In the pitch black hours of the night, I was awakened to a scratchy, scitchy sound. Took a few moments to realize it was only my landlady’s old dog, Jasper, who had settled himself on the front porch near my door. Was nearly back to sleep when I heard barking a little ways away. Jasper hadn’t moved yet, so it must be Mr. Mack, the younger of the big dogs. Then I heard the howling…
I’ve heard coyote packs howl before, but never so close, and never while all alone in the pitch black of the forest! Well, I wasn’t really alone. Jasper held his position outside my door while Mr. Mack barked and dissuaded the coyotes for a good while until they moved to a point where a neighboring dog grabbed the baton. I finally settled into dreaming. Both dogs were on my porch this morning and got extra pets and thank you’s for being good protectors.
It’s not that I don’t like coyotes – I do and am thankful that I live within an ecosystem that is healthy enough to sustain a pack. It’s just that their howling goes right through a person in the middle of the night! I pulled out “Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small” written by the late Ted Andrews, my go to book for the Native American meanings behind close encounters with specific animals. Here’s what Ted had to say “The coyote teaches the balance of wisdom and folly and how they both go hand in hand. The image of the wise fool has been used in the lore of many societies. This is the individual who seems to be a simpleton and yet the words and actions have a much greater wisdom than is initially recognized .”
Years ago, I felt magnetically drawn towards this piece of sculpture crafted by my dear friend and Wise Woman, Lori Coon (Create4Wellness@yahoo.com). She named it “Coyote Dreams”, and says “Coyote’s message suits his mythology: a trickster with our own wellbeing in mind. This original kiln-fired clay sculpture is about 4-5 inches high and came into being around 1998. Is he a man dreaming of being a coyote OR a coyote dreaming of being a man? I am not sure myself, but I feel a great stillness that harbors power within him. He is dreaming, waiting, nurturing what is unseen. He makes us question what is real and what is shadow. This particular piece has been a favorite of a dear friend of mine, Lisa, who has been a huge supporter of my artwork and my teaching. This is my Christmas present to her this year.”
Did I dream up the coyotes? Nah. They’re as real as the shivers down my spine in the middle of the night. Our dreams, the nighttime ones and the daytime ones, are as ephemerally real as the coyote’s. Well, they can be, if we are willing to move through our own shadows into the dark of night, then wake to handcraft our dreams into being during the light of day.
Think: What dreams continue to haunt you? Is there wisdom inherent in their simplicity? Are they shadows to be faced and walked through? What powerful dreams do you keep at bay?
Say: Write down one or more of your shadowy dreams, one that scares you, in as much detail as possible. Then, write down one of your daydreams, one that brings you joy. Find a common thread, or ask a friend what they find symbolic about your two dreams.
Do: Integrate the shadowy dream with the daydream, using art supplies, movement, or re-enactment. Come up with a phrase that will remind you of this powerful integration. For example, when I did this exercise years ago, I integrated my shadowy side, represented by a King Cobra, with the saintly, loving Healer. The Healer gently held the face of the hissing snake as they looked one another in the eye. My phrase is “I am seeing I to I”.