A Dream

Where we find purification and peace

One of the articles in Art And Ceremony In Sustainable Culture (IC#5)
Originally published in Spring 1984 on page 49
Copyright (c)1984, 1997 by Context Institute

Take it. Grasp it now most gently, the slender silk that threads the maze and is anchored in a place that is not.

It is a warm summer evening. The sun is setting behind the evergreen trees as we move along a narrow path. The ferns and branches gently caress our bare arms and legs. We stop briefly. Is this the right path? A candle in a tree stump gives us a little reassurance. We walk dream-like silently on moss.

We emerge at a grassy clearing: familiar faces – gentle greetings – hugs. Even though we are strangers, we belong here. We have come to celebrate the full moon.

We are a little afraid. The forest is growing dark. We have not the protection of stone walls and electric lights. We cannot hide from the Father here. Is the other one here also? What is going to happen?

Something has led us here. There is nowhere He is not. We grow more certain.

Laughing and chatting, we form a circle. Someone speaks. We are in a dream. We are to move deeper into the dream. It is a dream of purification and peace. We grow silent.

We are offered water to wash in. We are asked to choose, in our hearts, what it is that we will wash away. Like heavy crystals in a muddy stream bed, the water will wash away the silt, leaving the sparkling facets. The choice is clearly seen and clearly made.

Afterward, a cool refreshing cup of water to drink. A wonderful gift! A sense of calm and purity descends.

The circle dissolves. We take a musical instrument – a drum, a flute, a rattle. We begin to walk. The music flows from us. It becomes the Earth’s heartbeat.

At another clearing we come upon a pile of old timbers, once a home but now forgotten and rotting. Our host asks our help in clearing the debris. We speak of the need to purge that which no longer serves. We work together to build a fire. The fire consumes the wood. It consumes that within us which no longer serves. We are frightened. The fire grows larger and drives us back. Deeper and deeper into the dream.

Again we circle, each vibrating like a plucked string. A current moves through us – warming and softening us. The current binds us to the earth.

Words come. They are not our words. They are the words of all humankind. We are asked to be mindful – mindful of our place, of our loved ones, our teachers, and especially of the children. We are asked to respect the earth. To see clearly. To love actively. To move in rhythm with the moon and sun. Deeper. Deeper.

Words end. What follows cannot be fully remembered. We move more deeply into the dream. The dream becomes reality. Everyday reality becomes a dream. The two cannot be completely joined.

The language of reality is music, dance, touch, pattern. The fern on the rock is instantly holy. Each face becomes every face we have ever loved. The masks of body and personality dissolve, revealing the true person. We become the dance! We become the music!

We are connected to each other. We are connected to every living thing and to the planet itself. We are annihilated and become the moon, and all the universe. Time ceases to exist. Is this the kingdom of God?

Being connected, we know we are not alone. Many are with us. He is with us. She is with us.

Suddenly it ends. We silently circle and hug. We have again become bodies – soft warm comfortable bodies and yet not the same bodies or minds. We are transformed. We experience great clarity and love. Beyond understanding, we walk silently away.

The moon and a few flickering candles light the way back along the path. Suddenly there is a roar and glaring lights – a car on the highway.

Months later I sit at my table and write. The radio tells me of terrorist bombings, nuclear weapons, war and confusion. A successful and apparently happy man has killed his children, his wife, and himself. What dream is this?

Alfred Mercer is an engineer and computer programmer living in Corvallis, Oregon.

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