Thursday, November 12, 2009

How I found my name.Keeper Of Dreams

        I was born and raised in small town in Southern Ontario, Canada in the early 1960's in a typical blue collar family setting. As far back as I can remember I always knew my dreams were trying to tell me things. At an early age I started to write my dreams down, at least the ones I could remember on the advice of an Aunt. Most young girls kept a dairy I kept a dream dairy. Many of my dreams seemed so real. I had many deja vu's as a child and soon caught on they were dreams I had already dreamt. Were these dreams important for me to remember as warning signs or to tell me I was on the right path in life? .
       When I flip back through the worn pages of a child’s hand written dream journal as an adult, and realize so many of them have come true. Dreams are so confusing when dreamt at the time yet so amazingly accurate years later. My friends have always known I have kept a journal of my dreams. Many of my dreams were discussed openly to them, hoping for a glimpse of insight from another pair of eyes.
      Years later as I grew older my friends would come to me for help analysing their dreams. They were hesitantly seeking the answers for the secret power to slay the monster that haunted their dream time. I found this intriguing and challenging at the same time. My friends were always amazed of my ability to transform their jumbled dreams into simple meanings of current life lessons. I soon realized I had a knack for helping people with their dreams and would help anyone who asked me to help them. It was a hobby that was fun and interesting. I have read many books on dreams and tried my best to grow my knowledge of symbols. Realizing that my true gift was finding what the symbols mean to the dreamer at that stage in their life journey.
      One thing lead to another and I soon was drawn instinctively to native culture and new age spiritual teachings when I was in my twenties. I love to create and make things with my hands like dream catchers, paintings, sculptures, working with leather. I would recreate dreams on canvas or sculpt animals that I dreamt of. I new in my heart all this had more meaning than just a dream and a higher purpose beyond my creative imagination. When my aunt married the Chief of a Chippewa tribe I got to experience more of the native culture and teachings, and started to connect my dreams more and more to their traditional teachings handed down for centuries. It was all starting to fall into place I felt, I was going in the right direction according to my dreams.
      I was attending different art sales to sell my creations and soon would attend my first native POW WOW to sell my craft to their community along with dancers and drummers from a far. I was granted special permission from the elders after a private review of my creations .With me not being native it was a dignified honour to be accepted as one of their community. I set up my booth at a community center in the centre of the craft filled room, a prime spot The drums pounding in sync with the heart beat of mother earth while the room was spinning with colourful dancers. The smell of bonfire, sage and traditional food filled all my senses. I sat patiently waiting for people to approach my booth but being the only white girl I knew it would take more than optimism to be accepted I did not matter how good my art and creations were if no one looked at it. I tried to smile and walked around and absorbed the culture that surrounded me. I was surprised when an elder woman dressed in an old tired house dress wearing moccasins that were worn thin walked up to my table and smiled she spoke softly and said “keeper of dreams you create such gifts of the dream world are you sure you want to share them to just anyone”. She than grinned ever so humbly and walked away into the crowd, almost disappearing before my eyes. I was shocked and confused I did not know how she knew, I was selling stretched leather on frames with hand burnt etchings of symbols from my dreams on them, like bears, wolves and spirit rattles, but yet I did not tell anyone my creations came from my dreams. This mysterious woman had kind of scared me her presence being so intuitive towards me. I could feel her power yet she was so calm and surreal. .After a few more minutes many native community members approached my table and bought almost everything at full asking price. They all kept calling me keeper of dreams as if that were my name.
      It was now time to pack up and go home I was folding a brightly coloured Navaho blanket when an elder gentleman in a red flannel shirt with faded worn blue jeans and unlaced work boots approached me he placed his hand on my shoulder he stood so close to me I could smell the campfire smoke and fry bread on his clothes and in his long grey braided hair. He hesitated only for moment than spoke to me with his raspy aged voice "You have done well today keeper of dreams, I have dreamt you would, that is why you are here." He paused and took a deep breath. Than his face changed from casual to serious and said "You have brought many teachings to our community today you are always welcome here. You are a child of the Great Spirit and have a special gift. Learn to use it for the good and control its power like taming a wild horse." he smiles and than says "You don't have to be native to be a great teacher or a gift giver“. He than wrapped his out stretched arms around me pulling me in to hug me, I hugged him back and than before I could say a word he turned and walked a way like he had somewhere important to go. I went back to folding and packing my display of wares and my mind raced as it tried to comprehend what just had really happened to me. I tried to absorb all the love and gifts I had just been given. When riding home in my car my mind whirled like the wind whistling through my rolled down windows. I soon accepted the conclusion that I would no longer feel I was lost or not sure what I was meant to do This is how I found my name. I did not choose it nor was it given to me , it was always mine, I had just never heard someone call me by my  name  before,

    Keeper of Dreams 


  1. Oh Barbee that is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. You're a real special lady :)

  2. I wondered how you came about your name. This was very interesting to know, especially how it tied into the Native American community. Dreams are a powerful thing, and it's pretty cool how you have documented your own and even brought your dreams to life with your art. I would like to see some of your art, I bet it is great. ~ A_Rebel

  3. Barbara, This is so beautiful and I thank you for sharing your story!

  4. Barbee, what a beautiful story! I always wondered how you picked your twitter name. We can all learn a lot from Native Americans. Thank you so much for sharing this story.