Crossing Over in the Desert With a Lost Soul

Head of Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, California, USANancy Smeltzer, MFA

I thought we were just going to go on  a hike. Little did I know I was about to go on a deep shamanic journey regarding helping a soul cross over in the desert when I recently went to Joshua Tree National Park.  While I have helped hundreds of people make their final journey so far in the last eight years of my spiritual work, I have never had quite as an insistent soul as the old grandmother I met on this hike into the desert. Six hundred years is a long time to wait to be honored, and our band of fifteen became an unknowing part of her funeral rites. Here is the story.

In a previous posting, I wrote about the creation of a sacred rattle under the tutelage of Lisa Starr, an amazing artist and spiritual intuitive who lives nearby in Yucca Valley, California, USA. Having made our rattles, our band went out to the Joshua Tree National Park to bless and honor them.

Starting down the trail in Joshua Tree National Park, California, USAFifteen of us started out on the trail to the Diamond Caves. I was really glad that I had brought my heavy coat and gloves from back East. Even though the sun was blindingly bright, the temperature was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit ( 4 degree Celsius) and there was no break from the constant wind until we got to the distant rocks that would hide us from the chill. In the beginning, I could easily keep up with the rest of our band. That changed, however, as we started climbing on the trail that went up through the rocks.

Climbing up into the rocks in Joshua Tree National Park, California, USAAs the trail took us higher into the rocks, there were natural stairs that had been created through the centuries by those who had taken the same route. We were protected more from the wind that was blowing, but I became more tired. I felt as if I were being pushed along from behind by a huge hand, and I became angry as I fell farther and farther behind. “Why won’t they wait for me?” I thought. “Can’t they see I can’t keep up? That’s mean!” were some of the kinder thoughts that I was thinking. Little did I know until later that these were not my own thoughts, but those of a soul who had been waiting a long time to be delivered.

The trail levels off in Joshua Tree National Park, California, USAWhen the trail began to level off, Lisa came back to check up on me. She had been at the front of the trail, and when going through the rocks, she couldn’t see everybody. She reminded me to do the obvious, drink lots of water. A dear man, Bob White, a powerful shaman from Portland, Oregon, USA, whom I met at the last Journey, offered to take some of my pack. He gently reminded me to use the chakras in my hands that had been opened up during a drumming ceremony of his at the last event. Two big takeaways for me were to remind myself that when I get panicky, to remember that I have healing tools of my own to use on myself. Another was to reconsider how much “stuff” I’m carrying around, both physically and emotionally and to be more selective about what I choose to keep.

The drumming circle to bless the sacred rattles we had made

Photo by Karen Rudolf

Once we arrived at the base of the Diamond Caves, Lisa had us sit on the ground around a short scrubby bush. She burned some copal, which she felt would help my nausea, which it quickly did. As she began drumming and chanting, I felt an intense sadness overwhelm me. I had first felt it as we had stopped at the park entrance to get our parking sticker, but had dismissed it as we drove to the parking lot at the head of the trail we were to take. This time, there was no ignoring the overwhelming grief that was pouring through me as Lisa drummed, and I began to cry out loud. It was then that the old grandmother revealed herself.

She had lived in the area about six hundred years or more. She had been a healer and an honored village elder, much revered by her family and friends. Then one day, her group had been forced off of their land by a warring tribe, and they had to quickly grab what they could carry and run. In the panic at the time, she had fallen further and further behind, and then, having gotten lost, died alone in the desert. She had been waiting for over six hundred years to be honored and she felt that our group was the closest to a sacred ceremony that had come by so far. She just wanted her name (Wah-hay-nah, phonetically pronounced) to be given a voice one last time. I gave her due reverence and took her up to the Great Veil and waited until she crossed over. As Lisa’s drumming continued, the grandmother turned, smiled and said thank you, and then she faded off into the distance.

Is the story true? I have no way of knowing, but I do know that I immediately began to feel better. The walk back to the car, which took about the same path, was certainly easier than going out. I’ve had enough independent confirmations in the past with other crossings over that I’ve assisted in where I was show personal information that I had no way of knowing that I don’t doubt that I was at least shown a metaphor of some long ago event. I do know that I now have another spirit guide that I call Grandmother Moon, and for her new guiding direction in my life, I am very, very grateful.

Have you ever had an experience where you knew that you knew something was true, but had no logical reason to know that it was so? How did you explain it to others, or did you keep that knowledge to yourself, because of fear of ridicule?

Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this posting. Please take a minute and fill out the form below and share your ideas with the rest of us. We all grow when we share our thoughts and impressions, so why not join our growing community of those who appreciate learning about our inner selves and the intricacies of healing work. We’d love to hear from you! Also PLEASE tell like-minded souls about this blog. We’d love to have them join us, too.

You can find out more about my healing work at, about my artwork on my web site at (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals), Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies),  and Twitter.

About Nancy Smeltzer

I'm passionate about long distance spiritual and alternative healing, having had a successful practice now for over ten years. My clients work with me over the phone and on Skype from all over the USA and Canada, as well as Switzerland, Russia, and Australia. I specialize in helping people heal their negative repeating patterns of behavior and remove the stuck energy in their unconscious minds. By doing that, they can quit going round and round in circles,. repeating the same mistakes, and move forward to having the life of their dreams. Besides my holistic healing practice, I've also been professionally creating art quilts and other fiber arts for over 30 years. My specialty is contemporary beaded art quilts. On my web site, I bill myself as the "Self Proclaimed Button and Bead Queen of Maryland (USA)." My recent works have images that are based on what I see when I tap into a person's energy field and are called Meditation Gardens. These visionary art pieces are the perfect place for that person to play and meditate. In my spare time, I'm a rabid, avid "dirty nails" gardener, composing scenes with plants. Sometimes, I come inside so dirty that my clothes have to go straight into the washing machine; they're too dirty for the dirty clothes hamper! -The Official Google + site for Nancy Smeltzer
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2 Responses to Crossing Over in the Desert With a Lost Soul

  1. Lisa Starr says:

    Hey Nancy,

    I am so honored for this completed crossing of Grandmother Wah-hay-nah.

    Thank you!

    • Nancy Smeltzer says:

      Dear Lisa, thank you for starting the process and creating the atmosphere so that she could cross over. We were all part of that honoring. She is now one of my spirit guides and I call her Grandmother Moon. I will always remember that day and the sacred experience that you crafted. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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