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Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

Snake Dreams

Today is my birthday, and it started with an odd dream.  All I can remember is that I was with family when, suddenly, we spotted two snakes slithering across the floor.  They were grey with lavender spots.  Someone (I can’t remember who – perhaps my own intuition) told me that they were venomous.  We all stood on chairs, watching them slither across the floor.  One of my cats – a large, black Norwegian forest cat – pounced on one and was bit in the paw.  I jumped from my chair to pick him up, but I woke shortly after and don’t know what happened next.

I’ve been rereading Diana Paxson’s Trance Portations in an attempt to once more start a regular trance practice.  Early chapters stress the importance of paying attention to our dreams, so I’ve been religiously keeping a dream journal.  As a result, dreams tend to stick in my memory after waking, and I contemplate their significance (if I feel any) for longer.

I’m not yet sure what to make of the dream I had, but snakes have continued to appear to me throughout the day!  Not live snakes, just… images in books, discussions with people at work…

Since it’s my birthday, I can’t help but think of the symbolism of snakes.  They shed their skin, thus rejuvenating themselves. As I enter a new year of life, I need to let go of anything that bogged me down last year and anything that is not useful to me.  I must embrace the opportunities ahead!

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I recently posted about how my mother’s insecurities carried over to me with regards to hospitality in my home.  That one small thing aside, I’ve inherited many other good and interesting qualities – her superstitions being some of them!  Growing up, my mother taught my sister and I several small folk traditions, sometimes thinly veiled in Catholicism, but sometimes not.  My mother first introduced me to sympathetic magic and divination via palm reading.  Did she think I’d ever grow up to become a witch or a Druid as a result?  I don’t think she ever thought about her folk ways in that light – they were just things her mother taught her.

Of the various ideas she passed on to me, I was taught that one shouldn’t discuss one’s dreams prior to breakfast or else nightmares may come to pass and good dreams will not.  Every so often, I try to track this belief’s origin down because it intrigues and delights me all at once.  Dreams are one of the easiest ways to access both our psyches and the Otherworld, after all.  Dreams are incubators for magic and can be prophetic.  I can’t tell where this superstition comes from with any certainty.  I’ve seen some reference Appalachia and others Turkey!  If people in Appalachia have held this belief, there’s a strong possibility it came from Scotland too.  So who knows!

I sometimes think about this superstition and its merits.  To find value in believing it, I think one also must believe in the power of dreams as stated above.  You also have to keep the power of food in mind.  Food grounds your reality.  After magical acts in covens and Druid groves, people are encouraged to eat.  Some magical groups share cakes and ale right in the circle.   ADF Druids share a drink in a round of toasting and boasting.  This practice feels twofold to me.  It’s both a communal way to absorb the blessings of the rite, but it’s also a way to ground  after the big workings and/or offerings have taken place.  After ritual, many regroup for feasting which equals more food.  Food fills our bellies and keeps us firmly rooted in this realm, this space, this reality.  Think about it.  One method to enter trance is to fast and therefore lose touch with our body’s hold on us.  In Greek mythology, if you eat the food of the underworld (another realm) that becomes your reality.  The same happens in Celtic legends of the Otherworld.  If you happen to find yourself in Fairy and partake of the feast, you’ll lose yourself in that reality.  Food is power – it is a great mental and physical anchor.

Perhaps it is this thinking that gave birth to the dreams and breakfast superstition.  To reveal dreams before properly grounding yourself in a new day in this reality, you leave a small door open.  Some, like my husband, only chuckle and shake their heads.  I wonder if my daughter will embrace the superstition as her mother and her mother’s mother, or if she will grow up shaking her head like her father.  Either way, I’ll keep the practice alive.  Why take chances?  It’s not as if the practice is disrupting my life in any way.

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Rest in Peace, Papa

My grandfather as an infant. Photographer unknown.

 

My grandfather’s health had been declining steadily since the Winter Solstice.  He came down with a form of skin cancer and the treatments they utilized didn’t heal him.  He had started to decline mentally as well, and we heard from his hospice worker that it wouldn’t be much longer.  Honestly, I’m surprised he lasted as long as he did given his condition.  Papa was always a very strong and stubborn man.  He didn’t like to ask for help and he didn’t like to stop working.  I imagine letting go was difficult for him for awhile.  But his quality of life just wasn’t there anymore.  He hardly had his wits about him, or so the rest of my family says.  The last time I saw him was during their annual Christmas Eve get-together.  He was in a lot of pain because he hadn’t taken his medication yet, but couldn’t until it was time for bed and the guests had left.  It meant for a very rushed visit, and he could hardly hear us.  I gave him a kiss on the head and told him I love him.  Because he developed a bad infection, I was warned not to visit since for fear it would complicate my pregnancy.  It was prudent and practical, and I hope he understood/understands that…

Last night, I talked to my parents on the phone and it sounded like his condition was worse.  I prayed to Brighid before bed and asked that she would comfort him and help him rest.  His last battled had been drawn out so long, so painfully…  During sleep, I saw him in my dreams.  He didn’t look well.  His neck was all raw, his face puffy, and his right eye red – but he smiled.

I got off the phone with my mother a little while ago and she told me he passed away around 3.

I knew it was coming, prayed for it for his sake, and know it is part of life.  He had lived a very long and, overall, very healthy and active life.  I cried all the same.  When it comes down to it, despite my very practical side, I’m quite sensitive.  From a very early age, when he “hired” me to help mop his shop floor, rake leaves, or paint his fence, he taught me the value of hard work and a job well-done.  He always said he would die when he stopped working – stopped doing the things he loved.  That always struck me as a very positive attitude.  Not that rest isn’t valuable, but he never saw aging as an excuse to be lazy or to let others do a job for him.   He mowed his lawn, plowed his driveway, and fixed things around the house until he was no longer physically capable.  And his mind was almost always occupied with something – local history, learning how to use computers, writing books, and genealogy.

That last interest would also turn out to be a huge influence on me.  He taught me about some of my ancestors and showed me how valuable it was to learn about them.  Truly, some of my spirituality comes from that respect he had.  I know more about where I came from because of him.  He taught me to love and honor my ancestors, and now he is one.  I pray that he meets the ancestors he read and wrote about in the Otherworld, and that he learns all the mysteries he searched so tirelessly for in life.

Hail to you, Papa!  Hail to the Ancestors!

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Dreams

I’ve been trying to keep track of my dreams for a few weeks.  I’ve never been very good about remembering a dream unless it’s truly bizarre or frightening.  I hardly remember the good dreams.  I started writing some down in my journal when I have time in the mornings.  I wanted to share a dream I had a couple days ago.

Most of my recent dreams are, I believe, my brain going over recent events and stresses.  I’m often stuck in airports, back in Ireland, at work, etc… I usually don’t attach much significance to those dreams. This dream a couple days ago was very different.

I can’t remember many details.  I know I was in a room full of plants.  There was an old woman with me.  My “dream logic” told me she was my grandmother, only, she wasn’t really.  My dream logic also told me that she was a wise woman or witch.  She was friendly and inviting.  She showed me how to make an ointment and did something with a stick.  I can’t exactly remember her lesson, which frustrates me, but I’m still thinking about this dream…

Was she an ancestor?  One of the ancient wise?  Nothing at all?

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