Monday, November 27, 2017

The dream that is a song that is a road



Dreams bring us images and energy for healing and revitalizing our lives. These gifts may be delivered through the vehicle of a song.
    My Celtic ancestors lay in tomb-like spaces in the dark, sometimes with heavy stones on their bellies, hoping for the gift of awen - poetic inspiration - to burst through in song.
    For the Temiar-Senoi people of the Malaysian rainforest, the greatest gift of a dream is the kind of song they call a norng. The word literally means a "roadway". The dream song can open a road between the worlds. It can also help to open a path through the thickets and obstacles of everyday life.
    In the Mohawk language, which my dreams required me to study, the word for song is karenna, which literally means "I am putting forth my power." In my book Dreamways of the Iroquois, I describe the experience of a Mohawk grandmother of the Turtle Clan who received a healing song in a dream and was able to transfer its energy to a whole circle. As she sang, the veils between the worlds thinned. The whole group became vividly aware of the presence of spirits of the land, including Great Turtle, a form of the teacher of the Deep in the Iroquoian tradition.
    I have been gifted with many songs in my dreams. Sometimes I have to reenter a dream in order to capture all of the words and elements. Once I awakened from a dream in which I was bouncing across lush grass towards an immense tree that resembled a beech. I knew, in the dream, that secrets of life were waiting for me in a world below the roots of that tree. And that there was an entry price. To enter the gate of this tree, I must bring a song. When I rose from my dream, I had the music of this song humming in my mind, but not the words.
    Urgent to move with the dream, I called a close friend who has traveled with me in the way of the shamans over many years. "Can you come over at once? I need you to drum for me." She jumped in her car and was with me in less than an hour.
    As she drummed, I traveled back into my dream. I enjoyed the springiness of the grass under my bare feet, the clean smell of woods and water. Over the drumming, through the drumming, I hummed the little hum that had stayed with me after the original dream. Now the words came too:


Praise and serve the Mother
and let her grace unfold
Praise and serve the Mother
and re-enchant the world. *

The way to the world of our Great Mother Earth now opened to me, through the roots of a world tree. I was healed and nourished in her generous embrace. I found specific guidance, for myself and others, in a kind of creative cave that opened to me, within her realm. This is a place to which I have returned, again and again, to restore my inner compass and replenish my energy.
     The dream song may be a wing song, a song that can help you journey beyond the body, into other worlds, at any time you choose. My dreams have given me many songs of this kind, some of which I share with the circles I lead to power our group shamanic adventures.
     One morning I woke with this song streaming in my mind:

We are sleeping till we're dreaming
We are dreaming till awakening
We're awakening for our homecoming
      into the Land

Anxious that I might lose the tune, I phoned two friends and sang it to them over the line. One made a recording; the other had her musician husband listen in and write down the notes. We have sung this song in many of the adventures I have led since the dream, including our shamanic gathering up on a mountain in the New York Adirondacks last weekend.
     In the Celtic way, we sing to call lost spirit home. In some of the old tales, a part of soul that has left the body is up in a tree, in the form or a bird, and must be charmed by the power of the right song into returning to the heart and the body of the person. In recent gatherings, I have encouraged participants to go to a special tree, with a special song, and call back whatever parts of their spirit may need to come into their bodies and their current lives - a child part lost when the world seemed very cruel, a counterpart personality from another time, an aspect of a greater Self, a bright shining winged soul.
     But what if you have no song?
     Sometimes it will be gifted to you. We have journeyed on wings borrowed from the old ones - songs of the Highland and Islands, and of W.B.Yeats, chants from Africa and Native America, through Baltic dainas and Romanian doinas, rhythms of the orishas. We also share the fresh songs that come through members of our dreaming family. On the way to a workshop on Celtic Dreaming that I was leading, my friend Wanda Burch shared a marvelous song for soul healing that had come to her.

I am calling my spirit back home

She readily agreed to invite the group to use this when they traveled to the special tree to call spirit back home. It worked like a charm then, and has been charming spirits ever since.


Picture: Path of magic at Mosswood Hollow, where I lead many of my retreats in North America.

2 comments:

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