Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Salmon of Wisdom

“No traitor, the salmon. He returns to his home.
When you’re tired of searching there, you’ll find the answer here.”  4th cent Welsh

Through the Druid practice we gain wisdom from the ancient stories and myths of all cultures. There are a few stories of Celtic origin that hold great wisdom and are studied often by many seekers and philosophers.

Dream: I am on a mountain and I see Bill, he is looking for his daughter, she is lost. He is upset and very concerned. I tell him I will help search because I know how to be a guide in the wilderness. This is what I do best I think. Feeling much confidence. I go around the mountain and find the young girl just hiking around she was not lost just wandered to far. I see Sue and tell her I have found Bill’s daughter. I am really glad I found her.

The young girl is me and I have found me. She is my child. Let her be in me and with me. Open me to the depth of love for her and me. Remember her and know you have the skills to find her.

One of the ancient stories is the Salmon of Wisdom

If we follow the river Boyne in Erie to its source Conla’s well we will find this sacred pool surrounded by nine hazel nuts trees. These trees are as old as time itself. They have gnarled limbs and trunks of many colors of purple and deep brown. Attached to the green leaves are fat ripe hazelnuts waiting to be pluck. And every now and then one of those nuts drops into the dark waters of the pool.

It is said if you sit quietly by the pool and gaze at it’s depths you just might be lucky enough to glimpse one of its five ancient inhabitants, the quiet sleek salmon swimming in it’s waters, jumping every now and then to catch one of those hazelnuts as it’s falls.

These hazelnuts feed the salmon and make them the wisest creatures on earth. One of the goals of Celtic spirituality is to catch one of these salmon and eat it. And when we eat it the Celtic child-god of light brings us eternal life in the form of love, creative inspiration, and wisdom. To attain this eternal life like the salmon we must go back to our birthing grounds.

To return to my birthing grounds is to take the journey to my soul the place of deepest love and wisdom. What path will get me there? As a Druid the path for me is to catch the salmon and taste of it’s essence. What does this look like? Right now my practice is to be outside, to be present to everything around me, to experience the edges of everything. To see, feel, smell, and hear life. To play in the snow, talk to a squirrel, taste the wind, listen to the stones and remember. When I gaze at a stone what do I see? Look beyond what is there deeper, wider, beyond the hard surface, the cracks, the colors, what is there. Be in relationship with this stone.

Love, wisdom, and awen already exist in me, but I don’t let myself tap into this alchemy that would open me to everything. Recently I have been in whirlwind of self-doubt, comparison and judgment about not who I am, but what I have to offer and where I am going. Then underneath shame because I am not the person that can achieve my desires. When I am in this place there is no room for the salmon of wisdom or for the venom of the snake to move through my body.

Dream: There are two women and they have to climb up a robe to get something (don't know what) The first women starts climbing. I think she is not going to be able to climb. It is too hard. I know I can't do it because I am not strong enough anymore. Then all of a sudden the rope has knotted rings to grab and to place my feet in so I can climb up. I get to the top and too my surprise there is another world there.

My homework in the dream world is to feel the support of the animus and anima and to go into the other world. Feel my inadequacy.  Feel the discomfort and pain. Let myself be bitten without reaction. The anima is with me climbing and the animus provides me with the foot and hand holds. I am not alone and it is okay to have help. This is big because for me the wisdom comes in the form of support, which I have not trusted or asked for in this waking like. I can do this alone but I won’t get to the other world without them.

And with this wisdom I feel so close to the opening I desire and then the judgment comes in and blows it all away. This is all boring judgment responds, then the dreams can’t be remembered and the anxiety and pain take charge. I wonder if I won’t let myself have what I desire, I wonder if not remembering my dreams is a way to put a stop to the process of transformation.  I wonder if I won’t let myself have home because I don’t think I deserve it. These are the questions that I ponder today and they bring up so many feelings, sadness, anger and shame. But I am not surprised because I already know the answers to those questions.

The dreams bring the wisdom that opens to the love that provides the inspiration to be in the world in a way that is the truth of me. 

There are many paths to the salmon of wisdom and there are many ways to take in its wisdom. For me I must bite into it and savior this delicious essence while the copperhead snake bites deeply into my arm.

Dream: I am on a mountain with another women. We walked into a log cabin and a copperhead snake bites me on the arm when I reach down. I am not afraid and let it be. 

Feel into the bite 

What is my mythical story?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

the anima

 Dream: I am going to the NOE retreat center for the first time. My family is coming with me. They tell me we all must be naked at the retreat. I am afraid and embarrassed I don’t want to be naked or be there with my parents. I get to the center but don’t know where to check in. I see some stairs and I take them up to a room. I go through the door and find the NOE leaders having a meeting, which includes my analyst. I have interrupted them and made a big mistake. I am in trouble and must leave quickly. I am embarrassed and afraid. My analyst rises to engage me as I walk towards the stairs.

As I feel the cold air of winter settling in and the brittle leaves from the maple and birch crunch beneath my feet I am reminded of what I am becoming awake too in my dreams. Recently I had the reoccurrence of a sensory nerve issue, which has brought intense pain to my entire body. On top of that my dreams have continued to bring me stories that require my immediate and deep feeling attention. As a result a load of feelings of powerlessness, sadness and being trapped have filled me. In the past these feelings would have disabled me to the point of deep depression. Now as I work my dreams something remarkable has happened, a new way to engage my pain.
In Archetypal Dreamwork one of the stages of the work is coming into relationship with the archetypal world. An aspect of this means becoming open to the anima and animus in my dreams. So as I work with the homework my dreams open to the archetypes. This is amazing to me. Feeling into aspects related to the dream opens me to a deeper sense of what the dreams want for me. This is the gift of the archetypes.

In my dream the anima comes to me, I am in my shame and fear, I am exposed. The anima does not enter as the gender of a women but the representation of my deepest desires, fears and healing. Her image is that of a woman in my waking life I have come to trust and at the same time fear. I believe she represents the hope of love and healing energy. In the dream the anima comes to me in my most vulnerable moment, but I run from her. My shadow drives my decision through words built on distrust and fear. Will I be punished or rejected? And what is left is judgment about everyone because that is the only way to justify the loneliness.

My homework is to stand still and face the anima. This terrifies me. I am afraid of punishment/rejection but most importantly being loved. And even if I did stay would I feel the animas’ love? This is just not possible. I have always questioned others love of me and still do. And feeling love from a picture in my head? Is this doable? So if I did this and really felt the love from the anima, this would be one step closer to believing in love. Believing that another could actually have love for me. So I stand still and face the anima.
It is during the retreat and I am in the cabin during strings work.
The anima tells me it is time. She tells me I can wear this black vest to protect me.
 She also tells me we will do this for 5 minutes. We need to do this a little at a time. 
She instructs me to sit in front of her on the floor as she leans against the couch.
In my terror I make the choice to sit down. The anima wraps her arms
around me, hugging me. I feel afraid and uncomfortable. I feel the love.

My homework is to let myself be held and feel the fear and the love of the anima. And I choose to do this because my yearning is too great not to. 

In Druidry I also work to know the universal principles that exist in the archetypal world. The path is to understand and embody the essence of the god and goddesses that come to me in my practice. Druidry offers a process for evoking the archetypes and bringing them into my life as means for awakening to my true essence. For some it can also mean a way to the balancing the male and female in self. For me it is a way to self-discovery and opening to the support of the god and goddesses in that process.

Finding the wild in me. I could not have imagined doing this because I was afraid of what it meant to experience my wildness yet at the same time I have dreamed of being wild and what would that mean. Then in a daydream she came to me, an ancient primal being a wild warrior.  She gave me the courage to explore wild, to be wild even in the fear and shame. So I wrap myself in mud, make a spear from a branch and walk into the dark woods. I dance and sing and open myself to this unknown goddess, the wild warrior in me. I still struggle with being wild but now I know the energy of that primal being is in me. 
I see her now waiting at the edge of the forest. 
She is my teacher.

Dream: I am driving a car of colleagues to a meeting and I turn into a parking lot but not to park but to take a short cut. I start to move through but all this snow blocks my way. I decide to back up but then a black truck blocks me from moving. I am trapped.

What a familiar feeling especially from my young adulthood where I was trapped in a life of pain on so many levels. I would draw pictures of jail cells and have dreams of being trapped in a house where I would never escape. The pain and feelings left me no choice but to decide to end my life on a few occasions. But death was not my path, life called to me. Today yes I still feel trapped by a yearning for a new life and the confinement of an old where I do not feel awake in the spirit of the sacred.  And I feel the load of responsibility to the people in the car. So here is the dream and the opportunity to walk to the anima. 
My homework is to leave the car which I would never had thought of and walk to the anima across the street. She is waiting there for me. Feel being trapped and then get out and feel the love. Easier said then done. I have lived a life of feeling trapped and the fear around leaving engulfs me. Is feeling trapped also feeling safe too or maybe it is too comfortable because leaving is too scary.  Again will I get in trouble, will I be punished? Dam it the feelings are overwhelming, So instead of walking to her across the street I remembered her holding me. Standing on the side of a mountain in central Vermont in the falling snow I let the tears wash over me and feel her arms around me. I know I don't have to be trapped anymore and I can get out of the car.

Whether it is the love and healing of anima or the wild goddess they come to me as I walk this path searching for my true self. My homework is to stand still and experience the love. To get out of the car and walk towards her. My practice is to dance the wild goddess dance in me. So even in the doubt, fear and pain I do my homework and sometimes yes sometimes I feel the love. And the pain isn’t that bad anymore for a while.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Samhain and Letting Go

What am I willing to give up and let die in me?

In Druidry the respect and love of nature is at the center of all practices. So at the heart of this practice is the celebration of the 8 quarters of the seasons of the year. Druids believe that all things are considered to be cyclical — including the year. It is understood as a perpetual cycle of growth and retreat tied to the sun's annual  death and rebirth. This cycle is also viewed as a micro and macrocosm of other life cycles in an immeasurable series of cycles composing the Universe.

So eight times a year about every six weeks Druids celebrate the earth, it's gifts, it's wisdom and it's guidance. These eight seasonal festivals consist of the solstices and equinoxes - four moments during the year, which are dictated by the relationship between the Earth and Sun and four 'cross-quarter' festivals, which are not determined astronomically, but are related to the traditional pastoral calendar.

I was brought to Druidry through the writings of Emma Restall Orr and her book Secrets of the Sacred Grove, her Druid life through the 8 quarters. It changed my life. And with this the time of endings brings about new beginnings.
It is Samhain October 31st The time of endings
Samhain, means "End of Summer", and is the third and final Harvest. The dark winter half of the year commences on this day. Samhain offers us the opportunity to recognize the cycle of death and rebirth. We reconnect with our ancestors because it is the time when the veil between our world and the spirit realm is very thin.

What am I willing to give up and let die in me?
Dream 2006
I am at my grandmother’s home on Lake Champlain. In the distance on a far off mountain I see a major storm coming in. The storm is lightening, wind and hail. I yell to everyone on the beach to run for cover. People are not listening to me so I go out on the beach and yell again. Finally they see the storm and starting running. Some are caught in the hail and fall to the sand. I run through the hail and grab one of the women and drag her to cover.

The fall has always been a season of deep pain and trauma.  Hospitalizations, suicide attempts and broken relationships occurred this time of year.  In response to the season stress induced depression and neurological pain rears its ugly head. This year is not unlike others. And even though the fall bore witness to deep trauma it also seems to represent something much more powerful and enduring for me. The release and freedom I have longed for. When I allow myself to feel into the autumn’s crisp wind, observe the vibrant colors of leaves as a float off their branches or smell the smoky aroma of a chimney fire I am transported into a place of comfort and hope. It is such an odd circumstance to experience, the yin and yang of the season’s offerings. Often I have been perplexed by this but my dreams and druid life offer an explanation. Although there are memories of personal hurt and pain in the fall, the cycles of the sun, moon and earth whisper their memories of connection and awareness that I unknowingly tap into. I get this now.

Dream 2012
I am in a building and I see a tornado coming in the distance. There are many people outside and they don’t seem to see the tornado. I run outside and yell to everyone. I must find a way to save them, to warn them of this tornado.

In working this dream I am asked to feel be in the tornado while feeling the fear and at the same time feel the desire to do what I must do save those people. This is a powerful predicament because I can’t save the people if I am standing in the tornado. And with that realization there is the feeling of guilt and shame for not trying.  And then the memory appears. I made a promise long ago to save everyone I could because I felt like no one was saving me. I would do what others could not do for me. This promise has guided every decision I made as an adult in relationships and even in career choices. I remember the exact place and time I made that promise. So if I stand in the tornado leaving the others behind I believe I have fail the people and all along I didn’t realize I have been failing me.

But the shadow in me wants to believe that my service to others is my only salvation. If I could only help this person, I would prove to them that they were loved. I didn’t need love. The truth is that saving others was a distraction from myself because I wanted to be loved and didn’t think I deserved it. My dreams are now showing me what I have been running from and it is love. So I stand in the center of the storm feel my fear and let go of saving everyone around me.
This seems confusing yet in archetypal dream work it is the opposites that can be the truth of the journey to knowing the soul some times. So being in the tornado is the way to the truth not running away from it.

For me I celebrate Samhain by giving thanks for the year’s harvest in my life. Whether a gift or a learning.  I ask for guidance from the ancestors in determining my course for the coming year and also what needs to be put aside in order to seed this new possibility of life in me.  Time to give up the promise and make a new one to me.

In the dream the letting go means seeing the old self, the savior and superhero as aspects of me that must be released. In the Samhain ceremony this letting go will be presented to the spirits with the hope of a new life one that is about saving me this time.