In the folktale The One-Two Man*, a boy uncovers his father’s bones by digging beneath an oak tree…
He then goes into a deep sleep for three days. During that time…
…the spirit of his father taught him all the things the father would have taught the boy if he were still alive—
—how to trail deer, how to find bear, how to know what sort of weather is coming, how to know where you are in the forest, how to sleep in the snow, as well as the names of certain rocks and trees.
Then he taught the boy what it meant to be a warrior and what a warrior did and what he thought and how he walked. The father taught the boy these things for three days and the boy listened well.
A good story for our times, I think…
In the past, we could rely on outside sources for guidance. However, these days, such folk are often absent from our lives. But even if they’re present, they may not be able to help us much. Their guiding myth may not work for us. Or else, they have no guiding myth. No “tribal wisdom” to pass on. They may even be short on practical knowledge.
Our institutions often aren’t able to fill this gap. A bad situation for society in general. However…
…the tale of The One-Two Man says the individual can find his own way. The story tells us: you can find what you need to know within yourself.
Okay, but how? How can we uncover that knowledge?
I think there are a number of ways. But I can honestly say: the way that worked for the boy in the story has also worked for me. In the past and in the present. And that is: listening to the wisdom of the dream world.
(* This story was found in More Than True: the wisdom of fairy tales by Robert Bly. The italicized passage is a direct quote from the book.)
© 2018, Michael R. Patton
The Truth of the Dream: poetry ebook