Dream Gates

Dream Gates

Becoming the eagle

A woman dreamer finds herself in a different body, traveling with her clan beside a river in a primal landscape untouched by the ax. She knows the lives and relations of these native people intimately, and feels the coming of a hard winter.

She sees an eagle flying near the river, and someone tells her, “You can go fly with it.” She is afraid to go too far from the river, so she waits until the eagle hovers overhead. Then:

I fly an eternal moment with this magnificent bird; beautiful brown, glistening feathers with golden speckles. Eagle is above, beside, then lands in the river. I land downstream and float on the warm white foam. The river is blanketed in white foam.


After I dry off, I fly over the river again. I see turtles where eagle had flown and landed. The turtles are a darker green. They are solid on the foam, not moving, just peacefully sunning themselves.

The dreamer asked me how she should approach the “meaning” of this dream. I told her that for me, an experience of this kind does not require analysis, but honoring. Her dream was a journey into another state of being and consciousness. It might be a “past life” experience of her own multidimensional self, or of an ancestor of the land where she lives, or her wider spiritual family. Within that life experience, she learned what indigenous dreamers know: you can become an eagle.  She agreed that she would make or seek something representing the eagle and carry it as a dream talisman, that she would seek to approach life issues with the eagle’s vision and ability to read the land from a higher level, and that she would fly again on the eagle’s wings, in conscious dreaming.


When the gifted Jungian analyst Robert Bosnak journeyed to the Central Desert in my native Australia, he sought to understand the practice of dreaming among the Pidjinjara, speaking through an interpreter to a “spirit man” who was said to know all about dreaming and the Dreantime. Bosnak describes how this went in his delightful book Tracks in the Wilderness of Dreaming. To warm things up in his conversation with the Aboriginal shaman, Bosnak tried to give some account of his own dream practicum. How this translated into Pidjinjara I do not know. The spirit man sat impassively, occasionally brushing away the blowflies. When Bosnak asked him to explain how he worked with dreams, the answer came back, via the intrepreter, “He becomes an eagle.” When the Jungian sought to clarify what this meant, the statement was simply repeated: “He becomes an eagle.”


It was a just-so statement that had little to do with archetypal symbolism. When the Aboriginal shaman said he became an eagle, he meant exactly what he said: he travels in his dreambody as the eagle, sees with its keen vision, and goes where he needs to be.

The American dreamer who flew with the eagle and splashed down in the river did something similar, through the spontaneous shamanism of dreaming. Dreaming is traveling, in the understanding of ancient and indigenous peoples, and we are not confined to one form in these journeys. If you fly with the eagle, you don’t want to waste too much time discussing the eagle as a symbol. You want to celebrate the connection, make or find something to keep or carry as a dream talisman, and remember, in the midst of the challenges of everyday life, that you have the ability to rise to a higher perspective, and see “many looks away”. The last phrase is from the Iroquois or Longhouse People, who place the eagle at the top of their great Tree of Peace so it can watch and warn of things developing at a distance.


In my childhood, the bird I knew best was the sea eagle, native to northern Australia and also to the northern coast of Scotland, the home of my paternal ancestors. In the Orkneys, ancient shamans were buried together with sea eagles. For the islanders of the Torres Straits, the sea eagle is the preferred ally of the zogo le or shaman. I have lived outside Australia for most of my adult life, yet (as I recount in Conscious Dreaming) in big dreams the sea eagle sometimes comes, to lend me wings to fly back to my native country and see something I need to see.


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Meredith

    Robert- have you seen the eagle cam?

    For the past month I’ve been getting up in the mornings to check on the eagle family in Decorah, Iowa. It’s about two hours from where I was born. It’s been a real treat to watch the mom and dad steadfastly care for their three little ones, calmly enduring long days and nights- often through inclement weather of high winds, rain, sleet, and snow.

    Sometimes I leave the cam on while I work at my desk, and quite unexpectedly- the sounds in the background began to strike an old chord. I’ve heard red-winged blackbirds and turtledoves. Birds I don’t hear where I live now. So it’s been pretty neat for me not just to watch, but to listen to and remember being little, growing up!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Patricia

    Hello Robert,

    I am finding community to be a powerful healing tool because everyone needs a friend to remind them what gifts have been given them. Working in isolation just doesn’t have the same power to change the world into a healthy thriving place for seven generations ahead.

    I have been trying to finish your Fire Along The Sky book but ran into two snags. First I need to just get over feeling guilty that I spent most of my life in a church that I tried to conform to. This held me back from giving and receiving “ancestor gifts”. I feel I could really preach if the shoes doesn’t fit, why force it on yourself. Second: there was a period when I was fully concious in the dreaming and I was calling in intention to dream about my ancestors and/or self. I walked into a village that was so “family”. When I was waved over to sit by the fire as the star studded night came I got to listen to stories and you know how I Love stories. Then there was a ripple like in this experience and a jerked feelings had me in a scene of long houses burning and blood and womans, perhaps childrens, voices trailing away. I have clamped done on my “wide awake and dreaming” since. The good thing about reading your book is that I made this connection. But what if I can’t heal myself? Any suggestions? The experience was real. I did have a brief dream, “wide awake”, sometimes after this and was with a woman who had been taken into another village. Two dreams now that I am remembering.


    • Robert Moss

      Patty – Well said: “everyone needs a friend to remind them what gifts have been given them”. We find such friends, and deepen our relations with them, when we share dreams of the night and dreams of life in the right way and truly attend to each other. As for healing traumatic memories from a previous life – whether our own or that of an ancestor – we want to remember that Now is the time and Now is the point of power, and that we may even be able to reach into that other life, in its own moment of Now, to extend love and support and grow mutual understanding. From a certain viewpoint, all of this is going on Now.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Patricia

    I would like to share this Healing Story:

    When you receive a gift of retelling from a shaman who’s heart energy runs deep for life. Who balances life with death nicely. From one well traveled and practiced, you do more then listen up. You LISTEN UP and read the language of the world and claim it back. You dream in the night to match the story and the dream. Then you claim it and you CLAIM IT.
    The world gets filled with magic when you are given a gift like this. But the world is always filled with magic. Two doves fly together and crow does not part them as I play a drum and chimes with a boy on the playground. A mother brings her college daughter to me and I am able to offer a beginning piece of work for her to heal. A friend from my first moon gathering ever calls to talk about her new lover and all the healing she has received from that relationship.She calls to do Lightening Dream work over the phone and her dreams are filled with animal guides calling. Then I prepare for the nights dreaming with the moon bright and a few selected stars in the sky visible through the leaves of an oak. I am traveling once again in a body that is tall and wears traveling cloths that look like leather, but are of a material I don’t understand. This one easily travels with animal guides. I know her now as healer and warrior and traveler. I look forward to experiencing all she is. In my dreams I go to a place that use to be of a dim light where houses had no ceilings and walls were made of fabric so the winds could speak freely. It is in ruins now and time fills this place with a nice light. I sit with a young woman and guide her smoothly home. Then I go to my house and take a ghost or a thing of thick energy from an old clock. Friendly as it maybe, I will not shoulder this one anymore. I take the clock outside to the natural world and smile.
    A story is such a thing of power. Claimed, I hope to carry it with a gracious heart and a twinkle in my eye.


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jennifer alvarado

    i had ad dream of my brother telling before i leave he had to give me a letter it was important but couldnt find it but he insisted to find it before i was walking away he yelled i found it!! he i said i knew where it was… the letter said Jennifer if you want to Love and FLY HIGH come and see me…Shaman Eagle Love Ari”Ari is my partner.

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