Second only to the moose, the elk is the largest land mammal in the world, and a lot more aggressive.
A video emerged on the internet the other day showing a woman being attacked by an elk. Supposedly she had gotten too close within the animal’s zone of personal space resulting in both her and her picture taking cell phone being knocked to the ground. The incident was captured on film by two forest rangers who following the animal’s assault proceeded to unsolicitedly inform the woman that 25 feet is the minimum proximity range to be within whenever crossing paths with an elk.
That’s odd because my own run in Elk experience was at the very maximum 6 feet at most.
And it wasn’t just one specimen of one of the largest mammals in the world whose antlers resemble space aliens unto themselves …..it was more like seven.
Roughly over a decade ago, I took an emotional inventory of my life and concluded I needed a change. After living in New York City for a number of years, I decided to venture to new and unchartered territory. (That, along with having a front row seat for 9/11 where the 2nd plane exploded over my head while en route to work provided sufficient motivation to relocate as well). Taking a giant leap of faith, I embraced the phrase “new and unchartered territory” as literally as I could by choosing a location I had never been to, didn’t know anyone, and move there site unseen.
For those who wouldn’t be able to rest at night due to relentlessly wondering, the brave new world I had decided upon was Portland, Oregon.
Despite coming up with this adventurously daring game plan, a dilemma emerged. I was informed the apartment I had chosen in Portland wouldn’t be available for another two months after my NYC lease was up. As Fate would have it, a former boss of mine came to my rescue by telling me to get my stuff ready, put it all in storage, and head Southwest to her home in Arizona until it was time for me to venture North. Done deal.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Brooklyn a friend of mine was experiencing a psychic epiphany.
“Question – when you hear a voice in your head that isn’t yours is that considered psychic or schizophrenic?” the friend asked over the phone.
“It’s a toss up. But if it was happening to you, I’ll go with psychic.” I replied.
“Good because it was a message for you. I was told to tell you the word “Sedona“. Mean anything to you?”
“Zippo.” I honestly answered.
Little did I know how familiar I would soon enough become with that word.
“I wish I could show you around town but this job doesn’t allow me a moment to breathe let alone take time off.” my former boss lamented in her comfortably furnished living room in Phoenix, Arizona referring to her recently accepted position as President of a local bank there.
“Hold it. I’ve got an idea.” she said excitedly while rummaging through her purse.
Barely a minute had passed before keys were being tossed at me.
“Take my car tomorrow and go for a ride. I know of the perfect place. Have you ever heard of Sedona?”
Funnily enough, I had.
Located 120 miles from Phoenix in the northeastern desert of Arizona, lies the town of Sedona. Along with its astounding red rock formations of sandstone, Sedona is a notorious place where according to Wikipedia, “some purport that spiritual vortices are concentrated”.
I, for one, strongly disagree with Wikipedia, given I don’t purport about said spiritual vortices, I know directly about them by experience.
Many within the spiritual community generally believe the city of Sedona stands at a perfect point of geographic longitude and latitude. For me this personally translated to a type of clarity I had never before experienced upon arriving there. This clarity was noticeably present not just in the overall atmosphere, my internalized thoughts were at their sharpest and most vivid as well. Throughout the duration of my visit to Sedona, it felt as if the lead based phonograph record needle in my mind that usually played my thoughts had been replaced with the most cutting edge of sleek diamond tips.
In Astrology, every sign is represented through nearly every area of Life, with each resident of the Zodiac having its own flower, tree, food stuff, and of course, animal, etc. Additionally, each person is born with two karmic features symbolizing the evolutionary past and future of one’s soul, called the “Nodes of the Moon”. The Nodes come in two parts, the first being the soul’s most recent incarnation before the present life cycle we are living in, otherwise called the “South Node”. The second part is the soul’s overall karmic destiny or life’s purpose for the life cycle we are in at present, better known as the “North Node”.
I had needed a change in my life and was actively making that change happen, but the risk involved moving to a place never before experienced where I didn’t know anyone was daunting to say the least. Where better than Sedona to be given a sign of affirmation, I thought to myself.
As a teenager, I was told a Native American belief (I can’t recall which tribe) that if one was actively making change happen, the Universe affirms your actions by presenting a symbol of one’s past positioned either behind or beneath you.
With the symbol of my Past, or South Node being placed in Libra, the sign whose animal is the snake, I was determined to see some belly crawlers and soon. And with that realization I came upon Sedona’s Red Rock State Park.
As mentioned earlier, the city of Sedona is famous for its sandstone formations which change hue with the passing sunlight but for the most part are of a deeply intense shade of red. Stepping onto the grounds of the Red Rock State Park was a landscape of towering rock formations so red, one would have sworn as if they’d been dropped directly onto the surface of the Red Planet, Mars, itself.
Besides a few German tourists, no one else was present, making it truly feel like I was walking on a terrain in deep outer space. With the atmosphere possessing that unique sense of clarity, I found I could meditate while walking. As I went deeper and deeper into the Martian park, I channeled my energies into summoning snakes.
Hours had passed and not a hint of movement or glint of color came from anywhere. My sense of adventurous daring began to crack. I was about to face a slew of unknowns by starting everything anew and the Universe couldn’t even give me a sign I was doing the right thing? All I needed was one lousy snake, was that too much to ask for a cosmically affirming nod? I began to turn back in a frazzled state of exasperation when my eye noticed something along the ground on my far right.
A sign! (quite literally) that was shaped like an arrow pointing towards a path which headed due north up the edge along one of the highest visible rock towers. In yellow lettering against a black background it read:
After saying a prayer of thanksgiving and with my energies rejuvenated I followed the sign and went straight up the trail which appeared as if it pointed towards the very skies above.
Despite the trail’s path weaving back and forth as it went further upwards, the atmospheric clarity become even more lucidly profound. I felt like Aqua-man from those Saturday morning cartoons I watched as a kid where I perceived my mind sending off mental waves which traveled outwards to every nook of rock, summoning forth any living creature nearby.
As the trail made a sharp turn inward, my head was tilted downward while scanning the ground when instinctively I was told to look up.
Before me stood a creature so large, I didn’t even have a name for it. This animal was so massively gigantic it towered over me as it stood regularly on all fours. Its fur was a deep, dark black and badly matted with large visible knots interweaved on its sides and back.
What my mind couldn’t immediately grapple with was what lay atop the body of the beast.
On one side of its head were antlers I didn’t know could actually exist, they were that awe-rendering. It was multi-pronged with each spike jutting outwards from every angle possible. (Nature’s way of providing the most effective method for optimal gutting). The other side of the animal’s head displayed a bloody stalk of what must have been the remnants of the antler’s matching set which in all likelihood was still embedded in the shredded corpse of the slain creature that last had the misfortune of crossing its path.
I had just come in direct contact with a fully grown bull elk.
Neither one of us heard the other coming and after the initial shock of surprise, the elk snorted hard through its nostrils while lowering its head down to the ground. His left leg straightened as it stomped forward before dragging its hoof backwards in the dirt.
The animal stood a mere 6 feet away and had just positioned itself to charge and attack.
I immediately froze knowing if I tried to make any kind of attempt to run (or even move an eyelash or touch my nose for that matter) the remaining antler would be skewering through my innards with no one remotely nearby to hear me scream as my body involuntarily twitched in violent reaction from being gouged to death. Remaining completely motionless, I breathed slowly and very deeply through my nose and proceeded to “drop” my center of gravity as well as my overall aura of energy. The longest 4 minutes of my life then unfolded as the stag stared directly at me while slowly lifting its uni-antlered head gradually up from its defense position of charge and attack.
Neither man nor beast blinked the entire time.
The Bull Elk then proceeded to walk even closer towards me, all the while our eyes locked staring at each other. The stag asserted its dominance by snorting hard at me as it walked past my person an arm’s length away. Stunningly, I hadn’t noticed behind him were five does and rounding off the elk crew was another stag, smaller in stature (raptor sized instead of the T-rex front man) with both antlers still in tact. These majestically mammoth creatures then filed 2 feet in front of me with each doe nodding her head towards my general direction as they went by (I kid you not).
I stood frozen in the same place on the high altitude trail for a good 40 or so minutes, remaining motionless while uncontrollably shaking. When I finally regained the ability to freely move again, I walked down from the trail searching for the nearest forest ranger. After hearing what had happened, the ranger kept uttering over and over in disbelief, “You should be dead by now! You really should be dead!”
Yep, I sure should be.
Looking back at that pivotal moment of my life, I realized the Universe had been actively involved the entire time. As previously mentioned, my South Node may have been placed in the sign of snakes but my North Node, or karmic destiny was placed in the sign of Aries, the mountain ram. Since there were no mountain rams readily available in the area, the next best creature around were elk. In fact, upon initially encountering the bull elk, my brain immediately registered its antlers which translated to me first thinking “O my God, it’s a mountain ram.”
Rather than show me a symbol of my past, the Universe instead chose to reveal a glimmer of my future, an unchartered terrain where anything could be encountered,
…even uni-antlered bull elk.
*Brad Kronen’s book “Love in the Stars” published by Llewellyn Worldwide, Inc. is available for purchase at your local book seller or online at amazon.com at the link listed below.