Seanchaidh – a recurring dream

I just awakened from a dream similar to several I’ve dreamt in the past. At least, I remember walking this trail before same place, different times and seasons, other people. The last time was several years ago. It always begins walking a trail — the kind of a trail you’d expect to find along a mountain ridgeline — rocky, rough, up and down. The air is thin. The ridge is narrow in places, the sea nearly lapping across, yet miles wide in others.The trial may be right beside the water or well above it, high on a hill.

In the dream, I know that I’ve been there before, and that this narrow ridge of land surrounded by the sea is all of the land that there is in this wide water-covered world. It’s winter and the breeze is gentle but cold. Ice has formed here and there on the ground, so I have to watch my step and be careful not slip. My backpack is light because I’m wearing most of my clothes, as well as a blanket for a warm shawl. The little pack worn on my chest is also light, and yet warm against me, It’s tucked inside the blanket shawl to stay warm as well.

There are occasional old buildings, some nearly fallen, others quite old-fashioned but in reasonable repair. I come to an old building, partly stone, partly aged timber. It’s fairly large and looks like a combination of an inn and a general store. Smoke comes from the chimney, and voices come from a window that is only open an inch or two. From the sound of it, there are a number of people inside.

There is a little gap in my memory here, and then I find myself inside the building, peeling off my blanket and outer clothes to be comfortable in the warmth. My face, fingers, and toes tingle as they warm. There aren’t many people, perhaps twenty or so. Few of them are children, many are old. They stare at me as if strangers are unusual but not unheard of — not afraid, not friendly, but with a “wait and see” air about them. Most of them sit on chairs and benches in a ring around the large room.

An older woman gestures for me to sit at a table in a corner and puts a bowl of stew in front of me, and asks if I’m an òranaiche or a seanchaidh. I reply that I’m a seanchaidh, a storyteller. She nods and then brings bread and a hot drink to go with my soup.

Another gap, and I find myself sitting in the circle beside the hostess, who stands up to tell the people that I’ll be telling a story now. As I also stand, I feel something stirring in my small pack on my chest, so I fold back the top. A small kitten lifts her head up and gazes around at the people with sleepy eyes. All of the people draw in their breath at once and hold it for a moment — then let it out in a sigh. Older ones bend to the children and I hear whispers of cat, kitten, and puss around the room.

The kitten isn’t awake enough to be hungry yet, so I begin, “I’m here to tell you a true story of olden times, which you may believe or not, and my name is Summer SainteTerre.”

No! No, you are not Summer SainteTerre!” creaked an ancient crone huddled by the fire. “She was here long ago — when I was a child. You would have to be older than I am, and you are far too young.”

Smiling gently at her, I repeat, “As I said, you may believe me or not, as it pleases you, but I am who I am, and my stories are true.”

Chairs creak as people shift in their seats, some looking intrigued, some a bit frightened. The ancient draws breath to speak — and I suddenly wake up, momentarily surprised to be in another time and place. I lie in my bed remembering that I’ve dreamed of walking that trail before, meeting other people, sometimes just passing through, other times staying for a long while, a semi-repeating dream. I don’t think I’ve written any of these dreams down before — perhaps I should. Now, still half-asleep, I’m wondering if this is a possible future after centuries of climate change… or if it’s just imagination, just a dream. It can’t be climate change — as far as I know, there isn’t enough water to drown all but the very highest mountain ridge in the world. This may have something to do with a question I’ve been asking myself: Where do stories come from?  All I know is that when I was dreaming, I did say all of my stories are true.

Copyright © 2019 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

10 thoughts on “Seanchaidh – a recurring dream

  1. What a beautiful dream, Jesa! It seems more than a dream, perhaps a recalling? Thank you for sharing it ❤


    1. Camilla, I always wonder things like that too! Some of these dreams seem very real and waking up can feel less real than the dreams.

  2. Sea – deep feeling, common to us all. A lot of it in this dream.

    Sainte Terre – Earth Mama. Earth rises above sea level and gives us foundation.

    Stories come from us, but the best ones are the deep ones that come from what we share, from the oneness.

    I get cats in my dreams, too. In my dreams, cats connect with the feminine.

    The crone believes in time, but ‘dream you’ knows something truer and stronger than a belief in time. I love that.

    That’s all I got. I like this dream a lot. Maybe you dreamed it for me too? 🙂

    1. Paul, thank you very much for the interpretation. All of it fits well for me, and I’m glad to hear that it fits for you too. What you said about the crone and time is extra brilliant.

  3. Wow, Jessica. That’s really interesting. I think with recurring dreams, we are supposed to pay attention to what arises. The details. If our attention is being drawn so something or someone-we should “look”. As in-really look. Maybe there is a book to tell a story here. You are a great story teller. There is likely a story here to tell! Maybe about renewal-maybe about need to save the environment from more ice melting. Since this is recurring-there is yet more story to be added. ???? So-write, writer! 🙂

  4. Wow, What an intriguing dream, Jessica! I came across this post yesterday after I was “led” to your page when the word ‘coracle’ appeared in my listening meditation. I’m doing a sort of faerie pilgrimage for a book I’m writing, and I asked to be shown people and places that can guide me along the way. When the word coracle showed up, I went searching for your blog. (I remember your older website as I work really closely with the Faerie’s Oracle). So I’m wondering–what are some of your favorite places in England and/or France that you would suggest to someone following the fey path? Thank you for all that you’ve gifted to the world, and I’m so glad to have found your current writing space!!

    1. Grace, thank you! I meant to reply sooner but got distracted by computer problems. As to your question, about places especially magical, I cannot help with France as I’ve never spent any time there. However, Scotland and England are places where I have spent a lot of time. Here are some names (in no particular order): Kilmartin in Argyll, Callanish on the Isle of Lewis (and other places on Lewis — get a good map with prehistoric sites marked, Iona, Castleriggs and the Lake District, Avebury and Silbury Hill are close together, not too far from Stonehenge (both Avebury and Stonehenge tend to be pretty crowded). There are so many places, especially in the Highlands, I used to just wander around and let myself be led to things — following rainbows really. Enjoy!

        1. Thank you, Camilla! There ended up being so many places on my list that I wanted to visit, I couldn’t make it to all of them. I hope to make it to the Cordon des Druides next time I return to that magical place!

      1. Thank you so much, Jessica! I did get your message just as I was traveling, and time sped away from me once I returned and I never got back to you. Thank you so much for the suggestions! They were very helpful!
        I know we haven’t met but you passed through my mind again the other day, and I wanted to check in on you and wish you well. I hope you’re alright during this wild time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *