Into the Woods: Jin Dai Maple

Shortly after being attuned to Level 3 reiki in late September of 2006, a package arrived from Japan. It contained wood, which wasn’t unusual; we’d been getting lots of wood from people in Japan. I always looked at it briefly, but it never really captured my attention.

Well, that changed with the contents of this package. Ted showed me a piece of jin dai maple, and it literally jumped up and shouted at me (not really, but I’ve never reacted so strongly to a piece of wood before or since).

Jin dai means “God’s era”, but it might roughly be translated as “wood that’s been buried in volcanic ash for over two thousand years”. Either way, this piece of maple had my name on it. I couldn’t stop touching it, and I asked Ted to shape it into a wand for me.

Ted says he knew he had to finish making the wand that same day, so he stayed up long after I’d gone to bed. This also wasn’t unusual; I’d often drifted off to sleep to the sound of sanding and polishing, thankfully all done by hand.

It’s also not unusual for me to have extremely vivid dreams, and on this particular night, I had one of the most powerful ones I’ve ever experienced. In it, I died, and I felt my soul leave my body. I was keenly aware of the sadness of people I was leaving behind, but I was just as deeply affected by the prayers of many who were rejoicing and encouraging me to fly up into the highest of the high places.

So, I started going up. Faster and faster I went. I felt like my soul was expanding. I wasn’t weighed down by my physical body anymore, and as I rose, my joy and anticipation became unbearable and flooded my entire being. I knew where I was going and couldn’t wait to get there.

But somewhere in this rising, I heard, “No, not yet,” and I came back down, floating into my house and entering my body over the piano in my studio. I felt my feet touch the ground and put out my hand to touch the top of the piano so I didn’t fall. I knew I had to practice speaking before I said anything to anyone so I didn’t frighten them, and when I opened my mouth, what came out was nothing more than a rusty croak. I knew I wanted to find Ted and tell him I was all right, but I was overwhelmed with sorrow because I hadn’t finished my ascent, and I felt heavy and sluggish in my body, like I didn’t fit there.

At this point, I woke up and wrote the dream down in my journal before I forgot any of it. Then, I wanted to read it to Ted. But I couldn’t even get beyond the third sentence; I started crying and couldn’t stop. I wasn’t exactly sad, but I couldn’t explain what I was crying for except that I had a deep longing for every person on earth to have at least one taste of the utter joy and love I had felt in that dream as I rose from my body.

I managed to get myself together and took a bath to clear and calm my mind, then went back to bed.

And there, resting on my pillow, was the jin dai maple wand, shaped into the rough form of a feather, deeply symbolic since my Level 3 reiki guide had taken the form of a phoenix. I burst into tears all over again, but I couldn’t stop touching the wand.


It has become one of the most powerful wands I have, with many purposes. Whether I need comforting, protection, inspiration, guidance, or redirection, this wand is often the one I am drawn to. The duality of it (gentle and strong, sweet and exacting) amazes me.

Last night, as part of my preparation for writing this post, I put it under my pillow before going to sleep. And again, I had a very significant dream. This time, I was walking on what I later realized was the “road of life”. People were streaming in two directions. Going one way, they were dressed in bright clothes, full of joy, talking, laughing, doing all the various things that are part of life. The people going in the other direction were no less joyful, but they were quieter. They didn’t speak as much, and some of them were weeping. Every so often, someone heading in this second direction would just disappear, their physical presence suddenly gone from the place in reality they had occupied only a moment before, but without any disruption in the fabric of time or place or space.

I traveled this road as part of a group of children, and we were taken in by a man and woman who made sure to teach us what we needed to know. They provided protection and direction to us so we weren’t just wandering around alone. But somehow, we got separated from them, and then separated from one another. Some of us were taken into various little booths along the road. I went in one, but when I came back out, I knew I had to go find at least one of the other children who had been traveling with me in the beginning.

So I started walking back the way I’d come, joining the living side of the road. When I found her, she was being tormented, held under water, and being ordered to swim because the people who had her thought she was a water sprite. I got in the water and pushed them away and shouted at them, “They haven’t had water sprites here in hundreds of years. Don’t you know she’s a phoenix?”

I picked her up and ran, going back into the quieter stream of people on the road. All the while I was carrying her, a tall man was following us. He never spoke to me or did anything, but I always knew he was there. I also knew I had to find our original guardian woman because she’d know what to do.

When I found her, she cried out once, and the child I was carrying (phoenix?) disappeared, leaving my arms empty, and the tall man behind me also vanished; I didn’t feel his presence anymore.

Then I woke up.

Whether it’s because I’ve been sorting through issues regarding death and letting go recently with respect to family and friends or not, I’m very aware that one of the ways the jin dai maple is working is in dreams. I’ve noticed that things that would have disturbed me deeply a year or two ago don’t have that affect now. I certainly still take the dreams seriously, but I’m not frightened by them. In fact, they are more vivid and have deeper narratives than what I was experiencing in the dream state before.

They are full of mystery, just as our place in life and our time on this earth is full of mystery. We will not know ahead of time when our days have come to an end. We have no foreknowledge of who we will meet along the way, and only understand in hindsight the lessons we have taught others. Often, we never know at all, and this, I think, is just as well. Life is full of people, and until the last moment, we, as people, are full of life. It can’t and shouldn’t be any other way.

Explore posts in the same categories: Dreams, Family and Friends, metaphysics, music, Properties of Wood, Reiki, spirituality

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