Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Time to Honor our Dead

Today is my favorite day of the year; Samhain, commonly called, Halloween.  This is our pagan new year; the wheel of the year turns again and we are in winter.  On this day, all over the world and for time immemorial, persons, tribes and cultures have stopped to honor their dead and their ancestors.  This day not as in October 31st necessarily, our ancient ancestors didn't keep"time" as we do with calendars and watches, but this day, when the earth is at this seasonal transition point, autumn to winter, they believed the veil between the living and the dead thins and our beloved dead can more easily come back to us.

I believe our beloved dead are always accessible to us in the dreaming, but yes, this day is special.  It offers a holy day set aside to remember and honor our dead.  This is the etymology of Halloween, "hallowed eve" of the dead, though it's devolved into our "trick or treat" and ghoulish fixation of modern day.  At one time, lit gourd lanterns in the windows and sweet honey cake offerings to the spirits, was a sacred practice ritually honoring the dead. Though, I like the idea of sweet kids dressed up in the imaginal character of their heart's content, goddess only knows it's fun for them, trick or treating at Halloween is somewhat like presents at Christmas, it's not the point.

One thing I love about paying attention to my dreams is that dream gifts often come around special holidays or anniversaries.  Sure enough, both my deceased parents showed up in a dream this week; pondering this dream has led me to a very happy resolution of some issues we can heal together.  I'm busy assembling an altar to honor them and my dream revelations, in thanksgiving for it all.

In Active Dreaming "honoring" the dream is a standard practice derived from the teachings of many indigenous and ancient cultures. It means bringing the energy of the dream into the waking by embodying this dream somehow in the physical through creative efforts unique to the dreamer. If I take action to bring the dream story into the waking in some way, it's likely my dream will release it's energetic charge in me, allowing me to better understand the gift it offers.  Understanding a dream is not necessarily Left Brain analysis; it's more like a dialogue of heart, head and soul.

For example, the day after my dream, without trying to interpret it, I dug out my high school prom dress, which I was wearing in the dream and which my so talented seamstress mother made for me, and hung it where I'll pass it several times a day.  I also found a wonderful picture of my parents dancing I'd forgotten I had; in the dream, we were all at a dance, so I'll use it on the altar.

Our dead come to us in dreams in many different guises and with different errands.  That's nothing to be afraid of.  I'm always puzzled by the ghoulish aspect of Halloween.  My husband, Jim, and I were married on Halloween.  We asked our guests to a masquerade ball, but to think whimsical, please not ghoulish.  Our guests had amazing outfits, from a bonafide Beefeater man to Mother Earth and Father Time.  Nobody came in dripping in blood or zombied out.

Perhaps the ghoulishness is an unconscious attempt of the modern psyche to laugh at it's own fear of death and what lays beyond death.  Yes, there can be some scary characters and situations in dreams (not talking about PTSD dreams here), but as the Senoi tribes revealed to mid-twentieth century anthropologists, if you turn around and face your fear in a dream, ask what it wants and be ready to negotiate, it will transform into an ally, 99% of the time.  And at any rate, you have better odds dealing with anything outside the physical than in the waking world. I like what my dad once said when my brother and I made spooky noises as we passed a cemetery, it's not the dead ones you have to worry about.  We have all sorts of capacities while in our dream body that we don't have as easily in our physical ones, one of them is to connect to the dead.

Our dead are in other dimensions; it's not necessarily "heaven" as depicted in religious tomes, but  parallel realities, other consensus realities. Hopefully, they're all growing and developing their soul's purpose and reaching their own connection to ultimate Source.  It's a soul by soul process, though we all pass through it.  That's what I think from what I've experienced. What I believe with all my heart is that my soul will survive death safely, as did the souls of my mom and dad.  I know this from my own dream visits to these dimensions, from their visits to me here in this one and from the scores of people who've borne the same witness in their own stories or writings.

When I have a dream visit, I pay attention and carry the dream in my heart until it unfolds its gift to me.  Never fails to happen, that aha moment when I understand the dream gift and can start using it in my waking life. But it's not always an immediate revelation.  Often the dream is one I really want to turn away from, one that evokes painful or bad memories, though, sometimes it's plain wonderful, right from the get go.  Whatever its residual feelings, I pay attention.  I write it down and let it sit with me until I get it.

So on this day of Death, a day not to fear but to celebrate, may all those you love that have crossed be well and be near to your heart.  One of the quintessential gifts of dreaming is that we have nothing to fear in death; we never truly lose anyone; death is as common as the changing of the seasons, and just as impermanent. Depending on how near we are to the physical separation, death can bring us great sorrow.  But meeting our departed again in our dreams can help us know for sure that we are forever, in one form or another, not ghost, but holy, holy spirit, each one of us.

A blessed Hallow's Eve to all.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Go Find Me

I had the excellent idea that to grow my dream teaching practice I would start a Go Find Me campaign where I ask all I know to consider me as a wonderful potential speaker at an event, preferably paid, but under some circumstances gratis.  Or, if you have a group of friends, at least six, who want to have a dream party playshop and you live in my driving distance, call me and I'll explain my work and my fee.

I love to teach dream work.  Most people who learn from me seem to love it, too.  So, I could use my friends and students's help in getting out there more.  Thanks so much.

But it's more than what I want to do; it's what I think I'm here to do.  And, I'm not alone.  There are some AMAZING dream teachers out there, on a global scale, like my teacher, Robert Moss, and inspiring teachers on a smaller scale in many communities.  I think there's a very good reason for this; dreaming is a vital skill for achieving spiritual independence. It can help us get the world out of the present human quagmire that's choking all life on this exquisite planet.  How?  By helping us focus on our real spirituality, dreaming is a connection to where we came from and where we're going.

Why do we need this bridge; spiritual independence from what?  From the tyranny of religion, from dogma. No one can tell you that you are a sinner, that Love can be withheld for disobedience.  No one can separate you from the true Spirit Being you are.  How can I know this? Every night I travel in another body, not my physical body, and sometimes, the things I experience as this being blow the doors off my previous waking perceptions and make me feel I am not alone and that I'm truly loved.  Love is a huge, creative, forgiving and humorous presence in my dreams.  It's a resource available to anyone who pays attention to more than waking reality.

Yes, PTSD dreams and severe nightmares need very special attention, but for many people, dreams are an avenue, perhaps a very neglected one, leading to true self awareness and self love.  I'm guessing that's why I volunteered for a tour on the physical plane right now, at this time, in my place, because so much depends on us learning that nothing can conquer Love.  No fear of some spiteful Father can eclipse the natural energy that is our very own nature, a nature we constantly share with the Divine.  It doesn't matter how we speak of Love, what name we call it; it does matter how we Show what what we profess to Know.

The universal need to love and be loved exists because it is our Source; it's who we all are regardless of geographic place or cultural space. We were all born of woman and we will all dissolve with all the sacred elements of this planet at a physical level; we will all die. That's what I call a tour of duty or a lifetime; this lifetime, as opposed to perhaps others, past or parallel or to come.

Here on this plane, at this time we have an opportunity to turn things around, to replace Fear, Anger, Hate and Cynicism with Love.  There are many saying this, like those who practice and teach Mindfulness; Pema Chodron and Eckhart Tolle come to mind, but, gratefully, there are a host of others.  We're experiencing a spiritual revolution.  Is the media reporting it?  Not much, but Oprah does a good job introducing new concepts and many people are finding books or teachers that are challenging the toxic paradigms making us suffer so unnecessarily. The revolution may not be mainstream, but more people now realize that belief creates a psychic paradigm that dictates all we do and say and that is responsible for our joy or sorrow.  When we believe things that oppress, limit and make us submissive, we lose the natural love of life we're born with.  When we're discouraged from loving ourselves by the firm edict that we're born in need of redemption and God's got some conditions we need to meet, if we're going to get any love from Him, we eventually turn on ourselves and believe we are unlovable.  We let charlatans put these ideas in our heads and then we self-police ourselves and create a world in dire need of Love.

Shall I enjoy sex?  Shall I laugh, and sing and cause the rafters to ring?  No, God is constantly asking us to suffer, just like He let his only son do.  Was that His pound of flesh decision, his choice, his fault? No, supposedly, it's ours for being so rotten in the first place.  This kind of catechism breeds self-loathing, a common problem these days, as most will note.  But, what kind of a father could bear to watch his son suffer, especially as some kind of appeasement for a grudge the father himself is holding?  Let it go, it was only an apple.  Good and evil is basically Love or no Love.  We all know that.

Dreaming can help us learn that.  Because my dreams have shown me a landscape for my death transition, as well as allowed me to connect to those I love on the "other" side, I fear death very little.  Through dreaming, I'm already familiar with many things I'll find very helpful to know; most practiced dreamers will concur.  Yes, many of these revelatory dreams are lucid or out of body, but some incredible insights have come to me from my day to day, garden variety dreams.  It's all good.

This is a very important time in history and it's important not to be swayed by dogma and rhetoric, to be our own independent spiritual authorities. Now is the time to place our hands on our hearts and ask to feel Love, to be able to give Love and to receive it.  What we stand for as Americans and as human beings is at stake.  The American dream was always about freedom, escape from tyranny - usually religious tyranny.  Now, maybe for the last century, it's about money.  But since we will all be exiting this planet, a question that we've relegated to the compartment of religion, what happens after this, is really the most important question to answer.  Money is not a necessary commodity once we no longer have a physical body; goddess only knows when it became such a tyranny in the physical.  It wasn't always so.

Once greater number of people connect to their own dreaming resources, religions that manipulate the followers they attract  to exclusivity, to the point of violence, hatred and fear against all others, will no longer be the dangerous monopolies they've become.  It's liberating to know that I have nothing to fear from death, but that I have something to live for on the physical, enough to commit to the here and now and trust the help that I know is available to me spiritually.  The more we Love, the more certain we can be of being reunited with Love.  The more we all Love, the more Real will be the experience of Love on this planet.

Now is a very good time to become a dream explorer.  I hope I can help.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Dream Connection and the Pope

This may be a bit David and Goliath of me, but I'd like to challenge the need for institu-tionalized religion. I'd like to propose that modern day "religions" do much more harm than good; they divide us from one another and fail to deliver on all the Good they claim for themselves.  I'd like to suggest that we each enter this world connected to our Spiritual Source and will exit this world to reunite with the same Loving Source; even as we reside in the physical body, in a physical world, we are spiritual beings living our unique purpose.  The burgeoning exploration of near death experiences, NDE's, out of body experiences, OBE's, and dreaming in general is opening the gates to direct spiritual experience for everyone, not just the chosen prophets of the status quo.

The organic spirituality dreaming offers is like having a spiritual compass through life helping to connect us on a regular basis with inner resources, as it provides us with personalized guides, teachers and angels, messengers of the wisdom beyond embodied reality that delivers us from the trials of waking life, big and small.  We can also gain freedom from judging ourselves by the standards of the physical world only, because we have other experiences to cultivate in other realities that often more than compensate for lack on this plane.  We’ve been brainwashed to believe the physical is the only solid, real reality. Despite a century of exciting developments in the fields of Physics, Consciousness Studies and Dream Studies, a great number of people ignore the dream portals to other worlds that are being offered them on a regular basis.

We've been taught, conventionally, to rely for spiritual nourishment on external reality based religions that give prescribed outlines of dimensions beyond the physical and demand consensus on the grounds of an elite, usually male, group of authorities who alone can decipher what even older all male authorities wrote about the Divine. I'm mostly talking about the big three, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Perhaps some accept constricting religions as our only spiritual option for lack of alternative. These limiting religions, especially as absorbed through the mind of a child, which is when most of us get brainwashed into them, operate on a deeply suggestive psychic level to imprint on us the dire consequences of disbelieving their dogma.  They utilize a simplistic and dualistic punishment and reward system, commonly known as hell and heaven to instill fear and obedience to their projection of the Divine. Yes, they profess that at the core of their teachings is the ultimate reality of Love, but by their deeds, as Jesus put it, you shall know them.  These patriarchal religions have a track record of deeds that belie their preaching of Love, from present warring zealotry in the Middle East to horrendous historical events like the Roman Catholic Inquisition, when claiming any direct revelation from dreams could get you barbecued.

The myths that these for-profit organizations perpetuate can be truly detrimental to the human spirit, especially if you're a woman.  The myths begin by saying that once we were loved and provided for in a wonderful place, but something happened, so we got kicked out.  Humans DISOBEYED and worse, it was HER fault, the woman’s.  The serpent, EVIL, outsmarted her cute little self and she used her wiles to get the smart one, THE MAN, to do what he otherwise would surely not have done.  The rest, most believe, is HIS-STORY.  SHE must be constricted, especially sexually, so she doesn’t again undo all HIS progress,  SHE, whether in human body or as EARTH can also be abused and used, because SHE is but MAN’S servant.  HE AND GOD are on the same level; they are the PATRIARCHS.  The GODDESS is no longer anywhere to be seen, at least not in the CIVILIZED world; yet, since the beginning of human history, archeologists have discovered, the Divine was worshipped as the GREAT MOTHER.

Surely most people can see that religion, at least as much as money, is the root of our accelerating self-destruction.  The great mystic poet, William Blake described our mental chains, our unexamined, constricting paradigms as "mind forged manacles." These patriarchal myths, with different players, are in dangerous and violent competition for supremacy around the world.  If people adhere to these limiting myths for lack of a real alternative, one that satisfies, informs and inspires beyond that old time religion, then the world is ready for the alternative - individual, direct experience of the divine.

There are many roads to these direct experiences being explored by a growing number of people, all over the world, through the contemporary Consciousness Movement   My portal of choice is dreaming because it's effortless, natural and organic.  It doesn’t require much of me; all I need is to want to dream, want to remember and to pay attention.  Sharing and playing with dreaming in family groups and community groups can nourish our need for human connection and help us build a better future together.  Through individual and group dream explorations, we arrive at our own certainty, we gain our own authority over our spiritual lives.  For me, dreaming provides access to my spiritual home long before I finally go there; death does lose its sting.  It’s taught me that in thought responsive, non-physical worlds of dreaming, it’s all up to me.  I create my inner world with my intention, desire and imagination, yet in these worlds, I meet others who share similar visions and we create together.

Dreaming has also taught me that “as there, so here.”  The mirror lessons from the dreaming that apply to physical reality are the gifts we receive to carry into our waking lives.  If I can create my dream realities, how much of my waking reality can I create?  If I can conquer my fears in the dreamworlds, can I conquer them in waking? 

Rather than disconnecting us from what’s important and turning us into “dreamers” as is sometimes said with disdain, connecting through our dreaming to our eternal, non-physical self and exploring the resources available to us in those dimensions can anchor us in our authentic lives, despite the “peer pressure” of social consensus.  In waking life, connecting through meditation, mindfulness, open-hearted living are ways to keep spiritual portals open; when we sleep, it can be effortless.

In the frilly aftermath of Saint, I mean, Pope Francis’s whirlwind visit to our land, I heard the fluttering comments about his awesome Presence here. I have nothing against him personally; he seems like a truly sincere and nice guy, but as a Pope, he’s doing the RC Church a great service by gaining so much popularity. Talk is cheap and the fact that he rides by papal Fiat is not the point, or perhaps, on a PR level, it is.  The Vatican alone is a vast empire of wealth and power with deep corruption issues; does he really wield any influence there?  Could he be, perhaps quite unwittingly, the misogynist and power hungry RC church’s best media foot forward?  This is the church of the outrageous child sexual abuse scandals that are still current in the courts and the just as outrageous cover-ups by Church authorities.  This is the church that continues, the only one out of just about all others in “Christendom,” to deny women equal access with men to clerical office, and it’s proud of it!  So, how about that papal fiat to reform all this; will he do it?  Can he do it?  I don't know; but the fact that he just canonized J. Serra, despite all the impassioned pleas for him to consider the man's brutal acts towards the indigenous peoples he savagely forced to build his missions is not a good sign. 

Here’s a wonderful article on papa’s visit by Maureen Dowd in the NYTimes; well worth reading!  In it, I learned that a San Francisco priest was just officially forbidden to say mass, for attending a women's conference on ordination.  This outrageous censure of true pastoral outreach happened under Francis's watch, NOW.  What's changed? For those who might think that women's ordination is a marginal issue, here's a view to consider.

Without the Feminine Divine to balance the Male Deity, the psyche of humanity is completely out of balance.  As Carl Jung famously put it, the fate of humanity hangs on a single thread and that thread is the Human Psyche, the soul of humanity, which is dangerously out of balance.  Restoring that inner-world balance of Feminine/Masculine Divine is the only way to restore outer balance; an internal mythic world where God is Male alone means an external world that reflects this.  But, the Feminine Divine is an energy source just as powerful; to deny Her is to bring on our own destruction.

A dream connection is more important than a pope or a religion.  Organized religions need people to close their minds to other possibilities; dreaming perpetually opens new frontiers with first-hand adventures. One time, when my husband and I attended a friend's religious themed Halloween party as Death (me) and the Devil (he), someone in clerical garb asked us about the religious connection of our costumes,   My mate promptly replied, "Without us, you'd be out of business."  It's much easier to move beyond fear in the actual practice of dreaming than it is in the tomes and regulations of sects, cults and religions.  Organized religion feeds on fear of death and projects evil outward. Our own dream encounters over a lifetime with all aspects of Spirit, helps us weave the personal connections with divinity that makes us strong and helps us not to be afraid.

Religions give us a prefab God with lots of restrictions; one of my favorite jokes is that religions are all guilt with different holidays.  Relying on my own innate ability to connect with Spirit gives me the confidence to know that whatever my strengths or frailties, my successes or failures, I'm essentially a spiritual, whole being, experiencing this physical existence willingly for a purpose.  As long as I stay connected to my own experience in waking and dreaming, I'm free of the fears which make me vulnerable to psychic manipulation.

I'll end with one of my favorite quotes from a great dream explorer, Carl G. Jung:

“The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.”