Dream Gates

Dream Gates

Scientists dream together on the Farallones

posted by Robert Moss

View_from_Mirounga_Bay Farallon islands.jpgIn the biologist’s dream, a sea bird has been banded too tight and is in trouble in the water, thrashing around to try to get rid of the constraining tag. She jumps into the ocean, braving hungry sharks to try to rescue the bird, and follows it all the way to the Golden Gate bridge, where things get confused as lots of people enter the scene.

In another scientist’s dream, something strange is going on in the vast colony of murrs on one of the islands. He goes to investigate and discovers that some people have infiltrated the colony, disguised as murrs, with the aim of stealing the birds’ eggs.

In yet another scientist’s dream, his team of observers are playing hockey against a team of cormorants, with drunken elephant seals for a rowdy audience.

These are samples from a group dream log maintained by members of the scientific observation team on the Farallon Islands over the past 20 years. The sampling was made public in a most interesting article by Carolyn Jones (“Farallones biologists record similar dreams”) in the San Francisco Chronicle today.

I hope the full log of these dream reports will be made public. They may constitute fascinating raw data on how members of a close-knit community can share a life in dreams as well as in waking reality. Common themes recur in these reports: the threat of human intrusion on the fragile environment of sea birds and aquatic mammals, danger in the water in shark season, close encounters between humans and other life forms. It would be interesting to know whether the dreams of two or more biologists on a given night match up even more closely, for example in scouting a particular development that could threaten a bird colony, or warn of danger at sea for a member of the scientific team.

On a given day, there are only six or seven biologists on the Faralllones, meeting for dinner each night at one of the two Victorian houses at the base of the pyramid hill, with its lighthouse, on the southeast island. Only 27 miles from San Francisco, they are nonetheless quite remote from the modern world, and much closer to the elemental powers of wind and water than most city-dwellers can imagine. Perhaps, under these circumstances, they have slipped into a kind of mutual dream “entrainment” that is in no way exotic to indigenous peoples, or to many of our ancestors, or to circles of active dreamers today.

Communal dreaming can be developed, consciously, as a means of scanning the environment that goes beyond scientific instruments, and can be life-supporting and even life-preserving. In The Secret History of Dreaming, I describe how the Andaman islanders have a practice of conscious mutual dreaming that enabled them to receive early warning of the Asian tsunami of December 2004 and get out of its way, abandoning their coastal fishing settlements for the uplands while tourists on nearby shores were swept away.

In my own Active Dreaming circles, we have kept group logs of some of our dream expeditions, and I quote from these in the epilogue to my Dreamways of the Iroquois. While the group dream log of the biologists in the Farallones is thus by no means unique, it is a wonderful initiative that may inspire many to think more about the possibilities for dreaming as a social, as well as an individual, experience.

Southeast Farallon island from Mirounga Bay. Farallon means “steep rock” or “cliff” in Spanish.

When it’s time to jump

posted by Robert Moss

Kairos.jpg
In Greek, there are two kinds of time. Chronos time is what we observe when we look at a clock and measure out our days. Kairos time doesn’t operate at a tick-tock pace. It is the “appointed time”, when powers and movements of a deeper world irrupt into our regular lives, when the Greater Trumps are in play.

It is a risky time, offering both opportunity and danger and the excitement of living on the edge.
Jean Houston calls it Jump Time. Lyanda Lynn Haupt says beautifully (in Crow Planet) “It is a time brimming with meaning, a time more potent than ‘normal’ time.”

I sense that Kairos is the spirit of our time. The celebrated Greek sculptor Lysippos carved his image, showing a winged figure with a razor and hair hanging down over his face. As explained by Poseidippos, the razor is “a sign to men that I am sharper than any sharp edge.” His hair hangs over his face because “he who meets me must take me by the forelock.” The back of his head is bald because “once I have sped by none can seize me from behind.”
It is Jump Time in our world, as well as in our lives.

To quote Lyanda Haupt again, we live in a time “when our collective actions over the next several years will decide whether earthly life will continue its descent into ecological ruin and death or flourish in beauty and diversity.”

Quotes from Lyanda Lynn Haupt are from her new book Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom for the Urban Wilderness (Little, Brown)

The dossier on Shared Dreaming

posted by Robert Moss
mosswood breakfast 3.JPGIn Manhattan this morning, in the breakfast room of my hotel prior to opening the second of my workshops at the NY Open Cenetr, I watched a long interview with a psychologist I know and like on the Today Show, inspired by the movie “Inception”. The interviewer wanted to know whether “shared dreaming” – a central premise of the film - is possible. All the psychologist could say is “the jury is still out on that” while briefly referring to accounts of married couples having overlapping (non-intentional) dreams.
 
For a fuller answer, take another look at the series of articels on Shared Dreaming, before and after “Inception”, that I have posted on this blog. These articles are filled with both practical techniques,  fresh and inspiring stories, guidance on how to dream with others for fun and helpful purposes (as opposed to Hollywood’s Dark Side version), and some necessary cautions abound maintaining good boundaries and preventing psychic intrusoion.
 
For convenience, and because it’s easy to lose track of what’s gone on at a blog after a week or two, here are the links.
 
Shared Dreaming in the sense of lucid or conscious dreaming between two or more partners is defined and discussed as a mode of social dreaming here: 
http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/2010/07/shared-dreaming-before-and-after-inception.html
 
This article explains how to set up shared dreaming with a consenting partner for adventure, romance, healing or guidance:
http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/2010/07/shared-dreaming-as-home-entertainment.html
 
This article describes an experience of conscious shared dreaming by a corporate executive and his wife in one of my Active Dreaming workshops that literally saved the man’s job (Note to Hollywood: shared dreaming and other techniques of Active Dreaming can be used to support good causes)
 
http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/2010/07/how-shared-dreaming-saved-georges-job.html
 
And here is my review of “Inception”
 
http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/2010/07/inception-better-in-conception-than-delivery.html

 

The photo shows some of my active dreamers sharing dreams at the berakfast table and selectinng which ones will be used as portals for conscious adventured in shared dreaming during the recent training I led at Mosswood Hollow in the foothills of the Cascades.

Dream and Get Lucky

posted by Robert Moss

wishbone - Robin OK.jpgIf you want to know more about what dreams can be, consider what the words for “dream” mean in different languages. You’ll find clues here to what dreaming meant to our ancestors, before we lost respect for dreamers and contact with the Dreaming..

How about these:

- a dream is “a journey of the soul” (adekato) for a dreaming people of Venezuela, the Makiritare.

- a dream is a “zephyr”, a gentle breeze slipping through the keyhole, or the crack between the door and the lintel, to breathe in your ear, in ancient Assyria

- a dream is an “awakening” (rswt) in ancient Egypt

- a dream is also a spirit messenger (oneiros) that travels from the Republic of Dreams (Demos Oneiron) in archaic Greece.

In good Old English, a dream is “merriment” and “revelry” of the kind you might encounter from downing too many goblets in a mead-hall. But by Chaucer’s time, the same word, with a different, Northern derivation, can also imply an encounter with the dead. As in Northern Europe (German Traum, Dutch droom etc) the word “dream” we have inherited is linked to the Old Germanic Draugr, which means a visitation from the dead.

As explained by the great Tuscarora ethnographer J.N.B.Hewitt, the old Iroquoian word katera’swas means “I dream” but implies much more that we commonly mean when when say that phrase in English. Katera’swas means I dream as a habit, as a daily part of my way of being in the world. The expression also carries the connotation that I am lucky in a proactive way – that I bring myself luck because I am able to manifest good fortune and prosperity through my dream. The related term watera’swo not only means “dream”; it can also be translated as “I bring myself good luck.”

Early Jesuit missionaries reported that the Iroquois believed that neglect of dreams brings bad luck. Father Jean de Quens noted on a visit to the Onondaga, that “people are told they will have bad luck if they disregard their dreams.” So if you want to get lucky, you want to dream a lot.

~The last part of this article is adapted from my book Dreamways of the Iroquois: Honoring the Secret Wishes of the Soul published by Destiny Books, 2005

Wishbone photo by Robin O’Neal Kissel,


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