I was staying outside Santa Fe in
an adobe house with extraordinary views across desert and mountains. The phrase
Big Sky really applies here - you can watch the weather rolling in from fifty
miles away. The night sky is extraordinary, a grainy, pulsing field full of animate energies. Nature feels quite personal here.
I went out to the Bandelier State Monument, to visit the sites of the
ancient and mysterious Anasazi people. I had two of those encounters with
spirits of the land of the kind that are the stuff of dream archaeology.
On the trail to the falls, I felt the
mountain lion energy very strongly. Further along the trail, I lay down under
ponderosa pines. I immediately sensed a presence. Scanning with my inner
senses, I tracked it. Among the trees, a little person took form. He was very
dark-skinned and no more than four feet tall. He was willing to give me a name,
speaking the five syllables slowly and distinctly, so I could pick them up. I
will not publish his name here; traditional peoples are very sensitive about
the power of names.
The name and the nature of the little
man were connected with Rabbit. He could run like a jackrabbit. I saw him
hunting small animals a long time ago, living very close to the earth. I asked
to enter his Dreamtime and slipped inside the world of the animals. He belonged
to a time when human and animal consciousness were not as separate as they are
today, and when forms were not fixed. He seemed to be able to shapeshift his
physical body as well as his energy profile into animal forms. I was attracted
by his simplicity. There was even a sense of innocence in the just-so-ness of
his relations with the land.
I encountered a different presence as
I stood in front of the petroglyphs at
the “longhouse” site - apartments built into the talus of a volcanic cliff - at
the Anasazi village. A Gatekeeper figure emerged. He told me that white people
still know next to nothing about what really went on here, but that he would
show me certain things, under certain conditions.
The wall opened to my vision like a
window. I looked into the scene of an ancient rainmaking ceremony. The priest
held up and vibrated a large stuffed serpent while a helper made the sound of
thunder crashing with something resembling a mortar and pestle. I was shown the
methods this ancient people used for appealing directly to the animate forces
of nature. My tour expanded. I enjoyed looking into the everyday lives of these
ancient ones, their foods and cooking methods, their rituals and their delight in
theater and music.
I recalled that the First Peoples of my native Australia talk of the
Speaking Land. The spirits of the land are talking, talking. All we need to do
expand our awareness, and listen without judgment. I felt privileged to have
been invited into a space between the worlds to learn the ways of two ancient
peoples of the American Southwest.
“This splendid book… transcends disciplines and provides an agenda for the role that dreams can play in ensuring human survival.” — Stanley Krippner, PhD, coauthor of Extraordinary Dreams and How to Work with Them