It was like watching a tidalwave rush over the stones. They broke against the fire stand and the well, they washed up the tree and back down. I watched as they swarmed over the others seated in the circle, inquisitively peeking at the ritual participants, who couldn't see a thing.
I lapsed back into listening to Ian and Liafal, watching the ebb and flow of the tide of cockroaches around me.
As we got into the visualization, one in particular stood out from the crowd. He was wearing a pair of Groucho Marx glasses and smoking a cigar, and he climbed onto my shoulder so he could guide me around. I've even drawn a picture of him.
The visualization took us away from the circle, and out into the desert around us.
We wandered for a while, talking, meeting other animals, and generally raising hell. We played a joke on a bear, pretended to be someone else's spirit animal (we let 'em know in the end), and sang a rousing rendition of "We Are the Champions" to a group of tortises who had challenged us to a game of volleyball. Eventually we came back.
We were invited to share our experiences, and to talk about our Sprit Guide if we were so moved. As we went around the circle, I was struck by all the cool totems everyone else had, and was a bit embarrassed by mine. A few mentioned eagles, hawks, or other birds, one mentioned a stag, a couple of wolves surfaced, and Nam mentioned a monkey, and spilled the water all over her neighbor in the circle. Finally, when it came to me, I called the cockroach by his common name, not his saintly name, saying: "Cockroach, for telling me why I couldn't have a cool totem."
It was a wonderfully powerful experience. Profound and comical, and I'm not ashamed to admit that such a powerful experience can be brought about in so simple a way.
Or maybe I'm making a totem out of a cockroach? Eh, I've seen worse :)