“Real magic is the art of bringing gifts from another world into this world“
Don’t you crave a bit of magic in your life? Sometimes you can get so bored: Everyday the same house, the same job, the same pair of shoes, the same type of clothes.
Everyday the same routine: breakfast, coffee, driving to work, answering emails, writing reports.
Everyday returning home: cooking dinner, watching tv, going to bed.
You blink your eyes and another year has gone.
Wouldn’t you like to allow yourself to be surprised? Rediscovering the magic buried deep inside you? To brighten up your life? To break down your daily routine? To live your life following Jack Sparrows*’ compass: the one that leads you were your heart wants to go?
Well, Robert Moss’ latest book “Sidewalk Oracles, Playing with signs, symbols, and synchronicities in everyday life” promises to do just that.
A big promise. One that I am excited about because of a dream I recently had. In this dream I am a God, who is very disappointed that people have forgotten the rules about magic. The magic of my kingdom is gone. And like God in Genesis, I judge humanity and decide to destroy it. I wake up feeling very frustrated…
Since synchronicity played its card, this book might be just what the doctor ordered.
Magic fact #1: synchronicity played its card
Several years ago I asked Robert Moss to do a workshop in the Netherlands because of a dream I had. In this dream I was talking to the head mistress of the Folk University about performing a workshop about dreams there. In the next scene I am in a school, but my class is in another room. Me and some other students walk outside to find our new classroom. Just before waking up I hear a voice-over saying: “You belong to Arthur’s court“.
I did some detective work after waking up. Wikipedia has become my best friend after I discovered it in the beginning of this century. My Watson. Wikipedia says about the name Arthur: “An alternative theory, which has only gained limited acceptance among scholars, derives the name Arthur from the Latin Arcturus (the brightest star in the constellation Boötes, near Ursa Major or the Great Bear.”
And Robert Moss has a special connection with the Bear:
“Don’t cry little one
Don’t cry little one
The Bear is coming to dance for you
The Bear is coming to dance for you”
The Bear is the great medicine animal of North America and in Native tradition, the most powerful healers are those called by the Bear in dreams and visions.”
Because all of Robert Moss’s books are so good I connected with the publisher to ask for his book “Sidewalk Oracles“. I wanted to play them all for about a month and report my findings in a review as soon as I read the title. You can read what happened next in my post about the Grail. Kim from New World Library (who signed her email with Onward and upward, which reminded me, of course, of Robert van de Castle) suggested that I would also review Romance of the Grail. Once again Robert Moss and the myth of Arthur were united. Captain Sparrow has spoken: I have to find my Grail within. I have to find an answer to the questions: “What makes my heart beat stronger?”, “What gives me goose bumbs?”
Magic Fact #2: Jung and synchronicity
“Sidewalk Oracles” is divided into 6 chapters and a prologue. The prologue is an ode to the land. Let the earth speak to you. Robert Moss pays homage to the Goddess. We are children of the land but we drifted off so far that we don’t hear its whispers anymore.
The second chapter is devoted to Jung’s tower. The hand constructed Bollinger Tower of Carl Gustav Jung were he lived the way -in his eyes- humans were supposed to live . Without electricity or plumbing. Pure and simple, going back to his essence. In this tower, according to Robert Moss, Jung produced his best work. Robert shows us different approaches to synchronicity by taking an Eastern, a Western, a northern and a Southern approach towards synchronicity.
In the East you have the I Ching. Jung discovered the Secret of the Golden Flower a book his friend Wilhelm was working on. A divination system that considered the interplay between light and dark, between receiving and creative forces.
“The West emphasizes the human incarnation, and even the personality and historicity of Christ, while the East says: ‘Without beginning, without end, without past, without future” Carl Jung.
In the West you have the Iroquois. Robert Moss has a special connection to this tribe. He lives on land once owned by the Iroquois and started to dream about a woman who gave him knowledge in her own language. He educated himself about their habits. In Sidewalk oracles he tells that the word Orenda is used to indicate the power that is in everything and beyond everything.
In the South you have the speaking land. You know when it is time to do something if you listen to the land. Connect with your totem animal to tune into this wisdom.
In the North you have the Trickster. When the Trickster plays his cards things get weird. Time gets ruptured, things turn upside down. You are played for a fool, but you get the last laugh. Or you think you will going to get the last laugh but everything turns out quite different. I remember when I organized a workshop for Robert Moss. He was going to give a two-day workshop on Active Dreaming in the Netherlands. I could not find the way to the location of the workshop. I remember I was feeling completely embarrassed. Thinking about a bad organizer I was, I felt terrible… To my relieve Robert Moss enjoyed being lost. He said: “Open your eyes, the trickster is talking to us”. The intersection we were on was interrupted by several other streets, so we had to search really well before we found the second part of the road were the location of the workshop was. And like the trickster had already predicted, several people decided to change the course of their life. One man had a calling to become Shaman. Another lady had an emotional experience to let go of the pain of her past.
Magic fact #3: become a Kairomancer
Kairos or Caerus is the Greek god of opportunity. That one moment in time that you can seize good fortune. Gone before you know it.
Chronos represents linear time, Kairos represents “that special moment in which you can break the bonds and operate in a spacious Now“.
Robert Moss goes on to discuss 12 rules of Kairomancy. I do hope this word gets integrated in the literature about synchronicity because it is a clever word play. Moss, being a succesful and gifted author, could just be the one to coin this term.
The rules are as simple as they are effective. Dance with the Trickster (don’t we all do that several times during the day?), trust the universe, listen to the land, listen to and honor the gods. You will love this chapter. It will open your mind so you can seize the Kairos moment.
Magic fact #4: playing games is magic
I had a lot of fun playing the synchronicity games. You must buy the book to read about them all. Robert Moss has listed no less than 17 magical ways to play the game of synchronicity. In this way he brings Huizinga’s “Homo Ludens“, the playful way of living, popular in the seventies, back to the twenty-first century. Let me cherry-pick in his comprehensive list:
- Side walk tarot: on your daily walk you either have a specific question in your mind you want an answer to, or you just let the world guide you. I tried both of these approaches. Loo out for things that “pop up” like they are tarot cards dealt to you by the world.
I concentrated on the question: “What step can I take to generate more money by doing what I love?” and I let things pop up on the street. Looking for something that catches my eye, that really stands out. Two streets away from my house I saw a car parked. On it was a mandala contracted from pieces of mosaic. Some of these pieces were flying above the mandala so you could easily see that it was built out of loose fragments tied together to a mandala shaped form.
My conclusion is that the wold supports the idea of putting a page of products on Mindfunda aimed at discovering the Self. I am in the process of creating an online product to embrace and incorporate your shadow side.
One day I let the world give me a card. I walked around keeping an open mind and I saw a lovely young girl, completely dressed in black but with a pair of white chunky sneakers. I reminisced about the contrast. No color on the top and all colors at her feet. Then my eye caught this beautiful feather with the same pattern:
Black and white united again. This image has such a synchronistic relationship with the mandala of a few weeks earlier: You are on top of the world one minute of life and down on the bottom the next. And you might as well wear your light white shoes to get you trough on your way back to the top. The dove combines the absence and the spectrum of colors in a feather, designed to make him fly high.
- Deja Vu (already seen). Have you ever had the experience that you are re-living a scene? You might be having a deja vue experience. Art Funkhouser is doing research about these experiences and dreaming right now.
My experience with deja vu was at the death bed of my father. I was standing by his bed that Friday, not sure that he was still in his body. I remember looking up at the white ceiling plates and wondering: “Where are you?” when a remebered a dream in which exacltly the same thing happened. A nightmare I had five months earlier had preparde me for this terrible moment.
In that dream I young boy had escaped his hospital bed because the doctor was trying to murder him. When I looked up in my dream I saw his green eyes (the color me and my father share) shining through the white ceiling plates.
My father died that night of pneumonia. With a little help from the doctors who eased his pain with medication. The medication that eased his pain made it more difficult for him to breath. It was a medical descicion non of us could prohibit. The doctors had decided there was no sense in keeping him alive. It took me a long time to forgive them, even though I have always realized that in medical terms it was the most sensibvle thing to do.
- Another game most of us know very well an dis always fun to play is bibliomancy. Robert Moss starts out with the story about the Sibylline Books. Roman Emperor Stilicho at first refused to buy the Sibylline books because of their absurdly high price. But each time he refused, three books were destroyed by the Cumaean sybil. Finally he gave in. The books became used as oracles with information about everything that appears and disappears. They were consulted to get a second opinion about decisions the state made. General Stilicho, master of Rome, destroyed them. Out of grace by the Gods for this offense, the Roman Empire collapsed.Now that we have a fair warning not to offend our shelf elves, we can concentrate on an issue we need guidance on. Close your eyes, grab a book and open it. Let your eyes feast on the text and see what resonates with you in this moment of time. I reached and grabbed out Dreams and premonitions:”Every time I envision my black panther walking besides me. I feel fearless, powerful, free and invincible“.A line from the story “Into the panther’s cage” about a woman getting an early warning about a brain tumor. Her deceased husband gives her a dream warning and she decides that she will get into the cage of this wild animal to look him in the eyes. It saved her life. Now she envisions herself walking around with this beautiful guardian animal.
- There are a lot of games in this book: 17 in total. Using your own dream diary as a way of performing bibliomancy is one of my favorites. Too bad my dream diaries are online. Maybe someone could make an app for that?
“Sidewalk oracles” conclusion
Now does Robert Moss put his words into action? If you want a real good book about the games you can play inviting magic in your life, “Sidewalk Oracles” is the one to buy. But when you are knowledgable about synchronicity there won’t be many new facts in the book. This need not be a bad thing. It is always good to have a rule book in your shelf that you can use every day. And Robert Moss has a way of presenting known facts with stories from history that will enlighten you. He is a great story teller.
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My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.
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