Dreaming with Mestra
My first dreamwork offering is taking shape:
a vision and a path, part of my story
that has become part of my gift.
I was born in Orange County: the fabled conservative, strip-malled suburbia sprawling along the California coast just south of Los Angeles. Growing up here, I distinctly hated the place—or, rather, its lack of place, and my lack of place here. It seemed nothing more than a simulation of itself, a Disneyland for nuclear fundamentalist ideals which did not really seem to exist and yet which dominated life here. I hated how nothing ever seemed to change. I hated the stifling authoritarianism of cookie-cutter houses and cookie-cutter values for cookie-cutter people. For 18 years, I dreamed of escape, and then—a funny thing happened. I did escape. And then I returned. I developed a kind of love-hate relationship with the place. Isoon left on a new escape attempt, but again: I kept returning. Finally, upon my last return, deep in grief over my parents' deaths and preparing to embark on the course of my own healing and becoming a psychotherapist, I began to ask new questions.
What is it about Orange County that draws me back, and why does it hurt so much to call it home? How has this place shaped me, and what part of me truly belongs here?
These questions became other questions:
How do I contact the spirit of this place? How does anima mundi—or perhaps, more accurately, anima loci—even work in a place like Orange County, whose soul has been so exorcised, first by the trauma of its mission history, and then by the devouring and paving over of this history by the endless corporate stucco-scape of master-planned communities, big-box a(n)esthetics, and conformist religiosity? Is there even a place left with which to connect, underneath all this concrete greed and asphalt righteousness?
And, of course, these led to more questions:
How is the trauma history of this place bound up with my own personal trauma history? How are the same stories and symptoms finding expression through us? How can we heal - separately, together?
I found a method of exploring these questions - Terrapsychology - which gave me a framework for holding the intense disintegration and dreaming I began to experience, and helped me allow the dreams to bring me back to a practice of integration and healing.
The dreams, really, were both guide and medicine. But I needed a lot of support, adventure, and learning experiences in the waking world too.
I needed the myth that emerged, weaving waking and dreaming worlds together.
This is literally a myth - a big story that goes way far back, from Pre-Classical Greece to Classical Greece to 19th century Aegean islands. Threads of it show up in European fairy tales, and - to my great surprise - it is echoed closely in a indigenous creation story from the occupied territory we call Orange County. I see it's story in current pop culture phenomena, as well. That's because this myth - the story of Mestra - has something important to teach us.
Mestra offers us a powerful vision of our precarious position in transit beyond the desecrated world of colonialist massacre, and is an ally for healing that honors both our inherited legacies of complex trauma and our original vital powers. She is an ally that knows the importance of healing our relationship with the more-than-human world as part of our personal healing.
Dreaming her story forward is dreaming our story forward.
This truth underlies all the work that I do, and is a natural structure for the dreamwork offerings I am putting together. Especially now, as I move back to a place that has always called me as a home, where I have family roots, and where we'll spend my son's early childhood. Where I look forward to dreaming into the land, the living web of human and other-than-human history, and learning the stories and needs of its spirit - while I learn how to help others do the same, in the course of their own healing in their own home places.
I have found closure with the cycle of personal healing Mestra first draw me into, and now she asks me to share her magic and her lessons more widely. I'll be blogging from this work, telling the stories, and developing pods and circles for offerings both locally (Portland, Oregon) and online.
Mestra's themes include:
- Restoring the Sacred Grove
- Shape-shifting and embodiment
- Desire, hunger and consumption
- The bloody axe, rage and power dynamics
- Inherited trauma
- Ending the cycle of escape and return, escape and return
- Recovering (or mourning) our lost stories
- How original power becomes survival skill becomes chosen strength
Curious, excited, ready to know more? Me too! I can't wait to see how this takes shape, and I'm already gathering interested folks together to be part of the first pods and circles.
Is that you?
Come dream with us.
Sign up here, or bounce over to the survey page to answer some questions -