Monday, June 16, 2014

Life rhymes, and it hisses

Ann Arbor, Michigan

On Sunday morning, in the midst of leading a workshop titled "Dreaming Like an Egyptian" in Ann Arbor, I stopped for breakfast at a Whole Foods store. As I munched my mini-baguette - my favorite breakfast - I talked to my coordinator and a couple of wonderful dreamers who were attending the workshop about the significance of snakes in the Egyptian maps of the Otherworld. Snakes appear all over - as adversaries, as protectors, or simply as guardians whose function is to make us brave up and prove we are ready to progress to the really good stuff.
    When Ra journeys on his solar boat, accompanied by Creative Utterance (Hu), Insight (Sia) and Magic (Heka) he is shielded and enclosed by the Mehen serpent, whose name means the Enveloper. He is opposed by the cosmic adversary, Apophis, also depicted as a serpent, of the world-devouring kind.
    The Egyptians symbolized awakened psychospiritual power with the wadjet, or uraeus serpent, the cobra that features on the crowns of pharaohs. The raised head evokes the opened third eye of vision and the ability to operate from this center.
    Wadjet is also a snake goddess, patron of Lower Egypt, protector of kings and of Horus, closely allied - in evolving mythology - with both the cat goddess Bast and the vulture goddess Nekhtet. Her name means "papyrus-colored".
     We spoke of our own associations with snakes, and the many different ways they can figure in dreams. We talked of the snake's power to shed its skin, and of the importance of the serpent as a symbol for the vital energy of life, the kundalini force, and in medicine and healing.
     After half an hour of this lively, serpentine conversation, it was time to move on to open day two of the workshop. I reflected on how, in our opening session, we had called the serpent energy up through the soles of the feet, through the energy centers of the body, to open the third eye. I had invited our adventurers to do the full Egyptian by picturing the wadjet cobra at the vision center, and then rising from there to fly above the landscape like a bird.
     In the parking lot, right in front of us, we discovered a sleek, powerful convertible painted Egyptian blue. On the front was a silver cobra. On a side panel was a larger cobra that seemed to quiver, ready to strike, against the mirror-bright surface of the car. I walked round the back and found the cobra again, in a crest, and the make of the car. I was looking at a Shelby GT 500. Later research tells me that this is a high performance version of the Ford Mustang, retail price around $55,000, advertising slogan: Coiled and ready to strike.

    Life rhymes, and it hisses.

Synchronicity continued to snake through my Ann Arbor weekend.
    In the last exercise on Sunday morning, I led the group on a deep journey into the afterlife with the dual intention of having timely and helpful communication with someone on the Other Side - a departed loved one, an ancestor, a guide to these realms - and of learning about conditions and transitions of the soul after death. We used an Egyptian gate for the journey, boarding a boat for the crossing. We invoked strong guidance and protection. Each traveler was coached to name herself in the presence of the gatekeepers and to give a clear statement of intention.
    The journey was deep and powerful. One of our dreamers was moved by an immediate encounter with her grandmother, Mildred, who guided her to others. One episode in the journey had shaken the dreamer. She met a version of herself who had died in a parallel reality, years before.
     We talked about her experiences as we crossed the courtyard in front of the Michigan League, past the Triton fountain, under the big clock tower, on the way to lunch.
     We stopped to inspect an extraordinary monster drawn in chalk, with artistry and care, on the paving slabs. The inscription read: Mildred, are you sure this haunted house was rated wholesome family fun?     
      It hardly seemed possible that an unknown chalk artist had left a strange message addressed to "Mildred" and involving the dead for us to find right after our dreamer had met her dead grandmother Mildred.
     The story got even better. After lunch, I learned that another workshop participant had talked to the chalk artist when he was creating his picture and message the previous evening. He told her he was inspired by dreams of his deceased mother 
Mildred turning into various strange beasts.
When synchronicity strikes, the universe gets personal, and you know it.

photos (c) Robert Moss