The dichotomous human: A world in imbalance

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In earlier blogs I have discussed the role of the archetypical symbols inherent in dreams. Carl Jung believed that an inherent dichotomy or dualist quality exists with human beings, if not all reality and that to lean too much one way or the other, that is to allow one aspect to dominate its opposite aspect, will create a destructive imbalance. This is true whether in human beings or in their societies, cultures and/or governments.

In short, Jung believed that what was needed in the world was balance between these dualist opposites. Because the world is dualistic, meaning for every A there’s a B, Masculine/feminine, up/down, conscious/unconscious, spirit/body, soul/ego, light/dark, or intuition/knowledge, rational/irrational, or liberal/conservative. Existence of one suggests the existence of its opposite i.e. they generate each other and cannot exist alone.

One of Jung’s favorite oppositions was the masculine/feminine (most likely one of yours as well). He used two mythical figures to describe these traits, Eros for the feminine and Logos for the masculine (labeling that I think of as being a bit sexist). Eros represents the intuitive, feeling (including mood), relationship, caring and playfulness. Logos represents logic, progress, reason, knowledge, and order. The world has for sometime been overwhelmed by a masculine dominated ego that has looked upon the emotional feminine as representing chaos and therefore the need for controlling it.

However, within each man is a feminine aspect that allows him to express the characteristics of caring, inclusiveness, thoughtfulness, emotional attachment and intuition. The more “masculine” (controlled by his masculine traits) a man becomes, and the more he represses his Eros qualities, the more likely that he will become unbalanced and fall prey to a lack of objectivity, literally losing touch with the “reality” he holds so dear. Hurt easily turns to anger and resentment because he can no longer see the reality. Contentment and security weakens and the overly masculine male begins to control his external world in ever increasingly violent ways. He is also cut off from meaning and is then forced to look for it in very bizarre ways e.g. through over-control, domination, drinking, lying, drugs, fighting, hyper-sexuality, and/or indulging in risky behaviors.

Women who are cut off from their masculinity frequently connect with men who show enough masculinity to compensate for their loss and will put up with a lot of abuse so as to not lose this compensating link with what they lack. This lack also may reinforce a woman’s greater attachment to family and home and suppress the urge to go outside the home to get her needs met, thus imprisoning her.

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People out of touch with or who repress the other aspects of their personality also tend to overestimate or underestimate the reality around them. In order to maintain control of a chaotic system they will ignore or demean certain aspects of their environment. Ignorance or rejection of their opposite aspects will also increase the number of errors they make when attempting to make decisions.

On the collective (national, worldwide) level, this imbalance seems to create an environment where men are dominant and women submissive. But both are unsatisfied in the arrangement. When unsatisfied (unbalanced), the male usually ups the masculine gradient for he knows little else and because, for him, the inner world either doesn’t exist, or is to be feared, so he tries to master his lack of satisfaction by controlling the outer world, through force and manipulation (yes the need to dominate and control is fear-based not power based). The female does the same often through passive aggressive force and manipulation.

So we’re all running around in a world searching for satisfaction, i.e. happiness, in all the wrong places and desperately trying to gain it through manipulation of the world around us. This is what happens when you leave everything up to the ego by detaching yourself from the spirit/soul. This is what happens when you cut yourself off from your opposite aspects. This is what happens when you treat half of yourself unequally.

 

You can’t find happiness through domination and control, or their

opposites: avoid-domination and avoid-control!

 

Happiness has the greatest success of being found through a personality that has discovered its opposite and has learned to integrate it into a whole and then project this wholeness into its relationships with others.

In my book The Archipelago of Dreams: The Island of the Dream Healer is a story about the imbalance in mankind and how one man finds an entry into the mysterious world of the Dream. Forced to let go of his Being he enters the Otherworld of the Spirit where at the potential cost of his life he will be challenged to right the imbalance and set a new course for mankind.

Color themes across dreams

 

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Page 118 of my Dream Journal from 2/2011 to 7/2016

In an earlier post on color I talked about color meanings and symbolism. I’ve collected a number of my own color specific images over the years and submit these (to the left of this column) of past images.

In the book Morpheus Speaks: The Encyclopedia of Dream Interpreting (2019) there is a section on color and on animals and their possible meaning in dreams. I’ve used this to assist in the following interpretations.

The split rainbow that could be seen only by shifting my visual perspective (this may be reinforced by the symbol of the window as well) may be a metaphor for seeing the whole, or more, of the beauty in life by shifting my perspective. It might also suggest the need for a bridge between my spiritual and earthly self.

The ascending yellow splotches may be about the need to increase my sense of self-worth, or to pay attention to my ever growing creativity, or the need for more moral behavior, right thinking, or can represent the need for lightness and vitality though it too could be pointing to the need for a different perspective, perhaps one that’s more bent toward optimism. This could also be a metaphor for how I see the world moving from a center, more balanced, position toward a radicalized rightwing bent. In this case the yellow may be broadcasting a warning and caution. It’s still ill defined however, hence the splotch-ness.

The green machine could represent my more mechanical behavior that seems to go on and on. The green could suggest growth in this area, or the need for serenity, or to show how hooked I am on the sensory area of my life. It should also be noted that green is the color of the heart chakra and the heart a machine in itself and thus represent complex emotions such as compassion and tenderness and in my case might suggest more compassion for myself.

The light blue bubble-like objects could have a spiritual meaning, or be intuitions bubbling to the surface.

The brown Raccoon could be asking, “What trouble am I getting into?” or be speaking to my more earthy aspects such as cleverness, wildness, and ingenuity. The little guy could be speaking to my inner animal nature and my more basal instincts.

Interestingly enough all these images have some connection with the right visual field and thus be speaking to some kind of action, or need for expression, or be advocating greater mental consciousness, or encouraging making the “right” choice about something.

All seemed to evoke some lightness in feeling as well, or were somehow affiliated with the intuitive me.

Four out of the five had an upward kind of movement suggesting a higher thinking, or experience. This could also refer to the rising of some passion, or spiritual ascent. The feeling of the numinous in each of these dreams might support the spiritual aspect as well.

You might want to add what the colors and images would mean for you if they had visited your dreams.

“It’s just her imagination, she lives in a fantasy world.”

 

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Illustration of the fantasy story The Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum’ (So much of the story was a projection of Dorothy’s real life concerns symbolized in her dream).

How often I’ve heard those discounting accusations leveled at children as though the creative imagination were something less real, therefore less important than what hard thinking adults have. The imagination often gets a bad rap, especially from mechanical-thinking, or concrete–thinking personalities. It’s often assigned the same low respectability as fantasy. Dreams and their meaning have also been folded into this heap of what many consider to be unimportant and distracting ephemera and yet…

Yet, all children interact with and learn about the so-called shared reality through exercising their imagination and fantasy. The pretend play, or narratives of children are their practices for being a healthy functioning adult. It is said that we all use the imagery of fantasy and imagination to create our own individual myth, or world-view. And many psychologists say that imagination and fantasy help to unite our “real world” experiences into an interconnected whole.

Some say that the senses present the “real” world while the imagination presents only a facsimile (read as unreal). Though an imaginary experience is indeed a facsimile, it may not be any the less real than that of the cognitive projections of our biased minds (read as beliefs).

Imagination can be defined as the ability to “see” what the senses cannot see e.g. to see all sides of a three-dimensional cube. It’s what the “cubists” were trying to do in their art i.e. depict all sides of something simultaneously.

Imagination is not limited by physical rules i.e. it can stop a Nova, enter a black hole, or go faster than the speed of light. Einstein used imagination to see into the secrets of the relative universe. Often the imagination serves as proof of what the senses tell us, or uncover what the senses cannot.

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

_Albert Einstein

 

Aristotle thought that imagination existed within a specific place in the mind, and in fact 2300 years later there is MRI research evidence that memory and imagination travel identical blood routes and are linked to the neocortex and Thalamus.

Deductive reasoning requires the imagination in order to see all sides of an issue so as to deduce a solution.

Without the imagination there would be no awareness of the possibilities of higher truths, or even higher order thinking. Without imagination man would not explore the seas, search for other lands, wonder how to communicate across vast distances, harness the power of the wind, or sun, discover how the body works, or explore the vastness of space. Without imagination, man would not know about himself.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

-Antoine de Saint Exupery

 

Without fantasy we cannot imagine what can be and thus have no dreams to aspire to. Without imagination and fantasy we become prey to the dictator, the theocrat, the oligarch, the tyrant.

 

“Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels.

-Francisco Goya

Without imagination there would be boredom. Imagination provides meaning, interest and magic. It is the main ingredient to creativity and invention.

Without imagination there would be no United States of America, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, no industry, no agriculture, no wheel, no clothing. Can anything be named that wasn’t originally the dream, an imagining by someone? Even God dreamed of the world before he commanded its formation.

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”

-Thomas Edison

Imagination allows the individual mind to stretch out and enfold all the rest of reality. We would be trapped in the dark emptiness of our minds without it. Without imagination we could not look into the infinite, and be forever trapped in the finite. We could not see into a heaven for it would not exist for us.

“To see a world in a grain of sand,

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.”

–William Blake

A dream becomes so much more when you can embody it through the active imagination. It becomes something more real that can be interacted with so as to reveal so much more information about you in your world than a cold forensic application of a traditional interpretation.

“Dreams connect me to an intelligence that is beyond anything I learned in school. The dream images themselves come with an “intelligence” that opens us to insights and perspectives that are often outside the box.”

–Steven Aizenstat

So what is imagination and fantasy, but maybe the very spark for the meaning of our lives? Are we even human without it? It seems to me that it stimulates faith and understanding, discovery and ambition, knowledge and learning, love and romance, possibilities and options, even reading and storytelling. We should be doing whatever it takes to cultivate it, not depreciate it.

“Without the playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable…All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination?”

–Carl Jung

 

Even when the use of fantasy and imagination is used as an escape from the stress of shared reality of the world you live in and assuming you have conscious control regarding when and how often you enter it, fantasy and imagination serves ones health and well being.

 

“Imagination is the eye of the soul.”

–Joseph Joubert

 

“The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope.”

–Henry Ward Beecher

 

Finally, I’ve presented an overview of the imagination in support of its usefulness, but I’ve only alluded to where the images of our imagination come from i.e. what is the source of these images? Ahh, you might say that they are rooted in the images of our senses and you’d be right, partially, mechanistically, but it’s what we do with these source images–their processing that makes the difference.

However, are there not some images that seem to come from something, or somewhere, or even somewhen else? What’s that all about? It’s part of the mystery that is life. Part of the mystery that we all must regain and explore in our lives.

That’s the fodder of the mystics, the shaman, prophets, or the Depth Psychologist but also for us and that’s for a future discussion.

Small, trembling or the great divine, is it a choice?

is.jpgOne reader wondered if it was a right for a religion to judge others who were not of that religion.

Judgment isn’t really a right, but people judge, that’s what we are…we’re judgment machines. It’s the way our brains are hardwired. We just have to remember that our judgments may have nothing to do with reality because we project our own biases, prejudices, beliefs, and feelings onto everything. There’s an old saying, “Don’t believe everything you think”. The ego part of us always wants to keep us separated usually with us being the best (or better than) and the other guy not being the best or less than.

We then ‘project’ this bias onto our religion and use our religion to prove we are right. This is circular reasoning, a logic fallacy, but the ego-centered person isn’t concerned with logic or facts, they’re just concerned with being right in their own mind or in their own culture or subculture/tribe.

This doesn’t mean that “judgment” is always wrong because if the practice of a religion that is created out of love (and all religions are created out of love) shows only hate, then the practice of that religion is wrong…it’s not the religion that is wrong, it is the practice of it that’s wrong. This is where judgments are needed. For example, does some religious practice further the cause of love or hate? If it’s hate then it’s being practiced in the wrong way.

So, again, it’s not the religion that is judging, it’s the human beings who practice that religion and if it is being used by them to exclude, demean and make others less than, then it’s being done wrongly.

In each of us exists a spiritual self that comes from a wholeness that includes everything and everyone. But in order to interact on this plane of existence a temporary illusion of separateness needs to be maintained. This is the job of the ego part of the self, that part of us that we created with the help of our parents, family, society, and culture. Even when we stand before one another and see a separate individual, at our core we are one. There is little problem with this unless the ego has convinced the self that the separation is real this is when we don’t recognize the divine being in the person standing before us.

When we think we are vulnerable to the illusion of a separate being we become frightened and want to protect the self, though it doesn’t need protecting. Look around, is this not so? We then create illusions to safety and institutions to reinforce the illusion. But are we any safer? As long as we are stuck in our own egos we will never feel safe, you can never feel safe when you think that what you are is this small, trembling being that is threatened by all other small, trembling beings. And no matter how many small, trembling beings band together there’s no bigness in that, only a whole lot of small and trembling.

I’ve read that those who try to rule by fear don’t know who they really are. The more fear and control they spread the smaller they become. Those who sustain their egos through force have only physical power and that always comes to an end usually a whimpering end. Those who sustain through love last forever.

Visions, daydreams, and sleeping dreams

 

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During an interview with Valder Beebe on her talk show early last week I was asked about the difference between daydreams, visions and sleeping dreams. My answer was rather limited by time in that I revealed only a small part of the relationship between these three forms of “seeing”.

Firstly all three come from the same place, our unconscious mind. However, some may see all three as being spiritual in nature maybe even spiritually generated or induced.

Visions can be said to come to us in a trance, a meditation or in a dream though visions tend to be clearer and more vibrant than dreams. Prophecy and the supernatural are often associated with visions whether they show up in a trance, dream or just walking down the street. Frequently they seem to be numinous in nature and have a mystical quality to them. Often one feels connected to all things, feel a sense of the timeless and experience the sacred. They frequently come to us when there is an unfilled and unfillable void or deep and unresolved questioning in our lives and when they arrive cannot be understood through our rational selves. However, the message of the vision experience is often quite clear and is something that most sleeping dreams do not give us given their chaotic nature.

Often these otherworldly vision experiences come with clear messages written or heard and are frequently the point of the vision. Dreams rarely come with a clear message or point and though we may see words or hear them in a sleeping dream they almost always make no sense. This is probably due to the fact that the part of the brain that processes written or spoken language* is shut down or suppressed during sleep whereas in many vision states the language part of the brain continues to function almost normally.

Visions no matter how experienced usually come with four states to that experience e.g., they are ineffable (they defy expression), noetic in that there is a “knowing” that cannot be plumbed through the regular intellect and beyond what was known before, transient in that they don’t last for long, and lastly passive in that they are almost always unbidden though they can be encouraged by focusing ones attention.

For many a vision feels as though they have been taken over by some greater power. This must have been the experience retold in the biblical story of a Pharisee named Saul a Christian hunter and persecutor who experienced being overwhelmed by Jesus in a vision on his way to Damascus and being shown the error of his ways and ultimately converted to another way of being and seeing and becoming the über Christian and Jesus interpreter Paul in the process.

Saul with his split allegiances to the Jewish diaspora and the Roman empire and suffering from a deep hatred of the Christian sect (a hatred that creates or is born from inner conflict itself) was probably dealing with any number of psychic conflicts but also searching for meaning and/or absolution from denied inner guilt. Under conditions of such inner conflict and the fatigue that he probably experienced throughout his travels his psyche was opened to such a vision experience. For most of us who have had this kind of world shattering vision experience these are often the conditions through which we become open to our deeper Self and that Self’s connection to a greater being.

We often call this kind of insightful vision an epiphany or an aha moment. But new clarity can come from dreams whether during sleep or during a day reverie of a lazy moment though they may be harder to read. The deeper self is always trying to make itself heard but often finds itself suppressed or shouted down by the continuous chatter of the mind full of all its worries, anxieties, activities and agendas. It’s only when we give this ego-self a rest that the inner self can come out to play. And play it will through our music, dance, poetry, writing, socializing, meditations, dreams, all kinds of art, and even on the road to the grocery market.

Lastly daydreams can be another way of tapping into the inner self and are seen as a detachment from one’s immediate surroundings where their connection with reality becomes blurred and a sort of visionary fantasy takes place. It’s sort of a mild dissociation and happens to many folks throughout their lifetime. Often these reveries can be disruptive to the tasks at hand (especially when those tasks are boring, in which case daydreaming can serve as an adaptive function) but they can also provide information related to future-thinking and increased creativity.

I envisioned the story of The Archipelago of Dreams: The Island of the Dream Healer** during a daydream one summer day at a lake in northern Wisconsin. Though fully formed during that summer’s reverie it took me another twenty some-odd years to put the story into print. That fantasy journey through time and space stayed with me for all those years and even informed much of my subsequent interest with psyche, soul, and dream-work.

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*These areas of the brain associated with language are known as Broca’s area (for production of language) and Wernicke’s area (comprehension of spoken and written language).

**Also sold at Amazon

What is wholeness?

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From Gaia Orion

I’ve often used the word “wholeness” in many of my posts as a word for an aspiration or a core being. So what does “wholeness” look like? Simple answer, I don’t know.

I am a container of many aspects, some in conflict and opposition and some in various stages of cooperation. But are they unified? No, it’s all a turbulent jumble barely contained and both creating and destroying. It’s the universe within me doing the same thing as the universe without– a panoply of things creating one another through their existence but is it unified? Perhaps all together in their continuous interaction they are the whole.

Or “wholeness” is not something that my separated and individual self can comprehend because I as an individual’s ground of being is rooted in separation. I cannot see it, understand it, comprehend it, or imagine it because I am using a tool not designed for it. In short, I’m using a “thing” to comprehend a “non thing”. I cannot imagine it from this perspective, from the perspective of the intellect, from the individual ego-self.

It may require a “meta-intellect” a non-objectified or subjective experience, something beyond the physical that’s without description, without words, and without a language. It may reside somewhere within the realm of metaphor and symbol, in images, or in color or sound. It may exist in the silent areas between my thoughts. I may be expressing the ‘whole’ all the time without being aware of it because I am only gifted in seeing its separated parts.

Carl Jung thought of wholeness as something one strived for psychically, a place in the very center of our being. He often likened it to a circular mandala of layered or spiraling aspects toward something called the ‘Self’ as differentiated from the ego i.e., the made up personal persona. He called these circular drawings a God image. But that still doesn’t satisfy my thirst.

Sometimes when a Great Understanding, one without words or images, bursts forth from some unknown place seeming to simultaneously be coming from within and without, I get it, but then I try to run it through the machinery of my mind in order to understand and it melts away. I think that’s because the “wholeness” is not of the mind but of the “something else”– the God that may live within.

I’ve had an interesting week of synchronicity where a meditation prayer for guidance seemed to be answered by an unsolicited email from a stranger from a far off land, a dream, an unsolicited and shared vision and a sermon on spiritual breakthrough. All seemingly lead me toward a new experience of an old awareness, one that I’ve believed to be true for a long time but until now had never actually experienced as being true.

For me “belief” is an imagining that is not necessarily grounded in fact but in faith, something that has never been very easy to accept or hold on to and as such not very satisfying and easily lost or strained. An experience, however, is grounded in the reality of the moment as witnessed by the observer– more fact than faith, more real and for me, more satisfying, sort of a ledge to stand on while looking out across the abyss.

Can one experience the ineffable? I would say yes. Can I tell you about it in such a way that you can experience it too? I would say no. Because it’s so subjective I’m not even sure that I can tell you how to get to your own experience of the ineffable.

What I can say about it is that it comes when it does and when it wants to. You can’t force it or engineer it. But you can learn to get out of the way that is, to get your ego-self out of the way so that you’ll be open to it when and if it arrives. And that was the point of the Dark knight of the Soul posting of December 2017 entitled “Real Magic” and the story of the Magician beginning on Jan 11, 2017.

The discontinuity and otherworldliness of a dream

 

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I’ve noticed that in my dreams events seem to occur chaotically as though pieces of images were scattered randomly across a table and picked up in no particular order, much as I’d do if I were filling in the center of a jigsaw puzzle. For example, in the dream I would find myself in front of a wall, in a hall behind it, momentarily at one end, the other end, facing it as though I had never moved, then without warning I’d be outside. These snippets would often repeat but not in any particular order.

When I awoke and began to describe the dream in my journal I would create a somewhat linear narrative e.g. I might say “there I stood before a wall looking from one end to the other. As I peeked behind the wall I suddenly* found myself outside.

In order to bring the experience of the dream images into consciousness I would have to run the discontinuous images through a more rational filter i.e. the linear world of the conscious mind, the ego-mind as it were. This is because the dream comes to us in images and emotions and not in words that require some sort of linear pattern to make any sense.

The “experience” of the dream is almost always different than its description. This is due to the fact that the unconscious mind produces dreams in a non-linear manner. In our waking lives we also may not experience events in a continuous way but due to the way our consciousness is wired we will force the narrative into some linear form that makes sense to us. In short, there are experiences and there are descriptions of these experiences– often two different realities.

Inherently dreams are discontinuous in nature as though they take place outside of time and even outside of space certainly outside the time and space that we are used to in a three dimensional world.

Certain waking visions seem to follow this outside-of-time pattern as well when one may feel as though all of space and time is falling inside one tiny area or moment. It’s a feeling where time stops, but incorporates all the past, present and future simultaneously. These usually unbidden visions can leave us breathless and with an expanded experience of reality that never completely goes away.

It’s like walking through a dream and suddenly becoming aware that you are walking through a dream– a moment of lucidity within the dream of our lives and a chance given by the fates to explore the images of the dream carefully, and in broadened detail, so as to see where they are taking us.** Using these times of lucidity whether in the sleeping or waking dream provides us an opportunity to go deeper into their meaning and enrich our reality.

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*In Fred Alan Wolf’s book “The Dreaming Universe” the physicist suggests that words such as “suddenly” used in an experiential description are often seen in the narratives of those who have experienced Near Death Experiences (NDEs) as well as alien abduction stories. In other words, in those who have experienced otherworldly realities.

** One can also explore the images of a dream by re-embodying the dream through a meditative imagination technique known as Active Imagining.

 

Snakes in dreams

 

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“AYŞEGÜL’S DREAMS ” (WITH SNAKES)

Recently I was working with a shaman who occasionally shares his dreams with me. He shared a dream that included a snake, a very popular image in dreams (along with spiders, but that’s a topic for another day).

Though a snake or multiple snakes in a dream can represent positive transformational, healing (especially if the snake bites and causes an elimination of bodily toxins), perceptivity, patience, wisdom, or rebirth energy, I thought that I would spend a moment looking at the negative energy associated with the snake image in dreams.

In the book Morpheus Speaks: The Encyclopedia of Dream Interpreting it is suggested that a snake “can represent one’s ego and be a constant voice in one’s head that’s judging and criticizing anything and everything.”

Snakes in dreams can suggest deceit especially of someone in your immediate environment, though it could also suggest your own deceit especially if the snake is biting someone or devouring them. There can be fearful or chaotic people in your life that are affecting you negatively. This may be even truer if a Medusa image shows up and you experience feeling trapped or imprisoned. This can represent someone who is highly critical of you or of others, or someone who just has negative thoughts about you and directs them your way passive aggressively, someone who literally steals your energy when around them.

In general snakes suggest that you may be experiencing some negativity that needs to be dealt with and cleared. Also snakes in dreams can represent unresolved issues that you have with others or people you’ve managed to annoy somehow. Consider also that they may be warning you of something you aren’t paying enough attention to. This symbolism can also be heightened if the snake is red in in color.

To deal with these negative energies you either need to confront them by standing up for yourself (this probably shouldn’t include any attacking strategy) if they are presenting as bullies or avoid being around them completely. You might also consider removing any other negative influences like negative movies or negative video games, or loud, gossipy people– basically anything and/or anyone that doesn’t serve you spiritually.

Shaman sometimes see snakes in their dreams when they are encountering or about to encounter some really negative energy. Interestingly seeing live snakes in your waking life can sometimes be symbolic of the same negative energy. This can be especially true if live snakes in your environment aren’t a common experience.

In the Australian Aborigine “Snake Dreaming” a snake is the protector of the land, the source of all life but also a destructive force if not treated respectfully.

I mentioned earlier that snakes can represent transformation, or change, this can be positive of course but change can also be negatively charged and regardless of what the snakes are doing in the dream you might want to compare their behaviors with your own waking world behavior or those behaviors of others e.g. are they just lying around, being sluggish, stealthily slithering, biting– snapping at you or others, poisoning the water with their presence, filling a pond or lake making it too scary to climb in, or crushing and trapping in their suffocating grip?

Note that snakes in dreams also present the dreamer with interesting dualities such as healing/poison, death/rebirth, charm/deceit, and life/death so that when they visit a dream they can represent both blessing and curse and therefor suggest that the dreamer apply both to their waking life.

In general animals in our dreams represent our instinctual feelings or behaviors. Some dream therapists think that animals come to us in our dreams almost as spirit guides, each bringing their own voice, symbolic energies, and usefulness to the dreamer.

Significant images in dreams: Light in dreams

 

Light comes in many forms within a dream. Sometimes it comes from whence it is born i.e. the darkness. It can be the dawning of some new awareness, a new beginning as with a rising sun or with the setting sun and clearing the stage for a brand new day.

It can be the symbol for transformation or a means for shedding some light on something unattended.

It can be a metaphor for God, the Spirit, the Tao, or for great wisdom. It can indicate the divine within.

 

 

In the beginning was the One. It lay at the bottom of the sea

in the darkness of the unconscious mind. The highest goal being

to bring it to consciousness and reunite what was separated once again.
 

 

Frequently light is paired with the image of a mandala where the light of creation resides at the center. When I dreamed the mandala above I experienced it rising from a ‘formless and empty’ black sea suggesting my unconscious mind, bringing with it a new awareness leading me to spiritual growth. At the time the mandala also suggested that I needed to look deeper into the darkness of that unknown part of me for it was in that blackness that a much needed awareness lay.

It can refer to the need for clarity, understanding, and insight. It can be about truth or if cloudy and shadowy it can suggest parts of the unconscious self that have yet to have been brought to full consciousness. If it’s particularly bright you may need to move toward a higher level of awareness.

Those who have been near death often speak of a bright light beckoning in the distance.

In the form of a light bulb it may suggest that you are ready to face some reality, or idea, perhaps even some new spiritual consciousness. A burned out bulb could refer to a loss of effectiveness or negative self-image.

Lighthouses can refer to the need for guidance. In the form of lightning it can suggest sudden awareness or spiritual revelation or even a shocking turn of events that is beyond ones control. To be struck by it might mean a permanent transformation or change taking or having taken place. All “lights can speak to the qualities of intellect, leadership knowledge, and transformation”.*

Light is often a symbol for the creative point in ones awareness, of bringing new light to consciousness.  It can also be symbolic of beacons to follow and is also found within the third eye chakra, that is the “light between the eyes”. This light may be speaking to the primary force of life and creation.

Many if not most “light” dreams are part of the psyche’s way of reuniting what was separated at birth, i.e. wholeness and what the psychiatrist Carl Jung might have said was part of the process of individuation of becoming fully human.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

Genesis !: 1-3 NIV

*From “Morpheus Speaks: The Encyclopedia of Dream Interpreting

 

Who are you? (3)

Who are you?

A couple of years ago I wrote two posts* that posed the question, “Who are you?” I’m still pondering that question and thought I’d share what I’ve come up with since then.

Self-discovery, true self-discovery where the soul illuminates the ego rather than the ego darkening the expression of soul or adding false light upon itself can be a tricky process. You know when you’re on the right track when your discovery brings awe, beauty, and happiness. This seems pretty simple, so why is it so hard?

I think part of the reason rests in from what part of ones self one is asking the questions. Asking questions and pondering answers generated from the ego-self almost always complicates the process and limits the results.

Sometimes even asking a question at all can distort reality. Sometimes in order to “hear” one needs to shut-up.

Sometimes just observing, watching, looking, minding (as in being mindful), hearing, seeing, feeling, or sensing is all one needs to open the door to enlightenment. Note that I don’t say anything about “doing” anything with any of that incoming awareness data? That’s because “doing” usually shuts the process down whereas the act of “being” keeps the process relevant and alive.

Try the following:

Step outside, go on… what do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? What do you see? You named it all didn’t you e.g. a “dog” “barking”; new-mowed grass; it’s hot out, must be 90 degrees for god’s sake!; there’s the neighbor playing with their one year old–cute little guy.

Now, try stepping out and observe without doing anything with what you notice. Much quieter, huh? Sometimes when I do this, not only does a sense of peace well up, but tears of happiness, feelings of belonging ,and sometimes a sense of being big enough to include it all–of being bigger than I was before stepping out the door pervades my consciousness. But as soon as I start labeling the experience…poof! It all goes away.

When I “decide” what it is that I’m experiencing I immediately kill all the alternatives, I objectify a subjective experience, I limit the experience. To add “cide” to almost any word means to kill the alternative or object.

Now, it’s not that the process of deciphering and deciding has no usefulness, because on the contrary it’s an evolutionary security process and the faster you can accurately do it, the greater the chance of your personal survival. So I wouldn’t ignore this skill when walking down a dark alley, but one does not have to treat their whole life in survival mode.

When the stresses generated by my mind’s reaction to reality begin to weigh heavily on me sometimes just quieting it by stepping outside and letting the reality wash over me without trying to corral it i.e. define it or add meaning to it will center me and bring me peace.

What does this have to do with the original question, “who are you?” It’s about telling the truth about an observation, whether that observation comes from outside you or from within. It’s about opening to the unvarnished, unmediated experience of reality.

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* https://thebookofdreamsblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/who-are-you-2/

and

https://thebookofdreamsblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/18/who-are-you/