Saturday, November 21, 2009

The True Causeway


In my dream, a wise old man tells me I must remember the importance of "the true causeway". Still dreaming, determined not to forget his counsel, I work the phrase into a poem that contains this jingly couplet:

By the true causeway of imagination
You'll come to your destination.

As I woke from the dream, I thought of Napoleon, and pictured him with and without his marshal’s hat.

I woke, as I often do, with the sense that I had had a quite real encounter - the sense I record in my journal as "just-so."
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Reflecting on the wise man's phrase, I played with the double entendre in the word “causeway”. A cause makes a way; a way may require a cause., or provide one. Digging into etymology, I learned that "causeway" derives from the Old English “causey way”, meaning a thoroughfare that has been “heeled” or “trampled” down. A causeway is typically a road raised above surrounding water or wetlands. The longest in the world is the Ponchartrain “bridge” in Louisiana. Singapore and Malaysia are joined by a causeway. Churchill had five causeways built - the Churchill barriers - linking the Orkney islands around Scapa Flow as defense against the German navy in WW2. Dykes in Holland are sometimes also causeways. It's quite possible a causeway featured in Napoleon's campaigns - and in his exile?
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I think of the “isthmus of imagination” described by the medieval Sufi master Ibn 'Arabi. For Ibn 'Arabi, imagination is the isthmus (barzakh) between the ordinary world and the world of eternity, between body and spirit, and between being and nothingness. To walk this causeway requires discipline, practice and discernment. On the way of true imagination, higher beings become visible and intelligible. Imagination has the power “to embody that which is not properly a body.” Now, that's a true causeway.

19 comments:

Gretchen said...

Thank you for sharing this! It reminds me of a recurring dream I've had as long as I can remember where I'm driving a car over a causeway that becomes submerged. I leave the car and try to swim, sometimes having to save others as well. I awake scared and frustrated.
I like this insight about the true causeway for this dream.

diane said...

Hi Robert,

If this were my dream, I might take the old man's advice as a reminder to walk the Way of the True Cause (the original cause/source of all). Waking up with the image of the emperor, Napolean, with and without his military hat brings to my mind, given his reputation, the sense that with hat is walking with puffed up ego, without hat - walking the true causeway; also, with hat - war, dominion; without hat - peace, cooperation. Maybe a reminder that by keeping my imaginings in line with the Higher Cause, perhaps in ways unknown to me, this will help world leaders to align with peace and cultivate a spirit of cooperation.

Karen K said...

Hi Robert,

I love this image of 'the true causeway'. In my dream of this, I am reminded that in this apparently daunting task of walking this causey way, with all of the discipline, practice and discernment required for the task- there is also a promise of a great fellowship. The fellowship of all of the travellers past, present and future who have chosen/found/ used the imagination thoroughfare. Who have added to it with their footsteps. This brings a smile to my lips and a warm glow to my heart. ( this also evokes the image of walking along songlines too)

Sweet dreams

Worldbridger said...

If that was my dream I might consider how it was I was able to bring Emperor Napoleon back from exile across the causeway.

Tim said...

Robert

in my dream of yours, the picture make me think snow vs water and the reference to Napoleon all added up to the Baltic the city of Vilnius where the French army was "trampled" down after the retreat from Moscow.

Bumper would be "back to cross that bridge"

Tim

Lou Hagood said...

Thanks, Robert, Interesting that you mention the causeway over Lake Pontchartrain, which flooded New Orleans during Katrina. You may recall my Hawk visitation in a French-Quarter courtyard just after the storm. A high & dry causeway is equally encouraging.

Robert Moss said...

Hi Gretchen - That's a haunting scene, of the causeway that vanishes underwater. Bravo for your efforts to get across the passage nonetheless. I'd want to be sure not to miss a possible advisory on a future literal situation. I would also ask myelf where, in waking life, may I need to consider a new way of approaching an important crossing.

Robert Moss said...

Hi Diana - Yes, it's hard for me to see Napoleon, with or without his hat, as an embodiment of a true cause, though in his day he stirred many to follow HIS cause. Tim's comment below has got me looking at an episode from the career of Napoleon and the Grane Armee that involves an area the features in my current travels.

Robert Moss said...

Hi Karen - Yes, there is the wonderful sense of a company of travelers in spirit, the best kind of fellowship.

Tim - You have sent me off on a bit of historical research. Until I read your note, I had not seized on the possible connection between Napoleon and my current Baltic travels. (I was in Vilnius, for the second time, in early October and will be there again in 2010)When I was walking in Vilnius late at night last month, friends talked about all the Frenchmen who died there on the retreat of the Grande Armee from Russia, and how many claim to hear Napoleon's ghost solduers drilling in the hollow of the night. On the retreat from Russia - en route to Volnius - Napoleon lost tens of thousands of men at a friver crossing whose name survives in modern French as a term for disaster ("Berezina"). His engineer threw a bridge across the river that got the Emperor and Murat's cavalry to safety, but ageneral's recommndation to construct "a kind of causeway" that infantry could cross out of baggage wagons was ignored, possibly magnifying the loss of French life.

Tim said...

Robert,

Not that big on Napoleons campaign in Russia other than that loss of life was bigger than he had in Egypt. and that he was wised away hat on but in an open slay (uncovered) going to do some more reading myself on this.

Robert Moss said...

Lou, I do remember. Do feel free to post something about your experience on this thread. I think people will be very interested.

Carol Davis said...

Causeways had no meaning for me until I moved to Miami, FL. During those years, causeways were part of life. I remember some names: the Rickenbacker, the Venetian Causeway and the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

The Julia Tuttle is named after the "mother of Miami", a woman who could see possibilities, a businesswoman, and a citrus grower. She pursued Henry Flagler to bring the railroad to Miami.

The Venetian Causeway was in the mind of the developers even before the islands near Miami Beach were brought to the surface by the human workers. I've always thought it interesting that the causeway existed in the imaginary realm before the islands were created in Miami.

And now my musings lead me to your dream in September, Robert, when you assisted the divine woman who was giving birth to the islands. You blogged about the keys of the goddess. If there were connecting pathways between those islands they could be causeways.

And what are the true causeways, the real ways, that link the "I" lands? It does bring me to honoring the ways of the heart, of love, of light, of the dreamways.

Nicola said...

A dream from a few nights ago,
I found myself playing with a costume doll of Napolion. His hat kept falling off, I would replace it and it would stay there for a while and then fall off again. Sometimes the hat stayed there all by itself for long periods of time, then once again it would fall off.

Seashore said...

I also thought of the woman giving birth to the islands posted previously, when I read this blog.
Margie

Robert Moss said...

Ah, the Keys of the Goddess. I posted that dream report on this blog on September 15th. Thanks for making the connection, Margie. Now THAT was quite a causeway - the line of islands, joined by a road, being birthed effortlessly from the body of a goddess-like woman. A Cause-Way of the Goddess...

Lou Hagood said...

Thanks. Robert, At the last IASD annual conference you shared your experience of tha Hawk spirilling overhead and dropping a feather at your feet, which recalled my sitting in a French-Quarter courtyard shortly after Katrina, when a Hawk landed on the rim of the central fountain, circled the pool of water, jumped in and took a bath. If Hawk could refresh amidst all the devastation and mold, there was hope for us all. Your causeway, high and dry, is hopeful.

Robert Moss said...

Thanks for sharing this cheering hawk sign, Lou. As we've discussed, the appearance of a hawk in fine form always gives me a sense of promise. By another happy synchronicities, one of my daughters is staying at a hotel in the French Quarter of New Orleans today.

Seashore said...

I can't take all of the credit Robert...Carol saw it also. By the way Carol, I met one of Julia Tuttle's relatives last summer...he is still in Miami and was a very nice host to our family...
I will have to examine causeways a bit further in relation to dreaming,
Margie

Robert Moss said...

Ah yes, I did not mean to omit Carol from my thanks for making that link to the Keys of the Goddess. Dear Carol, thank you, also, for your lovely reflections on the true ways that link the I-lands. I can see this developing as a quite powerful guided meditation, and a writing exercise.