I had been dreaming about being at school. That is not unusual for me. Last night I was back at Bowdoin College, but it really wasn’t anything like the Bowdoin I attended nearly 25 yrs ago. Instead, it felt foreign and strange. I was enrolled in four classes, yet hardly even attended the lectures. I couldn’t seem to remember where my classrooms were, let alone the room number of my dorm room. The dream was filled with angst, reflecting the, well, let’s just call it a semi-existential crisis I’ve been battling these days: What the heck am I doing here and where the heck am I going with my life?
Yep, I know that sounds extreme and dramatic. And, quite frankly it’s something I circle back to from time-to-time. I’m now at the stage of life when my kids are nearly ready to head off to college. As they get ready to embark upon life outside of their childhood home, I can’t help but think about what that means for me.
Once again, I’ve found myself circling back to the idea of returning to school, myself. It doesn’t matter that I’ll be 50 in less than three years, I seem to have a passion for life-long learning. The only thing that tends to hold me back is the money. Which is an underlying block in my current semi-existential crisis.
School seems a foolish thing to think about for myself when my own two kids will be heading out the door in just a few short years. Even though our household income is higher than most, it’s not enough to pay for 4 yrs x 2 kids’ college tuition costs. When my husband recently announced our current rate of college savings and how he had hoped that I would have been able to contribute more through my meager income, I felt a wave of panic and guilt set in. Every dream and hope I had for my life, and our shared life as a family of four, began to dance in spectral forms around me.
I don’t mean to be dramatic here, but I wonder how many other stay-at-home-parents feel the same way and are haunted by similar ghosts of a future that could have been, but never was…
Even though I wouldn’t trade back my time at home with my kids, if I could do it over again I would have a plan in place for this time in my life. I would have thought long and hard about a career that could be picked up again after a long absence, or one that could be nurtured part-time as I nurtured my children full-time from home.
I don’t life in a society that makes it easy for mother (or fathers) to return to the workforce after long leaves of absence, at least not in careers that honor higher degrees of education beyond the high school level. Nor does it assign monetary value to the work that is done by a stay-at-home-caregiver. It is, for the most part, an unpaid and thankless job.
Yet, despite this, I would not trade in my time with my children. I also know they are grateful for my presence in their lives. As the saying goes, it’s nearly impossible to have it all. So we must instead as ask what is enough?
In my present state I have come to realize that I tend to define my own worth too much by monetary values without allowing myself to accept how much value there is to the unpaid work that I do. That’s where my friend the cardinal comes in.
After a night of struggling with my inner-demons, I woke to birdsong. Mind you, it’s the middle of February and temperatures are below freezing when I wake most mornings, including this morning. I am not used to hearing birdsong in the middle of winter outside my window.
At first I was a little annoyed. I rather liked the idea of a few more minutes of sleep on a day when an early rise was not needed. But there was no further sleep to be had. The bird was insistent, and soon after I pulled the plugs from my ears I had a good idea of what type of bird it was. I wasn’t, though, quite expecting it to be so bold.
The cardinal was the first thing I saw as I pulled aside the curtains. Its crimson coat, a bold contrast to the snow-brushed hemlocks as it peered back at me and sang. It was eye-level. The only bird in sight. The only bird singing. Fine, I told it, I’ll look you up in Ted’s book later.
I should not have been surprised by what I read, but somehow I had not recalled that particular bit about the cardinal as a messenger. In the last sentence of Ted Andrew’s description of cardinal in Animal Speak, you will find these words, “…remember that everything you do is of importance.”
I am sharing them here, because if I needed the reminder, perhaps you do too.
If you read my last post, Dream Guardians, you may have sensed that it was about love and partnerships (the clue was also in the hastag😉). I decided I would let it sit before I lended my own interpretation. Sometimes our dreams hold meaning for others too. To me, the dream spoke quite clearly in symbolism of insecurities I am attempting to unravel and come to terms with: How two people can love after growing together, then growing separately. That union of allowing individual space, while still supporting each other.
In symbolic terms, horses are often associated with strength, but also of freedom. They are wild animals who are often domesticated. On the magical side, they are thought to be one evolution away from unicorns. In the dream, it took a child (a representation of the inner child) to show me that the magic/life force/love was still there, it just needed to be fed. The inner child is that ever-wise voice of truth, even though we may often ignore/neglect him/her.
And so together, the child and I fed and watered those two wooden horses and saw life begin to return to their rigid forms…
Early this morning I woke from this dream:
I was at Laguna Beach in California with my family. The name is important, as names seem to be in our dreams. Laguna Beach is the place where my birthfather gave up the chase to find me and my sister when we were in hiding with the Hare Krishnas. After months of trying to follow the cryptic trail of our sitings from commune to commune, he took a break to surf the waves of Laguna beach and suffered some broken ribs. It was, you could say, his moment when he surrendered to the tides of life.
In my early morning dream, I was standing on a cliff facing the ocean. In one fleeting moment, a scene of pure magic unfolded before me. The tide had receded, and suddenly a world of wonderment was revealed. The light was soft and cast incredible shadows over the patterns of the ocean floor, which became undulating hills of sand. I grabbed the camera of my phone, knowing I had but moments to capture its splendor. I started to text the family, on a ridiculous band of fabric. An impossible feat. The scene was mine alone to capture.
And so I did what I could to take it in. I watched the unfolding of play and felt the pure joy it held. Would-be swimmers were now building endless castles in the sand, their spires reaching to the heights of mountains. How could it be, I wondered, knowing that within seconds the tide could take it all away…
Last night I found myself under an arbor of branches with a young girl. It was dusk, I believe, in this landscape of dreams. The colors were muted as though we were on the verge of darkness. The space, wrapped with the remains of two trees. Or, at least I thought they were remains…
When I tipped my head I could see the forms of the branches as they bent to create a natural roof that filtered in light. There were two. Guardians, I decided. Their heads close together, but not quite touching. I thought them beautiful, but also sad. As I studied them, I realized they were horses.
Lifeless, or so I thought. Their lips, mere inches away from union. The thought of love frozen in place before it could be realized filled me with melancholy.
“They are dead,” I declared as I reached up to stroke the wooden neck of one.
“No,” the young girl declared. “They are not dead. They are only in need of care.”
And as I listened to her child-wisdom, I saw that she was right. Ever so slightly, the two wooden horses began to move. I followed the girl to the place where food lay forgotten in the dust and helped fill their bowls with nourishment. Together, we brought our offerings to the pair of guardians.
“See,” the girl said. “They just needed our love.”
There are dreams that you wish you never woke from and those that leave you grateful for the exit from a nightmarish realm. I’m not sure one is more valuable than the other if you seek to learn from their teachings.
Our hidden, or not so hidden, terrors often take the form of nightmares. They can adopt fantastical and gruesome visages, leaving us breathless for want of air when we wake. Sometimes our voices scream us out of their grasp, and sometimes our words strangle our voice into silence. The voice, then, becomes our key to opening their mysteries.
Although it can be equally terrifying to journey through the dream realm, as it is to unravel its symbolism, it’s well-worth the effort. Even the seemingly nonsensical dreams can make sense if we are willing to look into why our minds chose to play their forms.
If you don’t tend to remember your dreams, there are techniques you can use to train your brain to recover them. One of which is simply telling yourself before you wander into sleep to remember what you have dreamt. When you do this, you may find you start to wake up after each dream. I tend to do that a lot, which can be both an inconvenience and a blessing.
Instead of transcribing my dreams after I wake from them, I’ll often spend some time mulling over a dream I have woken from before my mind succumbs to a new one. Although perhaps not has valuable in some ways as having a written log of the dream, this allows me to observe patterns, themes and symbols, as well as gage my emotional response.
Symbols in our dreams often reoccur over and over again. For example I quite often dream about water and stones, both of which hold a lot of interest for me in the literal sense, but also quite often teach me about where I am residing on an emotional level. I also dream quite often about bathrooms, and going to the bathroom, which inevitably leads me down the exploration of what I am holding onto or seeking to release, as well as personal struggles with exposure and privacy.
Themes, patterns, and symbols in dreams are important to notice if you want to learn from them. Equally important, I believe, is how you feel during and after you wake from your dreams. As well as how you felt before you fell into the dream. For example, I can go to bed feeling pretty good about the day I have experienced, only to find myself falling into a fitful dream world. When I wake, I feel significantly more unsettled than when I fell asleep. Unpleasant, yet revealing. When I examine the dream I find the clues to why. Although I had thought I was feeling emotionally balanced, there was a hidden aspect of my self that was calling to be revealed. What our dreams unearth for us are often opportunities for self-examination that can lead to both healing and release of the emotion tucked away inside of us.
Some people believe we can dream other people’s dreams and travel to other dimensions and realms. I tend to agree with these theories based upon my own experiences. If this is the case, and we feel we have dreamt a dream that is a bit “outside” of us, what does it mean? Perhaps we have traveled into a past of future life memory to retrieve valuable insight. Perhaps we have dreamt another person’s dream because our energies are too intimately intertwined. Or, perhaps we have traveled to another realm to learn something about “Life” on a larger scale.
Entire books, poems, inventions, and scientific discoveries have been gleamed from the realm of dreams. I find it nothing short of remarkable how our minds can form such complex and vivid scenes in the dream world which always, I believe, point to a deeper truth that begs to be explored.
Each dream, when examined, becomes a puzzle of the hidden, or not so hidden, self. Some, I admit, are so crazy at first glance that I cast them aside for later, hoping that their cryptic nature will reveal themselves overtime. For those of us who enjoy a good mystery, there’s no better place to explore than the world of our dreams.
At the moment, I’m still mulling over last night’s dreams, and dreams that I dreamt many nights ago. Through them I thread the lines that join symbols and take note of the patterns that are formed from them. Sometimes I chuckle at themes captured from TV shows or lines I have recently read, wondering why until the emotional symbolism is revealed. I marvel at fantastic forms and how far the mind can stretch reality until I realize that the limits are always self-imposed. Anything, absolutely anything, is possible in our dreams.
It was pure euphoria. I can only liken it to the ideal of heaven. In the dream I was in England, running in a field of white flowers. They were puffed out like dandelions gone to seed, each step lifted their tufted wishes into the wind. It felt like freedom, unbounded. The wild, untethered soul roaming in the landscape of home.
There were other dreams nestled around it. Equally vivd, and all weaving together in the complex mysterious way that dreams do. The crowded bus with black seats and no bathroom. “Wilder’s Barn” beside an earthen mound filled with rubble. The black bride in the white wedding dress who wove in and out of each scene. A perfect marriage of yin and yang without a groom. And there was me, again, now flying over Earth’s power lines. The return of euphoria as I followed the dragon of stones in my helicopter. Strange vivid dreams that seem in many ways impossible to decipher, but their imprint strikingly clear.
I imagine there are as many definitions of “heaven” as there are people, and I have no doubt I found mine in this network of dreams. When I left the field and the dragon lines, I lost it. The mundane and all its clutter surrounded me with its burden of worry and obligation. Other’s needs to be met and mine left not quite filled or released.
But, this is life, isn’t it? One can hardly escape the realm of “needs and obligations.” “Wilder’s Barn” is never quite open to the magic of the wild soul. It may open briefly, but the doors eventually close around us and we must, inevitably, return to the mundane.
It is said that true freedom in an inside job, but how many of us can say we really live inside of it? To be unaffected by life is not the norm. We may feel love and experience, in moments, euphoric joy, but we also feel fear, pain, suffering, angst and the entire spectrum of human emotions. That’s part of being human.
Yet what a gift it was to run in that simple field of flowers, alone and unencumbered by life. How exhilerating it was to fly above the land and trace the pattern of Earth’s power lines through the body of rocks. To be reminded that magic is always there, waiting to be felt, waiting to be freed. Waiting to be born. Even if just in the land of dreams.
Another night passes fitfully, laden with soiled laundry, much of which is not my own. Each night I slip into uneasy sleep only to find myself sorting soiled clothes of family and sometimes strangers in homes that I once lived in. Washing. Ever-washing to try to get them clean of the stains left behind.
There are always machines waiting to spin the soiled garments clean. Sometimes too many to the point of the absurd. Homes becoming laundromats to cleanse the filth of the outer layers worn to shield the inner. The symbolism does not escape me, yet the dreams continue and I must ask myself why I turn backwards, again, to release the stains of the past.
If you study the mysteries, you may be familiar with the symbolism of robes/clothing worn to cover up, or mask, the true self. We often hide what we don’t want others to see, but most importantly, what we don’t want to see ourselves. Yet what resides inside the layers needs no washing.
Stripping ourselves naked requires trust and vulnerability. And it requires faith and letting go.
Each night as I pour through the soiled garments, a stack of towels waits for me. Their surfaces colored with floral blooms, drawing my eyes to their tall stacks. Yet the towels will do nothing for the garments, and I have yet to strip bare and immerse myself in a body of water to find my own cleansing. To release and rebirth.
Instead, I travel back through past homes, even though they are no longer mine. Seeking belonging, no doubt, but also approval. Acceptance. Healing. “Heal me,” my mother begs, showing me a leg riddled with arthritis, her face grotesquely distorted, too big for life and thrust too close for comfort against mine. How can I say no? She is my mother after all. The one who birthed me in this lifetime.
Sometimes life seems more cruel than kind to the human mind that tries to find reason and logic. If I could collapse time it would be by thousands of years and not a mere lifetime of long months. I would go to the place of heather and stone and find the one who wears the feathered cloak and embrace home.
I know why I am sorting through these endless garments soiled by life each night, yet I cannot quite let go of them. “It’s time,” they tell me, and I want to shout back, “I am not ready to let go of her, though.”
“You will and you must. Just like the bird trapped inside your porch, you will release this tie to life. Just as you must release the others that hold you back.”
The wren appears in uncanny ways, surprising me with her visits in the daytime. “I will never be truly gone,” she reminds me, but I want to hold her. To cup her feathered body against my heart. Just once, before I let her go.
I have been thinking about ephemeral beauty and how we cling to form like raindrops to branches. Our lives, individual only for a millisecond in the great cosmos of time. One shimmering spark holding onto a momentary existence, and yet the soul sings an eternal symphony. We are born through the woven membrane of light. Released into density for a moment, we cling to existence to become defined by matter.
At night, my dreams show me the clutter of the brain and how it folds memories of lack and doubt until darkness lets them loose to run amok. Our minds form impossible fantasies and horrors we think could never be real until we open our eyes and see the world we have created.
As I released to slumber last night, Badger threw open the veil to stare me in the face. Fearless digger, unearthing what I may try to hide, Badger gave way to Owl before I was flung into the shadowland. It’s almost funny how we tumble restless to the surrender. Revisiting old haunts we thought we had exorcised in the landscape of dreams. Least we think we are watching reruns, familiar specters morph into new forms and find another curtain to tug open.
How exhausting it can be to tumble backwards when life holds you for a mere millisecond, urging you only to let go.
Yesterday, I walked into the woods nearby our home with my family and our two dogs. Zelda led the way, choosing a trail we had never taken together. Only Rosy, myself and Daisy, who passed more than five years ago, had ventured down it before.
The day was over-cast and windy. The clouds, eager to rain, darkened the trail littered with last year’s leaves. While we walked, I took in what the forest reveals before growth unfurls. There were more fallen trees than I cared to count, their bare trunks leaning on their neighbors. Others were already splintering into decay in their final resting places on their forest bed. Beach leaves lightened the ground, bleached by winter to the color of sand. They lent a light to the forest that was absent from above.
As we walked, I found myself wondering about the hand that guides unseen. Perhaps Daisy had urged Zelda’s feet to take us off the beaten path we were used to traveling together. Perhaps not. It doesn’t really matter. What matters was that we were there now, individually and together. Each of us mindful of our own moments.
“There goes the camera,” my daughter, ahead of me, caught the sign at the same moment I did. She knew I would linger to take a photo. While I did, I found myself wondering how long the sign had been there. If somehow I had missed it walking the path years ago with Daisy and Rosy. Who had placed the sign, and when?
I don’t remember too much from my jumbled dreams last night. Perhaps it’s because I choose not to. There were travels with familiar people, and those who were not so familiar. There was lots of clutter and the feeling of being pulled into too many directions, through no will but my own. There was the feeling of tending more for other’s wants and need, while neglecting the self. Perhaps it is not so surprising that there is one scene, in particular, that lingers with me.
I am sitting on a bus filled with people, traveling to some forgotten destination. A woman sits beside me. My guide for the night. She looks with intention into my face, then presses her hand to my heart. “I see the beauty of the light that is you,” she tells me. Even though her words are genuine and almost urgent, I’m not sure I believe them. Yet, it’s enough. Enough to weave the darkness back to dawn.
The word “Namaste,” is Sanskrit in origin. It is a greeting of one being to another. A bowing to honor, often with hands joined at the palms above the heart, of the light that resides in the other, that is also in the self. It is a gesture of reverence and of unity, and through Namaste we are reminded of the tapestry of light that threads through all life.
I like to think we are being reminded of this thread right now as we reside individually, yet together, in our shared millisecond of life. Reminded that within each form resides the beauty of the light that finds a temporary home inside each heart. A beauty that perhaps radiates more readily in some than in others, but only because of the block of fear.
A few dreams ago I found myself floating down a sheer, jagged rock face when physics says I should have tumbled bruised and battered into the river below. The climb back up, though, required the help of other hands.
I’ve been thinking about who we will be when we emerge out of this period of isolation. In particular, I have been thinking about how we have lived clinging to the covers that we choose to wear, which separate us from our true selves, as well as from each other.
I am so ready for emergence, my body aches. Before I fell into that dream a few nights ago, I crawled into my womb. It’s something I’ve never done before, but suddenly that’s where I was. Sinking into the orange-red chalice of my being, surrendering to my inner creation.
Here inside the womb of self, I returned to a five-year-old-child. Emerging to be seen was the little girl who is still a part of me, naked in her truth before she donned the cloak of the false self. I felt her body sitting atop the first stone she fell in love. Not her own stone, but her neighbor’s. So huge she had to climb it. Here the sun fell around her, and through its golden beams danced the fairies she adored.
I felt joy before the collapse into fear and conformity as I watched my child self grow with rules and beliefs that offered her a false sense of security. A few nights before, my dream teacher had shown me a shelf filled with books he had chosen to leave behind while all the others were being cleared. The books were filled with fairies and magical beings.
We live in a time when magic has been largely forgotten and often shunned as nonsense. If you talk about “magical” beings most people will look at you askance. It’s likely you will be labeled as not quite sane. Yet the lore of the magical landscape stretches far back into the past. Further than written memory. When did we forget who we were? How many children fall in love with fairies, dragons, and unicorns before they are taught they are fanciful?
After I made my way back up the cliff-face in my dream, with the aid of other’s hands, I returned to a classroom with my dream teacher. Together we surveyed long tables of stones and crystals, all formed from the body of Earth. Out of the myriad I chose a citrine. Into my hands I took the crystal, feeling its weight and size, before I swallowed it and the impossible became possible. Too large for my body according to physics, the crystal dissolved into liquid upon my tongue. In an instant, I became pure light. I became the inner sun, set free.
I find the hiding of the true self wearisome. I wonder how many feel the same. This daily donning of false garments, which weigh upon us heavy and burdensome. Most of us walk cloaked, covering the light of the true self as we allow ourselves to follow rigid laws and codes designed to confine and conform. We peer outward, ever-searching, instead of inward to the magic of the inner light. We believe we are Earthbound and body-bound, yet even the Earth, for most of us, has become just a vessel to be mined.
Back inside the red-orange womb, I watched the four-year-old child grow into her world of separation as she learned to forget the magic of life. I watched her swallow her essence to guard her light as she moved robotically through her phases of physical growth. I watched as she checked off all the milestones she was expected to earn. Awards for academic achievements and races won. Marriage. Children. And then, finally, she arrived at schools of her choosing and the true self began to emerge. The child who once danced with magic in the sun was finding home inside the self, again.
I grow weary when I wear the cloak of society’s expectations, and I wonder who the cloak was really designed for. Pretenses feel more false than they perhaps ever have as the world struggles to rebirth us. Or rather, we struggle against the world to be rebirthed. It is becoming more and more apparent that this struggle is of human design. Nature is thriving while we try to figure out how to live. Truly live with the magic of our beings.
I realized, after my dream of swallowing citrine that it was the first flying dream I have had since the pandemic instilled fear in all of our minds. It was different from most of my flying dreams, though. The body had dissolved entirely. There was no need to defy the laws of physics, because I had become the light held inside the stone. The light of the sun. The light of the true self.
I long for the feeling of home while I struggle with the rules and conventions that still form our ideas of normalcy. Some days there’s a longing to fly across the pond and sit inside a circle of stones and never leave, because it is a place where I feel most “at home.” Why? Because the magic of the land, and of us, still lingers there. It has not wholly been erased.
There are other days when it is enough to sit outside on my deck and lift my naked face to the sun. To let the gaze soften to magic and watch the dance of the sylphs against the limitless blue horizon. Here, I know, is also home. The free soul one breath away from release.
Yet the struggle persists. Inwardly and outwardly. I wonder what will prevail in this world seeking our rebirth? Will we erase more of the magic, erecting more false monuments of power, or will we rekindle, slowly and with love, the magic of the light held within?
It was 3:30 in the morning when my husband got up to use the bathroom and I woke from an owl peering at me. A Great Horned Owl.
I had been walking at dusk down the roads nearby my house. When I arrived at the crossroads in my dream, I turned towards my left, the direction of home. There he was, getting ready for flight.
You have returned to guide me.
I was sure it was Eagle. I had seen the white of his tail as he stood. The white crown of his head, turned to face me, was unmistakable.
And then he transformed into Owl. Feathered features became nearly camouflaged into the darkening day, but unmistakable were the ears. They were tufted into horns.
She rose to take the place of the one I had depended upon for so long. The bird of great strength and vision. Filled with yang energy, Eagle showed me how to harness the sun and look with keen vision at the world below. The guide of the nation that I call home. A bird sacred to the native people whose voices were silenced, their stories erased. A guide stolen to adorn the new nation. The great horned owl calls us to hear the truth that has been hidden. The truth that many refuse to hear.
I had a lot to think about. So much, that each time I tried to will my mind back to sleep, it would write lines for me to record. And, so, at 4am I rose, thinking of everything that the birds were telling me. Three in total, but more on the third later, as well as the white light blinking over my neighbor’s garage, Strange, it has never done that before, like a beacon in a lighthouse, calling a ship home.
It was all starting to come together.
Yesterday, before I went to bed, I had been cleaning out the office room. Culling through books and dusting shelves before I tackled the plastic storage unit filled with photos and various mementos of memories. I hadn’t sorted it, just added to it, since the year my son was born. That was nearly 15 years ago. Now seemed to be the right time.
To get to it, I had to move pictures resting on the floor and not on our walls. I chose only one to rehang. An owl with tufted ears made over scraps of words by my son years ago. I took a nail and found a place amidst the other art that adorns our stairwell. Choosing a spot a hands-width from the railing, I knew it would be bumped, and might even fall upon someone’s descent. Oh well, I thought. I’ll place it there anyway. Its silver frame standing out amid all the blacks, bumped lightly on my way down this morning.
In the dream that pulled me from sleep, it was not Eagle’s voice who replied, but Owl’s, I am the one guiding you now.
The “you,” felt like a “we.”
A few days ago, I was drawing cards for someone else. Someone who was considering a new path in life that would also affect me and those I hold dear. The first card I drew was the Queen of Cups. The Significator Card. The Queen who has guided me since I shuffled my first Tarot deck many years ago.
It had been awhile since I had been called to bring forth the cards, but they still brought a feeling of home to my hands. There she was, sitting on her throne. Her familiar face gazing upon the chalice in her hands. Her feet, crossed at the ankles, blue like the water around her. Baby mermaids gazing down at her, a cherub nestled, partly hidden, at the base of her throne, while her eyes fix on the golden chalice, too large for one hand, held in her grasp.
Strange, I had never paid much attention to the right foot hiding the left. The left hand touching lightly the hold of the right as it balances the hold of the chalice. So intent she/I was on the vessel.
I have been dreaming about water a lot at night, but that is nothing new. Water is my primary element, followed by earth. It pulls me into my dreams, and into the hidden realms within.
When I woke early this morning from the owl, I knew her to be female. Whereas Eagle embodies the divine masculine energy of the universe, Owl is a master of the divinely feminine forces. Owl rules the night. She sees through the darkness, a guide of the hidden. She asks us to explore the paths we like to hide, guiding us through the shadowland to get back “home” to the true self. She is master of the element of water, whereas eagle, her masculine counter-part, dives by day into the element of water for sustenance when he is not ruling the sky. He is part water and part earth, but mostly he is air and fire.
When Covid-19 started spreading rapidly across our globe, I kept thinking about the fires it was replacing. All those fires ravaging the lands across Earth, extinguishing so much precious life. Feeding fears of survival worldwide.
Now we have a corona viral host trying to nest in our lungs. If it brings death, it feels like drowning. It is nearly undeniable there is a struggle of forces occurring within and outside of us. A struggle for a return to balance.
About a week ago, I had another dream that woke me. I had been walking another path. This one filled with the light of day. Blindly wrapped in my own thoughts, I passed a large doll severed at the waist, and thought of Russian nesting dolls, instead of seeing it for what it was.
It didn’t wait long to catch me. Before I had taken a few steps beyond its severed bottom, the doll took life. The bottom half rejoined the top, and it began to chase me. Look at me? See me! You cannot escape me, it glared into my face. I recognized her by her teeth, long gnashing fangs.
Years ago, I took a shamanic journey to meet fear. I thought I would be afraid at what I saw, but I wasn’t. Instead, I discovered that it was both empowering and a relief to look at the face of my fear. Before me was an almost shapeless form, like a nesting doll, but all black. Its skin glistened like tar. The only feature recognizable as living was its face. Its dominate features were long, white teeth, shaped into fangs.
And so it would appear fear has made her return to me, calling out to be seen. I don’t think I’m alone. There is a global fear, in the form a virus trying to find a host inside of us. It is already taking over life and destroying life as we are used to knowing it.
It is difficult not to feel fear right now. To feel uprooted and insecure. It’s difficult to know what to do, or where to turn to for security and comfort.
Yesterday, while I was taking a shower, I found myself inside the image of a giant redwood tree. There I sat, cradled into the base of her trunk. Held inside this nest created by this mighty tree, rooted firmly to Mother Earth, with her boughs extended towards the sky and sun, I felt safe. I felt home.
Many of us have been washing our hands excessively, using water and soap to rid ourselves of the fears of being contaminated by a virus that is transmitted by salivary excretions. Trying to remove unseen forces that threaten to take hold of our lives. Even if the virus itself has not found a host inside of our bodies, it has found a host inside of our minds.
This fear has severed us at the waist. We are hoarding toilet paper irrationally. The virus does not attack our guts, but our lungs, yet we have allowed ourselves to become uprooted by our fears. We are buying more food then we need, leaving others to go without. We are scrambling for stability while the foundations we have so long depended upon are crumbling around us.
I have been walking a lot outside, as many of us have who are spending time outdoors in nature to try to lesson the communal spread of the disease. When I am outside, I feel connected. The inner joy starts to spark its light within. The roads, these days, are scattered with more people and dogs, then they are with cars. Seeing fellow walkers pass by, fills me with hope. Each time I journey outside, I see or hear a woodpecker. Most days it’s a pileated. Flying over my path, calling form the trees. This is not usually such a common companion to my days, and I am grateful for the gift of its constant, guiding presence. The pileated, which I, have been referring to as my “feathered seer” for nearly three years, has become nearly a constant companion in this time of unrest.
The pileated woodpecker, with its cardinal-like crown of red feathers, and streak of crimson at its throat, has a lot to teach us about fear. The color red is symbolic of fear and also of love. It is the color of our root chakra, and also the color of the blood that gives us life.
I have now seen The Queen of Cups card from Tarot three times in the last three days. Once drawn by my hand, the other two times by people whose blogs I happened to come across. I was not searching for her, but she has found me again. She has found all of us. And, so has Judgement and Fire.
Three times, in the same manner, I have seen the Judgement card and the Two of Wands. I have also seen the fiery wands held in struggle in one path, the air of freedom in another.
There are many ways to read the cards, and one must follow the guidance within to understand their messages in light of the circumstances one is working with. Each time I see the Judgement card, I am given the image of rebirth. The card literally shows naked bodies rising from caskets floating upon water. Could there be a more fitting card for our time?
The word “judgement” is subjective. The human mind judges, the higher mind does not. This card, next to the Two of Wands, strengthens the choice we seem to be offered by this viral pandemic that can be perceived as a harsh, or even cruel, gift. That is the choice of our free will. We can face our fears and explore the shadowland of the self in the path back to unity and balance, igniting the true light along the way, or we can succumb, as we have many times in our collective history, to the fear that severs and divides us.
The Two of Wands literally offers us the world in our hands. The old path, the wand to the right, is being traded for the new/truth path, as the querent takes the staff to his left, while holding the world in the palm of his right hand. He has, it appears, chosen his inner truth to become his new guide. Before him is a land open and fresh, wrapped in the embrace of water. The womb of Mother Earth.
Can we, collectively and individually, make the return to our true roots? Can we face our fears and weave the broken threads of our global community back into unity? Can we clear that which threatens to drown us individually, and realize that we are all, in essence, seeds from the same source? All elements reside inside all of us. There is light, and also darkness. There is the sun, and also the moon. Long, long ago, our ancestors knew that when fire joined in perfect balance with water, united through spirt/air and rooted in earth, the true, divine star of the self thrived.
The birds give me hope. Their paths can guide us back home.
It was probably about a week or so ago. I don’t know the exact date, because I didn’t record it. Nor do I recall all the details. What lingers, though, is the feeling along with image of the oven top. Burners lit when they should not be. Gas leaking into the air…
In case you haven’t guessed from previous posts, I am fascinated (and perhaps a bit obsessed) by dreams. I always have been. I didn’t record much in my journals as a child and teen, but for a time I recorded my dreams. They held a deep intrigue for me. Some nights they brought escapes into wondrous fairylands. Others, the haunting terror of reoccurring nightmares. And, there were the ones that came true.
Even though I was raised in a very scientific-minded household where anything that the physical eyes could not see was deemed as fanciful and untrue, I knew dreams offered a wisdom into the more hidden realms of our being and the universe that seemed like truth even to my obedient mind.
The more I study my own dreams, the more I learn. Some of us go into deep meditative states for understanding, some of us channel the inner guide through automatic writing., or consult cards, astrologers of psychics. Or maybe we simply walk in the woods. I find each one helpful, but perhaps not so constantly helpful, as dreams.
Dreams are effortless. We close our eyes and fall into slumber, and dreams come to us without beckoning. Although we may claim we do not dream, we all do. And there are many ways to train our brains to recall our dreams if we have trouble remembering them. It’s worth looking into if you tend to wake without recollection.
When we dream, our minds unearth our deepest fears, as well as our heart’s yearnings. Through their strange language of metaphor, we can decipher a vast library of wisdom. Their code, unique to each individual.
When I dreamt the oven lit and leaking gas several nights ago, I awoke with the feeling of foreboding. I knew fear was at play, but it didn’t feel like a metaphor. It felt real.
I checked the stove throughout the day, and occasionally during the next few days when I’d recall the dream. Then, I largely forgot about it. Until today.
You could say there was nothing too unusual about this morning. My son and I left for an appointment as scheduled, and I reminded my daughter of when to leave for hers. We arrived at the office seven minutes early, and I half-noted the feeling of emptiness on our way in.
The receptionist flushed when she saw us. Stumbling over apologies, she informed us that my children’s appointments had been canceled last minute due to illness. No big deal. We rescheduled and left. For a moment, I thought about running an errand or two, but instead followed the familiar road home.
We were back at the house about a half an hour after we had left. Entering through the garage, I found myself puzzled by a strange smell. My daughter was on the couch eating her breakfast and watching a cooking show. Nothing unusual for a weekend. I greeted her, told her about the appointment reschedule, and we talked about other things as I continued to sniff the air periodically.
I decided it smelled like gas. Not the gas from engine exhaust, but it seemed to be more concentrated near the garage, so I lingered around there for a moment, then walked towards the oven. There was a small frying pan on one of the burners, leftover from my daughter’s breakfast. Again, nothing out of the ordinary. She often makes herself elaborate meals on weekends. Except there was the smell. Slightly sulfurous and overwhelming the air. My eyes left the pan and looked beneath it. No flame. They caught upon the knob below, turned a quarter to the right.
I recalled the dream nights before as I turned the knob to “off,” pushed the button overhead to fan the air outside, and opened a door and window to aid the ventilation. I sent a million silent “thank you”s to fate that the morning’s appointments had been canceled, then began a firm, but kind lecture to my daughter about minding the stove and not using that particular burner to simmer because the fame dies when it is down to low, but the gas still releases.