Dream Gates

Dream Gates

Dreaming with inner city kids

posted by Robert Moss

ADELITA 184.jpgAdelita Chirino is an artist, video producer and jewelry designer who has taken my training for teachers of Active Dreaming. Over many years, she has volunteered to help inner city kids in Bridgeport and New Haven, Connecticut, through expressive art programs in which she has incorporated Active Dreaming techniques. I had the pleasure of participating with her in leading a program where I was delighted by the eagerness and creativity with which the kids joined in dream theater and in making spontaneous art and story from their dreams. Here’s Adelita’s account of some of her experiences

One of the great blessings I’ve enjoyed both as an educator and a video producer is the chance to work with many children from low economic and “minority” backgrounds. Being a dreamer for over three decades, I can’t resist taking every opportunity to teach children and teens about their connection to dreaming, and at every opportunity I’ve taken, I’ve seen children blossom with curiosity. 
The good fortune of learning Active Dreaming from Robert Moss in the 90’s added a very thrilling dimension to my work with young people. At the time, I was volunteering for a wonderful program in Bridgeport, CT developed by a very dedicated police officer and many volunteer artists; the program was the United Youth Arts Program, or UYAP.
Working with UYAP was truly rewarding; best of all are the experiences I had teaching the students to use their dreams for creative inspiration. I have many thrilling memories of dreams working their magic across age, race and culture; here’s an example.
I’ll call this student Lisa, 
All the students knew of my predilection for working with dreams and they would often seek me out first thing to tell me a dream. As I’ve found with inner-city kids, many times they are troubling dreams that, with any reality check, mirror difficult situations in their lives. 
Lisa’s dream was of being chased with two of her friends through a maze of back alleys, trying to escape a shadowy dark figure. Her feelings on waking were anxiety and fear. I sat with her and went through the Lightning Dreamwork steps she already knew from class work we’d done.
Through this wonderful dream-sharing guide, it became obvious to her what she was running from and how she really could face and deal with it. To honor the dream, Lisa wrote a fabulous poem. 
 But it didn’t stop there; she carried the dream with her into other art classes and created a dream chair. She painted an old chair bright and daring colors, then she applied lines from her poem, computer generated in various fonts, lacquering the strips of paper around the chair so the entire poem could be read following the rungs to the seat to the legs. Lisa’s Dream Chair won an award at the end of the program’s art exhibit held in the gallery of a local university. The journey from sharing her dream to winning her award was perhaps a month, during which she used the energy her dream gave her to express her true Self. 
I saw Lisa grow in personal power in this month’s time; she laughed more, was more social and displayed a dedication to her artistic creation that I hadn’t seen in her before. Winning the prize just sealed the deal; she was on top of her world.  I’m willing to bet that anyone who sees results like she did from connecting her dream life to her waking will probably go there again and maybe again. 
Adelita Chirino is co-producer of Way of the Dreamer: A Course in Active Dreaming with Robert Moss;this DVD set is available from Psyche Productions
Photo (c) copyright Psyche Productions, from video, “United Youth Arts Partnership”


Raven Eye

posted by Robert Moss

raven.jpgIn myth and legend, the raven is many things: trickster and creator, messenger and seer, personification of ravening greed, harbinger of death, companion or form of the Goddess. Here I want to speak about raven as an oracle bird, one that can lend us his or her sight.

Odin sees far with the help of twin ravens, named Huninn and Muninn, Thought and Memory. They fly all over this Middle World, returning with information. In the Prose Edda, Odin is called “raven god” because of his close association with these birds.
The raven has an equal role in the legends of Celtic seership. The raven is also the seeing-bird of Apollo, the owner of the most famous oracle of the ancient world, at Delphi. In the Greek story the raven was white until it brought the god the news of the infidelity of his mate Coronis (the Crow-Woman); his fury blasted it until it was black.
In dreams and journeys over many years, I have found the raven an impeccable ally when there is a need to see into dark places or see into the future. It has served as an ally in shamanic healing, plucking out the cells of disease. When I look into the raven’s eye, I see a screen like a television monitor on which images of things I need to know appear; sometimes I can also travel through the screen, to explore a scene beyond it.
In seership trainings in my Active Dreaming workshops, I suggest to participants – after they have done some foundation work – that they can borrow the keen sight of twin ravens named Thought and Memory to go scouting the possible future for a partner. They don’t have to rely on their own intuition or intelligence; they are to let the birds do the work. The quality of the information gathered by raven trackers in these exercises is often remarkable, even when the scouts have had no prior experience of doing anything remotely like this.
Despite their literary reputation, ravens aren’t solitary birds, unless forced to be; they mate for life. 
Here’s a poem I wrote to honor some of Raven’s gifts:
Sun Stealer 
They say you stole the sun.

This is inexact. 
You hid the light in darkness

where the light-killers could not find it

so the sun could shine brighter than before. 
They say you are black
because you are evil and unkind.

They do not say you swallowed
your own shadow and mastered it
at the price of wearing its colors.
Shivering, they call you death-knell,
Death-eater, bad omen, flying banshee 
because you feed on death that feeds on men. 
You strip what rots from what remains. 
You give us the purity of the bones. 
Trickster, they call you. 
Oh yes, you’ll do your wickedest
to ensure our way is never routine 
and we are forced to improvise and transform. 
You won’t let us swap our souls for a plan. 
At least they don’t accuse you
of minor crimes. 
I praise and claim your gifts 
of putting on darkness to come and go safely 
in the darkest places, jesting with Death.
Raven image via flickr


Dreaming parallel selves

posted by Robert Moss

ipousteguy2.jpgFor many years after my divorce from my first wife, I found myself still with her in dreams, in situations that might have unfolded had we stayed married. My dream self aged at exactly the same rate as my waking self, and the circumstances of these dreams were entirely realistic. 

Similarly, for years after leaving my second job, I would find myself, in dreams, working at the old place, dealing with new situations as they might have arisen had I stayed there. Slowly, my dream self began to understand that, “I don’t work here any more.” In a dream near the end of the long sequence, my dream self arrives at the old office building, briefcase in hand, to find that the company is no longer there. (In my waking reality, the company had moved its offices to another part of the city.) Foggily, my dream self gropes for the understanding that he doesn’t have to show up for work at either building. 

As I recently discussed on this blog, dreaming can give us experiential knowledge of the reality of parallel worlds in which we may be leading parallel lives. Such knowledge, I believe, is vital to our understanding of the nature of multidimensional reality and to self-healing and personal growth.
Soul-loss and/or soul-splitting may be at issue here. When we make a wrenching life choice, part of us – in disagreement with the choice we made – may split away and follow the path not taken. Becoming aware of that separated aspect of self and reaching to reclaim its energy and gifts can amount to vital soul healing. 

There’s also encouragement in dreams of this kind to get our heads out of old mindsets and look at the world with fresh eyes. Long after I parted from my big-league literary agent, for example, I dreamed I was still visiting him at his office. I grew to understand that I needed fully to renounce the approach and priorities he represented – which included ranking the commercial valuation of projects above their intrinsic value.

One of the gifts of dream glimpses of alternate life paths is that they sometimes confirm that we’ve done well to make the choices that put us where we are, rather than on a different track. A woman who had never married dreamed she was stuck in a boring marriage, punctuated by endless domestic spats, and woke glad that she had stayed single.

There is more than psychology and personal soul work involved here. While quantum physicists speculate about Many Worlds theory and other hypotheses about the nature of the multiverse, active dreamers have the ability to bring back first-hand data.
Jean Ipoustéguy sculpture at his tomb in the cemetery of Montparnasse


Heron signs

posted by Robert Moss

Thumbnail image for heron on Chito Beach.jpgA great blue heron flew parallel to me, for more than a mile, as I drove to the Connecticut shore to lead an adventure in exploring the multidimensional self over the past week. This felt like a promise that our work would be deep and rich – and on the right track – as indeed proved to be the case.

Bird-watching has been second only to dream reading as the most popular form of divination in human history. If we pay attention, the birds give us signs in our own lives. The great blue heron has strong mythic significance in two traditions that my dreams have called me to study deeply – those of ancient Egypt and of the Six Nations of the Longhouse, or Iroquois. The Egyptian phoenix (known in Egyptian as the benu bird) is depicted as a blue heron with the twin mating plumes. In Iroquoian cosmology, it is the great blue heron that carries Sky Woman down safely from the Earth-in-the-Sky to dance our world into being, on the turtle’s back. From the Egyptian angle, the appearance of the blue heron, especially in an unlikely way, may be an invitation to rebirth ourselves out of the ashes of the old life. From the Iroquois angle, the blue heron may remind us that when we find ourselves falling through a hole in our world (Sky Woman fell, or was pushed, through a hole in a world above) we may be offered the chance to make a new world.
I’ve been watching herons for a long time.The heron’s mode of fishing combines patience with the ability to strike in a flash when opportunity beckons from which we would do well to learn.  In mating season, they are a model of partnership, when the males bring twigs to the females waiting for building supplies to construct their great nests. Here’s a poem I wrote in tribute to the heron, and its many lessons:
I am studying the art of heronry.

You are a master of patience.
You can wait on one leg,
A spearman poised and immobile,
Longer than I can wait on two (or three).
Your standing stillness cons the fish
Into disregarding you, as a dead branch
Or a boring relic from an old shipwreck.


You don’t need anyone to tell you
When the time is GO.
In that instant, you strike without delay,
Your purpose straight and swift and clean
As a stabbing spear, taking your prey.

I am relieved that even you
Have to work to get airborne,
Flapping and beating your great gray-blue wings.
When you are up, and stretch out your body,
You exhibit the whole history of flight.
You show yourself as the Feathered Serpent,
The one that grew wise enough
To make a home in another dimension.

I love the way you practice love.
You put on a gaudy show for your intended
Sprouting twin mating plumes.
When your gallantry prospers,
You are willing to work in intimate partnership.
I have seen you, ferrying twigs in your beak
To your mate in the frame of your nest in the trees.


High-flying bird of the heart,
I like your business arrangement
With the busy engineer of canals and dams;
Where the beaver builds, you build too.

Humans, who fly only in dreams and machines,
Know you as an ancient ally and exemplar.
You brought First Woman from the Earth in the Sky
Breaking her fall on wings spread like magic carpets
To dance a new Earth into being.

Egypt knows you, and the mystery of your rise
From the sexy serpent of Earth
To the master of air and of water.
Egypt calls you the ever living, the phoenix bird
Born again and again from the ashes of the old life,
Endlessly birthing your winged and shining self. 

Heron on Chito Beach. Photo by Robyn Johnson
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