dream inspired poem
I had my place at the ancient
Colosseum. A seat right up front...
until the horses thundered by
all froth and supple violence
sending shit-mud-water
raining down.

I simply cannot abide. I cast
a final gaze at vacant-eyed
corpses lifting delicate parasols,
colorful, dripping brown.
The spattered faces of my
family, so enraptured.

They did not see the sky
turn to lava, alien drones
opening fire. Do they even
know that they are dead?
I cannot not go back.

Instead, taking up arms, a tired
rebel, adrenaline junkie
lifting sword and shield.
Broken glass, stumbling,
black-toothed railroad ties.

I yield to a stony bank,
rough kneed, blood in my
palm, dusty sandpaper eyes.
Raven, dark winged
shawl bows my head.

And we make our escape toward the
bright forest, where the moon sheds
her clothing on oak, ash and thorn,
yew and cedar, my ancestors.

Death Valley Dreaming

Death Valley

The wind howls across the spine of shale and abraded 
rock ridgelines where Sentinels stand tall in the twilight, 
Gods watching the story of the desert night unfold.
I reach out and touch the lovingly placed stone
whose countenance reminds me of home fires,
moonlit snow crunching beneath my beloved's footstep. 

Am I too safe, too protected in the womb of this slumbering
mountain? Who am I? Bared bones, desert dry skin, with wild hair, blue dress dancing, voice lifted in song: 

Sister Wind, Brother Stone...marry me home...

Reeling starlight peeks through the crevice doorway straight
into my broken heart. It shines coolly down on the desert washes
where hours ago I wandered in the blazing sun collecting
fossils and dreaming of discovering the crescent moon
curve of the magnificent Big Horn sheep, fallen among the 
shattered rocks, creosote scrub and red fruited desert holly.

The Coyote Stone

I recently participated in a training offered at Dreamland through the Green Mountain Druid Order. One of the activities we engaged with was working with the element of Earth. To begin, we chose a standing stone from within the circle of standing stones which create the sacred Dragon Temple of the GMDO. I was drawn to the stone called Coyote Stone. I felt drawn because of the connection I feel to the many coyotes who make their home on my property here in Vermont.

Just before the snow went, I had seen a coyote loping across our field and I went out in the early morning dawn to track him. I followed his tracks back towards where he was coming from and saw drops of blood in snow. Then I tracked him back towards the direction he was headed which I know to be where their dens are. Seeing that blood in snow brought me fully present to the wonder of nature in that moment. Why was there blood? Was the coyote a bitch in heat or was he father coyote, the hunter, returning to the den with some small prey to feed his family?

The coyotes put up quite a ruckus later that night yipping and barking in an uproarious outpouring of moon driven wonder (see below for a clip of what this sounds like!).

I sat leaning against the 6 foot tall grey stone and felt the hard coolness of it against my ribs. Our teacher guided us into communion with the stone. She encouraged us to feel the slowness of stone, the ancient heartbeat, so slow that the world must stop to detect it. I felt the minerals of my bones communing with the minerals of the stone and my breath slowed and I entered into the trance-like state that is so similar to the hypnagogic dream state. The fact that I was three weeks into lambing on our farm averaging only a few hours of sleep per night helped to facilitate a quick drop into trance.

The aura of the Stone engulfed me and I experienced the slowness of Stone time as a speeding up of the world outside the Stone's aura. Sounds suddenly sped up, the wind picked up speed and force and bird's cries became eerily urgent. I felt a crushing sensation on my back as if my ribs were pressed too hard against the rough igneous rock face of the Stone, mineral being drawn back to its source perhaps.

Then the Stone spoke to me: "You carry me too heavy" was the message it delivered. And then suddenly I saw a skull with sharp animal teeth coming at me out of an orange burnished darkness. It was as if the earth had heaved the skull up out of it's molten core and enlivened it.
Moon Talk - Coyote by Marion Rose

Later, I received the mind blowing information that there was literally a coyote skull buried beneath the Stone.

The message of the Stone, however, is still working in me. When I shared in circle about the message of the Stone, my teacher asked if I was a serious person. I laughed, "No!" But later, I realized that perhaps there is a certain seriousness in me which the Earth Element seemed to want me to know about.

My dreams over the years have often shown me a way in which I perceive the world through a sense of responsibility. I tend to take things on and feel responsible for "getting it right". I am capable and high functioning and have the Leo leadership qualities of my fiery rising sign, so it is easy to take things on successfully. The dreams often present the feelings associated with trauma out of which the sense of responsibility or "something is wrong with me" is born.

In a recent dream, my old dog falls in and sinks to the bottom of a pool of water in the concrete remains of an old mill near a fast moving brook. I jump in to rescue her. Then I realize that my young dog has run off ahead or, I worry, perhaps he has been swept away by the fast moving brook. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place! No room to feel either the surrender of the old dog or the exuberance of the young dog. There is only me worrying and trying to protect and rescue. Perhaps this is what carrying too heavy looks like. Too much earth element can snuff out the fire element in me.

The lesson of Stone on this day is to slow down to Stone time, lay down the burden and perhaps allow the energy of coyote into my life. Be a little more playful, embrace the unexpected and know that the old structures no longer support my path. Perhaps Coyote is saying it's time for this old dog to learn a few new tricks.

Here is a video clip of what a pack of coyotes sounds like. We hear this most evenings here on our farm in Danville, Vermont. It's eerie and a bit raucous.

Natural Dreamwork for the New Year

This is the time of year in the northern hemisphere where we are experiencing our longest nights as we move from the old year into a new year. During the darkest days of the year, everything is held in a shimmering darkness and awaits the shattering return of the light. It is a time of endings and beginnings…the cycle of unfoldment…birth, death, re-birth.

And so it is with our dreams. The dream lives not in the arrow of time but in the great cycle. You can step in anywhere in this cycle and be in the flow, for there is really no beginning or ending. The dream offers ever-unfolding moments, a steady turning and returning, opening and closing, erupting and sinking. It offers you a wisdom against the back drop of a reality that feels increasingly untenable.

In the world today, we have only to look at global climate change, limited resources and the resulting war, the constant grasping for the next thing that will make our lives “better”, conflicts both domestic and foreign, conflicts between two or between many. We all want a first world economy, with all the attendant stuff that goes along with it. We know in our hearts this is not sustainable. What if what is happening to the world is only a reflection of what is happening to our souls?

The natural dream cares nothing for our worldly schemes and machinations. It cares only to bring us back into connection with the sacred in us. Dreams convey upon us both endings and beginnings, making dreamwork the perfect way to step into the cycle of your life. No matter where you are in your life, you can step in now and your dreams will immediately begin to offer you real wisdom that you can use in your life today.

What if your New Years resolution was to give your dreams a chance? As you traverse the time-space-feeling experience of the dream, you will find a unique and evocative combination of contemplative images, gestures and revelatory feelings. Give yourself a gift for the New Year 2017.

Creating a Sacred Dream Altar

As we enter into the Winter Solstice, I have felt called to create sacred space in my home. My recent personal work with dreams has been very intense. I realized since I have moved, I haven't fully committed any sacred space in my home beyond what I have done to set up my paint studio, which I do consider sacred space. During these darkest days of the earth's cycle around the sun, I feel drawn to create a place in my home where I can set daily intention and draw energy through ritual and engagement with sacred objects to support the work I am doing with dreams.

The dream, as a sacred encounter, offers us many gestures, objects, symbols and energies. We can create ways to bring to bring the energy within our dream into our waking life in an intentional way. The winter solstice offers the perfect time for gathering. Creating an altar or renewing an altar is a time of gathering, gathering to oneself and within oneself all that is sacred and special. The act of creating an altar is a ritual gathering from without to turn within.

My Dream Altar, Winter Solstice 2016

The use of altars is an ancient tradition present in most cultures of the world as a place of worship and a place to concentrate ones intent around connection to spirit. It offers an intentional way to engage in prayer, to think, to meditate and to a space that we have devoted for such purpose. Altars can also be a place to draw family, teach children and loved ones about what it means to enter into contemplative space to reflect and connect with spirit.

My altar consists of sacred objects collected through engagement with the natural world and shamanic work, along with a number of items related to my dreams.

Here are some thoughts on creating altar:

  1. Select a space that is one that you feel safe and comfortable in. Some place where you can retreat and find solitude.
  2. Clear the space. I used a Palo Santo wood stick I obtained recently at our Dream Caravan event in New Orleans. Sage works fine too.
  3. Choose sacred objects that carry meaning for you. Objects which either hold energy or invoke feelings that are important to you in your journey.
  4. Renew your alter. It is important to periodically renew this space. Clear the space to reset energies. Add or change out sacred objects as they guide your journey.
  5. Let the dreams guide your on-going engagement with the altar. You may take a word or a small drawing or a special object and place it on the altar for contemplation of a dream moment. As your dreamwork changes and moves, your altar may change and move with you.

More about what is contained in my current altar and how I engage with it to help you think about what might be important to you in creating your own altar:

The cloth is actually an Icelandic sheepskin, from one of my own animals and carries my connection to my farm and the creatures I am in relationship with. I remember this animal as one I found tangled in barbed wire. I disentangled and saved her. The pelt actually shows the wound from where she was caught. This item is imbued with the instinctual in me and my deep connection to earth. It also reminds me to tend to my own wounds.

Sage and Palo Santo incense for clearing the space and myself. The large sage bundle was a gift received during Kunsi Keya's annual Lakota Sundance Ceremony which I had the honor of being invited to attend the public portion in 2011.

A small candle to bring in the light and to honor the fire in me.

A piece of white quartz stone from my land here in Danville obtained during a short medicine walk I took with my dear friend Mary Kay which holds the energies of earth for me.

A small flask of water, an important element in my dreams and to remind my self to take more water into my body. Water is life. 
Chime..I ring this as a way to call in the spirits and to release them at the end of the meditation. Sound is important to me in terms of healing in my throat chakra, a place of intensity for me in my work with dreams.

Sacred moss agate yoni egg from a client of mine who is a healer in New Orleans (you can find her at This object is connected to my on-going dreamwork practice, opening to the vulnerability and strength of the feminine...the place of my deepest wounding.

A small shard of "Chaney" pottery found on the beaches of St. Croix USVI. This object holds connection to my birth mother and our time together discovering each other...a major part of my healing journey.

The abalone shell and the fossil are sacred objects connected to many dreams but most recently a dream of being a boy in a sand stone cave...there is the feel of the ancient primordial sea...and exploration.

There is a small drawing of a horse that I did many years ago...a dream invitation to ride.

My version of the hand of alchemy, a painting I did which contains astrological and other symbols of meaning, importance and positivity to me from my dream work and from my astrological birth chart.

A small figurine, an excavated frozen doll  laid in a gold painted oyster shell...another sacred object connected to the feminine, which holds deep meaning from a dream.

Bones from a deer which I found in the woods on a walk and which I spent time cleaning and bringing in. And a turkey feather also found on my land. Both bring connection to nature and my instinctual self.

Two baskets, one contains feathers gifted to me by owl one morning. The other basket holds sage.

There is also a sea shell which I made into a necklace. The shell comes from Ariel Sands Beach in Bermuda where I attended a powerful dream retreat in 2011.

A small clay stone inscribed with the words "progress not perfection" which pays homage to the program of recovery which began my spiritual journey.

And finally, a small snake pendant carved from a tusk and holding the energy of snake who bite me in a dream in 2007 and started my journey to discover the wisdom of the dream.

I encourage all my readers to work with their dreams and their dream practitioner, if you have one, to find the gestures and sacred objects which you can bring into your waking life to support the work you are doing with your dreams and a deeper connection with the sacred in yourself.