Catalphia Stone is a close friend of mine. I don’t remember meeting her, but I think it must have been around 1976 because that was the year I became pregnant and everything started to change. Did we share childbirth training? What I do know is that in 1977 Catalphia began sharing her dreams with me, asking me to make pictures of them. Because of this my artwork became dramatically different from what I had done previously. The images were mysterious; in many cases neither one of us understood them. But Catalphia wanted to keep a record, and she felt that what she could write wasn’t adequate. So I became her biographer, eventually keeping written records of her experiences as well as visual depictions.
It’s been 38 years since we began our collaboration, and now—after a lot of choices that neither of us could have predicted==we want to share it. Other women may find that it relates to them.
So I’m going to ask Catalphia some questions, and we will converse via this blog.
In the interest of simplicity (since both of our names begin with the same sound) I am going to call myself Friday.
Imagine here the usual “Hello Catalphia, It’s great to have you on the show!”
Friday: “What made you decide to keep a record of your dreams?”
Catalphia: “It was probably because they were so mysterious. They carried a lot of energy. They were exciting, and I felt like a detective, trying to understand what’s true about my own life.”
Friday: “So you were looking for clues?”
Catalphia: “Oh yes! But for a long time I couldn’t understand anything. I just enjoyed the excitement. That was enough to keep me on the lookout”
Friday: “What kinds of images were coming?”
Catalphia: “There were a lot of animals that looked a little unusual, or appeared in different settings from how we’re used to seeing them. It was really fun!”
Friday: “So when did you begin to want written records?”
Catalphia: “It was probably when my daughter was about 9 and I was feeling like even when I had time to do some of my own creative work, I was blocked from any feeling of spontaneity. And around this time I also began to realize that I had virtually no memories of my childhood. I decided to open the door to my memories with a couple of hypnotherapy sessions. Then I took some training in shamanic journeying with Lisa McCann and Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies. “
Friday: “What is shamanic journeying?”
Catalphia: “Shamanic journeying is like having a dream while you are awake. There are many ancient techniques for helping someone get beyond the limitations of the rational mind into a state of dreaming that is often called a “trance state.” In our modern western culture we tend to dismiss the validity of this as “irrational” but Robert Thurman, the Tibetan Buddhist scholar, asserts: “In the Dreamtime we are NINE times as intelligent as we are in our ordinary waking state.” I don’t know about you, but I can use all the intelligence I can get!
Anyway, one of the simplest and easiest journeying techniques is listening to a steady repetitive drumbeat while lying down and wearing a blindfold or just closing your eyes. Another approach is dancing, typically in a group, to a repetitive beat. Another is flooding the body with oxygen by deep breathing.”
Catalphia: “Yes. Exactly!”
Friday: “Isn’t that dangerous?”
Catalphia: “It absolutely CAN be if proper precautions aren’t put in place. A person really needs to have a guide, someone who is experienced and knows how to ensure safety. “
Friday: “Which of these did you do?”
Catalphia: “All of them. I started with lying on the floor blindfolded. It was great! Then I had the amazing opportunity of working with a spiritual teacher, Ahmayo Bohm, who was trained in many shamanic modalities including Holotropic Breath Work ( TM) Carolyn and I did a lot of this work together. It was very bonding.”
Friday: “Did you have the same experiences?”
Catalphia: “No, but we had a lot to share because of them.”
Friday: “Can you describe some of the high points?”
Catalphia: “I guess one of the most exciting things happened at home between two sessions with Ahmayo. I need to give you a little background here. According to Michael Harner’s research of worldwide shamanic practices a novice typically undertakes two specific journeys: The first destination is the Lower World where you ask to meet your power animal, and the second is to the Upper World to meet your teacher, who is usually in a human form.
I had previously done both of these journeys many times, but when working with Ahmayo I did them again. Perhaps because Ahmayo had asked me to verbalize my intention beforehand, the meeting with my teacher was more vivid than any I had experienced previously,”
When Ahmayo had asked, “What do you want to work on?” I had no hesitation:
“Money!” I said.
“Here’s my journey:
Carrying a very small magical umbrella that gets larger or smaller as the need arises, I go up a ravine. When I get to the top of the mountain, I open the umbrella and go up to the clouds, where I pop through a membrane. Now I’m in very spongy clouds, and I’m afraid of sinking into them. But –as soon as I am aware of my fear- a carpet unrolls before my feet. At first the carpet appears to be red, then it seems royal blue. Suddenly it splits, the red carpet going to the right, and the blue to the left. Which way to go? I choose the red. Far ahead I see rock caves. When I get to them I see my teacher inside, the unkempt man I have met before. He is holding a child. I ask what I’ve been told to ask: “Are you my teacher?””
“Yes, I am.”
“Can you help me materialize money in my current job?” (It’s a new job involving complicated sales)
Again, he says, “yes.”
My unspoken thought is, ”You are a grubby hermit! How can you know about the world of money?”
Suddenly the man is dressed in a royal blue satin tailcoat with gold buttons and a matching satin cape. He grows in size as I appreciate him.
(Egad! Everything seems to read my mind!)
“Specifically, what can I do?” I ask. He suggests several actions to take each day..
Friday: “Like what?”
Catalphia: “Like checking in with him each morning before I start my day’s agenda.”
Friday: “Did it work?”
Catalphia: “It was harder to follow his instructions than I thought it would be, but an amazing thing did happen.”
Friday: “What was that?”
Catalphia: “A sale that I had been working on for months actually closed during the time I was driving home from the workshop!”
Friday: “Wow! How do you think that happened?”
Catalphia: “I don’t know. What I do know is that the shamanic world, or what I like to call the Dreamtime is full of potential that is far beyond our typical everyday experience. The effects of a single Dreamtime interaction can last for decades!”
Friday: “Can you give me an example?
Catalphia: “Absolutely! A few days after I to work on money, I had a Dream that has pretty much turned me into a full time detective. Do you want to hear it?”
Friday: “Yes! Please!”
Catalphia: “I call it my Lottery Dream.
It’s a few days after the workshop I just told you about, early in the morning, when I tend to have my most powerful dreams. I hear a knock on the door, and open it to find a young man standing outside, dressed in a white uniform. It’s not like the white suit of a house painter. It’s a belted tunic over matching pants, like the uniform of a martial arts practitioner. I don’t see a belt, though, so it must be white. Now that I’m writing about this some years later, I go on the Internet to look up the significance of a white belt and find this on buzzfeed.com:”
“What You Think Your (Karate) Belt Means: This is the beginning of your journey of self-discovery that will test the limits of your mind, body, and spirit. Your belt is white because you are a blank slate, ready to be molded into a lean, mean fighting machine.
What Your Belt Actually Means: Your pants won’t fall off and your uniform won’t flap open while training. Wearing a white belt means you have the strength to pull off some sort of knot.”
“At the time I’m not aware of any of this. I’m fixated with what the guy is delivering to me: a FedEx type mailer with a large CA State Lottery logo as the return address. Inside, there’s no announcement that I’ve won anything, just a single sheet of paper announcing, “You can’t win if you don’t play.“
Typically, I have tended to interpret my dreams symbolically. In this case, I’d think of open, beckoning possibilities. But could I actually, literally, win a significant prize in the CA Lottery? In the past I had occasionally bought a ticket, and once I won $98.00. Also, I had previously attended a Tony Robbins presentation in which he described a young couple including the Lottery in their financial plan. They intended to win $100,000. Tony made it clear: he was not recommending that people stake their future on the Lottery. This was only an addition to what the couple was already doing to build their finances. But evidently they did win $100,000. This really impressed me: Not only did they win a prize; they actually planned to win it. So it was a dream with literal possibilities I was unwilling to ignore.
The thing that attracted me, though, was not so much the money itself, but the possibility of actually winning something significant, having tangible evidence of luck. This was something absolutely forbidden in my childhood. I’m not going to drag you through my memories, but when I did win a prize, the results were not pretty. Being a girl, I was not supposed to receive any money or recognition from the outside world. And Ahmayo’s teaching was fresh in my mind: “What you were discouraged from doing in your childhood is what you’re here to do.” So I did take the dream symbolically, but perhaps also more literally than I would have if it had been a different dream.”
Friday: “Have you actually been trying to win the Lottery?”
Catalphia: “I confess that I have. And at times it’s been pretty embarrassing. But I have to say here that I have never felt that winning the lottery was just about winning the money. I’ve never actually valued money as much as many people do. But I do feel that money is a powerful tool. Money can help you do things in the world. What I’ve wanted more than anything, though, is full expression of What I Am. To me that’s winning the lottery.
And expression was forbidden too. So I decided, why not go for both?”
Friday: “Is that what you’ve done?”
Catalphia: “Yes, I’ve done that as much as possible. I had no idea how hard it would be, how long it would take, or how much resistance I would have against actually succeeding.”
Friday: “What do you mean by resistance?”
Catalphia: “I think resistance is just a nice name for fear. Since I recognized how afraid I was, though, I’ve learned that my experience is a widespread phenomenon, something inside us that resists change, especially change that requires discipline or consistent effort like writing, artwork, or a physical fitness program. *
*(Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes has made a wonderful audio presentation of stories that address this issue, called Warming The Stone Child, published by Sounds True. Dr. Estes says the stories are about the struggles of the “unmothered child,” but this suggests that the stories are solely about orphaned or abandoned children. I think that the issue is more widespread than that: most of us are unmothered in some aspect of our expression because how can a single mother support every desire of her child’s heart? )
Do you want to know what happened next?”
Friday: “Yes! What happened after your lottery dream?””
Catalphia: “I wanted to know more. So in my next journey to visit my teacher I asked whether it would be possible to actually win the literal CA Lottery. My teacher said, “Yes, it is.”
“What numbers should I play?” I ask”
His answer is, “2-4-6-8-10- with mega number 7.” Then he adds, “Put $20.00 into it.” I’m grateful that the numbers are so easy to remember, but they’re completely improbable. How could these be actual winning numbers? I’m not sure what to make of his answer. There is so often a trickster element in the messages from dreams and journeys! The numbers could be code for something else. Despite my doubts, though, I want to honor what I’ve been given, even if I’m misinterpreting it. I begin playing the lottery with the numbers, including at least one quick pick in case the numbers mean something else.
But I want to say here that my story is not so much about the Lottery as it is about the larger question of “What If…?” What if we have many more resources at our disposal than we ever thought possible? What if the limits we feel in our lives are not completely real? What if most of our restrictions are created by cultural and family patterns that are so embedded in our programming that we can’t even identify them? What if we can dramatically change these patterns?
These questions are the heart of my fascination with my lottery dream. I had begun working with a spiritual teacher because –- in spite of a lot of education and inner work– I still felt limited. Even if I was a complete fool I was determined to allow the impossible.”
Copyright 2015 Carolyn Kahlke. All Rights Reserved.