Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Awen - inspiration - was, as Caitlin Matthews reminds us, "the supreme preoccupation of Celtic poets, especially among those who had inherited the ancient prophetic and visionary arts of the ovate or faith - probably the earliest form of Celtic shaman."  The word awen derives from the Indo-European root -uel, meaning 'to blow', and is kissing cousin with the Welsh, awel meaning "breeze". In contemporary druidism, awen is depicted as three rays emanating from three points of light.
Friday, May 27, 2011
I've been reading a most interesting narrative by the Yanomami shaman and spokesman Davi Kopenawa about relations between humans and the ancestral spirits his people call xapiripë. "The xapiripë dance together on huge mirrors which come down from the sky. They are never dull like humans. They are always splendid."
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The first time I visited the Baltic, I dreamed of an ancient priestess who showed me the spiritual uses of amber. She brought me inside a chamber like the inside of an egg-shaped amber, glowing with golden light, and showed me how to use a smaller version of this amber as a place to see.
The full report of my dream of "The Mud People and the Amber People" is here.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
On the trans-Siberian dream train
There is a feral boy on the train, maybe twelve years old. His hair is a clump of wet hay. I am pretty sure he is a thief, but his antics are entertaining and he proves to be a useful ally. When we are all getting hungry, and there are no supplies, he produces a hunk of cheese and gives me the first piece. The raw-milk cheese is grubby and rubbery, but sharp, and I am grateful for it. Someone remarks that the boy is of the type "who will start out by robbing you if they can, but will love you to death if you make any sign of affection."
We cross a wildly beautiful area of remote lakes. I would love to go swimming, but even in this season the water is bitterly cold.
At last we reach Moscow. There are no problems at security, though I notice that a rattle I acquired in Estonia is no longer in the pocket of my trenchcoat; I wonder whether the boy who supplied the (no doubt pilfered) cheese made off with this in exchange.
Through security, I stop at a news stand to buy English-language papers. "Zdravstvuite," I greet him. He waits patiently while I sort through a stack of small bills to find the right money. I choose two banknotes that seem to be for units of 600 each.
I now proceed to the smart offices of a company on a high floor of a building. The secretary/receptionist is a cool, elegant blonde with coiffed hair I have met before. I wait in the reception area while she chats with a security man. There is an amazing animal in an easy chair with a coat draped over one arm. I think at first that it is a bear cub, but decide it is a puppy of a breed I can't name. Its fur is oatmeal-colored, with blue patches. I pet the "dog" and it is friendly though sleepy.
I take the chance to review, in my mind, the knowledge I have gathered on this trip. It is relevant to a new theory I am developing on the origin and nature of shamanism. I have made two discoveries I consider breakthroughs, based on what I have learned in Siberia and the North. My tag for one of these discoveries is the word Sajø. The last vowel is a "slashed O" of the kind you see in Norwegian and Danish, although in my mind I set the slash at the other diagonal, starting from the upper left of the O and running to the right. This word relates to shamanism in the far North. The second discovery involves Siberia and perhaps Mongolia.
I wake excited, pleased to be on a new adventure on such an interesting "line."
I often dream of traveling in Russia, but still have no ordinary-reality plans to do this. I was recently in countries that were part of the Soviet Union until 1991 (Estonia and Lativia). I do have an Estonian rattle - beautifully woven from rushes - that I acquired in my last trip.
I don't know the word "Sajø" - with the slash ø - but will continue to track it. I would love to know more about my dream self's two "breakthrough discoveries", and about the amazing dog-bear in the office (and why I am there). I will revisit some of the cross-cultural material on shamanism, especially in the areas and traditions I am studying in my dream.
I am most intrigued by the boy thief on the train. I can think of many ways in which a 12-year-old trickster and improviser within myself could be very helpful in my new creative journeys.
I usually enjoy my dream train rides. This one has given me plenty of research and action assignments!
Friday, May 6, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
New York City
In the exhibit at the Met, we meet Horemheb as scribe and agent for Thoth, the god of writing and wisdom. The granite statue at the center of the displays shows Horemheb before he became king. While his face is beautiful and finely chiseled, his body is that of a man grown flabby and stooped through long hours of study. In his lap is a papyrus on which he has written a magnificent prayer to Thoth.
There are many other images of Thoth and his sacred animals, the ibis and the baboon, in the Horemheb exhibit. Excited by these testimonies to the place of Thoth and his magic words in the Egyptian mind, I noticed an extraordinary carving in another room, devoted to Egyptian art from late antiquity, on my way out of the Met. It shows Thoth baptising a pharaoh (who by this time was a Roman emperor) by pouring the water of life, streaming as a series of ankhs from what looks like a scribe's stylus-case.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Gore Mountain, New York
Gore Mountain, New York