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.
This was another night’s dream that stayed with me as I awoke but this night’s dream brought with it one of those rare delights, a poem that I share with you now.
This post is a continuation of my exploration into the masculine and feminine psyches.
A comment from a reader the other day to my query about how I might work with other men in developing their inner awareness through the work with dreams nudged me into taking another look at the mythopoeic work of Robert Bly and reminded me of his book Iron John and the concept of the warrior and wild man who was at the center of the men’s movement back in the 90’s. At the time of his heyday I was still resisting aspects of the male in me that I deemed negative and unwanted but I found myself attending his workshops anyway. Something in me at that time said that I needed to explore a little more of what I was resisting but I had not done that much justice until this most recent communiqué.
I believe that in every man exists an aspect of the warrior. It’s something that every one of us have to deal with in our jobs, our neighborhoods and with other people usually but not exclusively in the form of other men. Many of us have worked on our own aggressiveness so as to moderate it or in some cases to suppress it. As boys it’s what our mothers worked the hardest on to civilize. Some of us had to be worked on more than others. Eventually Robby became a “Good Boy” and relatively civilized. Relatively being the operative word and the warrior became pacified.
The warrior in me came to the fore while in the Marine Corps and especially when I found myself in a combat zone in Vietnam. But I can also say without any internal conflict that we did not belong over there doing what we were doing. I thought that then and think that now. Not that I didn’t think that hurting others was wrong but those thoughts were just abstractions to me at the time and could be easily dismissed. It wasn’t until confronted with the realities of death, grief, self-preservation, camaraderie, and hardship that I was able to see that this was all wrong that we had no right to be involved in the Vietnamese civil war or to kill those who had different ideas than we had. Also while on the ground I began to see that we were not welcome by the everyday people. There also seemed to be an organized resistance underground where the women who did our laundry on the base during the day were directing rocket fire onto us at night. Over time I began to feel as though I was the jackboot Nazi invader.
Was I not a patriot? Yes I was, but I was also becoming a more conscious patriot and I had lost my America Love it or Leave it mentality after a few short months in country. I began to think we had all been lied to. Over time I became more and more suspicious of our politicians and leaders and that eventually grew into a general distrust of government.
Defending my country against communism wasn’t part of my patriotism either because that too was a little too abstract and as it turned out it was wrong because it was a fabrication for going to war in 1965 as much as WMDs were for invading Iraq in 2003.
When I came home I was yelled at, accused of having killed babies, and spat at on one occasion. I observed some protests where our troops were booed and weekly statistics about American deaths were applauded. But I understood where they were coming from so I tried to help people separate the war from the warrior, the politician from the pawn, and the generals from the fodder.
We lost that war because it was all too abstract to those not actually engaged in it and neither the politicians nor most of the people had their heart in it.
After the war I worked hard at putting the awakened warrior to rest.
Today my thinking is along the lines that 1) War should be the very last recourse and only as a defense. 2) That evil should never be met with evil. 3) That aggressive domination of any kind is of the negative male attribute and needs to moderated. 4) That the people of any nation have the right to form their own version of the perfect union and to do so without intervening force. And 5) If you find that all other choices are gone and war is the only choice left then engage in it like you mean it as with everything without heart their can be no win and people’s lives are given for nothing.
After my war I came to the conclusion that if young men were to say no to war the generals and politicians would be hard pressed to start any. To that end I began to do presentations to 8th grade classrooms in Santa Clara Valley that were decidedly anti military and anti-war in theme. These were matched with representatives from the military recruitment offices so as to bring some reality to their romanticized version of the military. Anecdotally these seemed to have some effect.
After having watched people in Vietnam literally starving while pulling up weeds in the rice paddies and having heard some of the stories about how joining the Marines was the only way to escape poverty and hunger for some of the guys I also came to the conclusion that undealt with hunger contributed to mankind’s aggressiveness and so I eventually joined an organization dedicated to ending hunger and became the chairman of the Santa Clara County program presenting and recruiting donations from Palo Alto to Gilroy and then into San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin and Monterey counties.
I also discovered that I had some intuitive skill in listening to the grief and fears of other Marines in my squadron and this awareness helped me to move toward a career in psychology.
I resist the warrior less these days because having discovered that I can never fully outrun him I have over time learned and am still learning to work with the warrior and to enlist his power for good when it is needed.
In short, my experiences in Vietnam literally set the stage for the rest of my life. It opened my eyes and brought purpose to my life. As part of my journey I do not regret the experience because it’s clear to me now that this path is the one that God wanted me on.
I had a dream the other night that seemed to be pointing to my oft feelings of low self-worth. In the dream I was both chasing and being chased and never getting to my goal.
Why is it so important to see my own worth, my own value, my own strengths? If something needs doing and I know intuitively that I can contribute and am dedicated to act on that intuition does it make any difference if I think I’ve got little or nothing to offer?
It seems to me that low self-worth is only important if I use it as an excuse to not contribute or to not act. Knowing at some level that I know something that can on occasion help others ought to be enough. Knowing that there’s something within me that can contribute if I let it seems to be more important than whether I feel good about it or about myself. I realize that it steals some part of my sense of aliveness but so what? If what I’m being enlivens another it might be enough. The satisfaction of having given from myself outside myself ought to be enough.
I’m tired of chasing self-worth. Sometimes I catch it but have never been able to hold onto it for very long. It’s not something I’ve ever been able to keep probably because I don’t ever think it’s real. Trying to attach certain talents to a sense of self-worth also seems a waste of time. I can see my talents or at least what I think are talents in the moment and I’m freely willing to give them away if necessary. What determines what’s necessary seems to be something deep inside, something other than my ego-self, i.e. that part of me that craves self-worth.
It is this deeper me that I’ve learned to trust. Whether that makes me a talented person of some worth seems irrelevant. Chasing it doesn’t seem to change my overall estimation of self so why bother? I know when I have something to give and can only hope that when given it is useful. Trying to get acknowledgment for the giving of something useful is also futile for my ego won’t accept it anyway, it’s primed only to reject. It’s an interesting creature this ego-self in that it longs to be accepted and yet rejects it when it comes around. It’s kind of like a self-involved and petty dictator.
Because I’ve learned that others need to know that their gifts to others or me have been received, welcomed, and made useful in order to feel complete I’ll acknowledge them. However, as you can guess in my case a gift of “Good work, Bob” or “you did a great job” will be acknowledged outwardly but almost never believed or if momentarily believed not held onto. The Bob Ego-self doesn’t believe it’s of much or any value. However, the “Deeper-Bob” knows otherwise so this is what I try to operate out of. When I operate out of Deeper-Bob incredible things can and do happen.
When I stop chasing my own metaphorical tail life becomes much less stressful.
Realized or not or intentional or not authors project themselves into their stories. Successful stories depend on good writing but they also draw on archetypal aspects that at an unconscious level resonate with most human beings.
Earlier someone shared part of a dream that included the image of the Tin Man from the Wonderful Wizard of OZ (1900). This got me to thinking about the other characters and aspects of L.Frank Baum’s story and who or what they might represent symbolically. However, my projected meanings are in no way intended to convey the meanings that Baum had for them these are just possible meanings that one might entertain should they show up in their dreams.
Tinman: a Tin Man may be someone with no heart but deep down a heart as big as it gets. It can represent someone acting without compassion or being unsympathetic, or be someone unforgiving or unkind. When oiled e.g. given some kind, caring attention he/she becomes less rigid and stuck in their position. Do you know someone like this?
Cowardly lion: a person who acts tough but misses a golden opportunity out of fear. Are you feeling inadequate? Do you need to face your fears? Are you or someone you know wearing the mask of the tough guy thus keeping people at bay? Often this is the definition for someone who bullies. Are you limiting yourself by adhering to an inner dialog that has you feeling less-than?
Scarecrow: someone who looks scary but is using it as a cover-up so as to protect a vulnerable interior. Do you think of your self as being inferior? Is your exterior not matching your interior? Has your self-presentation been tattered?
Wicked witch: the negative feminine, in this case her insensitivity, and lack of focus except inwardly thus creating self-involvement, and being socially rejecting thus separating herself from others. She is the witch of the west and symbolic of darkness and endings that which needed to be faced in order to bring back the light and a new beginning.
Consider also that a witch can represent ones mother and the magical effect she has on you i.e. she is both nurturer and punisher.
Wizard: your inner wisdom and hidden power. This wizard also played the role of the trickster and was symbolically he who helps us to transcend our conditioning e.g. our learned behaviors, the behaviors and attitudes that limit us in life.
Glinda the good witch: she is the antithesis of the wicked witch, a goddess figure and the divine mother symbolizing feminine power, nurturing, and the coming of age for a young girl on the cusp of becoming a woman. She is the witch of the south that is symbolic of new beginnings, vulnerability and emotions.
Note that each of these characters is representative of Dorothy herself. Feeling unloved, unimportant, disconnected from her real power, with low self-esteem, lost and feeling as though she doesn’t belong, she dreams of a place where she can regain her self by returning home to herself. All aspects of her show up in the dream so as to help her heal and come back to her core being.
The psycho-emotional healing in most stories seems to center around the need to bring resolution to separateness and to unify the disparate aspects of the story i.e. to bring things back into balance. When we get out of balance catastrophic things can happen to help us find our way back home. This goes for societies and countries as well.
This I think is the function of our nightmares (individual or collective), which surly were depicted in Dorothy’s feverish dream i.e. to shake us up a little so as to point out the wrong road we’re on and head us toward the better road, the yellow brick road of hopefulness that leads to a place of healing and personal growth i.e. the green city of OZ while along the way we reconnect and make friends with the rejected parts of ourselves. The monster in the nightmare is not the hero save that they point to the fact that something isn’t working in the individual or societal psyche. As with Dorothy it’s only when we face our nightmarish bully that we can find our way home.
Belief: Wikipedia defines it as “… a mental representation of an attitude positively oriented towards the likelihood of something being true”. It doesn’t require empirical evidence that something is true. In general they are just personal attitudes and not necessarily reality. Each of us create our own reality i.e. our own attitudes and judgments about what we see or experience. These may or may not correspond to what is actually true. Mostly we don’t bother to look too closely at whether there’s any real truth, in other words, when it comes to belief most humans aren’t very introspective. Most of us walk around thinking that we know what the world is about.
But don’t believe everything you think.
And that should be the default mantra of every thinking being, “Don’t believe everything you think”. Mostly what we think we believe is delusional or better yet illusional i.e. our beliefs are deceptive and misleading. What we see depends on our motivation and that usually involves dealing with fear– fear of the unknown, fear of being out of control, fear of loss, fear of being wrong, fear of being vulnerable, fear of dying, fear of nonexistence, fear of pain, fear of being unworthy, fear of being unloved, fear of commitment, fear of not surviving, fear of meaninglessness, fear of not being important in short, we are all looking for that which will help us handle our fears.
So what can one do to remove the barriers to just being with our fears, no I’m not saying to our becoming or embracing those fears I’m suggesting having them and looking at them honestly? Life is generally fearsome which is why we create beliefs in the first place i.e. to help us deal with them and that can be good but then we act as though what we created was real. What would happen if we just laid ourselves open to what’s actually there without our guard up (no I’m not suggesting we put ourselves into real danger)?
If we were to put our beliefs aside what might we see? If we could really just be in the moment, what might be there? If we could be aware of our fears what might we learn from them? Might we learn how we’ve been letting them determine the direction of our lives? Might we learn that these fears and our reactions to them have over time boxed us up and left us smaller than we actually are? As a reaction to fear we often use our beliefs as a way of limiting risk, what market people call risk aversion, but too much of this leads to a contracted life.
So why did I title this piece, “Don’t believe in the Cosmic Mind, or God, or goddess? It’s okay, they don’t believe in you either”?
The so-called belief in a Cosmic Mind, or God or goddess as an illusion for purposes of self-protection is like a crutch. They are just constructs to help with day-to-day fears. But do they exist? They may exist as representations of our spiritual aspect in that they speak to parts of our being– the deeper aspects to who and what we are and as such don’t require that we believe in them in order for them to exist. They just are or it just is and exist outside our rational brain. And it’s the rational brain as a construct of our egos that the spiritual doesn’t believe in for it is just an illusion. But some may argue that it’s all illusion, but whose illusion? Ah there’s the rub.
I’ve been visited by the image of the Sophia again. What do I mean by that? There is an aspect of compassion and caring and nurturing in all of us male or female that reflects a deeper wisdom than is expressed by the every day ego-self of fear, greed, anger, aggression, self-interest, and hatred. This wisdom comes from that part of our psychology that some call the Sophia, the feminine aspect in us all. Sophia is the feminine counterpart to a patriarchal God. It’s the expression of love not only for ourselves and a limited number of people around us but for our neighbors near and far here or in another part of the world.
Sophia is that part of us that urges unification and wholeness and is the mother of and to us all. She has shown up in my life in the form of my mother and grandmothers, my wife, daughters and granddaughters. She has shown up in my dreams to help lead me toward a new way of being and is showing up everywhere in the #MeToo movement and in politics as politicians and political operatives.
What they all have in common is the desire to stand up to the bullying of the overly aggressive masculine aspect that all too often thinks only in the binary language of win or lose, dominate or be dominated, control or be controlled, and deal-closers and patsies. The Sophia aspects also encourage the desire for inclusiveness and the integration of all voices and ideas. In a rabidly divided world the power of the Sophia is sorely needed for without her we will surely fall into another abyss of our own making. The abyss of which I speak is the dark night of our soul a soul that cannot be salvaged or enlivened through the building of walls or by demeaning others. These are the actions of fearful people consumed by their small and frightened minds. Actions within a context of fear cannot build new ideas or new ways of being because fear separates and doesn’t unite it isolates us from others and also from our deeper more meaningful selves.
Fear causes us to crawl back into our box and causes all our creative energy to be used toward self-protection. But the energy used to build the walls of our box to keep that which we fear at bay eventually becomes less than the creative energy to grow and be free of the box’s limits and that’s when the Sophia comes into our lives to show us the way to a greater and more balanced way of being.
Listen to all her forms because they are urging us into a new world a new world in how we think of ourselves and how we can be with each other. It’s a world that transcends the traditional world of us/them or we/they and is so much more powerful and richer than the world we’ve created thus far.
To hold tight to the traditional world is death let it go and live what we were intended to live.
Okay, time to get a little ‘academic’ here, yes I know that I’m about to lose half my audience with that word, but read on for I’m about to talk about the ‘emotional’ side of dreams and dream recall.
According to Rosenberg (1998) emotions can be thought of on both state and trait levels that is on the ‘state’ level emotions are temporary and frequently related to what’s happening in and around a moment or period of time whereas at the trait level we’re talking about individual differences such as with mood tendencies i.e. how one generally reacts to emotional stimuli.
Our dreams are generally emotional in nature and interact with emotional oscillations in our waking state and both state and trait emotions affect our dream content and narratives. This is why I encourage those who send their dreams to me for analysis to include the emotional content of the dream as well as what is happening in their waking world circumstances.
Interestingly those people who’s typical response to emotional material is to repress it or deny its existence or that it has any effect on them are those that have trouble recalling their dreams. This may be due to the fact that the personality tendency to repress during wakefulness shows up in their ability to recall e.g. some part of the overall psyche of the individual inhibits the recall because of its emotional content (Kai & Yu, 2013). These so-called repressors also tend to disavow negative social experiences and negative emotions in general.
Research done by Wegner, Wenzlaff, and Kozak (2004) also suggested that thoughts suppressed prior to sleeping and dreaming would tend to show up in one’s dreams. This idea that suppressed material relegated to the unconscious would revisited us in our dreams has been a theme in many of my writings on the subject over the years. Kohler and Prinzleves (2007) also suggested that “dream memories that elicit more unpleasant feelings and stronger skin conductance responses (as one might find in a lie detector test) are more likely to be forgotten.” This might explain why some can’t recall their dreams especially when they have a high emotional content.”
Though emotional repression tends to protect from immediate emotional disturbance, research shows that those with a repressive or denial coping style tend to have higher anxiety traits than those who don’t i.e. than those who tend to deal more directly with their emotions (Weinberger et al, 1979).
My experience in the interpretation of people’s dreams has shown across the thousands of dreams that I have worked with that females tend to share more of the emotional content of a dream as well as their waking life emotional content that may affect their dreams. This gender difference has been generally supported by studies that show that women tend to share dreams more often than men (see Schredl & Shwainski, 2010 overview) and have a higher dream recall than men. Women tend to recall and share nightmare material more than men as well. This of course would be consistent with the general tendency of people exhibiting the feminine orientation toward the social-emotional versus the masculine attribute of being action oriented. These gender differences might also explain why most of the dream groups I’ve been associated with as a participant or tangentially as an observer or researcher have been overwhelmingly female.
Dream recall can also be affected by one’s attitude to dreams i.e. the willingness to express one’s dreams affects recall (Schredl et al, 2013).
None of this of course suggests a direct relationship to why people in general tend not recall their dreams. I think that most of us could increase our dream recall with greater focus, attention, and interest in the usefulness of our dreams to problem solving, self-understanding, and self-development. But that’s a subject for a later day.
Kai, C., Yu, Ching, (2013). Superego and the repression of affective and dream experiences. Dreaming, 23, 4, 266-276.
Kohler, T. & Prinzleve, M. (2007) “Is forgetting dreams due to repression?” Swiss Journal of Psychology, 66, 33-40.
Rosenberg, E.L. (1998). Levels of analysis and the organization of affect. Review of General Psychology, 2, 247-270.
Schredl, M. , Kim, E., Labudek, S and Schadler, A. (2013). Gender, Sex role orientation, and dreaming, Dreaming, 23, 4, 277-286.
Schredl, M. & Schwainski, J.A. (2010) Frequency of dream sharing: The effects of gender and personality. The American Journal of Psychology, 123, 93-101.
Wegner, D.M., Wenzlaff, R.M. and Kozak, M. (2004) Dream rebound: The return of repressed thoughts in dreams. Psychological Science, 15, 232-236.
Winberger, D.A. ,Schwartz, G.E. & Davidson, R.J. (1979). Low anxious, high anxious, and repressive coping styles: Psychometric patterns and behavioral and physiological responses to stress. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 88, 369-380.
A dream dictionary is basically a book of symbols to aide a dreamer in interpreting a dream. I say “aide” because symbolic meaning is fundamentally unique to the dreamer i.e. the dreamer projects subjective meaning onto the dream images.
A dictionary can help with meaning, but it is not the ultimate meaning because as with any dictionary the author of the material attaches various emotions, memories, and cultural significance to a word in such a way that every word takes on several layers of meaning beyond that which is included in the dictionary. So the symbols in a dictionary can help, but they can’t ultimately define for the individual exact meaning.
Not too long ago I came across a number of dreams that included symbolic drawings that defied definitive meaning, so I decided to experiment with these “dream sigils” to see what they could reveal.
What’s a sigil? Essentially, they are symbols of ones “intentions” and in the process of creating a sigil the “will” of the person creating it is infused into the drawing thus reinforcing the intention. It is a “thought form” designed to giving “being” to an idea.
Before going any further, intentionality should be distinguished from intention because in intentionality the thought creates a reality within itself–a representation of something that has objective existence vs. intention that is the purpose or anticipated outcome of some action.
A sigil can be both in that it can represent an objective reality while it also can be used for some specific outcome.
In the mystic tradition of the Tibetan Buddhists it was thought that one could bring an object or being into reality through sheer will i.e. a materialized thought (the Tulpa). These thoughts could summon into existence a demon, or object of desire if delivered into reality in the appropriate manner.
For modern use the sigil may be similar in purpose to a mandala that may focus the mind, or in the development of a trance state. Some Buddhists suggest that certain deities live within a mandala and can be communicated with when focused upon.
This idea is not altogether unlike the reanimation technique used with dream material as a means of broadening the work and meaning of a specific dream. The dream itself becomes the mandala whose meandering designs pull the dreamers consciousness into its center. Carl Jung labeled the technique Active Imagining where the images of the dream can be brought back to life and interacted with within the context of the therapy session.
As with all things brought to consciousness their reality is pretty much a function of the material projected upon them by the observer. Thus in the creation of a sigil one can observe the associations that present themselves during the process.
For example, note the sigil on the left that I created for the word “Spirit”. In this representation I removed the vowels and left the remaining unduplicated consonants “SPRT”. The drawing took no time at all to produce, seeming to flow from the pen without much thinking on the part of the brain. I felt excitement laced with a happy feeling and a sense of success while producing it. The result exhibited a bold strength combined with a sense of purpose and confidence. For me, when I’m in touch with the Spirit, everything just flows.
Energized by this success I tried another and chose the word “Dreams” (what else?). Eliminating the “e” and the “a” and combining the DRMS I started to draw, but after several iterations I became frustrated, yet determined and wondering why there was such a difference. Then I realized that for the last two nights my dreams had been confusing and frustrating with me failing to get ahold of enough material to extract any meaning. This sigil also reflected the chaos and vulnerability experienced in my former nights dreams.
The very act of creation was a projection of myself in relation to the symbols! In both cases my attention was brought to focus on my real world experiences with the concepts being represented. It had been my intention to use this process to gain insight to the meaning these words implied and indeed they did just that–the subjective intention was realized in the objective creation. Hooha!
Though my sigil may not have charmed something or brought a demon into existence it did objectify an inner demon (my tendency to easily frustrate) and enable me to broaden the experience of the former night’s dreams. And again, by bringing the demon shadow into the light of consciousness I was able to deal with it and thus banish it. Now that’s magic!
“I’m of two minds” is a phrase often heard when someone has not made up their mind about something or believe that something is neither this or that but perhaps a melding of both. But this phrase also describes perfectly the relationship between dreams and waking life.
We know today that the brain functions in a unified way but that its two hemispheres have somewhat different inputs to that functioning. Various modern technologies have shown us that dreaming often takes place in the right hemisphere of the brain, though there are inputs from the left. During REM sleep the rational left hemisphere becomes less dominant and the more metaphorical right side of the brain comes to the forefront.
During wakefulness the left side is involved in language presentation and interpretation while the right brain is more involved in the emotional interpretation of sensory input and the right brain also has language input through the emotions evoked by words e.g. intonation (pitch, rhythm and tone)1.
The left side tends to be linear and concrete in its interpretation of sensory input while the right tends2 to be as I said earlier to be more metaphorical and thus uses images of everyday objects in a different way that often leads to a different perspective on things and provides new and perhaps heretofore unknown information.
Training the brain to interpret sensory information in only one way, such as what we do in our schools, can actually limit the brain’s overall functioning and thus its ultimate usefulness. The logical and often concrete thinking process of the left brain frequently ignores the personal meaning and importance of objects, words and experiences of the individual, the right brain information that often affects our decisions in our waking life, though unconsciously for we tend to be ignorant of their existence in a left-brain dominant world.
Attention to dreams and the openness to their contribution can be transformational to the individual and produce incredible results toward the success of everyday living.
As a diagnostician my work with children in a therapeutic setting literally took off when I started adding their dream material to the mix of standardized psychological testing in my tool-kit. My understanding of what was affecting the kids from their personal perspective of their world took on a whole new dimension that was quite useful in their therapeutic intervention.
Training kids at an early level to be conscious of all the available inputs to their experience and understanding of the world they live in ought to be part of any educational curriculum i.e. there is more internal wisdom in each of us than can be found in a dictionary or on-line encyclopedia or Google search. Standard educational approaches are needed and most useful but sorely limited when an entire resource uniquely individual is ignored.
1This is not necessarily true for all languages in that some do not use pitch to distinguish words.
2I use “tend” because neither side of the brain is all of one way of functioning.
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.