I often talk about Shamanism as if it was a conscious choice for me but the truth of the matter is – it wasn’t. When I met EC in 1998, she told me that she had a dream about a White Wolf who had saved her from being crushed by an18 wheeler van, on the highway. She spoke of a dream but for her it was a lucid experience. It was as real as if it had happened to her during waking time. One of the things that I’ve learnt and admired through speaking to Aboriginal People is that they don’t make a difference between sleeping and waking dreams. Life as a whole is a dream to them, the way it has always been for me.
I keep hearing that Aboriginal culture in America is lost to emancipation and Christianity. It’s as if people want to believe that the first Europeans destroyed these people and there’s no way of getting it back. We live in a society that feels empowered by sufferance. Whenever I have the time to talk to people in my neighbourhood or community I always notice how quick and easy it is for individuals to talk about their aches and pains; death in the family; and whatever else can go wrong. People rarely share their stories of success, their dreams and ambitions, and their deepest thoughts. I usually smile and walk away before it’s my turn to speak. In my World these types of discussions drain and elicit a reaction that would probably be judged by most as inappropriate. I’ve often asked myself the question: How do you change a World that doesn’t want to be changed?
Many years ago I was a guest speaker at an alternative high school in Montreal. There was a young First Nation student in the class who shared her story. She spoke about her mother’s drug addiction and how her father was in prison. Most of her childhood and adolescent life was spent in group homes. She explained that although she lived with white Christian people most of her life she was always called towards pagan or shamanic spirituality. Until my lecture she couldn’t explain why?
When we are taught about dreaming from Aboriginal elders, we are told that it’s a walk in the land of spirit. There, we can have access to ancestors, memories, and whatever else lives beyond the veil. I’ve always known that “nothing is forgotten” as long as you can dream. I’ve met countless people, especially amongst First Nation people who’ve said that beyond their social education they’ve retained this deep almost magical connection to nature and the stars. Cultural belief can not be erased by emancipation or religion. There’s always someone out there who’ll sing a song, tell a story or remind us that we’re related to our fore-fathers and related to the land we live on.
There’s no such thing as a complete annihilation. When a forest fire blazes through the trees it destroys but it doesn’t annihilate. Almost a month after the fire, trees are budding and growing back. The roots hold the power of the forest and for as long as they live underground they can not die! Dreaming is our underground and for as long as there are dreamers out there, the beauty, the magic, and the mystery of old ways can not be destroyed. I’ve been dreaming from birth and when I chose to dream instead of being indoctrinated – I decided to walk a path that had been there all along.