NY rose me
Most High chose me
– 1991, by Azealia Banks
Bryant Park is easy to sleep on – it’s no larger than a block and it’s tucked away just east of the hustle and bustle that is Times Square (a place New Yorkers loathe).
But what a majestic block it is, especially during the summer.
Few spaces in New York are as committed as Bryant Park is to public seating; green metal tables and chairs abound for sipping drinks purchased at the park’s multiple coffee and sandwich kiosks. Cleanliness is a priority as even smoking isn’t allowed once you climb the steps of one of its lantern lit entrances. Further distinguishing this nestled oasis from the city blocks surrounding, these giant white luminescent bulbs are plentiful throughout the park, their light creating a magical Upperworld with the foliage of abundant maple trees.
Blowing tobacco smoke onto the park’s borders while walking its perimeter, I tried to sense into the energies guarding this wonderworld, if in fact there were any. Meditating beneath one of the lanterns at an entrance with my back to the park, facing the street, they quickly spoke up.
Land spirits are rarely friendly. I know this from too much experience, so I never expect them to be. But I firmly believe that we can work with them as allies if good relationships are cultivated and, if this is done on a global scale, we can perhaps even evade ecological suicide.
It’s a thought.
Back to the land spirits, who greeted me with the gruffness I always expect from them yet still find deeply unsettling. “What do you want?” they asked, sounding like a chorus of highly protective ancient male Oak trees.
“To know who guards this place. I come with the utmost respect.”
This usually throws them off because not only are they used to having their efforts thwarted by humans — they’re also not used to us speaking to them as of late. I felt the voices and their invisible mammoth-like bodies retreat as if to reconvene and then return to question me further.
“I want the people to remember,” I repeated over and over again, not sure if they’d understand what I meant by that. I sent them mental images of my blog and tried to convey that I’m a writer. That I wanted to share who they are with the city’s inhabitants.
I re-strategize and send a mental image of children and adults with balloons coming to play with the voices I was hearing. I’d come, I tried to convey to them, to help re-enchant the world.
And, as if by magic (which everything is), I felt those glorious Maples behind me extend downwards, upwards, and deeper into my energetic perception as if I was being welcomed into the truer goings-on, like how the scenery in World of Warcraft elongates as your character nears it on its journey.
And I could swear I felt a hearty laugh rumble – somewhere.
It’s only one spirit, the voice told me, and it guards about 2/3rds of the park, extending from its western most edge to right about where I was sitting. With my back still to the park and my being unable to see why this was the case, I doubted this and interrogated the voice further. “Who guards the rest of it?”
“Because.” No words, just the sense that the final 1/3rd of the park was too overrun by human tinkerings, or more devoid of nature than the rest.
“But there are trees there, too. Who guards them?”
The voice was especially patient while I sensed behind myself to exactly the point where it said it ended its ward seemingly without reason. I caught a whiff of the land guardian’s relationship with the human stewards of the space (like the custodian who stopped me from entering with my lit cigarette in-hand) and understood, just for a moment, how we are influenced by such beings for the greater good of surroundings. Sensing that there was little more that I could learn without actually entering the park, I turned around and ascended its stairs.
Proclaiming its majesty from its borders, it’s so much more gorgeous from within.
The land guardian’s ward ends exactly at the eastern perimeter of the field that I’d forgotten lay hidden within the park toward its south side. I had laid on that grass one night, many summers ago, to watch an outdoor movie with a San Pellegrino-loving lover during the annual Summer Film Festival that takes place there throughout the warmer months. We left early – I don’t remember why – but the field’s magic had left its scent upon my spirit which is why, I guess, my soul chased the spot down like a hound dog this night. Much needed at a time when I, myself, had begun to lose hope in my potential to get what I need from this city — a common worry that’s been the subject of innumerable songs and editorials since they built the Brooklyn Bridge.
Bryant Park is named after a dude I’ve never heard of, but his statue is pretty awesome. There’s a much smaller one of Gertrude Stein not too far away. I’ll have to research it because I never visualized her as kind of a Buddha-boddhisattva-type, which is how she seems represented.
I arrange two fallen twigs into a shape I think would be pleasing for the land guardian of Bryant Park and express my gratitude for the conversation before exiting south and catching the D.
Khi Armand is an NYC-based Intuitive Consultant and Shamanic Healer who provides transformative solutions for life and business. He is the proprietor of Conjure in the City and author of Deliverance! Hoodoo Spells of Uncrossing, Healing, & Protection.