With the wild nature as ally and teacher we see not through two eyes but through the many eyes of intuition. With intuition we are like the starry night, we gaze at the world through a thousand eyes. The wild woman is fluent in the language of dreams, images, passion, and poetry.
–Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Deep in the forest in a sinewy Oak bridging Earth and Sky, there once lived a woman who was a fountain of dreams. Often the dreams shook her awake in the middle of the night, sweeping her along their torrent of images, in eddies whispering slippery messages. Su-Enya did her best to cradle these dreams, to hold close their riddles even as their edges were fraying and sleep was again overtaking her.
Other times—and for this Su-Enya was most grateful—the dreams waited till just nearing dawn. When this occurred she remained still, nestled within feather quilts, eyes closed and all her awareness inward upon the dream. With her fingertips she added gentle pressure to the crystal still pressed, as it had been all night, to her breastbone. With this minute addition of pressure, a subtle melting sensation of her heart blossomed into timeless space. In this stillness, dream images hung suspended, allowing Su-Enya to enter their energies. Within her, impressions crystalized, the dreams’ revelations as nuanced as the intricacy of snowflakes. Once received, these living messages swept down through her, down the roots of the Oak, out the far-reaching networks of root and of fungus, filtering into earth, into water and air, carrying the healing where needed. Morphing for each dreamer into personalized stories, the dreams circled back often in return visitations, as the world of humans was tearing apart from its own sad forgetting…
Exploring alone in a wasteland, a woman entered a deserted town. Wandering about the empty streets and sun-bleached structures, she caught a glimpse, as if in a reflection, of a barefoot boy and his dog. Gazing at her, they stood silent between two buildings. She blinked, and they were gone. Startled, she lurched forward, checked around the two storefronts, up and down and along the ground. No trace. Yet she knew deep within her that they were present, as real in the heat shimmer where they had stood as in the wood of the structures. That they were there but no longer visible to her left her suddenly lonely. She sensed them in the very building where she stood, and she ached to see them again. A quiet desperation urged her to hack at the wood with the machete that now appeared, dangling from her hand. The woman recoiled at the thought, feeling with her heart that to hack at the wood was to hack at them. She sank down onto the weathered boards of the porch and, with the tips of her fingers, began gently brushing away layers of dry woody matter... And there, within and inseparable from the wood, gazing back at her were the luminous eyes and downy cheeks of the living boy…
With deep care Su-Enya midwifed the mission of these dreams. As if standing unseen among dreamers, she experienced and saw, in their beds, a number of humans sighing in their sleep, their slumber undisturbed, and later awakened with no memory of the boy and his dog. Yet, throughout the day and for no special reason, these humans found a corner of their lips lifting in a half-smile…with a sense of having been visited...and a velvety wondering planted inside. Others awoke as the dream was humming within them, the boy gazing into their soul. Some vague yearning within them pulled on their tears, a tenderness that flowed out from them into their world. Each would in some way touch her heart or lovingly cross her arms over her chest, as if holding close an adored child. Within Su-Enya also something sad and tender was stirring…if only all children were held with such love…
In a counselor’s office a young woman sat confiding, sad and resigned, as if she had long failed to become what she longed to be. In her mind what was wrong with her, the physical condition that made her unacceptable to herself, was that her skin was merely human skin—not what the voice in her head dictated it ought to be, a skin made of plastic. The counselor ached with sorrow for this young woman consumed with a notion so inconceivable that she seemed beyond help… Time passed. A colleague was telling the counselor that the young woman had died. In that instant, into the counselor’s inner seeing floated an image of the woman’s forearm, her skin angry red around what looked like a graft she had stitched into the flesh of her inner arm—a filmy grey rectangle of plastic…
Su-Enya remained curled a long time around this deep human wounding—feeling in her own body the suffocating void. Being the body of a small girl, eyes shut tight beneath the blanket pulled over her head. Knees pulled into her chest, arms scrunched tight. So tight no breath left or entered. Only, from the next room, entering in sharp jabs came the slurred, stumbling accusations of Papá, drowning out the soft, sobbing shudders of Mami, pleading no, Papi, no…no, Papiiiii... Every tear and tremble vivid to Su-Enya in this waking twilight between shadowy Below and the daylight glare of mind. The Below—that fathomless, fertile realm holding all that lies stunted and banished, forgotten and not-yet-discovered—is the dark womb of dreams. Behind closed eyes Su-Enya lived again the tight shallow breath, the furtive vigilance of the child, standing back inside her own body, in shadow peering out at the world through the peepholes of her own eyes…saw again the dark spots in the deep of her lungs where breath too tightly held had never reached… Su-Enya long accompanied the desolation of that hollow child.
Allowing the veils to clear from her inner sight, Su-Enya refocused and waded into the core of human struggle. Telescoping millennia into a past of brutality and bloody clashes then forward to present chaos, she saw that too many humans remained cloven by a clockwork view of reality shorn of the subtle mystery reaching out to them and of their sacred bond with the beasts, the trees and the waters who are their allies. Adrift and blind to the primal dance of strength and of love—echoed in every give and take of the web of life—they knew only the warrior contest of the material world, of acquiring, amassing and besting, no matter the cost. This forgetting had long been straining the web’s most vulnerable strands. As if in the cells of her own body, she saw and felt the teetering of Earth’s natural balance—and in that weakness opportunistic elements spawning in the form of mutating viruses. These hybrids of natural and human-made organisms were unlike anything ever seen. They replicated within humans, driving a hurry sickness that fed on the very voraciousness it created. It enslaved those it infected, driving them to double their efforts, to get more in a bid to be more. Every coveted acquisition demanded more. Many humans withered within, worn out in pursuit of a prize ever just out of reach, yet driven to outrun the shame that no matter how hard they strove, their efforts were not enough. They were not enough and might never truly be loved…might never belong. But the hurry sickness allowed no time for questioning, no time to listen to the faint voice inside.
Under cover of night a father bundled two sleeping toddlers into the back seat of a car, its engine running. A few yards up a dirt slope stood the small house of his estranged wife. Just as he closed the car door behind the children, his wife appeared at her door, face pale, mouth open in a mute cry of despair. Jumping behind the steering wheel he threw the car in reverse and sped down the hill. In his torment, he failed to see he was about to crash backwards into a guard fence of heavy logs. The car sailed through the fence as if through mere fog...and vanished. Time plunges and careens forward... An ancient city, a stone fortress at the summit of a hill, bathes in twilight. A narrow stone-paved street winds upward between high stone walls. People, many of them wearing turbans, quietly huddle in small clusters, bedding down for the night at the base of the walls. Displaced people, grown resigned to their unrooted lives. Among them is the car with the father and children. Farther up the hill, alongside the same wall, a woman stands on the running board of her car, looking around one last time before settling in for the night. It is the mother, who has long been in search of her lost babies. As she surveys the groups of people down below, she spies her husband’s car, now open-topped! In that moment she sees her first child, her precious daughter, nearing adolescence and with furtive eyes glancing around. The mother, yearning with all her heart to be reunited with her children, knows the importance of the moment. An impetuous act on her part could jolt the father, spook him into flight, and once more all would be lost. She sinks down into her car, now also open-topped. Out of sight, she stretches one arm up, holding aloft an old, favorite toy of her little ones, a stuffed mother bear, apron faded, her once-plushy body worn almost smooth by rough love. Heart pounding in her chest, she holds up for her daughter to see this touchstone of home and of love.
Cradled by the tender ferocity of such love, Su-Enya lets herself sink into the mystery of this dream, the loss and the fullness of love of this mother aching for her children. So deep the well of her longing, so light the soul that has surrendered all to regain them.
A theater stage stands dark and empty save for a moonlight mantle of cobalt blue light. From off-stage a barefoot girl of about 12 wanders in dressed in T-shirt and cropped tights. At stage center, she turns and faces into the audience. As if home alone in her room, in one single flow of motion she sinks to the ground, legs folding in front of her, arms falling loose at her sides. One slow breath in, a longer breath out…and she closes her eyes. A pause lengthens in silence. Without the girl uttering a sound, her hands, which had been resting palms up on the floor, begin floating upward as if tracing an oval that encloses her. Offstage and unseen, the poet/playwright, speaking the girl’s part, begins voicing a poem based on the poet’s life. Out of nowhere an old doubt arises in the mind of the poet who now falters, forgets who she is. She crumples into the small unrooted girl she once was, shrinking from voices inside her head demanding a muted, muzzled version of her, unable to breathe. The pounding of her heart grows so loud in her ears that it wakes her… What? wakes me? this is…a dream…? Or so wonders the poet, who then stops. She drops her awareness deep into her body, feeling her belly distend, feeling the thrum of her genitals, her sinewy legs, her feet, her root into ground. A loop of vibration snakes up through her and down again, coursing deep into Earth and returning. She feels her body mountain-vast and unshakeable. As real as granite. Her eyes widen as realization dawns, she is asleep and still dreaming…and in her own dream she is awake!
In sleep, Su-Enya's body stirs. As if dodging a blow, she winces—still held in sleep—as her ears fill with a shrill metallic whine... A crowded, rush-hour train is streaking through the black of a tunnel beneath a city. Passengers, emptied by tiredness, are oblivious to the high-speed scream of steel against steel rail and the headlong careen of speed. Sitting or standing, they stare into devices they grip in their hands, as if from small screens they could draw their life current. In their midst, unseen, as if secluded in a bubble of silence, a large green cobra is standing erect, calmly present, with hood fanned wide. Slightly above and behind the serpent’s head, a woman’s hands hover, as if warming over a fire.
Su-Enya jolts from sleep, breath shallow and hard. Body shaken with each pounding beat of her heart. Gravity and joy dance in her ancient bones. Now she is certain! The balance of power has shifted! In the visible human world, for now, chaos remains—the tide of remembering seemingly slow in massing. But at its depths the billowing swell is already unstoppable. For this moment Su-Enya has lived numberless lives. She closes her hand around the venerable, plum-dark crystal, still at her breast. The love that she feels holds their long history. From the first crossing of their paths when the crystal called out to Su-Enya and accompanied her home, its teaching began. At first, in subtle openings of perception, seeing every tree, every spider and stone, every drop of dew glowing from within. Later, in inner flashes of white-hot light, roiling blackness and the bubbling brilliance of liquid fire. Later still, in bodily sensations her cells inexplicably remembered of thunderous crushing pressure...of straining and thrusting into tremulous form...of the hissing fires, toxic vapors, relentless rains and cooling crust integrating into one living Earth. Out of that furnace, that shifting, that endless procession of time the crystal took form, its pristine geometry carrying and transmitting that eternal spiraling dance of the One expressing as infinities. All of Creation the trailing veils of Her ecstasy.
Enfolded within the familiar rustle and creak of the massive Oak in whose lightning-struck belly she makes her home, Su-Enya rolls in the dark from her sleeping mat onto plaited reeds. Folding her legs beneath her, she sits before her altar, laid out at her knees on a cloth. By touch she finds the edges of the cloth and its center. Here she lays the crystal. She reaches for the clamshell and lifts its top, warm from the ember smoldering within tinder moss. Bending close, she blows gently and a pinprick of fire glows. She inserts a dried blade of grass, then touches its small flame to the oil-plump wick of a small earthen lamp. A golden glow anoints the altar with its ancient volcanic-stone Goddess, its relics of loved ones long in the realm of invisibles. A fang and claw, long red tail feathers of guacamayo, photographs yellowed and blurred. At a soft skittering sound she tips her bowed head sideways and gazes into the flame-lit eyes of the salamander watching her. In the space between them vibrates tender and indelible memory.
She turns once more to her offering. Over the flame she holds a stick of Palo Santo, its aromatic resin flaring, the flame casting about her dancing shapes. From the Palo Santo now wedged in the cleft of a stone, a slender plume of white smoke rises erect, then begins its slow spiral drift. All forms of containment dissolve, the mighty Oak seen for the swirl of stardust it is. Now, all is vastness filled with the pungency of primeval forest. Above her, violet pearl sky glitters with stars. Su-Enya’s skin, a mere film of light, prickles with the sudden felt presence of the Others. Now here, with her, pulses every conceivable ancestor, every speck and form and element from eons of beginning when all beings spoke the inner language, all an intermingling One. Such was the rich reality for us all...and so for all time it remains in the Heart, where there can be no forgetting.
Moving faster, plugged into a trancing stream of devices, these humans forgot how, where, to draw sustenance, forgot how to look in each other’s eyes! Forgot it is they—giving, accepting, tending, belonging—creating the dance that is voluptuous Life.
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