I’ve signed up for a wonderful course taught by Robert Moss on the Shift Network titled: “Dreaming into the Dreamtime: Tapping the Power of 7 World Traditions for Transformation.” One of the great advantages of working with Active Dreaming is how it introduces vital but forgotten, ancient and indigenous methods to explore the dream worlds. In this course, Robert is opening new doors, taking us even deeper into each dreaming tradition.
Learning from our ancestors and understanding their wisdom requires shedding the left-brain, white man knows best attitude we’ve assumed for the last few centuries. It requires opening our hearts and knowing in a deeper sense what is true and what is vital for ourselves, understanding that though we’ve “evolved” in some ways, we’ve devolved in some important ways, forgetting what our ancestors knew, especially about living in alignment with Nature. Robert Moss says:
“One of the things going on in your dreams might be that the ancestors are calling. When I say the ancestors, I mean the ancestors of your bloodlines certainly, but I also mean the ancestors of the land where you are living or the land you are visiting and the ancestors of your spiritual kin who may come from many places and many cultures. I think that dreaming is one of the ways that we interact with the ancestors, and it can become a very interesting source of guidance and direction of where to go with our interests and our sense of tradition and our sense of belonging in life.”*
I’ve found my bloodlines in dreaming; one is in the Lucumi peoples of Cuba, where I was born. In my dreams I’ve danced to Yemaya and Oshun, visited with many Lucumi elders and shared many deeply healing experiences, full of gifts. Because of these dreams, I’ve studied Afro-Cuban dance, music and culture in my waking life.
Currently, I’m following teachings from my dreams that are challenging me to grow in my relationship to Nature and better understand the natural world around me. In a series of recent dreams, there are black bears on my path or I’m in bear country. The beauty of a series of dreams with similar content is that you can compare and contrast vital elements of the dreams: place, characters, feelings and actions. In at least two of the dreams, my dream self literally asks the question; “How am I not supposed to be afraid of bears?” I re-entered one of these dreams with a partner/tracker and received a great gift from her journey into my dream.
In her dream of my dream, she saw the antlered goddess, an element that wasn't in my dream report to her. The Celtic goddess, Elen of the Ways, is one manifestation of this great Divine Archetype. Here’s what the well known researcher of her stories, Caroline Wise, has to say about her:
“As the Green Lady, she peeps out between the trees in forests and woods. As a British Venus, Goddess of Gardens, she is the Flower Bride: at her Holy wells, mainly to be found in the North of the country, she is guardian of the underground streams that carry the sacred waters. These underground streams have themselves become a metaphor for the secret continuation of sacred wisdom. She is the Guardian of the ancient track ways, the Leys, the kundalini currents in nature, and as the Horned Goddess, she leads us to the first trackways, the migratory tracks of the reindeer and later, she leads us to the path of the red deer through the forests. From here she leads us to the lost Shamanism of the isles of Britain, and we can follow her across Scandinavia, Russia, Mongolia, Siberia, India and beyond.”
She is Lady of the Beasts. What Black Bear is trying to teach me is to grow in my connection to Nature and to Mother Nature, the Divine Feminine Archetype on whom all survival depends. As Robert said in our second class, the Australian First Peoples teach us that we live in a “speaking land.” Everything is alive and may have something to say to us, if we listen.
This summer, I’ve learned to hold birds in my hands, thanks, in part, to the inadvertent efforts of my cat. These were sparrows, small and sweet, that he brought alive into the house; in the past, I would have gotten Jim to pick one up and take it outside; after all, he grew up on a farm. Through my dreams and dream re-entries I’ve come to realize that opening my heart, really seeing a creature and neutralizing my knee jerk instincts of fear allows me to “communicate” with another living being and see it for how it truly is. That’s how I’m not supposed to be afraid of bears. If I do end up face to face with black bear in waking reality, I’ll remember what I’ve learned and act accordingly. Talking to a friend who actually lives in bear country today, she described to me how all bears are unique, and some have a really sweet disposition. She also decried how our entitled attitude to study or control them in ways like banding them, distresses them and interferes with a more natural personality.
I know from participating in this wonderful course that there are many, many people whose dreams are calling them to reconnect with Nature; it’s as if She’s put out an S.O.S. Here’s a powerful excerpt from the dream inspired post of a sister dream traveller, Kate Temple-West calling us to act to save our waters. "You can dream into the great river of story, into imaginal realms that are larger than your own subconscious mind. There are vital medicines for us all in these places, and we need them. Now, please. We need them now."
May we grow a dream of awakening and healing together. May it be so!