Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What Do Your Dreams Speak?

Freud said "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." I'll add that sometime an otter is just a sprouted seed.

A strange case of linguistic dream analysis...

One of my Cherokee students called with a question. Knowing that I’m on the medicine path, she asked me to help her understand a vision that confused her.

She mentioned entering a body of water where there were two otters. As she said that, the Cherokee word for otter flashed through my mind. Tsiya, pronounced CHEE-ah. As the sound of that word echoed in my skull, I thought of the Aztec chia, a tiny seed that sprouts much like alfalfa. These are the living component of “chia pets,” and the root of the name of the Mexican state of Chiapas. Knowing that my caller had a connection to an Apache elder who had recently crossed over, I knew this was more than coincidence. As we continued to talk, I received the message that she was to begin stockpiling chia seeds, as the Apache and Aztec did, as an emergency food source and intestinal medicine.

I never would have “connected the dots” between the word “otter” and the humble salvia hispanica had I not known the Cherokee word, and had I not also known the Nahual word.

The former deputy principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, Hastings Shade, used to tell me that one reason modern people can’t hear the voices of the spirits as well as when he was a child is because we don’t listen anymore. We’re too busy talking, or driving our cars with the radios blasting. It may also be because as we get farther from our ancestral languages, we can’t understand even when spoken to!

So here’s one more reason to begin speak Cherokee again: to actually hear the spirits of the places in which we live, and who speak to us in our dreams and visions.

We’re ready when you are. Enroll!

Brian Wilkes

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