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Dream Gates

Marc Chagall, "The Poet Reclining"

 

At one of my week-long retreats at the Esalen Institute in California, I invited the group to journey, with the aid of shamanic drumming, to bring back a power song. I explained that in shamanic terms, a power song may be a tool for one or all of many important purposes. It may be a “wing song” to help your spirit fly. It may be a healing song, to be sung over others. It may be a song to call spirit allies, perhaps one in particular.

Having the right songs is central to shamanic practice. This is revealed in the language of indigenous dreaming peoples. Among the Temiar-Senoi of the Malaysian rainforest, one of the most important gifts of dreaming is a norng. The word has a dual meaning. A norng is a song, and it is also a road. The right dream song will help you find you road in this world, and in the world-behind-the-world.

The Esalen session went well. Some of the journeyers brought back songs of long ago, in the language of their ancestors. Some brought songs that were fresh and new. My favorite was this song, which burst through a woman from Minnesota:

Make it up as you go along
Make it up as you go along
Make it up as you go along
The way will show the way

The invitation was irresistible. We joined hands and sang and danced together. We did not need to be told that the words of this hymn to imagination aren’t meant to be memorized and are never fixed. Soon we were improvising.

Shake it up as you go along
Bake it up as you go along
Fake it up as you go along
Life will show the way
The star will light the way
The tiger knows the way
The dream may be the way
Make it up! 

I have people sing this song in many of my playshops, always in those devoted to releasing the artist, writer and creator within. I sing it to myself on days when I need to let my imagination roam free. The song works like a charm because it is a charm. Make it up!

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