Exercise: Journey to the Secret Library
Excerpted with permission from Dreaming the Soul Back Home
by Robert Moss | Posted 1/5/12 | Updated 1/12/21
The gateway to the invisible must be visible. RENÉ DAUMAL, Mount Analogue
Diane's uncle was a taxidermist. As a child, she was fascinated and also frightened by all the stuffed animals in his house. As an adult, she dreamed she returned to the room of the stuffed animals and they came alive. She understood they were not going to hurt her. They simply wanted to be understood.
When she journeyed back inside this dream, the taxidermy specimens came alive again and began to teach her their nature, their habits, and their gifts. The wolf showed her how he could read a group, sensing unerringly who was for real and who was not, who was strong and who was sick or weak.
This time, she was able to go beyond the taxidermy room into the space of a library with books and images that reflected all of her dominant interests. She was amazed and delighted to find that this secret library contained a book that was all about her. It seemed that she had written this book herself. The title sang to her: I Am Celebration! Returning from her journey, she leaped into the air and shouted, "I am celebration!" She resolved to live in this spirit.
What is in your secret library? You have been there in dreams. But the portal to your secret library could also be provided by a life memory. You may remember an actual library where your imagination was fired up by the discovery of new continents of possibility. It might be the library at your elementary school, or a public library you visited on Saturdays in childhood, or a favorite bookshop, or a book-lined room in a house, even your own home.
Ask yourself to pull up from memory a place like this where you were excited and inspired by new ideas and fresh inspiration. Maybe what comes to mind is a museum, or an art gallery, or a curio shop, or a toy store. Though we'll continue to call it the secret library, the space you are seeking need not be primarily a place of books, though there is at least one book here you are going to want to read, very much indeed.
We are seeking a portal, a doorway from dream or memory that will allow you to move in a rich journey of imagination into a place where you can access any kind of information that interests you, on any subject that attracts your attention. In the secret library, you may be able to consult a librarian or similar figure who can help you find exactly what you are seeking. You may have contact with master teachers in your chosen field or the field that has chosen you. If you have the courage, you may even be able to look in your Book of Life, the book that will help you know more of who you are, including your connection with personalities in other lives, past and future, and the secret pattern in your current relationships. If you are very brave, when you look through your Book of Life you may be able to examine your sacred contract, which includes the assignment you agreed to accept before you came into your present life experience, and its terms and conditions.
You are about to enter a place where all fields of knowledge, including deeper knowledge of your soul's purpose and connections, can open to you. The best will be revealed only as you seek it; you'll know it when it lets you find it, not before. So you start by setting an intention, but you remain ready to let the journey take you beyond it.
In the secret library, you can find information and inspiration in any area that rouses your active curiosity and your creative spirit. Anything that stirs the creative spirit in you is a matter of soul, whether it is golf or alchemy, cooking or astronomy, landscape gardening or writing. On a journey I led to the secret library, a yacht builder discovered a blueprint that enabled him to produce a new design for a racing yacht that won an important race in the Pacific. A landscaper had an encounter with a famous landscape designer from the past, who gave him ideas for a major job in the Hamptons that was so successful that the owners of the property gave him a large bonus.
Not surprisingly, writers do very well in this journey. One woman writer met an antlered being who introduced himself as the spirit of her book-in-progress. He gave her specific ideas and the titles for three books she had not yet thought of writing.
Remember a place like a library where you were excited by the discovery of new stories or images. Picture yourself at the entrance to this place. See yourself opening the door and stepping inside, and use all of your senses as you inhabit the space. See how the light falls across the room, smell the books, listen for the quiet sounds.
As you go deeper into this space, you will step beyond memory into a larger territory. There will be rooms and levels beyond the ones you know.
You may encounter a librarian, or custodian, who can guide you. Librarians can be very interesting people, in any reality. Borges was a librarian. Madeleine L'Engle was a volunteer librarian, in New York. Even the notorious Casanova worked as a librarian, for a prince; engage his services, and you may find yourself in a rather adult section. In my own version of the secret library, I often encounter a librarian who looks like a tweedy Oxbridge don, with half-moon spectacles, but whose shadow is that of a bird with a long curving beak.
If you are among books, you will find that by opening any one, you can be transported into its realm. Look at a picture, and you will find that you can step through it, as through an open window.
In your secret library, you may encounter master teachers in whatever field of knowledge or endeavor compels your passion and curiosity. Dead writers are rather easy to find. I have had many conversations with my Yeats in this space.
A library of this kind offers resources beyond books. You may find yourself in a room of costumes, artifacts, maps, jewelry, even stuffed animals, whether taxidermy specimens or stuffed toys. I am pretty sure there is a library of teddy bears. You may be drawn outside, into territory where archives are kept in trees or stones.
©2012 Robert Moss. All rights reserved.
Robert Moss is the creator of Active Dreaming, an original synthesis of modern psychology and shamanism, and offers workshops on dreaming, creativity, and shamanism throughout the world. more