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At 6:50 A.M., I awoke with this dream of initiation:

It is night. A woman invited me to join eleven others in a great hall illumined by beeswax candles, some hanging from the ceiling, some from sconces on the walls. Twelve young girls wear wreathes of baby breath upon shoulder-length hair that complement their long gowns; they sit in a circle upon gilded chairs. More than willing to embrace the sacred rituals, this night marks a turning point in their young lives. I’m honored to be among them.  

Again, the dream story occurs at night, a period of darkness and end-time learning for my psychic growth; its components reference hidden achievements as well as hidden or unacknowledged failures—The Dreamer always speaks the truth and involves Himself in my nightly course correction.

A woman, comely in features, yet, unknown from reality, suggests the Divine Feminine who included me among eleven others, totaling twelve of us. The twelve young girls—again repeats the number twelve, the weighted number found through the Sacred Scriptures of Jews, Christians, and Muslims; the spiritualties of other religions; astronomy and other sciences and social orders. Not surprising the frequency of the number twelve in our planetary system, it symbolizes perfection, authority, completion.

The white gowns of the initiates and their wreathes of baby breath upon shoulder-length hair, suggest virginal integrity, ripeness in innocence. I, too, had sat in one of those gilded chairs and remembered the hushed excitement while waiting.

But this is another initiation, with still more experience to bring to the ritual. All is gift.

Winter’s lethal touch seems not to disquiet this gray squirrel, seen digging in my back yard, presumably for seeds hidden during warmer climes.

Other eyes, from centuries past, have drawn inspiration from the squirrel’s activities: the Osage Native Americans who roamed these hills. Their surroundings offered food, aplenty, but had to be hunted, cultivated, harvested, preserved, and hidden away from poachers, other Indians or settlers. Survival from fickle weather, for both Indians and animals, was the communal goal.

The Osage perceived all living creatures as gifts from Mother Earth with whom they were inextricably bound. Squirrels were notable for their preparedness, sociableness, industry, and foraging for seeds and nuts, their presence by aggressive and noisome chatter. Identifying with their spirit quickened their own in the midst of daily hardship. 

Even in dire straits, the Osage were reluctant to feed off the squirrel, but did so if critical for survival, with thanksgiving to Mother Earth.

In my perception, the Osage’s proximity to squirrels and all living creatures interfaced with their imaginative story-telling; its rich oral tradition afforded ultimate meaning to their lives. From these depths emerged their legends and sacred rituals; images of squirrels on totem poles.

They knew who protected and guided them.

At 7:15 A.M., I woke with this restoration dream:

I am alone, following a wooded trail, patterned by shadows of overhanging leaves. Up ahead, through the trees, appears to be an abandoned structure. As I get closer, I note its sides missing, some of its timbered posts, charred. I step inside. Pine needles and other tree debris litter the earthen floor. I look up. Tiles of mud-colored turtles, some of them cracked, adorn the ceiling. It feels like there has been a fire in the past.

This glimpse into my psyche suggests destruction, neglect, the process of rot already eating at the heart of what was once a structure, built and used by others, perhaps for rituals to honor the Sacred. Mud-colored turtles, the ceiling’s adornment, must have played a part in their rituals. Being a water creature, the turtle suggests creation and the after-life; it symbolizes longevity, order, and protection, there being much evidence of such found among Native American tribes.

My present study of the Ioway tribe in nineteenth-century Missouri may have influenced my Dreamer to incorporate turtles in this dream, as well as my wonder of the after-life and how we will experience the peoples of the world, in their otherness.

It’s comforting to know such a structure exits in my psyche where I can go anytime and restore it, with help.

With the psalmist, I pray, Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor, in vain. (27:1)

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