The hollow reed: Unpacking dimensions of meaning from a vision quest

hollow reed

A Life Reading is a therapeutic process using intuition and access to subtle energies for the purpose of receiving real-time information and guidance for the life an individual or an organization. Here’s how it works: I enter into a meditative state in which I receive distinct impressions about an individual or organization. I often receive still images or sequences of movie-like images in response to whatever questions I ask with the intention to receive guidance, insights, and solutions for a range of issues along the life path.

In this reading, an abstract symbol — a hollow reed — appeared that had many dimensions of meaning packed into it. This one symbol illustrates how an abstract symbol in a reading can have multiple dimensions of meaning. The reading contained a total of six symbols, and this was one of those six symbols.

The first symbol that appeared to me was “an open-faced cylinder that was rotating from left to right, back and forth, back and forth.” That is the information that we started with. Right here, we have a lot of possibilities. If it is a recognizable object, that will give us one level of meaning. If it is a completely abstract object, then we still can unpack information from things such as, How long is it? How thick is it? What kind of surface does the cylinder have? Is there anything in the cylinder? Is there a color to the cylinder? Is there an opacity? Is the whole cylinder moving? Is it rotating? Is it sweeping from side to side, or is it doing kind of a rolling motion? All of these details give possibly new information that will lead us to the full meaning packed into the original symbol.

There are some standard meanings for cylindrical symbols that we get from Native American symbols that we could call the “hollow bone” or the “hollow reed”. A “hollow bone” or a “hollow reed” describes the function of humans to be a conduit for highly spiritual information coming from the creator and entering the realm of Earth. When humans recognize themselves as healers, their real work is to become that “hollow bone” or “hollow reed”. So the idea is that as a “hollow bone” or a “hollow reed”, we set our egoic pursuits aside in order to allow ourselves to be vessels through which spiritual information from a higher source enters the realm of humanity. That energy blows through us as wind through a hollow bone or a hollow reed.

There was nothing special about the length. It wasn’t especially short, especially long, or especially thick. No particular color, no particular texture. It could be a perfect tube that is open on the inside. Next, he asked questions about the movement. In my vision I could see that the reed was moving from side to side, back and forth. The reed was moving from a central point, pointing up toward me, facing me, and drawing an arc like a small hill from left to right, and then the same shape from right to left. An arc drawn from left to right, and then another arc from right to left, where the reed moved up and then back down to the same height on the other end. It had two end points, a left end point and a right end point, and was a little bit higher in the middle. It never varied from this; it simply kept moving back and forth, back and forth.

In this symbol, we now have a left end point and a right end point for the transit of the reed. Left and right have special meanings. Right signifies the right side of the body, which includes the analytical capabilities, the abstract capabilities, and capabilities typically associated with the masculine. This would include analyzing, planning, executing a plan, undertaking a task, fulfilling a mission. Things involved with going out, seeking a resource, and doing some action out in the world. The left side is the feminine side, and it reflects the emotional, the intuitive, where the work involved is about fostering communication, nurturing, building community, supporting, holding space, and creating nourishing environments. These are all qualities on the left side. The reed was transiting from left to right and left to right.

There was a natural arc in the transit of the reed. An arc is a basic symbol that describes any kind of a journey, such as a life journey, an actual physical journey with a beginning, a middle, and an end, a story line with a beginning, middle and an end. There was an arc and then there were end points, the left and right. The symbol indicated that my healing work was being expressed in three primary ways within this particularly challenging environment that the reading was about. There was a left end point, a transit in the middle, and then there was a right end point. When we looked at the qualities of the left side of the brain: analytical, working with spreadsheets, working with numbers, working with plans, that kind of thing, it turned out that there was activity in my life that corresponded to left brain where there were discrete tasks that I would be frequently called upon to do that were within the domain of my environment.

Then I considered the right end point. As an intuitive therapist, my work involves spiritual work where I receive intuitive information about my clients. So the right transit point had represented the activities associated with the right side of the brain. Now for the arc in the middle: most of the time of the transit of the reed was spent in movement rather than being at one of the end points.

As a therapist, I had actually been thinking about my work as primarily the left- brained, analytical work, or the right-brained work, which was the more intuitive, insightful work; when most of the time of the reed was actually spent moving from one side to the other. Within this environment that I was asking about in the reading, my work in those two principle areas was frequently interrupted by a whole ongoing cavalcade of events, from disturbances in the environment to personal issues needing to be resolved with people in the environment, to the environment itself.

There were constant demands on me that frequently would pull me away from these two loci of work that I was primarily identifying as my work: the left-brained and the right-brained. It was a helpful insight for me to realize that a significant part of my spiritual work in this environment is to be in the transit from one to the other. Here’s where we get into the arc and the slope of the reed. When the reed was at one or the other end of the arc, it was slightly lower. In other words, the slope was closer to being flat than straight up. In the middle, it was closer to pointing straight up than being flat. In symbolic terminology, the higher something is in elevation or the greater the slope is of a line, the greater the degree of spiritual vibration in the information coming through that symbol.

The slope was a positive slope on the ends, but it went up even higher in the middle. This indicated that in terms of my work of being a “hollow reed” – a conduit for higher order spiritual information to enter the realm of humanity — that I was not actually doing my discreet work in either the left space or the right space, but while I was in transit amongst all the things happening. While in transit, this was where the fullest expression of that higher spiritual energy was coming through. This proved to be a revelation for me and significantly helped to quell some of my concerns and fears about being in this environment.

For example, I was thinking of all the interruptions and changes in the environment, the personalities moving through, and all the cavalcade of activity in the busy environment as being colossal distractions that prevented me from being effective. The symbol in this reading indicated, however, that it was in those moments where I was in the midst of transiting from one activity to the next in this constant sort of flow where the highest frequency of spiritual expression was actually occurring.

So, it turns out that among the things that I was doing in this environment is to actually be a model of how to move deftly and flexibly from one discreet activity to the next in a constantly shifting environment involving personalities, egos, changing weather, including intense beating sun and torrential rains and thunder and lightning storms, machines and vehicles that are turning on and off and needing repair and sometimes failing and requiring interventions … lots of things going on. This much information was powerful.

Then there was another dimension still. I asked about the reed, whether it was swaying from side to side or rotating. It turned out that it wasn’t swaying or sweeping, but it was actually rotating. It was as though it was connected to a fixed point in the distance and then would roll, rather than sliding or sweeping, it would roll from side to side along its arc.

Since I have extensive training and background in physical therapy and bodywork, I have a lot of experience teaching people how to maintain flexibility and alacrity in their physical bodies. Now, this symbol of the reed rotating indicated that in my spiritual work in this environment, I am being called upon to transfer what I had learned about remaining deft and light on my feet and able to roll with changing physical conditions: to port that knowledge over into the actual living space itself. And being in that living environment itself. That this was an essential aspect of my work in this environment, to not only learn how to and practice deftly maneuvering from one constantly changing situation to the next, but to model that and to be an exemplar of that by simply doing it.

Let’s review the elements in this one symbol of a single hollow reed rotating from left to right, back and forth, repeatedly. The first layer of information in this symbol was the object itself. While I described it as an open faced cylinder, we recognized the cylinder as a universal symbol that could be represented as a “hollow bone” or a “hollow reed” indicating a spiritual worker, a person who is dedicated to being a conduit for divine intelligence in the human realm. The details of this symbol, specifically, the movement and the rolling action, gave me details about how I was to be that conduit of divine intelligence in the challenging environment that I was requesting information about. The reed was making motions from side to side in an arc.

We’ve identified three stages of the movement of the reed: the left end point, the arc itself, and the right end point as discreet expressions of my work. There was something that was primarily left-brained or masculine type of activity. There was something that was primarily right-brained or primarily feminine kind of activity that is more intuitive or emotional. Then there was the arc itself. The amount of time the reed spent in each of these places indicated the relative amount of time that I spent in each of the three categories. The reed spent most of its time in transit, which told us that while I was able to identify the end points, that the majority of my spiritual work, the work that I was there to do for my learning, was in fact involved with the constant shifting from one activity to the next en route to the discreet activities.

The higher slope indicates greater spiritual awareness, higher vibratory energy in the information. This is also true of altitude. The higher something appears from the ground level in a symbol, the more it encapsulates higher spiritual awareness. These elements all combine in one single symbol to provide several dimensions of meaning that in visioning time occurred within only about five seconds.

The hollow reed is an example of how we can use one single, abstract symbol within a Life Reading to unpack dimensions of meaning for the purpose of providing deeper insight, solutions to life problems, comfort, reassurance, and encouragement along the life’s path.

At any moment, you could be staring death in the face. The dance of life is your dress rehearsal for that moment.

owl's face

Recently diagnosed with cancer, a friend of mine (a man in his late 50’s) requested a Life Reading as he undergoes a spiritual transformation. He is currently making some important decisions that directly impact his family and his lifestyle. The following symbols appeared to Parama in this Life Reading:

  • Close-up to an owl’s face
  • Cross-section of a citrus fruit with clairaudient message, “Eat citrus.”
  • View of a forest canopy, as if lying on a lush, forest floor at base of a tall tree, looking straight up at the tree
  • Still image of the classical “dancing Shiva nataraja,” with the prominent feature of the image being the act of dancing and how Shiva is holding up his foot

The following is a letter I wrote to my friend about these symbols, their meaning, and how this information can be applied in everyday life:

You are now experiencing a major transition in which you must face death directly. The image of the owl’s face appears as very intense and confrontational, not in a threatening way, but in a way that you cannot avoid or ignore. At this time in your life, you are facing your own death.

The image of a sliced citrus fruit and the accompanying message indicates that there may be some health benefit for you to eat citrus at this time. It could also be a symbol of enjoying the fruits of your labor, of seeds that you planted long ago or even recently, which are now showing up in their fullness in your life.

Be mindful of the blessings that come to you, and realize that they are the result of how you’ve lived your life thus far. If you wish to continue enjoying such blessings, then focus on planting more of these seeds in the time you have left on this earth.

Looking up at a tall tree as you lie on a lush forest floor indicates that you would do well to find repose and perhaps a retreat in nature. To connect with nature at this time would be very healing and rejuvenating for you (symbolized by the lush greenness of this natural setting). It will also help you view life from a broad and uplifting perspective (symbolized by “looking up to the heavens”).

The image of a dancing Shiva nataraja signifies that you are now embodying the fullness of your spiritual understanding of reality and ultimate truth. A fully empowered being, Shiva is dancing to remind us of how reality itself is but a dance, a divine play of illusion through which we must all move in order to realize ultimate truth. This indicates that as you face your death, you are being presented with an opportunity to “be in the dance” and gain profound spiritual wisdom.

Consider researching the significance of the “dancing Shiva nataraja” in order to gain a deeper understanding, according to the classical Vedas (scriptures). You may wish to consider how you can share your wisdom with others. Now is the time.

Blessings to you on your life’s journey. Thank you for writing. –Parama

To know what you should “do” in life, simply “be” who you are.

elephant w tusks

My friend, a man in his early 40s, recently moved to a new place where he is living and working in a challenging, unfamiliar situation. This Life Reading addressed the following question:

What is my role at the place where I am currently living? What should I be focusing on right now? The following symbols appeared to Parama in this Life Reading:

  • a mature buck with large antlers lying in grass looking relaxed, aware, and calm
  • a person forming clay at a potter’s wheel
  • a regal, adult male elephant with tusks walking through the wild
  • an empty wheelbarrow

The following is a letter I wrote to my friend about these symbols, their meaning, and how this information can be applied in everyday life:

Instead of focusing on what you need to “do,” now is the time for you to show up fully with who you are — to just “be”. The symbol of the mature buck indicates that you can simply be at peace, calm, and fully aware.

The qualities I would associate with the image of this buck include wisdom, maturity, experience, and awareness. You are invited to fully manifest these qualities in your home during your day to day life.

The elephant that appeared in this Life Reading was regal, powerful, and dominant. These are also qualities that you are invited to bring to your everyday life and into your interactions with the people closest to you.

The symbol of the potter at the potter’s wheel indicates that now is a time for you to form a natural and man-made container that is useful to humans out of the raw materials available to you. This may include physical materials as well as emotional and spiritual ones.

The empty wheelbarrow symbolizes how you are doing the work to move these raw materials where they need to go, from one place to another.

I would like to invite you to bring the qualities of your power animals (the mature elephant and buck) into doing this work.

I wish you blessings on your life’s journey. Thank you for writing.  –Parama