Snakes in dreams

 

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“AYŞEGÜL’S DREAMS ” (WITH SNAKES)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A marriage of our disparate aspects

 

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This morning I received a comment from a reader who identified as being non-binary and was musing as to whether women in the current gender equalization movement were suppressing their feminine aspect in favor of their more powerful masculine.

The following is my answer to those comments:

I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said. I too believe that women are suppressing their feminine aspect in lieu of strengthening their masculine. I don’t see this as unusual for any time an entrenched behavior is shifted it takes time for the new behavior to become more balanced, though I also don’t see a call for this balance coming from the movement.

I also believe we are seeing the effects of a gender change in roles that have rendered some males feeling emasculated and others becoming over masculinized as a compensatory effect. However, there is also a small minority that are empowered to seek out and reinforce their feminine aspects so as to be more balanced and effective in their lives. These are all to be expected as well.

Not sure what you mean by non-binary because this can encompass those that see themselves as neither male nor female, while others see themselves as both and still others who might want to be categorized as transgender. As for myself I identify as male but find a lot of shadow aspects to that identity and spend a lot of time learning to strengthen my more feminine aspects e.g., compassion, inclusiveness, intuition. I’m trying to include all sides of my personality and only move one or the other to dominance when occasions arise that may require it.

The concept of non-binary is as I understand it been around for millennia. A form of this can be found in many Native American tribes as an individual called a “berdache” or “two-spirit” person who was allowed to switch gender roles within the tribe and was considered normal and embraced. It should be noted that this was allowing another expression of the soul and spirit of the individual and perhaps even of the tribe and not necessarily a sexual expression.

Interestingly my spirit guides are feminine e.g., A she wolf, a woman, and an eagle. These dream beings usually come to me in when I am in a transition or high anxiety state in my waking life. I reveal all this to say that I don’t want to use a term such as non-binary when describing my inner self. I am looking toward a marriage of the disparate, and sometimes conflicted, parts of myself i.e., what Jung might have called a coniunctio or a synthesized polarity or culminating non-duality. The tension between these dualities is in my mind necessary in order to function as a whole being so I’m not looking to create an undifferentiated oneness even if that were possible while a living human. Another of the aspects that are by definition highly related to this marriage of aspects is that of the intellect and feeling. These can coexist but if one or the other is allowed to dominate a person can become behaviorally skewed.

The attempt to bring into harmony all aspects of the psyche is not unlike what the alchemists were really up to with all their experiments.

 

“It is the moral task of alchemy to bring the feminine, maternal background of the masculine psyche, seething with passions, into harmony with the principle of the spirit, truly a labor of Hercules!” –C.G. Jung

In a Dream: The Divine Feminine– The Sophia, Shekinah, Magdalene, Virgin Mary

 

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Shekinah.– Found on– http://shekinah.elysiumgates.com/

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 padhi am (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.

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Sophia

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.

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The Divine Marriage

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 Spirit: The hub of the Four Elements wheel

 

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Deep within all of us is a universal thought-form that influences virtually everything we do, believe or think we know. This form, feeling, or image is expressed in a myriad of ways at our most unconscious level. These universal forms are called “archetypes” and reside in an ethereal realm called the Collective Unconscious. They are most often accessed through our dreams or other trance states such as meditation. But the images are expressed in more than just our dreams, we can see them in our myths, our fairy tales, and fictional stories and they shape the relationships that matter in our lives.

From this universal center of the human psyche comes an image of the Spirit, it is the opposite of matter and may visit the dreamer as a wise old man or woman who can guide us through the spiritual world and /or through problem issues in the waking world. Collectively these are known as Spirit Guides. In the world of the Shaman these may come as a “Spirit Spouse” who assists in the shamanic work through dreams, ritual, and/or trance.

The ancient Egyptian Magus Hermes Trismegistus believed all beings possess the potential to access the infinite wisdom of the Spirit that the individual has the ability to know the whole by becoming like the whole. One does this by aligning themselves with the divine source of their being.

The Spirit can come to us in the form of a loved one who has died, a ghost or with the impression of the infinite that is called a “numinous” feeling, with the sense of something divine, something entirely different from all that we experience in our usual waking life.

At its very root the Spirit is our connection with nature, what Carl Jung the Swiss Psychiatrist and dream analyst called, “The nourishing soil of the soul”. I believe that our dissociation with nature has left us disconnected from our experience of Spirit i.e. of the divine. Nature is part of the soul of our existence and to pollute it and destroy it to make way for more hamburgers (destruction of the rain forests so as to grow more beef), oil drilling platforms and pipelines, cars, parking lots and shopping malls is to destroy or sicken part of our own soul.

As Jung once said, “Nature is not matter only, she is also Spirit”. I think that when we make our wallets more important, when we make our material objects more important, when we make ourselves more important we rob the Earth of its Spirit and from ourselves as well.

Spirit images in our dreams also remind us of death, endings, transformation, and letting go, what needs to happen in order to grow beyond our own self-imposed limits and what is absolutely necessary to evolve sustainably.

The Spirit or soul of the Earth and of humankind is the hub of the wheel of the Four Elements that I’ve been writing about this month. It is the center from which all else radiates.

 

“And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheeled universe,

And any man or woman shall stand cool and supercilious before a million universes”

Walt Whitman, leaves of grass

 

To me this suggests that there’s no object so insignificant that it can’t have the whole universe revolving around it. It is our very divinity that we are giving up when we focus exclusively on the material to the detriment of Spirit.

 

“Air moves us, fire transforms us, water shapes us, earth heals us
. And the balance of the wheel goes round and round
. And the balance of the wheel goes round.”

–

By Cathleen Sheil, Moonsea and Prune of Reclaiming

 

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The world down the rabbit hole

 

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Every time I Google “Spirit Guide” I come up with thousands of mystical references to actual entities– animal, deity, or ancestral. It is not these that I refer to when I speak of my own Spirit Guide. I am referring to an inner voice that whispers direction when I silence my mind enough to hear it. This Spirit Guide is also real, as I am real for it is a part of me and not of some disembodied spirit coming in from somewhere outside myself. But when in my ego-self I sometimes have to imagine into being a guide that appears to be separate in order to interact with it.

It may be ancestral in that it often reflects the ancient archetypes present in all humans, it may even be a spirit in that it reflects the God that is in all of us, and my animal nature also has something to offer when I can approach it dispassionately, but what it is not is something outside myself. The Spirit travels with me wherever I go; it walks the path with me. But it is an oddly twisting path often turning back on itself with each twist a function of who I am at the moment of my arrival.

Because the road is uniquely yours, the Spirit will only give you enough direction to guide, but not enough for you to see where you’re going until you’ve added some directions of your own. This is difficult because as many of you have experienced, the directions don’t remain the same–they keep mysteriously changing! Just when you think you’ve seen the path and where it’s headed, it disappears! Why is this?

Perhaps it’s because it’s not really there! Oddly enough it could be that the path you’re following is only a projection and to complicate that even more, it may be a projection not only from you, but your family, friends, and culture. It may be that we cannot see the path we’re on except perhaps in retrospect, but even there the act of looking back changes what is seen.

Hindsight is like a book on a shelf of memories that when taken down and opened changes not only in meaning, but in style and word as well. Every remembrance alters itself. You could almost say that each review obliterates the previous review.

I wonder if the road we travel in our life is like the Cheshire Cat in the Alice in Wonderland story that keeps appearing and disappearing? And why is it always smiling? Perhaps it is because it knows that what is thought to be seen isn’t really what’s there at all?

Isn’t it odd how fantasy, and religion often reflect reality, albeit a strange reality, and stranger still there’s a reality at the infinitesimally small world that physicists call the “quantum”? When in the quantum world, matter keeps appearing then vanishing like the Cheshire Cat and all the characters that make up the matter of the real world keep changing–creating and annihilating like the Hindu god Shiva.

This path I’ve been following seems to have no end of strangeness to it. For example, many have written me with dreams that they thought might be precognitive. I’ve often responded skeptically, but readings of such physicists as Fred Alan Wolf suggest that at the quantum level the present makes the past. Eh? Really, some physicists suggest that present choices can effect what happens in the past–the past’s future (our present) can affect what happens e.g. a future cause can affect a past cause–an effect can thus come before a cause. As Wolf queries, “can we [then] reasonably affirm that choices made in the future affect our present?” My skepticism regarding the reality of precognizance may be a little too strident.

“Curiouser and curiouser” Alice was known to have muttered in her confusion over the reality of the world she found at the end of the rabbit hole. Sometimes it seems to me that Lewis Carroll was describing a reality we actually live in rather than the one we define in our consciousness. It’s curious how he presages the world of quantum physics before Einstein was even born.

So what to do when on the road of the Spirit? Take it where it leads? Be where you are when you’re there? Where is there? And why take the road in the first place? Is it all to find out who and why we are?

 

“The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.

 ‘Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar.

 This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, ‘I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’

 ‘What do you mean by that?’ said the Caterpillar sternly. ‘Explain yourself!’

 ‘I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir’ said Alice, ‘because I’m not myself, you see.’ “

                                      –Lewis Carroll (Alice ‘s Adventures in Wonderland)

 

This is the fun of taking this road less traveled, this Spirit-road, it’s an exciting mystery, and confusion is part of it, for in this world, “knowing” is the booby prize.