The Alchemy of the Rose

By Valley Reed

“Mystery glows in the rose bed and the secret is hidden in the rose,” wrote the twelfth-century Persian alchemist Farid ud-din Attar.

Last Summer I was introduced, through a mutual friend, to a woman named Cindy Leinweber, who was seeking me out because I am a shamanic dreamer, and teach people how to dream consciously. She invited me to come and see her private collection of visionary art paintings. I was really taken in by the cosmic energy I felt coming through the paintings and the energy I felt in my body as I viewed them. Waves of heat were coming from my body. When I returned home afterwards, I felt like I was having some kind of heat stroke, where I could not stop sweating and my body temperature was having trouble regulating itself. Drinking water and laying down for a bit seemed to do the trick eventually.

Shortly after this meeting, the very next day, I was off to New Mexico and had the opportunity to visit with the artist, James Jereb at his studio at Star Dreaming Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, and talk to him about his paintings, and how they have played into his spiritual journey. It was a phenomenal experience filled with synchronicity and mystery. He told me the paintings are portals of esoteric magic and hold great energies of transformation and healing. We talked about Star Portals, and Synchronicity, Travel to Sacred Sites, and Spiritual Awakening. He told me people come to visit these paintings sometimes and pass out from the energies they hold. I said it was sad that people were having these awakening experiences, but they don’t remember them. I told him I can help with that, because I teach people how to wake up and dream. He was very enthused at the prospect of people journeying through the portals of these cosmic paintings consciously, to have their own direct experience. 

When I returned from my trip, Cindy invited me to gather a small group of friends at her place, and lead a conscious shamanic group dream journey, through the portal of one of the paintings. While guiding our group, an interesting experience unfolded for me during the drumming.

Three Tears

I immediately felt a physical tear come from my right eye, and then saw three black teardrops flow into the dreaming. I somehow “knew” the 3 tears, were specifically referencing a certain painting. I looked down at my feet and saw a mass of writhing, black snakes. I welcomed their healing power and wisdom. I searched in my mind’s eye for the painting with the three teardrops, but I could not find it anywhere among us. I then found myself stepping through the red portal of life, vibrantly alive like a heartbeat. As I stepped through the red portal, I looked down and saw both of my arms and hands, had turned to gold. 

When the journey ended, and I shared my experience of the three teardrops, Cindy told me she has another painting with three teardrops, but it is not at her house. It is located in Baja California! 

She showed me the painting in a photo, and I discovered it was called Negredo, and the first stage of Alchemy. The painting has 13 red roses, some of which show 3 tears dropping from their petals. I was told the painting was about the dark night of the soul. I understood in my journey, this was true on a collective level for us all at this point and time. On a personal level, it was a time in my life, I had been experiencing many painful losses, and lots of changes over the last three years.

Not long after guiding the portal painting journey, I had this dream. 

3 Groups of 3 Red Roses

I am taking the long view in my dream, looking back over important times in my life, where three groups of three red roses showed up as a rights of passage or initiation. Each group of three red roses, were a turning point in my life, and roses played an important part of the story both literally and metaphorically. I am now aware that I am entering the last three roses of my lifespan. I see the first of three, present itself before me. I am looking at a red rose, the same size as me, hovering before me, like a portal into another world.  

I was truly taken by this dream, which made me feel as though my life has a hidden design, and I am on the right path, and ready to enter into the mystery of the red rose consciously, as it is large enough to encompass my entire being. I feel the presence of the Goddess in this initiation of the rose, and a deep and abiding love.

I was recently reading a book called “Fate and Destiny” by Mythologist, Michael Meade, and came across an idea he described, which I found both resonate and intriguing. He described what he called “the spirit of the soul” and I had never quite heard it described that way. I decided I wanted to meet the spirit of my soul. I incubated a dream intention, “I want to know the spirit of my soul”.  

The Spirit of My Soul 

I see a nun wearing a habit, colored in light blue and white. Behind her is a background filled with red blooming roses. 

I was wholly shocked in finding this connection to the spirit of my soul, and felt that she must be really disappointed with me, since I had long ago given up following traditional paths of religion. I couldn’t shake this image especially the red roses behind her. I decided to look more deeply into the colors of her habit in baby blue and white. I found it to mean she was devoted to the Marion Mysteries.    

The Spirit of the Rose

The Rose has long been showing up for me in dreams, and waking life. When I reflect on my dream of the 3 groups of 3 of roses, in the scope of my lifespan, I began to ask myself, where have roses actually shown up at crucial junctures in my life? 

1986 – The Rose Girl (Maiden) 

When I was in my mid 20’s, I suddenly lost my job working for a commercial real estate firm, when they declared bankruptcy and closed their doors during the Savings and Loan scandal and recession during the 80’s. I had no notice to prepare my finances, and nothing saved for a rainy day, and so I had to find work where I could, and ended up working as a rose girl, selling roses in bars around Dallas. I made ample money to pay my rent, and that was my goal. One night I had a dream that saved my life. 

I dreamed that I was selling roses in a country western bar called “Belle Star” and as I walked past the front door, a man came through and began shooting. I was shot in the neck and fell to the ground dead, surrounded by blood, and roses spread everywhere.

 I woke from the dream terrified, and felt I had witnessed my own death. I decided to call in sick to work, afraid I might meet my own death if I went in that night. I was told I had the best route, and I would make lots of money. They did not have time to cover my shift, and if I didn’t come into work, they would fire me.  They gave me my shift schedule, and where I would be at what times. When I realized Belle Star was on my route, I knew for sure I could not go to work. My ex-husband at the time, convinced me I was being silly, and it was “just a dream” and plus we needed the money. I decided not to go and listened instead to my dream. I was fired from my job, and my ex-husband shamed me for being so irresponsible. I felt like a loser. The next day, on the front page of the newspaper, was a story of a man who had gone to “Belle Star” that very night, during the time I was scheduled to be there, and shot 3 people. I felt it was incredible, that I had dreamt of a possible future, and been able to avert my own death by taking action based on my dream. I felt there must be a reason I was given this information, and so I began to try and learn everything I could about dreams, and share that with others. It was a fate that set me on the path of eventually becoming a dream teacher.

2002 – Three Tiered Fountain of Roses (Mother)

When I was in my 40’s I was a newly divorced, single mother raising 2 children, and I was trying to start my life a new. I was relatively new as a licensed massage therapist, and began to discover how difficult it was for me to practice, because memories of childhood sexual abuse kept surfacing. I was in the middle of a healing crisis of my own, and not able to fully be there for others. I had begun to volunteer for a non-profit organization that was advocating peace, as we were heading toward war with Iraq. I found that I was a natural at organizing events and fundraising, and I was offered a job there in a new position they had created as Assistant Director. I was not expecting such an opportunity, and so I decided to sleep on it, and see if this position was right for me. In response to my question, “should I take the job?” I had this dream.

I see a three tiered water fountain, with red rose petals floating on each level. 

I woke from the dream really surprised by what I saw, but felt it was a very soulful and spiritual image and felt it was a sign I was meant to take the job. I did end up taking the position and soon after, they held an announcement party, to introduce me to the members of the organization as the new Assistant Director. I walked into the old brick building located in East Dallas, and there in the atrium of the building, was a three tiered concrete fountain, with red rose petals floating on each level. I knew I was in the right place, because I it was exactly like my dream.

The Portal of the Rose

So now I stand before the single Red Rose from my dream, about to enter the final path of my destiny, in connection with Our Lady. The mysterious magical paintings are stories which continue to unfold, and clearly have me stepping more deeply into the Alchemy of the Rose. On Saturday, November 16th, 4:30 – 6:30, I am leading a gathering to explore a conscious shamanic group dream journey, through the portal of “the Magdalene”, a painting by visionary artist, James Jereb. The event will take place in the basement of the Bath House Cultural Art Center at White Rock Lake in Dallas, Tx. Please join us, and bring a rose.

The Magdalene by James Jereb

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