Friday, August 30, 2013

New way to decipher dreams

I have just discovered a new way to understand dreams using the Journey Oracle card deck.  This happened when I was making notes from C.G. Jung's collected writings about Dreams.  I created a dream reading of a difficult situation that I want to share with you.  I have been troubled by an experience I had while visiting a psychic for advice.  I came away quite unsettled by feelings of devastation and loss, as if my relationship with the spirit world had suddenly become unplugged.

Jung describes the form of a dream as having 4 parts, and so I drew 4 Journey Oracle cards to create a series of Oracle dream images that my unconscious could "read" for insight and solution.

Most dreams have an "opening structure."  Jung says that this contains a statement of the place and the protagonists in the dream, and sometimes includes a statement of time.  In the opening structure of my Oracle dream I am looking out from behind a shape of confusion and disorder.  I am mostly the color of the solar plexus chakra which to me represents the self-esteem that comes from inner truth.  This is how I felt at the beginning of my work with the psychic.

Next Jung says a dream develops a plot by presenting complications in a situation and by creating tension because the outcome is uncertain.  The developing plot of my Oracle dream shows the inner tension and complications that arose as the session progressed.  Although I had come with an open heart to decipher some dreams that were unclear to me, I felt I was not allowed to finish my story.

Jung calls the third part of the form of a dream the "culmination."  This is when something decisive happens, or something changes completely.  The psychic's spirit helpers were very direct, and with a few statements changed my perceived relationship to the spirit world utterly.  I felt as if I had indeed taken a wrong turn in the last 30 years of my shamanic practice, with no opportunity now to re-form the devastation into a new configuration.

Jung describes the 4th part of dream form as what he calls "solution/result." In this part the final situation is revealed, which may represent the solution "sought" by the dreamer.  Before the reading could continue to a second scheduled session, I went to my stone teacher and asked if I should go forward in this way.  I was told this was complete, and ever since I have been coming awake to the true purpose of the session: I feel called to witness my own unique relationship with spirit, which cannot be interpreted without my permission and participation.  

As if in confirmation, Jung concludes his essay on the nature of dreams by acknowledging Freud's great achievement to dream interpretation: that no interpretation can be undertaken without the dreamer.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Strengthening my connection to the earth

I am learning to strengthen my connection to the earth by reading a book by Medicine Grizzleybear Lake titled Native Healer.  The author describes the importance, when life seems out of balance, of asking, "What signs or omens am I seeing around my house? What is happening in my dreams?"  I have recently fallen down hard on a large rock, and am struggling with pain in my feet, and so I asked myself, "how are these experiences a sign of something out of balance?"  I realized that I was spending perhaps too much time working in the magical realms--designing the text for new Journey Oracle website, painting shamanic frame drums, doing shamanic counseling with stones-- my connection to the earth had become weak. 

One way I have made my connection with the earth is by leaving flower petal offerings on the ground around a deep tree well on our property on Cortes Island.  I understand from my time with Martin Prechtel that such a place has strong spirit medicine.  Instead of bringing flowers inside the house to enjoy, I give the petals back to the earth with a prayer of thank you. Yet Martin taught that "we cannot give the earth back to the earth."  Because the earth made the flowers in the first place, I must alter their purpose with my effort for these to become a gift back to the spirits, and so I give all the parts of the plant but pulled apart with my joy and sadness, because for me to make this gift the flower can no longer fulfill its destiny.

I am now understanding from Medicine Grizzleybear Lake to offer tobacco as payment and thank you to all the plants I work with, and stones I speak to, and energies I invite to come and sit with me.  And I understand from Martin that to take a picture of food for the Holy is to keep a part of it for myself.  The photo stops in a moment of time the process of decay, which is the slow consumption of my gift.  So this is an image of what I am not showing, the shell in the upper center full of tobacco burned to ash as an offering to the stones that taught me how to come back into balance.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Find shamanic training

Before I began painting this journey drum for the woman who ordered it, she asked where she might find shamanic training.  I suggested we look to the drum first; and this is who appeared.  To my understanding, this image is a beautifully articulate answer.

I see that we are to bring the child eyes of engaged curiosity and old wisdom to our search for shamanic training.  We are to see clearly what is offered, as well as gaze beyond the personalities and conditions we find to the larger truth of the training for the well-being of all. 

During shamanic training we are being asked to listen to the voice of Nature, to the songs of the other than human creatures and forces.  This painted drum is showing that we are not to value only the "big" energies of the animal and bird chiefs, but that every creature has its unique way of singing that will become a gift of wisdom when we bring a child-like innocence and listen with a prayerful attitude.
This upturned gesture is a way that some indigenous people hold their hands when praying--to show that there is no blood from incorrect action staining their skin. 

What does it mean to "hold our tongue?"  I see this gesture as one of humility.  When we receive shamanic training from nature, we are not to use that understanding to show off or claim the insights make us more important or valuable than others.

During our shamanic training, even while our feet are moving forward on our path, we are firmly attached to the ground.  At every step we are asking, "Does this teaching grow corn?  Does this way of learning create healing to feed the Holy?"

I have been making shamanic drums since 1986, but rarely have I experienced a drum be such a clear Oracle for life's journey into the Shaman's realm.  Thanks, Mary Lou.   

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The real magic of Desolation Sound

We have been sailing in Desolation Sound for the past week, and the days aboard our 30 foot sloop Pearl have brought beautiful lessons about what is real magic.   Real magic is not in a painted drum or a workshop or book, no matter how helpful these can be.  Real magic is in direct experience. Just like the experience of an oracle card reading must awaken connections between the oracle's wisdom and our lived feelings, magic must awaken us to the connection of something much more vast than we are, and yet include us utterly, at the same time.  So how to awaken magic?

l begin by slowing down my human rhythms to become awake to the other than human rhythms that surround me.  The flowing water and flickering shade and slight breath of wind wobbling the ferns are my rhythms also, when I release my brain chatter and relax into my heart sensation.

When I slow down I come into the present moment, which is the only place the direct experience of real magic lives.  Everything is coming into and passing out of existence moment to moment.  The bubbles and swirls of the water are never the same and yet always similar.  The stone is always constant and always wearing away.

This is the true experience of real magic.  My connection with magic is found by going within to stillness.  From inner stillness comes being in the present.  And when I am present, I experience that we are all one, that every form of everything is made from the body of our earth Mother, Gaia.