Hope through Change

disease-in-the-middle-agesAs a child I remember having this recurring dream.  In it, all the old structures around us had crumbled to the ground and there were these bird people looking after us.

I must have been about 5 years old when I first started having these dreams because it was before I was going to school full time.  Just before I entered first grade.

The dream always started in the same way.  I’d ‘wake up’ in the dream and the buildings and structures that were all around me were either abandoned or had been reduced to rubble.  Most of the sky, rocks and debris were all a pale gray hue.  The air felt stale and unhealthy.  The feeling of the dream was one of discomfort, desolation and a permeating sense of isolation as I walked through the empty streets of the dream.

Then, from among the heaps of rubble, several large ‘bird people’,  beings three times my size with large eyes and beaks, colored in colors of pale green and blue, came towards me.  The colors of their feather capes were a contrast to the monochrome background around us.  I remember feeling uncertain but not afraid.  One of the bird people put their feather cape over me.  I immediately felt protected, safe.  The others were in a semi-circle and holding some kind of class or training.

These bird people didn’t speak but communicated to me ‘through space’ to my mind.  They told me something like ‘the old has ended and the new is beginning’.  ‘We are here to help you move through this new world’.

What they said to me made me feel more at ease.

In the dream, the world had obviously changed.  The only direction was moving forward.  These bird protectors were showing me new tools and ways to live.  I would spend time with them in different parts of the city and they would show me how to look/approach thoughts/people differently.  It felt as if they were teaching me a new language.  The dream ended there, in the learning sessions being conducted by the bird people.

I usually would wake with a feeling of being welcomed into a new sense of community and a way of being in the world.  At the time, being 5, that dream felt to me like I was living in some kind of future movie and when I would awake, I’d be back to my everyday life.

Over the years I have reflected on that dream, and because it had been recurring, it was sealed in my memory in detail, so it was rather easy to recall.

Yesterday, when the sky was a bit more gray, that recall came back when I was alone in my quiet meditations. I again remembered this dream.  Now, 45 years later after first having those visions, the similarities to my experience and images I see on the news gave me chills.  Was this dream prophetic?  What meaning does it have for me now?

I do feel many structures are coming down or being re-created in new ways.  Community is happening virtually ‘through space’.   Are the bird people representative of the health care workers wearing personal protective equipment?  I’m not sure.

I’m still processing the dream and how it relates to our current circumstances.  It feels to me  that despite the dystopian qualities we experience and the radical changes in behavior we all have begun to implement, a new potential is emerging.  For now, I am embracing this new way of being.  I feel the dream offered hope through accepting change.

Open to your interpretations.

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

Concentration Camp Reiki

When I was 14 years old, I traveled through Germany with my parents.  My father, a historian in his own right, felt it important for me to see the museum and grounds at Dachau, the first concentration camp built by the Nazis.

I had read the Diary of Anne Frank in school, but visiting the former place where such atrocities took place, was quite another level of coming to learn about the Holocaust.  The memory of that visit was unquestionably one of the most significant experiences of my youth.  My perspective on the world, on history, on what people are capable of, on what it means to be a survivor, all of this was shaped by that visit.  I remember viscerally feeling sick to my stomach in some of the old barracks, and that the whole area felt like a vacuum, a dead zone.  I wrote a poem (at end of blog) to help me process my own feelings and emotions of the experience.

Fast forward thirty years later.  I had the opportunity to go back to Germany, although this time, the northern part of the country, and visit the former site of the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg.

Since learning to work with Reiki 18 years ago, I have brought healing to many of the places I have visited in the world.  I intended to do the same for this site.  Unlike Dachau, almost all of the buildings at Neuengamme had been torn down and replaced by 2 foot high ‘shadows’ of where the buildings had been.neuengamme-concentration

It was a powerful statement to have those buildings torn down and just rubble remain.

There was one pile of stones in the ground that represented a solitary confinement cell block where many acts of terror had been committed.  I sat down next to it and held out my hands, sending Reiki into the past, present and future.   At this cell block, I also saw  flowers and prayer offerings.  I thought about how many other prayer services around the world have been conducted here and sent from a distance.  Thirty years ago I did not see this.   My Reiki session was but one of many, many more acts of healing that has been offered before and will continue to come over the years ahead from all the people that have been committed to making positive change in the world.

This space of change and hope is what I felt this time at the ruins of the concentration camp.  There is more space than there was thirty years ago.  And in thirty years to come, as long as the memorial remains, more healing will have taken place.


Untitled by Eileen Wurst (written at 14 and published 6 years later in 1990 in Whispers in the Wind:  A Collection of Poetry, Quill Books)

I looked among their dying eyes

Full of the bitter tears of their bitter lives

Whipped, beaten, scorned and scared,

Shot, hung, slaughtered and starved;

…they had survived through it all.


Mocked against their religion,

Taken away their belief,

This is how they lived in their

many years of grief.

Freedom was just a word,

A laugh, a stale joke.

Opportunities never came,

Always absent was the hope;

…but still they stood tall.


The day they fell, the dark sky cried.

The generals smiled, full of pride.

Naked, they marched into the pits of hell,

Filled with wire, and of pungent smell.

Their hearts cried out,

Their souls were blest,

For finally they had come to eternal rest;

…and they had survived through it all.


Copyright 2013 Eileen Dey

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