Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sighthounds and mermaids: the magic of converging dreams


We all want to spend more time in that liminal space between sleep and awake. In the hours before dawn the gateway to a magical blue world opened to me in that space, and then the blue dream manifested in the physical world in the form of a painting gifted to me of which I had no prior knowledge. Before dawn, I set the intention, "Show me what I need to see." In that in-between state I immediately received a clear vision of the outline of an ancient Egyptian sighthound on stone. I was not sure whether I was looking at a carved relief or at a very faint shadow. Either way,although the lines were faint, I had impression that this ancient dog, bred for sight and speed, was in movement, was about to spring from the rock and race into another scene.
reams require action, and set us research assignments. I found a photo of ancient Egyptian relief that looks very like my hypnopompic sighting. I see that this breed, the ancestor of the greyhound, is often called Saluki; the etymology of that word - Sumerian or Arabic - is disputed.Egyptian themes came up strongly in the first session of my workshop in Prague the day before. On icy sidewalks, I have been relying heavily on my black dog stick; the fine features of the face have more of the sighthound than the lab.
I took a tram to the Staroměstská stop and walked to Old Town Square en route to the tall house on a winding cobbled alley behind the square that is the home of Maitrea, which hosts my workshops in Prague. As I walked, I felt the quivering vibration of that image of the sighthound, set none too securely on stone. I felt wind rushing past its long head and its lead body as it raced after a target, dissolving space. I was curious to see how this dog would run.


The follow-up was swift and fascinating. On the second day of my workshop in Prague, I asked people to come together in groups of three and four and share dreams by our Lightning Dreamwork process, in which we take turns to play storyteller and guide.

    In my dream-sharing group, the first report, from a young Czech woman, was a thriller.
    She felt a strong wind and started running with it, reveling in her speed. As she ran faster and faster, like the wind, she realized that her body had changed. She was now in the body of a very lean canine, something like a greyhound, except even taster, taller, thinner. She was seized by a happy sense of wild freedom. She wondered if she was becoming a wolf. Yet her bodily form, in the dream, still felt very light.
    She came to new landscapes, to cities and beaches, to places with many humans. Now her form became human again. But she kept the eyes, the eyes of the wind-runner. When I asked some questions, she clarified that her dog was indeed one that tracks through sight.
    I shared my own report from the place between sleep and awake. We were all delighted by the convergence. We agreed that the message, for both of us, might be to remember to use the speed and sight of an ancient and primal ally. The Czech dreamer felt that, as she rehearse for any shift in life, or simply wants to see things at a distance in space and time, she can use those eyes and fleet feet to where she needs to go, beyond the perception of the ordinary body.


In our little group of four, another dreamer shared a night adventure that flowed from the intention, "Show me what I need to know." In the high moment of the dream, she met a "calm mermaid". We were struck with the freshness of the phrase. We had never heard a mermaid described as "calm".
    The calm mermaid had counsel for the dreamer: Relax. Breathe. Give Up Your Will to Stop. When we talked over the last bit, the dreamer told us she had a tendency to give up before finishing things in life. She agreed that the calm mermaid might be a deeper self, rising to give her exactly the advice she needed in response to her intention for the night.
    In the way of synchronicity, the fourth member of our group, who played guide for the mermaid dreamer, had had a big experience of her own with a mermaid in a journey with the drum in our session the previous evening. She found a wild fish-woman in a place of pain and anger, and recognized a part of herself that had separated because of a life trauma, and had not yet moved out of rage and grief. She found a way, in her journey, not only to recognize but reclaim that energy.
     Though the wild fish-woman was very different from the "calm" mermaid, we recognized a common theme: the discovery, in a sleep dream and a hyper-awake shaman dream, of a previously unrecognized aspect  of the self, now rising from another element - from the depths - with the potential to bring wholeness or wisdom.


Grow a family, where people tend deeply to each other's dreams of the night and dreams of life, learn to share by a process that is mutually empowering, and you will notice the magic of converging dreams. In my workshops, we often find ourselves dreaming together, in interactive group shamanic journeys. These journeys are often opened by  the sharing of an individual dream that can become a portal for everyone, as we take off, powered by the energy of the drum.
    The convergence may come in entirely spontaneous ways, unexpected until we awaken to how people with shared interests and soul connections may be joined in adventures beyond the physical plane. Sometimes we feel blessed by an oneiric logic of manifestation, as with my experience of the blue dream the previous morning, which I saw take form on the physical plane.
     The last dream shared in our smaller group in Prague yesterday was a dream of cut flowers, of trying to get the arrangement right and clip the stalks to exactly the right length. It was shared by the woman who met the wilder fish-lady. As we discussed the dream, she said that she felt it had some connection with a grandmother who might be approaching death.
    The symbolism of cut flowers became very deep. It was reinforced, for me, by a phrase I had read on the first page of a fantasy novel * I had opened for the first time on a plane on my way to Prague: "the sound of cut flowers". You might not be surprised to read, "the silence of cut flowers". "The sound of cut flowers"brought for me, the sense of the great pressure of a force building up behind the scenes, something that was getting ready to manifest.
   The dreamer of the cut flowers said she would carry that phrase with her, to orient her as she now sought to play soul friend for her grandmother.

* The novel is The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

1 comment:

Peggy Bartlett said...

Robert, synchronistically I chose a story at random today from your book, "Here, Everything Is Dreaming." It is "At the Gate of Story." A primary character in the story has a pair of sight hounds!