Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The meaning of rain in a dream

I am now back on Cortes Island, on the rain coast of British Columbia, after several weeks spent hiking in the desert and dreaming of rain.  Here is my understanding of the meaning of rain, using the Dream Journey reading I am developing for the new Journey Oracle cards.

The setting of the dream

A dream begins with a setting that shows the protagonists, and sometimes the time.  I understand that when rain is present, spirit is present.  Rain is life being blessed.  When it is raining in a dream the spirits are blessing everything. 

The experience of the developing dream story 

As a dream progresses it contains complications, tensions, uncertain outcomes.  In a dream of no rain, all the edges are sharp and painful and too bright.  In a dream story of rain, the experience is soft and watery, like the very air is green but maybe poisonous. 

The culminating moment of change

There is a moment in a dream when something decisive happens or something changes completely.  In a desert dream of no rain this moment is stark and unyielding, in a forest dream of rain this change is hidden and then sudden.  Both create revelation.

The dream's solution most desired by the dreamer

The desert is all about finding rain, and escaping the heat from no rain by finding shade.  The northern forest is all about rain, and escaping the wet of too much rain by finding sun. 

So what is the meaning of rain in a dream?  It means a blessing that grows everything, the nourishing and the poisonous alike.  It means a veil that lifts to revelation,  it means waiting for the sun.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Obstacles to choosing a path of spiritual practice

I have been hiking in the Palm Springs, Desert Cities area, and while walking on many different kinds of paths, I have been thinking how a hiking trail is a metaphor for obstacles to choosing a path of spiritual practice.  The first thing I noticed is that three mental states get in the way of being present to the path I am walking on.  The first obstacle on the path is assumption. The assumption that what I see is where I will be going.  Often the path never leaves the forest, even though the mountain beckons.

When I focus too much on the distant view, I do not see what is beautiful and special right in front of me.  This walk along the Ernie Maxwell trail outside the mountain village of Idyllwild  never rose to lofty heights, but always gave an easy slope and shade from the high mountain sun. 

The second obstacle I experienced was complacency.  This hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in the San Bernadino Mountains seemed an easy stroll, with nothing much to be concerned about.  But then the trail abruptly took a turn and presented a new view.

Sometimes our spiritual practice can lead us right to the edge of a dramatic new experience or sense of self, and if we are not paying attention, we miss where to step next.

The third obstacle I discovered to choosing a path of spiritual practice is what I call false courage.
Highway 74 is a winding switchback road into the Santa Rosa Mountains with many spectacular curves and overlooks.  And yet if one speeds through this terrain as a spectator, the real courage it takes to put one foot in front of another becomes instead just exercising the car.

These switchbacks on the Pacific Crest trail, as it drops down into the Whitewater Canyon Preserve is a wonderful confirmation of all these obstacles to a spiritual practice overcome.  The journey is in each moment,  each step requires our full attention,  the courage is in doing the work ourselves.

 As I was experiencing these hikes as metaphors for obstacles in choosing a path of spiritual practice, I kept thinking of a quote in Philip Ferranti's excellent hiking guide for the Palm  Springs area that he titled The Prayer of the Tired Walker:  "If you pick 'em up, O Lord, I'll put 'em down."
May you have a happy path,  from the Journey Oracle.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Go on a shamanic journey in the desert

I am hiking in the Coachella Mountains near Palm Desert this week, and was thinking about how to go on a shamanic journey, when I noticed that the desert plants were teaching me about how to do this.

Respect the landscape you are planning to enter.  The spirit world, as well as the desert, is a place where inattention and disregard are costly.  

Go with a friend, a helper, an ally who can show you where it is best to walk and where not to. 

In the desert another person with you is the best protection, as well as paying attention to the critical necessities like enough water and a map.  In the spirit world an other-than-human creature who knows who and what is safe is the best protection.

Be alert for the Mystery is whatever form it takes.  In the desert as well as in the spirit world a never-before-seen thing is waiting for your notice, and will reward you with magic--but only if you are awake to detail and subtlety.

Let your presence in the desert and in the spirit world be something beautiful.  Pick up trash in this world; ask how you can be helpful to the creatures and forces who have come to your call in that world.

Build learning from each experience in the desert and in the spirit world, so that each time you go you are more wisely prepared and well provisioned.  Let your experiences become the bones that remain long after the day's hike, and the shamanic journey, have shed their reality for memory.
Go well and be happy, Blessings from the Journey Oracle.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fox Medicine Drum

Some drums seem to paint themselves.  I wrote earlier in a Journey Oracle blog about how this drum might belong to Coyote, but Wolf's little brother is who came through the raw earth pigments and naturally patterned deer skin.
Bobby Lake-Thom writes that Fox is a good power and guardian who can bring warning of danger and sickness approaching.  He says that "Fox is clever, intelligent, a good hunter and a wise friend.  He also represents pride, regality, and loyalty."

On closer look the somewhat ominous glance becomes more playful, like a good companion ready for a romp in the meadows beside the trail during a shamanic journey.

The nine pointed Star of the Muse is a symbol of inspiration, of breathing in the powers of speech and poetry.  This originally female symbol is a balance to the male symbol of the hunter and guardian.

And yet, the detail of something beautiful to hold on to, does not lessen the certainty that something wild is coming with us on this journey into Mystery.

If Fox Medicine might be yours, go to Purchase a Journey Drum to look at the details of this  powerful new shamanic drum.