I have been privileged to lead Active Dreaming workshops in Lithuania three times. Each visit has been a grand adventure, a deepening encounter with the spirits of the land, and a lesson in how we can use the arts of conscious and group dreaming in the cause of cultural soul retrieval.

When I first came here in 2004, 40 Lithuanians joined me at Nida, the famous summer resort on a spit of land in the Baltic, to reclaim the arts of dreaming. We made a conscious dream journey together through the gateway of an ancient oak, and I found myself in direct contact with a priestess of Žemyna, the great Earth goddess of Lithuania. The žyne (priestess) belonged to an ancient time. She instructed me in methods of healing and visioning involving the use of amber, and gave me symbols and words in old Lithuanian – a language previously unknown to me – that others in the workshop helped me translate.

From this moment, I found myself engaged in Baltic dream archaeology. The practice of dream archaeology involves reclaiming authentic knowledge of ancestral traditions, including those that may have been buried or suppressed in the course of history, through a combination of careful research and experiential journeying across time and between dimensions. The dream archaeologist combines the skills of the shaman, the scholar and the detective.

I returned to Lithuania in October 2009 to lead a workshop in Vilnius, and found myself drawn deeper into the mythic traditions and ancient practices of the Baltic. In our group journeys, powered by shamanic drumming, I saw a great crowned water-serpent rising from the sea. I saw a great golden beehive dripping with honey, with wild bees buzzing around that were also – on closer inspection – winged priestesses; and knew I was in a Goddess realm.

I saw a great amber, and the priestess of Žemyna appeared again to continue my tutorials. She instructed me that the egg-shaped amber is a see-stone that can be used like a crystal ball. She showed me how burning amber is a valid sacrifice, offering a gift of the Goddess to the Goddess herself, and also how the smoke becomes a window into the world-behind-the-world. In the smoke of amber, I saw into the realm of Sleeping Kings – in this case the Grand Dukes of medieval Lithuania who fought invaders and would-be oppressors and wait (like the Arthur of British legend) to be recalled to fight for their land again, on the psychospiritual plane, in the event of a new threat to its survival.

I returned to Lithuania in March 2010, to lead a new workshop in the beautiful old city of Kaunas. In Kaunas, my dreams were again suffused with amber light. The ancient priestess reminded me “You belong to the People of Amber. Your duty – and that of those you train here – is to build bridges and wooden pathways so people can get across the mud safely. You must remember to call on the power of Light Amber to heal and to guide, and on the power of Dark Amber to remove the darkness.”

Lithuania is the country of Marija Gimbutas, the great scholar of the Goddess traditions, and I discovered first-hand that despite the long nightmare of invasion, occupation and persecution, the Goddess lives in the dreaming land, as the fire lives in wood. In my visits to the Baltic, I have been reminded again and again that one of the gifts of dreaming is that it opens authentic connections to the ancestors, offering us the chance to heal the wounds of the past and to perform cultural soul retrieval.


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