Last night I forced my husband, O, to watch ThunderHeart, Michael Apted’s movie from 1992 based on a bunch of things that happened in the 70’s at Pine Ridge and the Black Hills involving uranium mining and the murder of activist Annie Mae Pictou (for a serious discussion of environmental issues in the 70’s in the Black Hills, check out Peter Matthiessen’s Indian Country). These historical incidents are used in the film in a fictionalized way as a backdrop for a murder mystery and a kind of identity story of the main character, Ray, played by Val Kilmer. His awakening happens in part through a series of dreams and visions he begins to have.
I wanted him to see it, cause I’d been telling him about some dreams I’d had and how I believed they were showing me something in the future, or were showing me things that exist that I should know about, pay attention to, or be ready for. He was unfamiliar with this idea, unfamiliar with the concept of dreaming the future or dreaming as indicating the way forward, and unfamiliar with the notion of visions.
One of the first times I really noticed a precognitive dream, where my attention was captured and held, was many years back when I dreamt of a woman who lived in the last house at the end of a pathway down a little hill. She had straight grey hair to her shoulders and glasses that hung on a string around her neck and she was very very wise.
When I woke up I thought, Oh how strange, I don’t know anyone like that, and put it out of my mind.
But then a few months later I was in Mexico with a friend, and my friend insisted we spend the weekend with this woman she knew, the mother of one of her childhood friends who’d moved to Mexico years ago. This woman, Gilda, had a house in Tepoztlan, just outside of Cuernavaca.
So we went there for a long weekend and took turns preparing and sharing meals and this woman Gilda talked a lot about things like astrology and how much the energy of Uranus and Aquarius was influencing our behaviour that weekend, and I was not in the least bit interested in astrology at the time, and I thought to myself, Wow, what a flake.
On the Saturday we all piled into the car to take a little day trip to Taxco where they have lots of silver shops, and wound our way through the dry hills leading to Taxco, and in a moment of confusion in a left turn from one small highway to the next, Gilda hovered in the intersection just long enough for a policeman to notice some minor infraction she was making in her turn and come over and point out her mistake.
Now maybe you haven’t heard, but the police in Mexico are rather famous for extreme corruption and violence, and in fact the running joke that actually wasn’t a joke at all but some pretty serious advice not to be ignored was, If you get robbed, do NOT call the police, things will only get worse. Sometimes at night in the city you’d see police cruisers carousing the streets with drunken policemen hanging out the windows whistling at girls and yelling obscene whatevers into the night.
So when this policeman by the side of the road on the way to Taxco said to Gilda she was trying to make a left turn from the wrong lane and asked to see her papers, the rest of us girls all huddled in the back of the car began to shake with fear. Gilda pulled her papers out of the glove compartment and got out of the car to show him. The policeman glanced at them, then said, These are photocopies, I need to see the originals.
This we knew was the signal for the bribe. This was him finding the one little thing, even a pretend little thing with which to make her feel like she was about to have a big big ugly problem that could only be made to go away by giving him money.
In the back of the car, we held our breath.
There was a brief moment as Gilda pulled herself up to her full height and then she slammed her hand down hard on the hood of the car and said, No señor! Conmigo no te metes. You will not intimidate me, I am doing nothing wrong, and my papers are fine. You will let me be.
No one made a sound.
The policeman’s face remained impassive, as he made a little show of looking at her papers one more time. He seemed to pause and think about his options before declaring the papers good enough after all. He then indicated to her how she should make her left turn out onto the highway before turning and lumbering slowly, thoughtfully back to his cruiser. Gilda got back in the car.
From that moment, I wanted to know everything Gilda knew. I listened to all her observations on astrology or cooking or silver or anything else with rapt attention. I knelt at her feet. I was amazed to discover a fascinating world of very provocative serious authors on astrology – especially the Jungians Liz Greene and Howard Sasportas.
Finally on the Monday, late in the afternoon before we were about to drive back to the city, I realized that, here we were in the last house at the end of a little path down a hill, and Gilda wore her straight grey hair to her shoulders and her glasses on a string around her neck. Just like the unknown woman in my dream several months before – here she was.
And boy was she wise.