Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dream telepathy, with bears

I spent Saturday at Stillpoint, a wonderful small retreat center in the woods near Saratoga Springs, New York. It's been my habit, over many years, to lead a playshop here at this time of year titled "Dreaming at Midwinter", in which we honor the ancient traditions of the First Peoples of this area, who were the Kanienkehaka, or Mohawk Indians. We opened the circle by offering tobacco to the spirits of the land and by singing (in English) a traditional Mohawk song for calling in the Bear, as guardian and healer.

The Bear was very much with us in the initial sharing. One woman spoke of a close-up encounter with a large mother bear and her cubs during a hike in the woods. Others spoke of how bears had appeared in their dreams. I thought of how many times Bear has played the role of protector and medicine animal in my own life and practice since I first came to North America.
It felt right to lead the group on a shamanic journey, into the realm of Great Mother Bear. In a standing meditation, I had everybody find their connection with a special tree, a tree that knew them. I suggested that during the drumming, we would all travel down through the roots of the tree, down into a Cave of Earth where we would encounter Mother Bear and receive healing and life direction. This journey prospered. Every member of our circle returned with thrilling narratives and great gifts.
The woman who had previously met a bear on the trail reported that Mother Bear received her into a loving embrace and later combed her hair, with gentle care, with her great claws. After this, she felt energized, able to move forward with clear direction on a new phase in her professional and creative work. I was struck by how closely her experience of Bear combing her hair matches a Mohawk tradition of cleansing and freeing the mind. In the real Hiawatha story, when Hiawatha (as agent of the Peacemaker) at last overcomes the tyrant-sorcerer Tododaho, instead of killing his adversary he cleanses and heals him by combing the snakes of evil intention from his hair, and then raises him up to join the council of the "men of good minds".
Among the journeyers who met Mother Bear was a wonderful man whose father had been born and raised in Kaunas, Lithuania. He was amazed and delighted when I told him that next March I will be leading a workshop in Kaunas, a fine old city that stands at the junction of two rivers. He recalled that his father used to invoke the name of Perkunas, the fierce Baltic god of thunder, in an ancient curse - "May Perkunas blast you!" I told him about the remarkable work of the Lithuanian artist Arvydas Kazdailis, who has been bringing the mythic past and the tragic history of the Baltic alive. In one of Kazailis' etchings for a beautiful edition of The Chronicles of Prussia he depicts Perkunas as a cosmic bear, with lots of action going on within his giant form.
When I drove home, I found an email message from my friend in Lithuania who is coordinating my workshop in Kaunas. "I dreamed you were wearing dark blue," she reported. "You grew huge, like a storm god or a Tibetan wrathful deity. Your features changed, and I realized you had turned into a giant bear, a dark blue bear. You were surrounded by people dancing in the woods." I checked the time difference and noted that she dreamed this while - unknown to her, outside the dream - I was leading our group journey into the Cave of the Bear, dressed in dark blue. Not bad for dream telepathy across the big pond.
The graphic is an etching of Perkunas by Arvydas Kazdailis in his edition of Prusijos zemes kronika ("The Chronicles of Prussia").


Wanda Burch said...

The etching of Perkunas is striking! And I love the journey stories.

Coincidentally - while your playshop was in progress - I was reading a new issue of National Wildlife, the feature story on the Kermode "Spirit Bear," a species of black bear, a percentage of them white [not albino but genetically white], that live on the coast of British Columbia and, like many creatures, struggling with threats to their environment. The Kermode Spirit Bear is a beloved sacred animal to the First Nations of Canada, the ghostly white "black" bear appearing in their dreams and mythology. The article commented that the Kermode white bear catches more salmon and hunts better than the Kermode black bear because the fish see no reflection in the water when the white bear scoops in for a fistful of salmon.

Robert Moss said...

The Synchron-O-city Beast (in this case, Bear) is out again, because the Great Mother Bear I encountered in Saturday's journey was a giant creamy white bear (as she has appeared in the past). I love the suggestion that the white Kermode bears ctach more salmon because the fish do not see their reflection in the water - andx must therefore, indeed, be moving like spirits.

Don said...

I relate to what you said here.

A bit of a coincidence, perhaps, but last night I had two consecutive dreams of a bear. In the first dream the bear was leading the way through the woods. In the second dream the bear was performing a ritual which included going around in a circle. In both dreams the bear was pointing straight ahead with its right "hand." I assume it was pointing "the way." Other parts of the dreams suggested that "the way" was my life path and that I must follow the bear, or the way of the bear.

Perhaps this is still another coincidence, but yesterday I was out in the woods for a short hike. I was surprised to find myself thinking of bears because I have never seen a bear in those woods. Bears would be hibernating now, anyway. But the feeling of bears being close to me was strong. It is like their spirits were there with me. Perhaps they were. Perhaps that experience is what triggered my dreams last night.

Thank you for posting the wonderful stories about bears. Your stories reached me.

Alla said...

Thanks for reminding of a country I lived 10 years in, Robert! By the way, Kirill, whom you know now, and who received his own message twice at your playshop, was born there. :-)

The bear came to me at about midnight between last Friday and Saturday. I was performing dream reentry after having had a disturbing and unclear dream last Thursday night. During reentry I called my husband by name, and a biiiiig bear came. At one fling he wiped out everything and everybody from my previous dream, insisting on the fact that all of those were not good for me, and then we had a talk. The funniest part of it was – he talked exactly like the bear-man you described, whom you encountered near the blueberry bushes, “dropping the syllables”. I always compared my husband with a bear - and here he came! Not exactly at the time of your playshop, but pretty close.

Is there anything particular in associating with the Bear in a dream, or He defines it himself?

Robert Moss said...

Alla, I love your visitation with the BIG bear, and the way he helped close the door on the old dream with the old history that's not wanted any more. The Bear is the great medicine animal of Native America, and I have come go notice that when people are scared of bears in their dreams they are often running away from their own power and their own healing.

The Bear can be fierce of course! In my post for January 2 this year I describe a big dream of personal healing in which my neck was held in a vice-like grip by a giant Mother Bear for four days.

Because dreams are individual, the bear in someone else's dream is not necessarily the bear in yours or mine. The bear could represent someone in the dreamer's life who is bear-like (maybe an aspect of the dreamer herself) in many different senses. There is the medicine bear, but there is also the fierce warrior evoked by the ancient fighters who went raging into battle "berserk", which literally means wearing ths skin of the bear. So as always discernment is essential!

Robert Moss said...

Don, I would certainly be ready to trust a bear that was showing me the way as you describe. In a recent vision of my own, my heart was opened and renewed and sealed up again, at which point a bear as big as a mountain, looming above a waterfall, placed his great paw over my heart and signalled that I must follow the way of the bear shaman, which - it came to me - involves "the care and relocation of souls." Hard not to follow such clear directions!

Laura said...

Thank you Robert for the guidance with Great Mother Bear. The journey we took on Saturday to the tree and down into her den, then to experience her combing my hair and to allow her to support and embrace me as well as cleanse my thoughts will add power to my next steps personally and professionally...

I look forward to the next playshop.

Blessing of the Great Bear were so present with us on Saturday glad to know it was felt around the world. The print from Lithuania is beautiful. Thank you!


Robert Moss said...

Hi Laura, It was a great day, wasn't it? Fueled in part by the energy of your Bear connection. Since posting this blog picee, I have received more than 20 reports of significant dreams of the Bear that people connected with the dream school had on Friday night/Saturday last, on the eve of our bjourney or around the same time. A woman in California, dreaming while we were journeyeying, saw a great Mother Bear with cub in a landscape that included "Russian mausoleum buildings", which suggests the double connection of Bear+Baltic (since Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union until 1991, is home to many Russians, and has had shifting borders with Russia over the centuries).

Unknown said...

My 14 yr old son told me a story today of how when he was a little boy of about 3, he was lying in his bed and a Bear came to his bedroom window and stood watching him. The Bear was more curious than scary. My son always thought this was 'real' until he was older and 'realized' that bears did not live in our old suburban neighborhood, and his room was on the 2nd floor. Bears can't peek in windows of that height. Or can they??

Anonymous said...

I am charmed by the synchronicity of this bear stream with a rather special recent bear cub birth - has anyone else seen the video of Lily the bear (lives in the wild in Minnesota) giving birth to a cub a few days ago?

The video is posted on YouTube - type in Lily the bear cub's birth, or something similar - if you care to view. Apparently the birth of a bear cub has never been caught on film before. The fellow who studies bears in that area is called The Bearwalker, I believe (Prof. Lynn Rogers).

It all just seems to rhyme, some how.

Robert Moss said...

Ginta - Yes, it is amazing to see that tiny black bear cub start to come out. I did not know about this vdeo until dreamers alerted me to it after I posted "Dream telepathy, with bears". These Bear woods are getting deeper, since a key part of the assignment I gave the group on Saturday, before the decsent to MOther Bear, was to find and experience "what you are ready to birth in your lives, as the bear gives birth in her cave."

Truly, life rhymes and there are things that like to happen together.

Robert Moss said...

Susan, I am charmed by your son's expereince of the BIG bear looking in his second-floor window. I hope both of you will write this up in your journals.

Then, many years from now, you can check on a possibility I would mention to my son (if he were mine) only then: that he encountered a form of his own future power. I'm thinking now of a dream in which I was startled by the sight of a bear as tall as a high-rise building, moving on two legs along a road in a valley far below. When I reentered the dream, I found that the giant bear was a shadow cats by the moon behind my shoulders. I had not realized the Bear energy with me had grown so BIG :-)

Irène said...

Dark Blue Mountain
Water, water still before rain
Quiet rain
Quiet sun, dancing sun
Sleepy sun, hidden moon
Inside moon
Quiet moon
Blue Bear Moon

I feel kind of silly writing my poem but it seems appropiate for I wrote it last weekend during a Gabrielle Roth's Wave danse workshop. Gabrielle's dance is a shaman's dance and this weekend was dedicated to "quietude", one of the five qualities/elements that impulses mouvement. It's the winter phase, a dance to explore slow inner mouvement, active suspension, assimilation & gentle cleansing.

I read "Dream telepathy with bears" just before going off to the workshop (which took place in an old silk mill overlooking the Gange - not the river in India, but a town, once famous for it's silk production, in France).

I have no recollection of dreaming of bears (with the single exception of a rough encounter with a great Grizzly that ripped out the insides of a "stupid guy") and have always admired people who dream of them for I know what bears mean to me.

But last weekend, at the end of January, Bear came to me in a waking dream and I danced her about feeling my huge, heavy paws pounding on honey colored parquet.

And on Saturday evening, sleeping in the attick of the silk mill, looking up through a roof window, the full moon was brilliantly white and in the intricate, snow cristal patterns that dusted and stuck to the window pane, I thought I saw Perkunas' etching. And so gently rocking my head back and forth on my pillow, I saw her dance and thought, "this, is a bear dream!"

Robert Moss said...

Thanks for sharing this silken account, Irene. "Blue Bear Moon" is a provocative phrase. Some of us have dreamed of blue bears (long prior to the Avatar effect :-) As you are coming to know, Bear is an extraordinary ally in protection and healing, and I continue to learn about how that plays in the collective dreams of humanity. Besides Perkunas in the modern artist's vision, for example, there is a primal Baltic form of the Great Goddess - named Laime in Lithuania - that has been closely associated with Mother Bear for as far back as we can trace.

I think I will now need to look for Bear tracks - as well as all the others - in the imaginal history of France. For now, I'll just quote what Flaubert wrote to a friend when he was settling in to work on a novel: "Il faut vivre comme un ours." I have that quote on the desk where I write.