Friday, April 11, 2014

Wings of the hawk

Members of my dreaming family are helping me to put on the wings of a red-tailed hawk. They are perfectly fitted to my size, and are part of a full outfit. The plumage covers my chest, my back, and my whole head except for the face. Now the dreamers are helping me to put on the face mask. I notice the curve of the beak, and the enormous holes for the eyes. I shake out my wings and tilt forward. I lift up and fly over the furniture, laughing.
    Other dreamers have put on garments and power objects associated with their own allies among the bird tribes and the animal powers. We are together on the sacred mountain where we have gathered for seventeen years to deepen our practice as dream healers and dream ambassadors, to commune with the spirit of the land, and to share adventures in the multiverse. This is so right. There is such joy and excitement among us.

The joy and excitement stayed with me as I rose from this dream last night. 
    I was filled with gratitude for all that Hawk has shown me - and shown to others, through me - since I got in a car and drove 120 miles north of Manhattan in 1986. I was ready to change my life, and was seeking the right ways. I though they were likely to involve putting down deeper roots in my adopted country, living close to the land and its seasons. I had dreamed of an endless struggle that was finally resolved when I followed the counsel of an old poem - Antaeus-like, grow strong. In Greek mythology, Antaeus is the son of Ge, or Gaia, our ancient Mother Earth. Whenever he is thrown in a fight, he rises with renewed and even greater strength, because of his renewed contact with Earth.

So on my very first weekend in what I learned to call "upstate" New York, I found a falling-down farmhouse on many acres. Half the land was virgin woodland that had never heard the sound of an ax. When I sat under an old white oak behind the house and watcheda red fox trotting to or from his earth at the edge of a cornfield, I knew this was the right place. But in rational terms, a snap decision to move to this area, where I knew no one, too far to commute to the City, seemed nuts. I needed a confirming sign. As I leaned my back against the oak, a red-tailed hawk came circling overhead, squalling at me in a language I felt I would be able to understand if only I spoke hawk. She dropped a feather between my legs. It was the clincher; I bought the property.

    In the farmhouse, in nights of adventure, I found myself rising from my sleeping body in a second body equipped with the wings of the hawk. It was on hawk's wings that I flew to the ancient arendiwanen ("woman of power") and atetshents ("dreamer") I have called Island Woman in my books. She began my instruction in ways of dreaming and healing that went far beyond anything I had heard about in Western society. She insisted that I learn her language, an archaic form of Mohawk laced with Huron. I discovered that she had an historical identity. She lived in the early 1700s, captured as a child from the Hurons and adopted by the Mohawk people, who eventually raised her up to be Mother of the Wolf Clan.
    In night visions and shamanic journeys over all the years since then, I have found myself flying on the wings of the hawk to perform rescue missions, to scout out the possible future, and to enter the sacred realm of the Peacemaker, from whom we learn that we must seek to heal the minds of our enemies rather than kill them.
    When I have been uncertain of my way, or have simply needed further confirmation, hawk has appeared on the roads of my life in quite literal ways. A hawk going my way is always a good sign for me. So is a hawk having a good breakfast on roadkill, or something livelier. Once, when I was leading a fire ceremony above a waterfall in the western Connecticut woods, a red-tailed hawk came circling overhead, dropping lower and lower, screaming at me like the one above the white oak at the farm. There was again the gift of hawk feathers, not from the bird itself but from a man who had come from Akwesasne, the Mohawk reservation on the Canadian border. He chose this moment to offer me hawk feathers as a gift from Island Woman's descendants.
    We'll gather again on the sacred mountain this weekend. I look forward to fulfilling the dream of putting on the wings - and keen vision - of the hawk again, where my second self met some of his dreaming family last night.

Drawing: "Dreaming in Hawk". (c) Robert Moss.

1 comment:

Sue said...

You are even more of a seasoned traveller in the dreamsphere than in the physical sphere. It's very exciting :) I have always felt like I am rather well-travelled even though I have not left my country (yet) and though I have trouble remembering my dreams. I am sooo enjoying Dreaming the Soul Back Home. Thanks, Robert :)