The Dream Lodge is a powerful
arena for enlightenment and many of us work there. However,
it's difficult to share those teachings with any who
are not familiar with it. Mark St. Pierre and Tilda
Long Soldier have a book out called 'Walking in the
Sacred Manner' and I'd like to share some of what
they wrote about Dreaming. (This is Women's Medicine
they are discussing here.)
"It is not possible
to give all the details of a holy persons dreams
or visions, because the dreams are real and alive. It
is believed that if certain jealous or vengeful people
wished to cause this woman harm, they could do so by
using details of her dreams."
"Knowing and using the
correct songs in ceremony is critical to its effectiveness
because it is through song that the spirits are called."
(Songs are used to call dreams at times.)
"The dream world is
considered the eternal and real world." What follows
is an account of a holy woman's experience of calling
for a dream: "...and you could see them come in!
The spirits!...There were little blue lights everywhere....The
flowers were so beautiful, and the smell of sage, and
the ground---the ground was speaking to me in whole
"There comes a special
point in a holy woman's life when she starts to have
dreams that differ in quality from all the dreams that
came before. No true Indian woman would want this calling
or seek it without the right signs, because it might
call for a lifetime of selfless service, and more than
that, might place her in spiritual danger. Nobody can
imitate this process, because the efficacy and power
of the woman's dreams will be called into question by
the community of the faithful every time she makes a
prognosis or diagnosis or prescribes a treatment."
and dreams may go on for months or years. Sometimes
they dissipate and don't return. Depending on the nature
of the dreams and the particular calling, they may intensify
and literally make the dreamer afraid or even crazy,
as in dreams of Thunder Beings. These dreams may be
a call to perform a specific ceremony or set of ceremonies
such as the Sun Dance, Kettle Dance, or Horse Dance.
At one time various dream societies like the Heyoka
(Thunder Dreamers, or contraries) and Elk Dreamers also
acted out visionary dreams in a public "dance"....which
is the old way of purging oneself of the impulses associated
with the dream.
"These dreams are not
to be taken lightly. To ignore what the spirits want
could be deadly to the dreamer or a member of the family.
Some dismiss their dreams but they do not go away....It
is not uncommon for others to be spiritually aware of
a person's calling.
These others, perhaps holy
people in their own right, inform the man or woman of
the content of their own related dreams to encourage
and reinforce the "new dreamer's" calling."
"In the ongoing development of a holy woman's powers,
certain dreams begin to form the shape of the future.
They may present the actual spirit helper and the essence
of that helper's identity. Dreams may symbolically indicate
the kinds of help the helper spirit or spirits will
provide and eventually the rituals necessary to call
upon them--the very basis of a personal ceremony."
"Moreso with women than
with men, dreams significant to the transformation from
lay person to holy person may come at any time. Men
who wish to enhance their abilities to "doctor,"
however, always fast in a formal one-two-three, or ideally
four-day denial of food and water. These fasts, which
women also undertake, place the seeker on a secluded
hilltop or in a vision pit or sweat bath used as a hut
of isolation, in an area where spirits are known to
dwell...this is what it is to "cry for a vision".
"There are no guarantees
that fasting will produce vision...When these visions
come to a person, man or woman, it is often with mixed
emotions. Doubt, joy, and often dread are spoken of
by people we interviewed."
"The path to becoming
a "doctor" [healer through dreaming one's
gifts] is not always an easy one and can be fraught
with dangers for the individual who is called to serve
the people. Other medicine people may be jealous and
use their own powers or position to prevent by spiritual
means, or through malicious gossip, the fulfillment
of the competing shaman's calling. Through the moccasin
telegraph of gossip, they may deny the validity of the
rivals dreams. This caused a spiritual crisis
for Good Lifeways Woman that took years to overcome.
During those years she did not practice her ceremonies
or acknowledge her dreams."
provide the context for the beginnings of a true calling
in the sacred. The crisis of faith, the jealousy of
another "practitioner", and the scenes of
spirits appearing in a Lowanpi ceremony are all well
within the traditional Lakota, Cheyenne, and Crow religious
*Now* I'm hoping that by
sharing this insight with some of you that you can see
how your own gifts might develop and what it is to struggle
to gain control with them as an individual and in society
accepting you for who you are. There is great power
found in Dreaming and it is a dimensional reality that
we all need to be aware of.