12 December, 2013

Dragons: a "Hello" from the past

Every now and then, I enjoy reading through my old Shamanic Journeying notebooks, to try and remember all the different spirits I have met and places I have seen.

It can be difficult to remember Journeys, as they are sometimes like dreams, but each detail can be symbolic, and adds to the Inner Landscape of each shaman's Worldview.

Coyote wasn't always the first one to come to me during Journeywork; I had a menagerie of interesting Spirits trying to get my attention!

Who loves "Flight of Dragons" on VHS?!?
Dragons, especially the sleek, Asian-style water/air dragons, were very powerful images for me, and I adore them. Here is a story from one of my first Journeys 10 years ago (when I still lived in NYC), that can illustrate the instinctual symbolism of shamanic work:

September 2003
Went to a Shamanic workshop today: I had to take a subway, transfer to a subway, transfer to another subway, and then hop on the NJ Transit RR. Sheesh, it sucked (2 hour travel time!) but it ended up being worth it.
GOG (Grove of the Other Gods, ADF) was originally planning to hold the workshop outside, but of course, it rained. After I got off the RR, it was only a short walk to the Senior Druid's home. I found the place easily, and I didn't even need to knock on the door b/c they were keeping an eye out for me in case I got lost. I walked in to the coolest house on the planet: there were books everywhere, musical instruments, crazy mardi gras and jimmy buffet decorations, and a plethora of Spanish Day of the Dead memorabilia! It was the normal assortment of fun pagan-y people that one could find at just about any workshop, and funny enough, it put me right at ease.
On this shamanic journey, a medicine wheel was made out of stones and crystals: to aid our travel to find a spirit animal. I had done a few other shamanic workshops before, but I had never found a specific animal that appeared more than once. I was looking forward to perhaps finding one this time.
We were directed to relax, deep breaths, etc. and to find a safe spot within ourselves. We were also directed to invite/honor our Ancestors. For the first time ever, in any ritual/workshop, I actively invited Brigid, Hecate, QuanYin, my Grandpa, my Tante Annie & Uncle Charlie, my friend Brittany, and all others that had died. Back to the meditation: The first thing that came to me was the smell of cypress trees. Huh, who'd have thunk it: my safe spot opened up into the area of cypress trees beside Mirror Lake at Ohio State! Boy, was I surprised! I could feel myself grin while in trance. A cave opened up into the hill beside the trees (before the Main Library) and I began walking through it. Surprisingly, instead of seeing a totem animal right after making it through the cave passage, I saw my Grandpa Butke. He had a small smile on his face, and tears stung my eyes. I took his hand and said, "Come with me," and we went to find my spirit animal together.
I found Them; and I say them b/c there was more than one. In a clearing in my mind, there stood/floated/slithered a dragon: a dark red, skinny, long, wingless Eastern dragon. I patted it on its head, surprised that it looked so much like my dragon figurines at home on my dresser. My Grandpa forgotten, I looked around and was pleased to see two more Eastern dragons: a total of three, slithering and floating around me. The 1st one "spoke" of what they symbolized: power, strength, balance, and Luck (along with other things that I have forgotten since coming out of trance). I remember being a little wary of the concept of Power, since I was always taught that power corrupts, it very bad & dangerous, and it is best to stay away from any desire of it. It understood my fears, and gave me a message, something close to: "Power is not a bad thing; seek it and it will help make you feel whole again..." something like that, I can't remember now for the life of me!
We were then directed to "adopt" our spirit animal's gifts for a while: fly if one had a bird, hunt if one had a lion, etc. Something strange happened: I felt I was the dragon- I can't even explain the strangeness of it. I could not fly per se, but I was able to instantaneously move from place to place. Using this ability, I checked in on my sister, my mom & brother, my aunt & uncle in Colorado, and my dad smoking a cigarette at work. It was creepy: I felt like I had appeared in the ceiling of each place and my looong body was coiled around the room as I watched over my family. This was shocking to me, and I quickly returned to my safe spot with the other 2 dragons and my Grandpa. I thanked them immensely, and I again grabbed my Grandpa's hand and we walked back to the cave passage. I can't remember if I said bye or not, but suddenly I was at Mirror Lake again; just sitting on the stones near the water.
Brittany came up to me: my dead best friend from high school. Again, the tears stung my eyes as I wondered what to say. I apologized for not visiting her in the hospital when her cancer was bad. She understood, and told me that I was a wonderful friend now just talking to her now and again. We hugged, and I said goodbye, and I came out of my trance.
4 amazing things:
1) I had never seen my totem animal before today.
2) I had never seen my Grandpa or Brittany EVER before today.
3) I had never seen ANYTHING or ANYONE in trance, other than glimpses of deities, before today.
4) I have never Astrally Traveled (if that is indeed what I did) before today.
Whoa.
Hail to the Ancient and Awe-inspiring Dragons!

What Spirits surprise YOU when they show up in Journeys??

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