Saturday, October 27, 2018

The power of conviction in art

Thoughts on a new dream inspired artwork from Journey Oracle.

Nothing has more power than simple conviction.

The power of your art is the conviction that
in the forest of form your mark is unique.

There is no barrier when you know
that naming it makes it so.

There is power when you act.

Nothing is certain,

and yet you shine
when you show your gift.

Who will pick this up if you don't?

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Little miracles every day

I rescued a mouse today.  Surprised me that I was able to catch it in a plastic cup from where it was hiding in the bathroom.  Felt more like I talked it into the cup, a good suggestion since the other alternative was likely death-by-cat, one of which was lolling nearby. 

Out the gate into the forest, out of the cup and under a fern pronto. 

Then I read this meditation by Richard Wagamese in Embers, and was struck by the application of its opening sentences to taking the time and effort to catch a mouse in a cup. 

I live for miracles in my life these days.  Not the earth-changing, light-bringing, soul-powering kind.  But the ones that carve out  small space of peace where before there was only the jumble of resentment, fear and doubt.  The ones that happen from choosing to live the right way.  

It is this last sentence that particularly holds my attention.  The right way of living includes helping everything live in a good way.

When I'm not  making frame drums and giving Journey Oracle card readings, I am an oyster farmer here on Cortes Island.   Every day at work there are opportunities for helping something live.

The pinstripe and crescent gunnels spill out of oyster shells where they were hiding, flipping dramatically about the sorting table until scooped up and over the side.

Tiny skeleton shrimp are attached to every rope and plastic surface, waving about in the air reaching for the water that has disappeared;

Nudibranchs as beautiful as butterflies lay in puddles of sea water hoping for a tip back into the ocean.

Sometimes the only good way left is to honour a creature with a good death.  This is why I sometimes build drums with the bullet hole positioned visibly in the deerskin.

Richard Wagamese seems to be echoing this honouring of letting go in the remaining sentences of the meditation. 

Like coming to understand that forgiveness isn't about gaining a release from others--it's about gaining release from me.  If I release my hold on what binds me, I can walk free and unencumbered.
But I have to embrace the resentment, fear and doubt to gain that.  I have to own them, hold them again, so that I can learn to let them go.  In that letting go is the miracle.  

I bet the mouse had no trouble letting go.  
I think I'll go learn from the mouse.  

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Interpret your dreams with 5 questions

I use 5 questions to interpret my dreams.  I am illustrating my way of interpreting dreams with images from the Journey Oracle card deck, which I created in part using dream questions and images.

First, I write my dream as soon as I come into consciousness, trying to move my body as little as possible from its waking position.  Yes. even at 3 am!  The most trivial detail or comment from a dream character is written down, and I'm always surprised in the rationality of day how profound these small utterances from the night can become.

I let the notes "rest" until mid-day at least, and then begin with these 5 questions.

What is this dream describing?  I use short phrases to describe the characters and what they are doing without interpretation.  I do not say why they are doing or being as they are, or what this might mean.  In this oracle card example I might write:  a stone tunnel or passageway, narrowing to an opening'; only two colors.

I next ask What is this dream not about?  Do I know of such a tunnel?  In ordinary reality have I recently had the experience, or watched or heard of someone else having an experience of moving through a passage to a small opening? 

Maybe I have recently made a shamanic frame drum and am concerned for how its voice is turning out. If so then this dream image would seem to connect to that experience in my waking life.  If there is a connection I begin to look for dream meaning within the ordinary experience.

I next ask, What is the principal action of the dream?  In this oracle card example, while there are faces of humans and creatures behind the feathers, the principal action would appear to be floating.

Then I ask, What have I recently been doing in ordinary reality?  I might make a list of what happened yesterday to see if this activity prompts a connection.  Perhaps I remember seeing a fawn on someone's lawn and thinking, "It's awfully late in the season for such a little one." 

This may prompt a strong connection between that recent event and an image of a fawn that in the dream was accompanied by a sense of alarm. 

Lastly, I ask, What metaphors,signs or symbols do I associate with this dream image?  It is only with this last question that I begin to look for ways to interpret and assign meaning to the dream. Usually by this time I already have a sense of what the dream is showing me though identifying what the dream is not about, what its principal action is, and what I have recently been experiencing.

This oracle card example of a dream image has at first glance a complicated and peculiar set of characters.  Yet when I apply these 5 questions I realize I am seeing an old woman with white hair (me) with a cat like creature on her shoulder (I just watched the movie: A Street Cat Named Bob and felt great love and gratitude for our three rescue kitties). The principal action seems to be blowing up.  This creates a spark of revelation when I remember that I had a conversation yesterday with a friend who asked about "reading the wind."  Suddenly the action and the woman's expression make sense and feel like a warning to not say too much.  Which is true.  Its best not to talk about the wind.