On Hallows Eve in 1997 I hiked in a section of woods across the street from my apartment complex in Clinton Township, Michigan. This wood was adjacent to the Community College and encompassed about 90 acres. The trails move about a landscape of tall hard wood and pine; in one area there is a little pond reminiscent of the wetlands that once formed the entire State. It was chilly and nearly dusk when I began my hike. I had been walking about an hour when I came upon a circle of trees and stepped confidently into their midst. All trees pull water from the earth for sustenance and I could feel this calming energy begin to move through me. Very soon I was mesmerized by this intense experience and began to gratefully pray; nothing outside the circle of trees existed. Silence threaded itself luxuriously around me for some time, unknown in length. It was only when the void of sound raised the hackles on my neck did my reverie stop; I became hypervigilent, expecting – what?
And this was what:
A sharp, cold wind burst sideways through the woods violently rattling limb and branch and sending masses of leaves to the ground. My hat was blown off and the wind sailed through my hair. I was terrified by the abrupt change in my perception and began running – really stumbling – toward 15 mile road. The usual paths were lost to me in the darkness and the temperature dropped at least 20 degrees. My struggle to gain composure was successful enough to allow me to realize that I had no choice but to go where my feet took me. The din being raised in my ears by wind that caused the woods to scream was frightful; a slight pause in the sound was followed by silence – I thought I was off the hook – wrong! Another blast of wind and I escaped being knocked to the ground. In the remaining light I saw the wind bend the trees on either side of the path into a frenzied canopy over my head, clearly pointing the way out. I did not know where this tunnel ended. I again became fearful and heard a tiny voice say: “keep going and don’t look back!” I ran as if the Devil chased me and found my way out to the street. I looked back and heard my Spirit name whispered in my ear: “Woman of the Woods.”
At the time I recorded this “waking dream” event in my journal. But it was not until 2012 in Henderson, Nevada, that I stumbled upon something that would further concretize it: a 3 foot piece of Palm Tree bark strongly resembling a mask with natural openings for the eyes and mouth. I found this object near the pool, after a wind shear had zipped through our housing complex. I covered it with strips of plaster tape and it remained that way until we moved to Monterey, California in March of 2014. I then decided to complete the mask. It was necessary that I obtain materials from the local forests to do so.
The Monterey Pine is the only one with threes needles per strand to be found in the world. The cone it produces is attractive to me for its spiraling shape and chestnut color. What I enjoy the most is the contrast between the smoothness of the pine cone scales and the roughness of its grey tip. I wanted some of them for the mask but using pruning shears to get them off the cone – as per Martha Stewart – was tedious. This problem was solved for me by another example of a waking dream.
I returned home one day following a seaside hike at Point Lobos and later in the evening the cat and I both heard loud thuds on top of the roof. The following morning I saw sections of pine boughs lying in the drive way. That next afternoon I returned from a hike to Jack’s Peak and closed the car door. Looking up, I saw a grey squirrel gnawing and chewing on pine cones; thus, covering the driveway with pine cone scales. The work of this grey squirrel enabled me to complete my mask with little fuss!
There is little difference between a waking and daydream, dream; further, both can occur at once and those spaces are outside of time. Dreams are information sources. Indigenous tribal peoples routinely created shields and other items that carried the power of the dream. The physical manifestation of a dream – such as mask making or art work – invites this process to continue.
Robert Moss is a good further sources of information regarding this:
Robert Moss.jpg – https://en.wikipedia.org