Dream Healing and my Trip to Greece

      “Nothing can guarantee a miracle.  Nothing stops us, however, from seeking one,” wrote Dr. Ed Tick in his book, The Practice of Dream Healing.  For a thousand years, sanctuaries from Asia Minor to Rome called upon the Greek god Asklepios for improved health.  Though the services were free to all, seekers were required to be active in their healing.  First came ten days of centering and purifying:  massage, hot baths, herbs, meditation, counseling, nutrition, exercise, rest, plus music and drama, which the Greeks saw as therapeutic. When a dream or natural event showed that the god saw them as ready, the seeker went into the abaton, an underground chamber.  There they fasted and
lay still until Asklepios came in a healing dream and showed the underlying cause of the problem.
    I read Dr.Tick’s book with fascination as I have a curvature in my lower back for which I’m always seeking help, and also because dreams have become a reliable source of guidance for me.   Occasionally I’ve been given explicit instructions in dreams.  I often awaken in the morning with a songline in my head which seems to summarize my dreams, as if some Power-behind-my-dreaming wants to be sure I get the point.
   Dr. Tick says that whenever six people are ready to go to Greece to do their healing work, he’ll guide them.  “Am I ready to be healed?” I asked myself. “Yes!” answered my heart.   I contacted him to make this trip.   
     In March 2005 a group formed.  I worked furiously to prepare.   When April arrived, I experienced puzzling dreams. On Easter Sunday I awoke with an alarming songline:
”Beat the drum slowly
Play the fife lowly,
Play the death march as they carry me along.
Take me to green valleys
And lay the sod o’er me
For I’m a young cowboy and know I’ve done wrong.”
     Startling!  Especially the lines “I know I’ve done wrong” as I don’t see death or suffering as punishments but as moments of change.    Perhaps “I’ve done wrong” referred to a wrong decision.
   Three days before departure, I awoke with this songline:
“Um ummm …freight train.
I’m leaving today,
going away.
I’m going and I’m not coming back.”
Tuesday morning, April 11th, departure-for-Greece day.
   4:26 a.m. Again:
 “Um ummm …freight train.
I’m leaving today,
going away.
I’m going and I’m not coming back.”
   4:35 a.m.  Dream:  I’m trying to kill an intelligent, mystical Byzantine priest.  Unable to do so, I contain him in an egg.  Eventually I discover he has listened to music on a radio inside the egg, which relaxed him and enabled him to survive.
   7:39 a.m. again, the songline:  “I’m leaving today, I’m going away, I’m going and I’m not coming back.”  
    I arose with a dilemma:  leave for Greece?  Or not?  The time pressure was intense.  These messages could have just been about transformation, which can seem like death, but their explicitness affected me.  I began to think about not going. 
   I asked myself, “Why would dreams of warning come to a person?”  These seemed to give an option, as if I might die but I didn’t have to.  I felt clear that I did want to live.
     Then, “What do I truly believe about the purpose and power of dreams? If I don’t take my dreams here seriously, why go to Greece to pretend that dreams can be powerful and significant?”
     I remember one thing I’ve learned from Quakers about discernment of leadings from God:  clarity is possible.  I kept trying for clarity. Many people try various forms of logic for decisions, but logic had often led me into regrets.  What about “fatalism?”  The Greeks believed in destiny.  If it’s time for me to die, perhaps I should just let it happen. After thinking and feeling, I decided if I was going to err, I’d err in favor of staying alive.
     The dream about the Byzantine priest in the egg was still mysterious.  Was it some part of me that I’ve tried to kill and not succeeded?  Maybe the intuitive part that can act without understanding?  The Byzantine tradition loves symbolism, does not analyze it but honors it as contact with the sacred.  In that tradition, rational analysis does not interfere with faith that we are upheld by Something.  And dreams and songlines, i.e. “the radio,” had kept this intuitive part of me alive!
     I called Dr. Tick.  He said he’d respect whatever I decided; he knew that dreams may bring messages from our Higher Guidance.  I asked how to reach him should I change my mind, but even as I spoke the choice was made: there’d be no trip to Greece. I’d have felt worse to go than I felt bad to not go.  Peace came.
     The effort and stress left me exhausted. I napped deeply with no idea of what should come next.  
    Wednesday 4:01 a.m. songline, and again upon arising:
”I saw the Light,  I saw the Light!
No more darkness, No more night.
Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight.
Praise the Lord! I saw the Light!”
    I began days of centering and purification.   Friends thought I was in Greece, so the phone was quiet.  I built a fire in the fireplace, rested, journalled.  I got a massage, went to the Japanese spa, avoided coffee and sugar, spent time in prayer and meditation.  By the fire each day I did whatever I felt led to do. I allowed myself to be bored, to see what might be in that space I call boredom.
     Saturday  2:16 a.m.   I scribbled in the dark: “Hawaii, the place of healing.”  In the morning I recorded, “All night I dreamt about Hawaii and heard its music.”  I tried to keep myself in obedience, even while I felt enthusiasm for this place of natural beauty that I love.  (“Enthusiasm:” Greek, meaning “to be possessed by a god”.)
   Sunday 12:11 a.m. Dream: “I see a road going up to a beautiful outlook over the ocean, but at the top the road curves around and comes back.”   Quite a contrast with the songlines about Greece and not coming back.
   Monday p.m. April 23rd    Falling asleep, it occurred to me that tonight I might have my Asklepion healing dream.  By the ancient tradition, the god would come to me in the form of a snake or dog or cock.  If I were in Greece at Epidauros, Dr. Tick would wrap me in blankets and stay beside me all night till I’d had a dream of healing significance.  Here I made myself as still and cocoon-like as possible.
   2:48 a.m.  I see a caricature of a snake telling me to “pay attention now.”
   4:47 a.m.  The dream ends with “Go to the ocean, but first…”  Then long scenes about continuing this work. Then a marriage scene with a big party:  maybe opposite characteristics in myself coming into balance?
   And finally, Thursday, 6:58 a.m.  “I am dreaming plans for Hawaii.” Usually I awaken and make plans resulting from a dream, but now I had made plans within the dreaming. The comic snake had smiled on me.  I accepted that Hawaii was a natural healing place for me and began arrangements for a wonderful trip to that place of health. 

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