Friday, May 20, 2016

The first dreamer

Not long after the creation of this world, the Creator became disgusted with the behavior of the people he had made. He went back to the Sky World, leaving humans to the darkness and confusion they had chosen to inhabit.
    In their benighted condition, no longer able to talk with God or walk in the spirit realms, people forgot who they were. They mated with peccaries and anacondas and lived as they did, and before long they thought they were wild pigs and water snakes and acted accordingly. They forgot they had human souls, and counterparts in higher orders of being.
    The man named Medatia began to dream. He dreamed sitting on a bench in his thatched hut. He dreamed do strongly that a hole opened up in the roof of his house. He went whirling upward, through the hole, through an opening in the sky.
    When Medatia passed through the clouds and entered the first of the upper worlds, he was unable to understand anything that was going on around him. He encountered beings in various forms — animal and human, godlike and beyond naming — but could not comprehend who they were or what they were saying, until they changed his sight and hearing.
    With new eyes and new ears, he was able to enter a succession of higher realms. He was cleansed and made new in a lake of blue fire. In each of the upper worlds he encountered powerful beings who were intimately related to him. They taught him their songs.
    When he returned to earth, Medatia was not the same. He had become the first shaman, the first of the great dreamers of his people.
    He was saddened to see how low his people had fallen. He made it his mission to open their eyes, to awaken them to the knowledge of what it is to be human.
    Night after night, while people were sleeping, Medatia called their dream-souls out of their bodies and instructed them, one by one. When the dream-souls returned to the sleepers, they reminded them that they were not meant to live their lives like pigs or snakes. One by one, awakened by their dream selves, Medatia’s people returned to their villages and began to live again as human beings.
    There is nothing wrong with anacondas or peccaries. But there is something wrong with a human who lives like a peccary or a snake and has no larger purpose.

This beautiful teaching story comes from the Makiritare, a native people of Venezuela.  It is used in the education of apprentice shamans. It gives rich insight into how dreaming can help us recover soul and the soul's purpose. We dream to awaken to who we are. And it is the strong dreamers — the shamans — who can heal the wound between Earth and Sky.

Adapted from Dreamgates: Exploring the Worlds of Soul, Imagination and Life Beyond Death by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.

Image: shaman rattle from Venezuela in author's private collection.

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