I recently visited Vancouver, BC. On several occasions during my trip we came across Totem Poles. I loved the idea of Geo Dreaming behind the idea of carving a pole. Since then, it's been a theme in my life.
Today, I spent the afternoon in Montreal, Quebec (my home town). G was looking for shoes and I was the reluctant tag-along. Anyone who has been to Montreal knows how busy it can get especially during the week. Traffic is a constant in the city and if you’re trying to find parking, you better be prepared for a few annoying spins around a maze of one ways. Some of us who believe in Spirit usually do a few prayers before leaving home. Quick parking is usually a confirmation that Spirit is on our side… L
G and I usually park near the Cathedral Marie Reine du Monde when we want to go walking in centre town. It’s a bit of a stroll to reach Ste-Catherine Street, the main shopping strip; but the “Sacred Site vibe” I’ve always gotten from the Cathedral and its surrounding areas is well worth it.
In Shamanism, a Sacred Site is often another word for a cemetery. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been able to pin point a burial ground just by the impressions I can pick up from the land. Of course, unless there’s a few tomb stones to validate the actual existence of a cemetery, it’s more a hunch than anything else. It’s not like I can start digging and prove my case…
I’ve been visiting the Cathedral Marie Reine du Monde ever since I was a child. My grandparents were actually married there some time in the 1920’s. It was during my adolescence that I started having phenomenal experiences in and around this Cathedral. Ghosts seemed more abundant there in comparison to other historical and touristic sites. Even after doing some research, I couldn’t find too many reasons why this area felt more to me like a cemetery.
Today, we couldn’t park the car near the Cathedral because of construction. Just as we rounded the corner of the Place du Canada where much of the re-vamping was occurring, we noticed a large banner showing archaeological photos of remains recently discovered under the plaza of the Place du Canada where millions of people cross every year. It seems there was an old cemetery exactly where I felt it…
“I knew it!” I jumped up. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to be validated.
For G and I, this kind of incident is what we call “Geo Dreaming.” We’ve noticed through the last 15 years of exploring different cities in different countries, that “geology” tells a story. It’s almost as if the land remembers the wars, the love affairs, the droughts and the great empires; or maybe it inspires them…
While visiting with traditional Wabanaki elders in Northern N.B. almost a decade ago, it was fascinating to hear all kinds of stories where rivers, mountains and valleys were personified with emotions and the ability to affect people. Some rivers were said to be angry enough to kill. In Hawaii, Pele is not only a Volcano but the Goddess of Fire: Passionate, volatile and capricious.
Australian Aboriginals believe that landscape holds and shares dreams. Anyone who has travelled has certainly noticed that every city, village or mountaintop holds a particular impression: A signature of sorts. If you are sensitive to the land; which most of us are because we are connected to it and because we are related to our ancestors who are buried underneath it – we can pick up on the stories and memories etched within the rock.
Just as we passed the Cathedral, G brought back a story; which occurred in winter of 2006. I woke up from a dream that morning where EC, a Passamaquoddy deceased friend and teacher, asked me to go to the Cathedral of Marie Reine du Monde for 11:00 am. I remember sitting in the Church with no real idea of what to do next. Suddenly my cell phone rang and I had to step out to take the call. When I returned my winter gloves had been stolen.
I was pissed off!
I couldn’t believe that I’d get robbed in a Church. There were a few homeless people roaming the aisles that day trying to stay warm. Since I wasn’t there to witness the robbery I couldn’t accuse anyone. Plus, I figured these people needed the gloves more so than I. I gave a gratitude prayer for the abundance and beauty Spirit has granted to my life – and left wondering why EC had sent me there for something seemingly insignificant.
Today as I read the story behind the cemetery I understood that even in the 1800’s the Cathedral of Marie Reine du Monde attracted countless people dealing with hardships. Built near the Port of Montreal, the Catholic Church received many immigrants who were leaving famine, illness, and poverty for a new World and a hopeful future. This Cathedral contributed in helping many Catholic families settle in. A good amount of the remains found on site were relocated to the Côte des Neiges cemetery and belonged to victims of an outbreak of cholera in the mid-1800’s.
It’s amazing how we can humanely alter the land we live on but we can’t erase the memories of the past. Our ancestors ironically left behind a legacy; which ‘til this day still unconsciously affects us. Our dreams, our thoughts, our emotions are bombarded by memories on a daily basis; sometimes we are the solution or the resolution to old stories and other times, we carry the burden of the land.