DPM 21: In My Dreams

I am going through the Devotional Polytheist Meme questions from Galina Krasskova’s blog, together with my lover Lon Sarver, over the course of several months.

We encourage our friends to follow along, and welcome links to other people’s answers, as well as your thoughts on our answers, in our comments.

21. Have you ever had dreams or visions sent by the divinities?

I was originally planning to answer with this image:

Gunnerkrigg On Occasion

“Do the Gods ever speak?” “Do They ever shut up??”

Because everyone who knows me, or knows anything about my vivid dreamwork finds the question kind of hilarious. I’ve been a dreamworker for far longer than I’ve been a polytheist or conscious spirit worker.

But as we’ve also been doing the Month of Written Devotion, it has come to my attention that there are a few specific visions and dreams I need to share with you now.

I want to be very clear that I know these are subjective visionary and dream experiences. But I recorded them as faithfully as I could back when they happened, or as soon after as I could manage, and here I will share with you with minimal editing (for clarity and/or brevity) what I wrote back then.

Recorded Autumn 2011 – Visionary Otherworld Journey Work

The day after my Necklacing to Ayida Wedo [in June of 2011], I got a very direct and clear order from Oxossi [via another medium] to show up geared for a hunt in Otherspace at the fire circle in my home base sometime near Lammas or so.

I ended up doing a bunch of divination. I had to bring a bunch of my physical-world magical tools (which is odd, since I don’t actually tend towards using such tools) and dress a certain way. I ended up with my sword, redwood staff, longbow, exactly one arrow (that took several tries to discern via divination), my cloak, my seidh veil, several protective necklaces, and some other tools, like my antler-slice runes, which I didn’t actually break out and use.

I dressed in relatively tight clothing, with my pant legs bound so they wouldn’t snag, which seemed ridiculous given that I would be holding still in physical space for an extended period. Still, I understood the usefulness of somatic cues, so I asked if I should wear a bra, or bind my breasts.

They said “Huh? what for?” and I was baffled. But then They told me to bind my penis in a particular way.
“What? I don’t have a penis guys, remember? FEMALE.”
I got back “Ohhh, right. Um, nevermind, what you’ve got so far will be fine, we’ll explain the rest when you get there.”
I took it just as Them not really being used to taking a girl hunting – They told me I’d be hunting a Hart – my heart.

They told me to have the strongest protections I could muster, so I painted Nauthiz on all my fingernails and got one of my friends who is a VERY strong warder to be my Guardian – she got the sword – and Oxossi wanted me to have incense cedar and sweetgrass (which I had to get in incense stick form, instead of proper loose leaf, because the shop was out of stock. I have proper supplies now, but it hasn’t come up again since.)

By my standards the whole thing seemed ridiculously elaborate for something nobody was going to watch me do but They wouldn’t tell me much about what the plan was. So my Guardian helped me find a place in the Diablo hills by redwoods, in the bend of a creek, which was in itself a protective measure, I realized. My best work spaces are always in redwood forests in the bend of creeks. I don’t know why it’s so specific, but I can think of several examples off the top of my head. Certainly Redwood is one of my personal allies.

So I set up the ritual space, and I settled in to Journey.

I got to my home base, and there was the fire circle as always, and the whole gang was there and then some. I don’t even know who all was there, it was a full blown hunting party. They took me hunting all right!

I had to shift into a male form, not just adding a penis, but actually putting away my female body entirely. I felt like I was a young man in my late teens. And of course They had me wear my antlers. I was not permitted to float or fly – I had to stay as grounded into that other space as I possibly could. They kept me in the middle of the group, at first, all seriousness. They were armed, but it was obvious They would only use Their weapons if something happened to me – the hunt was mine.

I had one shot. They took me through the forest to a clearing with a small herd of deer, and then directed me up the hill to where a large stag – the lord of that land’s herd – stood watching. I took my aim, centered, focused, and let the arrow fly – and my consciousness flew with the arrow, straight into the broad chest of the stag. He ran down the cliff side to the valley where the rest of the herd had been, scattering them away.

Once the herd was safe, he stopped, and stood still, waiting for me. I was permitted to fly down to him, provided I grounded down as immediately as possible. I approached the stag cautiously, while the others circled around. Rather than seeming nervous about me, or aggressive, to my surprise the stag was calm – and then started giving me instructions!

“Cut out my heart and eat it.”
“Uh, you’re still standing here, not dead yet.”
“Yes.”
“Uhhhhhhghn. I don’t think I can do that.”
“You have to.”
I couldn’t bring myself to do it – it seemed too cruel a way to kill. So I slit his throat, which made the others alarmed.
“SHIT! Work fast! You have to eat his heart while it’s still beating!”

So I worked very fast, not being terribly limited in that space. Still-beating raw heart is not food. It was entirely disgusting. And very chewy. I could taste the blood and feel the heat, and the texture. I was nauseated, but ate as quickly as I could, and managed not to throw up either there or in the physical world.

Once I was done eating, I had to skin the stag, cutting the head off to stay with the skin, and then scrape the skin clean. They had me stir the brains out of the skull, and smear them across the inside of the scraped skin, which I rather expected from what little I’ve learned about such things. Needless to say, brains are also kind of disgusting.

Then, to my surprise They demanded that I piss on the skin. I’m not used to having a male body for long periods of time in any space anymore (I know I’ve had male bodies in past lives. I don’t object, I’m just not practiced.) I argued that I had nothing much in my bladder, and They grinned at me snarkily and assured me that They’d contribute as well, but that it was my job to start. Blushing no doubt bright red, I did what little I could – and was relieved to find that my body in physical space did not respond accordingly!

With the skin field dressed and initially tanned as well as we were able (I have no idea if these are valid methods, or if I’ve got the steps we performed in the right order in retrospect, so please don’t take my memory of journey work as an instruction manual!) They trussed up the body to carry back to camp. I had to roll the head up in the skin and carry it back to camp, again on foot – no flying! I found myself surprised at how mundane all our efforts seemed. The actual hunting was a tiny part of the journey – most of the time was spent dealing with the results. Of course, in retrospect, that makes a great deal of sense, but when you’re going in expecting some kind of adventure and end up with a craft project, it’s a little startling, no?

Back at my camp They set up a tall pole and two shorter poles for me to set the skin up with the inside facing the fire to dry, and then instructed me to paint the back. I asked what I should paint – and for that matter HOW. They reminded me that I was back in my own space, and could manifest whatever paints I pleased, and that if I thought about it I would soon realize what to paint on the skin.

Sure enough, by the time I had determined what kind of paints I needed, and in what colors, I knew that what I was to paint was a symbolic map of Northern Otherspace.

Once I was done with that, They had me pause while They finished the cooking, and return to physical space to have me and my guardian acquire some kind of red meat for lunch, with the instruction that once I had food here, I was to return there and let Them transform our food into the meat from the hunt. So we went for burgers, and once our food arrived, I dropped back into my awareness only to realize I’d never really left the camp, only shifted my focus. The only one of the Brigade who wasn’t eating venison for lunch was Stag. He’d consented to be in a humanoid form for the hunt, but They weren’t about to make Him eat His own kind.

When lunch was finished, They had me strip down, still in my male form, and then sewed me into the painted deer skin, and released me to wander the land with my Guardian for a while.

While we wandered, at some point I was distraught, and They took notice that my heart was still steeping in the Pool of Tears. That would not do for the man I now was, so They moved my insides – the pool sank down to settle between my heart and my center, instead of surrounding my heart so closely. I could breathe again, and it didn’t hurt quite so much.

I went around the Bay Area with my Guardian and gave thanks to the landspirits of my greater home, and let the events of the day sink in.

When I went to bed that night, I returned my consciousness again to camp, and sure enough, the sun had set, the fire was bright and strong, and the Antler Brigade were still partying. They asked me if I was ready for bed, and when I informed Them that my body was indeed in bed, they directed me to a tent set up away from the fire, and informed me that She was waiting.

“She who?”
“You know Her.”
At first I didn’t, actually. She had dark, wavy hair, and brown skin. Her features were beautiful, but not familiar, beyond a general sense that She was of the people of the land. She smiled at me, as though thoroughly familiar with me, even in my now-manly form.
“You don’t recognize me?”
“I’m sorry, Lady, no. Do I know you?”
“You call me Santa Clara.”

I didn’t hear the rest of the words, but the references came through anyway – Santa Clara, Silicon, Heart’s Delight – She was the goddess of the Valley that has always been my home! Once I recognized Her, She smiled broadly, warmly, and opened Her arms – and legs – to me. She somehow felt both motherly and loverly at the same time, both warm and comforting, and possessively hungry. She had been patiently waiting for me for some time, and I had missed it.

I know I was awkward, and probably too fast, or befuddled. I don’t clearly remember the exact details of what happened in that tent once I recognized Her, but I remember enough to know what we did.

When I returned the next day to speak with the Antler Brigade about it all, They explained that I’d been long overdue for a Man Making. My female spirit had grown up with my body, but my male spirit had stayed a child (to be clear, the ageless, genderless part of my spirit was doing just fine all along). They had been pushing me for a while to work on it and fix it, without using language that informed me at all as to what They wanted. I’m still a 33 year old woman, and priestess, but now I’m also, spiritually, a 17 year old man, and … They used a word I couldn’t understand that my mind translated as “shaman”. That makes me very uncomfortable. I balked, and They dismissed my concerns with handwaves – They had gotten across the meaning, and don’t care what I think of the particular words used, or any modern cultural baggage attached to it.

Honestly, I knew going in that what I was going to do was overdue and mattered somehow in my relationships with the Antler Brigade, but I had no idea it was going to be a major initiation. And while a handful of people important to me were told what all had happened immediately, and I admitted openly at least parts of it – that the hunt had happened, that Male Mode was involved – I hid away from most people several of the most important parts for a very long time, unsure of what to do with them.

Particularly, I hid away the parts with my Lady Clare, and the bit at the end where it translated poorly into “shaman”, which so immediately raises all kinds of cultural appropriation red flags that it drowns out most of the point of what They wanted me to absorb.

Overall, that Journey ritual and series of visionary experiences kicked off some very difficult and important gender identity self growth for me, and that’s been very important. From a human social perspective, that probably seems like the main point.

The Powers have been pretty clear that They consider my social gender presentation a pretty minor side note, actually.

There were things I just wasn’t getting.

Later November 2011 – Dream

I encountered a pair of guys who seemed to be roughly my peers, leaning against a half-height wall, talking and laughing. As I approached, the slightly taller, thinner guy gestured to his companion, and informed me that he was married to a land-mass in Scandinavia. On the one hand, he was obviously ribbing his companion. On the other hand, that sort of thing makes perfect sense to me, so of course, my response was to draw nearer and start asking questions.

The shorter fellow looked Irish – blond hair, slightly reddish, light eyes, round nose. The style of his self-deprecation was stereotypically Irish as well, but he only had a very slight accent, having lived in the US for about a decade already. He explained that he had indeed chosen to marry an area of land in (southern Sweden or Denmark – I don’t remember) which was once an independent Kingdom, and is now most of a County. He’d spent the night with the land, on the ground, and joked that he’d fully expected his “belt” to get cold.

As he described it all, I found myself visually wandering the land and could see a younger him alone in a small clearing at the heart of the county, a bit drunk, but still quite sincerely shouting vows to the land, and then laying down on his belly for the night, and passing out. And I could feel the land, as a goddess, sincerely loving him in return, even though she knew he didn’t really understand what he’d just done.

I asked him questions like “do you have a map with the area you married outlined on it?” “Do you visit regularly? Why don’t you live there?” “Do you feel you are married to the physical land itself, or the spirit thereof, or are those the same thing to you?” He answered all my questions with good humor.

When he realized I was taking at least his belief seriously, he asked why, and I explained that I know people who are married to gods and other spirits, and this seemed to be similar enough that I saw no reason not to take it seriously. He hadn’t thought of it as a religious obligation – he just thought of it as something strange he’d done impulsively when he was younger, like getting a tattoo. He still considered himself married, but didn’t expect anyone else to take him seriously, so he hadn’t allowed himself to build his life around his vows.

It’s not uncommon for me to have a dream wherein I wake up afterwards into another dream in which I explain to someone what the previous dream meant.

This dream wasn’t quite that. I was instead explaining something I needed to know to someone else as the main dream itself. It’s taken me a strangely long time to recognize some of the point of it, but I caught at least the immediate point of it at the time: Study Sacred Kingship!

What I’d missed until more recently I commented in a previous post – I would be well served to have a map of the Valley as part of a shrine in Her honor.

November 2012 – Dream

A bunch of us were at a gathering (“convention”) of Freyrspeople, all of whom were female-bodied, though about half of us were some kind of gender-complicated. Attendees included several real life friends who are actually Freyrspeople, a couple who have fey affinities if not direct allegiance to the Alflord, and another friend who is not actually Freyr’s at all but was sort of there as an ambassador to the Celtic pantheon. I don’t remember clearly everyone who was there. I’m only certain of three faces, and I feel like a couple others were there as well, but who in the waking world are actually male-bodied gender-complicated folk. Regardless, all people I know personally and trust well.

The building was somebody’s home. I think the floor plan roughly matched one of my Dad’s old houses, but the decor was totally different – all wood paneling and rough stone with lots of shelves, nooks, and crannies. Very cozy. The rooms were lit only with candles – not huge abundance, but well spread out to actually light the place decently well. Still dim. The kitchen and living room both had fires going, hearth and oven.

I remember being a little disoriented, while mingling, but mostly things seemed ok.

Freyr came down to join us, in His very own body (I vaguely remember Him looking like a cross between several of my favorite lovers and crushes, but I can’t really picture Him now except that it was clearly just Freyr, not Someone-As-Freyr as He usually is in dreams).

Towards the end of the dream, I got pulled by Freyr to come kill Him for the season, while having sacred sex with Him. So I ended up straddling Him with a knife in my hand, and a matching knife in His.

I would incant a line of prayer, and then cut Him somewhere. For each line I recited, and each cut I made, He would repeat the line an octave below, and make the same exact cut on me, but a bit shallower.

I wasn’t in a lot of pain. It was as though it were sensation play, but I knew that the symbol went deeper, and I was actually hurting Him. I could feel us both bleeding, the hot blood flowing over our skin, and when I picture it again I can see the blood in retrospect. It just wasn’t showing the way it should.

But I was confused.

I asked Him, “I know why we’re killing you, but why are we killing me?”
He replied, “Because you’re a Sacred King too.”
“Huhwhat? I’m not a King! What do you mean?”

But before He would or could explain, I had to make the last cut – across His throat – and He had to make His last cut – across my collar bone, so I wouldn’t actually die, I would just be knocked out for about 24 hours. Everything kind of exploded in my head and body, the room got even darker and spinny, and I fell unconscious as I was trying to figure out what He had meant.

I opened my eyes a day or so later to realize that He was gone already, down until spring and in the barrow, and that the time change had happened in my sleep. The convention was scheduled for the time change weekend in order to maximize the effect. The building had been a sort of precursor barrow, and now the whole world was darkened.

And then I woke up.

That was an incredibly intense, deeply moving dream. People who know the gods I work with and that I’m a dream worker often assume that I frequently encounter the gods as Themselves in my dreams, that in my dreams my relationships with the gods, especially the Antler Brigade, are basically the same as my human relationships in the physical world.

Nope.

Most of the time I encounter the gods in my dreams, They appear as an acquaintance (rarely a close friend – that confuses the message) and the change in behavior and context make it clear who is talking instead. Sometimes I’ll dream that I’m interacting with Them more or less the same way I do in the waking world, just much more effectively and vividly for the senses that are usually invoked, especially touch, but I still can’t see Them. Sometimes They’ll use dreamspace to invoke experiences on me that I do not have safe space to experience in the waking world, or that would cause damage to my physical body. Making me fall down twitching violently and ecstatically in the middle of a concrete sidewalk in the real world would probably not have the desired results, for example.

This dream, though, for perhaps the very first time, Freyr was there, was nobody but Himself, in His very own body, and all my senses were engaged fully. I could wish such a vivid dream were some kind of honeymoon, but no, it was painful Mystery work.

Only it included a Mystery I was not prepared for at all. Freyr-as-Sacred-King going into the Mound for the winter? Used to that. Helping Him get there? Sure, okay. The form it took? Sure, okay. Killing me too on the grounds that I’m also a Sacred King somehow? What the FUCK?!

Part of me then, and now, goes “Well, duh.” and the rest of me goes “What are we talking about? I don’t have subjects. I am not in charge of anything in this Valley. I do not die every year to feed the land, or once and for all to save it from some dire fate. What the hell could They possibly mean by this? None of the definitions I can make any sense of seem to apply?!”

I have struggled with what these particular dreams and visions mean for me for several years now, and especially with being willing to talk to other people about them. I am worried that I sound crazy, or egotistical, or both if I embrace them, and that I am utterly failing the Land and Powers I love if I don’t.

These experiences are what they are. What I am to do with them, I still don’t entirely know, but I know that I can’t ignore them, and apparently I can no longer keep them private either.

–Ember–

Lon’s answer: “Answer hazy. Try again later.”

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About EmberVoices

Ember Cooke has been a member of Hrafnar and Seidhjallr for more than a decade, where she trained to be a Seidhkona, Galdrakona, and Gythia. She founded the Vanic Conspiracy and made ordination vows to the Vanir and her congregation in the summer of 2013. She has contributed to several publications on Heathen and Northern Pagan subjects and regularly presents rituals and workshops at festivals. Her personal practice is more diverse, as the Vanir have lead her into cross-training and service for the wider Pagan community. This has including medium and servitor training in American Umbanda, clergy training with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, and jail ministry for local counties. She holds a BA with honors in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. Ember has lived all her life in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and is intimately bound to the valley of her birth.
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3 Responses to DPM 21: In My Dreams

  1. thetinfoilhatsociety says:

    I have had prescient dreams since I was a child, but only recently have I had dreams in which the Gods come to talk with or to me. I have also had dreams of the underworld and in one I found out a very dear loved one had passed away even before I got the news in the real world.

    DH and I have had quite a rocky road for the past decade or so. I had moved into the back bedroom because it felt like it was simply impossible to maintain the fiction of a marriage bed. That lasted for about 6 weeks. Until. I was meditating on Frejya, crying over things generally, not specifically my marriage and wondering why now she would tell me it’s time to “Come home.”. Then, after I fell asleep, FRIGGA. I couldn’t actually tell you what she looked like, but she was very very unhappy with me. She told me quite plainly that I do NOT have her permission to divorce, that I made an OATH and she does NOT release me from it, that he has NOT beaten me and I had better get back into my bed where I belong. I have this mental image of her wagging her finger at me as she says it. It was truly frightening. Needless to say I’m back in the marriage bed, and I ended up telling DH why; it led to a heart to heart discussion in which we both committed to try to work out our differences and regain what we have lost.

    The I’ve had visits from Hel as well though I couldn’t tell you what she said, I just remember her and her compassion. Truly a lovely heart under that visage! And Frejya. She’s … well. Frejya. 🙂

    Like

    • EmberVoices says:

      That’s some intense stuff! Yeah, I’ve noticed the gods are surprisingly interested in our various relationships. Freyr has made it quite clear that my partner, Chien, is someone I am with at Freyr’s bidding, and that I should stay put until further notice thankyouverymuch. We’re not married, but we’ve been together for 15 years now, so I guess we’re doing something right. 🙂

      It’s interesting that Frigga indicated not releasing you from your vows. Var is one of Her handmaidens, so I suppose that makes sense, and of course, it makes sense that She would be interested in the welfare of a marriage, too.

      -E-

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Answer Hazy, Try Again Later | Drinking From the Cup of Life

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