Into the Dreamtime
The School of Myth & Movement will soon be offering a yearlong immersion. Both in Boulder and online. More details will be posted here soon. Contact us to join the email list.
“The Dreamtime stories extend a universal and psychic consciousness not only to every living creature, but also to the earth and the primary elements, forces and principles. Each component of creation acts out of dreams, desires, attractions and repulsions, just as we do. Therefore, the entrance into the larger world of space, time, and universal energies is the same as the entrance into the inner world of consciousness and dreaming.”
Our civilization has no word for 'the Dreamtime'. Our closest equivalent is Myth -- the realm of the archetypes. Lately many are hearing the call to study and understand this realm. It is as if our culture is waking up from a long sleep. For many centuries, western philosophy was under the hypnotic sway of the promise of objective reason to discriminate the ground of being. In the past half-century, both philosophy and quantum science have exposed the fallacy of this approach. We see the chaos and ideological strife that have resulted from believing the mind could know all. The human mind and perceptive faculties live within the greater Dreaming, the abode of soul and spirit.
Ancestral wisdom tells us that the ground of Being is not fixed, but dynamically alive. Quantum physics likewise says that the creation of matter from dark energy is a dynamic, not linear process. Mythology has been carrying wisdom about this living, dreaming, shifting ground of creation for as long as humans have lived.
Entering into a living sense of Myth is not a simple as reading a book or learning a linear process. It seems perhaps the only way to enter the Dreamtime is to become lively and dynamic like the Dreamtime itself. Ancestral cultures prepared us for mythological wisdom through rituals, dances, songs, dramas, stories, and all types of symbolic activity. Participation in symbolic meaning-making acquaints a person with the non-conceptual, holistic nature of the Dreamtime. This participation prepared us for the peak moments of our lives -- births, deaths, marriages, major decisions and creative insights.
This yearlong adventure will be an immersion in symbolic activity and sensory re-wiring. Learning through active participation within symbolic activity rather than 'about' symbolism is not a linear learning process. It involves a jumping into something that feels like childhood play. This 'deep play' of culture works to must re-integrate the sense so that body, mind and soul can work as one to comprehend and respond in kind to the material of the archetypal realm. In learning how to learn directly from the symbolic realm, which cannot rely on formulaic concepts or codes generated by the mind, no matter how appealing such modes of learning are to our over-rushed senses and how useful these were in the past. At this point in time, we need to take a step backward and learn anew how to interact gracefully with the symbolic realm.
As a wise person said, 'the appropriate response to the symbolic is symbolic.'
We are aiming here at regenerating the ground of culture. There was never a living culture based on multi-step processes one could write down. And for good reason! The cosmos is much wilder and more dynamic than that. It is shifting beneath our feet and we must learn to ride upon it. Immersion in image, movement, music, drama, design, wilderness, philosophy and poetry reactivate our capacity to navigate within the archetypal realm on its own terms. Listening to the Dreamtime in this way is a long and slow, unnerving, vulnerable and ultimately, ecstatic process.
On this long route, we must dismiss that old thought, 'but I'm not an artist. I don't know how to Dance, sing, paint, etc.' By art we don't mean painting a still life and by dance we don't mean executing pirouettes. We use the word in a far more ancient, broad, deep sense. In the past, people made art -- like dance, songs, poems -- to connect to the animals they killed. They made art --like ritual, sculpture, drama -- to celebrate and feel the rain. They made art for the rising of the grass and to connect with the wind. They made art in order to immerse in, learn from, and be part of the whole of Life. In this way we all can and must speak our creative voices. We all can learn to utilize symbolic expression with ecstatic abandon.
Training into this ancient way of experiencing the Dreamtime, the archetypal dimension of soul, reintegrates body and mind. It peels away narrow patterns in the nervous system and opens the doors of perception. Our study will be threefold:
First, we will work on the re-patterning of the senses through somatic training in the ancient art of authentic, life-affirming dance. This portion of work is based on the revolutionary movement education methods of Isadora Duncan. Isadora's teachings rocked the world when she was alive, when she was considered the 'greatest woman to have ever lived' -- but her ideas are nearly impossible to write about because they are based in somatic experience. One needs to meet them in person. They have survived by being passed from dancer to dancer through personal apprenticeship. Laura is a fourth-generation lineage carrier in this tradition, apprenticed to Jeanne Bresciani, who was the protege of Maria Theresa Duncan, Isadora's adopted dancing daughter.
In ancient times when this mythic form of dance existed, it was not purely free-form movement. In all symbolic culture, there arises the need to join the energy of the group together into basic forms. In this drawing together, the energy is greatly amplified, and the individual receives the feedback experience of knowing what their movement means -- as a visual and energetic pattern in space and time. This is where the Dreamtime starts to enter awareness. For the Dreamtime, the archetypal realm, exists not in an abstraction, but as patterns of living energy. The Kali energy, the Aphrodite energy, the Coyote energy -- are unique streams of living patterns in time and space. In short, they are Dances.
Second, we will be immersed in the mythology of cultures worldwide, as well as study of the unique aboriginal Australian philosophy of the Dreamtime. We will study the deep wisdom about the imagination and symbolic life carried in Jungian and Archetypal psychologies, and in the perennial philosophies of the Anima Mundi, the soul of the world. This component of the course will include reading, active imagination activities, dream tending and interpretation, pondering the personality, and various experimental modes of utilizing artistic expression to access the unconscious.
Third, we will be immersed in the forest and observation of the movements of the wild.
and in insights about human development provided by anthropology. In these we 'consciously seek what we have unconsciously lost' -- hunting out clues about our own nature that our immersion in a symbolically inept civilization keeps from us.
will see what depths we can arrive to in a year. But this will just be a beginning. We will work in dream and vision to develop dances.
We will cultivate together the foundation for regular practices for continuation between our sessions.