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The Owls of the Gatekeeper on the Forest Bridge

Dreamed 07/15/2009 by Brian Quinn

I'm walking along a road in a heavily forested area. There is a fairly thick fog. It's a fall day, wet, with a slight chill in the air that suggests a high elevation.

I do not know why I am on the road but I feel compelled to go in a certain direction. I am pulling a small cart, of wood perhaps. It has an extended handle and is not terribly heavy. A canvas or potato sack covers the objects in it. Squarish and rounded lumps are all I can see. Whatever it is, I do feel I need to take it where I am going.

As I move forward, the forest begins to thicken as if secluding me on my journey. No vehicles have passed on the road, although it's paved. I find it odd that I am alone on this road, and begin to wonder where this place is and where I am heading.

I finally reach a bridge and start across it. Ahead I see an even denser forest. Here I make out a line of objects. In the center is a sort of teepee, rather small, possibly just big enough for one person. I get the feeling someone might be in there.

On either side of the teepee are some small forest creatures. They are of the same type on either side, equally placed from the teepee to the edge of the road. There are two types of creature: chipmunks or squirrels, and owls.

I feel as if this is some sort of guard station. I call out to the teepee but no one comes out. I then proceed into the forest. The creatures do not seem to object to my passing. A small horned owl.

Once in the forest my memory fades as to what business there was to attend to. I almost feel as if I'm not ready to deal with whatever it is I came here for. I decide that I have to go back.

I head back out on the same road, and sure enough the teepee and the creatures are there in the same spot. I start to walk past them onto the bridge back when an owl that was nearest to me begins to get agitated. It blocks my path and squawks, fluttering its wings.

I stop where I am, and for some reason look down. Now the bridge is wooden, with missing planks. The ground below is so far down I can't even see it. I do see what look like leather straps hanging endlessly down from the bridge to the unseen bottom.

I wonder if I'm meant to climb down these straps as if they were ropes. I know I can't bring my cart with me if I do. I don't think that I might be killed trying to climb down; the cart seems more important.

Finally I just go on, despite the protests of the owl and now the chipmunk/squirrel creatures. They act as if I'm making a mistake of sorts and should not leave.

No one ever comes out of the teepee or makes a sound.

At the other end of the bridge, the dream fades, and that is how it ends. I felt something was calling me but I did not get to it.

DREAM NOTES A small horned owl.

--Brian Quinn


I think your dream's an open door you couldn't go through... yet. When I get dreams like this, it can take a few repeats before I get it together and accept the invitation. Don't regret: I bet this dream-offer recurs, though maybe in different settings.

Sounds like you weren't really scared, just reluctant to abandon the task at hand--that cart. Could the covered stuff in it be some daytime responsibilities? Dream-quests can take all you've got--for a while at least. Doesn't leave much for daily life! So maybe you'll be able to do the quest, but not til you've dealt with the stuff in that sack. Castaneda calls it "the island of the tonal"--the life-issues you have to get shipshape before you can go voyaging into the nagual, the unknown beyond this life.

--Chris Wayan

LISTS AND LINKS: forests - guides - animal people - birds - hawks, owls and eagles - Native Americans - initiations - shamanic dreams - mistakes and lost opportunities - two more dreams in the woods of New York State: Flaming Leaves - another dream of an Owl Guardian - facing shamanic spirits on The Bridge

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