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Reclaiming my Father: a shamanic reunion with the guide I'd never had.

In 2017, I sat in quiet appreciation as Sally, a fellow member of my congregation, led a guided visualization during the Yizkor section of Yom Kippur services. She suggested that we would connect with a dear one who had died. I assumed I would see my mother, with whom I had always been close and who had died only 7 years before. Instead, I was surprised to see my father, Milt, who had died in 1978. He had a small boy in tow -- or rather, the other way around. The small boy was obviously not a fully human boy -- more shadowy and insubstantial. He introduced himself as Tydzchyk and said he was the part of Dad who was forced to flee Dad's personality during Dad's youth, when Dad needed to be a tough guy to survive the Trenton streets.


Milt Rubin holding his grandson

Tydzchyk said that if he had been able to stay as part of Dad, Dad would have been my guide and mentor through my growing up as an intuitive, artistic, mystically inclined person, and that he would have been my playmate in those areas of study. As surprising as that was, it made sense. Tydzchyk told me he needed me to reunite them so that Dad's soul could be complete.


So I meditated on that, did some thinking, and allowed myself to journey within, though not doing a "proper" shamanic journey, which is a formulaic exercise that I do know how to do.


The main thing I came up with as a vision of Ida, Dad's mother, for whom I am named, singing to him and Tydzchyk. I guess I allowed myself to forget this project. It felt daunting and I didn't know if I could really do it.


So a year passes. It's another Yom Kippur and another beautifully facilitated Yizkor service with the same instruction: connect with a dear one who has died. And again, I see Dad and  Tydzchyk walking through a meadow toward me, but  Tydzchyk is really pulling Dad, who is walking a bit lethargically and mechanically. And  Tydzchyk says to me, "You have to finish reuniting us."


And in either this same scene or perhaps in a different meditation from another guided visualization in the Yom Kippur service (we do a lot of visualizations as part of our services. Yum.), Dad shows me what he's up to now: he's part of a team working o building the specifically imagined idea for the better world that is coming, so when we on Earth have finally roused ourselves, we will have a prepared plan to enter and bring to fruition. He also tells me that when I leave my body, I will have a role there, as a teacher/guide/designer.

I probably would have put this reuniting off a week or so - and then maybe more, but when I told Sally, who is familiar and practiced in shamanic work and the work of the soul, she said, "Oh, you'd better do that in the next few days." Of course, she was right, I realized.


So I began as I would for a shamanic journey: I clicked on a shamanic drumming audio and imagined my entry point, a huge oak tree. I started toward it.


I found myself near the tree, but unlike other journeys, there were people there to greet me before I entered. Ida and Pele shone with a sense of both charging me with my task and honoring me for doing it.

Ida Katz Rubin
The Hawaiian divine feminine, Pele

Then I entered the tree, and instead of the grandmothers bustling about as they always did in my shamanic journeys, cheery and welcoming, giving me bran muffins for my journey, they bowed before me.

I came out of the tree and there was the stream as it always is, and immediately there was a lion, who made it clear that he would be my guide. He said, “Get on, we have no time to waste,” and we sped off. I asked if he was Aslan and he said no. We sped along the stream and came to a wall of molten lava, and went through it. Then we came to a pond set in a small meadow with tropical trees all around it.

There I saw Milt and Tzytzchyk. Tzytzchyk wasn’t as strong and urgent as he has been in my visions of him; he seemed to hold back as if he were afraid. I asked Milt if he were ready to welcome Tzytzchyk back and he said yes and was very encouraging. Tzytzchyk looked doubtful. I asked Milt to lie down and for Tzytzchyk to come near him, lying on top of him but that didn’t feel right. I looked at the lion and then had the idea to suggest to Milt that he appear as he was as a teenager, when he had to be tough and force Tzytzchyk out

But that wasn’t enough.

Ida came into the scene and I noticed how much like Pele she looked – broad brow, full lips, square face. I then suggested to Milt that he go back farther into his childhood, realizing that Tzytzchyk had fled long before that. Then Milt appeared to be nine years old, about the age that Tzytzchyk appears to be. Ida sat down and opened her arms to both of them indicating that they should come and sit on her lap. They did, and she hugged and cradled each of loved that. I saw her stroke Tzytzchyk’s ear, the way Milt had told me she used to do to him and how much he had loved that.

The lion told me I had to put my hands into the hot lava, so I did, and then brought them to either side of Tzytzchyk’s body, to warm him. My hands were not burned.

I urged them in my mind to come closer, and, both cradled in Ida’s arms, sitting on her lap, they came closer and closer, and then they merged into one. I saw myself blow into Milt’s stomach and then into the top of his head, and blew physically, as if there were someone in the room with me.

They stood up, and I saw Milt looking pleased, with more light and gentleness about him than I had ever seen in him. He was dressed in a tapa cloth wrapped skirt. (My father had been stationed in Hawaii during WWII and loved it there. He brought back with him two large tapa cloths, one of which hung in the den of the home he built in 1954.) Ida was transformed into Pele and now standing in back of him. Other images came into my mind, which I knew were his thoughts, although he didn’t say them. The strongest was first a vision of dancing Hebrew letters, and then the phrase, “I know the dance of the Kabbalists,” meaning that he was a Kabbalist and understood the principles and dynamics of how the Hebrew letters could be manipulated and ordered to produce the desired effects.

I think that it was about at this time that the drumbeat I had been listening to online stopped. At first I thought that maybe more time than I had thought had passed, and that the callback rhythm was imminent. But no, only silence. So I continued the rest of the journey without the drum, and only one or two minor mental distractions from which I had to pull myself back.

I understood immediately what Tzytzchyk had meant when he told me that if he had been allowed to stay in Milt through Milt’s adulthood, he would have been my guide and mentor and playmate in esoteric. Milt’s original nature was as a mystic. He would have modeled for me how to navigate the inner paths and guided me along my way, suggesting how and what I could learn to be at home in the inner worlds.

Milt opened his arms to me and I came into his embrace, feeling more tenderness and presence than I ever had. He called me the Strength of God, Lily of Vision. I felt, as he caressed my hair and hugged me gently, that he was now really feeling me, who I was, my whole being, with loving appreciation. I felt that he was completely loving, trustworthy, and compassionate. And tender. I had always loved him but not always liked him. I had felt love, joy, delight from him, but never tenderness.

He said, “I was afraid of you, afraid of your strength, afraid of your beauty. (I had never known he thought I was beautiful; I don’t recall his ever telling me I looked pretty. I certainly had never thought I was pretty, much less beautiful.)  I knew what men could do,” and as he said this, I had a vision of a man’s erect penis and a flare of danger. He said, “Before, I could only warn you, but now I can be your guide, because I am whole.”

I remembered that as Tzytzchyk had urged me strongly to complete the reunification, he had said that one of the results would be my own strengthened wholeness and renewed focus and ability to carry through that would produce a stronger and more rapid completion of projects and desires I have for myself. Thinking of this, I asked Milt what he would also do for Jeff, my younger brother. He smiled appreciatively at me and said, “Always thinking of others first.”

Then I saw Jeff come into the scene, and Milt held and hugged him. Not having told Jeff of this journey, I did not want to include him (without his express permission) any more than this brief moment, and he vanished. I looked at Milt from a short distance and found that I needed to affirm that he had been compassionate and generous in the life he lived as I had known him.

I recalled that Tzytzchyk – who was now inaccessible as a separate being – had said that I should bring him along with me and that that would be the way for him to be my guide.  I wondered how that would happen now. Milt said there was something he wanted to give me, and reached into himself, coming out with something in his hand. It was the spiral I use as my art signature, but without the final anchoring pole.

I asked if I could see where he lived. In a previous vision, he had come o me to show me what he is doing now, part of an effort to build the better world. He had shown me a brightly sun-emblazoned green hillside with rows of buildings that he said were going to be used to build starter communities of cooperative communities where people would design and lay out their dreams, and where everyone would be helping everyone else, and the energy of that cooperation would fuel everything they needed.

He said yes, and said, “Let’s go; it’s in the upper world.”

I was unsure of how we would all get back; was anyone but me allowed on the lion’s back? Apparently, yes. We call got on the lion’s back; the lion instructed that Milt should sit in front of me so that I could encircle him with my arms as we rode.

We sped back through the small meadow, through the molten lava, along the stream and back into the tree. We jumped off the lion’s back. (I just realized I didn’t thank him, and went back to do so. He said, with a sardonic grin, that he wasn’t surprised, and batted me with a paw, claws retracted.)

We sped up the tree, into the first heaven the second, and the third, and into the fourth heaven. Milt led the way off to the left. We felt our way through a bank of dark mist and came into a large white planning room where beings of various amorphous, mostly anthropomorphic shapes, turned in surprise to see me, an outsider. Milt assured them that it was OK because I was his daughter.

The room was lit indirectly, perhaps by the tables, walls, and ceilings themselves. I saw plans laid out on a big central luminescent white table, and through a window to the outside, I saw a scene similar to what Tzytzchyk/Milt had shown me of what Milt was working on.

I realized my work was done and went back alone through the other three heavens, down the tree, and back.

Do I call on Milt often to be my guide? No. Do I think he could help me? Yes. More work to be done, more exploration, more to look forward to.


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