Dream Gates

Soul loss, says shamanic teacher Sandra Ingerman, is a survival mechanism. When the pain of life gets too much, we let part of ourselves slip away. If you are about to have a head-on collision, she likes to say, the last place you want to be is in your body.

The problem is that the part of soul that goes away may take a very long time in returning. You may need a shaman to help you find it and bring it back to you. Or a poet. In some shamanic traditions, the healer sings the song back home. I have dreamed of an ancient Celtic shaman in a feathered cloak, singing under a tree. As he sings, souls stir like birds waking and spread their wings in the branches, until the one he is seeking flutters down into his waiting hand.

In order to become shamans of our own souls, we want songs that will call back soul and make it want to stay in the body. On our way to discovering our own songs, we can be roused and inspired by the soul songs of others. We don’t want to forget that Western literature – and popular music – has many to offer.

I was looking again tonight at a lines in a poem by Federico Garcia Lorca that are lovely enough, even in translation, to stir the heart of the seeker, and call help from spiritual powers, and reach beyond the world to the soul he is seeking. The poem, written in 1919, is the Balada de la Placeta, or Ballad of the Little Plaza.

The key passage, in Spanish, flows as follows:

Se ha llenado de luces
mi corazón de seda,
de campanas perdidas,
de lirios y de abejas,
y yo me iré muy lejos,
más allá de esas sierras,
más allá de los mares,
cerca de las estrellas,
para pedirle a Cristo
Señor que me devuelva
mi alma antigua de niño,
madura de leyendas,
con el gorro de plumas
y el sable de madera.

In translation:

My heart of silk
is filled with lights
with lost bells,
with lilies and bees,
and I will go very far,
beyond these hills,
beyond the seas,
near to the stars,
to plead with Christ:
Lord, may I be given back
the child soul I once had,
ripe with stories,
in his feathered cap
with his wooden sword.

Notice the poet asks for help, by a name he believes in. Something else to remember as we seek to become whole. There are powers that support our deeper life, and we want to call on them.


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