Dreaming the Good Dream
Words of Wisdom from Deborah Frances Dancing Crow
The following is a preface excerpted from Dr. Frances’ upcoming book I Am Coming Home on the Wind; a book of true stories meant to awaken the Indigenous Soul residing within us all regardless of our ancestry; stories to inspire and heal us out of the collective delusion of separateness; stories to open our eyes to the presence of Divine Love flowing through all Creation.
“May you be born in an interesting time.”
Ancient Chinese Curse
“…nothing can cripple us more than the loss of hope…despair takes aim at the soul.”
- Joseph M. Marshall III, Keep Going The Art of Perseverance. Sterling Publishing, NY, 2006.
From the 14th through the 17th centuries, huge numbers of simple village folks were accused of witchcraft, then tortured and burned at the stake by a white, European, male aristocracy operating through the channels of governments in league with the Roman Catholic Church. Most of the peasants burned were women and most of these were midwives, herbalists and healers. Successful healing was seen as a sure sign of witchcraft, especially if the wise woman’s simple Earth Ways succeeded where upper class, male physicians had failed. Cultivation of simple plants like basil, or close association with an animal, were also likely to lead to condemnation. Cats were held to be especially suspicious and were often burned along with the so-called “witches.”
Concurrently, groups and individuals who dared to suppose they might have a direct experience of God, without the intercession of the Church, were branded as heretics, making them also subject to torture and genocide.
The same consciousness that led to the annihilation of women, healers and “heretics” laid an easy foundation for the massacre of Indigenous People living in harmony with Nature on other continents. Cultures with spiritual practices that encouraged direct experience of the Divine and whose people lived with deep respect and reverence for Nature were easily branded as “primitive, superstitious savages” making them an easy target for extermination, exploitation, and persecution.
So many centuries of genocide and oppression for the crime of being closely connected to Nature has left industrialized society with a legacy of consciousness deeply rooted in fear and ignorance. How many of us know and trust the depths of healing available in medicinal herbs or possess the skill to prescribe them? How many are able to identify edible plants or name the animals whose tracks we find embedded in the soil? Lacking the ability to live with the land, we have become dependent on the corporate machine to tend to our health and supply our material needs. We live insulated from the flow of Nature and the Cycles of the Moon, the Sun and the Seasons; Cycles that reflect the rhythms of our lives and keep us in touch with our authentic selves, walking in balance on this Good Green Earth. Nor are we any longer sufficiently awake and aware enough to be receptive to the gifts of Wisdom and guidance that emanate so freely through all of Nature. Those Indigenous People who are blessed to still have connection to the Old Ways, despite centuries of genocide and oppression, know that even the stones have consciousness and gifts to share, if we would only re-member ourselves enough to listen.
Dominator consciousness has torn us from our proper place as caretakers of the Natural World, culling the herds and harvesting plants only as needed, and then always in a manner that contributes to the well-being of all Life. Instead we have become greedy predators, overconsuming, raping and pillaging the Earth in a vain attempt to fill the black void born of our separation from Nature and Spirit, and subsequently ourselves. The resultant environmental crisis and continued blind addiction to chemical fixes, electromagnetics and toxic radiation is playing havoc with our health and that of the world around us.
We now face an ecological crisis that is threatening to catapult us headlong into unprecedented global catastrophe. We cannot afford to keep our heads in the sand. We can no longer ignore that the Earth, our Mother, our home, our source of sustenance and support, is in danger of dying and without Her, there is no Life.
And yet we must not lose hope. Native American prophecy, handed down through generations, foretold of a time when the Earth and food would be toxic, when the rivers would run with poison and even the air we breathe would be contaminated. But Native and other prophesies also foretell of a return of the Sacred Feminine, a potent promise of Light for the future, because the Feminine is the inner, connecting, renewing principle and it is through the Feminine that New Life is born.
Social, political, and environmentally sound actions are absolutely essential in these times, but none can take their full root or exert long lasting effect without an accompanying shift from dominator thinking to a consciousness that honors, respects and embraces All Life as Sacred. Anything less will not suffice. As Einstein once pointed out, a problem cannot be solved by the same consciousness from which it was created.
A more intimate relationship with Nature offers the potential for us to develop a level of commitment that far surpasses actions motivated by moral concern, ethics, guilt and fear; all of which can just as easily immobilize as motivate. Instead, if we empty our minds and open our hearts to respect the ways of the animals, the plants and all of Nature and learn to listen from our hearts, we create a potential to forge bonds with our non-human relatives in Nature that offer us an opportunity to act from a place of enhanced vitality, wisdom, passionate love, and an embodied comprehension of the interdependence of all living beings. Nothing can replace a deep personal experience of healing, Beauty, and yes I will use the word Magic, so abundantly present in the Natural World. Sometimes amazing, but more often subtly interwoven and merged in seemingly mundane experiences, this Beauty can easily be missed by those of us trapped in left brain cerebral thinking. Heartfelt humility combined with a sincere desire to learn from Nature and serve the Whole of Creation must be an integral part of the equation if we are to save ourselves and this Beautiful Planet Earth from extinction.
If we are willing to risk a descent from the lofty tower of intellect, we may find ourselves warmly welcomed into the rich tapestries adorning the gentle castle of the heart. It is only then that our spirits can recognize and be touched by the numinosity and synchronicities that abound in relationship to Nature.
The process towards Oneness with Creation begins with humility and a release of all expectations, demands and preconceptions. It starts with observing, allowing, inviting, leaving space for choice and being totally okay with “no” for an answer. It means trading the delusion of species superiority and fear-based egoic dominator thinking for something much richer. To save ourselves and this irreplaceable planet, we must embrace humility, receptivity and a willingness to learn from even the most humble creatures. We must release our preconceived ideas that we know what Mother Earth needs and learn instead to ask and listen. The answers She supplies may greatly surprise us.
In July 1999, I was urgently commanded by my inner guidance to quickly gather my ceremonial things and go out under the Cedar trees that adorned my front yard. As I prayed in the early evening light, I received the following simple but profound message:
“In the coming times, it is absolutely essential to Dream the Good Dream.”
Dream the Good Dream; acknowledge the darkness, the grief, the fear, the despair and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that lay before us, but do not let that darkness rule or defeat. No matter how dire things may seem in days to come, and they do indeed look dire, we must doggedly persevere in giving thanks for the Beauty around us while visualizing healing and taking what action we can. We must resist the temptation to give up on the situation, on each other, or on ourselves.
Mayan Elders, who have also long prophesied these times, tell us that now is the time to plant seeds for the generations to come. Our visualizations, our prayers, our simple acts of kindness, compassion or demands for social and environmental justice have more potential to germinate into something great than any of us can ever know. But if we decide ahead of time that it is already too late, which any informed, rational person would argue is likely, we have already lost. The trick is to move beyond the confines of the rational mind to the more expansive, non-rational space of the heart, where hope inspires us to be our best. Then we must radiate the Beauty we find out to all creation. The horrific global challenges we face offer us an opportunity to stop short-sightedly living just for ourselves and mere everyday survival and drop our cultural glorification of rugged individualism and independence to embrace diversity and community. We must live with the realization that each step we take, each thought we think, affects seven generations ahead and has the potential to heal seven generations of the past. To trust, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that there will indeed BE future generations of two leggeds, finned ones, creepy-crawlies, winged ones, four-leggeds and green growing ones is a revolutionary act in itself, a Sacred kind of Craziness that may well serve to antidote the destructive lunacy of our times. In the face of destruction, we must dare to create Beauty. We must join together. Red, White, Black and Yellow Skinned People to dream and enact the Good Dream, and in this we must also join with Mother Earth and all her non-human children to sow all the seeds of Beauty we possibly can. It is time to release the inner and outer judge, and embrace compassion.
We have everything to lose by not wholeheartedly trying and nothing to lose by putting forth our best effort. After all, if reincarnation is an actuality, then if we are among the ancestors whose healing we pray for, we may well be reborn in generations yet to come.
Mitakuye oyasin / All My Relations
Dr. Deborah Frances / Beautiful Little Dancing Crow
Naturopathic Physician / Lakota Elder