A mythological journey

 

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A while back my wife and I had been traveling along the coast of and in the waters of the Adriatic, Ionian, and Aegean Seas, the places where Homer penned his stories of the ultimate heroes of the Archaic to Classical eras of ancient Greece and Rome.

While traveling along the Dalmatian Coast one cannot help but to step into the ancient worlds full of myth and fantasy. Myth is the secret opening to the psyche through which the universe pours its wonder and wisdom. Myths are the productions of the psyche.

This psyche of which I speak represents the totality of the human mind, both the conscious and the vast unconscious. In classical mythology it is the personification of the soul, or inner animating spirit and in science the psychological structure of a human being, the center of thought, motivation, and feeling. But in myth, Psyche was a beautiful girl loved by Cupid (Roman) or Eros (Greek) and made immortal by Jupiter (Roman), Zeus (Greek), the King of the gods.

Though myths come wearing many costumes, they represent the one true being. It is said by some researchers e.g. Joseph Campbell, that all of humankinds “religions, philosophies, arts…prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep” come from the “magic ring of myth” *.

Myths today are mostly thought to be quaint little fables that the ancients made up to explain their world and that disappeared once science took over. But in science the essence of humankind has been reduced to chemical and mechanical interactions and social conditioning and meaning is only in what can be observed and reproduced scientifically– life is only about procreation and survival whereas the ancients envisioned a much greater significance for humankind whose essence was of the universe and where meaning was to be found in every thing and act.

In today’s modern world there is an almost desperate search for meaning, i.e. something that says we are more than just our parts, our bodies, status, or our fashion statements.

We long to be the hero in our own myth, to slay dragons, earn acknowledgment and win the Golden Fleece, find the Holy Grail, be wooed by the White Knight or win the hand of the most beautiful princess of the land or be dubbed an immortal** by the god of gods.

To the ancients the myths that sustained them were a reality i.e. the gods lived amongst them and everyone accepted this. Today all we have is our unrecognized inner myth or pantheon of dreams.

 

“It has always been the prime function of mythology and rite to supply the symbols that carry the human spirit forward, in counteraction to those that tend to tie it back. In fact, it may very well be that the very high incidence of neuroticism among ourselves follows the decline among us of such effective spiritual aid.”

 –Joseph Campbell

 

Campbell goes on to say, “dream is personalized myth, myth is depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamics of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problem and solutions shown are directly valid for all mankind.”

We can learn about ourselves through an understanding of not only the ancient myths but those that we have created for ourselves both in our waking and sleeping dreams– we are already the hero of our own myth and much of the story is shared by others– we don’t have to take this journey alone.

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*Campbell, Joseph, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Meridian Books, 1956

**everlasting life; the hereafter; eternal life

A “Hidden Music” dream

 

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“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

 This is a quote oft attributable to Frederick Nietzsche that I ran across while searching for aphorisms. It stuck with me all week mainly because it seemed to be speaking directly to me.

Two other quotes that seemed to apply came to mind as well, though I don’t recall from where I first saw them and Google didn’t help at all. My apologies to those who first spoke them.

 

“People who don’t understand things tend to reject them.”

 And

 “Let your heart lead and your mind follow”.

(I can imagine the corollary to that might be “let your mind lead and heart will get lost in the dust”.)

 

Not all that long ago I had a dream that seemed to reinforce this notion of some inner voice, or song that few others can hear. The dream seemed to be an extension of the dream I had even earlier that I had labeled The Blue Fresco. This dream could also be interpreted as what I’m now calling a “Hidden Music” dream.

It’s only when I’m quiet, when I’ve stilled the incessant chatter of my ego-voice that I can hear the music. When ruled by pride, fear, desire, worry, anger, distrust, greed, or when I imagine myself better than others I cannot hear the music. When I judge others or myself, I cannot hear the music. When I surround myself with distractions (TV, Facebook, Twitter, video games) I cannot hear the music.

It is only when I seek the sound of silence that I can hear the music of the spirit. It is from this deep venue that my soul waits to be expressed by as Rumi said, “It’s most beautiful face”. To dwell in this place is to dance to the music that few will ever hear, not that they cannot but that they will not and herein lies the cause of our deafness, the “Will” of will not, the be-all and know-all of the human consciousness that hides the beauty of what we all are beneath its suffocating self-centeredness.

It is this self-centeredness of the will that has us search the world for some treasure when the treasure is in us all the time. It’s what Lao Tzu called the Tao, “the origin of all things” the heart of all our being, the essence of what we are. It’s what lies between each of our words and the thoughts that create them. It’s what is beyond our personal and collective motives.

When we become self-centered the music cannot be heard. As Lao Tzu said “the quest for outer acquisition closes the door on the Tao” and it is the needy self-centered ego-self that is always projecting outside itself its unreality because it knows that it is hollow and empty within. No matter how hard it tries, no matter how many self-help programs it takes it cannot fill the void of itself for here there is no music within the void. It is not in the personally created ego that we can find the music of our true self.

As with that dream of several years back (The Blue Fresco) one needs to leave the empty world behind it and follow the intuition of the child into the mountains beyond where the music lies. Therein lies the connection with the spirit, the real self.

Two poems felt while listening to a flute meditation

 

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Dream Journey

Sailing into the night beneath the big dipper’s spout

a dragon and a dove fly within each other’s wake

and I tack north till dawn comes starboard.

The Coming

Silver streaks across white cotton skies.

A hill’s edge turns black silhouette and the shadows become arbored spires reaching out to the rising light.

A cock crows, a crow calls to hidden brothers and then the quiet.

Not a leaf twitches.

All are holding their breath awaiting the coming of the light.

It will come, it always does, a holy thing giving of itself freely.

Not a thing out there but a glowing deep within every cell of our being.

With us at birth and at the closing of our days.

Neverland, the border land between sleep and wakefulness

 

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“Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning” was Peter Pan’s answer to Wendy when asked where Neverland was located. It was also Captain Kirks answer to helmsman Checkov when asked “Where to Captain?” in Star Trek VI. In both cases it referred to a mystical place between realities, an ‘unknown country’.

Neverland is also my name for that borderland called the daydream where we are neither in sleep or in wakefulness but certainly lost to both worlds. It is a place at the margins of reality a place that some call fantasy.

Now, a certain amount of fantasy is healthy to a balanced psyche. It can be healing to ones sense of self and help one to recuperate from the traumas of the everyday. This fantasy world often serves the artist, poet, writer, musician, lyricist, inventor, and scientist or just about everyone else. It is where the energy of creativity is born. I suggest that it is the semi-lucid place where the conscious meets the unconscious to where the soul speaks to us most clearly and where its power is felt most keenly.

But the traveler who hikes to realities edge must be careful where he or she steps and to visit too long or too often can lead to entrapment and skew the balance of the psyche i.e. it can separate one permanently from the upper kingdom and thus alienate them forever from friends and family. This was the very real threat that Robert experienced in the Archipelago of Dreams.  It is in our daydreams that all sorts of realities can be explored. In this place the soul is freed from the restrictions of the body and its limits with time, place and idea. Here there is a clarity of mind that can begin to form and inform. No longer restricted by time the future can come into focus. Traveling into the past often affects what’s happening in the present. One typically forgets what they are doing when they travel deeper into Neverland.

In the upper realms when one is tasking the mind narrows its engagement to deal only with the analytic task at hand and compassion suffers terribly. But in the Neverland of the daydream both the analytic and empathetic modes function and cycle through different modes and leading perhaps to a broader understanding. In the daydreaming mind various associations not seen when awake can bring forth understandings that the awake mind has grappled with without success. This also happens during dreaming but it tends to be more random.

Basically we are a daydreaming species. A recent Harvard study suggested that we humans tend to daydream up to 47% of the time we’re awake. But this is not useless idle time because studies have shown that unusual associations and pairings, counterfactuals if you ill, take place during a visit to Neverland. From our unrestricted depths well up all kinds of strange new thoughts that often turn out to be quite useful where new possibilities surfaced beyond what people are already exposed to in their waking lives (according to Baird and Schooler, Psychological Science, 2012). It is suggest here that more creative solutions result when the mind is allowed to wander into Neverland i.e. in general the better one is at wandering through the borderlands of consciousness, the more creative they tend to be.

In closing I share this excerpt from Edgar Allen Poe’s Marginalia (Part V,” Graham’s Magazine, March 1846):

“There is, however, a class of fancies, of exquisite delicacy, which are not thoughts, and to which, as yet, I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt language. I use the word fancies at random, and merely because I must use some word; but the idea commonly attached to the term is not even remotely applicable to the shadows of shadows in question. They seem to me rather psychal than intellectual.

 They arise in the soul (alas, how rarely!) only at its epochs of most intense tranquility–when the bodily and mental health are in perfection– and at those mere points of time where the confines of the waking world blend with those of the world of dreams. I am aware of these “fancies” only when I am upon the very brink of sleep, with the consciousness that I am so. I have satisfied myself that this condition exists but for an inappreciable point of time–yet it is crowded with these ‘shadows of shadows’, and for absolute thought there is demanded time’s endurance.”

 

 

 

Dreamwork

 

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Author’s dream journal

Some time ago I met a couple of really serious Dreamers. One had collected nearly 17,000 dreams over the years, while the other sported maybe half that. My measly 3 to 3.5 thousand paled in comparison. What of course was interesting to me was how both have used their dreams to monitor not only their life and what was going on in it but also the progress, or lack thereof, they were making in their personal development. The way one of them described the process it was a little like having their own personal therapeutic secretary traveling around with them. Which would be even better from my perspective if the secretary were to write down the dreams as well–I hate doing that!

 

I’ve never been that focused in my own dream work in that I would often pick and choose which dreams I was going to spend the time interpreting, or even bothering to write down. I also, for the most part, treated most of my dreams as separate entities and only occasionally looked for themes over time, or themes relevant to some identified personal work.

Up to that moment I guess I had been more a dabbler in the personal therapeutic world of dreams what with spending more time assuaging my curiosity about my dreams and the part of myself that they pointed to and having long since decided that the persona I’d at one time was convinced I was, was not as interesting as what seemed to be hidden beneath it.

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Example of a page from journal

Not that my persona was perfect and didn’t need work, mind you. Besides asking anyone who has ever met me for more than ten minutes, I’m pretty sure I could provide a list of personality material that could be worked on that would definitely make me more effective and if you asked my wife, easier to live with. And I have worked on some of it with varying degrees of success. But as my wife has said on occasion, she needs to ground me for I have a tendency to get lost in other realms of reality that more often than not interest me more than the reality I find myself in.

Though I struggle with being brought, sometimes kicking and flailing, into dealing with the world I’m in, things and people in my life that assist in this process, sometimes unwillingly, unconsciously, or unknowingly are held very dear. This is also the promise of following my dreams.

Dreams as portals to the divine

 

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I’ve said this for quite some time that we are made up of divine stuff, though I’ll admit that I rarely experience the energy of this “source-being” save with one fairly consistent exception in my dreams.

In my dreams I often find myself square in the middle of my soul-self.

It has been my attention to my dreams that has partially awakened me from the sleep of my so-called waking world. Yes, we are asleep as we walk through our waking dream. The images of our every day are just as illusory as those of our sleeping dream though mostly we aren’t as yet lucid enough to notice.

Dreams are normal occurrences, we all have them whether we recall them or not, and if remembered and worked with appropriately they can provide an expanded way of perceiving. They are quite literally a way for the soul to speak to us and given how much of our life is spent giving the loud voice of our ego-self the podium of our existence it is one of a very limited number of portals into the divine.1

It’s one of the best ways of connecting us with our true self.

It’s only our ego-self, the self that we imagine us to be e.g. the self seen in the mirror either the one we stand before or that we see in the mirror of our mind, that thinks it can fulfill itself, its hopes, dreams, and desires. It’s the part of our nature that desperately wants to make a difference but no matter how much money is gained, or fame that is acquired, or number of degrees, awards, and recognitions bestowed upon us we never fully experience making a real difference not for any sustainable period of time at least .

Why is that? I’m not sure, but I think it’s because “making a difference” is an illusion created by the illusion of the ego-self; an illusion of an illusion if you will. While “asleep” all images are but illusions. While asleep in our every day we are out of touch with our soul, isn’t that so? Just look and see. Are you really in touch with your essence or just in touch with your mind’s image– your idea– of it? I’ll bet that if you are in touch with anything it is just your familial, societal or cultural images and hardly the authentic soul of yourself.

But when you are really in touch with your authentic self you become a magnet to your deepest desires and regardless of the outcomes of life, or how it looks to others, there is a profound, effortless, and deep quiet that you are in touch with and you are able to hear your intuitive voice and start to fulfill your innate potential.

“This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.

Life is no “brief candle” to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

George Bernard Shaw 

 

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1The other portals include art (in all its forms), meditation, and deep prayer and though controversial– psychedelics; actually entering these portals are facilitated by anything that suspends the chatter of the mind e.g. I have had this happen during a strenuous long distance run, as a consequence of extreme fatigue, and as a result of extended fasting.

WATER: THE FOURTH IN THE FOUR ELEMENTS DREAM SYMBOLS

 

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Water in dreams is an incredibly important symbolic
   look into the
        very depths of our being. Found on Deviant Art

“Water, water, every where,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, every where,

Nor any drop to drink.

 

The very deep did rot – Oh Christ!

That ever this should be.

Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs,

Upon the slimy sea.”

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner–Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

 

Most of the Earth’s water (96.5%) can be found in its oceans and seas. Our lakes, icecaps, glaciers, groundwater and rivers only make up 3.44% of the total. Seventy percent of the Earth’ surface is covered by water. That’s roughly 326 million trillion gallons of the stuff in all its forms i.e. liquid, solid and gaseous with only 2 percent of that being drinkable. Our bodies are mostly water as well (65%).

Water in dreams comes to visit us through floods, rising tides, relentless rain, storms and stormy seas, tidal waves and tsunamis, rivers, lakes, oceans, puddles and pools.

We sink into it, are drowned or are drowning or crawl upon barren lands where not a drop can be found. It comes to us as a becalmed sea, a busy port, or as a trickle formed into a raging river.

Being at the beach can be about standing between two ways of being, or two worlds. It is also a metaphor for intuition and the opening to ones emotions. Longing to get to the other side of a great body of water can be about our barriers, limits, ambitions and goals while tides can be about the ups and downs, ins and outs of our life.

Water gives us both life and death as in the biblical story of Moses parting the Red Sea so as to save the Hebrew slaves while drowning the Pharos army. It both refreshes and renews but can just as easily overwhelm and drown.

As with the Ancient Mariner one can find themselves far out to sea with water all around but none to drink and feeling parched and unnourished.

It comes to us as a message of emotional overwhelm or a release of tension and sadness. It cleanses us of our past and that which has made us dirty. It washes away guilt or drowns us in it. We can find ourselves in hot water where difficult situations reign and in too deep and over our head.

We wade through it, muddy it, watch it course by under the bridge and we always seem to be struggling to keep our head above it and though trying to navigate as best we can we try to not be swept away by it.

Water in dreams is our primary metaphor for our moods, emotions and the flow of our feeling energies. How we deal with the water gives insight to how we are dealing with our emotional selves. We can find ourselves hanging on to the edge of a rushing river resisting its onward rush to some unknown future or letting go and going with the flow. We can also find ourselves moving along the surface as though we were a leaf being taken wherever the river thinks important without any volition or participation on our part.

Dreaming of floods, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes and great storms? You may be overwhelmed with emotional situations, fears and anxieties whereas calm seas and placid pools would symbolize the opposite.

In deep oceans, lakes, or seas it speaks from our deeper selves, the source of our being. We can be seen swimming down into its depths and bringing up things from below as a metaphor for active developing consciousness of something kept hidden in the depths, something unconscious and coming into the light.

How we swim can reflect how we are meeting our needs. Water often is a symbol for the state of our being– emotional, psychological, spiritual, sexual, relational.

Often there are monsters from the deep that can be found here and speak to the shadowy denizens of our own unconscious mind i.e. our unmet needs or unrecognized aspects, but so too fish swim from below and bring wisdom to a troubled mind.

Water has been used metaphorically as a means of cleansing the soul so that the spirit of God may enter or as a symbol of death and resurrection aka a rebirth into something new, of washing away one state of being to make room for another.

Well that’s it! Or is it? No, there is a hidden fifth element that binds them all together. It’s the most mysterious of them all and not really an element at all. I’ll share this final aspect of our dream selves in the next Blog.

Air: The third in the Four Elements dream symbols

 

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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).

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Found on Pngtree

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.

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In Tibet and Nepal the people fly prayer flags, what are known as “Wind Horse” flags, with prayers written upon them and as they blow in the wind the air takes them to the Spirit.

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.

Fire: The second of the Four Elements dream symbols

 

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Fire as a dream image portends passion and energy and is often associated with the color red, summer, the Sun, volcanoes, and the stars.

Technically fire is a chemical reaction between oxygen in the air and some kind of fuel i.e. wood or gasoline and one more factor, the right ignition temperature, or flash point, (roughly 300 degrees Fahrenheit/150 Celsius for wood). Simply put, the first stage is decomposition of the wood turning the solid into a gas that heats to about 500 0 F causing the carbon (the basic building block of life) in the wood to recombine with the oxygen and flames of fire flash forth.

In many cases the igniter is fire itself e.g. a match– fire begets fire, passionate behaviors often create passionate behaviors in others– a perfect example of this is anger and or hatred. Have you ever noticed that fiery behavior usually evokes an in-kind response? And once anger has hit its ‘flash point’ there’s often no chance of turning back and passions are ignited.

In dreams fire images can show up in a host of ways. Depending on how it shows up it can represent destruction, passion, illumination, enlightenment, transformation or anger. It can symbolize the dreamer’s inner motivation and drive, their creative energy i.e. their internal fire.

Fire can be about one’s temper or temperament (fiery). If burned in the dream it might suggest that someone’s temper is out of control and is hurting someone (the dreamer?). If a house is on fire it might suggest the need for some transformation or that some transformation is taking place that will change the very structure of the dreamer’s inner being.

Setting fire to the dream-self or to the house they’re living in might suggest great distress with something in the dreamers waking life. Sometimes a whole town/city may be burning within the dream and might suggest that one’s whole world is being destroyed, or that big changes are happening or need to happen, or that some old way of thinking or old belief or dependency needs to be let go of.

Putting out a fire may be about getting things under control or the need to get it under control.

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Some people dream of magically starting a fire with a wave of the hand that might symbolize repressed anger that may eventually get out of hand through some kind of overreaction.

Underground fires or fires in caves could refer to some repressed passions, desires, or emotions that may need to be dealt with in order for the dreamer to grow forward in their life. Interestingly fires in the sky can be about changing ones viewpoint in order to attain the same growth as represented by the fires beneath the Earth that of course may add meaning to the phrase, “As above, so below”.

I’m also reminded of the phrase, “In the line of fire” that suggests being a target to someone’s wrath. “Under fire” is a phrase used to designate someone under stress and verbal attack– the steel blade of a sword was often heated in fire then thrust into water to harden it for combat. This may have also been part of the derivation of “trial by fire” in that one becomes hardened and tested through adversity.

Fire also can be about cleansing and purification e.g. witches were often burned at the stake in the belief that it would cleanse them in death.

Climbing down a fire escape might suggest that the dreamer’s need to distance themselves from some negativity. A fire extinguisher might suggest getting their emotions under control or controlling some inflamed situation. Burning coals can be about some burning passion as yet unexpressed whereas a firecracker can refer to angry outbursts perhaps even misdirected.

When the image of fire shows up in the image of a fire-breathing dragon it can suggest that the dreamer is using anger to get their own way and that perhaps they need to exercise some self-control.

When fire is experienced as though one were in hell, the dreamer may be experiencing an inescapable situation or suffering from guilt or repressed negative feelings. One may be punishing themselves unnecessarily or to a greater degree than what is called for and perhaps needs to take a break from this.

Summer is of course the hottest time of the year and can represent some hot issue, or sweltering situation, but it can also be about ones midlife or the peak of life. A sweaty summer day might suggest struggles or emotionally heated situations.

When the fire image shows up as the Sun it can often symbolize divine power, enlightenment, or insight. Sometimes the Sun can be a pun for Son and can refer to actual people or an aspect of Jesus of Nazareth or some other divine figure associated with the “light of enlightenment”. The Sun is also thought as a masculine symbol in a dream.

To see the sun (or any star) exploding might suggest some traumatic event in the dreamer’s life that portends the end of something, some relationship or way of life. Sunburns may suggest some problem or burning situation that needs to be attended to.

Fire in the form of fiery suns can be about ones aspirations or ideals but can also be about placing too much in the hands of luck. When these stars go Nova it can symbolize the need to “blow up” some old way of being or letting go of some no longer useful goal. Supernova’s in dreams can also symbolize something brilliant and new or be about shattered dreams, though this destruction may lead to something better over the long run.

Earth: The first of the Four Element dream images

 

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Over the next several weeks I will deal with the elements of the meditative mantra, “Earth am I, air am I, fire and water and Spirit am I.” These elements also show up in our dreams and it is their meaning in dreams that I will be sharing.

The Earth image can speak to our need to be grounded i.e. realistic or be symbolic of your inner unconscious being. The image can show up as a cave or cavern, an abyss, a cellar, a mountain, a garden, a forest, or a grave. It can represent the body, your inner strength, or your mother.

As a mother it is the mother of us all, that which gives us life and brings us into the world. It is the grounded aspect between the father, the sun, and our spiritual self e.g. the other side of the Heaven and Earth or the mind/body dichotomy.

Scientific evidence as well as orbital pictures shows that the Earth is a great orb bulging near the middle because it’s spinning so fast (a little over a thousand miles per hour or 1675km/hr), 25,000 miles in diameter, thus taking approximately 24 hours to rotate once (thus our 24 hr day). The planet has been here quite a while, nearly 4.5 billions of years, but has only had life on it, multicellular life for the last 3.6 billion years. We animals didn’t show up until the last 600 million years or so. Human-like animals showed up about 2.5 million years ago so we’re pretty much the youngsters of the kingdom.

In its early stages before life the Earth was an inhospitable place, hurling through space being bombarded by huge boulders from the outer reaches of the solar system, with most of the land mass covered by scalding volcanic lava, corrosive acidic rains, and an atmosphere devoid of oxygen but full of sulfur gases.

Among the images of the Earth can be found volcanoes suggesting explosive personalities or situations and forests that symbolize the subconscious mind, or ones instinctual self. Walking through a forest can be about life transitions or changes in self-understanding. Forest fires can be about anger and the loss of control but it can also be about transitions and changes leading to something new.

Caves can be about your unconscious mind, the deeper you, but it can also represent the safety, warmth and retreat from the burdens of responsibility. Walking in a dark cave can be symbolic of exploring your inner self.

An abyss or canyon, can be an obstacle that is creating anxiety, something that one needs to overcome. It also represents the unknown. Standing before it can be about fears of “taking the plunge” and perhaps failing. Dark abyss’ can also be metaphors for hidden feelings and be a pit of despair and depression. Perhaps the dreamer is wallowing in negative self-talk?

A great plain can be about freedom, wholesomeness, smooth paths, or a pun on being “just plain”. A plateau in a dream might suggest that you are not growing or are in a rut, that you have “plateaued”.

Mountains also can represent obstacles or challenges to be overcome. Being on top can signify success, full potential– they often represent having a grand and bigger perspective on the world. The top of the mountain can also suggest a higher realm of consciousness, knowledge and/or spiritual awareness on the dreamer’s part.

To climb the mountain can symbolize the need to tackle some problem or to do what is necessary to grow in one’s job, personal life, spiritually or ones understanding of self. If the dreamer falls off the mountain it might suggest that they are rushing too fast without thinking things through e.g. being too impulsive. Falling can also suggest that the dreamer is giving up on something, perhaps too soon? Walking around a mountain instead of climbing it may suggest a more prudent action, that the dreamer needs to know their limitations and pace themselves. However, avoiding a mountain altogether because it looks too rugged or high could reveal a tendency to give up on, or avoiding, demanding situations.

Being in a grave or seeing a grave or hole in the ground can be about searching ones subconscious mind in search of something that may solve a problem or put some issue to rest, though it can also suggest the desire to cover something up, hide it, “bury” it so it won’t be found. We often do this with feelings, issues and aspects of our self and life that we find distasteful and don’t want to deal with. Graveyards often suggest the discarded aspects of ourselves.

To fall into a hole or a grave might suggest that you have dug a hole for yourself, created a problem for yourself, and are having trouble getting out of it.

Gardens or a farmer’s fields can be about personal growth and/or doing what is needed to encourage and tend that growth. To see weeds in that garden or field might suggest that the dreamer may be neglecting their spiritual growth or inner development.

Finally the Earth or any planet for that matter can be symbolic of exploration and new adventure. Because the Earth can represent ones body they might want to look at the condition of the Earth image.