Notes on a Women’s Shamanic Intensive Retreat in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains: Part Five

Lizard Medicine & Feminist Shamanic Dream Healing  

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Dreaming in the Endless Mountains

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The Dreamer

One of the women at the Intensive, who deals with a challenging family history on an ongoing basis, reported having recurring nightmares related to that history, and it soon became clear that in order to free her from the distress this dream was causing her, I would need to undertake a shamanic reorganization and healing of the dream’s content. Lizard medicine would now be joining us at the farm. The shamanic  archetype, or animal spirit helper taking the form of Lizard is the ultimate shamanic “dreamer,” and is found in the shamanic West, where perpetual twilight and sunset create a mysterious and powerful atmosphere. In feminist shamanic training, one gradually develops a solid relationship with a particular Lizard who volunteers to be one’s guide and advisor for this kind of dream healing. (Doing this type of deep shamanic work is an advanced healing method, and should only undertaken by fully trained feminist shamans.) As I begin the journey, Lizard carries me over the Dark Mountains which are located at the center of the shamanic West, and down their obsidian slopes into the far West of the West, to the greening circle in the heart of the desert there, where the Bear Shamans raise the Shaman’s Tree in time of need. This is not at all what I expect (as is usually the case in shamanic journeys, and is an indicator that one is, in fact, observing and interacting with events in shamanic reality and not “imagining” them). The Shaman’s Tree is a huge tree in which shamans-to-be are nurtured and prepared to become shamans prior to birth, so that they will be able to find their way to a shaman’s path and handle the responsibilities inherent in accepting such a calling. The Bear Chief approaches me and speaks: “This woman was meant to be birthed as a shaman. The childhood behaviors she exhibited, which were identified by her family as “bad,” were actually signs of her shamanic talents, and had we been able to birth her into a tribal family system, would most likely have been recognized as such. As it is, before she can fully accept her calling and act upon it, the wounds of her childhood must be healed.” Because of the particular nature of these wounds, I’m advised that her healing must be carried out by the Twelve Grandmothers who reside within the cavern of the Snake Goddess in the shamanic West. After thanking the Bear Chief for this guidance, Lizard tells me that the particular dream awaiting healing can only be entered by means of journeying down one of the roots of the Shaman’s Tree. We enter the trunk of the tree. Lizard identifies the correct root, and we move ever deeper into shamanic reality as we travel down and down, eventually entering the actual dream itself. With Lizard’s guidance, I interact with the dream content to bring about the healing the dream indicates is needed. Once the reorganization has been accomplished, we return to ordinary consciousness, tracing our steps, thanking the Bear Chief as we emerge from the tree, climbing back up, over and down the obsidian slopes of the Dark Mountains. Once back in the desert plain of the East of the shamanic West, I thank Lizard, offering him a small glittering crystal as a gift. When I emerge from the journey, I share all the details of my adventure with Lizard with the circle, and a lively discussion of its meaning ensues. The next night, the woman for whom I did the journey had a dream that made it clear that the healing had been successful. She will do the work with the Twelve Grandmothers over the coming year, and we will revisit this issue during our next gathering in the mountains. After we had all returned to our respective homes, I received the following message from her: “…I just wanted to let you know that thus far I remain nightmare free since the Intensive. I’m so grateful for the chance to get some truly restful sleep!”

Posted in 2015 In Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains, Feminist Shamanic Intensives & Retreats, Primary posts

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