Moving to Ursula: Dream Wisdom and the Sacred Feminine by Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD

For the last seven years, I have been conducting research for my book Undertorah: An Earth-Based Kabbalah of Dreams, which is about to appear courtesy of Ayin Press.  On this writing journey, I’ve interviewed seventy dreamers, and have studied pre-modern dreams from texts of ancient Israel and ancient Sumer to dream accounts of women kabbalists and Chasidic masters.  I’ve also sat with my own dreams and their odd truths. Many of the dreams I’ve encountered express powerful visions of the feminine. I find these often odd and eerie visions particularly useful in expressing “the multiplicity of experiences of [the feminine]… rather than an imposed definition of those experiences…”[i]

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Ancient Dreamer by Elizabeth Cunningham

Raised view fallen autumn leaves deciduous trees

The poems below are excerpted from my new (I hope forthcoming) collection, Tell Me the Story Again. Ancient dreamer’s voice is one among many voices including sorrow singer, temple sweeper, sword woman, morose fool, merry drunk, grey cat and mouse, stone mountain, skeleton woman, mother rain and many more. The voices speak from a time perhaps just after (or long before) our time, in a real and magical world.

I chose to excerpt ancient dreamer’s poems because winter is the time, in Celtic lore, of the Cailleach, the old one, the divine hag.  When I began writing the poems in 2014, my mother-in-law, then age 101, was in the last stages of her life. She slept and dreamed most of the time, and I would sit and daydream with her. She died two months before her 102nd birthday. When I took up the collection again in 2018 to complete it, ancient dreamer remained a strong presence and has the last word.  

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