As the 2012 trip unfolded, I kept coming back to this first dream of the journey, checking the experience against current events in waking life, sitting with the energy of it – the metaphors and memories of the dream narrative. One of the things I love about being in Egypt is waking up quite early, sitting and having my coffee in the Arabic-style cafes and allowing the dream world to ferry its voice over through the thin fabric between worlds. The first week of the trip I’ve done three times over now is usually spent adjusting and adventuring around Cairo. It’s also a time for getting to know one’s fellow travelers.
Folks from all around the world still travel to Egypt to explore the amazingly in tact architectural and cultural marvels of a high past spiritual civilization, which hints at vast wealth on much more than simply a material level. The people I’ve been fortunate enough to travel and do ceremony with have come from as far away as China and from several places across the U.S. and Canada. This time, my roommate happened to be a young man in his early 20’s from my home state, Colorado. We made a quick connection on a variety of levels, including a deep interest in mystical traditions and practices. As the days unfolded, it appeared that the trip was more than a bit overwhelming for him and despite clear requests for the group to stay together and to be attentive to one’s surroundings, my new friend began to trail off at odd and inconvenient moments. He also got himself into engagements with locals that left him bewildered and confused, despite our attempts to suggest he do otherwise.
The other folks on the trip made every effort to support this youth and certain of our group expressed paternal levels of care and concern, myself included. The leader of the trip, a woman who has been taking groups to Egypt for over 10 years, and myself, as the experienced hands on deck, noted that our young compatriot seemed to need a little extra support and prompting to remain focused. We both began to wonder if something else might have been going on. My approach differed from the woman leading the journey, in that her feeling was to leave him to his own devices and to hope that he would ‘get it’. She even remarked to me that she didn’t want my enjoyment to be weighed down or affected by any sense of needing to look after this young man. Yet, I felt happy to relate with him and sought to offer some helpful direction and support.
Intuition is my strength. It’s the way I’ve navigated through the world and led my life for forty-one years. When my hunches start to ‘tingle’, I have learned to pay attention – of course, I do sometimes miss the boat as well. As the soup of our journey together thickened and our outings became ever more stimulating, I was reminded of the dream. But I also had an increasing sense of something not adding up, yet also adding up in a direction that smelled as if a surprise of some sort was on the wind. The other travelers approached me more than once, worriedly asking about my roommate. In our down time, he and I had conversations that began to paint a picture of more than a little concern. I learned that he had been using medical marijuana back in the States, but had suddenly quit just prior to our journey due to the obvious dangers of trying to take this across foreign and domestic borders. He was asking me if I thought it might be safe to buy some here and smoke to cut down on the feelings of craving he had begun to have and which seemed to be getting quite acute. That didn’t seem like a great idea to me. One of the other folks – a woman who came on the trip by herself had also begun to cause some concerns, in the sense that she also was deciding, at times, to carry out her own agenda and return to the group on her own schedule which was truly in conflict with our initial agreements and a real pain in the neck. When traveling together in an unfamiliar land, certain consensual arrangements support the ability of every individual to enjoy the various delights on offer. Well into the first week, things were starting to feel more than a bit tense with these two individuals acting out varying degrees of ‘drift’ away from the overall cohesion of our little band of travelers.
I continued to review my “Swimming Beach Below the Mountain of the Ancestors” dream. In this exploration, I began to notice a connection between the ocean waves speaking to the sense and reality of feeling knocked over by forces stronger than my self in certain ways. As Rilke has said, “This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively, by constantly greater beings”. In my own personal mythology at least, when waves appear in the dream, coming with a force upon the beach, as they do while I am swimming in the ocean in this one, some unexpected and potentially overpowering event is likely to reveal itself in the near future. At the same time, I began recognizing that the leader of the trip could be seen and experienced as my ‘boss’ – the one ultimately in charge and to whom, like it or not, I felt I had to give sway to. My dream seemed to be showing me that there would be a kind of conflict ‘at the back of things’ (just like the sore on my old boss’s back) and that aspects of the trip had quickly taken on a ‘pain in the butt’ flavor. I also saw that this new arrangement in waking life Egypt resembled important aspects of my former waking work relationship with the boss in my dream. The feeling of needing to go for nourishment (the food invite from friends) described the tension over confronting the ‘sore’, trying to get ‘to the bottom of things’ and dealing with the ‘annoying boss’ versus going for a relaxing and delicious meal. It also matched the feeling over certain dinners, which we often share while on this trip, where everyone comes together and imbibes food and conversation after some private time at the Hotels and a days worth of adventures. Such occasions on this journey became increasingly tense at times due to the dynamic of the group and folks within it.
End of Part 2 – More dream exploration and travel tid-bits to follow!