Stephanie PhelpsI was born a California beach girl . . .My earliest memories are playing in the sand and swimming in the ocean with my mother. My teens were all about suntans and surfers! Today, the ocean is that place that feeds my soul and renews my spirit. It has remained an integral part of my life even though I am now thriving in the Sonoran Desert.
When I turned seventeen I was unknowingly given a piece of my destiny. A friend had returned from Tucson with a message for me; it was from a Native American Medicine Woman. This gift would come full circle thirty-five years later after having traveled and lived abroad for many years.
At the age of twenty-one I left my beautiful life in La Jolla to travel an adventurous road. I would not return to the United States for another thirteen years. It was through my travels to Morocco and living and working in Wales, and then Papua New Guinea that I began to define my relationship with the world.
It can be said that I have gypsy blood and during my first year in Wales, I married my wild and passionate Welsh man, still by my side. I attended the Swansea College of Art and studied Architectural Glass Designing. After graduation and becoming a Master Glass Painter, I returned to San Diego to work along side James Hubbell, an internationally renowned architect and artist. I worked on many commissions as a master craftsman including one for the Palace of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The time spent with James was one of the most difficult in my life, albeit one of the most rewarding, and the beginnings of my spiritual path.
I returned to South Wales where our son was born, an event welcomed by the entire village of Mumbles! Within six months of his birth we were traveling to Papua New Guinea, my husband having been commissioned to engineer their emergent fishing industry. Once again life presented itself an adventure. With many experiences under my belt, and having deep faith and consciousness of God, I knew that anything was possible.
In Papua New Guinea we lived among the natives, Kyle was not yet one year of age. This land is still considered one of the most remote places on earth and without doubt, one of the most dangerous. With active volcanoes, thirty-two poisonous snakes and cannibalism still practiced, it was perhaps the defining moment of my life.
I no longer felt attached to a small life but had developed an inner awareness that something much greater awaited. Through my travels to various countries, and living outside my comfort zone, I began to see life through new eyes. I had embarked upon the path of heart.
Returning to the United States and after living in Seattle for nine years, my husband and I decided to put our house on the market just to see what would happen. We put a sign out front and the house sold that day. The very next weekend we were on a plane headed for Arizona. It was on this flight that I closed my eyes and a memory flashed before me. Thirty-five years ago I had been given a message from an old Native American Medicine Woman whose words came flooding back. I listened, and knew my life was about to change in profound ways. The minute my feet touched Phoenix, I knew I was home.
As I explored this land of Saguaro cactus, ancient ruins and the red rocks of Sedona, I knew my spiritual path was truly present. After my initial integration to desert life and some struggles to adjust, I participated in a sacred sites tour of Arizona. It was led by a Tibetan Medicine Woman who knew the land and had lived and worked with the native elders of Hopi Land. This became the catalyst of my transformation.
The first of many magical events took place at what is known as Rachel’s Knoll. This mesa has as aura of mystery with its many Medicine Wheels, anchors of past, present and future. This was to be my first Medicine Wheel ceremony, and I was transported to a place in time, known and not known. It is a place called ‘the crack between the worlds’ where we become aware that there is more to life than what meets the eye. I remembered the things my spirit had always known, and I connected deeply with this sacred place.
That night we were going to a Sweat Lodge Ceremony. The ceremony is done in four rounds, each one hotter than the last. I was told that the Native Elders holding this lodge were expecting Sun Dancers to attend in preparation for their dance. There were seventeen of us going into this ceremony. Going into my first lodge brought up many fears. Would I feel trapped, would the heat be too intense? What if I couldn’t get out! And, why was I even here? Once inside and to my utter surprise, the sound of the rattles and drums, and the smell of the stream-laced herbs, was like going home. By the final round I was the only person left among the Elders. They told me this experience would change my life.
The next day my perception of the world had changed. Every rock, tree, cloud, and mound of earth was suddenly alive. I could see ‘the spirit’ in the rock and hear ‘the language of the land’. The veils of separation I once held in my consciousness were suddenly lifted. There was a remembering connecting me back to my essence. I had touched an intangible realm, and discovered the life force energy in all things. From that moment on I listened, and paid attention to the subtle energies at work. It was from these initial experiences that my story unfolds.
Over the course of the next year stones, rocks, and crystals came home with me. Many were gifted from powerful sacred sites around the world ~ Peru, Egypt, Israel, Bimini, Thailand and Glastonbury, England. It was getting a little crazy with all these rocks piling up on my porch; it looked like The United Nations of rock people!
I don’t recall when or where the idea came to me to create a Medicine Wheel. I do know I was called and guided by spirit to create this magical, wondrous, sacred space.
My first step in the creation of the Medicine Wheel was to wake before dawn and lay down on Mother Earth connecting our energies. I could feel every cell in my body vibrate, and hear my heartbeat connect with the heartbeat of the Mother Earth, from this place the foundation was laid with the intent that this sacred space would serve for healing and transformation. All the rock people: my varied collection of stones, crystals, and rocks that had gathered on my porch, found their way into the circle.
Every rock tells a story . . .
Each person’s story continues to build in richness as the
many rocks continuously gifted from around the world arrive.
Most recently, a gift arrived from my brother-in-law in England, who'd trekked through the
Himalayas bringing back a rock from Machapuchare, sacred to Goddess Parvati, near the birthplace of Lord Buddha, and blessed by two holy men in Kathmandu.
I am now the Keeper of a Magnificence Medicine Wheel
I have been asked ~
What does it feel like to be a Medicine Wheel Keeper?
It is a special calling, one that I am honored and blessed to carry.
How has it affected my life?
I live my life with more integrity, awareness of all life about me, and I share myself with others. It has opened me (and others) to endless possibilities.
What are my responsibilities for holding this sacred space?
There is a responsibility to serve the planet and humanity with clear vision. To come from a place of balance and to hold the grounds sacred, to open and close ceremonial space in a sacred way, and to keep the integrity of the space with a pure heart.
The original intention was to create a wheel for healing and transformation, it has become so much more. The wheel is multi-layered in its teachings and capabilities, and my role multifaceted. I want to inspire others with passion, and provide a space where all may come, whether it be to heal, to come to center, to step into their spiritual journey or to have a glimpse beyond the veil igniting a spark of their own divinity.
Here, all paths connect with the Mother Earth, Creator, and all that is.
Copyright © 2011 StephaniePhelps.com