Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Creation Stories

In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.  And the Earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  And God said, "Let there be Light: and there was Light.  And God saw the Light, that it was good: and God divided the Light from the Darkness.  And God called the Light Day, and the Darkness he called Night.  And the evening and the morning were the first day.  (1 Genesis)

And Lady Wisdom speaks of creation:

"The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old.  Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the Earth.  When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.  Before the Mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth; before he had made the Earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world.

When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the Earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of humanity."  Proverbs 8:22-31)

And a third creation myth - from ancient Greece:

"In the beginning, Eurynome, the Goddess of All Things, rose naked from Chaos, but found nothing substantial for her feet to rest upon, and therefore divided the sea from the sky, dancing lonely upon its waves,  She danced towards the south, and the wind set in motion behind her seemed something new and apart with which to begin a work of creation.  Wheeling about, she caught hold of this north wind, rubbed it between her hands, and behold! the great serpent Ophion.  Eurynome danced to warm herself, wildly and more wildly, until Ophion, grown lustful, coiled about those divine limbs and was moved to couple with her.  Now, the North Wind, who is also called Boreas, fertilizes; which is why mares often turn their hind-quarters to the wind and breed foals without aid of a stallion.  So Eurynome was likewise got with child.

Next she assumed the form of a dove, brooding on the waves and in due process of time, laid the Universal Egg.  At her bidding, Ophion coiled seven times about this egg, until it hatched and split in two.  Out tumbled all the things that exist, her children: Sun, Moon, planets, Stars, the Earth with its mountains and rivers, its trees, herbs and living creatures.

Eurynome and Ophion made their home upon Mount Olympus, where he vexed her by claiming to be the author of the Universe, Forthwith she bruised his head with her heel, kicked out his teeth, and banished him to the dark caves below the Earth."  (Greek Myths, Robert Graves)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The 12 Days of Christmas: Time to Create the New Year!

The 12 Days of Christmas is an ancient tradition concerning the days between Christmas (December 25) and Epiphany (January 6).  These are days outside of time, when the old year dies and the new year is yet to be born.  

Since these days mark a symbolic 'turning of the tides', these chaotic energies can be shaped into powerlines to the future.  That's why this time is especially open to divination and prophecy concerning the new year to come.

One way to connect to the prophetic energies is to keep a dream journal during this time.  The 12 days begins on Christmas night (since we begin the new day on the evening before) and the 1st day is December 26th, while the 12th day is celebrated on Epiphany, the day the Magi came with gifts for the Christ child. 

On the evening of January 5th we celebrate 12th Night (remember, this is the beginning of the 12th day) with festivities on Twelfth Night, including feasting, along with the removal of Christmas decorations. 

So, the dream journey of the 12 Days of Christmas represent the 12 months of the zodiac for the next year.  The 1st night's dream symbolizes what you might expect to experience during the astrological month of Aries (March/April2011) while the 12th night represents Pisces (Feb/March2012). You can just record your dreams, or if you have the time and desire, you can incubate the prophetic dreams by spending your 12 days this way.

1.  Day 1/Dec. 26 - Aries:  Go out exploring.  Be brave.  Try something new.

2.  Day 2/Dec. 27 - Taurus: go do something sensual, go find beauty, relax and enjoy the day, your people, your body.

3.  Day 3/Dec. 28 - Gemini: read, think, communicate, learn something, go to the opera, the ballet, the theatre. Take a short trip.

4.  Day 4/Dec. 29 - Cancer: stay home and cook.  Hang out in your pjs.

5.  Day 5/Dec. 30 - Leo: create something, play with kids, connect with a lover, have FUN!

6.  Day 6/Dec. 31 - Virgo: help someone.  Exercise.  Hang out by yourself or with your pets. Talk with your mentor.

7.  Day 7/Jan. 1 - Libra: practice balance in your relationships.  Do you give as well as take?  Be with other people.

8.  Day 8/Jan. 2 - Scorpio: let go of toxic emotions; make mad, passionate love; talk with your ancestors, those who have passed on.  

9.  Day 9/Jan. 3 - Sagittarius:  Go on a long trip; visit a church, temple, synagogue, or mosque.  Pray and meditate.

10.  Day 10/Jan. 4 - Capricorn: make your work your holy dharma; figure out how you can help change our government or financial system.  Take responsibility for something big.

11.  Day 11/Jan. 5 - Aquarius: find a group whose ideals you believe in; invent something we actually need; work on your vision of the future.

12. Day 12/Jan. 6 - Pisces: dream, pray, do art, ask for a vision.  You might want to have a drink.  Have faith and trust.

If you incubate your dreams by doing these things each day, you'll dream stronger and truer.

I hope your New Year dreams come true!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Black and White Horses: Uniting the Opposites

 Since the Sun is in the sign of the horse-man, Sagittarius, I thought I'd talk about what horses symbolize in dreams.

 This is Thor, a Gypsy Vanner breed.  He has blue eyes!

Animals in dreams usually represent our instinctive energies.  Different animals embody different instincts.  We, who live so much of our lives in our heads or lost in the collective virtual reality, really need to get back in touch with our instincts, which can help us survive and thrive in life.  Our animal dream guides let us know what instinct will help in a given situation, as well as inform us of the state of our instincts.

A woman dreamed:

There are two horses - one is white, the other black.  Two of us are there with them (both are 'me', and I am aware that one person is 'strong', whilst other is 'waiting' ...or something). The 'strong' person's horse (the black one) is laying down and 'in trouble', but somehow, that person gets the horse to get up.

I’ve been getting to know horses lately on my morning walks, and they are strong and shy and sweet.  But my heart breaks to see them shut up in small fields, separated from each other, forced into pregnancy, unable to fly with the wind, unable to be free.  All that power, subdued to the will of mankind.

We also have to go back and see what horses meant to our ancestors, because dreams speak to us from a deep place, a soulful place that gives meaning to life.

In this dream, the black horse is down and in trouble.  Black is the color of mystery, of night.  Like a black hole, it absorbs all light. It is despair and death.  It is chaos, it is the Void.  But it is also the sensual, the body. 

The white horse seems to be fine, its rider waiting for something to happen. White is the color of purity and innocence; simplicity and illumination; sacredness and love.

Horse symbolizes our urge for freedom and independence, for unrestrained movement and adventure.  Horse is also a symbol of power, pulling heaving loads, helping spread civilization.  Movement and power.  We even speak of ‘horsepower’ when we want to know how powerful a car engine is.

In this dream, the black horse is somehow injured.  This dreamer’s earthy instincts need healing.  Like the horses I pass on my walk, she might be too caged in to realize that she can fly free of her situation.   She might want to do something (the white horse and the waiting rider – the ideal she wants to live up to) but can’t figure out how to make it happen.

The two colored horses can also symbolize two types of power and consciousness: the ability to move within herself into the dark of the unconscious and explore what’s there, as well as the ability to expand her vision and travel in the outer world. The horse/men - like Sun in Sagittarius - are about combining both the physical and the spiritual realms, knowing what our instincts are saying and thinking of how we can act on them.  (Like knowing that you should run from a tsunami rather then stand there and watch it.)

So with the black horse down, perhaps there's something out of balance - the balance between dualities in her life. Perhaps there's a risk she needs to take but she’s not yet up to it.  Perhaps her physical energy is low, even though her strong ‘part’ can get it up and moving again. 

I would suggest that this dreamer become a ‘horse-whisperer’ and find out what’s wrong with the black horse in an active imagination.  Maybe it’s alright for the ‘strong’ person to make it get up, but perhaps that dark horse needs a rest!

Until next time,

Sweet Dreams! 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Time to Get Creative

With Mars and Neptune aligning in the sky, we probably need to take some time to let our imaginations inform our creativity.

But so many of us are overwhelmed with our work and family life that we barely have time for ourselves let alone creative projects.  Yet, when we've pushed off our creativity for too long, our dreams will poke and prod us - perhaps for one last time.  So don't pass up the opportunity to create, especially if you're dreams are yelling, loud and clear, "It's Time!!"

A woman who works for a newspaper, editing other people's writing, had the following dream:

I am in the parking lot of a university.  I'm watching my (male) therapist unload cases of musical instruments out of his truck - guitars, drums, horns, etc.  I walk over to him to see where they're performing. 

There's a platform next to the truck and 2 friends are on it.  One woman is writing in a journal, the other is watching everything and smiling.  My therapist teases the writer, trying to get her attention.  The writer doesn't want to be disturbed so is a bit dismissive with him.

For this woman, the University is a place of becoming - a place to learn, to grow, to explore.  To be in the parking lot means that she hasn't gone into the University yet - she's just arrived.  So the dreamer is seeing something about her own growth for the first time - she is about to embark on 'becoming'.

Her therapist, in reality, is very creative and very into music.  Here in the dream he represents the part of her that knows what needs to happen, her dream guide.  He knows the rhythms of life, and he can channel them.  The musical instruments represent something that channel's feelings.   He knows it's time to begin!

The two friends are what we call shadow figures, parts of the dreamer that she can now name and own.  The smiling friend just is comfortable in her own skin and has the self-confidence this woman is trying to develop.  The writer is engrossed in her craft, in her self-expression, so much so that she doesn't take kindly to any interruptions, even though all this is taking place in a public parking lot. 

What was the message this dreamer got from her dream?   "I'm not letting myself follow my creative dream to write."

This woman consciously knows she hasn't been writing, but this dream really brought it into her awareness.  After working with this dream, she has committed to writing every day - writing her own way.

Never doubt that we have all the information we need to live a full life right inside us.  We just have to re-learn the ancient symbolic language of dreams!

Until next time,

Sweet Dreams

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Symbolic Language and Fairy Tales

Symbols are the language of the archetypes. Symbols are how we communicate with ourselves when we sleep.  Our dream images are often symbolic of the energies of life we are engaging at the moment.

We dream in symbolic language, since it is our mother tongue.  These symbols get grouped together to form stories.

Myths and fairy tales are ancient repositories of symbolic language. So get out your old Edith Hamilton and Grimm's Brothers and start reading myths and fairy tales to practice your symbolic language skills.

I always find it synchronistic when many clients show up with similar life stories. Lately I have several wonderful women clients who have been totally rejected by their mothers. Abandoned. Marginalized. Berated. Ignored. Beaten. And yet, even when raised in countries that totally devalue women, they are survivors who have created lives for themselves. 

What's the story with that? How do un-mothered women make their way in the world? Mothers teach us how to survive by loving us. When we don't feel loved, what keeps us from giving up?

And yet, despite neglect and cruelty, or maybe because of it, many un-mothered women search within themselves and find their own inner mother who nurtures them when their biological mother can't. 

There are lessons and wisdom about how you survive such conditions hidden away in ancient fairy tales and myths.  These are the bones of the archetypes. These are stories that speak to the soul and heart of the matter.  They bring healing when we understand their message.  

There's a fairy tale called The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson. In the tale, a mother duck discovers that one of her eggs has hatched into a very strange looking bird.  Not at all like her other duck children. The poor ugly duckling is reviled by everyone, and even its mother washes her wings of it. So it ran away.  But its life only got worse, for everywhere it went, it was an outcast. But one day it saw beautiful swans flying over the lake, and its heart went out to them. They were beautiful.  Not like the ugly duckling at all. Its life was hard.

But winter came, and then spring.  And the ugly duckling, who had barely survived the winter,looked down into the water and saw its reflection.  It had changed into a swan. And the other swans came and welcomed it.

In her marvelous book, Woman Who Run With The Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks about this fairy tale and says she believes that sometimes women who have been abandoned by their families and their mothers are really mistaken zygotes, little aliens who landed in the wrong families. Perhaps this is so, or perhaps it’s because women have been disregarded in our culture for thousands of years. Most of our families have this wound around the value of women.  So women have to suffer through the family patterns of rejection, disregard, alienation.  But sometimes a woman will remember her strength, her wild nature as Estes says, and make her way like the ugly duckling until she discovers her beauty.  She is a survivor.  But then she has to learn how to thrive in her life.  She has to learn to believe in love again. She has to acknowledge her swanlike beauty. 

Nothing makes up for the loss of a mother's love.  And yet so many of our favorite fairy tales are about just that.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Symbolic Language is our Mother Tongue

To understand dreams you have to know symbolic language. This hidden language of the Imagination is the one language we all share.  It is our mother tongue.

Symbols are psychic activators. You have to contemplate symbols for them to reveal any part of their true meaning.  Symbols don't mean just one thing.  Symbols relate an experience, a feeling, a meaning. Symbolic language is the language of your soul. So when you see this language, you know that your soul is trying to talk with you.

When we dream, each part of the dream wants to take us into a whole story, a whole experience.  For example, if you dream you are being chased by a bear, you can go to a good symbol and dream dictionary and look up bear.  You'll find that bear symbolizes the primal power of the ancient Mother, a fierce defender, the spiritual warrior. 

Bears used to be worshiped throughout the ancient world.  But most of us have never experienced the power of the bear in nature.  So you've looked up bear, now your mind knows what it means. If you leave it at that, you'll never really understand what it means. You would be taking the image and making it a sign rather than a symbol.  A sign is like a stop sign.  It means one thing.  But a symbol has many meanings and great depth.  You never really come to the end of knowing what a symbol means.

So how do you work with this image to find its symbolic meaning? First you ask yourself what did the bear feel like in the dream? Was it very big? Did it smell? Was it angry? Was it curious? Then ask yourself what it felt like being chased by a bear? Where you panicked? Or did you freeze? These questions can only be answered by going back into the images.  

Do you feel bear's power?  Do you feel your fear? Going into the image will tell you things that a symbol dictionary can't about primal power.  Both the power and the fear are part of the symbol of bear. It's up to you to choose to consciously to channel the power of the bear or to stay stuck in the fear.

Did you know when you dream a bear is chasing you it wants you to face your own power? It's the bear energy that wants to engage your ego, your consciousness.  Bear calls you to protect yourself and your people and your world.   When you dream of bear, you are being called to your primal power. Only you can figure out how to use it wisely.

Did you know that King Arthur was a manifestation of the bear god?

Until next time

Sweet Dreams!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How Archetypes Affect Us

How Archetypes Affect Us

Do you realize that part of you is connected to everyone else in the present as well as the past? And that you're also connected to the wisdom of life? That's what Jung's theory of the Collective Unconscious means.   Below the level of your own personal unconscious, you are capable of reaching down within yourself and finding a place where you can access timeless wisdom to deal with your life.

Jung's theory of the Collective Unconscious includes his theory of the Archetypes, which make up the contents of the Collective Unconscious.  Archetypes are basic patterns of human instincts that we all share.  They don't make you do things, but rather, they give some order to your experience of life. 

Archetypes are the energies that are available to each of us at birth to help us evolve and grow during this lifetime.  And yet, it is our own choices and experiences that shape how we relate to these archetypal energies. In and of themselves, the archetypes are neutral, but we can experience them either positively or negatively.

Some basic archetypes are the Mother, the Father, the Child, the Lover, the Adversary, the Trickster or the Wise One.  There are also collective archetypes such as the Judge, the Priest/Priestess, the Bard, the Artist, the King, the Queen and the Warrior. 

Any of these archetypes can and do show up in our dreams.  Sometimes they come to us in mythic images, such as a king, a clown or a saint.  At other times they show up disguised as a friend or associate or family member.  Since we can never know the archetypes in themselves, we can only know them through the images we have of them. 

Think of archetypes at one end of the spectrum and instincts at the other end, like infra-red and ultra-violet light.  It is the same light, but a different form.  When we do something instinctually, it just happens without thought.  It's a reaction to a life situation.  As we become more conscious, the archetypal images help us understand how and why we react the way we do.  And that helps us change our behavior.  We can make different choices.     

As we experience the power of the archetypes in our lives, we begin to understand that we're part of a bigger picture, the grand experiment of life. We are here on Earth to evolve into higher states of consciousness, which can heal our sadness, fear, ignorance or unconsciousness.  When we know that our choices in life affect not only our self but the world around us, we can look at our society and decide if we like what we see. We can see if our society reflects our values and hopes and dreams. If it doesn't, then we have the responsibility to change it once we've changed our self.

We are living in times that are calling on us to make different choices about how we live. Both personally and collectively, we are faced with challenges and we need to make changes in the way we think about our life here on Earth. We can change the way we do business, the way we consume, the way we work, the way we connect with others. It just takes consciousness and choice.

The archetypal patterns themselves evolve or one becomes more prominent than another.  I had a dream about these changing archetypal themes about a year ago. 

I dreamed: I see the constellation of the Pleiades shining brightly in a daytime sky. And then I see another constellation dissolve like fireworks.

This dream of the Pleiades is a dream of hope, because this constellation has always represented the idea of a new dispensation and a new life.  Something has changed in our collective consciousness, and the shift in our awareness is mirrored by the Pleiades shining in a daytime sky, clearly visible in our conscious lives. 

Archetypes in themselves can't change, but their patterns and their prominence in our collective psyche can change as human consciousness evolves. I think they're changing now and so we'll have their energies to help us make this transition.

If anyone has a star or constellation dream they'd like to share, I'd love to hear them.