My blog focuses on modern cultural practices as windows to the unknown future i.e. as oracles, offering hints of what is to come, analogously to dreams. One of the most accessible online vehicles for discovering current cultural practices globally is Academia.edu. I consult it on a daily basis and thus “wander” nomadically throughout the world discovering unknown fellow travellers whose research overlaps mine, even if ever so briefly. Occasionally, I find someone with whom I feel an immediate connection through the soul. This is the story of one such connection. Kaldarhan A. Kambar and I share a soul practice that, in this time of endings, may constitute a narrow thread through, at least for some. Put simply, we both follow the hints of our dreams into the unknown future!
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Among the most shocking, and persuasive, dream hints for me have been my serpent dreams. You can’t negotiate with the serpent but you can submit to its will if you have a mind to. Whether you do or not, the will of the serpent is determinative in your life.
In 1984, I dreamed:
I am bitten on the right palm by an extremely poisonous snake. It is slow, painful and inexorable, with a finality that said, “This is how it is do you finally get it?” With the poison circulating my whole body, I go to my friends who comfort me. In excited fearful anticipation I wait for death. I feel a numbness, coldness steal over me. I go into it and then emerge, alone, unaided. I feel exhilarated. I have passed through death. I show people the fang marks.
Many serpent dreams have followed this one over the next decade or so, each carrying the strange and unnerving quality of fate, transformation, and healing power! In following the hint of this dream, I became a pilgrim, literally and poetically. I travelled to the land of the Serpent, India, and discovered Kundalini wisdom. I journeyed into mythology, shamanism, and esoteric wisdom, searching for resonant voices and experiences. Throughout my pilgrimages the dream serpent has remained my greatest teacher/healer, and initiator, as can be seen in this early dream (1982):
I am taken to a monastery in Tibet. It is the festival of the snake. The Rinpoche is on a throne. He sings then plays a note on his alto recorder. A cobra rises up. It has a thin veil on its head. It rises up and dances. The music goes faster and so does the snake. The Snake Handler comes closer and at the climax, grabs the snake and slices it ritually for us to eat (we are in a circle). It dies in pleasure and one of its teeth pricks the Snake Handler. He shows me in pleasure. I yell, “You don’t not want to die?!” He says, “No!” That night I felt an unparalleled burning sensation over my body. I could not go to sleep. Nothing could change its course. My thoughts were racing wildly. I tried covering my body with mud. I developed a high persistent buzzing in my ears that dominated my attention…
You can imagine, then, my surprise and delight to find a fellow seeker of snake wisdom. Kaldarhan A. Kambar lives in Kazakhstan and is a contributor to Academia. In his essay, Ordinary Miracle of Nomads, he tells a story of his healing. He begins with incurable suffering:
In the end, I could not sit quietly, lie down, walk. In the truest sense of the word, life has turned into
an endless pain and endless nightmares. One of these days, in the morning, had a strange dream. On my desktop, where I usually write my articles, lies half-dead three snakes of different colors. I want to turn on the light and look at these snakes. But no matter how hard I tried, the light is off, the switch does not work. And at this moment someone tugs at my shoulder and in a whisper says: if you want to recover, if you want a miracle, go home, go to the steppe (auylga bar).
Later on, he tells us of another powerful dream:
I had a second strange dream. In the dream I saw a huge snake tied with a strong rope in the neck. Not far from the snake in fear stood a frightened woman of indistinguishable appearance. The snake was going to swallow this woman alive. I felt sorry for this woman and save her by hiding him behind my back. The snake looked straight into my eyes for a long time, and then calmed down and went to bed.
Kaldarhan was prompted by these dreams to go on a ziyarat, a pilgrimage to find healing. He arrived at several sacred sites and found folk healers willing to help. On one visit he was astonished to hear the old man say: “ ‘why did you not allow a huge snake to swallow this woman?’ I was shocked how he knows about my strange dream. After a little thought, he said: ‘You did wrong, this woman was the cause of all your illnesses.’ ” He was referring to Kaldarhan’s dream and Kaldarhan had not told him about the dream nor of his refusal to let the snake swallow the woman. The healer went on to say that this “woman” is the cause of his suffering. Then he proceeded to cure Kaldarhan.
This astonishing account of dreams as the cause of suffering/healing shows that such cultural practices are alive today although marginalised to an extreme degree. Kaldarhan has the good fortune to live in an area that is soaked in the “old ways” and his dreams were taken very seriously. Ancient sites, places of wisdom and healing, are still active in Europe, if you know where to look, as he does.
They are to be found where I live too, if you know where to look. I was shown where to look and, like Kaldarhan, I was given convincing experiences of the reality of what I was “seeing”. As with all initiations throughout time, we are convinced through the suffering of the body. He endured excruciating pain, as did I and could find no medical cause. Neither could I. The cause lay in a reality that is as bodily convincing as empirical reality, yet is distinguishable from that ordinary reality. I “knew” this reality as a child and portrayed it in a repetitive doodle over the years but it took the serpent’s bite for me to really “get” it!