It all began when I found myself on an empty, open, paved highway. One of those highways where it looks like it goes on forever, without ever reaching a destination and with no soul in sight. Far removed from any civilization or disturbance. It was piercingly silent. The sun was bright that day and directly above my body. The summer dry heat could be felt on my skin. The highway was treelined with deep hues of green and pine standing tall with roots so far down deep beneath my feet.

            I stood in the middle of the road facing the unknown, facing the straight path into oblivion; nirvana. With no curiosity or motivation to walk in any direction. I just felt called to stand there, motionless, feeling, listening, observing.

            Then all of a sudden, two eagles began flying straight on towards me. Their narrow gaze penetrating my soul through my eyes. Their connection sending goosebumps down my spine, sending a shivering energy throughout my body. One was flying a little more forward than the other, creating the illusion that it was larger than its relative. Both birds, strong in their glide through the air, their wings out wide with feathers creating a divine dance with the balance of air, gravity and mysterious incomprehensible magic.

            As soon as they were about to fly into me, I gasped for air. I awoke in my bed with my heart beating fast. With tired eyes and a groggy mind, my awareness came back to this dimension, to this physical realm.

            This dream stuck with me for years before I had the courage to ask an elder what it may mean. I often know when dreams carry powerful messages for me, for they do not go away without being acknowledged or understood. They stay stagnant in my heart, mind and soul until I am ready to confront the messages at hand.

           One wintery afternoon, as I tied a red ribbon around my head, I was to head into a sweat lodge ceremony and receive my spirit name. The ceremony was run by a kind old man with happiness in his eyes, a timid voice and an aura of pure love. There was a large group of us hoping to receive guidance from this man. He was incredibly inviting and told the group that he was open to any and all questions that we may have. It was this ceremony where I received the name “Wapan Kisikawi Pisim Iskwew; Early Morning Sun Woman” with the hues of dawn being my spirit colors. I remember not being too fond on the name and wishing I had received something a lot cooler like “warrior standing tall eagle woman”.

            After the ceremony, my dream was prodding me to ask the elder for his interpretation, so that is what I did. I shyly approached him, tiptoeing over with a small handmade pouch of tobacco tied tightly in red cloth. As I passed it to him I said,

            “Hello, I have a question about a dream. A powerful dream that has always left me wondering what it meant, perhaps you can help me”.

            He nodded, and I proceeded to tell him the picturesque details of what I saw. He went on to explain that the two birds represented two different types of love and that deep down I knew what these two loves were. He said one is an old love from the past and the other is a new love that will be coming. I immediately started scanning my brain for relationships I’ve had, people who I thought I’ve loved in the past and who may be the mysterious new man in my life. Where will I meet him? I’ll finally be able to witness and feel what true love feels like.

            I remember leaving frustrated and even more confused with his answer and with my new name. I was very puzzled with this new rhyme to solve, with unanswered questions buzzing in my mind.

            Years went by and I forgot about this dream, I forgot about the ceremony and about that man. I came to love my spirit name and all that this name encapsulates. The beautiful symbiotic meaning of the rising sun. The way my grandmother described the true essence of dawn and how it related to my warm, light, healing and loving nature. How I found the magic in the stillness and silence as the sun first props over the horizon, creating light and warmth for all creatures across the prairies. How the birds sing a certain type of song during this time and the air feels peaceful.

            One evening, I laid awake in bed with my twin soul. We were discussing dreams and my specific dream of the two eagles appeared back in my consciousness and the story that the elder told did too. I decided to share this story with him and share how impactful the dream was to me in my early season of life.

            I went on to tell him that I still don’t fully understand what the elder meant when he said the two eagles represented two types of love or what the dream represented at all.

            In the dark of night and in the most calm, genuine, authentic and knowing kind of way, he sleepily whispered, “they represent you”.

            I laid there speechless, my eyes looking up at the ceiling, my mind broke open to the eureka of the moment, my heart cheered, my eyes flooded with tears as I thought, “oh my god. That’s it!”.

            All this time, I was looking externally for what those eagles may have represented, thinking they represented other people, other places, relationships or experiences. No silly girl, they represented you. They represented the level of self-love you’ve had in the past and the amount of love, acceptance, worthiness, healing and unconditional love you will come to know in the future.  It represented my internal world and experience. It represented a young girl coming to fruition as a sacred woman. A cocooning being evolving into the butterfly, trusting her own wings to fly.

            How beautiful of a dream, how momentous to this grand game of life. In our Anishinaabe way of life, we are often told that our dreams carry sacred meaning, that they often bring important messages for us or show us answers we may have asked for. I am thankful to the evolution into accepting and loving who I am fully, and recognizing the spirit. The spirit that is me and that is all of us. The spirit all around us in every little space, in every little being, in the energy that animates all life.

            I encourage all of you to truly take a moment inward, to become still in a quiet place and really check in with your being, with your heart and with your spirit. What does it say? How does it feel? Reflect and accept it as is. If needed, find those helpers, healers and elders to offer wisdom and a perspective that you may have not yet seen.  

You are loved.

You are love.

And with love,

Wapan Kisikawi Pisim Iskwew  

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