The eagle above and the kiva below…the upper and the lower speaking with each other…informing each other…this ancient knowing…this knowing that comes through our dreams…that spiritual connectedness includes both the ascent and the descent.
Many of us believe that to be deeply spiritual we must somehow ascend, transcend…rise above this gorgeous earthiness of being human. When we explore our dreams we often find we are asked to descend…into a basement…a cavern…an underground world…where we learn that as we descend someone is ascending to meet us…our inner teachers…our true self…our soul self…the connection of the inner and outer.
This is not a new knowledge. The ancients of most traditions have known this and created practices and rituals to keep this knowing alive in their people…that the return to wholeness…to healing…includes a descent.
When Joe and I visited Hopi, it was still in the days where you could visit First and Second Mesa, but at Third Mesa, Old Oraibi (since before 1100 AD) we needed to ask permission to enter. So we stopped at the chief’s house and he invited us in to visit. He talked about late President Kennedy, whom he respected. After about a half hour he said it would be okay for us to walk around the mesa but to please not take pictures.
The day was incredibly hot, no movement of air and there was no one in sight…we felt we had stepped into another time and space. We walked in slow respectful silence…and then from the top of an adobe home we saw a fluttering, as if someone were shaking out a blanket. We knew to wait and watch…and then we saw it…an eagle tethered to the roof. It had been taken from its nest, would be raised until mature and then ceremonially sacrificed as a messenger between the two worlds…the upper and the lower. Of course we felt a sadness for the eagle and at the same time respect for an ancient tradition connecting the upper and lower worlds…the human to the divine.
A few moments later I saw what I had been hoping to see…a rustic wooden ladder emerging from a small hole in the ground…the entrance to a ceremonial room below…the kiva.
To lean over and peer in felt disrespectful so I stopped a few steps from the opening, letting the potency…the presence…and the awe flow through me in waves. This is where the clan leaders meet to discuss matters that affect the tribe, both practical and spiritual. This is where the kachina (gods) emerge from during certain ceremonies.
(Image: Kiva by Diane Dandeneau 1996)
Mary Jo Heyen is a Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients throughout the country and abroad in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at www.maryjoheyen.com or www.thenaturaldream.com