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.


Suzette said...

To write about the huntsman instead of taking a dive in the water, for me at least, was a real treat. At least, this way I got to read about it. I hope if and when the huntsman does come for you that perhaps its an attractive woman or a good friend,and that the two of you may go merrily along. Until then, please tell the huntsman to stay far away as we are not ready for you to leave and are ever enjoy your gifts and presents on this earth. ( Hm..makes me remember our walks in the War History section of the bookstore.) If it was my dream, I may go and visit the huntsman and see what they're hungry for, I would wonder if they just lost their sense of direction, or.. if they were coming for me, like you teach, negotiate, negotiate,negotiate and I would want a blast of gentle fun along the way. (Interestingly enough, my password to submit this is "gentalo"...Hope I was.).. Hugs

Patricia said...

I like the thought that every day could be a good day to die. And for me, today is a day when plans need to change a little because of a night of confused dreams of being in a familiar railway station waiting for a train that doesn't come and in the end deciding not to take the train anyway.
With a full day work planned in another town, 30 klms away the weather is not encouraging me to get out there. Weather warnings and local flooding possible in these coastal waters of Newcastle on Hunter mean that I could make it to my destination, but I may not get home again tonight.
Today it has happened again, your post has reached out to me and reminded me that it is ok to change plans. To read the signs and take it all into account. I don't often allow the weather to rule my day. Today is not one of those days.
Love and light as always
Patricia from Oz

Robert Moss said...

Suzette - Thanks for your lovely message. I'm in no hurry to ride away with the Huntsman, but I do hope to be ready when he is.

I did go swimming in pretty wild waters later in the day, but stayed out of the lake when a magnificent lightning storm came.

Robert Moss said...

Patricia - While I can sympathize with your sentiment about "not letting weather rule" when there are important things to be done, we humans are sometimes brought to acknowledge that nature has a different agenda.

I am fascinated by the manifold meanings of trains in dreams - and loved riding trains as a boy in Melbourne. I wrote about that at my other blog; here's the link in case you missed it -

diane said...

Hi Robert, I can't resist sharing this synchronicity. Before opening your blog, I had just finished reading a from Rumi's poetry, a verse I opened to at random:


"Hallaj said what he said and went to the origin
through the hole in the scaffold.

I cut a cap's worth of cloth from his robe,
and it swamped over me from head to foot.

Years ago, I broke a bunch of roses
from the top of his wall. A thorn from that
is still in m palm, working deeper.

From Hallaj, I learned to hunt lions,
but I became something hungrier than a lion.

I was a frisky colt. He broke me with a quiet hand on the side of my head.

A person comes to him naked. It's cold.
There's a fur coat floating ib the river.

"Jump in and get it," he says.
You dive in. You reach for the coat.
It reaches for you.

It's a live bear that has fallen in upstream,
drifting with the current.

"How long does it take!" Hallaj yells from the bank.
"Don't wait," you answer. "This coat
has decided to wear me home!"

A little part of a story, a hint.
Do you need long sermons on Hallaj!"

patricia said...

Dear Mr. Moss,

I do not know how appropriate it would be to offer alternative suggestions about the meaning of the image from your dream of the Huntsman's coat, but I feel moved to share these thoughts.

If it were my dream, it would have something to do with the historical anecdote of "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere." As a child educated in the U.S. in the 1960's, I learned the story of how Revere rode through his New England town throughout the night shouting a warning to the sleeping community that the British invasion had begun. He shouted, "The Redcoats are coming! The Redcoats are coming!"

So if it were my dream, I might take from the image of a red coat that in the collective unconscious (the lake) a revolution has begun.

I've just discovered your work, having heard you on the Coast to Coast radio program recently. Hearing you was most serendipitous for me, as it has jolted me (gently) out of a funk (not to say depression) stemming from many months of unemployment. In response, I formed the intention of resuming the practice of recording my dreams, which I've not done regularly for some years.

That very first morning, I emerged from the hypnogogic state with a single word: the name of a disease. I was so eager not to forget it that I just wrote it on the bedsheet (as the pad of paper had fallen off the bed.)

I am now researching that disease and intend to do what I can to avoid developing it. If that disease process has started in my body, perhaps I've been warned in time to prevent or mitigate its development.

You are a deeply courageous, compassionate and wise teacher, Mr. Moss. I for one truly, deeply need you to be around for awhile longer!

Best regards,
Oakland, CA