Thursday, June 12, 2014
From Bear Man to Sun Falcon: healing through group shamanic dreaming
Niskayuna, New York
I am the beneficiary of an extraordinary group experience of healing and initiation achieved through a shamanic journey through the portal of a personal dream. The dream was shared last night by a member of one of my circles of active dreamers.
The night before our gathering, the dreamer found herself in a cave with intriguing paintings on the walls: of fire, sun and moon, stars. All these images seemed alive. A being rose from the depths of the cave. She could not tell whether he was human or animal. He was entirely covered in fur. He looked more like a bear than anything else. He said, "Are you ready?" She replied, without hesitation, "I am". She knew that he was talking about a portal that had opened behind him. She saw a waterfall, and a vivid green landscape, and a unicorn. The bear man stepped aside, inviting her to go through.
But she woke before going through the portal. She was excited, but also disappointed that the adventure remained unfinished.
"Wouldn't you like to go back inside the dream and carry on the adventure now?" I asked, after she told us the dream.
She was eager to do this. She was familiar with our process of making shamanic journeys, with the aid of drumming, through the gateway of a personal dream. The idea is simple: if you have been some place in a dream, you can go there again, just as you can return to a place you have visited in ordinary life.
"When you are back inside the dream," I said, "what are you going to do?"
She told us she wanted to talk to the caveman, inspect the paintings on the cave walls, go out through the waterfall, find the unicorn - and let the rest unfold.
"Do we have your permission to come with you?"
We were now almost ready for a group adventure through a dream portal that excited and intrigued all of us in the circle. We made time for people to ask a few questions - traveler's questions, not analytic ones. "Could you see the sky above the waterfall from inside the cave?" "Was the cave man wearing his own fur, or something he had put on?" The answer to that one was unclear. We agreed that this was one of many things for our trackers to check out, an idea that brought plenty of chuckles from the women in the circle.
We closed the curtains against the gloaming and stretched out - all except me, since I was the drummer.
With the first tap of the drum, we were there, all together, inside the cave. I saw a whole soul history in the cave paintings, and saw others checking them out. Some of the symbols, especially a lake of fire, were familiar to me from images on the walls of Egyptian temple tombs.
I monitored the dreamer's fresh encounter with the bear man. I noticed that he could appear as more or less bear, or more or less human, at his choosing, and that whatever he was wearing (or not wearing was his own). He was potent and well-equipped, but the space he opened was about more than sex.
"You are in the cave of your heart," he told the dreamer. "This portal is open only to those who follow the heart."
I watched her plunge straight into the waterfall. I followed suit. I enjoyed the shock of the water beating down on my head, pummeling my body. I felt deep cleansing, and staying in the falls far longer that I had expected - maybe an hour of ordinary time - in the few minutes my physical body was drumming for the group.
Then I was out above the falls, grabbing salmon out of the river, feasting on the fish and offering them to my family of bears.
When I remembered to check on the dreamer, I saw she was safely off, on the back of the white unicorn, surely headed for a fresh personal adventure and initiation.
I thought about my own need for bodily healing. I had had a rough few days, with flu-like symptoms and other irritations, whose source was not yet clear. I saw a huge, bat-like thing flapping across the sky to my left. Was this a form of my affliction, or its source? I asked for help to deal with it.
A giant falcon appeared, flying straight from the sun. The red-tailed hawk is a special friend of mine, but I will call his cousin here a falcon, because of what evolved. Sun-bright, the falcon pursued the dark thing across the sky, seized it with his talons, grappled with it in mid-air and forced it down and down and down to a hole in the earth. When I looked in the hole, I saw a ravening maw, edged by countless irregular snapping teeth, as long as knives.
The sun falcon was fiercely intent on ending whatever story the black thing embodied. He forced it down into the toothed hole, which snapped shut over it. I found myself exultant, rising to my feet as I drummed. Now I felt the wings of the falcon against the sides of my face, of my head. He held me and shared his power and his knowing. I knew who was with me. Horus, divine warrior, eternal opponent of darkness and dark forces, healer and protector.
I stayed in full Egyptian mode for the next phases of the journeyer. I experienced a series of kheperu - becomings or transforming - familiar to me from long-ago journeys and far memory of ancient lives. I meet the lion, pass through its skin, and claim the fullness of its power and roam with my pride.
I am aware of my duty to the group. Many of us now seem to be in a sacred wood where gatekeepers native to this land where we are living and drumming stand guard. The guardians are friendly.
I return from the cave of the heart, and my Egypt of the heart, and sound the recall.
After we take times to record our experiences, the travel reports are rich. One tracker is suprised that she found herself among falcons and lions. I reassure her that she was in the realm of shared experience.
The original cave dreamer told us, with awe, that the unicorn flew her to a place of encounter with an ancient medicine teacher. Her discoveries continued in dreams of the night. She told me this morning:
"I went back into that cave and met the bear man again. You were there and we were looking at the pictures on the wall. It was a story of an ancient civilization and the bear man said that in the future dreamers, healers and teachers were needed to build a community of one heart."
Dreamers, healers and teachers are needed to build a community of one heart. Yes indeed. Some of us are working on that, night and day, day and night.
"Horus Resolution" (c) Robert Moss. June 11, 2014.