Dream Gates

Dream Gates

How to talk to the Creator

Yesterday I wrote about Ruby Modesto, a shaman of the Desert Cahuilla in southern California whose calling and guidance came to her through dreams. Listening to her voice, as mediated by anthropologist Guy Modesto, is to be in the presence of a wise woman of great common and uncommon sense.

She tells us, as her grandfather told her, how to talk to the Creator and find his or her voice in the world around us. I want you to listen to her words about this:

“Grandfather Francisco taught me how to pray to Umna’ah, our Creator. He told me to go alone into the mountains, to find a quiet beautiful place and to pray. He said I should talk out everything, say whatever I felt or needed, and then listen for an answer.


“That’s the secret: to listen. You have to say everything that’s in your mind, cry until you’re empty. Then listen. He will speak to you.”

To my ear, this is beautifully said and it is counsel to be followed any day, but especially on days when we are feeling lost or confused. Go alone to a special place, a place where you can hear the speaking land. Get out everything you need to express. Shout it out, cry it out, until you are empty. Then listen until you are filled with the guidance and strength you have opened a space to receive.

For Ruby, that special place in nature was up in the Santa Rosa mountains near the traditional valley home of her people of the Dog Clan of the Cahuilla. For me, a good place to talk to the Creator is a lake in the woods that is quiet unless I get too close to a beaver lodge – which will get the male beaver thwacking his tail – or the red-tailed hawk is urgent to speak to me in her own tongue.

Quotes are from Ruby Modesto and Guy Mount, Not for Innocent Ears: Spiritual Traditions of a Desert Cahuilla Medicine Woman. Arcata, CA: Sweetlight Books, 1980.


  • Azima

    So beautiful, Robert. That’s the way I pray, but usually in my own house. I think I shall seek out a place in nature where I can be alone to do this!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Nina

    It´s certainly in the silence in which we can feel the real answers.
    To tell the truth my first remembrance of the power of praying comes from a relatively late age. I was fifteen when the political situation in our country changed and it was possible to talk and write openly about more idealistic sides of the life. From this period I recall a newspaper article I somewhere glanced. It was the direct testimony of a lady who luckily survived a serious car accident. After the crash she had that experience of being out of her body and watching the whole scene from above. She was writing how she could “read” the minds of the people. If I remember it correctly, most of them were very confused and upset; but there was one elderly lady who at once started to pray for her. As a result of her prayers the victim of the accident began to receive a strong positive energy. It felt as if the light of praying was supporting and moving her lovingly up to the Light.
    Later on I read many similar stories but for me this one was the first confirmation that it really matters how we think and feel for others and for us.
    Thank you very much for bringing up the old wisdom in many new and enlightening ways.

  • http://Retreat Heidi

    Interesting timing on this post Robert as I’ve been feeling the need to retreat, regather, and re-emerge. Love these writings about Ruby Modesto. Encouraging and inspiring.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sal

    So, thanks, Robert…

    In my juggling–at times–a hectic life, I’ve forgotten a little about how to connect with the divine/sacred.

    Your latest posting have helped to recalibrate my bearing/heading for lucidity.

    Also, you know, when I lived in southern Cali I didn’t live but more than some forty/fifty miles away from the Santa Rosa mountain.

    Once, while in my heightened transformative period almost ten years to this present day, I was spending a lot of my time in isolation and I took a walk into some favorite local mountain and was met by a mule-buck deer. He was under a “tree” about half-a-mile away, stationary and still, looking right at me.

    I stopped walking because I thought it was a statue; suddenly it bounced/leaped into a moderate stride toward me and when it reached me it stopped about 8-10 feet away. First, it just stood firmly and strongly facing me, then in one motion it leaped to one side and proceeded to do a complete dance-circle around me with rythmic breathing while I stood still in the center. It continued until it completed a full circle–then stopped, and looked at me a moment until it finally leapt again to its side and began again into its moderate stride again, but this time away from me.

    I did not know at the time what it all meant, but I have since then–my bed became a nightly launch pad into the greater unknown!

    So those natives of long ago certainly cultivated the spots and soil of earth so that future generations would receive the gifts of healing and communion with who and what we are in this cosmos.

    Thanks again for helping find my center (nature)…

    • Robert Moss

      Sal – It does sound like that buck was marking you. The deer is a tremendous ally in dreaming and healing, if you choose to accept this nod from the natural world as an invitation to grow the connection.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Irene

    This morning the 1st email I read was from a friend who sent me a web link to Rigpa Prayer Request Service, an online service where you can request prayers, for yourself or others, to be prayed by Monks in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in India & the Himalayas. Part of me thinks it’s quite funny to “buy” prayers (and on the internet!) even though the proposition is to “donate” a suggested sum. Then on the other hand, I quite like the idea of connecting to other people in the world through prayer (as we can connect to other people through dreaming which is, for me, a kind of prayer). I take this post as a sign to try this web prayer service to reinforce a very special, very important prayer that I’ve been fearfully holding onto for far too long. I think it’s time for me to release and move on. Thanks Robert and thanks to all who placed these beautiful comments here today.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Patricia

    I love this Robert. To go to a place where you hear the land speaking. Speak everything that is on your mind, cry until you have emptied. Then Listen. I have an old grow place by the water I love to go to.

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