Posts tagged: dream interpretation

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.


The Moving On Dream

After a long hiatus, I have returned to my dream blog. It’s not that I wasn’t dreaming all these months, but I have been working on two other books, an Ebook on Writing Memoir (in a few months it will be on my site) and a poetry manuscript. My last blog entry was on my mother’s death. I want to return to that period because I had so many dreams at the time, there was almost an onslaught I couldn’t keep up with. Having lost my father when my siblings and I were all still quite young, our mother became a powerful matriarch. Now that I was losing her, albeit that she was 94 and 5 years into severe dementia. I know I had many mixed feelings. She had for so long been sharp and clear and independent. It was heartbreaking to see her totally dependent. Since I was the sibling most in charge of her, I coped best as I could with hiring aides, visiting nurses, changing medications but my dreams repeatedly told me my own feelings were out of control. I felt helpless and inept when it came to seeing my mother lose her mind. Since I am single too, I couldn’t help but come into contact with my fears for the future.

Here is one of those dreams that, in retrospect, I would call “prognostic,” that is, it tells of the future, tells me the future without my mother would be all right. Jung might have called it “a compensatory dream,” because it compensates for my conscious attitude which was doubtful and frightened at the time I had it shortly after her death. Here is the dream i wrote down:

We’re going to travel in this heavy car, a modern SUV. It’s early morning. We pack in confusion. Should I bring a blanket, a scarf? All my siblings and me, and my mother, who is going to drive us to a house we rented for a vacation. She’s confident, or trying to be. All the bags are in the trunk. My brothers are young, we’re all younger, close to the ages we were when our father died.We’re going to be gone for a long time. I worry I’ve forgotten something. The car moves slowly like a boat. Sometimes I’m steering, sometimes, Mom. We kids squabble amongst ourselves. I see a high school boyfriend, he may be in the car too. We’re going to a new place with all our stuff. We’re somewhat excited, somewhat anxious. It all depends on Mom. She’s driving . . . I’m driving . . . This is the world after Daddy.

It’s not a difficult dream to analyze, pretty transparent. It’s early in mourning. We;re squabbling, which is what we did as not everyone could agree on when she should be relinquished to professional care. What did surprise me was the throwback in our ages, and the sense that we all lived together like we did when my Dad passed unexpectedly when I was 15, my older brother 17, and the two other kids 11, and 6. The truth is we’ve all been living all over the country, in different states, for close to 30 years. I can’t recall the last time the four siblings were together. It seems that always one of us is missing. And my mother lived alone all this time, a long distance from all of us except my sister. In any event, I was the only unmarried one and it made sense for me to be the chief caretaker. I moved to Florida to see about my mother and she was worse off than she’d let on. Then came five difficult years. She lived to 94 and in the end she only died from old age. Her mind was gone but her body stayed healthy for several years. Her suffering was really our suffering, especially mine as I watched day after day as her mind deteriorated until she was oblivious. I found it painful to watch, though after awhile she wasn’t conscious of what was happening.

In the dream we are both driving at different times. Ultimately she drove the situation and I had to steer it. It was one of those dreams where you have to get somewhere and you’re not even sure where you’re going. There was a sense of it being a good place, a vacation, a place of rest. I suppose we are all headed there eventually. In dreams cars often represent the body, the way we get along in the world. The way the car moved like a boat is interesting because in many threshold dreams, one is moving across water, as in crossing the river of life into death. We see that theme so much in literature. I think of Dante’s Inferno, or Greek mythology where the boatsman, Charon, escorts the shades (souls) to the underworld of Hades (which is not the Christian hell, but just the world of those who had died. ) The car itself is a big SUV. I’ve never had one, nor did my mother or any of the kids. But I associate “safety” with the size of the car. Comfort too. It’s a good choice of a car to travel in. We’re all a little insecure. Soon it will be the world after Mom. I want to get there, to that resting place, her resting place, settle down to a life without mom . . . What will that be like?

The prevailing mood is both excitement and nervousness. Something is changing; something new is coming to be. I was surprised in the dream to see my high school boyfriend but upon waking it made sense to me. He has appeared in many of my dreams always as an escort, a shoulder to lean on. I was lucky to have had such a loving, supportive boyfriend back then and he stayed in my unconscious and shows up symbolically in situations where I am unsure of myself. As Jung taught, everything in the dream is an aspect of the dreamer, so I have this inner, young masculine,18-year-old energy, inside, enough to take over and lead the situation as 18 is often the age we leave home.

There is a sense in the dream that we will be away a long time. And it was a long road to my mother’s death. And of course, it is a life-changing event. I won’t ever live in the mother’s presence again. The feeling paralleled somewhat how we all felt when my father died. His death was sudden and unexpected and all of us pulled together behind my very strong mother who raised all four of us by herself, put us all through college and didn’t do anything for herself until we were all out of the house. Mom did the driving. And so the association to my father’s death naturally spoke to her own death. Yet the dream was reassuring, at a time when I did not feel reassured.

The feeling of being at sea is a good metaphor for those last years with my mother. Still, the dream indicated it would be all right. We would get there . . . get through it. We’re in a big strong car, it will take us there safely. We can trust that we’ll get to the right place, at the right time. And we did.

To hear a discussion on dreams, writing and intuition, please watch my video interview posted on the right hand corner of this page.

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