Turtle textures

r gentry sea turtleImage: Raina Gentry

The most delicious underwater dream of the clearest, cleanest water, following a turtle as she swam ahead of me.
The light glowed underneath the water, glimmering on rocks and mosses and the legs and shell of the swimming turtle. A dream of such peace and pleasure, suspended weightless in the water.

tamara philips red turtleImage: Tamara Phillips

On my way home this morning, I stopped in at the local turtle hangout, just to savour the dream, even though the water is cloudy and murky, still it glints and ripples and hints at deliciousness for all the critters living in, on, and around it. Turtles sunbathing on rocks. Ducks by the dozens. A lone blue heron perched atop a tall dead tree. Sparrows and robins and cardinals and yellow finches belting out their morning song so loud I can barely hear whatever is crashing around in the bushes on the other side of the pond.turtles sunbathingI’d spent the night on a friend’s couch. We’d been talking into the wee hours about how much of the hokey woo we could each handle. You know, we’d gotten onto the whole Abraham Hicks / Law of Attraction thing, and of course the idea of “channeling” makes my friend recoil, AND, she protested, “the magical thinking”. She’s a rational, educated, hard working woman whose father is a scientist. I totally understand her reaction – if I actually try to think about channeling, it doesn’t speak to anything I understand, really – like what is that exactly?water abstractionBut I’m trying to stay open-minded. Cause I’ve been finding with some of these things, that if the message is beautiful and can move ideas around in interesting ways, does it matter how it arrives?

Most days I find the Abraham Hicks quotes I get in my inbox engage my mind and attitude in novel ways, however there are some days when it feels like the message of “abundance” is a kind of facile, “Yes, we can all have as many SUV’s as we want, you just need to raise your vibration to get your SUV too”, to which I have a rather negative reaction. You know, just thinking about the planet and turtles and clean water and things.turtle swimsBut I think of my late father-in-law, a highly educated doctor with an anthropological philosphical bent, a Marxist refugee from Papa Doc’s Haiti. He would say of all teachers and teachings, “take what you like and leave the rest”.

To me it feels like that. So last night I was telling my friend about an interview I heard between Wayne Dyer and Abraham Hicks, where Wayne Dyer talks about how for years and years he’d been angry at his father for abandoning him, cause he’d ended up in a series of foster homes and carried his anger with him until the day he went to visit his father’s grave. Abraham Hicks interrupts him and says, “but you chose all of that – you wanted the independence, you didn’t want some father figure around all the time, meddling in your affairs”.

Now of course, the problem is that you’d have to accept not only channeling, but also reincarnation and a kind of immortal soul that makes choices as it comes into a new lifetimes and a whole cluster of beliefs that may or may not be your thing.water abstraction 2And yet…even though I don’t really know if I believe in reincarnation and immortal souls, still I’m drawn to the mindset, because the idea that we choose our experiences is so totally liberating. All notions of victimhood are immediately eradicated, as one becomes the prime director of one’s experience in this lifetime. It is a sensation of freedom and agency perhaps not so different from the feeling in Nietzsche’s phrase, “he who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how“. There is a kind of purposeful light that is bestowed by this thought pattern, regardless of the origin or scientific provability of the thought pattern.turtle and duckLately my most favourite “channeled messages” are the Mayan Messages. Again, it’s a “take what you like and leave the rest” kind of relationship – there’s a bunch of things in there I can’t deal with, like UFO’s and stuff that I’m just not ready to think about. But what I love in them is the sense of the planet and the serious political and environmental challenges we face in our time, the need to think about living life simply, consciously, sharing the skills and resources we each have.

In Native American teachings, Turtle is the oldest symbol for planet Earth. It is the personification of goddess energy, and the eternal Mother from which our lives evolve. We are born of the womb of Earth, and to her soil our bodies will return. In honoring the Earth, we are asked by Turtle to be mindful of the cycle of give and take, to give back to the Mother as she has given to us. ~Jamie Sams

turtle collageWeekly Photo Challenge – Texture

Dream paraphernalia

dreamcatcherLast night I was telling my son about the dream of the house where nothing was what it seemed, everything shifting, slippery, treacherous and untenable.
We stood under the overhead lights in the kitchen, he towering above me as I said I thought it was about the job I quit on Tuesday.
“Oh, but you don’t know that”, he snapped with annoyance – one of mom’s hare-brained, hippie inclinations at work again.
He is a computer science student with a rare flare for mathematics. He is an excellent student, top of his class. I see the pages of his homework, a language of ciphers and glyphs that I will never ever in my life understand even a spec of.
Dreams, however, I know a little bit about – I’ve spent some time with them.dream shelf“It’s not like math, it’s an interpretive art”, I said to my too-cool-for-school, skeptical son. My son who insists it’s not that he doesn’t remember his dreams, it’s just that he doesn’t have them.
On a similar note, a number of the new visitors and commenters here on followyournose have mentioned they rarely remember their dreams.
So I’d like to share a few of the authors and influences I’ve come across, in case any of it might be helpful to someone.
I was telling Poshpedlar and Agniva how I keep a dream journal, THE single most important tool, I think, if you want to start remembering dreams.dream journalIt sits open beside my bed with a blank page ready in case I want to scribble in the dark in the middle of the night, and also for the blurry morning fragments, captured first thing, before turning over or getting up, any fleeting whispy images.
A good source for some of these fundamental things to try is dream-master, shaman-teacher Robert Moss – he’s got a Tools & Techniques page, very helpful.
Although the dream journal is one key tool, personally I use kind of a bunch…like kind of a lot….like I’m so heavy into the dream thing, it’s kinda way out in woo-woo land. In an exchange with jethag at Jet Lag, I allowed as how there may be “dream paraphernalia”…
For example, the dream catcher at the top of the post. Of course.
For example, this silver bowl – silver dream bowlIt sits on the bedside table with water in it – I refresh the water regularly.
This practice came from Ohki Simine Forest, a fascinating shaman-woman who lives in Chiapas, Mexico, though she’s originally Canadian (Québécoise / Mohawk). I got the silver dream bowl practice from her book, Dreaming the Council Ways, a book I loaned out to someone and along the way have forgotten the particulars of the why’s of this practice, but I still feel some magic quality, some mystery in the aquatic reflecting vessel by my bedside for facilitating, channelling dreams.
Also beside the bed is this buffalo fetish –
buffalo fetishHe reminds me of a dream I had some years ago, a dream of a buffalo in a zocalo, a town square, and of how I followed the dream to a place, traveled to try and find and understand the dream, and along the way found him in a shop just off the zocalo of a town that looked an awful lot like the dream.
He reminds me that I’m willing to travel for my dreams, to follow them to the places they show me, to think about what they are trying to tell me.dream crystalsThese crystals are quite tiny and special in a way that is so far out in the land of woo I can’t even describe it, I’ll let you explore for yourself here.
But I love putting one under my pillow each night, as a kind of promise to myself to try and pay attention to any dreams that come.
This little ritual emerged from a fellow student in an online dream workshop, Dreamwork with Toko-pa, a lovely experience. Toko-pa also has some tips for dream recall in a video on youtube – a nice way to get some ideas and introduce you to her fabulously exotic west-coast self.lion biting - brighterAnother favourite thing to do with really strong, vivid dreams when they come, is to draw them or paint them – it’s a great way to spend more time with them in a visual, visceral, sensual kind of way.
The lion above was from one striking dream I had, and the panthers below another strong onepanther collage - brighterEach of these practices is essentially about one thing – I am telling my dreams and myself that I’m listening. That I want to hear from them. That I respect and value what they have to tell me.
Some years ago I took a series of dreams I’d had to an elder, Joanne Longboat, a woman Robert Moss writes about in Dreamways of the Iroquois, referring to her as “Turtle Woman”.
She said to me, “They say the Spirits will come talking to those who listen.”
So I’m listening…

Thunder

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.

thunderheart3_5x3W

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 metesYou 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.