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  • Writer's pictureKendra Goheen

The Sacred Art of Fly-Fishing

Since I was a little girl, I heard fish stories from my grandfather who was an avid fly-fisherman. I would go fishing with him every now and then with my cane pole, but I was never taught how to cast a line for fly-fishing. So, I never understood all that was involved with this type of sport.

In March of this year, I changed my view of fly-fishing from a sport to an art, and it became clear to me why Grandpa enjoyed it so much and would tie flies and fish every chance he could get.

I stepped into the cold running water of North Mills River with a very dear friend and classmate of mine, Duke. He has not stopped telling fly-fishing stories and sharing his passion and connection to this beautiful sacred art, his spiritual practice, since we met almost two years ago. He has fished these waters since he could walk. So I, always being curious about spiritual practices, decided to take him up on an invitation to try it out. “It will be perfect in March!” he joyously said. He sent me a packing list, of which I had about two of the ten items he said I would need. So Duke, who has experience as a fly-fishing guide, kindly packed them for me and directed me to get a North Carolina fishing license. After our class ended one day, off we went down the windy road to find the perfect spot to cast a line.

I cannot explain it, but there was an ease and feeling of peace that washed over me instantly. What I discovered as I put on my gear is that there is a ritual to preparing yourself before you even step into the water. There is a ritual to how you prepare your pole for casting your line. As you know, I am deeply vested in rituals and mystical experiences, and fly-fishing was both for me. I have had mystical experiences over the years that I have never been able to articulate, but this one felt like it needed to be given words. There was a dance that day that I allowed myself to engage in and be led by, and it was one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had.

Duke was disappointed that we were skunked; we walked away from the river without a trout being caught that day. But I walked away with the same awe and fullness I had when I left Machu Pechu. A grace flowed into my veins that allowed me to be present and calm with each moment – a feeling I have experienced only a few times in my life. I came to a place, a river where I was uncertain about everything I was doing. However, my expert guide and trusted friend helped me stay the course. He helped me be at peace and present to the beauty of the sacred and divine flow of nature that restores us to our natural essence. This experience empowered me, once again, to trust in the unknown and receive the gift of the unseen.

Click here to download a lovely fishing song by Ben Winship, titled “Waiting on the Evening Rise.” It articulates better than I, the experience of fly-fishing.

Peace to you and May the blessings be,

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