Monday, August 2, 2010
Huntsman's coat in the water
I plunge into the waters of the lake and swim with delight. After a while I see something red on the lake floor. Curious, I dive down to check it out. I find a beautifully tailored huntsman's coat, the kind the English call a "pink" coat but is actually bright crimson. It is streaming with the water, apparently suspended a little off the bottom.
I am thrilled with excitement and a kind of fierce joy. I know that this is a sign from the great Huntsman, Death, announcing his nearness and allowing time to get everything together in order to meet him and depart the ordinary world well. When he appears in his own coat, it will be time to go. I remember (becoming conscious inside the dream) earlier dreams and dream reentries in which I discovered and revisited a classy pub named the Huntsman's Arms, located just on the other side of mortal life.
I surface from this dream as if swimming up from the depths of the lake. My feelings, as in the dreams, are excitement and fierce joy.
I reflect that I've felt an intimacy with Death for much of my life, and have encountered a personal Death in many guises.
In an earlier dream from last night I was called to be present at the death of an elderly society lady otherwise unknown to me. I seemed to be cast in the role of a gentle death messenger, a Huntsman's assistant. Seeing the fear of imminent deatb in her eyes, I grazed her lips softly with a dry kiss, like the brush of a butterfly's wing. Then she passed on to her new life journey.
Yeats spoke of Death as a Huntsman, even on his gravestone. The scene of the Huntsman's Arms that I remembered in last night's dream of the hunter's red coat is one that has become strongly planted in my imaginal geography. The wall paintings in the tap room - where I have found friends who have passed on, and their friends, engaged in genial and philosophical banter - are not the typical hunt country prints in which the fox is the quarry. A portrait that may be an image of the Huntsman himself shows an immaculately tailored figure with the head of a red fox.
I don't know whether the red coat in the water is one I am meant to wear myself, or the garment of the one who will come to take me, at the appointed time.
My philosophy is to try to make sure that any day is "a good day to die".
A natural death in water is something I've contemplated, especially when I have asked groups - in my fierce and beautiful workshops on "Making Death Your Ally" - to imagine themselves at the moment of physical death - with Death a palpable presence. I'm currently on vacation in the Champlain Islands of Vermont, swimming a few miles every day in the lake. But the water is choppy this morning. So instead of heading straight for the water, I have lingered in an Adirondack chair to write of the Huntsman. This may of course be the Huntsman's effect on the day.