Dream Gates

Dream Gates


Celtic dream healing with Sequana

posted by Robert Moss

Sequana statue in the Musée archéologique de Dijon

Tonight, in a journey into Celtic Dreaming I am leading at a beautiful private retreat center in the foothills of the Cascades, it is our group intention to dream with Sequana, the “fast-flowing” Celtic patron of dreams and travelers.

At the shrine of Sequana, at the source of the River Seine in the Dijon area of France, ancient Celts came to seek healing dreams in the sacred night. Cloaked pilgrims journeyed with their offerings, which included models of the organs that needed healing, carved from oak or stone. They bathed in the sacred spring, prayed to the goddess, and placed their offerings beside a sacred pool. They entered a long portico or dormitory, hoping that in the night – during sleep or in the twilight state between sleeping and waking that the ancients knew is especially propitious for contact with the more-than-human – the goddess Sequana or her emissary would appear to them.

No magical power, other than simple cleansing, was attributed to the spring itself, but the waters were regarded as a source of creative flow, and as a portal to the Otherworld and its powers.

We know the name Sequana from nine inscriptions found in the area. It has been suggested that it means “The Fast-Flowing One”. Sequana is the goddess of the River Seine, which flows through Paris, and (according to Strabo) was the patron of the Sequanae, a Gaulish tribe in this region. Her special companion animal is the duck, and in a statue now in the Musée archéologique  de Dijon, a crowned Sequana is depicted riding in a duck-headed boat.

Only the foundations of the healing shrine of Sequana at her spring, the Fontes Sequanae, survive, but we can glean a great deal about the ancient practice of dream incubation for healing from the contents of two pottery vessels discovered at the site. One contains more than a hundred  carved effigies of eyes, breasts, limbs, heads and internal organs. A second vessel contained more than 800 similar carvings. Pilgrims who needed healing for the parts represented ascended a series of terraces, pausing perhaps to drink from streams and cisterns containing the sacred waters, before reaching the main sanctuary and being admitted to the place of sacred sleep. Grateful travelers paid for inscriptions at the site thanking Sequana for gifts of healing, evidence that we have here a Celtic parallel to the practice of Asklepian dream healing in the ancient Mediterranean.

What happened to this great precinct of dream healing in the realm of the Goddess when the Church arrived? One guess. The site was appropriated by the Church and re-dedicated to an invented male saint, St Sequanus.

In reviving the memory of the “Fast-Flowing” Goddess, we take another step towards cultural soul recovery – and remember a healing practice that can transform our lives.



  • Jennifer

    Beautiful. Thank you Robert for honoring the rites of this ancient Goddess. I appreciate your work due to it’s large encompassing scope of different traditions. In my eyes everything is relevant-the law of oneness.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sequana

    When I chose the name Sequana, or rather it chose me, over 2 decades ago, the only information I had at the time was that she was the “Celtic goddess of rivers”. Hm. Seems there’s a bit more to this appellation than I was aware. Where to go from here? I’m sure my dream-goddess will be in touch soon.

Previous Posts

Here's to the Sun of God
In my neighborhood, Hebe, cupbearer to the Olympian gods, is now decked out in Christmas trimmings. Though she would probably prefer to be wearing vine leaves, she may be relaxed because she will remember that Christmas decorations - especially anything involving a tree - were borrowed from the foll

posted 11:20:28am Dec. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Advice from a dead movie star created the star of "I Love Lucy"
On the day the Obama administration announced that it intended to seek to reopen diplomatic relations with Cuba, a friend reported dreaming of Lucille Ball, the star of "I Love Lucy." She wanted to know why she was dreaming of the star of "I Love Lucy". I commented that the dream seemed to me to be

posted 5:18:13am Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

The departed are dreaming with us
One of my driving purposes in writing The Dreamer’s Book of the Dead was to help  some of the many people in our society who are hungry for confirmation that communication with the departed is not “weird” or “unnatural”, let alone impossible, and that it is possible to extend love and for

posted 4:39:32am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Dream dates: Sir Christopher Wren dreams a cure
An intriguing account by John Aubrey of how the celebrated architect who recreated St.Paul's after the Great Fire of London dreamed a simple cure for a kidney ailment. I'll leave the narrative in Aubrey's voice. Note that "reins" in late 17th century English (as in modern French) means "kidneys".

posted 11:27:57pm Dec. 10, 2014 | read full post »

The origin and power of the shaman's drum
The shaman’s primary tool for journeying is the single-headed frame drum, the type we use in Active Dreaming circles. I am constantly astonished, though no longer surprised, by how quickly this ancient instrument can help even the most rational, cognicentric Westerner to enter another state of bei

posted 6:15:48am Dec. 10, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.