A Rich Dream Encounter

lily pads

Lily Pads At Longwood Gardens

Talk to the dead; they are alive  by Robert Moss

Many of us yearn for contact with departed loved ones. We miss them; we ache for forgiveness or closure; we yearn for confirmation that there is life beyond physical death. This is one of the main reasons why people go to psychic readers.Here’s an open secret: we don’t need a go-between to talk to the deceased. We can have direct communication with our departed, in timely and helpful ways, especially if we are willing to pay attention to our dreams and learn the arts of active and conscious dreaming.Sometimes we sense the presence of a deceased person we have loved. Sometimes this is accompanied by physical signs, little anomalies that suggest that something is moving through the veil of our routine perception and our consensual reality. Full-fledged visitations often take place in the spacious reality of dreams and liminal states of consciousness, quite often in the hypnagogic zone. In whatever ways they can find to get through to us, our departed come to visit for all sorts of reasons…

—from Dream Gates, a blog by Robert Moss located on beliefnet.com

I’ve written before about my favorite dream shaman, Robert Moss, and he’s the one I turn to when I need a deeper insight into one of my dreams. The above quote is what I found when I went searching through his Dream Gates blog for pieces he’d written about encountering departed friends in dreams. It does not quite touch on my experience, but it’s a kind of verification that what I experienced I actually experienced, albeit in a different level of consciousness. A few days ago I awoke feeling languorous and as if I’d been relaxing in, no, rolling in, green, the green of spring, of freshness, of fertility, the color of pleasure. Closing my eyes, I opened my inward eye to try to recover my last dream of the night (early morning actually) and realized that I’d been wrapped up in, embracing, an old friend who left the physical world quite a while ago. We, he and I, were stretched into each other as if our very molecules were blending, shapes shifting, drifting in, sharing bliss. The totality of the dream fragment was this simple encounter.

Now this is not a friend I dream of often, so I  pondered what could be the meaning of this melding. Was I embracing my inner animus? Was I simply relaxing myself, releasing stress, healing myself in a dream fragment? I think the answer is neither of the above. Previous to going to bed the night before, I had been cleaning out old emails and found one from a very long time ago (transferred across several computer upgrades) written about him by another friend. I read through the message, remembering the times she spoke of fondly, and then finally erased the message with only a pinch of regret. I think somehow my picturing him in my mind  sent out a psychic vibration into the layer of consciousness where he is now, and he dropped by to visit me. And, given his affection for me, he embraced me for a while, allowing me to sense him and say hello in return.

Sometimes I’m not sure what I believe about parallel realities and “other worlds.” Do the dearly departed walk among us in another level of vibration most of us can’t see? If we do sense a presence, is it a thought-memory or the personality? To explore such ideas and puzzle out the nature of reality (if anyone really can) is a pleasure I can’t get enough of. An addiction to looking for ghosts of all sorts? Hmm….


Looking Inward or Looking Down?

photo of two feet clad in socks with a wintery design

Winter Socks

Been asking myself for a good, interesting blog topic, but kept coming up empty. Well, not exactly empty, but with ideas too “commonplace,” “boring” or “nobody cares about that,” etc. to write about here. So, going beyond that question I asked myself, just how much self-revelation is appropriate in a blog. Then, is a personal blog (vs one about cat care, for instance), just so much navel-gazing, self-applause, etc.? How much me can the average reader stand? The below-average reader? Is there anything at all interesting about my life? (There are many days I don’t think so.) While dead-ended in this particular passage, I decided on my sovereign remedy, caffeine, poured myself a cold cup of coffee, and then started poking around in my notes and papers, hoping to find some ends of threads I’d dropped while getting on with my life. While I was engrossed in sorting the odd bit, the phone rang. It was my old, old friend, a women I’d known since I was 15 years old, to catch me up her latest news and hear mine. We’ve had many such conversations through the years, giving both of us a perspective on our lives that we sometimes were too close to see otherwise. We’d grown up together bouncing off one another, she the brunette, I the blonde, she the classicist, I the lyricist, she the piano, I the snare drum. We’d parted life paths a long time ago, one to academe, the other to high school, but we ended up in the same place: gardens, woods, family, books, pets, and the art of living well. Still much in common, but enough differences to keep the old arguments going (though I am always right). Our conversations can still go on for hours.

An old friend is a blessing. My favorite saying about friends:
“Good friends know where the bodies are buried. True friends helped you put them there.”

She still has her shovel…

Here’s a poem I wrote about us a number of years ago.

For Susan, Wherever She May Find Herself

Let’s get blown away on wine, my friend,
and fill the night with wild talk and laughter.
What do our dreams all mean?

I shall speak of love, and I say
I know not: yet I know.
I tell you, words are nothing, nothing!
My heart was filled with glorious madness.
I hurled myself out in a thousand pieces
and made a mark, by God!
I remember so much. How my face looked
under the streetlight. Rain in the night.
The color of my hair.
Now I write poetry on the back of grocery lists
and stand bemused in the supermarket aisle
while people clatter carts indignantly around me.
I can’t stop smiling, though.
My skin embraces me, and the air that I breathe
slides down my throat like silk.
I move through this world like a goddess.
Disguised in jeans and holey sneakers, freckles
and streaked hair, I lurk waiting
to catch the universe unaware
and know its secrets
as my own.

And you? You booked passage
on a ship of state heading for a civilized shore,
one you had thoughtfully planned on.
Or did you plan at all, beyond that first kiss?
I can see you now, determined to follow the rules
but bold as hell when you really wanted something.
You gave life no quarter
and so it yielded up its treasures to you.
What now? A quiet, restful, orderly life?
My dear, you lack patience.
And you keep coming round curves,
surprised into laughter at what’s next.
Exactly as you planned it long ago,
or did it all just happen?
You never were quite sure which was reality,
which your dreams.

Ah, we were a pair!
Crazy with desire for life not limited
or circumscribed by rules or the lack of them.
We loved life holy then,
And now. Giddy as girls.
Nothing has changed.

©2012 cleoxcat.net


Manhattan Island as seen from the harbor

City of Possibilities

Last week I went to New York City to meet an old, old friend. Old as in someone I’ve known for 20 years, and old as in someone who has passed the half-century mark. I see this friend once, sometimes twice a year, and when I do, we pick up the conversation as though we’d just seen each other last Tuesday. I come away from our time together refreshed, reminded of who I used to be 20 some years ago: that different energy I used to live in, and which was in me then. I miss it sometimes: those sharp edges, the dreaminess of poetry, the excitement of not knowing what’s coming next. When you have years of life ahead of you, your perspective is different from living those years and the daily experiences of the life you passed through. Nostalgia can be sweet but it can also be deadly. Paying too much attention to where you’ve been takes away from seeing what you are living now. According to studies, once you’ve experienced something, your mind notes it and stores it somewhere in your head. Then, when you find yourself in a similar situation, your mind pulls out the old memory and overlays it over the new experience. That is one of the challenges of changing how you think about things – you’re already biased in one direction or another. The trick is to see through that memory into where you actually are. This is why, very often, you don’t notice your children growing until you buy them school clothes in autumn.

So I meet with my friend and notice, this time, that he has more gray hair, has to wear his glasses more often, and is a little heavier. He still carries his vibrant energy, though, and in our talking, I feel myself reaching down into my memories for those aspects of myself he calls forth. Re-membering. Later, on the bus ride home, those aspects still spread out on my surface, I mine them for the riches they hold, to bring them back into my now life, to live more fully in my present.

Spirals and Seeds

Bright red berries contrasted against dark trees

Red Berries

Instead of resolutions for 2012, I decided to set intentions. After all, intentions don’t necessarily need to be a written list, and they can be broad enough so that many activities count that would, in stricter interpretation, be lost. So…re this blog: I intend to post something each day for the entire year, come what may. My original idea was to take a photo each day and write about it, but that quickly changed when I realized I’d be stuck with pretty much the same topic on a weekly basis. Nothing much ever happens here…

So. Digging around in my iPhoto file, digging around in what’s going on in my life and putting the two together for my audience of 1 (so far just me). No theme has come to the surface yet, though I don’t doubt that some sort of theme will coalesce eventually. Meanwhile, I post random thoughts and look for photos, or look for photos which inspire random thoughts. Whatever.

About a month ago on Facebook, I received a Friend request from a woman I’d known 50 years ago. What a joy to discover her name in my message list. Memories of our childhood adventures flooded into my head as I eagerly said yes to the request and zapped her an email telling her how happy I was to see her there, connecting. So much to tell. How to condense it into email: the sorrows and joys of my life up to this point, and hers, still waiting to be told.

Life, to me is a long woven spiral. Some threads fill it at the beginning and then disappear. Other threads start there, too, and continue until they finish their length. Still others poke through here, disappear, and turn up again there, spiraling up, a rich cone of texture and color. What glimmers below shows up higher, sparkling into my viewpoint. Memories re-bound, re-freshed, newness adding richness to the slender threads. Up and round and up again. Sweet surprises.

Seeds too, have their place in this. What has been planted in my life bears fruit in its season. The red richness which fills my eyes falls to the ground to be buried, quickened, and rises again to appear in its season.

I find joy in small growing things.


Photo of several objects including  a candle, jar, and ring.


Today is the anniversary of the unexpected death of a friend. I didn’t hear of his death (could not imagine it) until I missed him at his regular spot in an antique paper show held the second week in October and emailed him to ask where he was. His daughter responded that he had passed away this day, the last day of September in 2007. So he is gone 4 years now and I still think of him sometimes at flea markets or when I hear an English accent.

Having reached what feels like a great age, I am always surprised at those who have left my life in this way, the ones who will not accompany me into old age. As a child, I thought my world would never change and it comes as a surprise, even now, to look around and see the holes left in the fabric I’ve woven, questions left unanswered, chapters left unfinished, empty spaces at the table. When my brother died at age 51, he left behind a complete study comparing features and prices of lawnmowers. He was planning to buy a new one in spring…

What is a full life? I believe we go when we are ready, we choose our time, just as we choose when and where to be born. The pattern for our lives shows itself in small clues and synchronicities. We are connected to deep magic, depth as well as breadth. Cherished friends open us up to a wider world and expand who we are. Short life or long, there is no loss of meaning.