Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Keys of the Goddess

I am back from a trip to England, leading a retreat at a lovely center on the Connecticut shore. On Sunday, I made the long trek here from a country hotel in a Somerset villlage with the unlikely name of Limpley Stoke, via Heathrow and JFK. The energy of the group, in our evening gathering was wonderful, and combined with the gentle sea breeze blowing in from Long Island Sound, it erased any sense of fatigue. When I turned in that night, my intention was to dream for the group for the week of adventures in active dreaming and healing that we would share. This is the dream I caught:
Keys of the Goddess
A beautiful dark-haired younger woman gives birth to a series of islands. Each is the size of a hamlet, with a single road running through the middle and green hills and sandy beaches on either side. The roads may join up, forming a causeway through this little archipelago.
This woman fills me with joy and love. My perspective shifts back and forth. I sit talking with her, lightly stroking her hands. There is no sexual feeling here. Rather, I am quietly supporting her, encouraging her to continue the birthing. From time to time, I swoop down in my awareness and examine what is happening in the archipelago that is being born from within her.
I woke with feelings of pure joy, with a sense of blessing that I had been able to support this birthing.-
The way the islands popped out reminded me of how new islands pop up in the Pacific, pushed up by volcanic activity, sometimes in lines that follow the pattern of shifting tectonic plates. The road through the dream archipelago also reminded me of the highway that joins the Florida Keys. Yet these, clearly, were not literal islands. -
I did not recognize the mother of the islands in ordinary life. I reflected that are many women in the group I am leading this week. Some are mothers. Many - and this felt quite significant - do not have children and are unlikely or unable to give birth now in a literal sense. They are all keenly interested in giving birth to new things in their lives in another sense.
I felt a keen desire to share the abounding energy and joy of this dream with the group. On our first morning together, in view of the gentle waters of the Sound and the lighthouse islands midway in the channel, I recounted the dream and invited the members of our circle to explore it with me, in a group journey powered by drumming.
In this shared experience of group dream travel, many of our dreamers were seized with the importance of the fact that the new born islands are literally a string of islands. One dreamer saw them as a string of pearls, another as a necklace of the Goddess. In my own reentry, I saw the causeway between the islands as a kind of rope that kept them linked and safely bobbing together. One of the key things I discovered about my dream islands is that when they come out they are floating. They are not yet rooted in the ocean floor and have not yet taken on definitive and individual form. They are in a state of immense creative malleability, offering extraordinary space to those who will claim it.
In my reentry, the Goddess figure wore a bracelet of Greek keys and a thumb ring bearing the wheat sheaf of Demeter, the great, ever-abundant, Earth Mother. I thought of the Greek myth of the birth of Apollo and Artemis. They were born on a floating island (Delos); only after their delivery was the island rooted in the sea bed. I once wrote a poem "Birth of Apollo" that begins:
I cannot be born on solid ground
Only where everything flows
Surely this is a condition for high creativity - to be able to risk floating out, without stable anchorage, into an unknown sea. Yet in our group dreaming we found that there was strength and buoyancy in the "string" that joins the floating islands, which for some of our voyagers expanded into a web of islands stretching far in all directions. Perhaps this is a service we can rendeer for each other, wherever we are willing to support each other's creative growth and dreams of life: to provide the web of connection that helps everyone to stay afloat as we venture further beyond the maps, across the unknown sea.


Worldbridger said...

You might find additional inspiration by contemplating the tarot card The Empress. In the BOTA version the empress is pregnant, she wears a string of pearls around her neck, has a crown of twelve stars above her head and at her feet is a field of wheat. The Hebrew letter associated with this card is Daleth, the door.

In Paul Foster Case's book, The Book of Tokens, comes the following interpretation (this is a small sample) ...

I am the knowledge of the wise,
And in me the ignorance of the foolish hath its root.
From me come forth all conditions --
The evil as well as the good.
Without the setting of metes and bounds
There is no bringing forth,
And thus there can be no creation without seeming evil.

Carol Davis said...

This is beautiful and powerful. The birthing of something new can feel like volcanic activity. To have someone standing by, encouraging and supporting is precious indeed.

I like the perspective of seeing from above and swooping down in awareness. The ability to shift perspective offers new views and new possibilities.

I love the web of islands, of "I lands" afloat, yet connected, rich with possibilities for new growth.

Wanda Burch said...

I have always been drawn to islands, although I'm not sure I would want to live on one. Even though I walk on firm ground when I'm on an island, there is always some part of me that recognizes that I'm on an island, whether it is floating or has been attached for centuries. The air, the earth, the vegetation, everything feels more fluid.

I'm always interested in the stories of residents who face dilemmas of how to move things they live with on or off an island or sometimes, on more distant and less populated islands, how they stock necessary supplies for survival through difficult weather periods. All of those stories resonate as life stories, almost like dream stories, when I hear them. They certainly resonate with your latest journey on choices.

I am also reminded of a humorous story from a few years ago when floods affected not only the Mohawk River but all the small rivers and lakes in the Mohawk Valley. A recently retired friend - Bonnie - had renovated a house on a small reservoir lake about 15 minutes outside Gloversville, New York. The flooding moved the waters of the lake higher than Bonnie had ever seen, but her house was safe. There was a tiny tiny island in the reservoir lake, and, on the island was a single tree surrounded by a rare plant that bloomed several times in the warm months. Bonnie loved to take her canoe out to the island and paddle around the little island, breathing in the fragrance of the beautiful plant. After the flood waters had receded, Bonnie walked down to the water's edge and discovered that the force of the rising water had detached the island from it's long held mount in the middle of the reservoir and had moved it over in a space just between her and her neighbor. Because she loved that island so much and because she was thrilled that it was now close, Bonnie looked around, grabbed her canoe and tried to shove the island just a wee bit closer so it would be completely attached to her land. No luck. It had already firmly reattached itself to its new found space. Not so far away, but she would have to share ownership! There is a metaphor in that image too, isn't there?

Robert Moss said...

Wordbringer - Yes, if I were to store my "Mother of the Islands" dream report in one of the memory palaces of the Tarot (a practice I have encouraged in my own past courses in Tarot) I would probably choose the Empress trump as the address. However, what is so exciting in the dream is the absolute freshness and spontaneity of the vision and the energy that blows in like a sea wind with that.

Carol, yes - there is a molten lava feel to birthing new creations, and like you I hear "I-land" in "island".

Wanda, I love your story of Bonnie trying to push her island back into place.

Unknown said...

Reminds me of the phrase "on island time" . The rock of a boat on a mooring. Walking over grassy hills and sandy beaches. The scent of salt air. And yes, lots of dreaming....
from cloud 9