Friday, June 5 brought us EarthDreaming retreatants into deep symbolic space.
During Morning Circle we shared significant experiences we’d had at Aldermarsh up until that point. To hear what carried heart and meaning for each person was moving. Then we each pulled a tarot or oracle card for the day and spent five minutes journalling about its wisdom for the day for us. My own card, the Knight of Wands from the Greenwood Tarot, suggested: sniff out the soul, reflect on where I’ve been in order to get me to where I need to be, focus on Self.
Next, we held Dream Council. This telling of “big” sleep-state dreams was carried out in the spirit of a dream coming not only from and for the personal psyche, but also from and for the collective psyche and from and for the Earth’s psyche. We explored and tended them as creative, healing experiences that were/are gifts from and for the entire Web of Life which includes us. Dreams were shared in two ways. First, we read them aloud as is, from the perspective of the dreamer in the present moment. The second time around, we told the dreams from the perspective of the Earth, replacing “I, me, my” with “the Earth, Gaia, First Mother’s” etc. To listen to and imagine each dream from this larger point of view made them more vital. The final part of Dream Council was to reflect on the common themes that emerged and to write down and speak aloud an open-ended question that came to mind based on those themes. My own question was/is, “How can the waters of the world show us a direct path through what is out of control?”
The group then went outdoors to spend time with Grandparent Fir and to engage in a silent, contemplative Nature Walk. We did not talk with our human friends and did not go into any human-made structure, but rather stayed outside to build a more-than-verbal connection with wild roses, rabbits, alders, stones, grasses, clouds, and all the beings. It was a beautiful way to round out our Friday morning.
After lunch, people had the opportunity for Sacred Art Play with Joanna. She taught people how to make Ojos de Diosa (Eyes of the Goddess) with sticks, yarn, and various adornments. The care with which folks wove these pieces together spoke to me of the care they have for living at this time. That afternoon, I also performed private tarot consultations for a couple of participants. Visual magic all ’round!
The latter part of Friday afternoon was dedicated to amplifying the dreams we had shared by employing the tarot. Each retreatant listed hir dream characters, components, events, and scenes, then drew a card for each one. Sharing observations of the symbols with activity partners helped people notice richer layers in their night-visions. In addition to the personal, these layouts were intended to explore what else the Planet Herself was suggesting. We summarised our readings by responding to the question, “Why might the Earth have given you these particular cards at this time?”
After dinner (another of Elaine’s brilliant repasts!), we gathered in Marsh House to do the Dance of Life, a series of movements that honours the wisdom of each of the four main directions. We did this to a recording of She Who Hears the Cries of the World by Jennifer Berezan. This dance was a gorgeous, embodied way to wind down a full and lovely day before moving into social time, quiet art-making, or relaxing in the sauna.
There’s more to tell you about the rest of the EarthDreaming retreat, but what do you notice so far? What stands out for you in these first two blog posts about the gathering?