The Yellow Dog Dream


Over a decade ago, camping in the forest at the retreat center of Hollyhock on the far northern Island of Cortes in British Columbia, a dream came to me that would shift the course of my life. As I rested on the forest floor, soothed to sleep by the tiny crackle of insects, the rustle of leaves, and the musty fragrance of damp earth, I dreamed:

I am inside a large white tent filled with what looks like young boys dressed in wool coats, cloth caps, and stout boots. One by one, they move to the center of the tent to dance upon mandalas. Each taps out an aboriginal-style painting with his boots, creating an intricate and unique pattern within the circle.

Another boy begins to dance. I look at my watch and say, "We don't have time for this." That's when I see the First Nation elders. They encircle the tent, long white hair falling almost to the floor, heads' thrown back at pure joy at the boys' dancing.

A yellow dog appears with a wide red stripe down his face. His fierce eyes lock on mine. In that moment I know: there is nothing more important than being able to dance our unique dance.

This photo of me, taken on our final evening at Hollyhock, represents the yellow dog who appeared to me in the dream. When his eyes locked on mine, he challenged me to see the world in a new way. I felt his determination not to let my linear need for expediency stop me from celebrating the beauty and particularity of each person.

Later, I would read of Jung's work on the mandala, and how he noticed its appearance in all cultures across the globe. And that in each instance it represented the connection between the whole and the myriad, diverse ways in which it is expressed.

Stranger still, was a book that literally fell of a shelf in a bookstore and into my hands. It is called The Circle is Sacred: A Medicine Book for Women. In it, my dream is described in detail. The young boys are actually women dressed as men, seeking to balance their masculine and feminine energies. Writes the author Scout Cloud Lee, "Linear people cannot understand medicine teachings." I blush thinking about me and that watch! Then she says, "Always at women's circles, it is important to post dog soldiers to divert meddlesome spirits. One who is sensitive to energies or who is a seer will serve as a good dog soldier."

Over time, I believe I am gradually integrating the lessons of this dream. I am learning to celebrate each person in their unique dance, however long it takes them (or me) to get there. I also believe that I have taken on some of the duties and even gifts of that dog soldier.

I am learning to divert those meddlesome spirits that can stop us from fulfilling our own unique and beautiful unfolding.

If you have a sacred dream to share, I'd love to hear it.