May 10, 2023
I am looking at a vein of gold from above, held deep inside the Earth. I am shown a map of two pathways which lead to the vein of gold. Once I chose a path in my mind, I am standing before the way. A stone is the entry point. I move with ease into the stone surface, becoming like the osseous rock, I am able to enter the crevice where the gold is found. In the dream, I do this over and over, practicing how to traverse this pathway of stone deep inside the Earth, becoming layers of stone to reach the vein of gold. Once there, I feel a deep satisfaction and happiness within myself. I notice the destination is a large and spacious cave, and a Chinese man is there to greet me. He asks me how I knew how to get here. He says we from the East, have been coming here for a very long time, but people from the West, rarely know how to get here. I told him, I dreamed myself here!
I explained how my dream showed me two paths I could follow in order to get there. I practiced in my dreams, over and over, following the path, so I would know how to find the path to locate the vein of gold. In my case, that involved becoming rock, moving through the solid, to find the movement held inside it. Becoming like the osseous surface that can breath in and out, shifting with each breath, and by becoming one with the rock surface, my awareness became fluid movement in the direction of my destination.
“At its essence, art is an alchemical process. By practicing art, by living artfully, we realize our vein of gold.”
— The Vein of Gold: A Journey to Your Creative Heart (Artist’s Way) by Julia Cameron
The interaction with the Chinese man in the cave at the heart of the vein of gold, had me researching Chinese alchemy from a Taoist view. I discovered the vein of gold mentioned as a Taoist concept, which brings together the elements as a way of becoming one with our environment, and physical reality, and a path towards immortality. The Taoist masters taught about becoming, through receiving and letting go. Not a path to produce, accomplish, and consume, as we in the West are prone to do.
The history of the Vein of Gold in ancient Chinese Taoism identifies a vein of gold as akin to dragon lines of energy connected with an alchemical approach to longevity and immortality, which was the inward and physical goal of mystic Taoism. The vein of gold associated with the Dragon lines, known also as ley lines, are energy lines connected to Earth and Sky. A map between the worlds of inner and outer experience. Connection to this vein of gold, may also center in a cave of the ancestors, where reservoirs of spiritual power can be found, and held within the Earth, where perhaps my dream guided me.
One of its most important goals of Taoist painting was revealing qi, variously known as the “Breath of Heaven,” the “Breath of Nature” or the “Quality of Spirit.” According to one painting manual, “qi is as basic as the way [people] are formed and so it is with rocks, which are the framework of the heavens and of earth, and also have qi. That is the reason rocks are sometimes spoken of as ‘roots of the clouds.’ Rocks without qi are dead rocks, as bones without the same vivifying spirit are dry bare bones. How could a cultivated person paint a lifeless rock…rocks must be alive.”
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao;
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.