Thursday, November 6, 2014

Shaman as dreamer: talking with Sandra Ingerman

Sandra Ingerman is one of the most authentic and important shamanic teachers and practitioners I know, and one of those who has done most to instruct us on why soul leaves the body and what we may need to do to get it back and keep it home. I traveled to the Boston area back in 1991, soon after her seminal Soul Retrieval was published, to attend one of her workshops. I felt immediate trust; here was a person without masks, a person of integrity wholly devoted to her calling. I was also delighted to meet a dreamer. Sandra spoke of how dreams had guided her own life, and suggested that workshop participants should ask for dreams on the first night in preparation for performing and receiving soul retrieval the next day. 
      When I visited Sandra in Santa Fe after that workshop, she talked about a dream in which she had received profound healing. In chronic pain because of a condition no treatment had cured, she prayed for a healing dream. It did not come overnight. She renewed her prayer, night after night, for more than a month. At last she dreamed that a Native American man emerged from behind the sofa in her living room, holding a translucent blue rattle. He pointed the rattle at the part of her body where she was in pain. He shook the rattle over that place until the pain in her dream body was gone. When she woke from the dream, the pain in her physical body had also gone. When I recalled this episode to Sandra recently, she told me she had remained free of pain. One of the lessons of that experience, we agreed, is the need for persistence. If you don’t get what you are asking for overnight, try again, and again.
      A dream provided the spur for Sandra to write her second book, Welcome Home, which is about what we need to do to keep soul in the body after we have done some deep work. A message repeated in dreams over several years insisted on a basic requirement for healing: “The success of any healing is the ability of the client to receive the healing.” She “really got it,” she reports, when she was able to feel fully, in the dream state, what it is like to receive healing energy” on a cellular level.
      After her first visit to Egypt, a being from the collective mind of ancient Egypt followed her home. He was Anubis, familiar to every child who has ever been in the Egyptian room of a museum as a figure with the head of a dog or jackal. For ancient Egyptians (and those who find themselves connected to this tradition) Anubis is a great Gatekeeper, an opener of the ways between the worlds, and a patron of dreaming and astral travel. 
      In a dream, Anubis introduced himself to Sandra as “the god that guards the levels between the worlds”. He instructed Sandra that there was a missing piece in her work: the missing key was” transfiguration”. Though students of the New Testament (and Harry Potter fans) will be familiar with the word, Sandra did not recall having heard it before the dream. The prompt from her dream Anubis led her to discover that transfiguration means shapeshifting on levels beyond her prior shamanic practice. It means the practice of raising and projecting light, as Jesus infused his disciples with light.
      Sandra Ingerman’s 1997 novel, A Fall to Grace, unfolds as a series of dreams within dreams. The protagonist leaves her body on an operating table under anesthesia and travels through various portals to many locales in nonordinary reality, meeting a series of guides, tests and initiations.  The opening scene of the novel was delivered to Sandra in a conscious dream.
     As she recalls, “I was suffering from a terrible flu. I decided to go to bed in my home in Santa Fe and stay there for a few days until I had to get in the car to drive to Boulder to lead a workshop at the end of that week. I was burning up with fever, a man appeared to me and told me to start the book with my character in the O.R. about to have surgery for cancer, a disease I never had myself. Then an earthquake knocks out power to the hospital, while my character is thrown into other worlds. The man said, Now get up and write it down. I didn’t want to get up. I was sick, But he kept at me till I got up and wrote the scene. Then I had my first three pages.”
      As Sandra follows her way, as soul healer, champion of Earth and as dreamer, her work has deepened and expanded. She has dedicated herself to helping to transmute the toxic energies in our lives and our world. She has pledged herself to bringing light to those around her. In her personal creation myth, “the light created humans to play” and gave them a great gift: “the opportunity for spirit to have a body.”  When we remember this, and embody it, we will cease to cause harm to ourselves and others.
      While Sandra wrote in Soul Retrieval twenty years ago that soul retrieval is “not a self-help technique” she has noticed that, more and more, people are finding self-help in this area anyway, through their dreams, both in dreams that they ask for and dreams that come anyway. “People are retrieving vital essence in dreams, and the energy is with them afterwards, so the process is complete.”
      This has been my own experience, in teaching the arts of active dreaming over the same period Sandra has been teaching soul retrieval and growing her Medicine for the Earth. She observes, “The veils between the worlds are getting thinner as we evolve consciously. When your psyche is rising, your dream world is going to respond. As you set the intention of being healed, your dreaming evolves and what needs to be retrieved is accomplished, in dreaming.”

Text adapted from Dreaming the Soul Back Home: Shamanic Dreaming for Healing and Becoming Whole by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.


Gillybean said...

Ten years ago I had soul retrieval work done after going through a lot of grief. I bought Sandras books Soul Retrieval, Welcome Home and Medicine For The Earth. The Soul Retrieval work made a huge difference to my life. After that I learnt how to journey for myself. I have signed up for Roberts course and am very tempted to do Sandras as well. I am very grateful to you both! Gill :)

Anonymous said...

Through "Biodanza" dance and movement I experienced tremendous emotional healing piece by piece, as I was able to "dance" my way back to my authentic and honest self. As a biodanza facilitator and now training to be a dream teacher, I find two hearts melting into one. Thank you so much Robert and all who guided me to you