A widespread practice among ancient and indigenous peoples is to open contact with spiritual guides and allies by seeking a dream at a special place in nature. The vision quest at puberty is an essential life passage in many traditional cultures.

Among the Anishnaabe (Ojibwa) of the Great Lakes, a boy approaching manhood might be assigned to perch in a “nest” – a platform set high in the branches of a tree – for several days and nights, inviting an encounter with a pawagan, or dream visitor. Sometimes the boy’s vision quest is supported by an adult male beating a drum. In one classic account, the pawagan appeared to a boy in human form and told him, “You are strong enough now to go with me.” The visitor started dancing. As he danced, he turned into a golden eagle. The boy looked down at his own body and saw it was also covered with feathers. The great eagle spread its wings and soared into the sky. The boy, in eagle form, followed.

A strong working relationship with a pawagan was considered essential to personal health and success. The initiatory encounter typically included directions for future meetings.

The pawagan might show the dreamer another place in nature where they could make contact again. This might be a place inside a rock, where they could meet in a secret chamber. The stone might be small enough to carry in a pouch.

I like the idea of having a special place to meet the guide that you can carry with you wherever you go.


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