A few days later I had another dream. This time we were not in a bus or in a train. This time a little boy and I were on a plane. We were on our way to Thailand. We were looking at pictures in tourist magazines and talking about the things that we would do on vacation. At first the little boy wasn’t all that convinced, but as we looked at the pictures and I told him about the things that I’ve done on vacation in the past, he began to get excited. I read him stories from the magazine, too, and that made him even more eager for our trip.
We arrived at our destination and deboarded the plane. We walked, hand in hand, to the customs and immigration area and waited in line for our turn. As we stepped into line two thoughts hit me one right after the other.
The first thought was that I knew these customs desks. I had seen them before, remembered them clearly, but that’s impossible! I’ve never been to Thailand before!! Some corner of my mind assured me that I had been here before, even though I’d never been to the country in Asia called Thailand. The incongruity bothered me and tugged at the edges of my attention.
The next thought hit me as I saw the other passengers pulling out their passports. Suddenly I realized that I didn’t have my blue backpack with me. In an instant, I remembered checking in for this flight, tired and a bit dazed. I’d checked our luggage and I’d checked my blue backpack. I never check my backpack! That’s always carry on! It’s where I keep my passport!
I felt my cheeks flush and my heart race. The little boy noticed that I was upset and asked me why. I explained. He got very worried, but I explained that it would be OK. It’s not that I didn’t bring the passport. It’s just that it was in the hold of the plane. They would get our luggage off the plane, go through our things, and we would still get into Thailand. We would just be delayed.
The boy held my hand tighter. The look on his face was of determined concentration. He was worried, but trusted what I said.
We arrived at the customs desk and I spoke to the woman standing there, “I’m so sorry. I have a huge problem. I don’t know how I made such a mistake — I was tired and frazzled, I guess — but I checked our passports in with our luggage. What can we do?”
The woman smiled at me. “Don’t worry,” she said in reassuring tones, “It happens all the time. People are always checking in the bags with their passports. It’ll be OK. The only problem is that now you’ll have to wait in a special room while we get your bags and we’ll have to go through everything before you can go on. It’s really unfortunate because the censorship rules are very strict. There are so many ads and images that we won’t let you take in, but if you just had them in your backpack with you, no one would have checked and it would have just slipped past. But don’t worry, we’ll find your passport and everything will be fine.”
I looked down at the boy. We both took a deep breath and sighed with relief. And then I woke up.
This dream bothered me so much. Why was I taking my charge to Thailand when his mother is in America? What was this passport that I’d forgotten? What did these symbols mean? (I must be the worst shaman of all time!)
I worried and fretted about the meaning of this dream all day. That night, while I was out on a walk, my friend called me. I poured my heart out to this mentor of mine. I told him all about the events of the week so far, explained the dream, asked him what it all could possibly mean. He gave me some solid advice about some of the events, but for the dream he just laughed.
“That you are going to have to find yourself. I can’t do it for you.”
No need to groan. I knew that he was right. I would have said the same thing to him if the roles were reversed.
On Saturday all plans changed quite suddenly. We had to go to the hospital. Just before we left, I went into my room and pulled a medicine bag out of my backpack. This medicine bag and its contents were a gift from that same mentor/friend more than a year ago. Whenever I hit a really intractable problem, he reminds me that I have it and asks if I’ve done a ritual. The answer is almost always no. I’ve been so reluctant to accept the responsibility of this thing. I knew this time that there was nothing more powerful in my toolbox, magickal or otherwise. This needed to be done.
I went outside to the back porch and prepared my things. I called the directions and the guardians and spirits to the circle. And then it hit me. THIS was the passport that was in my backpack at the customs desk. This was the thing that I needed to get the little boy to Thailand.
I finished my ritual and carefully put everything away. As I walked out of the sacred space, a thought popped into my head. “What does Thailand mean?”
I looked up the meaning of the name “Thailand”. According to Wikipedia Thai means “people”. Now it made perfect sense. I was guiding the little boy to People Land.
Now we had our passport ready. Before midnight on the solstice he arrived.