Calm by Niki Katiki:


The dream:

I am a youth with B (a man in my life who is a trusted father figure, mentor). He is on his boat and I am on my own, a small little disc shaped boat which is tethered to his. We are exploring out on the ocean and he is navigating us through the water. My small craft is so low on the water that my little body is floating in the water but yet I still feel safe, connected. I look up and he is at the helm of his boat which from this angle looks a bit unstable like mine. He is looking back at me and tells me to stay close to him. We pass over some ledge just below the surface and I ask him about it. He tells me it’s called The Ancient and I run my hand over its smooth dark surface.

This dream for me holds a moment of presence. There is no particular destination that I am aware of, though perhaps the dream imago of the guiding father knows where we are to go. He tells me to be attentive to him, to stay in connection. I am the child, curious, connected to my father, in his care and protection, present to a moment. The dream offers the gesture of stroking my hand across the smooth black stone, The Ancient, to remind me of this presence. Slowing down, sensual touch, innocence.

The stone is a threshold between the above and below, reminding me of the depths and what lies below the surface and also what arises from the depths with the waxing and waning of the tides of life. Ancient and deeply rooted. Terra Firma at one with the waves. Mariners, from all times, have navigated the shoals of life just as my navigator guides me. He guides me close enough to touch the smooth surface of The Ancient, perhaps a mountain top at the threshold, as am I.

The dreams are layered. I love to be with what I think of as the larger context of my work with dreams, as in the writing above, the dream as the navigator of my highest self towards deeper truths which transcend the ephemeral moments of life lived.

Here is another layer. At this time in my life, when this dream has arrived, I am currently navigating the passing of a beloved family member from brain cancer. The daily vigil to ensure her safety, sanitation, food, water and well being are intense and I share these tasks with others in a ceaseless dance of established routine that must give way to the next recognition of change, new routines and so on. In this process, I am able to bring the presence of this dream to each moment, trusting that there is a passage and that we are being navigated. From this place, I can model calm in the scary moments. I can be patient and offer kindness. I can sit quietly knowing that there is nothing to do. I can love.

What does it mean to touch The Ancient? In this layer, perhaps The Ancient becomes death itself. We forget in our busy lives that death lurks below it all. Its smooth carapace cannot obscure its hardness, its durability, its inevitability. As our tide recedes its surety is revealed.

Perhaps the dream also carries a message for me that I do not need to navigate the shoals of life alone or run aground on these dark rocks. Whether the sea is stormy or calm at the time of passage, may there be an angel there to guide. May I know that I am not alone. May I reach out to run my hand across the face of The Ancient and know the deep.

This was first published in Laura Smith-Riva’s blog:


Laura Smith-Riva (she/her) is a Natural Dreamwork Practitioner and Priestix of the Green Mountain Druid Order in Vermont. She works with dreamers from many parts of the globe and in her personal work is interested in the connection to the natural world through dreams and vision work and offers expressions of her journey using art, poetry and prose. To book a one-on-one session or learn more about her work with dreams, visit