Dream Gates

Dream Gates

Earth guardians, calling back moon and sun


The night of a lunar eclipse – when the wolf eats the moon – is a time of extreme psychic dangers, for my blood ancestors in Europe and for the ancestors of the land where I live. 

On a mountain in the New York Adirondacks, in a gathering of active dreamers, I sought counsel from the wise ones of the Onkwehonwe – the first people of this land – on the correct ritual to conduct as earth’s shadow fell across the moon. 


An imposing native elder appeared at
the door of the lodge as we drummed to call in the ancestors. A whole party of warriors,
faces blackened for battle, waited behind him at the threshold, not intruding on our

The elder wore the feathered Iroquois headdress known as the gustoweh, crowned by the antlers that denote spiritual authority, because they rise above the physical head towards the spirit realm. He was clothed in deerskins. While I continued to drum, he spoke to me,
firmly and clearly. 

During a lunar eclipse,he reminded me firmly, it is necessary to stay very close
to the Earth, grounded and protected. This is not the time for journeying, or
for partying. “This is the time when the Wolf eats the moon.” When the moon’s
light is hidden, there is a real danger of humans going crazy and behaving like
wolves. (A human who behaves like a wolf is very different from a wolf
following its nature.) This is a time to evoke the tempering, spiritualizing
influence of the White Wolf.


He directed my
attention to the huge warriors at the threshold. “They will protect you and
will attack those who attack you. They must be fed.” I quickly promised to give
them tobacco. The elder made it plain the guardians wanted something more: they
wanted meat, raw meat with plenty of blood in it. Best freshly slaughtered, but
we could see what we could arrange with the kitchen.

I felt blessed by
the presence of the ancient ones. We followed the elder’s directions in the
ritual we developed. In the morning, I made an offering to the warriors – a
juicy prime sirloin from the kitchen, and tobacco, and a little firewater. In
the evening, as the Earth’s shadow fell across the moon, we formed the shape of
a hexagram. We had made its outline on the frosty grass with cornmeal before
the light went, and appointed the dancers who would take the points of the
hexagram, so we could find our places easily. As the moon’s brightness darkened
into burned umber, we danced and sang the same words over and over. Words that
honor the Earth as our Mother and help us to find our grounding.



            Mother I
feel you under my feet
            Mother I
fell your heartbeat


Our breath made steam in front of our faces. We sensed
wilding spirits and forces of confusion as the shadow swallowed the moon. They
took form as a feral wolf-pack. We continued singing. Then, like a shadow of
light, the White Wolf appeared, containing and gentling the wildness of the

We danced until
the return of the light. The sun’s light, reappearing at the bottom of the
moon’s disk, rolled up like a drop of liquid gold over the face of a bronze


This is my journal account of a ceremony I led during the lunar eclipse in November, 2003. 

Last night, I stayed quiet at home. I watched the first quarter hour of the eclipse through a haze of clouds, then the clouds thickened. I stayed up all night, keeping vigil, and did not go to sleep and dream until dawn.

Tonight will be the time for celebration. The sun stops at 6:38 PM Eastern time today, and begins its slow return (in human perception) from the South lands towards the North. Tomorrow, there will be an extra two seconds of daylight. On Thursday, the day will be longer by all of eight seconds. 

For modern city-dwellers, these may be trivial details, but for our ancestors, they were of the essence. At the solstice, they poured wine and beer and mead and the blood of animal sacrifice to hail the rebirth of the sun – personified as male for some, female for others (as for the Sami, the Balts and the Japanese). The Romans moved the day of celebration forward to December 25, which was not the birth date of Jesus until the Church decided to steal the glamor of the ancient ways. 
  • Aylee

    Yes, even here vacationing in Australia I was turned back every time I attempted to venture out yesterday. I can see that I was well looked after by those who protect and know; stay in, stay quiet, stay connected was the message.

  • melissa

    we do a ceremonial dance for the summer solstice in missouri.. our mother earth sings and dances right along with us… a very powerfull event…

  • Wanda Burch

    I was there on the mountain with the gathering of dreamers. It was a night of forgetting and then re-membering, a night of numbing cold of hours of vigil and vigilant singing and then the returning warmth of friends, safe companionship, and the warmth of a fire, a warmth of centuries.

  • Kit Cooley

    Where might I find more information on the White Wolf? He has come to me in a dream some months ago (there is Iroquois in my father’s father’s line, so I am doubly curious). With much gratitude and Sostice blessings.

  • Ananna

    I wrote a version of this as part of my reality check in a dream post from the form: Last night I had a dinner party for a friend of the family. We all have stood with him as he suffered through a divorce with three children. Now he is re married to a most perfect woman for him and his children came for 10 days this christmas season. Dinner was a great success and the children seemed to especially like my mashed potatoes with pot roast gravy. It was a meal to celebrate his children and we all welcomed them into the fold of this extended family. He has two red headed daughters and the sweetest son named Joseph. Right after they got to the house the flaming red head jumps up on the stool as I’m finishing in the kitchen and says, I hear you like wolves, I really like wolves too… Her favorite past time is reading and you could really tell it in conversations with her. I couldn’t figure out who might have told her that and wondered if this came from her seeing a framed print of a wolf in my living room. Reading your wisdom from your ancestral teaching stories reaffirms my belief that ancestral knowledge and rhythms are coming in naturally to my every day life as I continue to learn your active dreaming methods.
    Thank you for the work you do, including night vigils!

  • Robert Moss

    Kit – You may want to start by reading my book “Dreamways of the Iroquois.” Joyous Solstice.

  • Kit Cooley

    Ah, yes. Grazie, Robert. Of course. Your book sits on my shelf awaiting my attention. I will start there. Bright blessings to you.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Katharine

    Thank you, Robert, once again – for doing the work, and for sharing the teachings….

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jenny Easley

    Deep Gratitude, Robert-as we mark this dark, lunar shroud, slowly opening. May we each find our soul’s calling and inspiration; we face the returning lunar light, with the sun’s retreat. May the obscurements of ego be food for the White Wolf, as he gorges upon our emotional darkness–to illuminate forgotten paths, once again! This feels like sacred support and preparation for the longest, darkest time. Once again, winter solstice approaches, calling us to light our personal candles of resolve, hope and shining intention.

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