“Floating to the surface of an impenetrable water a pulsating mandala whose rings appear and disappear when a disembodied voice exclaims, “Where’s the wind?” and is the last thing I hear before I wake up.”
Excerpt from April 8, 2019 posting from The Book of Dreams Blog
Yesterday I wrote down a poem generated by a dream the night before and titled it, “The wind in my life.”
Now normally I think of the wind in a dream as symbolizing ones soul, life source or energy but it also reflects the changes in one’s life and it was these changes that floated to the surface and demanded my attention.
But change has always been attached to people so that every change event came with a person or persons introducing it or acting as the co-navigator(s) for the ship of my life.
It’s not too far off course then to think of the people in my life as the souls of the winds of my dreams. It’s people who for whatever reason have blown me in directions I didn’t know I wanted but perhaps needed to go.
In looking back across my life I see moments where people entered my life at precisely the right time to help steer me into a new direction. As I wrote in yesterday’s poem, “…I don’t know where I’m going!” So it’s a good thing these navigators keep showing up or I’d be foundering in some uncharted sea or held fast on some unseen shoal.
How these souls find me when I most need them is a curiosity. It’s as though we are somehow attached at some as yet unseen level. I wonder if our souls communicate with each other though we aren’t always open to their message or willing to let go of the illusion of thinking we know something and allow ourselves to follow one who does?
In the poem I curse the winds that never stay put like a pulsating mandala whose circles of completion and new beginnings forever seem to appear and disappear but it may be the wisdom of these symbols of the psyche to forever be changing for the change is the pulse of the universe within itself continually individuating and transforming the separate into the whole.
Because I really don’t know where I’m going I will sometimes curse the wind and the curse itself will become part of the whole for which I search and the pulsating mandala that is my life will sometimes float to the surface of a dream and add light to the journey.
I had an interesting, nay mysterious, dream this week. At a church study group the other night was the final discussion of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene whom for me is someone who represents the feminine aspect of the Gospels of Jesus and a Gnostic balance to the masculine depiction of God. That night I had the following dream: I heard a chant repeated over and over until I awoke that went like this– “Mahdi Mahdi Mahdi padhiam (um)”
At first I thought it to be Hindi because of my interest in Hindu chants and a recent class I presented on the power of chanting however, it turned out to be Arabic (I know nothing of Arabic). Roughly translated it means the “Mahdi (the Guided one or messianic successor to Mohammad), ‘read on’, and ‘the mother’.” So I looked up the Mahdi associated with women in general and mothers specifically. In the Quran it is said that a successor to Mohammad named the Mahdi will among other things restore women to their equal place among men. This is a particularly poignant message in this era of #MeToo and the evolving worldwide awareness of feminine power and the need for equality.
I reached out to a female friend and Depth Psychologist and shared the dream and she encouraged me to look where the inner feminine was attempting expression in myself.
It was then that I suspected the chant could also have been a form of “Om Mani Padme Hum” that refers to blessings for the embodiment of compassion in a Tibetan chant (a chant I have often used in my own meditations). So this dream could be speaking to my lack of compassion towards certain types of people who don’t meet my expectations for appropriate behavior (that was part of the discussion at the church study that centered around the ability to forgive and promote unconditional love as representing part of the Magdalene persona).
I knew it was significant because even in the dream I could see it was important though some of the repeating chant was I trying to commit it to memory as I awoke. It also had the quality of the numinous, not strongly but insistent.
The Sophia (a feminine wisdom image) has visited me often over the years as a spirit guide (a soul image) in the form of a woman looking very much like Mary Mother of Jesus (it was a therapist in Santa Barbara who pointed out that my journal drawing of her was the Sophia), as a Black Madonna, and also as a white she-wolf named Onoma. As a preteen (10 through 12) she showed up in visions that I now believe to have been hypnogogic in nature as Wonder Woman in her transparent airplane swooping down in the street before me as I lay out on our front lawn on lazy summer evenings and offering a ride though I’ll admit that this character could also have reflected nothing more than a prepubescent boy’s fantasy of a really “hot” female character.
However, all my feminine spirit guides seem to show up when I am most open to transition– when I’m ready to let go of something e.g. a way of being, thinking or behaving. They all seem to offer me a hand i.e. an invitation and a way of letting go and moving on. All of these feminine images appear archetypal of the Great Mother or the Divine Feminine.
Interestingly there’s always “music” as background in these dreams, in this case the chant was the music. The “music” for me seems to be the intuition of the child when everything is in harmony with everything else and what the Mother invites me to follow. That “intuition” has always seemed to say, “Walk away. This here is not for you. This is not why you’re here”.
My second level of interpretation of the chant I heard i.e. “Om Mani Padme Hum” speaks to compassion and it is here where I may be invited to grow and to express the feminine in myself. I can suffer with those I deem innocent or most like me but don’t readily see the suffering of those I deem evil or most unlike me (notwithstanding my own darker qualities reflected in them).
It may be the feminine quality of compassion I need to expand upon but how to do that through the ego me, the me that protects from the hurt and suffering? Compassion means to suffer with another and yet that is the very thing I fear i.e. that suffering that I so readily defend against.
Given my penchant for merciless self-criticism the dream could also be encouraging compassion for myself a compassion that sometimes I seem to be in short supply of.
So why does she keep showing up? Well, I suspect it’s because my psyche is still in the process of integrating her with the masculine so as to regain the wholeness of the spiritual birthright. She is the balance to every man’s psyche as is the masculine the balance to every woman’s. I wonder what that looks like, “wholeness” I mean.
The third in the Four Elements series deals with Air. Images of Air in dreams such as in trouble breathing, wind, airplanes and flying can be significant indicators of thought processes, attitudes, emotions and relationships– all kinds of relationships.
At the level of the physical world the air that we breathe is made up primarily of Nitrogen (about 78%), 21% oxygen, 1% argon and .038% CO2. Depending on where you live there are also trace elements of various pollutants that will significantly negatively affect an individual’s health and well-being.
At the level of the metaphorical world where dreams, myth, the mystical, and spiritual Air has a long list of meanings i.e. many of the world religious cosmologies have creation myths that involve the breathing of life into the world and its people.
In dreams Air often symbolizes creativity, intelligence and thought. If the air in a dream is foggy or heavily polluted then it could suggest that the dreamer’s thought processes are cloudy, imprecise or even being poisoned through some negative self-talk or the negative talk of someone else.
Air conditioners might represent the need to “clear the air” i.e. to clean up some interpersonal issues. Cold air can reflect ones relations with another person or persons (domestic, business or social) whereas ‘hot air’ can be about undo influence, nonsense talk, or even evil talk.
To walk on air is to be feeling upbeat or the desire to feel this way. It can also refer to self-confidence i.e. to have the sense of mastery over ones circumstances (note that to walk on water is to have the same meaning over ones feelings).
Dreams of Flying through the air can be exhilarating and liberating.
Often dreams of flying reflect ones sense of freedom and independence or the desire for the same. I recall that during my tenure in one job a number of years ago I would occasionally have dreams of flying, only the flying was a struggle often ending with a crash back to Earth. As the waking world struggle increased and I tried to remain optimistic, it required that I wear a mask of being upbeat, my dream-self would hide the fact from others in the dream that I could fly. When I finally quit that job my flying dreams reflected free flight across beautiful terrain and I didn’t try to hide the fact that I could fly from anyone.
My flying dreams showed an interesting progression that reflected accurately my waking world emotional state and ability to control my personal sense of power and control over my circumstances.
Breathing has a number symbolic meanings i.e. if you’re breathing rapidly in the dream perhaps you are experiencing some anxiety or tension in your life. Breathing underwater can suggest a desire to return to the comfort and safety of the womb though in some cases this can also suggest that you are submerged in your own emotions. Not being able to breathe could indicate exhaustion (note that some people with asthma may have dreams of breathing troubles).
Someone breathing into the dreamers mouth might suggest that there is some aspect of the other person that the dreamer may want to take into themselves or it can suggest if the person blowing into the dreamer’s mouth is dead that this person still lives within in them. Images like this can also suggest the need to have more life “breathed” into ones experiences or ones activities. “A breath of fresh air” is a phrase often used to signify new and positive change.
Wind is a powerful image and can reflect changes in circumstance or emotions e.g. there can be “ill winds”, “warm winds”, “cold winds”, turbulent winds of turmoil and light breezes of harmony and tranquility. Wind in general represents a ‘life force’, energy, and a feeling of vigor or aliveness. Some Native American Shaman see the wind as a ‘living’ being or spirit that can be engaged and worked with for good or evil. In Peru I met a shaman who performed a cleansing and healing and as part of that blew three short breaths toward the Andes mountains.
Finally, airplanes can be about overcoming obstacles and rising to success, new-found freedom and increased awareness. If the dreamer is flying the airplane it may reflect either the need to take control or that they are under control of their life. To crash in an airplane my suggest that ones goals are too unrealistic and that because of this one might fail i.e. it could all come ‘crashing down’– this may also reflect the dreamer’s lack of confidence and self-criticism that may be self-defeating. Missing one’s flight can be about feeling helpless, left behind, or trapped by some circumstance that is preventing the attainment of some goal.
Many people send me their dreams with images of houses and rooms locked and unlocked. Some rooms are secret and have never been seen before. Some houses are in ruins while others are grand mansions and still others are humble shacks with some like castles with turrets and battlements. Some are haunted while others are homes from ones past. Some are multistoried with cellars below while others are like great warehouses or tiny apartments. There are also hotels, motels, dorm rooms and malls.
For me the images of houses, buildings, and rooms are some of the most important dream images for understanding the self.
What they all have in common is that they represent the dreamer’s inner self and the various aspects of the dreamer’s personality.
A house is often symbolic of ones soul or self while the rooms are a specific aspect of that self. For example the attic or top floor might be your intellectual self while the cellar can represent the unconscious mind.
Cleaning a house might suggest the need to change old ways of thinking or being while a run-down house or a house in ruins can be about old feelings, beliefs or thoughts that are no longer useful to you. A dirty room might suggest some part of yourself that you are ashamed of. A locked room might represent some part of you that you have rejected or neglected.
Repairing one’s house might suggest the need to make some changes in oneself.
A house with a grand exterior but with a significantly less grand interior might suggest that the dreamer is putting too much emphasis on how they look or aren’t being genuine or authentic.
A cluttered house could suggest that there is chaos in your life– perhaps there’s some emotional clutter that’s messing up your life. Water in the cellar or flooding the house can be about being overwhelmed with some emotional stress.
To be in a stranger’s house or to discover a room in your own house that you didn’t know was there might suggest that there’s something about your self that you haven’t yet discovered i.e. new skills, or repressed memories, ideas and thoughts.
Some dreamers write of their house being haunted that sometimes means that there may be some unfinished emotional business that might be related to the past that may be coming back to ‘haunt’ them. Unexpressed, or unacknowledged, feelings can cause this image as well– this holds true for when ghosts show up in dreams and sometimes when dead relatives show up.
There are of course other types of houses for example: A warehouse is a place where memories are kept, sometimes dark and unseen; Hotels might suggest the need for the dreamer to take some time off, or to escape the day-to-day, but also there may be some loss of personal identity or the need to move away from old habits or ways of behaving or thinking; A mansion might suggest your potential for growth. Do you have lofty goals? Perhaps you are feeling or acting better than everyone else; And finally a mall may symbolize your materialistic nature and/or fashion trendiness. It could also symbolize choices and options available to you that will shape your life.
Fundamentally one’s home is most often where their basic needs are met, where they store their values and sense of security or in some cases a lack thereof. If you’re having trouble getting back to your home or even to find it, this might suggest that you’ve lost faith in yourself. A homecoming might suggest the need for gratefulness or the need for returning to your roots.
Some time ago I was down in Santa Barbara attending an introductory course on a relatively new approach to dream work. It’s called Dream Tending and though I’m only just scratching the surface of its potential, it has created enough of a change in my perspective that I want to alter the manner in which I work with a dream–yours and mine.
Today’s blog entry I think will reflect some of that change. As I learn and practice I’ll share this already transformational journey.
I’m walking down a forested path with overhanging bushes and trees. I’m looking down a downward sloping path that seems to go into darkness as it bends slightly to my right. Oh, oh, there’s a skunk walking around the corner and out of the darkness, waddling rapidly toward me.
I’m feeling a little fearful. “Will it spray me with that foul smell?” It doesn’t seem menacing, but I’m unsure as it passes me on my right, brushing alongside both myself and the bushes along the path. It’s heading up the path and as it does it seems to be changing from a skunk into a furry, fat old raccoon, less menacing and certainly less fearsome, though I still cringe at the thought of it spraying me once it has passed.
Here’s where I would normally begin the interpretation part of the dream work, however following at least the spirit of the Dream Tending technique, if not actually the letter of it, I continued to work with the image of the creature. What I am attempting to do is to keep the image alive so that I can continue to work with it and interact with it as opposed to doing forensics on it, which requires that it be still so that I can take it apart and study it. The old method requires that the image be unanimated e.g. dead and of course in this state it can only give me information about what was and provides nothing ongoing–it flattens, or two-dimensionalises what started out as an interactive three dimensional being within the dream world.
Both of us seem focused on where we are going as though we each have a mission. As I’m working on this image I’m engaging the creature and say to it, “Good Luck!” and it responds, “Same to you!” There’s a sense of us being on the same team and performing our prescribed duties in a communal manner.
I’m having a sense that the creature is female and that she’s emerging (ascending) from where I’m headed–she having a purpose in the upper realm while I have a purpose in the lower realm.
We both seem excited by our respective missions. The mission seems like one for the planet versus a personal mission. She is coming from the mother, while I am going toward the mother with us both traveling along this two-way path.
I’m imagining the path now to include lots of back and forth traveling, doing the business of the planet. I’m noticing that this has always been the path that I have been on, but I didn’t have the eyes to see it. Now it feels as though I’m part of it versus being separate from it i.e. in true partnership. I’m feeling hopeful and energized.
I don‘t know what’s around the corner and though I’m feeling a little hesitant, I’m letting that pass and head down anyway. This transforming creature (from skunk to raccoon) reminds me of Alice’s Rabbit whose imaginal emergence becomes an invitation into a world beyond the normal–a world beyond our collective illusion–a glimpse of a world yet more real.
Though the skunk may represent my hesitancy in that I might need to protect myself, it also changes into something much more benign and welcoming.
I seem to be on the road to embodying my new position on the planet in that I am marching to its center to pick up my orders, so to speak.
I’m noticing that the thought, “Living life intentionally” comes up and that the dream seems to embody and encourage this intentionality.
I’m also struck by the animal’s femaleness and wonder if she is also a metaphor for transforming my relationship with the feminine. Am I finally recognizing our connection, our true partnership? Is the animal Psyche, Gaia, Earth Mother– the feminine side of God? Is she welcoming me as she did in the “Blue Fresco” dream summarized in the posting of 8-30-2016?
Am I being invited to help in bringing the feminine back to the world so as to heal its overly masculine imbalance? Is the image in the Blue Fresco the Sophia of the ancient Jewish tradition, the feminine aspect of God, the wisdom side of the masculine?
These are archetypal symbols that dramatize and establish core meaning to the images of the dream and invoke the divine that is in all dreams e.g. the Divine Mother and Wise Old Woman. They can be seen in virtually every mythology including those that were scribed as drawings on cave walls (the original temples serving as both tomb and womb, and earthly connection with the underworld and the spirit), or carved from clay before the dawn of the written word.
So what is a dream? Fundamentally it’s all the event material from the day being processed through the filter of your particular psyche with its biases, points-of-view, beliefs, and ways of being. If the material is consistent with your particular bias or established world-view then it is processed into longer-term memory. When you remember a dream you are not recalling the exact dream but an abbreviated text of your waking psyche’s perception of it. There’s the raw experience of the dream, then there’s a translation of that into the language of your conscious mind. But buried in that waking narrative there are the “images” of the dream and their unconscious meaning.
It is that unconscious meaning that one mines when attempting to interpret a dream and in those cracks and crevices of the dark and deep there is gold to be found. We do that by understanding our psychological associations with the images. In essence the dream image of a table doesn’t necessarily mean anything except that it might be associated with a table you used to sit at as a child where your grandmother served you warm cookies and milk and you felt all loved and cared for or it was the table you were forced to sit at for hours staring at the wall when you were being punished and felt unloved and uncared for.
Both table images can reveal the current emotional circumstances of your life, e.g. feeling loved or not loved. Both images can reveal inner conflicts. For example, the former meaning of a grandmother’s table could be revealing a lack of love and caring in your life as can the latter meaning. Your grandmother’s table could reveal a need for love but so can the punishment table. Taking this in mind one needs to apply all the possible meanings of an image to ones life as it currently manifests itself. When doing this notice when one meaning seems to stand out or resonate from the others e.g. when it seems right. This will most likely be the meaning that resonates with your current psychological or emotional situation.
So how you might ask could a dictionary of dream meanings possibly define your own personal image? It can’t. What it can do is to get you thinking of and considering your own possible image meanings. It is like a menu that describes a meal but isn’t the meal itself. It can give you an idea of the meal but shouldn’t be mistaken for the actual food and its experience. In short, a good dream dictionary points to possible meanings rather than declaring a meaning. It allows you to explore the different directions you might go in to find a meaning to a particular image.
So enough about images, what about the dream narrative that I unceremoniously discounted in the beginning of this article? Though the narrative comes from the language of the conscious mind with all its biases, prejudices, and confusions it’s those very biases etc. that reveal hidden patterns of behavior that are affecting our lives. These same patterns can reveal solutions to vexing problems or the unseen behaviors of others that may be affecting us negatively. It is also this same unconscious material that influences our thoughts, our feelings, and our beliefs within the conscious world.
Simply put the material hidden within our dreams is all the stuff we unconsciously noticed while our conscious mind was busy with the events and worries of the day. It is from the unconscious mind that our dreams come to us and by understanding both that material and what our conscious mind does with it after waking we can access and process a much greater reality than just the surface material of the everyday.
It’s a powerful and complex image and as one of the four classical elements of earth, air, fire, and water it has had significance in religion, science, and alchemy.
As a dream symbol it can represent ones passion and energy– energy at high speed. It can represent anger, desire, resentment, and destruction that has the potential to radically alter all points-of-view. It is the herald of change or a flame of hope and purification.
When your house is burning within the dream it might suggest that some transformation is taking place within you that will alter the very structure of your inner being. This is the power of fire i.e. to transform reality.
It can be symbolic of the blacksmith’s forge, creating and tempering for endurance and strength.
It is a symbol for cleansing and for the spirit within us. It’s flames can bring with them renewal and inspiration. It is also the light at your center and of your soul and that which transmutes matter into energy.
Like its elemental opposite, water, fire can be a representative of your emotional state and temperament while a wall of fire can be a circumstance or personal behavior that impedes your forward movement or the attainment of your goals.
Astrologically a fire personality can be found within Leo, Aries and Sagittarius all rather intense and fiery i.e. the ‘wild children” of the zodiac. In the Tarot it shows up in the suit of Wands (see right) and symbolizes conversion or passion positive or negative, refining or destroying, new beginnings or opposition, progress or oppression.
In some religions fire can be about regeneration, resurrection, and renewal as with the Phoenix bird that goes up in flames only to be reborn again and again.
At one level this article may look like a political statement, but it is not in that vein that I present it. All social animals e.g. Wolves, Apes, bees, ants, porpoise, human beings, etc. have some kind of cohesive principle, some kind of leadership, or coordinating system. In large social systems anarchy just doesn’t work. Scientists have even found this principle at the molecular level–most of us would not be able to survive for very long if our internal systems didn’t have a coordinating system and/or if the system were to become polarized and its parts weren’t willing to cooperate with each other.
From the very beginning of recorded western thought philosophers like Heraclitus and Hippocrates believed that there was “one common flow, a common breathing. Everything is in sympathy. The whole organism and each one of its parts are working together for the same purpose.” The Roman scholar, Agrippa spoke of an essence beyond the four known in his day as water, earth, air and fire and that it held existence together. He called it the World Soul. A more modern thinker, Carl Jung, called it the Anima Mundi. It was the glue that kept existence together, the balancing effect that kept everything on an even keel and in balance.
In The Archipelago of DreamsRobert discovers that the balance that keeps the world functioning has been dangerously tipped and that he has been conscripted to help in bringing the world back to equilibrium. But his own fears and the fears of others muster powerful physical and psychological forces to prevent him in achieving his mission. These same forces are acting on all of us on a daily basis and at an intensity that endangers the fabric of human life.
I’ve said this before; fear affects decision-making, what I haven’t said is that it kills as well. It not only kills innovation, but the body also. When there is a threat to the body the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPA) kicks in and all systems are diverted from growth and development to reaction defense mode–fight or flight. Adrenalin pours into the system and mobilizes the body for action. The immune system is repressed because right now the external world poses a greater threat than the inner and the forebrain, the center for reasoning and logic, is slowed–no time for thinking, gotta act. Vascular flow is limited to the limbs, for running or fighting and conscious volitional action is curtailed, better to let the instincts take over.
Now under normal circumstances this state of affairs only lasts for a few minutes at best, just enough to survive an attack. And thank goodness, because the body begins to deteriorate after awhile when on high alert. The HPA is an excellent system for responding to immediate threat, but it was not designed to be activated continuously. Hyper vigilance eventually dissociates the body from the mind and the community from its leadership.
This kind of hyper-vigilance eventually wreaks havoc on the health of the body. When the immune system is suppressed all kinds of viral and bacterial bad guys can attack and take over–while focusing too much on external safety a fifth column of micro-nasties compromise your health. When the body is reflecting on the external too much it neglects the internal and is thrown precariously off balance.
In our society fear, or its smaller cousin, anxiety, has at some level become de rigor, the emotion trend du jour and we find ourselves constantly on alert. Since 9/11 we have entered a continuous state of protection and our quality of life has become impaired. A constant background state of fear (exploited politically) keeps the HPA system activated and our lives become more reactionary than thoughtful–you can’t think straight when emotionally involved. After a while the body habituates and it sees fear, or something to fear, everywhere. One of the first things to happen under these conditions is that we lose tolerance for anything that is different, because “different” often translates to something threatening.
Lack of tolerance leads to an impaired ability to cooperate for it might be ‘every man for himself.’ We see this intolerance and lack of cooperation in many social contexts, but most notably within our political systems that really only reflect ourselves. In an environment of fear reactionary opinion trumps reality and the rational takes a back seat to self-protective beliefs–clear thinking becomes a victim and the society begins to dissociate which is a fancy psychologists word for separating from one another–to disunite. Nothing can be more debilitating for a community whether it be a community of biological cells, animals, insects, a business corporation, or people in general.
Continuous fear consumes our energy toward getting our needs met as well. We seem to live in a constant state of being out of control of our destiny and as we throw up more walls and fences to keep out what threatens us we begin to lose independence, autonomy and ultimately our ability to enact free will. On an individual level we become sick and vulnerable to diseases or just a lack of focused attention that can affect us creatively. On a national level we see our ability to innovatively compete globally impaired, and on a global level the reaction to our inability to get our needs met can be seen in the Arab Spring, and the protests in Greece, Russia and the United States. The “Year of the Protest” may very well be a correction toward the extremes perpetrated by those in power. Would that these powers could see that it is in their best interest as well to let this correction take its course. In the short run things may look scary, but healing isn’t always pretty–sometimes you have to scrape the scab to let what is underneath it “breathe.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt said after the last great attack against our country that, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself!” Truer words have never been spoken, fear can kill us–it can destroy the genius of the country and sicken its society. The very essence of the World Soul is in jeopardy because it has become every man for himself as we belittle the efforts of our leaders and refuse to listen to each other. The scale that keeps the world in equilibrium is way off center. It is imperative that we rediscover our balance–a center of being from which we can manifest our broader, deeper, truer nature!
In the Archipelago of Dreams Robert learns what needs to be healed in order to bring humanity into equilibrium and in the process learns how to heal himself as well.
In one of my videos* I used a mirror as a prop and symbol for the unconscious mind.
In myth Narcissus loved his reflection so much that he lost his will to live and admired himself to death. In our dreams mirrors can represent vanity, self-consciousness, a reflection of our self-image, an entry into the soul, or the need to reflect on our lives.
Whether in our waking world or in our dreams mirrors have always been seen as mystical, magical, metaphors for what lies within us.
For thousands of years mirrors and reflective surfaces have been used for divination and magic. They have been used for Scrying, developing clairvoyance, to repel evil, and in fact, mirrors have an ancient tradition of being associated with superstition, fear and evil.
1) Prior to the thirteenth century and as far back as the 3rd century BCE, mirrors were predominantly polished pieces of metal e.g. gold, silver and brass. These pretty much disappeared when the Christian church banned them during the middle ages because it was thought that the devil was watching from the other side of the mirror. This idea was probably reinforced because witches were said to use them for all kinds of dark spell casting. Glass mirrors showed up again in Venice in the 1200s.
2) Those ancient black Scrying (from descry–to see or perceive) mirrors used for divination by witches and sorcerers were once made black by using asphaltum painted on the glass three times. These were used for foretelling the future, or being able to “see” what is happening from distances, but is this real?
I imagine the staring at crystal balls, or Scrying mirrors to be similar to a focused meditation. Try closing your eyes in a meditation and focus on an individual, place, or event and “see” what you get.
Some studies have suggested the possibility that at least some individuals can see from distances beyond the physical abilities of the natural eye. Though these studies are not conclusive, they do provide tantalizing evidence for the technique of “remote viewing.”
Dreams too are like projections onto a darkened mirror some of which defy an explanation of anything other than what might be called precognition, or a shared viewing with someone else.
In short, meditation can often quiet the chattering mind just enough for us to see what the unconscious has picked up, but the conscious was too busy to notice. Thus too the Scrying mirror may act as a focusing instrument to still the mind and lay open the secrets of the inner psyche.
3) Today some tribal societies believe that to expose your self to a mirror is to render the soul vulnerable to misfortune, or even death. There used to be a widespread custom, and in some areas there still is, to remove all the mirrors from the house when a person is sick so as to prevent the mirror from stealing their soul.
When someone has died there was a tradition of turning the mirrors to face the wall because to see your reflection in a mirror after someone’s death will cause that person’s death as well. There was also a legend in the southern United States that suggested that an uncovered mirror in the house of a person who had just died would capture the soul of that person.
4) In the case of necromancy (communication with the deceased), the mirror represents absorption of the soul and then reflection, or its return, Could this reflect the concept of death and resurrection?
5) There is a myth concerning years of ill fortune surrounding the breaking of a mirror, but did you know that there is also a superstition that says if a mirror falls on its own accord and breaks, it is also a death omen? On the other hand a girl who sees the reflection of the moon in a mirror will learn the date of her wedding (given that women generally determine the day and then tell the man when it’s to be, this is no surprise).
6) There is also an old superstition that if you were to stare into the reflection of yourself at night, one would see the devil. Though I don’t believe this, I also have an aversion to staring at my reflection in a darkened room for too long–something creepy always seems to hover close by.
7) However, I have heard it said and have tried this myself, that if you are feeling blue, or anxious with no one around to talk to, try staring into your eyes reflected in a mirror. After awhile the negative mood will disappear.
8) Some Buddhists believe that if you hang a mirror on the wall directly facing the front door, evil spirits will be reflected out of the house.
9) In Tarot reading the Mirror Spread is used to work with existing relationships, e.g. the cards are placed with the 1st, or querent card, placed at the top and then 3 cards in descending order to the left of it and 3 cards in descending order to the right and the result card placed at the bottom between these two rows. In this way the reader and querent can see the relationships in opposition i.e. The way you see the other person in the relationship; The way they see themselves; What the person represents to you; What you represent to them; Obstacles within the relationship; Strengths within the relationship.
I spell all this out because I think this isn’t a bad way of looking at relationship symbols in a dream, or in a person’s waking life as well.
10) In Corinthians 13:12 is the line, “For now we see through a glass, darkly.” Which some have taken to mean that to see something reflected in a mirror is less of the reality of that thing than to gaze upon it directly. This can happen when one looks back upon their childhood, or try to see what the child saw of the world, or to assign meaning to past events, or to look at God’s works through ones biases. To look through a window, or gaze at a mirror that has been darkened by your judgments and self-criticisms makes it difficult to see your true nature or what lies beyond your projected biases. This also reminds me of the saying involving “rose colored glasses.” To look through either does not give a true picture of the world.
As Rumi, the 13th century Muslim poet was purported to have said,
“Maybe you should glimpse your most beautiful face…Maybe you are the bearer of hidden treasure. Maybe you always have been.”
*See facebook.com/darcharithinn and click on the Video section then click on the 4th video on the top row. This is “Beginning Shadow Work #6”.
1) Surprisingly, your body is virtually paralyzed during your sleep – most likely to prevent your body from acting out aspects of your dreams. According to a Wikipedia article on dreaming, “Glands begin to secrete a hormone that helps induce sleep and neurons send signals to the spinal cord which cause the body to relax and later become essentially paralyzed.” This fact often accounts for those dreams when we actually feel paralyzed. This is especially true when we first wake, but are not yet fully conscious.
2) If you are awakened out of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, you are more likely to remember your dream in a more vivid way than you would if you woke from a full night sleep. Studies have shown that our brain waves are more active when we are dreaming than when we are awake. Women tend to have more frequent dream recall than men.
3) When you are snoring, you are not dreaming. This may be partially true in that people with sleep apnea don’t usually get the deep sleep that is often characterized by dreams. However, we also experience dreams when in the lighter, Alpha, stage of dreaming that may not be affected by sleep apnea.
4) When you dream about some particular subject or even a person you know, it is not necessarily what the dream is about. Dreams speak in a deeply symbolic language. The unconscious mind tries to compare your dream to something else that has similar aspects or characteristics. Whatever symbol your dream picks on it is most unlikely to be a symbol for itself.
5) A full 12% of sighted people dream exclusively in black and white. That means about 88% of us dream in full color. We also tend to have common themes in our dreams, e.g. situations relating to school, being chased, running slowly, or in place, sexual experiences, falling, arriving too late, a person now alive being dead, teeth falling out, flying, failing an examination, or a car accident.
6) In an average lifetime, humans spend a total of about six years of it dreaming. That is more than 2,100 days spent in a different realm! On average, we dream anywhere from one to two hours every night. Moreover, we can have four to seven different dreams in one night.
7) In a recent sleep study, students who were awakened at the beginning of each dream, but still allowed their 8 hours of sleep, all experienced difficulty in concentration, irritability, hallucinations, and signs of psychosis after only 3 days. When finally allowed their REM sleep the student’s brains made up for lost time by greatly increasing the percentage of sleep spent in the REM stage.
8) People who become blind after birth can see images in their dreams. Those who are born blind do not see any images, but have dreams equally vivid involving other senses of sound, smell, touch and emotion.
9) Nightmares are common in children, typically beginning at around age 3 and occurring up to age 7-8. In adults between 2 and 8% are plagued with nightmares. Occasional adult nightmares experienced by many are usually the result of extreme stresses experienced in their waking life and is the mind’s way of dealing with them.
10) Dreams have been here as long as mankind. In the Roman Era, profound and significant dreams were submitted to the Senate for analysis and interpretation. This was true of most tribal groups and continues as a practice within some small communities throughout the world.