Saturday, May 7, 2011

The trans-Siberian dream train and the boy thief


On the trans-Siberian dream train

I am traveling again, across the immensity of Russia, from the border of Mongolia via Lake Baikal to Moscow.

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!

8 comments:

Kelly said...

Dear Mr. Moss,

I loved this blog and your book Conscious Dreaming. I learned so much that I still use and think about today. I would like to read your Secret Dreaming book, too.

Reading away,
Kelsey

Robert Moss said...

Thanks, Kelly. Do keep dreaming - and reading! My new book, ACTIVE DREAMING is the eighth in the series that began with CONSCIOUS DREAMING.

Wanda said...

I read this post several times and each time felt it expanding into a delightfully mysterious children's story and then into a movie. The cinematography is already there!

Katie said...

what a dream youve described,lots of little mysteries there to uncover.

I dreamt in January that a little russian girl was seeing me off a train or bus,she was crying and talking extremely fast in russian, doing all these strange sorts of blessings on me with her hands so I would have a safe journey.

Everyone was puzzled by her.The dream really marked a transition for me.The place I said I was going to in the dream was called yumata which I see quite clearly as a play on 'you matter'.

Mother Russia is such a mythical place,especially the altai mountains which I dreamt of before I ever heard of or saw them.

Robert Moss said...

Katie - What an intriguing dream. Since dreams can be both literal, symbolic AND experiences of another reality, it would "matter" to me to check out the literal town of Yumata, near Archangel. You can locate it on a Google satellite map here http://www.maplandia.com/russia/arkhangelskaya-oblast/vinogradovskiy-rayon/yumata/

Robert Moss said...

Wanda - Yes, there was certainly a cinematic sweep and forward motion to this dream. Of course, in dreams we get to be the stars (as well as co-producers and co-scriptwriters) of our own movies...

Katie said...

I did google yumata last nght and was suprised to find such a place exists in russia,and that it was oddly in a place called arch angel.how nice.

Mikk Sarv said...

Dear Robert!
I suggest you to look for the word 'saivo'. This is related to saami shamanism. Saivo is a lake with two bottoms. The souls of newborn are got from there and it is an item on shamanic drum.
In Estonian saiö is a new brand of white wheat bread, brought to market this year. Original name of the bread is sai, what has also meaning 'got', for example: he got something - ta sai midagi. Ö is added just to catch attention. Doble ö 'öö' means in Estonian 'night', in scandinavian it means island.
With best greetings,
Mikk Sarv from Tartu, Estonia