Category: Dreamwork

Interview on Feel Good Radio – Friday 10/17/14 at 12 and 6

Curious about Dreams?   www.awoptalk247.com

Friday 10/17 at 12 and 6  Hear Deborah’s Interview

with Adrian Murray.  Click on the ON AIR banner to Listen!

dream photos_

Part 2 Night Lights: Shifting Through Dream Image Work:

This is the second part of a 3 part essay on Healing Dream Image Work

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We are sometimes gifted with healing dreams to compensate for our sorrows.  Throughout the years I have been following my dreams, both sad and celebratory scenarios would appear alternately and sometimes simultaneously depending upon what was happening psychically in my life. C.G. Jung referred to some dreams as “numinous” because they appear other-worldly, often implanted vividly in our memory, carrying an emotional charge of mystery, beauty and wonder. Trees glowing with fruit, discoveries of fascinating objects, archetypal religious figures, deceased friends and relatives close to the dreamer’s heart, dreams of weddings, pregnancies and babies all fall into this category.

 For all the troubling dreams I’ve had, others were numinous. Sometimes dark and light elements would be in the same dream. One dream presented an attack dog that transformed to a Pegasus. Another of a snakebite ended with gorgeous crystals growing out of my fingers. In fact, dreams are often born of the tension between oppositional attitudes, judgments or opinions. Everything in the dream is an aspect of ourselves and we hold within us multiple subjectivities. We are indeed multi-dimensional beings and some dreams can even contain what we might call “bleed-throughs” of a previous life.  

 Numinous dreams can be recognized by the strength of their imprint on the dreamer. I still recall a dream I had when I was twelve where I was dancing in a forest with exquisite light to Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.” At the time I remember drawing the dream to try and recapture the euphoria I felt. I don’t recall what might have provoked the dream but as a child I wanted to be a ballerina and must have remembered myself in the freedom of the dance many times. In later years, I held onto it by preserving it in a prose poem.

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 Something Joyous

 A hedge of trees fences me in sleep. An aisle of cypresses, young woman dancing between them, celebrating her serpentine shadow inward and outward above fairies’ lairs. The sky waxes creamsicle-tangerine, not quite titian, and the cypresses, so green they’re black.  They have no arms, though legs hold up their skirts and all too human feet tramp down the continent of chartreuse grass.  We are up to our crowns in Tchaikovsky’s strings—I am twelve years old and so grateful to be dreaming, grateful for the loving animal in my lap, one wrist strung with Aunt Adeline’s rosary, the other hand on Grandma Clementine’s tiara, the old world songs stroking my hair.

                                                                                                ^j^

The dream is the most direct route to unconscious wounds. And it will gauge how much progress or regression is going on in daily living. But dreams are not solely composed of past emotional experiences, trauma and the like.  We have “numinous” dreams, as well as “prescient” or “prospective” dreams that will indicate the future, and moreover, we can “incubate” these dreams. We can ask for dreams to help us make decisions, solve problems, and resolve issues. Our dreams also compensate for an egoic position that is too strongly held, especially in victimization. We can think too highly of ourselves and/or too lowly, and the dream will help us find balance by showing the opposite of what we think is true about ourselves. The reason Jung referred to these dreams as “compensatory” was because they compensated for the conscious viewpoint.

 Our minds file the images of our cultural icons and project them into new archetypes. I’ve had numerous dreams about performing with Madonna. I love dancing but as an introvert, I need to find and courageously identify my brazen, inner Rock Star. These dreams are fun and healing in that they show me I can achieve more success by putting myself out there dancing on stage, bringing down the house. I recall my Madonna dreams having many costume changes. They come at times when I am trying on new attitudes, expanding ideas about who I am. url-2

 Many of my healing dreams have had spiritual themes, especially when I was involved in a spiritual writing project or research. I’ve also dreamt of hanging out with Jesus!   I remember a dream when I was walking with St. Paul and Jesus as if I’d just joined their club, as if I were struck by lightning and illumined. A medium once told me that particular dream concerned the faith I’d had in past lives. I awoke feeling blessed. In my memoir I’ve written about dreams relating to the Feminine Goddess, the rejected Black Madonna who exemplifies the beneficent, powerful, archetypal feminine which had been       excised from       url-3Patriarchal Christianity and is now emerging in many powerful women worldwide. The 21st century has been deemed the century of women, although I think it’s as much about the feminine qualities becoming empowered, the power of compassion and nurturing and kindness. Not that only women have these characteristics, but men who have developed their so-called “feminine side.”

                                                                                                   ^j^

In a dream the point of view we take is almost always that of the ego. We see the projections around us, people, landscapes, objects, animals as having objective reality. But we don’t identify with the projections. Most of the time we would flat out deny that the angry tsunami about to break over our head, the terrorist pistol-whipping the airline pilot, the black Doberman with jaws like a shark, the homeless street-person picking through trash, the lewd-looking, busty waitress . . . has anything to do with a part of ourselves. Yet an experienced dream guide can move us in slow motion out of the ego’s position and into the bodies of these characters, and with careful questioning sudden realizations occur. Not only is the shadowy aspect recognized, we often discover where the trigger, the parallel of that emotion, is showing up in our lives now.url-4

When we know which projection has been activated, we can see the whole situation from a new perspective. We will identify the feeling from a past situation that may still have a strong hold over us. The dream stretches, opening a back office onto the past, showing the door we’ve just stepped through again in the present. Once we can consciously experience these realizations within the imaginative dreamscape, the dream can be taken onward. Once we know the reason we had the dream, we may even stay imaginatively in the dreamscape and watch alternative scenarios arise.

As we change old synaptic pathways by instilling new imagery, our unconscious mind also changes and may deliver up those special dream gifts that tell us we’re making progress. Although there will be regressions, and the unconscious keeps serving up new areas that “need work,” we do shift. The body’s field of energy works in mysterious ways attracting new experiences. And who’s to say our life in the dream dimensions isn’t part of some unfolding, divine plan?

One healing dream I had was auditory, quite simply a song. This dream, once again, came in response to a difficult, emotional period. I could barely recall anything of the dream except that I was singing, or listening to the Beatles’ song “Blackbird.”  When I awoke I didn’t remember the lyrics except the first line.  Fortunately we live in the age of the internet and I could easily access the lyrics that go on to speak about broken wings healing, learning to fly, looking forward to a rising moment when I’ll see light in place of darkness. url-5

It was as if The Beatles were singing to me, encouraging optimism and renewal, forward movement and freedom at a moment I needed those very attributes. The broken wings were mending, would have to mend in order to soar fearlessly into the black night. The reference to “broken” helps me accept the time in the past that left me paralyzed and shows me my mindset is a key to actualization. I took it as a challenge and a boon to my prevailing mood.

Another adjacent fact is that I was fifteen when my father died and had just turned sixteen when I went to the Beatles’ first concert in the United States at Carnegie Hall in February 1964. The decade of Beatles years paralleled my formative years. Although the song “Blackbird” comes later in their career, I credit my unconscious mind for stringing together the pertinent symbols found in the lyrics of The Fab Four. url-6Since my father’s death was the seminal event of my life, the one that marked my unconscious, I consider this a very healing dream.

 ^j^

Check in for Part 3 on Creative Ways to Work with Dreams

The War & The New Seed; Transformational Dream Image Work

Some months ago I had a client come to me confused and curious about a dream she had. We had become acquainted while taking a class in Science of Mind spirituality founded by Ernes Holmes at a center called Bridges of Wellness in So. Florida. At the time Jenny, as we shall call her, was involved in closing on a property and planning to move. She was having some problems with leans that were established on the property with the previous owner many years back, leans she hadn’t known existed and she was afraid that the time it was taking to clear these leans would alienate her potential buyer. She had also ended a relationship recently but the man was still calling, asking to borrow money, and generally not accepting the end of the relationship. I asked her to close her eyes and keep them closed throughout our experience re-entering the dreamscape. Here is her dream just as she related it:

I am somewhere in the South. There is a conflict between blacks and whites. There’s a standoff — everybody has guns, including me. I side with the blacks. I start shooting my machine gun, just spraying bullets everywhere trying to kill as many people as possible. I run out of bullets. I start running to try and hide. I dig a hole and bury myself in the ground. I hear people searching for me. They are right on top of me. I worry they will step on my nose. I worry they will see me and shoot into the dirt. The dirt is soft and muddy. I stay there even after its quiet because I think they are watching and waiting. I have to pee, but I still won’t get up I’d rather pee myself in this hole than get caught. I imagine the whites have lynched all the blacks from trees. I don’t want to go back there. Finally, I have to get some water and I decide to get up.

    My initial reaction was that I know Jenny slightly from the spiritual group we’ve attended and she is a gentle, loving person. I thought there must be some anger or fear that had produced such aggression in the dream. Of course, dreams exaggerate, but this much violence definitely conveyed that somewhere in her unconscious she felt threatened. We closed our eyes and I had her tell me the dream slowly scene by scene. At each scene I questioned her, hoping to make the images as clear as possible and then allow her to feel the emotions behind them deep in her body.

We began with the conflict and all her associations to issues between blacks and whites. Naturally it is in the news quite a bit, and being from Florida, we both were well aware of the overly–exposed trial of George Zimmerman, a white neighborhood watchman who killed Trayvon Martin, a fifteen year old, unarmed black student who looked suspicious. Jenny’s association was that she sympathized with Trayvon’s family. She sides with the African Americans in the dream instinctively in the dream. It is just a given. And the location is the deep South where she herself is under attack. She assumes these are white, prejudiced people that are out to kill the blacks. In her own life she has not had this experience and was not aware of any fear, but she did feel some anger about Trayvon’s case.

Jenny felt herself into the woods, which is often a place indicating the deep unconscious mind. In fairy talks, transformations take place in the forests, the heroes fight their adversaries and often the animals or plant life will serve as helpers. The scenario is right out of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. Jenny felt that the blacks in her dream were disadvantaged and needed to be defensive. I asked her if she felt like the underdog in any of her present situations and she confessed that she felt victimized somewhat by the banks putting off the final sale of her house, and that she had little control over removing these leans on her property. She also felt besieged by her ex boyfriend who was continuing to call her when she had asked him to stop. She had helped him numerous times with his finances and was now saying No.  

So we established the layout for her battles and I encouraged her to get in touch with her anger. As she felt it come up, it was in her belly, her third chakra the place where we carry our power and emotions. I asked her to feel her anger slowly, taking in the situations in her current life and her feelings about the local, highly publicized trial. When we had heightened those feelings, I moved to the boyfriend and her experiences with him.

It turned out she was at her wit’s end with him texting and calling. He had moved away but that had even exacerbated the contact. She felt the anger move up to her chest and had a sense that she would be unable to breathe with the weight of his oppression. We heightened these to feelings, overlaying the images of the dream. I asked her “So what is it like fighting all these white people, how does it feel pulling the trigger on them, moving them down with your machine gun?

As appalling as it was for a peaceful young woman to be playing Rambo, she got right into it. “I’m killing them left and right” she chuckled. I asked, “So what’s it like to be The Terminator?” She related immediately to the pun and the situation with her boyfriend. She had “just said NO” and got behind her power in being able to terminate the relationship, whereas in the past she felt powerless and remained in contact too long. She had known it was over but actually had compassion for the man and kept helping him out.

I asked her again about the Zimmerman trial which was on every station of the TV. She felt her frustration about that and about the backlash the black community was feeling, and then we layered that feeling over the frustration with the boyfriend. It took awhile to differentiate the feelings but she was willing to own them despite her initial unawareness that she had repressed these unconscious emotions.

When we’d finished with that scene, Jenny was feeling empowered and somewhat heroic. The anger and fear transformed to a sense of control. As much as she was against killing anyone, in the dream world, it had been necessary and she needed to express it. Once she saw the scene from this perspective she was able to release her horror at killing people. I also had her embody some of the black victims and she felt their pain keenly. By slowly putting her into the body of a white killer, she did identify with the aggression, did feel like killing off her old boyfriend, that is, booting him our of her life and she did feel like blowing her top at the extra stress the banks had been putting on her while delaying her closing. But she had initially been horrified at the dream.

Next we moved to the scene where she is out of bullets and must run and hide. There are moments of panic and she identified it as being in her chest. I had her feel the difference between the panic in her chest and fear/anger in her belly, as well as the empowerment. It was hard for her to layer them but she could feel them sequentially. The energy was now swirling around her 3rd and 4th chakras (belly and heart).

I instructed her to begin digging into the earth for her hiding place, asking her about the dirt and soil, how it felt in her hands, how easily the hole was made for her to cover herself. She leaves a slight opening to breathe through and feels the urgency to pee. Often the need to urinate in a dream may correspond to an actual need to void, and most often we wake up at this prompting and take a trip to the bathroom. Here the urgency is heightened because of the danger of revealing herself to the white people who are still looking around for more blacks to kill. Even though Jenny is white, she knows her antagonists are anxious to kill her. When I had her move into the bodies of the white people and feel their anger and she was able to own it. Of course, it is her own anger at her victimized situation and she could feel how the white people were also acting out of fear.

This is one of the great benefits of Dream Image Work. When we leave the ego we are able to own our projections much better, we see how we created them, and we can even feel their point of view, which creates compassion.

I was interested in the dirt because she kept saying how muddy and cool it was. I had her feel safe enough to move around in her hole, holding handfuls of the dirt, and finally asked her what the soil felt about having her amidst it. She needed to imagine herself as the soil and yet she went with it easily. This is when the AH HA moment was released. Jenny claimed that she felt protected by the soil. When she was able to identify with it as EARTH, a mother of sorts, The archetypal Great Mother perhaps, the basis of our being, and where we all end up, she felt the soil as her own potential for growth, for growing through these two big changes that were happening in her life. She was going to move her location and she had cut off contact with a man she’d been involved with and somewhat abused by.

I suggested she play in the rich soil for a while and she found it refreshing, felt like a seed implanted there. When I asked where in her body she could feel this emotion of being loved and protected, she felt it in her heart. Her heart was warmed and reassured her she was loved, by the universe, by source, by the Great Mother, and All There Is. I asked her to feel the earth’s love pouring into her heart. She exclaimed it was beautiful and purple.

At this point I brought Jenny back to the earlier scenes of the dream and she was not as frightened. We layered the fear and the anger into the 3rd and 4th chakras again but the love of in the 4th chakra overpowered any fear and anger she felt before. The dream no longer seemed scary.

Jenny came out of the imaginative realm of the dream, the theta brain state which alters our mindset, and opened her eyes. She immediately expressed that she felt more confident about the selling her home, that the deal would go through when everything was inspected etc. It was just a matter of time. Mother Earth had held her and she’d regained her faith that the universe wants what’s best for us and that we must proceed without fear. She felt stronger for breaking up with her ex and knew if she did not respond to him, he would eventually leave her be. Mostly she was thrilled the vision of herself as a seed being nurtured for new growth.

I told her how the woods is often the place for transformation and shape-shifting in fairy tales and legends. That it was a logical place for her to begin a change. I’m happy to report Jenny is on a new journey today. She has relocated, things going off without a hitch. She is happily planning a hiking trip with friends into a new forest. She has seeded her changes and dissolved her fear of change.

Some months ago I had a client come to me confused and curious about a dream she had. We had become acquainted while taking a class in Science of Mind spirituality founded by Ernes Holmes at a center called Bridges of Wellness in So. Florida. At the time Jenny, as we shall call her, was involved in closing on a property and planning to move. She was having some problems with leans that were established on the property with the previous owner many years back, leans she hadn’t known existed and she was afraid that the time it was taking to clear these leans would alienate her potential buyer. She had also ended a relationship recently but the man was still calling, asking to borrow money, and generally not accepting the end of the relationship. Here is her dream just as she related it:

I am somewhere in the South. There is a conflict between blacks and whites. There’s a standoff — everybody has guns, including me. I side with the blacks. I start shooting my machine gun, just spraying bullets everywhere trying to kill as many people as possible. I run out of bullets. I start running to try and hide. I dig a hole and bury myself in the ground. I hear people searching for me. They are right on top of me. I worry they will step on my nose. I worry they will see me and shoot into the dirt. The dirt is soft and muddy. I stay there even after its quiet because I think they are watching and waiting. I have to pee, but I still won’t get up I’d rather pee myself in this hole than get caught. I imagine the whites have lynched all the blacks from trees. I don’t want to go back there. Finally, I have to get some water and I decide to get up.

My initial reaction was that I know Jenny slightly from the spiritual group we’ve attended and she is a gentle, loving person. I thought there must be some anger or fear that had produced such aggression in the dream. Of course, dreams exaggerate, but this much violence definitely conveyed that somewhere in her unconscious she felt threatened. We closed our eyes and I had her tell me the dream slowly scene by scene. At each scene I questioned her, hoping to make the images as clear as possible and then allow her to feel the emotions behind them deep in her body.

We began with the conflict and all her associations to issues between blacks and whites. Naturally it is in the news quite a bit, and being from Florida, we both were well aware of the overly–exposed trial of George Zimmerman, a white neighborhood watchman who killed Trayvon Martin, a fifteen year old, unarmed black student who looked suspicious. Jenny’s association was that she sympathized with Trayvon’s family. She sides with the African Americans in the dream instinctively in the dream. It is just a given. And the location is the deep South where she herself is under attack. She assumes these are white, prejudiced people that are out to kill the blacks. In her own life she has not had this experience and was not aware of any fear, but she did feel some anger about Trayvon’s case.

Jenny felt herself into the woods, which is often a place indicating the deep unconscious mind. In fairy talks, transformations take place in the forests, the heroes fight their adversaries and often the animals or plant life will serve as helpers. The scenario is right out of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. Jenny felt that the blacks in her dream were disadvantaged and needed to be defensive. I asked her if she felt like the underdog in any of her present situations and she confessed that she felt victimized somewhat by the banks putting off the final sale of her house, and that she had little control over removing these leans on her property. She also felt besieged by her ex boyfriend who was continuing to call her when she had asked him to stop. She had helped him numerous times with his finances and was now saying No.

So we established the layout for her battles and I encouraged her to get in touch with her anger. As she felt it come up, it was in her belly, her third chakra the place where we carry our power and emotions. I asked her to feel her anger slowly, taking in the situations in her current life and her feelings about the local, highly publicized trial. When we had heightened those feelings, I moved to the boyfriend and her experiences with him.

It turned out she was at her wit’s end with him texting and calling. He had moved away but that had even exacerbated the contact. She felt the anger move up to her chest and had a sense that she would be unable to breathe with the weight of his oppression. We heightened these to feelings, overlaying the images of the dream. I asked her “So what is it like fighting all these white people, how does it feel pulling the trigger on them, moving them down with your machine gun?

As appalling as it was for a peaceful young woman to be playing Rambo, she got right into it. “I’m killing them left and right” she chuckled. I asked, “So what’s it like to be The Terminator?” She related immediately to the pun and the situation with her boyfriend. She had “just said NO” and got behind her power in being able to terminate the relationship, whereas in the past she felt powerless and remained in contact too long. She had known it was over but actually had compassion for the man and kept helping him out.

I asked her again about the Zimmerman trial which was on every station of the TV. She felt her frustration about that and about the backlash the black community was feeling, and then we layered that feeling over the frustration with the boyfriend. It took awhile to differentiate the feelings but she was willing to own them despite her initial unawareness that she had repressed these unconscious emotions.

When we’d finished with that scene, Jenny was feeling empowered and somewhat heroic. The anger and fear transformed to a sense of control. As much as she was against killing anyone, in the dream world, it had been necessary and she needed to express it. Once she saw the scene from this perspective she was able to release her horror at killing people. I also had her embody some of the black victims and she felt their pain keenly. By slowly putting her into the body of a white killer, she did identify with the aggression, did feel like killing off her old boyfriend, that is, booting him our of her life and she did feel like blowing her top at the extra stress the banks had been putting on her while delaying her closing. But she had initially been horrified at the dream.

Next we moved to the scene where she is out of bullets and must run and hide. There are moments of panic and she identified it as being in her chest. I had her feel the difference between the panic in her chest and fear/anger in her belly, as well as the empowerment. It was hard for her to layer them but she could feel them sequentially. The energy was now swirling around her 3rd and 4th chakras (belly and heart).

I instructed her to begin digging into the earth for her hiding place, asking her about the dirt and soil, how it felt in her hands, how easily the hole was made for her to cover herself. She leaves a slight opening to breathe through and feels the urgency to pee. Often the need to urinate in a dream may correspond to an actual need to void, and most often we wake up at this prompting and take a trip to the bathroom. Here the urgency is heightened because of the danger of revealing herself to the white people who are still looking around for more blacks to kill. Even though Jenny is white, she knows her antagonists are anxious to kill her. When I had her move into the bodies of the white people and feel their anger and she was able to own it. Of course, it is her own anger at her victimized situation and she could feel how the white people were also acting out of fear.

This is one of the great benefits of Dream Image Work. When we leave the ego we are able to own our projections much better, we see how we created them, and we can even feel their point of view, which creates compassion.

I was interested in the dirt because she kept saying how muddy and cool it was. I had her feel safe enough to move around in her hole, holding handfuls of the dirt, and finally asked her what the soil felt about having her amidst it. She needed to imagine herself as the soil and yet she went with it easily. This is when the AH HA moment was released. Jenny claimed that she felt protected by the soil. When she was able to identify with it as EARTH, a mother of sorts, The archetypal Great Mother perhaps, the basis of our being, and where we all end up, she felt the soil as her own potential for growth, for growing through these two big changes that were happening in her life. She was going to move her location and she had cut off contact with a man she’d been involved with and somewhat abused by.

I suggested she play in the rich soil for a while and she found it refreshing, felt like a seed implanted there. When I asked where in her body she could feel this emotion of being loved and protected, she felt it in her heart. Her heart was warmed and reassured her she was loved, by the universe, by source, by the Great Mother, and All There Is. I asked her to feel the earth’s love pouring into her heart. She exclaimed it was beautiful and purple.  

At this point I brought Jenny back to the earlier scenes of the dream and she was not as frightened. We layered the fear and the anger into the 3rd and 4th chakras again but the love of in the 4th chakra overpowered any fear and anger she felt before. The dream no longer seemed scary. 

Jenny came out of the imaginative realm of the dream, the theta brain state which alters our mindset, and opened her eyes. She immediately expressed that she felt more confident about the selling her home, that the deal would go through when everything was inspected etc. It was just a matter of time. Mother Earth had held her and she’d regained her faith that the universe wants what’s best for us and that we must proceed without fear. She felt stronger for breaking up with her ex and knew if she did not respond to him, he would eventually leave her be. Mostly she was thrilled the vision of herself as a seed being nurtured for new growth.

I told her how the woods is often the place for transformation and shape-shifting in fairy tales and legends. That it was a logical place for her to begin a change. I’m happy to report Jenny is on a new journey today. She has relocated, things going off without a hitch. She is happily planning a hiking trip with friends into a new forest. She has seeded her changes and dissolved her fear of change. The imagination is a healing tool. Our dreams are offered to us to identify projected feelings and own them. The theta brain state is a relaxed, creative state that can imitate the dream. We can’t relive the dream but we can approximate it and see what comes up. I am always surprised how the truth of the dream unravels without the necessity of analysis. There are symbols of course, the seed, the soil, the forest, the archetypal antagonist, and the gods and goddesses (in this case Earth) as well as heroes and heroines.

If you are local to So Florida, I am giving a two day workshop Oct 19th and 20th. Please see the announcement.


DEMYSTIFY YOUR DREAMS SAT MAY 4TH 2013 10-1pm Ft. Lauderdale

  BRIDGES OF WELLNESS ,  in Wilton Manors, Ft. Lauderdale is a new healing center located at 1881 NE 26th St. Suite 244. Join me for a pilot Dream Workshop on Sat. May 4th which will lead into a course on nocturnal dreaming. We will explore Jungian archetypes in a brief lecture, then take a journey into an inter-active Dream Process. Learn to embody your dreams, integrate intellect and intutition, understand without extensive analysis, feel the dream body in a Theta brain state, expand the energy field and participate in the exploration of your unconscious mind. Only $33 Deborah@intuitivegateways.com.  Register through this link: Events | Bridges of Wellness Scroll Down.

Events | Bridges of WellnessTestimonials

“Before working with Deborah, I did not know that my dreams were an incredible access point to my unconscious, to aspects of my multi-faceted human nature. Through the dreamwork with Deborah, I uncovered hidden aspects of myself that were in conflict and brought them into alignment and harmony. This resulted in a wonderful new sense of inner wholeness, peace and confidence.”

Beth L., Realtor

“I am a skeptic, but a disturbing dream led me to seek Debra’s help. She is a caring and intuitive dream analyst. She gently guided me through my memory and my body to unveil the symbolism and meaning of the dream. The awareness and insight was immensely helpful and peaceful. And, I have had amazing revelations with her every session since.”

Jody D., Dance Therapist

“Deborah delves into dreams with dramatic results. I had never known the shadow in the action until she introduced me to it. Now I note not only this meaning, but also interpretation of symbols; light and darkness and directions in our dreams. It means a lot to all of us in her open sessions, to learn from one another’s experiences, and then to understand how these interact into all of our lives. To dream is to learn, and Deborah’s methods of helping us to interpret our own, is to change the depths of our lives. I know that I am a better person as the result of my experience with Deborah, our dynamic dream developer.”

Bob M.

“The work we did on my donkey dream was amazing! It turned out the opposite of everything I had feared. Now I feel I can move forward with my career change plan. Thank you so much!”

Laura M., Artist

“I am so appreciative of your input about my dream. It really made sense to me, and helped me to see the message of joy it contained, which allowed me to let go of my anxiety and celebrate that joy–a real transformation!”

Susan F., Unitarian Minister, UU Congregation in Andover, MA

“Working on dreams with Deborah as my guide, I deepened my insight and understanding of a relationship during a difficult transition period. The process helped me to release negative feelings, achieve a balanced perspective, and free up my energy for more positive life experiences.”

Joan S., Technical Writer

“Thanks to Deborah’s gentle, persistent and insightful questioning, my dreams continue to reveal a much deeper magic and power… the shark, whale and seal had messages I was finally able to hear. Understanding and integrating the energies of my dream characters is turbocharging my mental, emotional and spiritual awakening.”

Joe N., Founder, PlanetaryPartners.com

I’m absolutely blown away by the amount of information that is delivered to us in our dreams. From the time of day and the color green of the hotel room representing being fertile, to my Uncle, the other woman, and the little girl representing the different emotions within me. Wow! So much to learn. Although I tried to figure out my dream on my own, I had no idea that I didn’t know what I was doing. I can see how our conscious and unconscious work together. This was worth every penny. –??Renee, Nursing Student

Deborah De Nicola is a DREAM COME TRUE.  She teaches you how to easily understand and interpret your dreams by guiding you with a tapestry of images that you will never forget.      Deborah enchants her audience with her magical and heartwarming presentation style that makes listening and learning from her a delight!   I walked away with ready to use applications that I have already put to use.   Thank you Deborah for making my dreams a whole lot sweeter!   Go listen to Deborah DeNicola…a true sensation…a must see.??Kellie Olver, Former TV Hostess, Kellie Olver Skin Care??www.kellieolver.com ?www.mygenewize.com/dnadone

 

“Deborah led a highly successful dream workshop for the adult education program at our Unitarian Universalist congregation. One woman who attended the workshop still raves about it, two years later. She reports that the understanding she gained about her dream enabled her to make major life changes.”

Susan F., Chair of Adult Education Committee UU Congregation in Andover, MA

The Big Issue of Life: 3 Recent Indy Films

I keep thinking the three odd, non-mainstream movies I’ve seen recently, “The Tree of Life,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, and the newly released “Margaret,” (a 2002, post-911 film whose distribution was delayed), all have something crucial to tell us. Or rather, show us, because we have to figure out their messages for ourselves.

Or, these films are, at the very least, a reflection of part of our new century’s collective consciousness, as well as bulletins from our collective unconscious. I was drawn into the films though they were not as much “entertainment” as they were stimulants for difficult thought, and it is a bit if a challenge to articulate just what the three may have in common.

The first, Terence Malik’s “The Tree of Life,” I found so mesmerizing in lyrical imagery that the fragmented narrative didn’t bother me at all. And yes, there was a story there, a typical family drama of the early sixties. Brad Pitt is the father of three boys and we are perceiving mostly Jack’s world, the older boy’s, perspective, his chaotic and bewildering coming-of-age through adolescence to manhood under the somewhat stern dominion of the father played by Brad Pitt.

The ethereal Jessica Chastain is The Great Earth Mother beneath whom the three sons are sheltered, and the tensions between the parents, and the father and his sons, are fraught with the same incongruous conflicts many of us recognize from the emotional throws of growing up in small town America.

In the middle of the film there is an interlude of dazzling imagery, an explosion of nature’s growth and time’s passages, throwing us into thoughts of the Big Bang, the violence of earth’s natural movements, the tossing of seeds and leaves and light, atoms and molecules, sperm and ovum, the sense of time immemorial, infinite time and the great questions of time’s purpose. It doesn’t segue into or away from the narrative well but it gives us some hints as to the ambitious nitty-gritty of the film.

Jack is a poetic soul, struggling to understand his own existence, and the middle son is the sensitive would-be musician whose life is cut short by the Vietnam war. As the brothers grieve and the parents suffer and wound one another, we feel the vicissitudes, the anxiety and threats that persist alongside daily living. We believe in the “Tree of Life” of the title, the welling together at the root, the battering of the branches, the dappled summer light that brightens the buds of the heart and awakens the body’s mortal awareness.

How does one capture and interpret the secret of what it means to be human on this particular planet, to know the Self writ large? Who Are We? Jack wonders in voiceover. Can the far-reaching, archetypal symbol of the Tree hold us all, thread and root us into an interconnected whole?

Most of us never question why we’re here, but then, again some of us question constantly. As a poet, I read all sorts of approaches that speak to this question along with shapely and sinuous answers. And Malick’s film itself is poetry, and poetry’s response is often layered down to the bedrock, twisting with wishes, as on a Mobius strip.

Despite critical raves, in theatres throughout the country people walked out on this film, frustrated no doubt by the alternate mumbling and blaring of the soundtrack and the lack of linear storytelling, perhaps unwilling to give the film the attention it needs. I saw it twice, not wanting to miss any of the pieces the first time, and the second, to focus on how the pieces were put together. I found it visually astonishing and the acting excellent, earning Pitt an Oscar nomination. Pitt takes on a deeper dimension of himself as the frustrated father, and Hunter McCracken, plays Jack with universal truth in his every move.

In the finale of the film, a strange, surreal place (meant to be heaven?) emerges, complete with beach and lapping waves, for what seems a city population coming and going as if the sand itself were a New York sidewalk. The family we watched coming apart, comes together again in reconciled affection. Sean Penn, is the older Jack, who has found himself as a modern architect, and appears with his younger self, his lost brother, the mother who never ages, and Pitt as a more tender father. Between the shifts of light, the shapes, the colors, the abstract landscapes and the faces of the figures, it appears Malick is paying homage to our whole experience as beings on and of the earth, nothing less than eternal in the sheer mystery of soul travels.

Like “Tree of Life,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” is also told from a child’s viewpoint. This protagonist, an untrained star of amazing power and depth is played by six-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, a fascinating child to watch. In fact, the entire cast is without acting experience, and yet, each tapped into a larger self and found his or her character’s perfect center. As for plot, this movie possesses even less than Tree but is equally provocative.

The girl lives alongside her father on a small barrier island in New Orleans’ gulf, an area bordered by levies, called “The Bathtub.” The young child, “Hushpuppy,” narrates as we watch her alcoholic father’s health fail in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Her mother “swam away” one day, though Hushpuppy still sees her in her minds’ eye, and calls to her from the water’s edge.

Her father raises her like a boy, won’t let her cry over his illness, (though both do at the unsentimental end) calls her “The Man” and exhorts her to stand up and cheer for herself, showing her “guns” (muscles). The film takes place in just a few days.
In the back of Hushpuppy’s imagination are the arctos, ancient, mythic creatures, huge in her fantasies. And when she finally meets several of them nose-to-nose, she is like Alice grown tiny. Yet through her confidence and self-reliance, Hushpuppy is able to dispel the enormous spirit-creatures with her own magical powers. As a metaphor for her own wildness, one could say these wild beasts further represent her own smoldering independence.

The film is disturbing. The ragtag group who cling to what’s left of their junky homes are nothing like proper parents. By any middle-class measure, these children would be taken away for their own safety. But though it disturbs us that Hushpuppy suffers both abuse and neglect, her father’s love for her is real, and vice versa. While he tries to shelter her from his illness, Katrina swings in, and the inhabitants of the island find themselves cut off from their self-sufficiency. Everything is dying around them. And when they fight the help they’re offered by government agencies, they are like primitives who can only survive in their natural habitat, preferring to die in it. While she observes her father under doctors’ care, Hushpuppy ironically remarks that when people grow sick here, “they plug them into the wall.”

After their escape from the hospital, she cremates her father and sends him off to a burial at sea on a homemade float just as the ancients did. One remembers the rituals of Avalon, and that the Nature that threatens this community’s life is also a part of its soul. The film speaks for a kind of Libertarian independence, against an intervening government civilizing society. The motley crew slips away from the Red Cross camp, and Hushpuppy conquers the primitive creatures in one triumphant moment of staring them down.

This is her fantasy of course, the way she sees herself, a girl-child raised like a boy, a loyal, devoted daughter, who grieves the loss of her mother and father equally. But Hushpuppy knows who she is. She tells us the scientists will look back 100 years from now and “they’ll know there was a Hushpuppy who lived with her Daddy in the Bathtub.”

Will she survive? Not by any dint of current cultural standards. But then, as she earns our respect and captures our hearts, we wonder about our own world, held as we are in its tightening, grip, more and more alienated from Nature. What if we don’t need banks? And lawyers? Or the Federal Drug Administration? What if we didn’t rely so heavily on the Powers-That-Be, those that seem to be serving themselves more than their constituency? Wise men tell us that this is now the era for us to outgrow the ubiquitous crumbling systems and shallow values of our over-materialistic world.

Hushpuppy is mythic, a magical child. She shows us an alternative life we would never choose for ourselves. But still, we sit in our silent tears at the end of the film, find strangers in the restrooms afterwards wiping their eyes as well. We know something’s been lost in our world that is not lost for Hushpuppy. She’s free and she’s confident and yes–she’ll probably grow disillusioned as she ages–but her faith in her strange foundation is steadfast. We’re sure we don’t want to live like her, but we’re not sure, how in our modern lives, we can find what’s been lost.

A few days later I picked up a movie in the supermarket on Redbox. I’d heard an NPR program on “Margaret,” and because of its length among other reasons, it had been held back from release. Based on a play by Kenneth Lonegrin “Margaret” tells the story of a fatal bus accident and the privileged, teenage, West Side Manhattanite, Lisa, played ferociously by Anna Pacquin. Lisa causes the accident by distracting a bus driver with her flirtatious interest in his cowboy hat. The bus driver, (Mark Ruffalo) runs a red light and runs over a woman, (Alison Janey.) As “Monica” dies in the girl’s arms, Lisa, (if she hadn’t discovered it by 911 already) learns that life can change in an instant. Although she readily admits to her math teacher (Matt Damon) that she cheated on his test, Lisa begins to think about “right” and “wrong” in absolutes.

She’s traumatized by Monica dying in her arms. In the aftermath of the accident, exchanging looks with the bus driver, she tells the Police the light was green. But Lisa develops an obsession about her lie and confides in her actress mother who has her own distractions as the star of a new Broadway hit.

We see Lisa in and out of school, arguing, manipulating and seducing teachers and friends. She lives an “entitled” life and most teenagers, she is passionately idealistic. When she tries, with the help of Monica’s cynical friend, to administer justice for Monica’s senseless death, by amending her statement, incriminating the driver and starting a law suit against the MTA, she only succeeds in drawing them into a settlement which benefits Monica’s greedy, distant cousin.

Still the driver gets to keep his job despite a previous record of reckless driving. But does Lisa recognize in herself the mountain of guilt she has projected onto him? Though she makes one admission that the accident was her fault, she has not taken full responsibility for her own reckless behavior, which continues throughout the film to the point of losing her virginity and claiming to her teachers that she has had an abortion. We do not think this is true.

Meanwhile Lisa’s mother is being courted by a rich Columbian man who dies of a heart attack shortly after she breaks up with him, leaving both mother and daughter finally with some things in common: guilt and grief. In the last scene mother and daughter attend an opera at Lincoln Center and at the sound of the diva’s voice, they are reduced to tears. Then sobs, then hugs. For the first time we see the love between them shows.

Lisa’s aware that the world isn’t fair. She is a feisty and courageous, persistent and operatic herself. The world seems to her a series of random events such as her mother’s lover’s death, the horrible accident and the ever-present memories of 911, which the filmmaker emphasizes by numerous pans of the skies over NYC.

All three of these films tell us something about the difficulty in reconciling the many opposing forces in our modern society. Tree of Life looks back with nostalgia for a simpler time as much as it looks through the eyes of a young man toward an unsettled future. Beasts gives us a young child’s endeavor to come to terms with her lost mother and dying father, and to transcend her immensely disadvantaged life with hard-won inner strength. “Margaret” (named for the a young woman’s realization of death in a poem by Gerard Manly Hopkins) gives us the thin-skinned, self-centered insecurity of another dramatic young woman with scary close-ups of an adult world that offers no answers to injustice. The precariousness of living in our times is stated in each. Something’s not right with our world.

Nonetheless the lesson we can draw from all three films is found in the wise words of the Earth Mother in Tree of Life: Help each other. Love everyone. Every leaf. Every ray of light. Forgive.

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