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Crying for a Vision

In 2005, I went up on the hill for my first traditional Lakota vision quest, known as a “Hamblecha,” or “crying for a vision.” The next year, I participated in my first Sun Dance (Wiwanke Wanchipi).

A whole world opened up to me, filled with spirit guides and medicine, animal messengers and dreamwork, ceremony and visions. I was cracked wide open and wanted to understand what was happening to me. I wanted to know why everyone didn’t experience this, and why our civilization worked so hard to shut it down and keep it out.

My friend and mentor Howard Teich suggested I read the book Primal Awareness: A True Story of Survival, Transformation, and Awakening with the Rarámuri Shamans of Mexico. The author was Donald Trent Jacobs, who also published under the name Four Arrows. Howard was mentioned in the book, in a significant passage where Howard interprets a profound dream.

It was the first book I read that managed to bridge the two separate spiritual and mundane worlds of my personal experience in a practical framework that he called the “CAT-FAWN Connection” (for Concentration Activated Transformation and Fear, Authority, Words, and Nature). Four Arrows calls the two modes of consciousness the Indigenous (or original) worldview and the hegemonic (or colonial, dominant) worldview.

Four Arrows is a hypnotherapist, performance coach to world class athletes, scholar, and ecosystem protector and Indigenous rights activist. He applies CAT-FAWN as the foundation for behavioral transformation

I asked Howard for an introduction and was thrilled to talk with Four Arrows one evening by phone.

A Dream and a Premonition

One night, before I ever met Four Arrows in person, I had a dream where Four Arrows was visiting me in West Virginia. It was evening and we stood by a tall conifer on the lawn in front of a grand, white building in the center of town.

Four Arrows perched atop the Copa in Careyes, Mexico

Four owls flew out from behind the tree, swooped over the lawn, and flew in a circle around Four Arrows head. The medicine was so powerful that Four Arrows staggered and stumbled like a drunk man.

The owls flew back behind the tree, then re-emerged as arrows, which then also flew around his head. This time, they slowly settled down into a necklace of four white arrows hanging across his chest.

A year later I enrolled in a doctoral program just to take classes from Four Arrows and travelled to Santa Barbara, California to meet him for the first time. When he greeted me, I saw the four white arrows on a leather cord hanging from his neck, just like in my dream. I stopped in my tracks and the hair rose on the back of my neck.

After we hugged, I asked him why he didn’t tell me about the necklace that he was wearing when I shared my dream over the phone and described it perfectly. Four Arrows responded that he had goosebumps when I told him my dream, but he knew we would meet someday, and he wanted me to experience the mystery for myself.

Four Arrows with his ever-present necklace.

Since then, we’ve had memorable adventures and profound conversations in Canada, Mexico, Southern California, and St. Louis, Missouri.

I am particularly pleased to bring Four Arrows’ “CAT-FAWN connection” to an online experience.