This message has been brought to you by snail girl. It makes me a little queasy to tell you this, because snail girl isn’t really used to having an audience, but we really need you to start sharing your strong dreams. Here’s what I mean: You can dream into the great river of story, into imaginal realms that are larger than your own subconscious mind. There are vital medicines for us all in these places, and we need them. Now, please. We need them now.
How do you know if you’re tapping into something larger than yourself? You can feel it. You’ll feel connected to your heart, to your higher self, to love and to mystery. You’ll feel like you’re on to something. And you can even get “proof” sometimes through research, if your the sort of person (like me) who likes a little proof and loves to sleuth stories.
Here’s one of those dreams of mine to spark yours:
I’m swimming in an illuminated place. The water glints with silver mixed with an impossible milky blue like it’s swirled with bright noon sky and cumulous clouds and flashes of moonlight.
I realize I’m not alone.
All around me are golden beings, like humans, but they’re covered in fur and their forms and faces resemble otters. These are golden otter people. We’re in a large river.
I’m tense, and I see the tension reflected on the faces of the otters. They’re looking to me to know where to go, but I’m not sure. I’m afraid of making a mistake, but I swim on and they follow me. I’m not quite my usual self. I feel very small and young. My arms and legs are puny compared to these glistening otter people behind me. I have long dark hair and my skin is a dull gray.
We swim past wetlands full of irises and water lilies in all the shades of the rainbow. I’m overwhelmed with their beauty, but know that I have to keep going. I realize too when I see the flowers that we’re swimming between worlds. We’re searching for something, for the otters to find a home and also for a way to communicate through all the worlds. We have something very important to share.
I wake up.
The night before I have this dream, I send a large prayer up for water. I pray for all the waters of the world, give thanks and pray for the health of my local waterways and reservoirs, and also for the Animas river that’s recently become toxic to life.
I feel deeply comforted and intrigued when I wake up. On a purely psychological level the dream has a lot to offer me, but it feels bigger than that. There’s a numinous quality, a feeling of Spirit presence, that I’ve come to recognize. So I decide to do some research. I look up Navajo stories connected to otters, as the Animas river runs through Navajo country, and it was a Navajo woman’s plea to pray for water that sparked this dreaming.
After a quick internet search, I find a version of part of the creation story with some interesting parallels to my dream. In this Navajo story, First Woman sends different peoples, beginning with the otter and beaver people, the best swimmers, back into another world to bring fresh water to the humans so that people can survive, as fresh water has yet to be created in this world. The otters and beavers go into the other world in search of fresh water, but are sidetracked by beautiful rainbow-covered lilies, and it takes snail girl to finally succeed in bringing fresh water through the realms to make human/animal life possible. She doesn’t even realize that she’s succeeded at all, as she drops the water when she reaches home, and passes out from exhaustion. First Woman is able to use the puddle snail girl drops to create all the fresh water that people need, and then she tells snail girl that she did it after all.
When I read about snail girl, the hairs on my body stand up. Years ago I had a dream with a character called snail girl, and when I was really young I was attracted to the characters in the short play Snails in Suzan Lori Park’s Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom. I’ve known snail girl awhile, somehow.
The message that snail girl brings me is that power comes from this insecure, exiled one, the part of the self that is not at home anywhere but carries her home on her back. True power to heal and cure myself and my world resides in this lowly one inside me, and it is she who knows how to swim between worlds.
I hadn’t read or heard any of the Navajo creation story before having the dream, but after I read it, the two fuse in my imagination. I learn that the third world in the Navajo cycle had been flooded by water, and that we now live in the fourth world.
My mind starts whirring. I’ll use a technique from Active Dreaming, do some dream theater with this, acting out all the parts with friends, and we’ll discover the otters’ message. One thing I’m certain of: the message won’t be “just for me.” It’s my hope that it can be used to fuel inspired activism to heal and protect our precious waters.
It’s time for the strong dreamers to offer up all of our strong dreams! Our world needs them.
Here’s a few steps you can take:
1. Write down your dreams. The more you do this, the more you will remember them. If you don’t remember them, write down your first thoughts in the morning, and you could even write down a made-up dream. I did this recently on a night when I forgot my dreams and the next night I remembered.
2. Record how you feel upon waking. (You can also use Robert Moss’s Lightning Dreamwork Game as a template, it’s an excellent series of questions and suggestions and is best played with others)
3. Share. Share widely. And let the dream inspire some creative action!
(p.s. if you hope you’re a strong dreamer, you are one.)
To be continued…
To learn more about Active Dreaming, check out the work of Robert Moss.
To read a version of this part of the Navajo creation story, go here.
And please share this with a strong dreamer in your life!