Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Around the turning of the year, I make time to look over old journals. This is part of the ongoing process of composing a life story. It also helps me to keep track of my dream double, and how far and wide he has traveled beyond the milder adventures of my waking self.
In my library, I am surprised and delighted to see that a shelf has been partly filled with white-covered booklets, in stacks facing outward. These booklets resemble large packets of seeds. The covers are somewhat spackled by time and weather. I have the impression that they have been brought out of old trunks and boxes, including boxes bequeathed to me by a scholar of an earlier generation in my family.
The first brochure I examine is on dreams, and contains the text of an ancient dream - possibly the dream of Scipio (recorded by
I am excited by the prospect of using these materials. I glance at the larger bookcase on my left, and notice that quite a range of books I had not noticed before (or were not there before) are now on the shelves, including a volume from the chunky Cambridge Medieval History series.
I find this a cozy and comforting dream in this winter season, when I am at home for a few weeks, reading wide and deep, and letting the seeds of ideas and stories germinate inside me.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I am Death. I bring a term to everything. I mock your vanities, yet I also give you the limits that make your achievements matter. I am your beginning as well as your end.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
The "dream hunters” of
The mazzeri do these things in dreaming, and the things they do are real. They may go out in the night, or they may leave their bodies during an afternoon siesta. They have a flair for bilocation, what the French call the dédoublement de la personnalité. You meet a mazzeru on a hillside, among the sheep, at an hour when his family swears he was asleep in bed.
The hunt takes place in a parallel world. In Corsican belief, the spirit of the dream hunter meets the spirit of his victim, a human who has assumed animal form. When he kills the animal, he severs the spirit from the victim's body. The human body of the victim may carry on for a time, but it is going to sicken and die.
The dream hunters themselves may take animal form - appropriately, the form of hunting dogs. The dream hunters don't seem to be regarded as evil or malicious; what they do is just a part of Corsican life, like the violence of a stream in flood.
This is all part of the night life depicted in a book by Dorothy Carrington titled The Dream-Hunters of Corsica. I can’t personally vouch for its content, and I’m not planning to check out these club-bearing night hunters any time soon. If I do, I'll take something larger than a dog with me. In a recent Italian documentary, the mazzeri are called facitori da morte ('death makers") and a type of European shaman.
Napoleon (and 43 of his generals) came from
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I strike fast, but before I strike I probe for the best way through the air currents, sending down feeders you cannot see.
I am drawn to oak trees, and to humans who have the quality of oak, hanging on to their foliage when other trees have shed theirs, standing tall, deep-rooted in earth, but always reaching for the sky.
I fall in love, as humans and spirits do. The humans I love best will be stroked by my fire and can read my movements in energy fields. They will be challenged, as others are, to ground my power safely, because I sometimes forget that these soft animals are weak vessels that need to conduct my force instead of holding it to themselves.
Connect with me, and you take on my speed, my ability to focus energy – and the challenge of remaining grounded and of passing on my gifts.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
As we walked on, the mountains around us seemed to lean in closer. Eve pointed up to where a hermit lives on a high ledge. There was wild beauty in the scene, but also a sense of something dark, from the past, that I found more and more oppressive. We came at last to the hollow between the mountains where the trail ends. The place is known in the langue d'Oc as Infernet, Little Hell.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
British-born sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor creates cities and societies under the sea. His art is compelling, though you may need a scuba outfit to see all of it.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
On my last night at l'Hameau de l'Etoile, the refurbished 17th century village in the south of France where I have been leading new adventures in Active Dreaming, I dreamed I was leading the group on a spiral dance through stables where powerful horses stamped and snorted their approval. As we danced, I improvised the words of a song with alternating verses in French and English. As I woke, the title of this dream was with me: "Le chanson des écuries du rêve" - "The Song of the Dream Stables."
Le rêve a laissé son manteau
de brume, de soie et du regret
Je marche entre la terre et l’eau
pour nettoyer à castanet
La lune m’a donné sa pleine face
J’encontre esprits de là-haut
Je dois assigner chacun à sa place
Le rêve a laissé son manteau
Les vents racontes légendes d’or
je glisse comme grue, je mange taureau
Je vive entre la mort et l’amour
Le rêve a laissé son manteau
A rough translation:
The dream has dropped its mantle of mist, of silk and of regret I walk between earth and water to cleanse with their percussive beat
The moon has given me her full face I have met spirits that come from there I must assign each to its rightful place The dream has dropped it mantleT
The winds narrate golden legends I glide as the crane, I eat the bull I live between love and Death The dream has dropped its mantle.
"Eating the bull" is no bull. Taureau is a preferred dish of the gardian, the cowboy of the Camargue, and I ate steak de taureau au fleur de sel in a restaurant named the House of the Moon Bull (Casa Toro Luna) on the square in the medieval town of Aigues Mortes.
Graphic: Illumination from an early collection of poems of Charles d'Orléans, depicting his time as a hostage in the Tower of London.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
The toll-free number for callers is (800) 555-5453. If you can't get through right away, try, try again. If you are calling from outside North America (or need a backup number because the 800 line is busy) alternative numbers are (310) 371-5459 and (310) 371-5444.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I like to start the day by opening a book at random and seeing what thought or message this sets before me. The book I use may be one of my own notebooks, or something that has recently landed on my desk through the machinations of the shelf elf, or an old favorite.
O Solomon! let us try again.
Monday, October 25, 2010
She is vast, like the continent itself. She sits under a great baobab tree in the center of the village marketplace. She is mountainous under the folds of her bright crimson dress. She wears a matching red headdress and heavy chains of gold around her neck. When people come for her counsel, she sometimes reaches for a gourd in which she keeps the cowrie shells and stones and bones that she casts on a well-brushed layer of powder inside her divining tray, to get a second opinion from the ancestral spirits. The top of the gourd has been cut so that it opens and closely like a box.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I am swimming in a very clean canal with green meadows to my left. I've been told that if I keep going this way I can swim directly to the great country house where a meeting will take place; the name of this house is something like "Cairncross".
I see a grey sheep grazing. It must be the size of an elephant. It has a black face, curly horns and black legs and the head is quite small in proportion to the vast body. I guess that sheep of this kind are bred for meat rather than wool. I remember being told that my hosts would roast an animal for dinner; maybe it will be a sheep like this.
The canal is getting quite shallow. Soon I can no longer swim without scraping my chest or belly against the gravelly floor. I get out and notice a large body of water to my right, perhaps a lake. I can just slide down the bank and continue my swim there.
Interruption: My 11-pound puppy wakes me up, barking for me to lift him back up on the bed.
Feelings: Intrigued. Frustrated at being pulled out of the dream.
Reality: I recall that in the Celtic immrama (voyage tales) you know you have reached the Otherworld when there is a dramatic shift in scale. For example, the voyagers come to an island with ants the size of calves.
Action: When my puppy is settled, snuggled down in the small of my back, I decide to reenter and continue the dream.
Easy to get back to the giant sheep and the canal. I go down the bank into the lake. The water is delightful, but I am soon aware that there are other inhabitants. I catch a glimpse of them. They are giant eels the size of treetrunks, armed with many rows of spiky teeth. They are blind, but are drawn to movement. I decide it's prudent to continue my journey along the edge of the lake.
I come to a rise and see, through woods, another body of water below me. A giant yellow fish, the size of a marlin, breaks surface and I decide that perhaps I won't be swimming here either. There's the back of a house visible through the trees. Maybe this is my destination.
I come to a gate in a high wire fence, and step through. This must be the back entrance. I pass a group of people eating what may be Thanksgiving Dinner. In contrast to the giant sheep, these people are smaller than ordinary human sized. The men are all dressed alike in longish black coats that remind me of butlers' livery. The woman are wearing copious country clothes, patterned like tablecloths.
They don't seem aware of my presence and I don't feel I have anything to learn from them.
I enter the house and find myself in a huge room that looks like the builders left it unfinished. The walls are untreated plasterboard and plywood. There are just a few sticks of furniture and a kitchen nook with very basic appliances and cupboards.
I become aware that a guide is present. I don't see him distinctly, but I sense he is larger than normal human size. However, even his gender is indistinct. I receive his thoughts directly. Our dialogue begins like this:
- Why is this room unfinished?
- It's waiting for you to choose the design and decor.
I think: I'd like a blue room. Instantly the walls are powder blue, hung with gilt-framed mirrors and set off with gilded boulle tables, very rococo French, with touches of Fragonard. I find the effect cloying, and substitute library colors and features, deep greens and cordovans.
This fooling around with room design is not why I am here. I remember now that I am seeking to learn more about how we can keep in touch with multiple personalities - all related within the multidimensional Self - who are living and acting in different times.
The Guide produces a sphere. It floats in midair, soft white and opaque.
- Go inside
It's as simple as thought. I project myself into the center of the sphere. Around me, in every direction, scenes from different lives in different times are playing, as if on multiple holographic movie screens. Sometimes an element from one of these life "movies" will bleed through into another movie. Sometimes what is going on in one of the lives can touch and influence all of them.
Photo: Gotland sheep
Monday, October 18, 2010
A sampling of one-liners from the road - which led me last weekend to a lodge up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, right on the Eastern Continental Divide, which felt like the right location, symbolically, for bridging several distinct groups that were present (Jungians and Christian ministers, dreamers and Native American ceremonialists).
Thursday, October 14, 2010
One of the neverending stories is about an ultimate book of secrets, a book containing all the secrets of the universe and the record of everything that has happened and can ever happen to human beings. All celestial and all earthly knowledge is recorded here.
It is the book out of which all things worth knowing can be learned, and all mysteries, and it teaches also how to call upon the angels and make them appear before men and answer all their questions. But not all alike can use the book, only he who is wise and God-fearing and resorts to it in holiness.
Some say the book “flew away” when Adam and Eve committed their transgression.
Others say that many of the angels were jealous that such powerful knowledge had been entrusted to the first human. The jealous angels stole the book and hurled it into the depths of the sea. To retrieve the book, God had to enlist the help of a primordial power of the deep: Rahab, the angel of the sea.
Quotations without other attribution are from Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews. 7 vols. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. Ginzberg is the indispensable source on Jewish angelology.
Friday, October 8, 2010
You found the courage
to turn on the tiger who pursued you
to fight with him hand to claw
to be swallowed and spat out
and to win through your losing
reforged in a shining body
worthy now to take his heart
and call him as your unswerving ally.
It is not enough.
Out of your yearning
you danced into worlds of enchantment
you drank from the breasts of the Goddess
where kisses flower into hyacinths
caresses stream into rivers of milk
every nerve ending is a partner in love
and hearts are never broken.
You discovered that dreaming is magic.
But it’s not enough.
As a confident traveler, you learned
to shrug off your bodyshirt
and ride the World Tree
as your private elevator
to soar through the face of the moon
dance with the Bear among the stars
to enter the sun behind the sun
and fly on wings of paradise over a fresh world.
You’re out there, but it’s not enough
Out of your calling
you braved the gates of the Underworld
and crossed the borderless river on your heartbeat
and tricked the Dark Angel in his own realm.
When you stood, defeated, before the impregnable walls
of Death itself, you raised a song from your heart and belly
that called help from the highest heaven
to pluck a soul from the cold recreation yard
where nobody plays new games.
But you must make the return journey.
The way back is full of diversions.
Some will detain you with pink kisses;
some will drag on you as drowning men
You’ll find the markers have been moved, or stolen.
Maybe you’ll have gone so deep, or so high
you can’t remember which world you left your body in.
Or you’ll rebel against returning to a world
where hearts are broken, and the earth defiled.
You will return. This is your soul’s agreement.
Now you have danced with the Bear
you will bring healing to the world of pain.
Now you have traveled the roads of soul
you will help the soul-lost to bring their children home.
Now you have flown as Apollo on a shining arrow
you will bring light into the shadow world.
Now you know the gates and paths of the Real World
you will make bridges for others.
You will bring it all home.
Returning, you will remember your mission:
To serve the soul’s remembering;
to go among people as dream ambassador
opening ways for soul to be heard and honored.
Let the world be your playground, not your prison.
Starchild ,plunge with delight into the warm, loamy Earth,
Renew the marriage of Earth and Sky,
Follow your heart-light, dance your dreams,
Commit poetry every day, in every way.
Now you are home.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
We don’t need to wait for death to remember what the soul knows: how and why we came into our present bodies, and where we will go when we leave them. Dreaming, we remember. We dream, perhaps, of death as a wedding, a cause for celebration as we move towards union with the beloved of the soul. I have dreamed of birth as a funeral.
I hear the high, keening voices of the mourners achingly beautiful. I have never heard music so lovely on Earth; I have heard its melancholy matched only in a fado café on an old cobbled street in
I pass before the High Ones, on their high thrones. They approve the choice I have made, and its price. They counsel me with sweet sternness not to drink too deep from the cup of forgetfulness on this side or the other. They bring forth the envoy who will track me, and will speak to me in my dreams, to help me not to lose my memory and purpose in the miasma of the Earth plane.
She escorts me to the Pivot of the Worlds. I enter the portal and descend, quick as thought, to a place on Luna I have used many times before. The Moon priest greets me with his archaic smile, unreadable in that pale, moon-round face. There are armed guards everywhere, with the heads of jackals and the muscled bodies of armored baboons. It seems conditions have deteriorated since my last visit. Luna has always been a mixed environment, a place of illusion and swirling cross-currents. It has now become an active theatre in the contest between rival forces contending for the soul of the Earth.
The Moon priest helps me into my body suit. Part of me recoils from this limiting, this confinement to such a primitive form, with only one organ of generation. Yet this body suit is flexible and moves with my thoughts. If I want to be a lion, it will take lion form. If I want to sprout wings or extra limbs or suckers, it can do that. It pulls back into its default mode – that of a biped that cannot eat and talk safely at the same time – when my attention wavers. But this confinement is nothing to what it will be to take on a body of flesh and bones in the world below.
I relax for a while in the pool on the high terrace. I look up at the blue-white star, high above in the sky. It is eons since the experiment on Earth began, and it is constantly imperiled. We keep coming, because we helped to begin the game and must play until the final round.
I wonder how much of this I will be able to remember this time, in an Earth body. I swim down to the bottom of the pool. The water streams faster and faster, sucking me into a funnel. I am on my way.
Adapted from The Dreamer's Book of the Dead (Destiny Books)