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Dream Gates

Dream Gates

What makes me dive in headfirst

Sedna, Inuit sea goddess, sculpture by Joan Relke

Among the Inuit, the strongest shamans are also the most gifted poets. One of the reasons their spirit helpers flock around them is that they are charmed and exhilarated by the angakok’s poetic improvisations.

The Inuit say that we need “fresh words” to attract help from the spirit world. The spirits get bored with us, and withdraw their energy from our lives, when we keep saying and doing the old things.

Inuit shamans have a language of their own, which is often impenetrable to other Eskimos. It is a language that is never still. It bubbles and eddies, opening a whirlpool way to the deep bosom of the sea-goddess, or a cavernous passage into the hidden fires of Earth.

My favorite Inuit shaman-word is the one for “dream”. It looks like this: kubsaitigisak. It is pronounced “koov-sigh-teegee-shakk”, with a little click at the back of the throat when you come to the final consonant. It means “what makes me dive in headfirst.”

Savor that for a moment, and all that flows with it. A dream, in Inuit shaman-speech, is something that makes you dive in headfirst. Doesn’t this wondrously evoke the kinesthetic energy of dreaming, the sense of plunging into a deeper world? Doesn’t it also invite us to take the plunge, in the dream of life, and burst through the glass ceilings and paper barriers constructed by the daily trivial self?

~

The wonderful sculpture of Sedna, the Inuit sea goddess, is the work of  Joan Relke, who was inspired by a dream. She recalls, “this dream came at a time when I was struggling over a decision to stop or continue a project. I was under water and saw coming towards me a shiny gold sea creature with one fin and long hair. She swam by me, her eyes fixed straight ahead with an air of complete self-sufficiency and containment.   I knew she had deliberately swum past me to display her demeanor. The next morning I went straight to my studio and carved her before the vision faded. A year later a friend told me the Inuit myth, and I named my sculpture after Sedna.”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Wendy

    A syncrhonicity for me..Two nights ago I dreamt I was inside the cabin of a boat looking out a window when an inuit looking male, with fur coat, shoulder length black hair (about 8-10ft tall!) rose from the ocean to greet me. He just floated above the water and stared at me – then the dreamed shifted to the boat being docked and me taking a walk on the beach.. as I walked along the beach I looked toward the ocean and I could somehow see that the Inuit man had re-submerged into the ocean and was now at the bottom lying on his side holding and playing gently with a naked baby.. I just stood and watched them for a long time..
    Your talk today of ancestors and of the inuit shaman has me intrigued..wondering what Spirit is saying.. Thanks Robert!

    • http://www.mossdreams.com Robert Moss

      Wendy – Your magical dream of the underwater Inuit intrigues me too, It is very much in the style of Inuit tales of shamans and mythic beings, in which it is sometimes necessary to dive deep n order to meet the sea spirits and charm or pacify Sedna, the sea goddess, and bring gifts from her realm. These stories are full of shapeshifting and hybrid beings, mer-people. If this were my dream, I would want to learn more about Inuit traditions. I might draw a picture of the Inuit giant on the sea floor with the baby. I would ask whether I am getting ready to birth something from a union with the Deep, If the tug of the dream is strong, I might want to practice dream reentry and make a conscious journey back into this scene. If that prospered, I would seek to talk with the mer-Inuit, and see whether – under his care – I can leave my cabin, take the plunge, and claim the baby and the new life project it may represent.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Don Dimock

    I am not surprised about the connection of shamans with dreams. That makes good sense. But I had never thought of shamans being gifted poets. That makes sense, too. Thank you Robert. I appreciate it when you bring things like that to our attention.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment John B.

    I wonder why Canada is not promoting more Inuit culture and legends. I visited twoInuit art galleries in Vancouver and I was intrigued with the great imagination of Inuit art. This is the true heritage of Canada and we should be proud of it!

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