Dreams: The Perilous Ledge – The Steel Door

Dream: The Perilous ledge

I am standing on the ledge of roof on a completely isolated house built waaay up high.

I can see the octagonal shaped tiles of the roof above me as I balance on the ledge which is long and only about 2 feet wide. There is  just enough room for my feet, but the ledge is dangerously sloped slightly downward. I gaze down into a deep rocky cavern below – there is no safe way off. I discover that the ledge is covered with blankets, which makes it soft, but also since they are piled atop one another, even more unsteady.


I want to get down and so I carefully throw the blankets aiming into the cavern, thinking that if I must jump at least they will soften the blow of falling. But instead of landing in a pile that might cushion my fall, the blankets land helter-skelter dangling uselessly on the tips of the rocks serving as little protection from a fall.

I have no idea what to do.


Carefully I turn myself around on the ledge and see, seemingly of out of nowhere, that no more than a few feet from where I precariously stand there is a huge tree with branches protruding outward all the way toward me and downward in close stages. I step off the ledge onto the tree and begin to make my way down carefully and fairly easily.


I wake up and wonder aloud: Where is the TREE in my life? 



My Life


Losing apartment of 20 years in Brooklyn. Living in an apartment in a tiny town in the Adirondack Mountains far away from friends, family, and Culture with a big “C.” Suffering through 20-30 degree below zero winter outside, only 39-50 degrees inside. Will the landlord fix problem? Must I move? Complications: big dog, bad back, little money to spend.  On a precipice. No idea what will happen. Stability and home feel constantly threatened. Seeking that “tree” to safely negotiate this crisis.

For days after my dream I walk around saying,

“where is the tree? … Where is the tree?”


Drumming and Chanting

A few days after the dream I had a session of very intense drumming. I began chanting as I usually do, using the thoughts in my mind and the words of my chant to inspire my hands as mirrors and as a call and response. I gave myself permission to express anything and everything without self judgment: hope, fear, rage, and the playfulness that popped up in between – whatever came through in the moment came out my mouth and pounded into the drum.

As I played and chanted, I felt myself transform, as I often do, into an ancient Wise Woman, part myself and part my Spirit Guide, whose language is the chant and whose expression is the rhythm of the drum. My voice became full, haunting, wailing, raspy as the drumbeats bounced off the drum skin back and forth from my hands to the walls cascading back into my body. I felt my energy going down through the goatskin of the drum into the body of the drum, which is made from a tree.


And then something very profound happened: I traveled down the drum through the vibration of sound, just as I had climbed down the tree in my dream.

I felt the safe pathway through the drum.



As I sit here typing tears are welling up in my eyes because I realized that the tree and the shamanic work I was doing at that very moment IS the TREE I had been searching for. The drum and my spiritual work are the “Way” safely off that precarious ledge.

Dream: The Steel Door

Last night I dreamt I was flying, arms outstretched gliding easily. But then I found myself flying/walking in an industrial environment – down a long, long poorly lit hallway with dirty hard steel doors, one after the other in long succession – all closed and enclosed by heavy walls. I felt trapped. But as I approached the first heavy thick door, I simply allowed my mind to believe that I could penetrate it. I had in that brief moment of approach to the barrier a “meta-awareness” that my belief controlled my options – and as I allowed that thought to become a realization, my body went in-between the metal elements of the door, breaking itself up, but without losing my “self” as I emerged out the other side.

I went through that way, crashing through, door after door.


As I write this I continue to feel fear about my future, wondering how I will meet my need for stable home – and simultaneously – a sense of surety that I can fly through, break up, retain myself, travel down through the drum on the beat and the chant – and find the ladder of the tree to safety.



About artistsoulspeaks

Judith Z. Miller, aka "Zelda," lives in an erotic, musical, spiritual universe; she writes as a way of coping with its beauty, sensuality, frustrations and ecstasies. In NYC, she has read at events sponsored by organizations such as Nehirim, Zeek Magazine, Essentuality, and at venues such as Blue Stockings, The Jewish Community Center, Wow Café Theatre - and late at night to her girlfriends in bed. She published in Inside Arts magazine, The Washington Post, and American Theatre magazine. Judith was trained as an actress in Washington DC, co-founded The Fine Line Actors Theatre, acted in numerous productions, created original performance material and was awarded an NEA Arts Management Fellowship in Theatre. Judith is a self-trained visual artist who is inspired by the beauty of nature and the guiding force of her intuition. She draws and creates primal sculpture and wearable art from trees, stones and found objects, which she fashions into ritual staffs, wearable amulets, and employs in healing rituals. She was profiled in The Daily News; the subject of feature articles in Mann About Town magazine, Home News Tribune, In Brooklyn, The Park Slope Paper, The Wave, and The Daily Sitka Sentinel, and featured on NY-1 Television. In 2008 her paper “Sometimes a Tree Isn’t Just a Tree,” was read at the First International LSP-and Translation Studies Oriented Textual Analysis conference at Chouaib Doukkali University, El Jadida, Morocco. Judith was the founder and director of ZAMO! representing a multi-cultural mix of world-class GRAMMY® nominated and JUNO ® award-winning performing artists for over 20 years. She taught self-promotion for performers, presented by organizations such as The Field, The Red Tent Women’s Project and the Brooklyn Arts Counsel. She was the Chief Rhythm officer of Microfundo, a crowdfunding platform supporting musicians worldwide. She was a 2011 British Airways Face-to-Face Opportunity contest winner traveling to Thailand where she met with indigenous woodcarvers and shaman. A healing ritual artist, she created Zelda's Body Breathing Healing System (TM), and offers private sessions and workshops. Judith (Zelda) resides in Port Henry New York.
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