasudeva is the ferryman at the river when the character Siddhartha encounters him and comes to be his friend and disciple. Vasudeva’s virtue is to listen.”
The word arrives unexpectedly as they all do, asking if I am available for an adventure – a well paid trip into the unknown wilds of Lat 40 working alongside a highly competent, alert, focused partner to take a young person who has arrived with the startling, shocking, and downright fucking pissed off realization that all that had been part of what their their day to day life was like yesterday is gone. POOF! And before the day was over that scared, anxious, overwhelmed, pissed off, all of the above human being would have all the rest of what was long identified as “me and mine,” asked to be given away. With each request to surrender a personal belonging their compliance is checked and they take one more step towards transformation. Time and care is taken.
It can be a long day, a day requiring alertness, teamwork, concentration, mindfulness, patience, kindness/toughness. Adventuring requires flexibility and often means dropping expectations and responding creatively to dynamic situations. Then there is all the survival skill stuff just in case the adventure turns into an ordeal. The hope is to make it to the general area of the destination, before the sun goes down. If the sun goes down while still scrabbling to locate the proper site then new elements of challenge, risk and adventure begins. it takes grit and team work to get the traveller across to the other side and get us back to the sub – to the boat and river. And the long ride home.
All these possibilities skim through my mind as I prepare myself for the day but where my thoughts are drawn is to the mystery, the unknowing and the question: “will I encounter an Archetype tonight?”
I meet my partner promptly at our designated take off time and with practiced efficiency we run through our checklists such as making sure our transport pods are fueled our communication systems are on board, charged and backed up with spare power cells (just in case), grab our packs and head out into the unknown.
We have time to wait at the portal for our cargo to arrive and we are always a little cranked up as we never know the temperment, the strength, and/or the mood of the person we are assigned to transport and guide through the initiation that all must undergo before completing their journey from one life to another. If the cargo is moody and wild we can anticipate difficulties moving from A to G with stops or perhaps not, in between. There is always a tension at every hand off as it is with relationships of any kind – a rush of energy – all senses on alert.
I have been fortunate. That, or my luck might be attributed to my kindly grandfather face, listening heart, focused eyes, and a curious not-knowing mind, that kinda takes the fight away. I like to think I have a calming effect and edgy guests soon settle down around me. Likely too, is that the controllers also have a hand in the mix.
Intuition is a strong suite of mine, and global thinking and searching for the gist of it all. “It All” being body centered focused on whatever is occuring in the moment my attention focused on understanding what is occurring in my body and externally in the outer world. Body first. Brain second. And brain with me means right brain. Left brain thinking is no longer an app I can readily access. I can happily spend my time floating among myriad connections occupying the limitless space “inside” my “head,” but doing that isn’t in my job description so my intuition is attuned to my Saber tooth tiger sensory channels. What am I picking up / what does my body say…….fight…..freeze……flee….all good?”
Once we have our guest under our control, stripped of their communication systems handed off – and headed in a right direction and gently guided to, and strapped into the ferry that glows red in the roguish morning sun. “Is this your first time here?” And boom we are underway headed for a date with destiny.
We will spend the day, a good long portion of the day with each other. We will be waiting for health care professionals to check our guest out, filling out forms gives our guest something to focus on and distract if only momentarily from the terror and fear not so deep beneath their “best public” face. It’s all planned out. Each step, each stop meant to slow the journey down and there’s never any telling how fast or slow the day might go.
Ten hours later, the guest has been safely transported from point A to point G and all the rituals and downloads have been honored and now it’s time to return to the mothership. Stars have filled the sky and owls are hooting bears are moving, and me and my partner are back in our pod turning around and heading back. Across the star filled sky, back across the arroyos, through the darkly thick forests, down the rutted forgotten roads up the narrows back to the highway to heaven. To paved road and signposts that remind a pair of weary ferry folk that they are nearing their own destination returning home for the night. A 12 hour day – 14 hours maybe? Nice paycheck, nice glow from doing your job and doing it well, working as a team – a sport of sorts, not unlike tag team wrestling I suppose.
The day is done. The adventure over. It will take a few days to recover. To the Bogs we went and then further north towards the Nipple then over to the Groundhog and the scree fields and the aged pine waiting to pierce a flailing hand or rip a shirttail and the full moon dancing with the Pine as we skedaddled home. The bed feels so good and this body exhausted and the mind all worn out. As I lie snuggled into the covers, I wonder if the morrow will bring me back in contact with the Archetypal energy that arises to hold space and energy for me every time I help ferry a guest – every time I spend the day listening, being curious, holding space or holding a center of calm openness.
And every morning upon waking up to this side of the adventure of taking a person from one way of life to a new life totally other in outer ways, is the realization of the sacred quality of it. Nothing else in my life begins to compare with the expansive and loving heart energies I feel welling up inside of me upon completing a ride and nothing else I do allows me to engage as a Ferryman and encounter and experience this energy through such a direct enactment of that Archetypal role. I love it. It’s not just a job or and adventure it’s a renewal Hell! Its renewing me.. Its a powerful Renewing and renewal of spirit, of Heart. Kindness. Patience. Playfulness and of remembering. Sati. Remember. Awake.
Sometimes after a strong energetic encounter the whole next day and night I feel as though the World is my lover – interconnections and spacious peaceful ease everywhere. Diversely non-binary and beautiful. We are the image of God.