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Monday, November 29, 2010

The "Cure" for Cancer



About a year ago, I had a series of lucid dreams about cancer. I wrote about them here in this blog, and then decided to delete one of the original posts because its heaviness impeded my desire to write. I feel comfortable reposting it now, as one of its meanings has matured into a message for all of us.

Over the past year, I have come to realize that yes, I have cancer, and that we all have cancer. Because of our interconnectivity, we all have to deal with the reality of this imbalance as it affects the human race. The other day, I was walking through the forest with a friend, who lost his wife to cancer. We went to gather seeds from the most robust, beautiful species of curly dock that we could find. We walked for nearly an hour, letting our minds air out and our hearts take over so that we would be in right relation before we took from the forest.

The two of us ventured to the top of the highest hill, what must have been a beautiful vantage point for people and animals long ago, before the tall Monterey pines arrived. We imagined the grizzlies that used to roam up here, eating the native huckleberries, which still adorn the hill. My friend brought me here to show me that people had recently poisoned the beautiful medicinal plants all around the periphery of this high, holy place. The poisoned area is completely unmarked, right on the trail, where hikers, children, dogs, and wild animals commonly roam.

My friend, who knows the park intimately, told me that at first, the plants appeared to be covered in a white fungus-like substance, but after he inspected them closely, he realized the substance was poison. After just a few days, the plants had withered and died unnaturally. We wondered who did it, and imagined that perhaps the phone company or maybe even park officials had poisoned them unthinking, to keep plants away from the tall radio towers and equipment that modern humans have placed here.

We both felt devastated. I walked around examining the land, to which we humans were once so consciously bonded. I silently wept at the recent, deep disconnection that enables us to pour poison on the Earth without a second thought. Of course, the person who did this had no malice. But the depth of this forgetting has a profound an effect on the health of all life, including human beings. As long as we pour poison onto our Mother (in the many ways that we do), we will have cancer.

My friend and I went our separate ways at the top of the hill to be with the poisoned plants and our own grief. I sprinkled tobacco on the Earth and cried tears for our forgetting, and tears for the plants. The only thing I could say was, "I don't know why we did this to you. I don't know why we did this to you..."

When we finished with our offerings, we sauntered back down the trail feeling cleansed by grief, and continued on our journey to gather seeds. We returned to a particular plant that stood out because of its tall, straight stature, and because of the broad, curly leaves sprouting up beside last year's plant. It stood right next to a tree that had been scored by a buck's antlers, at the edge of a hawthorn grove. A red-shafted flicker perched and called nearby. This plant was simply glowing with permission to harvest its beautiful seeds. We left an offering of tobacco, collected plenty of seeds for our garden, and happily scattered the rest nearby.

After leaving the park, my friend and I discussed the link between cancer and the way we live in the world today. Our gathering native seeds from the park is illegal; poisoning the Earth is not. While I respect and appreciate whole-heartedly people in search of a "cure" for cancer, I also feel that we share the epidemic collectively, regardless of whether it manifests in the cells of our individual bodies. We also share the cure.

To the people who have cancer and have lost loved ones to cancer, I pray for your individual healing and I know, truly, that we can and do heal from this disease and from the grief it leaves in its wake. I pray, too, that we remember that we must eat the fruit of the seeds we sow. Let these fruits, then, be borne of balance and vitality. When we remember our inextricable link with all that is, then our instinct of self-preservation will include all our relations. The cure for cancer lies in our relationship with all of life. As such, we already hold the cure, right here in our hands, every day.

Cancer

This post is from about a year ago. I'm republishing it because I have a greater understanding of its message now:

I've had two lucid dreams in which dream figured have told me that I have cancer. I wrote about one of these dreams because of its link to practical healing applications for the Earth, but I did not write about the other because of its personal nature and, frankly, because it scared me. When a friend invited me to be part of her dream group, she gave us an article about Wanda Burch's precognitive dreams that diagnosed her cancer. She pushed her doctors for more rigorous testing after initial tests turned up nothing, and her insistence saved her life.

After these three examples of similar information appeared in close proximity to one another, I began to believe that I should go get checked out myself. Oneida/Frank elder Apela Colorado calls this "triangulation," where a grouping of three mutually-reinforcing incidents guide a person to take information seriously. After triangulating the message to investigate my health, I prayed, "Please make it clear to me if I need to take this seriously."

The following day, I received in the mail a glossy, black and white advertisement in the mail that said boldy and simply on one side, "CANCER." I also received an email about breast cancer that morning. I write this blog not out of fear, nor to elicit fear, but to show how elders taught me to work with triangulation in dreams and waking life. I took action to anchor these synchronicities by going to see the doctor, who told me that I am healthy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Experiments in Shamanic Technology


I am revising my experiments in lucid dreaming. In the past, I have made a strong effort to "save the world," which doesn't need saving as such. When I nourish myself with the care and compassion I wish to create all around me, then I can be the means to the end. And, I'll have the energy to carry out my inspirations with ease and beauty. I've also come to realize that patience in the waking world is as powerful as presence in the dreamworld. Waiting and listening have become great teachers to me. The drive to learn and do can be fun, but it can also negate our completeness as human beings.

While I appreciate my lucid dreaming efforts as a learning process, I feel that many of my ideas have been naive, particularly in dreams such as "Healing Russia" (LOL), in which I entered a land about which I know very little and attempted to "fix" it. How's that for Conquistador of Consciousness? Appropriately, Mother Russia also happened to flee the scene of this dream.

In my experimentation, I have had some interesting "successes" in treating patients from the dream world. When I have asked them in dreams what they needed for healing, they have told me some things that would not have occurred to me in the waking world. One Norwegian patient, for example, requested a Runic sigil. When I mentioned this to her in waking life, she told me she indeed had a Runic sigil, and then began to wear it. Often, people's illnesses manifest symbolically rather than literally, so I am learning to familiarize myself with these symbols.

Recently, I approached an elder with questions about healing from within the dream world. She told me she didn't want to answer me without first consulting some shamans from Altai. She suggested that I come with her on her next trip to Siberia so that a (female) shaman can initiate me in order to receive the knowledge and empowerment I need to continue on this path. I do plan to make this journey, two summers hence.

So, this is where Lucid Dreaming for the Earth currently stands. I am having fewer lucid dreams now, which is nice (to rest more), but I still enjoy them when they naturally arise.

Lastly, I'd like to share my friend Ryan Hurd's piece on Lucid Dreaming as Shamanic Technology, because it's brilliant and discusses with depth and experiential authority these things that are so close to my heart.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Praying in the Redwoods

image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prairie_Creek_Redwoods_State_Park

Recently I've lacked the gumption to do environmental restoration in the dream realm. More commonly in lucid dreams, I'll make some kind of silly proclamation, such as, "This is a dream!" and then look for a place to nap.

But as I've had the luxury of solid sleep for the past few days in a row, I finally decided to resume lucid dreaming for the Earth. Two nights ago, I had the following experience:

I see a small, hobbit-like door and walk through it. It opens to a beautiful scene of redwoods and waterfalls cascading over smooth river rocks. I stand in front of a big, mossy stump, and pray to the Spirit of the dream and the Spirit who moves in all things to take pity on us, as we've lost our way. Sending out a silent plea that the healing and repair work from the dream world will filter into the other, (supposedly) solid land, I picture our world in balance. I turn toward the Sun and see a lake with trash floating in it. To the north, I look up at a stone fortress built into a hillside or cliff. I try to play the penny whistle as an offering, but find that my skills here are even worse than in the waking world. Instead, I offer words of gratitude, and hope that other people are praying the same prayer.

*Something I thought to do for next time is to make offering bundles of tobacco to place under my pillow so that I can present them within the lucid dream. Perhaps simply generating them inside the dream would be enough, but I believe having the physical objects under my pillow will help. I must also perform some action in waking life to ground the experience in physical reality, or the dream is of little use. I'll keep you posted on that. In the meantime, do any of you have experiences of making offerings in dreams/lucid dreams?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Wind

image from nasa.gov; the blue dot is the Earth relative to the Sun

I'd like to post this next lucid dream because it inspired such awe in me for the natural elements. I believe this awe is a precursor to caring enough about the world to dream it healed and whole. The dream is called "The Wind":

I'm ambling through my backyard when I see a poplar leaf fall from a limb and spiral down toward the ground. A breeze comes and carries it west as I watch in silent wonder. It suddenly occurs to me to ask, "Where does the Wind go?" The Wind lifts me into the air to answer my question. I now glide with the poplar leaf on its swirling, westward journey. The Wind picks up. I start soaring higher and higher into the air, and take in the scenery, growing ever distant below. Now I am ascending through the layers of the atmosphere--troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, ionosphere. The Wind whips me through space! There is Wind in outerspace! I have never thought of this before! The Wind's tremendous presence is always sweeping something somewhere. Its endless domain leaves me thunderstruck. I find myself generalizing this newfound respect to the other elements of this Earth--no, this Cosmos!--as well.

This dream, truly, is a blessing. I've been reveling in small breezes all week, and today I played a special song to the Wind on my pennywhistle as an offering of gratitude. As I write this, two ravens descend and caw outside my window, right where the lucid dream began. I thank these winged ones, embassadors of the Wind. They, too, are part of the dream.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Where the Buffalo Roam

image from nymag.com

Speaking of buffalo and elk, controversy's afoot regarding Ted Turner's bid on bison, who are currently quarantined in Yellowstone State Park as part of a plan to repopulate America's West with a disease-free herd. The species, so emblematic of our continent, used to number in the millions before hunters drove them to the brink of extinction. Apparently, Turner wants to take in 88 bison who could be slaughtered if they don't find a home. Native people and conservation advocates are concerned about setting a precedent of commercializing wildlife restoration, as Turner isn't taking the animals for nothing; he wants 90% of their offspring. Also, I learned from the article below that he has private hunting grounds, where people can shoot trophy elk or bison for thousands of dollars a pop, as it were. I don't like that. But, I do like the idea of more bison populating the Montana plains. I just don't know what to think. Why can't the buffalo roam on public land? Here is the article:

MATTHEW BROWN
Associated Press Writer - January 18, 2010

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — With 88 bison from Yellowstone National Park facing possible slaughter, billionaire Ted Turner has swept in and offered to hold the animals for five years on his sprawling Montana ranch while a new home for them is found.

But Turner, ever the shrewd businessman, won't do it for nothing. The media mogul says he will care for the bison only if he can keep up to 90 percent of their offspring.

And in the Rocky Mountain West — where wildlife is cherished both for its aesthetic value and as meat on the table — the plan is stoking a sharp debate over the role of deep-pocketed private entities in conservation.

Hunters, environmentalists and property law experts have all weighed in and most say Turner's plan sets a dangerous precedent for the commercialization of public wildlife. Others describe Turner as a responsible steward of the land with the resources needed to take care of animals that desperately need a home.

Even the urgency of the situation is open to question.

Despite warnings from Montana about possible slaughter, federal officials said earlier this month that the bison could be kept longer if needed at a quarantine compound north of the park. They have already been there for several years to make sure they are disease free.

Dennis Tilton, a rancher from nearby Livingston who worked for a year feeding the animals under government contract, said giving the animals to Turner amounted to "robbing from the public domain." He said the state should put them onto public land to establish new herds.

Since Turner first came to Montana in 1989, his ambitious conservation efforts in the state have been alternately lauded and reviled. He's shielded more than 150,000 acres from development, but in the process put several prized hunting grounds off limits to the public.

Those who want to continue hunting on his Flying D Ranch, in the Spanish Peaks foothills south of Bozeman, today must pony up $14,000 to shoot a trophy elk.

For $4,000, they can harvest a bull bison out of a herd of more than 1,000 of the animals that Turner has been building up for two decades.

His representatives insist the Yellowstone animals are more valuable for their genetics and would be off limits.

Yellowstone's bison, also known as buffalo, represent one the last vestiges of the massive herds that once roamed across North America — tens of millions of animals that were all but wiped out in the late 19th century.

Turner's representatives say his plan for the 88 park bison would advance a long-standing advocacy for wildlife restoration. It also gains him the animals' unique and valuable genetics.

"We don't understand the antipathy," said Turner Enterprises general manager Russell Miller.

He said Turner is interested in the animals as a way to further his private bison conservation efforts, not for their market value.

"That doesn't mean there won't be a market somewhere way out in the future," he added.

Turner's plan is expected to be acted on by the end of the month by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Guernsey State Park in Wyoming has also put in a proposal to the agency for 14 bison.

Montana officials were largely caught off guard by the billionaire's initial bid, which came at the invitation of the state's Democratic governor, Brian Schweitzer.

State and federal pronouncements going back to at least 2005 had called for the quarantined animals to be relocated onto public or tribal lands. Before Turner came along, those pronouncements included an explicit prohibition against commercialization of the animals.

When plans last spring to move them onto a Wyoming Indian reservation fell through — and the specter of slaughter was raised — the ban on commercialization was lifted.

Neither Montana nor the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state's partner in the project, has ever offered to take the animals.

That's due in large part to a broader dispute over whether wild bison belong anywhere in the state outside of Yellowstone. Many ranchers see free-roaming bison as a disease risk and unwanted competition for the grass that feeds their cattle herds.

Meanwhile, conservationists are sinking millions of dollars into restoration efforts for the animal. That includes an attempt by the American Prairie Foundation to buy up vast swaths of land in eastern Montana ranches and create a 3 million acre reserve for bison and other wildlife.

"We don't have a real clear direction of what we want to do with bison," said Montana fish and wildlife director David Risley. "Are they going to be behind a fence forever, or is there a place in Montana where they can be free-roaming?"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Little Sparrow


I went back to the clean-up site today to respond to the recent graffiti that proclaims, "F-ck This Art Sh-t." I couldn't help punctuating the statement with a pretty little sparrow.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Keepin' On

photography by Erin Langley

I decided to go back to the clean-up site once a week to continue anchoring the healing work in a practical way. Dreaming can be a slippery business, after all. It's good for a dreamer to get her hands dirty, regularly. The area still looks fairly clean, but I worked on a hillside that I hadn't touched before, so I actually got a lot of trash today. There's a little bit of new graffiti, which speaks to the turf sparring between groups of kids up there. It seems to be the peace-loving artsy kids who decorated the area with colorful hearts and peace signs, and the more mischievous kids venting their anger through hateful graffiti. The new graffiti says, "F-ck this art sh-t." Kind of funny, really. After we picked up the trash and hauled a new trashcan up to the site, I made an offering of tobacco and prayed for gentle, thorough healing for the land and everyone who goes there. May it be so!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Army of Dreamers

image from http://www.comicsvillage.com/

Lately I have not been sleeping because my baby is teething. I have been so physically exhausted that a recent lucid dream went something like this:

I see a lady and say, "I'm so tired. " She says, "Yep. You can't sleep." And I decide to exit the dream in favor of more restful dreaming.

However, I do have two short examples of lucid dreaming for the Earth that have occurred during the past month, which I will offer here to keep the energy moving in the right direction. The first is straightforward enough:

I am staring at the sapling frame of a shelter that someone has built in the center of the labyrinth in my parents' backyard. I realize I'm dreaming and start praying for the healing of the land here. When I call in the directions, the wind starts to blow. Though the landscape seems sad and somewhat desolate, the wind feels good, like the prayer has been acknowledged.

In the second lucid dream, I see a small troll-looking person who becomes uglier and uglier as I look at him. I ask the dream in a prayer, "What is the next step for lucid dreaming for the Earth?" Immediately, a battalion of trolls pours out of a stairwell past me. The leader troll continues to look at me.

All I can think is that dreaming for the Earth takes an army. Got any other ideas?