The journey began in earnest in Ireland at Sliabh na Caillí, or Loughcrew in Co. Meath, Ireland. Yes, before I went there I was "working" on the book. But it was a sporadic effort: sometimes writing, sometimes letting the manuscript sit in a drawer gathering dust. Truth be told, much more of the latter. But in April, 2009, the situation changed. As I wrote at the time:
Sliabh na Caillí... is a sacred site with cairns dedicated to or occupied by the Crone, or the Hag, or Garavogue. It is far more than 4000 years old. There are, of course, many details. But the important part is the personal, the intuitive, the spiritual.
When I visited Sliabh na Caillí with an international band of Shamanic friends... I made an offering to the Crone in her cairn, and I asked her whether she had anything to tell me. And she did. I am to finish the draft of my novel in process before the end of the coming September. No excuses. No extensions of time. No dogs eating my homework. I take this seriously. I do not wish to run afoul of the Crone's wishes. I do not wish to incite her to anger. I do not wish to taste her wrath.
To make sure I wouldn't let the time slip by, to make sure that my vow to follow this message and to complete the task would be kept, I told my friends what the Crone had to say. They are my witnesses. And today, a couple weeks later, I am writing it down. Forgetfulness, unconsciousness, being busy, lack of mindfulness, other seeming necessities, all forms of practiced sloth, are not to deter me. Nor rain, nor gloom, nor dread of night, stops this courier from the prompt completion of his appointed rounds. And you, dear readers, are witnesses also.
The working title of my book is "Tulum," which is a Mayan town in Quintana Roo, Mexico. I won't tell you about the book, except to say that it is about the friendship of a US expat with a shady background and a Mayan curandero. There are 30,000 +/- words on my key drive as I write this.
And so, I have a task, a quest, an imramma, a journey to perform. I am honored to carry this out.
That was 2009. That was more than a year and 50,000 words ago.
I finished a very rough draft in that September. And after many revisions and changes and editing and rewriting and far too much staring at the ceiling and making excuses and worrying about it, on February 13, 2011, I uploaded the manuscript to the publisher. And today I uploaded the other required materials. And now I am finished. The rest of the task is merely mechanical. Or proofreading.
Well, not really. It's not that simple. There remains something else. Something else that's extremely important. Something that I don't want to leave out. It's the real conclusion of the imramma.
Even when the book is in your hands or on your Kindle, even then, even when you've read it, even when you've passed it on to others, or maybe even forgotten it, my task won't be completed. I realize that. There is something else that has to be done. My journey won't really be completed until I have taken this book in digital form, placed it on a key drive, and personally delivered the drive to the Crone by placing it discreetly in the rocks in her cairn. Only then will all of the assigned tasks have been completed. Only when one returns after the quest to the very beginning is the journey completed.
When one accepts a challenge or inspiration or advice and chooses to embark on a quest, and then carries out one's assigned tasks, there remains one more, final step. It remains important afterwards to return to the very beginning, to the very person who inspired or commissioned the effort and to stand before him or her. And upon returning, it's important to say aloud to that person, "I have done it, I have completed it, and I have returned to tell you this." It is then important to offer one's gratitude for a journey so remarkable it qualifies to be called a quest. It seems to me that it's this mythic return and the expression of gratitude that really completes the journey.
I will now look for airfare for April, 2011. It's been two years, and I am at last ready to return.