Friday, May 30, 2014

Daily Kledon: What to do when they take your world away

First old guy on the sidewalk: "They took your world away from under you."
   Second old guy, on walker: "Yeah, they took my world away."
   "What you gotta do is tell everyone, like everyone."
   "Or get a gun and shoot somebody. That's what I feel like doing."
   "Forget the gun. Tell your story. That's more powerful."

The first old guy got that right.
   I logged this exchange, overheard as I walked to a neighborhood store this morning, as my first kledon of the day.
   Monitoring kledons is one of my favorite daily synchronicity games. A kledon is words or sounds coming out of silence or out of the cacophony of urban noise bands. In ancient Greece, kledons were highly valued as portents.
    It was believed that the gods, who love disguises, might communicate in this way. This

was thought to be especially likely when a hush falls in the midst of a social event, like a dinner party. The first words to break that social silence were inspected as a possible hermeion, which is to say an act of Hermes, the messenger god who personifies the play of synchronicity.  
   I am content to receive daily kledons as part of life's patterns. I notice that sometimes a theme that is raised rhymes with something that comes up later in the day, in the kind of riff of coincidence for which I have coined the word reincidence.
   Oh yes. There is often great material for creative writing in bits of conversation harvested in this spontaneous way. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

When dogs became movie producers

Animals not only feature in our dreams; they may help to produce them.
    I had a remarkable experience of this several years ago, staying with an older friend who owned a large rural property. He owned two German shepherds. He wanted them to be able to run on his land but he also wanted to make sure that they always came when called, especially since he had a hard time getting around. So he put electronic collars around their necks. When he wanted them back at the house, or anywhere else, he would zap them with a monitor that delivered an electric shock.
   I found this barbarous, and told him so as gently as I could. He insisted that he loved his dogs, and they were content with their situation.
   In the morning, at the breakfast table, my friend was troubled by a dream that lay heavy on him. I urged him to tell me.
   "I was in a Nazi concentration camp," he began. "They fitted me with an electric collar. Whenever they wanted me to do something, they zapped me. They had me marching up and down like a robot."
    The analogy to the situation of his dogs was screamingly obvious, at least to me. It was as if the dream had been crafted to help him understand what he was doing to his dogs. I could not fail to remember that German shepherds were favored guard dogs in the Nazi camps. "If it were my dream," I commented, "I would wonder whether my dogs asked for this dream to help me to understand their situation."
    My friend did not want to hear this. I have since lost contact with him, and I wonder whether he has gone on zapping his dogs.

Dreams are infinitely various. A dream may be a visitation, an adventure in another reality, a rehearsal for the future, or the effect of the leftovers of the day before. Some dreams have the quality of productions, and it is always interesting to speculate on who and what, exactly, is involved in the making of a particular dream of this kind. I know that our dead are sometimes involved in dream production for the living.
    I led a group journey to explore such things in a circle of active dreamers last night. I found myself arriving at a movie set where I had to put myself in a vintage convertible, behind shades, to be admitted by security. I was given a tour of current film projects and met directors with distinctive styles. I warmed to one "Arturo" who specialized in extravaganzas that meld Fellini and Alejandro Jodorowsky. I toured costume departments where the right outfits for dream characters are selected. I attended a design conference where a new fuzzy character - it looked like a hyperactive woodchuck - is being developed for dream movies.
    I saw situations where requests for dream intervention are considered and acted upon. I learned that dreams are sometimes crafted for individuals because someone who has their best interests in mind has requested a production that will dramatize a certain issue. The request may come from a spiritual guide or another person connected to the dreamer. Among those putting in such requests are animals. There were talking animals all over the studios.
    I don't doubt now that those German shepherds found a way to zap their owner back, as dream producers.

Drawing (c) Robert Moss

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ringmasters of Time's Circus

In the House of Time

Here is a place where I can slip between parallel lives.
    I step through the door of an elevator, to find that the space within is vastly greater than seems possible from the outside and the box is not much like an elevator car. There are sliding glass doors on the far side, one set after another after another.
    Only intention is required to open them. With intention, they slide apart so quickly and totally that they seem to melt away. I have come this way before, to observe parallel selves who made different choices and are leading different lives from my present self. I always find these excursions instructive. I may take comfort from the fact that I have avoided worse mistakes in my present life than in others. I may be able to borrow a gift, a lesson or a skill from a parallel self. I can remain an observer, or I can try to enter the mind and body of another self, as we often do in dreams of the night.
    Doors fly open. I consider joining the Robert who is lazing by a warm beach in the South Pacific after a long swim.  
    But wait. There are other beings around. They seem to exist in the spaces between parallel lives. How could I have failed to see them on previous visits to the Elevators of Time?
    They are in rich apparel, from different times. They could be a caravan of performers, yet each has the quality of a ringmaster, ready to preside over the entertainments. There is a huge bearded black man dressed like a grandee of the Renaissance, maybe for a production of Othello. There is a prince who has real ram's horns in his curling hair. There is a tall beauty in a bustier and glittering gauzy gown dusted with stars. There is a magician in a tall top hat and a tail coat. And others whose likenesses I fail to capture.
    Ringmasters. Yes, that is the right word for the way they preen themselves. I wonder if they are also producers, helping to shape dreams of many lives.
    I have often felt that a certain kind of dream is probably a dramatic production, arranged by an unseen set of scriptwriters, directors and special effects people. The dead are sometimes employed in making dream movies for the living.
    Those of us who are frequent fliers in the multiverse, embarking on conscious journeys into other realities are sometimes aware that roads we follow and environments we visit are products of imagination. This does not mean that they are anything less than we real. Indeed, they may be more real than much of our ordinary reality. Perhaps I shall try to interview the Ringmasters of Time's Circus.

Report from a recent group journey I led to various locales in the House of Time.


Now I am looking at an image of Hermes Crioforos, Hermes "Who Takes the Lamb". Hmm, I wonder whether the fellow with ram's horns in his curling hair has an ancient and interesting pedigree. 

Journal drawing (c) Robert Moss

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Take care of the canteloupe

A wise old bird, I thought as I neared Lynda's register in the checkout line at the supermarket. She looked to be well past retirement age. If she had gone back to work to help pay her bills, she certainly showed no signs of resentment. Brisk and efficient, she needed no help identifying more obscure finds from the produce section.
     She seized the canteloupe I had placed on the moving belt and held it up.
     "Wait one day," she instructed me. "Keep it in a paper bag."
     She grabbed a brown paper bag, popped the canteloupe in, and rolled the open end tightly shut.
     "Keep it in the bag for one day," Lynda repeated. "Then it will be perfect."
     I promised to do exactly as she said.
     As I wheeled my cart out of the store, I felt deep appreciation for the checker who passed on old wisdom about ripening fruit. I wondered what advice she gave others. Clearly, this was someone who knew how to find pleasure in work by giving more than any job description would ask for.
    She could be a role model for many, including the 20-something sales assistant at my next stop - a stationery store - who came to her station at the register literally dragging her feet. Her first words were, "I don't want to be working today."
     Whatever our situation, we have the freedom to choose our attitude. How we use, or fail to use, that power of choice determines whether we make wastelands or flowering orchards out of everyday environments. Viktor Frankl taught us that, in Man's Search for Meaning.
I think of the flight attendant on Southwest who responded to my rowmate's request for tea by fetching a selection of six different Stash tea bags. "Southwest offers a Stash collection?" I was amazed, knowing the Stash is a very upmarket tea maker. "Not the airline," the flight attendant responded. "I just thought that people who fly with us deserve a better selection. So I've been bringing tea bags from the airport hotels where they park us overnight."
     Now that's an example of turning work into play, right up there with the lady bagging the canteloupe for me.
    Lynda was right, of course. When I cut the canteloupe for breakfast, it was perfect.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Dreaming the Many Worlds

Physics tells us that it is probable that all of us are living, in this moment, in one of a possibly infinite number of parallel universes, that every move we make (or fail to make) causes our world to split, though we rarely, if ever, notice.
    As a brilliant Princeton postgrad student, Hugh Everett dreamed up the Many Worlds hypothesis. He aspired to reconcile quantum mechanics and classical physics. The basic question he posed was: If an atom can be two places at once, why can’t we? In the quantum field, it seems that a particle can be any number of places at the same time – until the act of observation fixes one quantum event out of a multitude of probable events.
    But our normal experience of physical reality, on the human or macro scale, is quite different. Hugh Everett’s bold proposition was that quantum effects are at work in every part of the universe, on every scale, all the time. We don’t notice this because our universe is constantly splitting. Any move we make, and breathe we take, generates a new universe. In the moment we observe such things – in the quantum field or in a city street – we generate a parallel universe in which a parallel observer is either not looking or looking in a different way. “We live in an infinite number of continually interacting universes,” Everett proposed. “All possible futures really happen.”
     While Everett’s hypothesis was largely ignored in his own time, the Many Worlds theory is approaching a consensus view among many leading-edge physicists today. We find confirmation for it in dreaming., when we wake up to the possibility that dreams in which seem to be leading continuous lives in a different reality may indeed be glimpse of parallel lives we are living in parallel worlds. I help people to explore this consciously. We can sometimes move beyond regret over the past – over people we lost, things we did not do – as we awaken to the possibility that we may be walking all of our possible life roads, right now.
    We can learn to do more. We can learn to reach to our parallel selves and bring gifts and lessons from their lives into our present one. We discover that we can open doors between worlds without need of a subtle knife. This is central to my current work in teaching people to explore multidimensional reality through the techniques of Active Dreaming.
    In a recent workshop, I helped a group to open a portal through which we could journey, with the help of shamanic drumming and focused intention, to explore the situation of parallel selves who made different life choices. I was able to observe parallel Roberts on five distinct event tracks. I returned from my journey feeling profoundly grateful that the choices I made have kept me off three of those roads in my present life.
    Two of the other parallel lives are exciting and rewarding. In one of them, I am a popular author of superior historical spy novels, traveling all over the world in the course of my research and readings, writing better and better. In another life, I am a babalawo of Ifa, a high divination priest of the Yoruba tradition, living in the northeast of Brazil.
    I recognize that I slip in and out of these lives, and many more, in dreams. Our dreams are sometimes memories of continuous lives lived in parallel realities.
    When we shared travel reports in that workshop, we found that nearly everyone had brought back important gifts. One of them was often a sense of closure, through the understanding that making a different life choice would not have resulted in a happier or more desirable outcome. Another gift was the understanding that we can reach to our parallel selves and borrow their knowledge and their skill sets. Then there was the vivid awareness that we don't need to let ourselves be consumed by regrets over lives we might have lived when our parallel selves are leading all of those lives, right now, on the countless roads of the multiverse.

photos (c) Robert Moss

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Great Mother Bear

You feel her under your feet.
You enter her realm through the roots
of the tree that knows you.
She is endlessly nurturing, fertile and abundant.
She will nurse you and heal you as she cares for her cubs.
You can call on her blessing at any time,
once you have found the courage to enter her embrace.

She calms the mad warrior in men.
She strips the berserkers of old skins.
Serve her, and you join the army of the Great Mother
whose purpose is to protect, not destroy.
She will defend you, even from yourself. 

When you call back your lost children,
she will hold you together in her vast embrace
 until you are one, and whole.
When you reach across the jagged rifts in your family
to forgive and make well, you feel her rolling pleasure.

- The Dragon's Egg, Mystic, May 25, 2014

Drumming Bear painting by Cristina Craciun
Mother Bear drawing by Robert Moss

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Losing the Kafe Kolonial


It's happened again. I have lost the Kafe Kolonial. I can't believe it. I have been to this genial establishment at least a dozen times. I was there for lunch today. The place is only seven or eight blocks from the room in the Old Town where I am staying, and it is just across ŠirokáStreet from one of Prague's most famous and saddest landmarks, the Old Jewish Cemetery. The decor is all bicycles, including penny farthings and other curiosities from an earlier era. The specialities of the house are all fine accompaniments for Czech pilsner.
    When my friends suggested a walk and a nightcap after dinner, it seemed easy and natural to come here. Yet as I led them down ritzy Paris Street, where the Devil not only wears Prada but Jimmy Choo, Dior, Hermes and a dozen other fancy labels, I became uneasily aware that I was once again about to lose the Kafe Kolonial. I realized I had turned a block too early and tried to make a course correction. And was soon hopelessly confused about where to go.
   With a woman's decisive willingness to see directions, my friend Ana strode into another restaurant to seek guidance while her husband ans I loitered outside. I was puzzled to see the restaurant hostess summon one waiter, then another to confer with her. Why all this discussion? Surely the Kafe was only a couple of blocks from here and anyone in the restaurant trade would know it.
   Ana came out wearing a deep frown. "They say the Kafe Kolonial doesn't exist."
   "That's ridiculous. I had lunch there today. They put more food than I though possible on a skewer."
   I went inside to confront the waiters.
   "You told my friend there is no Kafe Kolonial."
   "That is correct," said a very tall, solemn waiter.
   "But I had lunch there today."
   "That is impossible."   


  "I can show you a picture." I fumbled to open the photo archive on my smartphone to find the photo I took of that skewer.
   "The Kafe Kolonial closed five years ago. I used to work there."
   He was not interested in a picture of my lunch.
   "Then perhaps you can tell me where the Kafe Kolonial used to be."
   He began to turn away, then the other waiter raised an eyebrow and he turned back. He looked ready to spit.
   "Turn right at the corner and go straight ahead," he snapped. "But you will not find the Kafe Kolonial. What is there is the Kolonial and it is nothing like the Kafe Kolonial. You should avoid that place."
    My friends and I had distinctly eerie sensations as we followed these hard-to-extract directions.
    There, visible from the corner through light rain, was the sign Kolonial.
    I felt the shiver that sometimes comes when you sense that you are switching worlds. i could swear that on all my previous visits the sign carried two words, Kafe Kolonial.
    Had I just jumped from one parallel universe to another? Did I dream lunch at the Kafe Kolonial, or was I dreaming now? Was I dead at lunch - I was certainly given enough food to lay you flat - or in the afterlife now?
    We took a table in the smoky side of the Kolonial. My friend Costin looked at the penny farthing bicycle in the window behind him and said, "Big wheel, little wheel. It is my dream from last night.

Demolishing Stalin's ghost through dream theater


"I'm in Letná Park," she begins, accepting my invitation to step into the center of the circle and tell her story where everyone can see her.     "They have cut down the trees. Our precious lindens are just stumps. I feel the blood of the trees." She is crying now, weeping over the rape of the land.
     "There is worse. They have put up the Stalin Monument again. Its black shadow falls over the Old Town. The curse of Stalin is falling over my country again."
     Everyone in the room feels
 the shadow of this dream. It carries collective memories of Soviet oppression in this country in an earlier era, laced with fears about what Putin's regime in Russia is planning today. The Stalin Monument on Letna hill, overlooking the Vltava River and the Old Town of Prague, was the largest group statue in Europe. It depicted Stalin leading two lines of faithful Socialists, Czech and Russian, into a bright Marxist-Leninist future. Czechs, who have often fought tyranny with humor, called it "The Line for Meat." Even beyond its monumental ugliness and hubris, there was strangeness about this construction. The sculptor, Otakar Svec, killed himself the night before the monument was unveiled in 1955, just a year before Khrushchev denounced Stalin. The Communist government in Prague waited until 1962 to blow it up, which required massive quantities of explosive. The gargantuan plinth remained, and was topped by a giant metronome that uncomfortable evoked the hammer and sickle for mant. There has been ongoing debate since the "velvet revolution" about what to do with the site, which is widely called "Stalin" to this day."
    Zora, the dreamer, was born in Stalin's era. Many of the families of the dreamers gathered in our pleasant space at Maitrea, just behind Old Town Square in Prague, suffered imprisonment under Soviet rule.
    So: here we are with the first dream shared on the first full day of my workshop in Prague, and the chill of a horrible past history and the edginess of the current situation along Russia's borders weighs heavy on all of the 52 people in our space. We need to move the energy. We need to make the land green again, and exorcize the overweight ghost of Stalin.
    "Let's turn this dream into theater," I propose. Zora was eager to see how this would work.
    No problem recruiting players to become the sad, broken trees in the park and the hill itself. In an instant, our space is transformed. We see and hear the pain of the butchered trees.
    A good-natured Czech chemist agrees to play the Stalin Monument, and adopted the correct position, one foot forward, eyes fixed on that bright Socialist future. His posture breaks the unease in the room. Wild laughter and clapping begin.
    Zora spreads her arms wide, becoming the eagle of her dream, circling the room on straight wings.
   "You are in command here," I call to her. "Your dream is alive around you. You can do anything you like to make a better story. You can restore the trees. You can recruit an army of helpers to plant seedlings. You can demolish the Stalin Monument so thoroughly that its ghost will never be seen again."
    With amazing speed and energy, under Zora's lead, our players bring the trees back to life. They dance with Stalin, pulling the figure out of its rigid Line for Meat stance. "Let's turn Stalin's statue into a fertility goddess!" a wit proposes. The chemist's efforts to shapeshift his sturdy male body accordingly draw gales of laughter.
    The mood is bright. We may not have changed the world, but we have brought 52 bright spirits to brighter life. The gifts of spontaneous dream theater, generated by personal and authentic experiences, are unending. It is my favorite element in all the workshops I lead. It is a potent source of healing and soul recovery, not only for individuals but for the families and communities we bring together.

Photo: Stalin Monument, aka "The Line for Meat", that stood on Letná hill from 1955 to 1962. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Dream gates to soul healing in Threshold City

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, for me, is a city of doors, even more than of spires and statues. In earlier times, people found their way to houses and buildings not by a street name and number, but by the name and the shape of a door - Door of the Black Elephant, Door of the Unicorn, Door of the Three Storks.
    This is appropriate in a city whose Czech name, Praha, means "threshold".
    Whenever I come here to teach, I am made vividly aware of how, when people gather for one of my workshops in Active Dreaming, we stand at the threshold of grand adventures in the larger reality, and of how any dream can open a door to places of healing, guidance and energy.
    Last night, leading a three-hour evening exploration of "Dreams of Healing" at magical Maitrea, just off Old Town Square, I was moved by the deep well of memory and healing that was opened by the very first dream shared in front of our lively group of 75 dreamers.
    In her dream, a Czech woman comes to the edge of a deep well. She is horrified to discover that a beautiful but very sad young girl is drowning in the depths of the well. She wants to help. To do this, she must lower herself into the well. She loses her grip and falls. Now she is underwater. Her lungs are filling with water, her senses are swirling, she knows that she, too, is drowning.
    She remembers her intent to rescue the girl. As the will to do this revives in her, she discovers something amazing. She can breathe underwater. She swims to the drowning girl, grabs her, and carries her to the top.
   "First feelings after waking?" I asked the first question I ask, of any dream.
   "Is there anything in the dream you recognize in the rest of your life?"
   "The sadness. I have often felt I am drowning in sadness."
   "What do you most want to know about this dream?"
   "I want to know about the well. Why is this happening inside a well?"
   "If it were my dream," I said, "I would think of the well of memory, and the well of emotions. This well takes me deep into life memories, and emotions that are powerful enough to drown me if I fail to set very clear intentions in taking the plunge. The well is also a portal, a doorway. In my dream of your dream, the young person who is drowning in the well is my own younger self. This dream has given me a way to reach to her, to connect with her and help both of us to move beyond that overwhelming grief and sadness. I feel that I can use this connection to support my younger self in her own time. I also feel that the connection between us will allow me to bring the vital energy, joy and imagination of my younger self into my present life."
    The dreamer was nodding vigorously. Her face had been creased with worry or anticipation earlier; now a lovely smile flowered in her features.
    "Such a dream requires action," I went on. "I would do two essential things to honor the dream and to use the doorway that has opened between me and my younger self. First, whenever I find myself thinking about sad things that may have happened early in life, I would consciously project thoughts of encouragement to my younger self in her own time. For example, I can tell her, You'll survive. You'll make it through. I promise you this. I believe that you really can reach your younger self, in this way, folding time. In doing it, though, you must remember not to succumb to the raw emotions of that earlier time. Your mission is to be the rescuer, as you were in your dream."
    More eager nods and smiles.
    "Next, if this were my dream, I would want to be sure to do things in my present life that my younger self would enjoy. Eat something she likes. Play a game she enjoys. Go to a place she loves. I would want to encourage the child part of me to see that I am fun and I am safe, so that we can enjoy a creative life together in the present time."
The dreamer eagerly agreed to follow both these suggested plans. As her features continued to soften and brighten, I felt sure that she had drawn her beautiful girl self back into her energy field. This sense was confirmed by the brightness of spirit in her eyes.when she came up to me later to have me sign the new Czech edition of Dreaming the Soul Back Home.      
     I noted that in English there is another meaning for the word "well", as in wellness.

Photo of Prague door (c) Robert Moss

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Flying with the Death's head dominatrix

My neighbor on my first flight home is wearing black, from high boots to top hat. She has Death's heads on her black gloves. She might have stepped out of the scene in The Master and Margarita where Mephistopheles puts on a magic show in Moscow.
    I tell her, "You look like a magician."
    "Retired magician," says her male companion.
    "So what does a retired magician do?" I ask a bit later.
    She considers this for a moment before she replies, "Let me say that spankings are my friends."
    I am not immediately inclined to pursue this conversation. I note the title of the book I have brought for in-flight reading. It is Peter Kingsley's A Story Waiting to Pierce You. Life rhymes. I smile at the thought of how Peter might twitch at the thought that his book about ancient shamans could be misidentified as an S&M romp.

    My neighbor cranes around, inspecting the rest of the economy cabin. "I have a good feeling about this flight," she announces. "Every seat is taken. When a plane is going to crash, on average twenty percent of the seats are vacant, because people sense something wrong and don't show up at the airport. There was a special on the Discovery channel about this."
    "Very interesting."
     I put my nose back in A Story Waiting to Pierce You until after take off, when she starts talking about crows and ravens. It seems she watches them very closely. She says she knows a big raven with a large harem. I point out that this would be rare indeed, since ravens generally live in couples and - like many other birds - mate for life.
    She wants to tell me about a place she knows where crows are sometimes so thick on the ground that they cover a whole field. "I've seen one crow talking while all the others are listening. I think of that one crow as the storyteller. When the crow speaker is done, sometimes all the crows take off at once. But sometimes they fall on the crow speaker and peck him to death. What do you think of that?"
    Before I come up with a response, she adds, "Native Americans say that when the other crows kill the speaker, it's because he is a bad storyteller."
    Now this is a story that pierces me. Over the previous week, at my writing retreat at Mosswood Hollow in the foothills of the Cascades, I created a "frame" story within which I could write other stories. In the frame story, inspired by another recent plane trip, the narrator is riding with Death in the darkened cabin of an airplane. Death reminds him that they have an arrangement: he must keep coming up with stories that entertain Death, or else his life will be over. Now the Death's head dominatrix is telling me about how a murder of crows deals with a storyteller who fails to entertain.
    She has story ideas for me. They come from her uninvited, after pauses in the conversation, blown on a strange wind. "I would love to read the story of Jezebel, told from her point of view," she announces. "I am fascinated by the Phoenicians." Can she possibly know that one of the stories I was writing for Death last week opens in the Phoenician city of Sidon?
    The conversation continues in gusts. She says, "Do you believe that dreams show us what happens after death?"
    "Absolutely. In dreams, we receive visitations from the dead and we travel to places where they live. I have written books about this."
    "My first husband was shot to death at breakfast time in a diner, with a cup of Americano in his hand, by a crazy guy who was looking to kill someone else. I grieved so deep I thought I would join him. Then I had a dream that was more than a dream. I sat up in bed in the middle of the night and he was there. He looked good. He wanted to tell me what he is doing where he now lives. He was a musician. He told me that now he works up music and side-effects for dreams that are being produced for people who are sleeping."
    "Great job," I say. "And I think that is absolutely possible. There are many kinds of dreams, and some feel like productions custom-made for the dreamer. I have always been curious about who is in the film crews."
    "I wasn't really a magician," she tells me before landing. "I worked for a circus as an aerialista. But I did magic, especially on that massage table I had going at the same time." S
he plays with a long braid that escapes the top hat and comes back to the spankings. "How do you tell a stranger you're a dominatrix?" she muses. 
     "When and how did you recognize your calling?"
     "Growing up in in the Deep South with Jehovah's Witness parents helped. Then people kind of got me typed when we played cops and robbers as kids and I always wanted to be the cop with the handcuffs."
    Hard not to feel that the whole encounter was created for me by one of those teams of dream producers. 

    photos (c) Robert Moss

Dreaming a Vision of the Heart in Romania

On May 10th, the first World Day of Active Dreaming, dream ambassadors in many places all over the map led programs to help people in many walks of life claim the guidance and healing and creative energy of dreams. I will run some of their reports and photographs in this blog, starting with a wonderful narrative from Ana Maria Stefanescu, a dream teacher based in Bucharest who is one of the moving spirits behind our World Day, on how she and a circle of Romanian dreamers spend the weekend of May 10-11.

Dreaming a Vision of the Heart
by Ana Maria Stefanescu

The first World Day of Active Dreaming. Such a wonderful experience, for which I am profoundly grateful. After two days of adventure, together with my colleague Cristina and a group of amazingly courageous dreamers, deep within the worlds of dreams and heart, i am slightly tired but really happy: what an amazing thing, reconnecting through dreaming to the true mission of the heart !
    We started on Saturday with a journey to the space between lives, to remember what was our intention before we were born into this life and to see what our guide of the family of souls we belong to has to say about that.
    We practiced the lightning dreamwork process and found out about the power of giving and receiving useful and intuitive feedback. We ventured into dream spaces, re-entering as explorers and guides and trackers and helpers.
    Then, the dreamers turned their dreams into theater. These were the peak moments, full of magic: witnessing transforming fear into love, lack of trust into hope and faith, The theater of Active Dreaming is real magic.
     In the evening we played synchronicity games - s o much fun, each and every time we play - and embarked on a group shamanic journey to find a pulsating, radiant heart on top of the mountain: a heart that wanted to share the light with other hearts.
     Then homeplay, to incubate a dream over night...
      On Sunday morning the dreams wanted to be expressed through drawing and colors. Then we listened to the body and followed its energy map by drawing the totem pole of the chakras, understanding that if we are to fulfill our mission in this world, then we want to know our resources and our allies but also the places in the body that could use some healing. We met spiritual teachers and animals and beings that we know we can rely on. And that's good to know. The lion was there and the bear was there and the dolphin, and many more.
    Then dream theater again - one that opened our hearts even more and made us see and feel the power and love of Mother Earth - and the power of love.
     As we are on a mission of the Heart, we traveled to a certain Magic Market you can read about in Robert's book Dreaming the Soul Back Home and then farther "back" in time to meet and bring home our child selves. We made promises that we are to honor.
     Feeling whole now we sat in the center of the circle to declare and take responsibility for or mission. We promised "to honor our dreams and the powers that speak to us in dreams".
     Last but not least, we grew a community vision of the future - a future where we live a reality of the heart, where Earth is healed and happy and people remember the language of the trees.
     Again, gratitude ! Gratitude for the wonderful group of dreamers and dream teachers, gratitude for all the gifts received through dreaming...and gratitude and love to you, dear Robert.
with Ana Maria Stefanescu (r) and Cristina Craciun in the Carpathian mountains

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hit or Miss: One More Day in the Air

On my first flight of the day, my rowmate was an off-duty flight attendant. I asked her to tell me the best story from her 16 years in service to the airline we were on. To my mild surprise, she launched into a litany of complaints about her employer. The airline was losing money hand over fist, missing opportunities, buying the wrong equipment.I did not feel this boded well for the trip, and was quite relieved when she arranged herself in a state of suspended animation, donning lined gloves as well as a sleep mask and several blankets.
   Changing planes at Chicago's O'Hare airport, I was fascinated by the behavior of a woman in front of me in the line for my connecting flight. She laid her roller bag flat on the floor, stomped on it, then walked up and down on it. I assumed she was trying to flatten the dumpy bag in order to meet the size restrictions for carry on baggage. This proved to be correct. "It's my stuff!" she asserted, stomping again. "I know what it can take." I remarked that I was glad I had not heard anything squealing or even crunching inside that martyred bag. The symbolism of the incident was rich. May of us try to deal with life's excess baggage in a similar way.
   On my second flight, bound to Seattle, my rowmates were a pleasant mother and daughter traveling to the Pacific Northwest for the first on a mix of business and pleasure. We talked about the Pike Place Market (one of the world's great synchronicity magnets), the Sci-Fi museum, whale watching, ferries to the islands.
   Before we left the gate, the captain spoke on the intercom telling us there was a problem at the ramp. His next announcement was brusque. All passengers would deplane immediately and were asked to stay in the boarding area while the ground staff looked for a replacement plane.
   They found another plane, and as we were boarding I heard the captain explaining what had gone wrong with our original aircraft. As he told it, the operator of a fueling platform wasn't paying attention as he raised the platform. He caught the underside of the fuselage with a corner of the platform and punched a hole in the bottom of the plane.I was glad to have this vivid account, which had the makings of a story. All we had been told officially was that there was a "maintenance issue" with the original aircraft.

    "Did you hear what happened to our first plane?"I asked the flight attendants as I boarded the replacement plane. "Yes,"one said, "but you're not supposed to know about that."
   "It's hard to keep me away from a good story," I riposted.
   We took off ninety minutes late. The man in front of me tried to pay for a drink with an airline credit card which the same airline's credit card reader refused to process. The same thing happened to me. The flight attendant shrugged and said, "This airline is always buying things that don't work."
   I read a little of a novel, then dozed for a bit until the slap of cards being shuffled and dealt carried me on a wave of memory, back to an earlier life, within this life. I was a reporter again, basically under house arrest in the midst of a civil war in an African country. I was playing poker with an assortment of partners who included three very tough French mercenaries. I kept winning. I had won over $4,000 when a British friend whispered to me, "You'd better learn how to lose a few hands or they are going to kill you." I took his advice.
   I thought about how a sound, or a smell, or a taste can take us back to an earlier time, with all of our senses, like Proust's madeleine or the glint of silica in the steps of the Paris metro.
   I turned to my left to see what was going on with cards on this flight. The daughter was playing a kind of solitaire. She explained that it's called Hit or Miss, a game she played again and again on road trips as a kid.
    We shared a little of our lives with each other. She explained that she was an electrical engineer, a specialist in "failure analysis" who did hands-on inspection of faulty microchips (for example) to identify what had gone wrong. She liked the detective element, the forensics, in this line of work. She had recently been laid off, but clearly had skills that were marketable in many places. One sector where she would not look for a job, she said firmly, was the aviation industry. She would prefer not to know any more than she did about what can go wrong on planes.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Tail wags from the universe

Sometimes living by synchronicity is simply a matter of enjoying little tail wags from the universe.

1. We had a sweet border collie in my workshop group in southern France last weekend. She belonged to a member of the gathering and I invited her in when she made it clear she wasn't happy being left outside. She played an active role in our dream theater and walked behind me round the room as I drummed for our circle.

2. In a conference call on Friday, there was frequent barking in the background. The person at the end of the line apologized. I said, "Not at all, I love dogs. What kind of dog is trying to join the conversation?" A border collie. I reported that I had spent three days with a border collie in the French workshop and observed, "I think we are getting a tail wag from the universe." Our talk went really well.

3. In a line at a pet food store on Saturday, with a cart full of dog (and cat) food, I talked about this sequence. The man behind me in line just had to chime in, "I have a border collie." Another tail wag from the universe, and three times makes the charm.

Visions of the World Tree

This glorious image, titled "Roots in Heaven", is by French artist Annick Bougerolle. In many indigenous cultures there is the tradition of a tree between the worlds whose branches are actually rooted in the sky, making a ladder to what Aborigines call the World Up Top. In the adventures in shamanic dreaming that I lead, our early work often includes finding and rooting a Tree of Vision firmly in our imaginations and inner senses. We then proceed to use the tree as a portal for exploring the Lower World, the Middle World and the Upper World of the shamanic cosmos. 

World Tree by Annick Bougerolle

We were fortunate to have Annick with us at my recent workshop on exploring the multidimensional self at the Hameau de l'Etoile, the restored seventeenth-century stone village near St Martin de Londres in southern France where I lead many retreats. 

Tree Self-Portrait by Annick Bougerolle
Annick tells me that in one of her reveries, in that highly creative in-between state of consciousness the French call dorveille, she saw a great tree with an opening that looked inviting. However, instead of going through the hole into a world-beyond-the-world, as she has often done, she was thrilled to see interesting characters coming out of the tree and engaging in the world on this side. This fired her artist's imagination and she has been painting new images of the World Tree.

The Tree and the Mist by Annick Bougerolle
I have a special love for Annick's painting of "The Tree and the Mist". As anyone with a drop of Celtic blood knows, the mist is the veil between the worlds, and a way of crossing between them. The resemblance between the antlers of the deer and the branches of the tree is one of those deep mythic correspondences that is embedded in the French language, where the word bois means both "wood" and "antlers".
    I am delighted that Annick has given me permission to share some of her extraordinary work here. Please note that all these images are (c) Annick Bougerolle. Contact Annick via her website.