June 2022: Mothertongue
Imagine this as your dream:
It's early morning, you’re on vacation somewhere far away, maybe a town in Japan or Greece or Kenya . You’re just sitting in the park, watching the people, when suddenly a loud wind blows through like a freight train. You look up and see group of excited, wild-eyed strangers, and you watch in astonishment as flames appear, burning just over their heads. Then they start babbling. They look deranged, they sound drunk, and yet – you begin to hear, through the babble, one voice, with the lilt and language that you grew up with, your mothertongue. Maybe a gentleness. Maybe a phrase only your family said. Maybe how your mother used to sound when she talked on the phone with her mother, suddenly shifting into soft Alabama accents that rose from the heat and the honeysuckle generations ago. That sound is unmistakable, it echoes rise from some forgotten chamber of your heart. As you listen with your whole self, something in you lights up too. This is about you, a part of your story that seems bigger than you, unsettling, resonant, strange and familiar.
And then you notice – everyone else around you is now listening to somebody rambling on in another language. Everywhere you see people standing amazed, just as you are. No speakers seem to be saying the same words. As you wake, you realize they’re all telling the same story.
In a few days, this scenario – something like it - will be celebrated throughout the Christian world as Pentecost Sunday. While I love all our big wild Spirit stories, as a dreamworker I particularly love this one.
Because that’s us! Pentecost is the liturgical feast day of the dreamers, those of us with our hair on fire, telling big wild spirit stories first thing in the morning. Some reality has got ahold of us, and we can’t hold back. We really believe it matters to tell our dreams, because the dreams are about seriously important things - being, belonging, becoming – and because what comes through my dream is also for you. In my dream, you can hear your gospel truth.
There is lots to be said about the “same story” that dreams offer us— a story big enough to hold all our differences, flaws, suffering, grace, and glory. A story that assures us that we are known, loved, and led along the way towards our “individuation journey” as we keep turning into ourselves.
Watch how this works: I’ll share a few dream fragments (from different contributors) about fire. Read through them slowly but not studiously. Notice if anything in these dreams - storylines, metaphors, feelings, mysteries - moves you. If it does, it’s yours: you’ll know it when you hear it.
Just receive, and then we’ll see where it goes for you.
*Fiery Violinist: I enter a dark house, and follow the music to an upstairs room where a young man is playing the violin at the bedside of a dying man. The violinist is playing with such intensity that the music turns to fire as he plays it.
*Incensed Nun - I know a bitter, angry nun who keeps incense burning all the time.
* Candle in the Freezer - I'm so worried about the dinner party I'm hosting: it's about to start and I'm terribly behind on preparations. Every time I open the freezer, I see a burning candle. Where did this come from? I'm amazed.
*Arsonist at the Firehouse – I'm standing in an office at night. Across the street a firehouse bursts into flame. I see the silhouette of the arsonist slip out the side door.
*Embroidered Fire - On the parking lot pavement I find a patch on fire: the flame is actually embroidered into the asphalt.
If you felt some energy rising in one of these dreams, then stay with it.
What is coming up for you, in your memory?
Is there an idea arising?
This image is a picture of a part of you. Why might it be here, now, for you to see? What does it want to say?
If it is disturbing, can you welcome it anyway, and be curious, let it explain itself a little?
For me, fire is often about vitality of embodied emotions that can remain unconscious if I don’t see them in a dream. I like to see how other people’s fire dreams might move me to notice something new: the ironic cynicism of the arsonist, the creative passion of the violinist; the courage of the candle in the freezer. In these images I see how emotion itself can destroy, create, sustain, and bewilder.
Today, I feel drawn to the fire embroidered into the parking lot. What an surprising image: it makes me feel that the whole world, even the ugly paved-over bits, are alive, could burst into flame or song, danger or delight. In what way am I “paved over” right now? How am I right now, like a parking lot, outside of the main event, useful, but …static and dull. Stitched down a little too tightly, maybe a little inflammatory in some way? And if I were in some way “embroidered with flame” how would that spiritual reality manifest in waking life? To play with this, I can try to embody it - put on some "fire" music and just dance in the kitchen. Notice what changes, how I feel, what arises. It's that simple. Dreams are really just parts of us asking for relationship.
This Pentecost season, listen for your mothertongue flaming out to you from the noise. Catch the spark. Play with fire. Here's a story that says it better than I can:
PICTURE BOOK FOR JUNE
Here is the same idea, with pictures and music.
The Man with the Violin
Thanks to Donna the Children's Librarian!
Based on the true story of Joshua Bell playuing incognito in the DC subway
(Seriously, click it. These books are the best part of the newsletter. )
SUMMER AT FIRE BY NIGHT
It’s the summer of Travel at Last, and I’m not running any regular groups because you people are all thither and yon, adventuring. (Me too, a little bit.)
Instead, come to a Standalone Dream Group.
These groups will be different from the
intimate little dream circles we’ve always shared.
We’ll use a 3-part plan for these 2-hour meetings:
First we’ll work one dream together.
Next, we’ll share dreams in breakout sessions, using projective group dreamwork guidelines and each other’s intuition and experience.
Finally, we’ll reconvene for some further dream play as we individually explore our own dream through art, movement, and more.
Tuesday June 21, 7-9 EST
Sunday July 10, 7-9 EST
Tuesday July 26, 7-9 EST
Sunday August 14, 7-9 EST
How to sign up:
email me at Laura@firebynight.net
New and ongoing groups begin in late August and run through early December.
8 sessions. $200. Usually we meet every other week, but some dreamers prefer a shorter season with weekly meetings.
Contact me here if you want to put your name on the list, state your preferences for times, and I’ll be in touch with you soon.
Dealing with tech is driving me nuts. I lost internet twice
and then lost the draft and then lost my mind.
I need a Social Media Dreamer Helper.
Basically, a Hermes.
If you are a dreamer who can help me grow my almost nonexistent social media skills, I'm looking for someone who wants to barter dreamwork for serious media help.
Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Because all I use is email.)
Photo of sparklers: 10TV