“Behind logic, below reason, underneath the skin of objectivity, lives the animal heart. She has lived longer than any of us can remember – it was from her belly that we were born. Unsophisticated as we are, we forget and deny her, adding still to the platform of greed that we’ve built upon her grave. But she is far from dead. She stays hidden not because she is timid, but because she is wise. The world has become too dry a place, and she depends upon the flow of love to live. One day, she will jump up and live again.
When you dream of animals, you are touching your instinctual nature; the part of you that eats when you’re hungry, sleeps when you’re tired, fights back when you feel threatened, and walks away when enough is enough. Your animal self can not be domesticated, and lives according to an ancient set of laws. It doesn’t care about politics and politeness and never takes more than it needs. Animals are your wisdom, your physical magnificence, and the unselfconscious power that makes you twice as tall. The animal heart sees clearly what the intellect cannot, because it is pure instinct." Toko-pa Turner on Dreaming of Animals
I have mentioned in previous posts that I work and have profound experiences with dreams. I knew I had to find out more, to connect with others who experience similar things. I longed for a sense of belonging around it, to explore this side of myself in community. One evening a mail arrived outlining a course on dream work run by Toko-pa Turner. I had that familiar sensation in my gut...that this is the community and I knew it innately. I immediately signed up for the course and I don't regret it for one moment.
The energy of the space held was simply beautiful and very powerful. I have learned to court my dreams more fully. Not to grasp at them, but to invite them in. To be curious about what the dream is longing for, where the energy wants to lead me. I have learned the importance of the process of ritual, of creating a dream altar and of embodying the dream in a creative way (which I had already been intuitively doing). If you are a dreamer, and an explorer of the unseen worlds, I would highly recommend checking out Toko-pa's work. For an introduction to her work, listen to her free Encounters podcast which is utter nourishment for the soul. Here she speaks to six amazing women on the concept of belonging.
During the dream work course, my dream experiences sky rocketed. I am filling journals. My dream altar is full of symbolic and beautiful symbols and the dreams are moving me forward both in life and in the artwork I am creating. One recent dream was a very vivid dream of being in a clear turquoise ocean swimming with an absolutely beautiful turtle. The turtle seemed to be playing with me. Swimming up and nuzzling into me almost. The dream turtle seemed to long for fun. It longed for letting go and for trusting. For coming out of it's shell and simply playing and being utterly in the moment.
When I was working on the painting, a real sense of fun also came into the process. The colours, the shapes and everything about this painting seem to be playful. I am finding myself in more fun situations in waking life too. Laughing more, playing more and letting go of the hard shell of seriousness. My childhood was not one were fun was particularly celebrated, but rather seriousness was the thing. In the shadow parts of ourselves can lie absolute gems waiting to be uncovered. It is not only the dark things that lurk in the shadow part. My creativity had lain dormant in the shadow for many years, and so too had this fun aspect of self. The turtle may seem to have a very hard, exterior shell and yet underneath there is much softness, gentleness and playfulness. And this playful friendly dream turtle revealing this aspect of herself to me has invited me to bring back and nourish that playful part of myself. To heal my inner child.
The Dream Turtle mandala measures 100cm x 100cm and is acrylic paint and metallic pen on deep edge canvas. It is available for sale at €890 and I am of course open to people paying in installments as I understand it is an investment. So if you would like to acquire this piece, to court the energy of this turtle medicine and invite fun back into your own life please do message me.