The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
As a practicing Druid and active member of the Green Mountain Druid Order in Vermont, I am continually called towards deeper connection to the natural world and Gaia consciousness. To support the work of dreams, I explore the use of ritual, earth centered practices and other simple ways of connecting to the natural world. These practices help to facilitate a deeper understanding of how all the earth's creatures: plants, animals, landscapes, and elements...the whole of the cosmos moves and feels in us. Experiencing our felt connection to Gaia through the feelings of grief, joy, love, pain, longing, desire, passion and even anger brings healing to both ourselves and the earth as we begin to live a deeper life that includes intentional and direct encounters with nature, a more sustainable way of living on the earth, and earth centered spiritual and artistic ritual and practices.
Dream Journal, Laura Smith-Riva
I see the waters of the ocean. It is warm and the ocean is a soft green, the sand is a pale gold. I see the butterflies first as a small dark cloud and then as they get closer, I see their wings beating and their chaotic and erratic, yet strangely synchronized movements. They have captured my attention, and as soon as I am captivated then they come to me. I feel the jolt of fear in their immediate acknowledgment of me as they swirl in my direction. Then I feel them pass into my body. Two of them dissolve on my tongue. Their movement in my body is like feathers on my skin. They send me back. They lift me up. I have no time to say no or yes. I have no time for anything. Death by butterflies.
I have brought the butterflies into the world. I have been sketching images and the feeling of this dream for a couple of days, getting ready to paint it. I research the yellow monarch, looking at images of this beautiful creature, trying to translate the feeling of this dream to the canvas. I feel passions bloom. It does not matter if it is joy or sadness or grief or longing. It all moves me in a way I haven’t allowed in a long time. Does the chrysalis accept her transformation? I have no control over nature’s process. My anger, my reactions, my projections are useless here on this golden timeless beach with topaz waves lifting salty mist. Change must occur. The dream brings the true unbearable lightness of being that is Butterfly. Acceptance of my sweet butterfly is my symbol of faith.