Since 1969 Joe and I have surrounded ourselves with Native American art, especially those of the Hopi and Navajo cultures, with Joe even becoming an accomplished weaver of Navajo rugs that included otherworldly trips to the reservation to select wools.
Each item is a thread that connects us to the earth, from the Apache burden basket for picking berries with its little jingling metal pieces to chase away bears to a seed pot with the tiniest of openings to store and protect seeds to the pottery storytellers with whimsical women keeping alive the oral tradition of their people.
Among the truly mystical pieces we own are the kachinas, those cottonwood root carvings of the deities of the Hopi spirit world. During Hopi ceremonial dances, men emerge from the underground kiva dressed as a particular deity. They bring teachings and healing to their people.
(Image: Long Hair Kachina)
And of these none have captivated us more than the Koshari (Hano)…the clowns. They are kind of a comic relief for what can be an intense ceremony…but a comic relief with an intention. The role of the koshari is manyfold. Body painted with wide stripes, the koshari can be counted on to do something inappropriate. During this very serious ceremony they can be loud, boisterous, make themselves a glutton by overeating a watermelon, perform some lewd act, all ways of satirizing and exposing what would not be considered appropriate behavior. They can be outrageous…and by being so they expose the unspoken shadow side of the collective unconscious of the tribe. Like the more serious kachinas the koshari are teaching their people but in a way that is humorous and can be received…helps them to laugh a bit at the human condition we all share.
(Image: Hano (clown) by Fletcher Healing of the Corn Clan)
Our dream characters come to us like this. Some are very serious, delivering the difficult message, some are clearly loving and supportive and we feel good in their presence…and then there are those who are over the top outrageous. They may come as the annoying co-worker, an overtly sexual woman, the drunken man who accosts us, irritating and misbehaving teens…the very ones we are sure could not be inner teachers…and so we turn away.
(Image: Koshari mask)
In the dream or upon awakening we may even be offended by this particular character in our dream. But if we let ourselves soften and see it from a different perspective we are gifted with a deeper view…that this ‘clown’ in our dream is really our teacher, who is willing to put on any garment if it helps us return to our wholeness….willing to be disguised in a way that pokes fun at our ego, that helps lighten the heaviness of how seriously we take ourselves…and if we are willing to listen we can learn more about who it is we truly are.
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