In the dream, in a busy shopping area, my little dog is after something up ahead. I glimpse it under a lamppost. It looks like a pigeon that has gotten hold of a paper plate. Oskar rushes at it, with me hurrying behind. It jumps up onto my left shoulder. I am surprised to see that it is a little turtle. The “paper plate” is its shell.
     I experiment with removing the turtle. It clings to me with determination. Since I have not figured out what to do with it – beyond keeping it away from my dog – this is okay.
     My body is stirring in the bed. I could leave the dream now, but I want to stay in it. I want to take care of the little turtle that is still clutching my shoulder.
    Fully lucid now, I walk with a protective hand over the turtle while I keep Oskar on a short leash with my other hand. I look for a safe place to set down the turtle. There is a large garden on the next corner. Behind an ornamental iron fence, I see steps leading down to a pond. There is a sculpture garden and there are statues of animals – including a turtle – there. This seems like a good place to release my little refugee.
    I open the gate and walk down the steps. I tie Oskar up while I set down the turtle near the pond. He seems fine now.
    But there is a tremendous stir in the waters. They fountain upwards. With a great roar an immense being rises from the water. Its great head looms over me. I look up at the leathery skin, the lures of the tongue, the ancient, heavy-lidded eyes. I know in this moment I am looking at Great Turtle, A’nonwara, the Teacher of the Deep. In its gaze, I remember the story of the Real People: how the Light Twin, descended to the deep realm of Great Turtle, to learn how to wage the eternal battle with the Dark Twin.   
    Great Turtle wants me to descend to his realm. I let myself drop. I am on my back in the water, falling, falling. I have no problem breathing. I go through utter dark to a place of light. There is a world of light own here, in the depths of water. Here Turtle adjusts its form and becomes humanoid, but nothing like a Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle.
     I am infused with an ancient and sacred story: of an eternal struggle between Dark and Light and of the Teachers of the Deep who help humanity to remember its origin and purpose, and keep the great game in play.

I step out of this lucid dream adventure feeling blessed and filled with light.
    I recall that I live on what Native Americans call Turtle Island. I have great respect for the snapping turtle (the kind in the dream) and its cousin the sea turtle. They can’t retreat into their shells. Their underbellies are not armored apart from a tiny shield piece called a plastron.
    I have studied the cosmology of the Iroquois (the Onkwehonwe, or “Real People”) in which Great Turtle not only offers its back as a home for Sky Woman but becomes a form of the Great Teacher of the Deep. I have swum with sea turtles. Shamanically, I could meet Great Turtle again.
    I immediately made a drawing of Great Turtle. His fierce appearance reflects my original nervousness as this huge creature exploded from the water. His intentions, as I turned out, were wholly benign.

My bumper sticker: When I help turtle, Turtle helps me.

Unedited report and drawing from my journal dated January 3, 2017



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