Sunday, November 27, 2016

The education of a dream teacher

The dream world is my home world, and has been from very early childhood.
    I first died in this lifetime when I was three years old. My great aunt the opera singer saw this in the tea leaves but didn’t talk about it until long after. What she did not see was that – as a doctor at the hospital in Hobart, Tasmania told my parents – I “died and came back”. That is still the term I prefer to use of these experiences. I don’t remember much of what happened when I left my body at age three, only that it was very hard to live in a body in this world after I came back, and that I felt that my home reality was somewhere else.
     At nine, I died again during emergency appendectomy in a Melbourne hospital. This time I seemed to live a whole life somewhere else, among a beautiful people who raised me as their own. I came back remembering that other life and that other world. It still wasn’t easy for me to live in the ordinary world, and I was nostalgic for that other world. The gift of these experiences,  and my persisting illness (I had double pneumonia twelve times between the ages of three and eleven) was an inner life that was rich and prolific, and an ability to move between states of consciousness and reality at will.
     At age eleven, I had the vision of a great staff of burning bronze with a serpent wrapped around it that seemed to fill half the sky. Right after that, I came very near death for a third time, back in hospital with pneumonia. But this time, I came back healed, and was able to live a relatively normal life – except that in my mind, the dream world was my “normal”. I later realized that my vision in the sky resembled a giant version of the serpent staff of Asklepios, the Greek god who heals through dreams.

I can’t remember a time when I did not understand that our personal dreams can take us into the Dreamtime, which is about more than the bargain basement of the personal subconscious; it is the place where we find our spiritual kin on a higher level and remember the origins and purpose of life. That’s the way the First Peoples of my native Australia, the Aborigines, see it, and one of the few people I met in childhood who could confirm and validate my experiences of dreaming was an Aboriginal boy. He said of my near-death experiences, “Oh yeah, we do that. When we get very sick, we go and live with the spirits. When we get well, we come back.” He did not think it was extraordinary to dream future events, or to meet the dead in dreams, as I did all the time.
    I had to be fairly quiet about these things, growing up in a conservative time in Australia, in a military family. But as I grew older, I was able to do more and more with the gifts of dreaming. My dreams of ancient cultures led me to my first job, as lecturer in ancient history at the Australian National University. My dreams of possible future events enabled me to avoid death on the road, quite literally, on three occasions.
   Then, in mid-life, on a farm in the Upper Hudson Valley of New York, I was called in a lucid dream – also an out-of-body experience – into a meeting with an ancient Native American shaman, a Mother of the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk people, who insisted on speaking her own language. When I learned enough of her language to understand her, she taught me that dreams reveal the secret wishes of the soul, and the the task of decent people in a decent society is to gather round a dreamer and help her recognize those wishes and take action to honor them, so that more of soul comes into life.
    As I struggled to understand our connection, I grew to realize that we were joined in a trans-temporal drama. The other key player was a colorful Irishman who entered her world in the 1700s and came to rule the Mohawk frontier like a tribal king. She had tried to influence him; she succeeded better with me, though that meant reaching seven generations into her future.
     My initial encounters with these personalities of an earlier time coincided with the death of my father, who returned to me in dreams as guide and counselor for the family. The convergence of these events, and the resurgence of dreams and visions that came with them, led me deep and far in my studies and exploration of the deeper reality. In the liminal space between sleep and awake, a guide who spoke to me in a voice I had learned to trust instructed me that it was time for me to teach what I had learned. I embarked on the path of a dream teacher, for which there is no career track in Western society.

For a full version, please see The Boy Who Died and Came Back by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.

Art: "Serpent Staff in the Sky" by Robert Moss

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