Hashing out my stories

Posts tagged “spirituality

Existential Crisis in a Teacup

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I haven’t posted for a while – on any of my blogs. I felt bad for it – but I felt worse for not writing my own stuff – being bogged down in freelance work. Then I felt bad for feeling bad – as I should be grateful that I had the opportunity to leave my full time job to be a writer. I am grateful – and my husband is a saint for encouraging me to do so. I couldn’t complain to him about my internal predicament. Getting the flu in between and going down for the count didn’t help any.

I then found myself plunging into a strange fog which I am still trying to fight my way out of. I became immersed in a spiraling whirlpool – doing my best to grasp onto whatever debris or beams of light that showed up here and there. They slipped out of my hands so quickly that I wondered if they existed at all. My dreams have been intense – and hopeful. When I get the chance I’ll post them on my Collective Unconscious blog.

I also veered away from my Shapeshifting blog – neglecting to chronicle my “progress” on healthy living. I’ve been sleeping a lot and doing my best to drag myself to the computer every day to complete my freelance writing wherever possible. One thing I know for sure is that – for the most part – this fog or “crisis” has to do with my impending 50th birthday in September. I am not happy about it – at all. It’s not so much the fact that I’m ageing – but rather that I’m losing time.

My identity has become a mist, or a vapor that has no form. All that I projected about who I thought I was and what I was doing has cleared to reveal the truth. There is nothing. I am nothing. Nothing matters. It’s all pretend. We keep on kicking along just to save face – to make ourselves feel that it’s all – somehow – worth it. Worth the struggle. One day we’ll get there. But where is that? And who says that it’s “somewhere” – the destination we’ve been working towards?

It seems to be a collective grudging towards the only definite element in life: death. I don’t even know what that is – or what it means. The ceasing to be. That sounds awful – and I’m sorry to be so down. Please don’t let it infect you. If anything – I’m writing this out to chronicle my dark patch. I see myself posting tweets etc about my novels – begging for people to buy my books, blah blah blah. It seems so pointless. The emptiness is swallowing me up – but I have to write about it. I have to “sublimate” it – in order to make sense of what is happening to me. Maybe it might help someone else out there – or maybe they can help me.

I stopped writing last night – due to plummeting further downwards. I could see that I wasn’t doing myself any good, even though I thought at the beginning that writing about my “malaise” would make me feel better. I went to bed – with the start of a panic attack looming on the horizon. I was breathing shallow and on the verge of tears that wouldn’t come. I got into bed and focused on my breathing – in a kind of forced meditation. After about half an hour I fell asleep.

When in the clutches of despair, it’s important to remember just to breathe. The only thing in the world that matters is breathing – at that point. I told myself that – if nothing else in the universe mattered – breathing was all I could do. The knowledge that everything would make sense – eventually – kept me going, even though the thoughts in the back of my mind kept bubbling to the surface from time to time. Thoughts such as: “what’s the point?” or “what then?” as well as “I’m just prolonging the obvious.”

I pushed them away and continued breathing. I dreamed about having different cars. First – a red one – which I parked seamlessly in a tight spot. Twice. I amazed myself. Then I had a blue convertible. It was under a dirty blanket and I had to tell a friend to keep her son from playing in it. Then I had a huge, thick branch of marijuana buds. Each bud was intricately wrapped in foil. I wanted to smoke it but people kept showing up so I had to stash it somewhere. Then I woke up.

There are a lot of symbols and related meanings which I will explore in my Collective Unconscious blog soon. The main messages I take from the dream include reserved energy, hiding depressive thoughts and the desire to lose myself. Today I’m getting myself in gear. I have decided to create a roster or weekly agenda for myself. I need order and direction – to pave my way out of this crisis. I’ll post an update later in the week.

I took some photos of myself last night – in an attempt to preserve whatever fading looks I think I might have before I hit 50. I used some photo editing and filters – but for the most part – it’s me. They make me laugh – now.

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When I’m feeling like this – I have to remind myself that there are others in the world who are living wretched lives. They would do anything to have a fraction of what I have. Therefore – it seems that I have no right to complain or feel depressed. But what is that thought supposed to do – comfort me? Isn’t that wrong? Does pulling myself up by the bootstraps help them any? Do I owe it to the less fortunate to live a fulfilled life? Isn’t that rubbing their noses in my fortunate life?

What is humbling is the huge smiles on their faces – in the middle of a war zone or filthy, hopeless conditions. The fact that they can make the most of a horrible situation; that they can find the silver lining. Clean water or peace would mean the world to them. In my little corner of the world – I do have access to clean water, a peaceful home and food. I should be grateful. My own mind is the enemy.

Time to whip it into shape.

 

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Dream Blogging – Meandering

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I had these dreams last night, and seeing as all three “bled” into each other, I am going to interpret them as one dream. It started with me waking up to a knock on the door at about 2am (in the dream.) I was in a house that was a mix of my current home and the one I grew up in. When I answered the door, it was someone who was supposed to be some kind of a maintenance man – but his vehicle was also a food truck. He had brought his bain-marie to the front porch and had different dishes he wanted me to try. They food was all orange, like mashed sweet potato and grated carrot pie, etc.

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As he served the food on a plate, I went into the kitchen and brought out a pie I wanted him to try.

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As this was going on, my husband came home from work and was a little annoyed as he was wondering if I was having an affair. I explained what was going on but he still wasn’t convinced and started asking questions about the validity of someone bringing food in the early hours of the morning.

Then I was in a building (a work do?) and we (my husband and I) decided to leave and get food. We walked past a group of toddlers who were lined up to pee.

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The front boy was peeing against the wall. We all thought it was adorable. When I got outside, I was in my office clothes but barefoot and didn’t care. We walked down the street and looked for a rerstaurant that had the food we liked. Then I had shoes on.

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Robert and I continued walking down the street and were with other people (his parents?) and we went into a church.

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It was massive – almost like a community center, and there were people in a waiting area, waiting to see the “organizer/planner” as well as waiting to go into church. I felt surly towards them for being gullible sheep – but kept my mouth shut. When I saw someone going into the office to see the planner, I noticed that the planner was attractive and wondered if that was why Robert had scheduled an appt with her.

I walked past the congregation as they listened to the minister, and went through a door on the left – as I needed to pee. I went into a bathroom where a lot of teenage girls were getting ready for sunday school and some of them were peeing.

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There were open toilets in a row – white porcelain – some higher and larger than the others, as well as different types of toilets. When I went over to check them out – I decided not to pee as they were dirty. I went outside and started to go for a walk and went around a corner of a wall where the ground became like a cobblestone path – only the stones were huge and jutting out of the ground, some like rocks.

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Then I was watching a woman who had also escaped the church session, and she was having difficulty walking over the cobblestones, so she took off her clogs/slippers.

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She was walking through the garden singing a Stevie Nicks song and I thought that it was a new one as I hadn’t heard it before. I walked over to a small veggie patch in the center of the garden and started gathering zucchinis.

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I was happy to get them before they grew too big and tasteless. I then realized that I’d better not pick too much as the people in the church might like them big and tasteless. I also saw cauliflower growing in sections – rather than a whole, circular cauli – but growing in flowerets.

There were other veggies – like large misshapen green peppers and when I looked around I saw that the rest of the garden was like a cold store of veggies, with lots of onions stacked up.

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THEMES: Wandering, peeing, food, leaving the crowd, relationships, life path

SYMBOLS: Orange, food, vegetables, shoes/barefoot, urination, toilet, church, music, path, garden

EMOTIONS: Sharing, suspicion, wonder, annoyance, satisfaction, sustenance.

ARCHETYPES: Animus – husband, maintenance man, little boys, attractive woman, teenage girls.

INTERPRETATION: I have been focusing on my health and eating habits lately, so the veggies represent my idealizing of the healthy life. The man delivering food in the early hours is interesting (to me, at least!) If a male in a woman’s dream is her Animus (the representation of how she feels about men and how she interacts with them) – then the reciprocal nature of the interaction might show how I want to meet men on the same level, share experiences etc. This is how I operate in my marriage – as my husband and I have a good relationship where we take each other’s needs in consideration and treat each other fairly – regardless of attitudes towards gender roles, etc.

The fact that the man was offering orange colored food might indicate the sharing of energy (as orange represents energy or the life force) and the fact that I offered a pie in return, might show how I take the energy offered and make something new. My husband coming home and being suspicious could indicate an unconscious concern regarding my appreciation for him or even how I express myself in terms of my dealings with other men.

Seeing the children peeing against the wall brings to mind the pun, “pissing money up a wall.” I have been trying to be more careful with money lately (especially with my promoting and marketing of my novels and business.) The others waiting in line could symbolize how I’d love to share more with my son and grandsons – or perhaps – how much I have to give and feel like it’s taking too long? I mentioned to Robert that the children were adorable and he agreed, so it could represent my love for his boyish nature.

Walking down the street dressed in office clothes – but barefoot – could be showing how I travel through life being two people. The responsible professional – with the impetus being provided by my free nature or desire to be an individual. I am usually an honest, straight forward person – and people often tell me how it’s refreshing to see (especially in the workplace!)

Going into the church (which was like a combination of church and community center) indicates how I operate in a crowd and how I view and interact with others. I’m mostly agnostic – bordering on atheism – so my attitude towards the church-goers was based on that, but I feel that it was more like not wanting to be a part of the throng. It’s funny though – there was a sense of sadness, as a small part of me felt that I was missing out.

The attractive woman (organizer/planner) – was helping people get their act together in regards to spiritual and personal life. She could be symbolizing me and how I want to help people, however I was jealous of her and my husband having an appointment with her. I am usually a passionate person – but have become more complacent and easy-going as our relationship evolves.

Going into the bathroom and needing to pee, could have simply been dictated by my real life need to pee – as I awoke busting to go to the toilet. As a dream symbol, urination (especially in public) represents the need to offload negativity or unwanted refuse – as well as the way you “offload” in public. (I have been quite aggressive at work lately, due to feeling like I’m being used as a dog’s body!)

The fact that the toilets were dirty – and then deciding not to go – could symbolize my fear of absorbing other’s filth or negativity. (Or the fact that I couldn’t go – as I was busy dreaming!) The teenage girls might symbolize how I feel about younger people these days, or my attitude towards getting older and forgetting how it was to be young and carefree. (Trying so hard not to be a curmudgeon!)

The cobblestone path is obvious to me. It feels like the “rocky road” is not the road rising to meet me – rather, blocking my progress and showing the possibility for tripping up if I’m not careful. Also – obstacles in my path and issues I have to deal with in order to move ahead. The woman taking off her clogs represents how I need to be myself in order to traverse my life path successfully.

Hearing the Stevie Nicks song (apparently a new one I hadn’t heard) – could symbolize my desire for a new “soundtrack” to my life. For me – Stevie Nicks is spiritually aware – and I have been contemplating re-dedication to the pagan life. (maybe that’s what I’ve been missing lately – indicated by my sadness with not being part of the crowd at assembly.)

I have been using zucchinis a lot lately, so its appearance in my dream is obvious. Worrying about choosing only the smaller ones for better flavor could indicate my desire to ensure quality – not just with food. I was mindful to leave some behind – so they could grow some more – as the churchgoers might have liked it that way. This could symbolize my attitude towards religious people wanting blandness or mass appeal – or it could show that I’m taking the essence from a collective spiritual path? (I think that’s a bit of a stretch – but who knows?!)

Seeing the vegetables all stacked up gave me a lot of pleasure – which also indicates my happiness with eating healthier etc. The fact that there were a lot of white onions could symbolize purity – or that I need more onions – or less, as I use onions quite a lot in my diet. Maybe this was telling me to use less!

SUMMARY: I’m on the right path, but there’s more to push through – as long as I stay true to myself. It’s time to tune in to my spiritual side again – to complete the process of becoming whole. I must temper my attitude towards the “throng” and not be too judgmental. I must also take better care of my husband and pay more attention to his needs – balancing the give and take.


My view of the Void between Belief and Atheism

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The search for the meaning of life is a common thread in all our lives and has been since time began. From the practice of sympathetic magic by our Stone age ancestors, through to modern day worship in organized (and sometimes – highly stylized and modified) religion – we have always yearned to know why we are here and where we are going.

Notwithstanding modern technology and so-called advancements in thinking and shifting paradigms – there are those who prefer to join the New Age movement – where new religions and beliefs are created (or modified from the old.) Some go further and form communes, where people can go “off the grid” and go back to nature, running farms and living off the land.

Most cling to the “tried and true” established religions (that – ironically – were adapted and evolved from previous pagan religions or cults), for a variety of reasons. These reasons could include tradition, peer pressure, indoctrination or fear of being considered the odd one out.

Whatever the motivation, humans have always had a strong desire to be a part of a group, and at the same time – to be considered special. The two things that I feel are the main motivations for the gravitation towards a religion, are either fear of death (total annihilation of the soul – ceasing to be) – or a desire for meaning (or a combination of both.)

I am writing this only to illustrate my experiences – my journey – and to share with others. Discussion is welcome – persecution is not. I understand that I may put some people’s noses out of joint – which will only point out why religion has a tendency to create bigotry and close-mindedness in its adherents. The “my gang’s better than your gang” mentality has been responsible for many atrocities and wars throughout history – however I do not wish to flog an already over-flogged dead horse.

I am writing a fantasy series that deals with realms of the unknown. My lack of belief in a Supreme deity has not hindered my imagination and creativity at all. I adore mythology – and how it explains so much about human behavior. I have often called myself a “Pagan Atheist” – as I practice witchcraft – with the understanding that deities represent archetypes that we use like a touchstone, in order to emulate the energies they personify.

Without going into a long-winded account of my experiences (some of which have already been documented in this blog) – I often oscillate between semi-belief and non-belief – or agnosticism and atheism. (Some prefer the term “non-theist” – but for the sake of ease, I use the term “atheist”.

I have come to the conclusion that it does not matter if you are a scientist who is a confirmed atheist, or a devout and fervent believer – there is a void (or gap) between belief and non-belief.  It exists, whether in our minds or in reality, and has yet to be explored or satisfactorily explained by science. By the same token – religion has also failed to satisfactorily explain (at least, for me) this void.

When I say void – I’m referring to all the unexplained phenomena, visions, psychic and spiritual experiences, premonitions and hunches, beliefs – even dreams – where science has difficulty measuring and religion either justifies for their own means or scrambles to cram the square peg in the round hole. This is not to say that science doesn’t have the capacity to discover the truth, or that religion can’t hit the nail on the head. It’s just that, sometimes they both miss the mark.

A good example is the time I had a bad hypnagogic hallucination. The Neurologists told me that it was to do with my synapses misfiring or a temporal lobe seizure. My religious relatives told me that it was probably a demonic attack. My New Age friends told me that it was a sign from my Higher Self. I didn’t believe any of them – not quite, anyway. To a degree – I concurred with the doctors – in regards to having an affliction.

In a way – I did feel like I was under attack – but not necessarily by demons. When it comes to the New Age hypothesis – I felt that there was something to it, but not a message from my Higher Self. (If I have a Higher Self – I don’t believe it would throw horrifying images at me – or make me feel such creepy sensations. I assume that a Higher Self is a protector rather than a tormentor!)

I felt (and still feel) that the answer remains somewhere in between – waiting to be discovered – or not. That’s the annoying thing about being on the fence. You either don’t commit or don’t care. For me – it became a matter of taking it to its logical conclusion – either way. If it was a demonic attack – it was ineffective. If my Higher Self was trying to send me a message – it was also ineffective – seeing as the message was warped and bizarre. (Maybe I just need to learn the language – but why should it be so difficult – seeing as our lives are so short?)

If it was, after all – just my own synapses misfiring etc., why was there a resonance somewhere deep inside me, that gave me a feeling that something important had happened? Why was it that the images reflected a pattern in my life – or symbolic of behavioral issues that I’ve been dealing with my whole life? 

That’s the grey area. There’s meaning – without guidelines or concrete evidence. The void is not really a void – but rather – the space between reason and nonsense. One thing I keep going back to is the story of a woman who died on the operating table – and then came back to life and retold a story about leaving her body. She saw a doctor in the next room – and could describe the intricate patterns on his tie – without ever having seen him in person. She could describe other things, but what got to me was the description of an abandoned shoe on the roof of the hospital.

She had never been up there and described the shoe in such detail that you would have thought she had been up on the roof. Sceptics claimed that she must have seen the doctor and his tie – or that it was a lucky guess. They continued discounting all her experiences – but stopped short at being able to find a reasonable explanation for the shoe. They tried to laugh it off and say that anyone could assume there would have been a shoe on the roof. What they couldn’t explain was the incredible detail of how the shoe was positioned and exactly where; how the laces were draped a particular way and so on.

That has always stumped me – and no one has been able to explain it away or satisfy me with a concrete answer. They are just as wishy-washy as the ones who believe.

I understand and accept that science will explain the things that baffle us today – sometime in the future, just like they have already explained and deciphered the things that baffled us in the past. I am the kind of person who welcomes scientific discovery with open arms. I can enjoy a sunset – knowing full well that it might just be a collection of vapors; matter arranged perfectly at the right time at the right place, or even a trick of the light or my eyes. It’s still beautiful.

Whenever I have delved into metaphysical pursuits, I have come at them with a scientific mindset – in order to ensure that I was not duping myself. It’s easy to be carried away with mystical messages and New Age or spiritual imagery that “speaks to the soul”.  When my son was young, I started getting into the Tarot with a friend of mine. I have used the cards since then – always taking notes and dating them, for future reference.

Sometimes they would come true – but I can’t be certain if it was due to subconscious programming via the images and messages on the cards, or if they truly foretold the future. In 1997 – my circle of family and friends endured a host of deaths. To start with, I had a miscarriage – then two weeks later – my brother died of an overdose. A month after that – my uncle committed suicide. A month after that – my boyfriend’s sister committed suicide.  Throughout the rest of the year – other deaths occurred.

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It would be easy to say, “Well, it was just a coincidence. People die!” But what haunts me to this day – is that two weeks prior to my miscarriage – I had conducted readings for myself. Every single time I shuffled the cards – the Death card popped out! EVERY SINGLE TIME! I lost count of how many times this happened. Even when I carefully shuffled them over the table – the Death card fell out. If I split the deck – the Death card appeared. When I did my spread – the Death card was there.

I tried to meditate and clear my mind, as I wondered if I was obsessing about it so much – which made my subconscious mind gravitate towards it. Needless to say – it freaked me out and I put the cards away. Then the deaths started happening. By the end of the year – I was able to shuffle the cards without it falling out or appearing.

I also toyed with the Ouija board – along with the friend who practiced the Tarot with me. We made it ourselves – out of a piece of Masonite and Scrabble tiles. We used a small Sherry glass – turned upside down – as a planchette. I’d heard the horror stories about people becoming possessed after playing with Ouija boards – however I felt that the psychosis was brought on by their own fears and religious upbringing. I did not believe in demons etc. (neither did my friend) – so we got into it – mostly out of curiosity and in the spirit of scientific experimentation!

I’d always thought that people deliberately pushed the planchette, spelling out things to either scare others or to satisfy their own wishful thinking. What amazed me was that the glass seemed to have an energy of its own. My friend and I made sure that we only – just barely – touched the glass gently with our fingertips. Sometimes – the glass would move a little – before we even touched it. Most of the time – as soon as we put our fingertips on the glass – it would start racing across the board and we could barely keep up.

There were many times that we deliberately took our fingers off the glass – and it would keep moving – without us pushing or shoving it. Both of our hands lifted up above the glass – and it kept sliding. There are only two possible explanations for this: external energies or entities were controlling the glass – or our own energies combined to propel the glass, as though creating a third entity with our power. Either way – it was a remarkable phenomenon. (It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that – since our bodies are made of electricity – we generated a combined conduit.) What was even more remarkable – was that the entity (or let’s say – energy) that came through – most of the time, told us things that the other person could not possibly have known.

For example: the energy would mention names of long lost relatives – including specific facts – for the both of us. We had never divulged the information about those relatives to each other, either because we weren’t that close to the relatives or it had never been pertinent to our usual conversations. Also – the energy would reveal personal things about the both of us; things that we had never told each other – or anyone else, for that matter. It was often shocking, sometimes amusing – rarely scary.

One time, our kids were at school and we were having a session – when someone/an energy came through and told us that my friend’s son had ripped his pants as he climbed over a fence at school. We thought it was funny – but as we had asked for something specific (for the energy/entity to prove itself) – we decided to keep an eye or ear out for any news about his pants. Fair enough, several hours later I went with her to pick up the kids. Her son got in the car and complained about having ripped his pants while playing – as he climbed over a fence.

We were both absolutely flabbergasted. We had not mentioned it to her son as we hadn’t had time before he did it. She stopped the car and we looked over the back seat – as he twisted to show the back leg – which had a two inch rip. He had also scratched his leg a little – but was otherwise okay. We wondered if it actually was a spirit or whatever – as the information was so accurate. We couldn’t wait to get home to get on the board again – but nothing exciting happened during that session.

I’d like to emphasize – re: Paranormal – meaning ‘above’ normal, and Supernatural – meaning ‘extra’ natural. These two words have mystical connotations but we have to remember that they both indicate things that happen outside of the knowledge we already have of the world and everything in it. It doesn’t automatically mean that paranormal and supernatural things are magical. It just means that they are above or extra/outside our understanding at the present time – possibly to be explained by science at a later time.

I say this to show how our experiences with the Ouija board were in the realm of the unknown – hopefully to be discovered and explained at a later date. They could also have been externalizations or amplifications of our own extra sensory perception or intuition – channeling our subconscious energies through it. These things are not automatically in the realm of magic either.

We finally ditched the Ouija board – due to a scary experience that caused us to panic. We had already noticed throughout our dabbling – that our energy levels were always greatly reduced after a session. Even 20 mins into the sessions – we could feel ourselves getting more and more tired – to the point of us leaning our heads on one elbow as we tried to keep our eyes open.

The final straw was when an entity came through and said that my youngest brother was going to die. (He died a few years later – as discussed earlier.) Then a supposedly “good” spirit came through – telling us to get off (and stay off) as evil spirits were on their way. We freaked and broke the board up, then threw it in the trash.

To this day – I’m still unsure about what was happening and how it worked – but I maintain that we were not pushing the glass/planchette and that everything I’ve recounted is 100% true without any embellishment for dramatic effect!

It’s funny how people are always searching for answers about themselves and their lives – through external things and using strange methods. It has long been said (especially in Eastern Mysticism) – that the answer lies within. This is certainly true when deciphering your dreams or relying on your intuition. I read a while ago, about scientists discovering brain cells in the stomach – sometimes called “the little brain”, a network of neurons that line your stomach and your gut. They postulated that since they were linked to the cortex – it explained gut feelings and others associated with emotions, including the fight or flight impulse. It also explains the sensation of butterflies in the stomach.

When we want to know things about ourselves and our lives (especially important things) we like to consult oracles and use fortune telling – with a secret hope that the desired result will be the answer. (The same goes for praying.) In our minds – we could easily resolve the issue by using rationality and reasoning – but we like to ‘dupe’ ourselves into thinking that we can get a concrete answer from some arbitrary tool.

Most of the time – we already know the answer or it’s out of our control. Either the decision is in someone else’s hands or wishful thinking causes us to scramble for whatever aligns with our desires. It would be easy though – to throw the baby out with the bathwater and say that intuition is bogus. Science does not allow for things such as miracles and fate – as it prefers to sit with explanations such as coincidence and cause and effect.

We all know that there is a distinct line between the beginning of an event and the final result. The progression depends upon certain steps taken and events unfolding via choices, decisions, actions and outcomes. For example: If you’re a religious person and someone decides to give you $100 as a gift – you might think that it was due to divine providence or karma. If a doctor saves your life – you might assume it is divine intervention, luck – or again – karma.

You have chosen not to see the cogs and wheels in the machine. You are like a primitive person who has never seen a tv and believe that there are actually tiny people inside the magic box. You haven’t seen all the steps that happened in order to provide the favorable outcome. You also don’t see that those same steps could have resulted in an alternate – less favorable outcome – depending on circumstances, who’s involved etc.

It’s amazing how people see divine intervention or miracles when good things happen – but do not apply the same kind of thinking when a negative outcome occurs. Miracles are only applied to the positive – where tragedies are always applied to the negative – or Satan! (Notwithstanding that – what might be a tragedy for one person, might be a miracle for someone else.)

After having said all that – I do believe that intuition is real – although not necessarily from an external force or deity. I think it is ‘paranormal’ or ‘supernatural’ – not necessarily magical – but a natural phenomenon yet to be explained. This would account for the majority of supposedly mystical experiences, such as: the bonds between parents and children, twins, sensing danger before it happens, premonitions, deja-vu, luck, coincidence and so on.

Feeling alone in the world and dealing with abandonment issues could easily explain the desire for attachment to an all-encompassing, omnipotent father-figure. (In Ancient times – also the Mother figure in the form of the Goddess.) Also – fear of death – as mentioned earlier. The idea of an afterlife is comforting for those who can’t bear to face oblivion.

Still – I have had experiences that cannot be explained away so easily. Dealing with Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations all my life has been difficult – made worse when I realized that I had passed on the affliction to my son. Or so I assume!

He was three years old and one morning he came out of his bedroom in a terrible temper. I was sitting at the kitchen table having my morning cup of tea, when he walked up to me with his little hands on his hips. I asked him what was wrong and he replied, “I come from the Pleiades constellation!” I was staggered – as the day before he’d only used single words – as he hadn’t started stringing them into sentences yet. (He’d started walking when he was ten and a half months old. I had been told that children who walk first, talk later – and vice versa.)

In shock, I asked him several times to repeat what he’d said – and he did so – exactly the same sentence. My brother lived next door at the time, so I took my son over to his Uncle and told him to tell him what he had told me. He did so – and my brother was just as shocked as I was. He continued to say that he had been screaming for me all night but I didn’t come to him.

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He was very upset over that – so was I – as I always checked on him and listened for every noise. I asked him if he’d had a nightmare and he then retold the following. He had gone to bed and was then woken up by many aliens in his room. Some were tall greys wearing long black robes. They were standing in the back – while small, black, squat aliens milled about in the front. One of the small aliens was holding a crystal orb that had a black key in it. The alien threw it in the air and it started floating towards my son – who was trapped in his body and screaming.

As the orb approached him, another squat alien – quite different to the others – told my son that if he took the key out of the orb, he would unlock the secrets of the universe! He also told my son that he – and myself and my mother – were from the Pleiades constellation, and that we were vapors before we came to earth. He said that the planet we came from was “Livkik”.

This alien was quite unusual – like a troll. My son explained him as wearing shorts, but shirtless and barefoot – with an ugly face and a long hooked nose. He had a large gold earring in one of his ears and his long toenails were curled in spirals. This alien kept telling my son to “Take it!” – referring to the orb – as it continued floating towards him.

My son continued screaming as the other aliens joined in the chanting. “Take it, Take it.” It’s no wonder he was horrified – and upset – as I didn’t come to save him. I asked him why he didn’t take the orb, to which he replied simply, “I was scared!” I was already assuming that he had the same hypnagogic/hypnopompic hallucinations that I had suffered since childhood – but who knows?! 

Funnily enough, two years later – we went to a garage sale – where he found an unusual stuffed toy. It was made in Iceland and looked like an elf or pixie – with satin clothes and pointy ears. My son grabbed it out of the box and said excitedly, “He’s from Livkik!” I had to buy it for him!

I have yet to find satisfactory answers to the following questions: I had not been interested in the Plaeides – prior to this event. Where could he have gleaned the information from? How could a three year old pronounce this name and say this full sentence – when immediately before this event – he barely spoke more than one or two words at a time? (This also includes the discussion we had straight afterwards, where he explained in detail what had happened – very articulately and succinctly.) It’s like he went from toddler to teenager (at least!) overnight.

What about ghosts? I’ve always found this phenomena intriguing – even though I’m pretty sure most cases can be explained away as wishful thinking, rampant imaginations or matrix/eyes playing tricks and fear. Even so – I have had a few experiences that defy explanation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I believe 100% that I saw a ghost.

One experience I had was shared with my cousin and my son – when he was in his early teens. We decided that we’d go to get takeaway and that we’d walk to the shop. As we came out of her front gate and went to walk up the road, we heard a distinct, “Hey!” – as though someone was standing right next to us. My cousin lived next door to a vacant block of land – so we stopped to check. No one was there – only us. We laughed and went to continue – then heard a “Pssst” – like a short, sharp hiss. We stopped again – a little scared.

There was still no one there, so we checked the grass for snakes – and thought it might have been a gas leak from the ground (grasping for answers.) However – a gas leak can’t say “Hey” in a human’s voice, can it?

In that same house – the day she moved in – I was helping my cousin unpack. I was in the lounge room and she was in the kitchen. There was a hallway that connected the kitchen, lounge room and bedrooms and led to the front door.  My cousin called something out from the kitchen, then stepped into the doorway to hear my response. She swears black and blue – to this day – that she saw me come out of one of the bedrooms further down the hall and cross over to the other bedroom.

She went down the hall – passing me in the lounge room – and went into the bedroom to continue talking to me, but I wasn’t there. I remember the shocked look on her face when she slowly walked into the lounge room – her eyes as big as dinner plates! She asked me how I got past her without her noticing. I told her that I hadn’t moved – that I had been in the lounge room the whole time. She didn’t believe me. She went outside to check the windows, as she thought that I had jumped out – run along the side of the house – climbed in through the bathroom window and raced into the lounge room. She had only been in the bedroom a few seconds.

She realized that I would not have had enough time to jump out the bedroom window, run down the side of the house and climb back in the bathroom window, then run to the lounge room. She would have seen me running and I would have been out of breath. We were mystified by that!

A couple of weeks later – we were on the phone for a chat. She was sitting between the bathroom and the kitchen and she suddenly stopped mid-sentence. (My cousin – even though a Christian – is very scientifically minded and needs evidence or proof for just about everything – apart from her religious beliefs.) I asked her what was wrong and her voice started shaking. She told me that she had seen an old man walking through the kitchen and out the back door – then disappear. It took her a while to get comfortable in that house.

I’ve had other experiences – but I’d like to stop there and refer to a great book called “The Dark Gods” by Anthony Roberts and Geoff Gilbertson. (You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Dark-Gods-Anthony-Roberts/dp/009138771X). Even though there’s a lot of speculation about fairy tale characters and mythological archetypes being aliens etc in disguise – one thing “kind of” made sense to me, in regards to ghosts. They mentioned how events (including deaths, wars and battles etc) are imprinted on the surroundings – like a recording.

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For example: rocks can contain elements that are magnetic, or crystal etc that can act like a conduit. They can apparently “absorb” or channel events and energies – then release them, causing a haunting and so on. (I did say that it “kind of” makes sense!) On some of the popular ghost shows on tv – they talk about residual hauntings – where the events are played back over and over again, hence the reason you may see a ghost going through the motions of their daily routine. Other hauntings are considered “intelligent” – meaning that they will interact with the living, answer questions etc.

EVP’s – which stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena – are the supposed recordings of ghosts speaking or answering questions. Some say that they are just picking up radio waves – but it’s amazing to hear answers to direct questions, or people’s names being called out etc. If they are real and not over-dubbed etc – then I do wonder if they are recordings of thoughts projected by the ghost hunters. It’s amazing what the human mind can do – when excited and under duress – but I’m no scientist!

I do remember reading about Poltergeist activity – being explained away as the surging hormonal and emotional energies of pre-pubescent and teenage children. When concentrated and directed – energy can be very powerful indeed. It’s even stronger when in a group, and there have been accounts of group meditation sending strong energy – sensed by the receiver many miles away. Again – it does bring to mind explanations such as psychosomatic response or mind over matter.

For me, the bottom line is – whatever works – as long as you don’t go beating other people over the head with it. What is gospel for you will be bogus to someone else, and vice versa. Taking something from the ‘void’ and organizing it into a doctrine to make others follow you is absurd, in my books. If others gravitate to you and your beliefs – of their own accord – then, great! I know – like many others – that there’s so much going on in the void – yet to be discovered or explained satisfactorily. With quantum mechanics and other scientific breakthroughs – as well as things such as paranormal investigations – we’re bound to get there – one day.

Until then – let’s remember to keep it as real as we can and share our thoughts and experiences – without creating wars over stubborn beliefs and hidden agendas!

 


Notes on Dreaming

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This is from a chapter I wrote a few years ago – for a book that has been shelved – called “The Lifescape”. I had planned to write a self-help book about life mapping – using a variety of techniques, such as self analysis, ritual, dream interpretation, shadow work etc. It was from a Jungian/Pagan perspective. I shelved it as other projects took precedence, but also – because my mind was oscillating between atheism and agnosticism. Trepidation took a hold of me so I essentially forgot it – deliberately. I might still go ahead with it – after I’m done writing the Storming Archives!

At any rate – I’ve decided to post it here, seeing as I’ve been blogging about my dreams. I hope they are of some value to whoever reads this. (I will continue the Dream Blogging – sometimes my dreams are too personal to post!)

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In this chapter, we will discuss the importance of analyzing our dreams, including the usage of:

  • Dream journals
  • Dream incubation
  • Lucid dreaming
  • Symbolism
  • Common themes
  • Recurring dreams
  • Nightmares
  • The ‘Universal’ or ‘Great’ dreams
  • Prophetic dreams
  • Jung’s individuation process and basic archetypes related to it.

We will also explore how we can incorporate dream insights into our psychological analysis of ourselves.

Self analysis would be pointless (in my view) without the inclusion of dream interpretation. The subconscious world is the playing field where our daily events, relationships, memories, impressions, problems, personality issues etc are ‘played’ out – like a nightly performance. They afford us the opportunity to dissect, analyze and integrate the messages into our waking consciousness.

When our consciousness lapses into sleep, the subconscious mind takes over and dredges up all the things we have repressed, ignored or denied – to produce the dream. When we’re awake, it can filter through to produce visions. It’s also the realm that gives us the playground for daydreaming and creativity – offering us the forum and tools we need in order to explore and understand ourselves, others and the world around us.

How do we interpret them?

By interpreting the symbols, atmospheres, emotions and actions – even the time of day. (It’s been said that if the dream was in the morning – then it represents your early years. If midday – then it indicates now or your middle years. If the dream was in the evening or night time – then it denotes your later years.)

If you dream in color (some people don’t) – analyze the meaning of the colors – also shapes, numbers, etc. The list is endless. Dreams sometimes speak in puns – for example: seeing someone kicking a bucket could be death (which in turn, could represent the ending of old habits or way of life, transformation etc) – or it could just mean a bad tempered person! Another example would be a crumbled cookie – saying “that’s just the way things are” – regarding an issue that might be bothering you – basically saying “That’s the way the cookie crumbles”. Or it could just mean that you feel you don’t have enough to eat – with only crumbs available.

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Our dreams can also speak to us in riddles – in contrast to blatantly direct messages. That’s why dreams can be so difficult (and sometimes annoying) when we’re attempting to interpret them – however – the process is also interesting, illuminating and definitely rewarding.

They can also show sides of ourselves as reflected through others, which is confusing when we try to place the blame or try to figure out who and what the dream was talking about. (Later in this chapter, we’ll explore this further – regarding the elements of the Shadow, the Anima/Animus and the Self.)

The most vital tool to interpreting your dreams is understanding universal or ‘classic’ symbolism – in contrast to your own personal symbolism. A monkey can represent a mischievous character to one person – and to another – it may symbolize a wise man or woman. A flower could mean beauty, growth, coming of age, sexual attractiveness, pregnancy and so on. It all depends on the dreamer and what’s going on in their lives.

It’s imperative to keep a dream journal – whether a notebook or a word document on your computer. (If you’re not much of an artist – you can cut and paste images to represent the symbols – which makes the process fun.) Alternatively – keep a tape recorder or note taker by your bed, so you don’t have to scramble around trying to find your pen and journal in the dark.

A handy tip – You can remember your dreams more easily when your eyes are shut. The theta waves are in play – just like when you’re dreaming.

Prophetic dreams

It’s somewhat difficult to interpret dreams as ‘prophetic’ – due to the many possibilities regarding the symbolic nature of them. People have had them – throughout history: like the man who dreamed that there was going to be a plane crash and tried to alert authorities – to no avail. A plane did crash, as per the details in his dream. But as plane crashes happen a lot –it’s hard to 100% apply it as prophetic. (Click on the image to link to the story.)

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To dream of death – even dead bodies, pronouncements of death, headstones etc – does not necessarily mean that you or someone else is going to die. It usually represents endings, transformation and so on. It’s important to take into consideration other symbols surrounding it, such as the atmosphere, what the people were doing, saying, how they were dressed etc. Seeing dead bodies could signify issues such as illnesses in the body – disease, lethargy or certain aspects of the body changing. Sometimes we don’t see that a dream was prophetic until way after it occurs.

I had a dream once – where (to cut a long story short) I had a fly agaric toadstool in my pocket (the red ones with white specks on them.) The pocket was in a white jacket made of wolf’s fur. In front of me was a congregation of rabbits, who trembled every time I faced them. I tried to interpret it to the best of my ability at the time, but it wasn’t until later – a few months later – when I realized that it meant that I needed to be careful as to who I told about my being a witch, as some people were afraid of me afterwards. (Their projection – not mine, I assure you. I’m quite a pleasant person!)

There are also dreams that can alert us to the fact that we might have medical issues that we’re not aware of – or are about to manifest. For example: I had a dream that I was on the second floor of a house, where the lower floor was in flames. I tried to escape down a ladder, but it was also on fire. Not long afterwards, I had problems with a very painful hip, due to a joint problem. It felt as though it was on fire and I had to get x-rays and tests done, but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. For two months I had to take anti inflammatory medication, until it went away by itself.

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To dream of a house sometimes means you’re exploring the ‘Mansion of the soul’. Apparently the basement can represent your repressed memories or hidden self. The kitchen sometimes means your family memories or the nurturing side of yourself. The bedroom can represent your sexual side; the attic can signify what’s going on with your mental or spiritual attitudes; the lounge room can denote how you present to others or how you act in a crowd, and so on.

I’m not trying to dissuade you from interpreting your dreams as prophetic, but just be careful – as you may be, at times – deluding yourself to the point of being disappointed when they don’t come into being. (Especially if you dream about becoming wealthy!) Which leads me to:

Wish Fulfillment Dreams

Not all the wonderful dreams we have are wish fulfillment. For example: some sexual dreams do deal with our attitudes towards our own sexuality, our sexual history – or even the desire to ‘unite’ with someone, an idea or group of people, etc. Once again – it all depends on the dreamer and their circumstances. We often have dreams where we are having sex with a famous person we either secretly adore or never had any attraction to.

You don’t necessarily need to be single to have sexual dreams – therefore – it doesn’t automatically signify that you are sexually starved! (Even though sexual starvation does occur in some relationships.) For some sex addicts – to dream of having sex rarely occurs, but usually appears in some other format – such as packed trains, laundry baskets full of dirty underwear. Sometimes their dreams involve grossly abnormal sexuality or bizarre events – even animals (denoting base or animalistic desires.) But that can also occur for people who are celibate.

To dream of eating delicious food such as gourmet cooking, chocolate, cakes – or smorgasbords – can represent physical starvation – e.g. someone on a diet or financially challenged. It can also signify other issues – even sex. Once again it all depends on what else is going on in the dream and your life, your attitudes, etc.

Dreaming of finding a wad of cash or a wallet bursting with money usually appears when we don’t have any! Also, dreaming of being successful and powerful sometimes appears when we feel powerless and unimportant. The subconscious does try to make up for any shortcomings – which again makes the interpretation of dreams harder still. We need to be careful not to jump to conclusions and need to assess the dream from all possible angles.

Recurring dreams and common themes are usually an indication that we are not paying attention to ourselves and what’s going on in our lives. Of course, some common themes do continue occurring, as either it ‘worked’ before – when you paid heed or where your subconscious ‘knows’ what symbols to use to grab your attention.

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Universal or Classic dreams

Having a good understanding of basic symbolism does help when interpreting your dreams, as well as a working knowledge of archetypes, which we’ll discuss soon. I’ll include here a brief list of ‘universal’ or ‘classic’ dreams, which we all seem to have at one time or another. Again – this is all dependent on the dreamer, the circumstances etc. But on average, the following can be applied for general purposes:

Flying – a desire to get away from difficulties; escape – desire for freedom. Some say flying represents an idealized view of your sexual capacity! Look at how you’re flying, where, the weather, your feelings – e.g. elated or fearful?

Falling – sometimes linked with flying, but usually an anxiety dream, indicating lack of support, feelings of insecurity, a need for structure, etc. Successful people often have this dream, for obvious reasons.

Nakedness – feeling exposed (where you might be worrying about others finding out your hidden side, etc), repressed sexuality, vulnerability, concern about social status, etc.

Loose teeth – falling out or being pulled can signify the desire to change your situation, feeling powerless, insecurities regarding your appearance, impotence, etc.

Snakes – can signify new perceptions and realities. Historically they meant psychic or sexual energy or deep seated fears; a “snake in the grass” to watch out for (as a pun).

Travel – depends on the vehicle. e.g. Airplanes could mean foreign concepts, or the same as flying. A train could signify how you ’travel’ in life alongside others and so on. Are you going left or right (wrong or right)? Are you driving, or is someone else – meaning who’s in charge of the vehicle (your life) etc.

Weather: Rain – water usually represents emotions, so being in the rain or seeing it could mean tears or emotional issues. Alternatively it could mean washing something clean or a welcome sign of rejuvenation.

Weather: Storms – struggles, personal disaster etc. Raging emotions, war of words, chaos – sometimes necessary to clear the path.

Weather: Tidal waves – I used to often have these dreams – it usually represents feeling overwhelmed by your emotions. It depends on what’s going on. For example: I used to dream that the wave was washing over me and I had no control, but once I resolved these issues (to a degree!) – I dreamt that the tidal wave came, then crashed – but by the time the water reached me I was sitting down calmly, letting the foam tickle my toes.

Being chased – this is a very common, universal dream, as we all have times in our lives where we are either running away from ourselves or the things that we think can hurt us. Who is the person chasing you – a monster, wild woman etc? Could it be an aspect of yourself? (To be discussed further in this chapter).

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are plenty of good books about dreams out there – depending on your needs, e.g. you might want the mystical interpretations or folklore, rather than psychological, etc. Mythic themes are useful in the interpretation of dreams – but we still need to focus on how the symbols speak to us personally.

What if we ignore them?

If we ignore our dreams (especially if they are important) our subconscious may eventually create a nightmare, where there is more urgency and the symbols become more exaggerated and sometimes terrifying. Even though nightmares can be frightening, they do afford us the opportunity to dissect difficult things or situations in our lives, and help us realize that things aren’t as grim as we thought they were.

That knowledge helped me with the fear I used to feel in dreams. Now – even when I see a terrifying image – I’m more like a scientist, trying to figure it out whilst in the dream. (Lucid dreaming is covered further on in this chapter.) Facing our ‘demons’ is usually the reason the nightmare comes to us – if we’ve ignored the messages in previous dreams. We need to treat dreams like mini documentaries and take them seriously. Our subconscious is like a reporter on the edge, feeding back relevant information – the news!

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An interesting exercise in discovering your personal symbology:

Symbols are everywhere – as encapsulations of all kinds of information, depending on how they are used and who is looking at them. Interpreting symbols – even whilst awake – is a great exercise in understanding your reactions to imagery. For example: you’re walking past a field and see some horses. Meditate on what they mean to you – e.g. strength, freedom, spirit?

If you see leaves falling from a tree – what does it invoke in you? Maybe the cycle of life, the autumn years, waste? If you witness an argument, can you read between the lines as to what’s really going on – or are they just having a spirited discussion? What does their body language tell you?

Or perhaps you see an abandoned car by the side of the road. Does it represent a discarded life, forgotten dreams, rubbish? Doing this exercise not only helps you hone your interpretation skills, it also trains your mind to analyze things from different perspectives. Believe me – it’s amazing how quickly this skill transfers to the actual dream and awakens the possibility for understanding as well as lucid dreaming.

Lucid Dreaming

This is where we actually become aware that we are dreaming, whilst in the dream. This is a level of consciousness that allows us to keep a foot in each world simultaneously, bridging the conscious and subconscious realms. In this state, we are able to delve deeper into our unconscious motivations and the psyche, and to work out issues (some of them serious). We are also able to explore the wonderful dream realm  and are only limited by our imaginations!

The word lucid comes from the Latin ‘lux’ – meaning light – which is interesting, as it is about the concept of ‘shedding light’ on the subject. While this is a fascinating experience, it is by no means easy. Sometimes it happens randomly without any prompting from our conscious mind; other times  – it needs to be planned and ‘activated’.

One way to activate the experience is to program yourself – before you go to sleep. A little later I’ll talk about incubating dreams. One of the methods is to tell yourself before you go to sleep, that you will be alert during the dream and that something – a symbol or action – will prompt you to snap to and recognize that you are dreaming – therefore taking control of it. Apparently lucid dreaming also reduces the frequency of nightmares, so it’s obviously a useful tool. It has been noted that children dream lucidly – more than adults – though the reasons why seem to be a little vague – such as sleeping patterns, etc.

Being more aware of your subconscious world, through analysis and dream interpretation is helpful – as well as meditation – which assists in helping you gain more control over your inner world. Again, programming yourself is useful – especially when coupled with hypnosis (or self hypnosis – which can be gained with such things as affirmations, meditation and creative visualization – even combining the two: pathworking.)

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If you program yourself before you go to sleep – so that you will be alerted once an ‘unreal’ action or event occurs in the dream, it should prompt you to take note (hopefully!) If there’s a common theme in your dreams that could be considered as ‘unreal’ – a great exaggeration of reality or some other recurring symbol – program yourself to recognize it when dreaming, in order to trigger the process of lucidity. If you often dream of blue birds, stairs going this way and that or suddenly ‘teleporting’ to some other place (unusual or not) etc – then use them as ‘lucidity triggers’.

This doesn’t mean – by any stretch of the imagination – that you will be 100% successful. It takes a lot of practice and programming. Just make sure you continue recording and analyzing your dreams – maybe you’ll achieve and possibly even master lucid dreaming! (It’s funny how it becomes easier when you take the time to dissect them. It’s like your subconscious mind ‘knows’ it’s being watched!) I’ve met a few people who dream lucidly, all the time – so just keep at it. I assure you, it’s definitely worth the effort.

Be mindful that there will be times that the lucidity will slip through your fingers. It’s easy to get caught up in the dream world and forget that you’re dreaming. One way to trigger lucidity is to recognize – in the dream – that what’s going on wouldn’t happen in waking life. For example: people with apples for heads, or driving cars without your hands on the wheel, etc.

For some people, it helps to wake themselves up – with an alarm clock or some other method (like drinking too much liquid before going to bed, so you’ll wake up – hopefully – to go to the toilet). Then stay awake for a while, whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour. The reason for this is that it ‘disturbs’ the sleeping patterns and sometimes evokes lucidity. But be careful that you don’t disrupt your whole sleeping pattern. You don’t want to spend your days walking around like a zombie – or ending up an insomniac!

Another method is to try to retain consciousness whilst going to sleep. This is difficult to do but the theory is that you’ll stay alert for the entry into the dream state – therefore – be lucid and aware that you’re dreaming. I have tried this myself, but found for me – I might be aware for a few minutes and then forget that I am dreaming. Vigilance and perseverance is definitely a factor.

Dream Incubation

(This topic could’ve been included in Chapter 10: Ritual – but it’s relevant here and by no means is the only method for the incubation of dreams.)

One way – as discussed – is to program yourself before going to sleep – such as repeating a mantra, like “I will remember my dreams” or “I will be totally aware that I am dreaming”. The same could be done for a particular dream that deals with a certain issue. For example: “I will dream about a solution to…”

To start with, I find it useful to read a certain type of book before bed, or listen to a particular type of music, watch a movie etc, – that embodies the kind of issues and images I’d like to have in my dream. Also, talk about it during the day (to yourself or others) as though it’s an established fact – that you’re going to have a certain type of dream. A good way to achieve ‘programming’ of yourself is – of course – ritual. Ritual speaks to the subconscious, so it’s an excellent tool for dream incubation.

You don’t need to be a witch to conduct a ritual. We have little rituals in our life – every day. You might want to align yourself with a particular archetype or deity. Even if you’re Christian, you could ask Jesus to help guide you in the process. Other deities could be: Morpheus – the Greek god of dreams, Nanshe – Sumerian Goddess of prophecy (assists in interpretation of dreams), Chandra – Hindu moon god, Iduna – Scandinavian goddess of dreams and divination, or Bes – Egyptian god, whose likeness was carved on headboards to chase nightmares away. (It is said that if you draw a picture of him on your left hand and wrap it in a black cloth – that has been dedicated to Isis – he will bring you the dream you want.)

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There are many other deities out there (or you can use an archetype – whatever makes you comfortable.) The correspondences you can use when conducting your ritual could be as follows:

DAY: Monday PLANET: Moon COLOR: White or silver DEITY: your choice GEM: Smoky Quartz, Moonstone, Celestite, Jade HERBS: Marigold, Honeysuckle, Sandalwood, Cinnamon, Elderflowers, Jasmine (you don’t have to use all of them – even one herb/plant will suffice.)

TOTEMS:

SWAN – helps interpret dream symbols

BAT – a messenger from the subconscious

DRAGON – guards the treasures of the subconscious realm

The above is just a guide – you might not want to incorporate ritual at all, and might be more comfortable just meditating. It’s up to you to choose the methods that you feel most comfortable with and then go from there.

Dream Incubation Ritual

If you like – draw a picture of the deity/archetype you’re going to use – as well as a power animal (or all three), if you like. Write out your question or statement regarding what kind of dream you want to have. Get a white or silver candle, consecrate it with sandalwood oil (again – depending on your preference) and prepare a cauldron or dish for your charcoal and incense – made from the herbs/plants – and set it on your altar (or bedside table – being careful with the flame of the candle and charcoal.) You can place the gems on your altar/bedside table or put them under your pillow (with the note, if you won’t be burning it in the ritual).

Light the candle, sprinkle some of the incense on the lit charcoal and call the quarters. Invoke the deities etc that you wish to have assist you in the ritual. Cast a protective circle and state the following:

“Hear me – Morpheus – God of dreams, I invoke Thee” (or whoever you’re using) “I seek your assistance tonight. Bring me a dream that answers this question” (either put the note in the cauldron to burn or put it under your pillow.) Also, you can change the wording to suit yourself. Then state:

“As this candle burns – the energies of dream incubation will be released. Thank you Morpheus” – or whoever your guide is. Then meditate on the flame – doing creative visualization incorporating the Swan, or Bat or Dragon (or all three!) – giving you the answers you desire.  Mix it up to suit your purpose.

When you’re done, close the quarters and circle, go to bed and go over your question in symbolic format – e.g. if you want to know how to combat an emotional issue – see the issue as a tear falling down your face, and so on. Use your imagination – which speaks to your subconscious. When you awake, record your impressions. As I said before, you don’t have to conduct a ritual – it’s just that ritual is a great way of programming your subconscious will. If you prefer to just meditate, or put the gems under your pillow with the note, that’s perfectly fine. The important thing is – to set the tone for your desired outcome.

You might notice that the symbols in your dream seem totally nonsensical in regards to what you asked for, but don’t be discouraged. This is always the way the subconscious appears (at first.) Do analyze the dream and keep a look out for the next few nights – as the answer might not come straight away.

Now (finally!) we’re going to delve into the ‘meat’ of the topic – which is the discussion of the basic archetypes and the individuation process. I don’t want to go into depth regarding the psychological processes, as they are covered in the following chapter – Self analysis. (Not included in this post – sorry!)

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Carl Jung regarded the individuation process as involving the developmental path that we all take during our lives, taking into consideration the fact that each of us are individuals with unique destinies. He stated that we have two personalities – the outward, ‘conscious’ personality and the hidden personality, contained in the ‘collective unconscious’. Under the conscious self is a well of repressed, ignored or forgotten feelings, memories and behavioral patterns – which he called the ‘personal unconscious’. Beneath that lies the ‘collective unconscious’ – a depository which is massive and encompasses all the behaviors and imagery that have been recorded right throughout history, since ancient times.

Jung believed that this collective unconscious – this depository of human memories etc – shows how history still has an incredible impact on us and our lives.

The Archetypal Stages of Individuation

1/ The Shadow: this is the archetype that embodies all the personal traits that we ignore, deny or repress. It usually represents itself as the same sex as the dreamer – or as a monster, etc. (Depending on the level of repression, etc.)

2/ The Anima/Animus: usually the archetype that represents the opposite sex to the dreamer (or the male/female aspects of the dreamer.)

3/ The Self: this is the archetype of the integrated persona – the ‘whole’ self, usually represented by a wise man or woman. (But it can take on other forms such as animals, inanimate objects – in nature and man made – or a variety of human forms.) In our dreams, we are often pulled back by our past and prompted by our future. These energies are sometimes personified – or objectified – by our archetypes. The individuation process is when we begin to integrate the whole of our consciousness into a singular being – rather than a fragmented being. Dreams are the individuation process reports – they tell us how we’re going in relation to our integration of various personas, etc.

The archetypes appear in our lives through the individuation process, which is determined by the type of person we are. This is why each path for each person is different.

The Shadow

Usually, the individuation process involves the second stage of life, according to Jung. He believed that we spend the first half of our lives building the personality, and when that’s accomplished (if not, then the process is difficult to say the least!) – then we can focus on going within.

During the first half of life, we learn how to live and how to deal with the world and the people in our lives. Our parents are the be all and end all  – when we are young. They are the authorities and what they say goes (Usually!) We become who we are depending on their expectations and how they present themselves to us – often mimicking their behavior. We all enter into this world with a blueprint of who we can become. It needs to be able to adapt to all the different energies, experiences and people we encounter, in order for us to fulfill our destiny. We all have inherent skills, abilities and desires – which are sometimes denied, ignored or repressed in order to satisfy the expectations of others.

According to Jung, one or more personalities grow around these ignored or repressed desires etc – which become the Shadow. When we have new issues arise in our life and we don’t know how to deal with them, the Shadow figure appears in our dreams – which symbolizes the energies and so on – that we need in order to deal with them. Jung said that the Shadow appears when a new cycle is about to begin.

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To start with, the Shadow appears as non-human, like a monster, zombie, etc. Later on they become fully human, the same sex as us – but still frightening. Later still, they become more of a nuisance – rather than a scary persona. We then look down at them and put up with their presence. Further on, they become acquaintances (although not important), then they evolve into friends, family members, or even partners. If we have integrated their traits into our persona, they will no longer appear in our dreams – as they have become a part of us.

If we continue to deny our true identity, the Shadow will pursue us in nightmares, which is why we need to stop and engage the Shadow, to find out what it wants. (This is why shadow figures appear in nightmares and dreams – because we have become too set in our ways or have forgotten our true path.) When we think that we are perfect – the Shadow figure contrasts this with the opposite persona – imperfect, dark, menacing etc. The shadow teaches us about how misguided we are about our desires.

When we repress ourselves sexually, a shadow figure appears who emulates all kinds of sexual ‘aberrations’. The more we deny the shadow, the more power we give it. After a while, it becomes too powerful for us to ignore. We either slip up and do things we’d rather forget – or project it onto others. (Especially those who aren’t as inhibited). If we acknowledge the shadow – we can evolve. If we repress it – we suffer it’s wrath. In order to understand the shadow, we need to see our projections and break them down.

If we don’t examine our hidden selves they build to monster proportions and break through to our conscious lives. If you come across someone in your dream who frightens you or if you fight with them – see the qualities in them that correlate to your personality and integrate them. The more the conflict – the more likely that you’re dealing with a shadow figure.

The Anima and Animus

The Anima is the males’ feminine aspect and the Animus is the masculine aspect of the female. It’s more difficult to integrate the Anima/Animus than the shadow. Intense emotional energies occur when we transform from the shadow to the Anima/Animus. (Once the Shadow qualities become integrated, the Anima/Animus issues appear – although I’ve found they can occur simultaneously.) The shadow appears to alert us to our hidden, ignored, forgotten or repressed desires and the Anima/Animus takes it from there. The world of the Anima/Animus is the testing ground for how we conduct ourselves in relationships (personal and with the world.) Our issues with our parents are also reflected in the workings of the Anima/Animus.

The Anima/Animus appears in our dreams in many formats. As god/goddess – such as Mars (embodying war, fortitude, etc) and Aphrodite (embodying beauty, love etc). They also appear as a variety of different archetypes – like the mother, father etc. They personify those particular qualities that we need when we are about to go through a transformation. The Anima/Animus shows us how misguided we can be about our emotions and relationships. In the shadow stage – we discover that the ‘monster’ is actually us. In the Anima/Animus stage – we discover that we are connected to everyone and everything. The Self teaches us that we need to discover our inherent nature – in order to be wholly integrated.

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The Self

The Self is even harder to interpret than the Shadow or Anima/Animus. As an archetype – the Self encompasses many images and forms – which is what makes it so difficult to interpret. The Self is who we were destined to be; the supreme goal. It’s the divine aspect of ourselves. As we have an idealized view of ourselves (or who we should be), we usually use the archetype of the Self to measure other people against. When we stray from our true Self – a Shadow figure appears – but as we draw closer to our Self – the Shadow becomes less of a monster, etc and more like ourselves.

In dreams, the Self can be represented by an animal or even a tree, flower, river etc. Jung also believed that the Self could be symbolized by things such as mandalas and other forms.

These images often appear in our dreams when some kind of order is being restored within ourselves. If we don’t see the image, animal etc as an expression or symbol of ourselves – then integration will be difficult. When we dream about animals, usually depicted as aloof or disinterested, we need to realize that the Self has appeared to us.

Reptiles – especially snakes, are usually representative of the Self, as they appear when a new cycle is about to commence. They embody wisdom and powerful instincts. Apparently the most common representations of the Self as an animal are: snakes, horses, bulls, elephants, bears, black and white birds, fish – even turtles, spiders, snails & beetles!

The “Mana” personality: in dreams – is a being with magical powers and is evocative of the occult. Once the Anima/Animus is integrated, the Mana personality appears – sometimes before the Self does – and is considered a lesser representation of the Self. It forces us to question out true identity – to ask ourselves the question – “Who am I?” This is the part of the individuation process that is key – “How do I go from who I’ve become to who I’m supposed to be?”

We are ‘self actualized’ when our motivations are ‘pure’ and not colored by external expectations. Put another way, we can only truly be ourselves when we follow our own path rather than someone else’s – or their idea of what our path should be. Self actualized people are those who adhere to concepts such as truth, justice and beauty. They cope with life better than others, no matter how difficult the journey is. They truly ‘feel’ or experience the good and the bad in life. They are truly connected to their emotions, but once felt and expressed – are more able to move on, quicker than those not self actualized.

We can’t be our true selves without having confronted and dealt with who we are and what we want in life, without other people’s projections interfering. (Notwithstanding solicited advice, legitimate concerns etc.) According to Jung, there are strange side effects when the Self appears, such as emotional outbursts – that seem to happen for no good reason; or strange illnesses that seemingly appear out of nowhere. Other symptoms might include prophetic dreams – which come true and other ‘paranormal’ activity. This is the time when we need to guard against assuming we have become everyone’s ‘guru’ – especially towards those we think are less evolved.

This apparently occurs because of the archetypal energy released when the Self appears. We can counteract this distorted use of the energy by channeling it through a creative outlet. This is the process of sharing the collective unconscious with the world.

Final notes on dreams

We surely now understand why analyzing our dreams is important. When we take notice of our dreams they take notice of us noticing them! We form a ‘bond’ with the dream realm and it reacts accordingly. See how your dreams change once you actually start taking them seriously. When analyzing your symbols, use free word association and stream of consciousness methods – let your imagination run wild. This helps amplify the meaning, giving you every possible angle, so that you have a better chance of finding what makes the most sense to you.

Words are also symbols – check out their meanings in the dictionary, thesaurus and even world history – to see if you can shed any light on the subject. If your dream resembles a mythic story or fairy tale, research it to see if you can gain any more insights. I can not emphasize how important it is to record your dreams. Give them titles and dates so that you can access them easier. Use drawings if you can’t find the right words to describe them. You’ll discover that your dreams contain many wild adventures and opportunities for growth that will literally change your life.

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Dream Blogging – Sweeping

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I had this dream this morning – strangely I don’t remember what else happened in it. I was back in Adelaide (Australia) – at my son’s place – at the end of a long, dark hallway. I was sweeping sand out the front door, and it didn’t matter how methodical I was – I couldn’t get rid of all the sand. Every time I looked behind me, there were still small mounds of sand. When I became aggressive with my sweeping, I saw that there was still a fine layer of sand still on the floor.

I remember thinking about the futility of it; that no matter what, people would still be dragging in more sand – on their shoes and clothes – but I kept on sweeping regardless. Then I was in a grocery store – in the refrigerated aisle – when I saw a black man (the bus driver who takes me to work every day!), up on a ladder and cleaning out the grime and grease from some machinery in the ceiling.

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He was using his fingers to clear out the filth in the grooves and little shelves in the compartment. I asked him to stop and put some gloves on, as he could make himself sick. He just looked down at me – smiling and shaking his head – then continued doing it. I was worried about him transferring the filth to his mouth, but he wouldn’t listen to me.

THEME: Cleaning and sweeping, Concern, Futility.

SYMBOLS: Broom, sand, hallway, door, supermarket, ladder, dirt.

EMOTIONS: Concern, frustration.

ARCHETYPES: Man

INTERPRETATION: Cleaning and sweeping represent a desire to clear away old debris; clearing a path, putting things in order, correcting a mistake or problem, desire to reveal what’s underneath. The Buddhists say that cleaning your Dharma mirror (or whatever you’re cleaning) – means that you are sorting out your crap, basically – paving your way to enlightenment in order to reach Nirvana.

I was using a straw broom – which is a symbol of domesticity. It’s also a symbol for witches. (I have been a Hedgewitch for a long time!) Maybe it could mean that I have to use another method for sorting out my crap – or even – that the methods I’m using are not working? Sand can be symbolic of many things. In this dream I was in Adelaide (my son lives near the beach) – and it could be regarding my relationship with him – or being away from Australia. Clearing out past mistakes, paving a way back home, or reconstructing how I feel about my family.

Sand – and the shore – can be thought of as a threshold to other worlds, as they border the ocean. A grain of sand in an hourglass represents the sands of time. I know that I have a deep desire to turn the clock back – as the theme of aging has been prominent in my life lately. Turning around and seeing more sand behind me – tells me that no matter what – it will always be there. That’s where the futility re: continuing the process of getting rid of it comes in.

A hallway symbolizes an avenue to somewhere. In the Mansion of the Soul analogy – it represents a path to somewhere – or a holding/waiting area, that led to a door to the outside. Sweeping the sand out the front door – from the hallway – might show that I dither about, wasting time in a holding pattern – when I should move on and forget about what I can’t change.

A supermarket is a public place where you go to purchase sustenance. Probably representing my public persona – or how I deal with the public? A ladder has many connotations – such as – moving up the ladder (the man was at the top); bad luck for the superstitious; a portal or passage to another dimension etc. The man – as animus – could symbolize the masculine part of myself. The fact that he was black does not escape me. I have an Aboriginal (also Chinese, Welsh and French) heritage – so maybe that hints at my background or ‘native’ sense of self.

He ignored me and laughed when I showed concern for getting his fingers dirty. This could mean that I have a tendency to put myself in dangerous situations – blithely unaware that I could be doing myself harm. It could also be telling me to stop worrying about the small details – or even shying away from the dirty jobs in my life. As I’ve recently been sick – it could be telling me to stop being ignorant in regards to my health. This is a common theme for me lately!

SUMMARY: I need to stop worrying about things I can’t change – and start worrying about the things I can change! Again – putting the past behind me and to accept that time is marching on. I need to take more risks – being careful in the process. I need to stop procrastinating and try different methods for the evolution of my psyche. In order to properly integrate, I need to accept what is and work on what isn’t. Time to move on and be brave.

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Dream Blogging – Gang of Animals

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I had this dream yesterday – but was so tired last night after work – so I’m posting it late!

In the dream, I was walking down a road on an overcast day. I saw a gang of animals heading towards me on the footpath. There was a dog (pitbull), some cats and a strange, floating pinecone with an owl’s face peering out of the front. (The pinecone was horizontal, flying low.) It was a fantasy creature obviously – but in the dream I was mystified – trying to find out what kind of creature it was.

One of the cats was white with ginger patches. It had a large paper bag attached to one of its’ back legs – as though it had worn the bag for pants, but had stepped out of one of the leg holes. The leg was poking out of the other side of the bag – and was bloodied and broken. When I got closer to try and help it, I noticed that it was distressed – but it kept floating along with the other animals.

The dog seemed protective of the cat – but at first I thought that it was responsible for the cat’s injuries. Then I realized that the cat had been in a car accident and that it was quite old. When I tried to pick the cat up – it felt like a bag of bones. It purred when I petted it and I tried to help – but I wondered if the purring was just a stress reaction. I decided to follow it home to see if I could alert the owner and once we got to its’ house – the owner showed up.

She was an older hippy woman who pulled up in an old, white car that was beaten up and neglected. There were dirty, stuffed animals along the back window of the car. She was concerned about the cat – who was now lying on the grass in the front yard – waiting to be attended to.

THEME: Concern, dealings with animals, travelling, old and beaten up.

SYMBOLS: Cat, Dog, Strange creatures, road, car, stuffed animals, paper bag, injuries.

EMOTIONS: Concern, compassion, confusion.

ARCHETYPES: Old woman, animals.

INTERPRETATION: Some of this was obvious to me – as I’ve said in my previous dream interpretation – I’ve been feeling old and beat up lately! Walking down the road in the middle of the day – travelling through middle age. (The road was sloping slightly downwards.) The animals coming towards me represent various elements of my psyche wanting to be analyzed – or the process of the integrated self. For example: the dog was in good health but had a twinge of pink on its’ nose – hence the reason why I’d thought it had bitten the cat’s leg.

The other cats were fine – ambling along – but the old, injured cat represents how I’ve been feeling of late. I don’t know if it was jet lag or a virus – but I’ve been very tired for the last couple of weeks and have had strange symptoms – such as sore hips, stiff joints and glands swelling up. I think the flimsy bag on the cat’s leg symbolizes my haphazard attempts at taking care of myself! I try to soldier on and tell everyone that I’m fine when I’m not – for fear of appearing old and feeble.

The pinecone owl stumped me at first – but then I realized that it represented the mystical or spiritual side of myself that I’m still trying to understand. The pinecone symbolizes seeds spent – therefore old age. (I’m not dead yet – at 48!!) The owl is a nocturnal animal – so am I. It also represents wisdom and secret worlds – so maybe the fact that it was half-pinecone means that I’m entering the realm of the crone. (It’s funny – as I’ve always loved pine trees and owls!)

I think the lady also represents myself. The car symbolizes how I travel through life. (Roughshod and breakneck – sometimes!) The stuffed animals in the back window could symbolize aspects of myself that have taken a back seat – or have been neglected.

SUMMARY: Again – to slow down and take care of myself – but also, to acknowledge the hidden aspects of my true self. I need to accept getting older and rejoice in this new phase. I have been leaning away from spirituality over the past few fears – towards atheism. Maybe the mystical realms don’t have to be necessarily attached to a religion per se. Nonetheless – I have been feeling the lack of connection to that side of myself. Time to explore!

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Dream Blogging – Thwarted

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This is the first dream to be posted for interpretation. I’ve called it “Thwarted” – as that’s pretty much the whole theme of the dream. Even though I’m usually very good with being on time – even ridiculously early – being late is a common theme for me, in my dreams. Probably because I hate being late!

I was staying at an old woman’s place in Australia and had left with my grandson to catch a plane back to the U.S. My grandson – Leon – is four years old, and he was decked out like he was going on an expedition! He looked like an intrepid traveler, dressed in khaki and carrying his little bag. As we were walking up the driveway (it was night time) – I realized that I didn’t have my luggage. We went back to the old woman’s house to get them, but when we got there – it dawned on me that I hadn’t even packed my bags!

I started scrambling to jam everything into the suitcases. My stuff was strewn all over the bedroom – with clothes, books and papers under the bed, across the floor and on the chair and dressing table. Every time I thought I’d packed the last thing – something else caught my eye so – yet again – I had to open the suitcase and stuff it in.

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As I was doing this, Leon said in his cute little voice, “What about my spoon?” I asked the old woman to get his spoon but she was ignoring me – just hanging around in the background. I kept obsessing about the spoon and packing my luggage, but was then distracted by an array of beautiful perfume bottles on the dressing table. I couldn’t decide which one to take with me.

The clock was ticking and I panicked about not getting to the airport on time. My heart was aching for Leon as I couldn’t find the spoon – but the perfume bottles continued to distract me.

THEME: Being late, disorganized, thwarted plans, neglected responsibility.

SYMBOLS: Clock, Luggage, Spoon, Perfume.

EMOTIONS: Panic, sadness, frustration, disorientation, distractions.

ARCHETYPES: Little boy, Old woman.

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INTERPRETATION: This is a common theme for me – fearing that I will miss out on meeting deadlines due to unpreparedness. Since I was a teenager, I’ve had dreams about being late. I know this sounds odd – but back then, I would get some kind of a sexual thrill about being late. As I’ve matured – frustration has become the key element – no thrill!

I think this could be drilled down to – fear of missing out. I have had to deal with feeling like the rug’s been pulled out from under me – on and off – for a long time, which feeds these kinds of dreams. I am always very organized when it comes to planning – with my endless checklists and dry runs, etc. I am always annoyed when things don’t go to plan – and even though I do well with thinking outside the box and adapting – sometimes it gets to me. This could be my subconscious (or unconscious) mind – telling me that no matter what and no matter how much I plan – things can go wrong – so I just need to ease up and accept what I can’t change, etc. To go with the flow.

Having my grandson in the dream represents responsibility for others, especially those who depend on me. He was prepared – apart from having his spoon. A spoon represents sufficient nourishment, measuring medicine, comfort (especially for children – knowing that they have enough to sustain them). As my anima – the masculine side of my psyche – Leon could be representing the youthful, outgoing, powerful side of me that needs to be sustained – hence the spoon. I have been grappling with getting older lately – not feeling like I have as much energy to get things done.

He could also have appeared to show how a typical grandmother feels towards her grandchildren – concern for their well-being. I did feel remorse for obsessing about the perfume in the dream – rather than putting more effort into finding the spoon. Maybe it symbolizes my fear of not being considered sexually viable anymore, as I paid more attention to the perfume – or the alluring side of my psyche – rather than the spoon, which represented my stamina, agility – or even the idea that I should be ‘feeding my soul’ instead.

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The old woman was probably another version of myself. If she symbolized how I feel in regards to getting older, in the background, unresponsive – then it makes sense. That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling of late – unable to cope, forgotten, less worthy, etc. (Especially when my ego is involved with trying to get my first novel out there!)

Luggage or suitcases – pretty straight forward. They were unpacked and I struggled to get them in order. Not being able to get my shit together. I’ve been feeling that a lot lately!

SUMMARY: I need to slow down and take stock. I need to remember the important things in life and not to be so hard on myself. Having said that – I also think that the dream was telling me to focus on things that are important and not to waste precious time on things that don’t help me evolve as a human being.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions!


Dream Blogging

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Something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time is blogging about dreams and their interpretations. A variety of things held me back – in particular – the idea that others might be bored with someone else’s dreams. I remember a line from “The Ref” – starring Kevin Spacey (Lloyd) and Judy Davis (Caroline). They play a couple whose marriage is on the rocks, and in the beginning they are in therapy, talking about Caroline’s dream. Lloyd is annoyed with her repeating a very personal dream and tells her that no one cares. It was hilarious – but I wondered if that was true – or if he was just annoyed with her revealing their personal problems.

True – we’re all far more interested in our own dreams than those of others – but what has finally pushed me to start writing about my own, is the fact that I have a lot of followers on my Dreamworld board on Pinterest. On that board, I pin interesting images and interpret them as though they are scenes from dreams. I’ve studied dream interpretation for a long time – and even though I’m certainly not an expert – people often come to me to ask for my advice and interpretation. (Here’s a link to my Dreamworld board: https://www.pinterest.com/lilithu/the-dreamworld/)

Another reason was that I enjoy dream interpretation (especially using the Jungian technique, archetypes, Shadow work, symbolism etc) – is that it truly helps with understanding how I’m travelling in life. The unconscious is the repository for all our hopes, desires, fears and things that affect our psychological make-up. It speaks to our conscious mind through symbolism, puns and even direct messages. When you pay attention to what your dreaming mind is trying to communicate – you can unlock secrets about yourself and gain new insights into problems or issues with your psyche, as well as those involving others and situations, etc.

I also welcome input from others – as I don’t always get it right – hence another reason I’m starting this public journey! I’m happy to assist with deciphering the dreams of others – so please feel free to share in the comments section, and I’ll endeavor to give it my best shot. (Even though the best interpretation comes from the dreamer – as only they know their true selves and what motivates them – it’s amazing what remains hidden, due to things such as refusal to face certain issues, fear or firmly held beliefs that block true understanding.)

Apparently we dream every night – but I don’t always remember my dreams, or maybe I just remember snippets, etc. I have common themes such as tidal waves, dark spaces, animals etc – like we all do. Nightmares are less common now that I’m older and have grappled with most of my demons! I find that they don’t inflict such deep fear, like they used to.

My novel – “Delwyn of the Realms – Storming Archives Book 1” – is all about a woman who accesses the dreamworld through a mirror portal. I use my knowledge of dream interpretation – as well as my experiences with astral projection and hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations – in my writing. Here’s a link to the book on Amazon:

 www.amazon.com/dp/B00TD0RF7E

I will try to post at least two dreams per week – so stay tuned!

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Questing

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Writing this memoir has been a very therapeutic experience in terms of exorcising demons and analysis. For the most part, as long as I’m writing, I’m happy, although the perfectionist and idealist in me tend to gripe from their perches, saying things like “What about the poetry?” or “Not as good as the Beats” or “I thought you wanted to be a Great Writer!” I’ve had articles published in three of Llewellyn’s Almanacs. The first was about Animal totems in their 2011 Magical Almanac. Then I wrote a series of entries for their 2012 Witches’ Spell A Day Almanac. The last was a piece on the Numerology of plants for their 2013 Herbal Almanac.

 

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I’m proud of those pieces, but I have to admit that along the way, something in me transformed, in regards to my ‘spirituality’. I have always felt uneasy with the term ‘atheist’ as it implies the notion of an aversion to spirituality. The idea of calling myself ‘agnostic’ also made me uncomfortable as it came across as laziness, or at least – as being in a holding pattern until something better came along. It was like a ‘just in case’ position, or lying in wait – like a spider on the outskirts of a web, waiting for the tug of the string.

In my earlier years I went ‘out on a limb’ and explored different faiths, reading book after book and attending services and visiting temples. I had countless conversations with a variety of different types of people from different walks of life. I lived in a Buddhist commune for a year and was initiated into the White Tara mysteries. I spent a brief period studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses (boy was that a mistake!), which was brought on by an episodic fear of death. My cousin organized a clumsy religious intervention, disguised as a makeup party, where she and a psychotic garden variety Born again Christian woman did their best to ‘exorcize’ me! They both ended up in tears and I walked away amused but angry that I was duped into wasting my time and energy – AND I had brought good food!

When I was twenty three I met an American woman – Elia, who was from Waco, Texas. She was in her early fifties and had an ad in the paper about teaching Numerology. I had been interested before and decided to look into it so I called her. When she answered and we started talking, for some reason I thought that she was Russian. (It turned out later on she discovered that her family did have Russian in their background!) The lessons were cheap so I signed up and started attending, every Tuesday night. Elia had a degree in Psychology and was also an art teacher. She was thoroughly fascinating and I learned a lot from her.

It turned out that I was the only one who stayed for the complete course and she said that from the beginning, she knew that I would be the only one who would stay. Week after week, someone would drop off until it was just Elia and I, which was fine with me. To this day I still practice Numerology, as it’s been the only thing that has rung true, for me. I have tested it in a variety of different ways and often I find myself saying “Well, it’s all projection!” But when I look back over my chart I get a chill, and realize that whatever happens, Numerology has been like a blueprint that just states the facts ma’am!

 

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I had religious people telling me often that I needed to have faith, but that seemed like too much hoping. I’d rather have knowledge and truth. Something concrete is better than smoke and mirrors. I remember thinking that it seemed as though they all wanted a father figure so badly, that the idea of someone watching over them gave them comfort, and who was I to take that away from them? I thought “Good luck to you – but don’t impose that grasping onto me!”

Fear is a great motivator and pain is a great educator, however – it all depends on where you take it and how you develop it. Every time I had a crazy experience, whether it was a hypnagogic hallucination or a supposedly prophetic dream, I assumed it was my synapses misfiring or whatever I ate the night before. Sometimes they were prompted by auto suggestion or psychosomatic circumstances.

I knew an older man called Keith who did my tarot cards for me every now and then, in my twenties. He reminded me of Khalil Gibran. For years he pursued me romantically but I was not interested – and I never led him on. One night we stayed at a mutual friends’ house and had to share a bed. Apparently he came to bed later and my vibes were so strong that he had to leave the room! When I came out in the morning he was sleeping on a bean bag in their lounge room and was very angry with me, even though I had no idea what had happened! (Later on that day, we were sitting in their backyard and their pet goose came running at Keith in full attack mode! It was like even the animal kingdom was against him!)

I remember that every time he did my readings, there were always messages about me having to let my guard down and to stop worrying about what others thought about me. I had to stop worrying about the ‘pigs and fishes’. The last reading he did for me was using a Native American deck with animal totems. Again the message was about removing the masks and discovering the real me. I wondered if Keith was peppering the readings with subtle hints about letting him in. There was no way that was going to happen. He was sweet – but kind of creepy at the same time.

 

from Wikimedia Commons - Zivm21

from Wikimedia Commons – Zivm21

 

After that last reading I had an incredible out of the body experience. All of a sudden I was floating in space with two creatures – much like a white demon I had seen in a painting, with faces on their groins. They were on either side of me, holding my arms and they were grotesque. They told me telepathically that I needed to ‘drop the mask’ and to learn to see beyond the masks of others. In front of us I could see a huge black planet rolling towards us like a bowling ball. I was afraid but they kept telling me to relax. Then I saw a brilliant white light coming up over the horizon of the black planet. It was growing brighter and brighter as it came closer, appearing over the planet, still rolling towards us.

'Saint Augustine and the Devil' by Michael Pacher, circa 1483 (Similiar to the creatures I saw.)

‘Saint Augustine and the Devil’ by Michael Pacher, circa 1483 (Similiar to the creatures I saw.)

I wriggled and tried to break free, screaming in my ‘mind’ that I wanted to go back to my body and that I wasn’t ready. The creatures (or angels?) kept saying “You’ll regret it!” The white light was getting bigger and closer to the point that it was almost unbearable to look at. Finally I broke free, screaming “I can’t!” and I snapped back to my body. Fair enough, as soon as I sat up in bed I regretted being a chicken and not waiting to see the light, as it dawned on me that the white light was my ‘Higher Self’. To this day I feel bad about that, even though I’m still not sure if it was just my synapses misfiring!

One constant thing that has always been a part of me or my spirituality, is my pagan side. I have always felt strongly connected to the earth, the seasons and to the animal kingdom. I have always been fascinated with ritual and witchcraft too. When I was about twelve years old I came across a book of ceremonial magic that my mum had in her bookcase. It was given to her by a friend of the family, who had given it to us as he thought he was cursed by the witch who gave it to him. He was a guitar player in a band and he had an affair with her. He said that she scared him as she was very controlling and definitely had ‘the power’. When he broke up with her he started having terrible problems with arthritis in his hands, to the point where he couldn’t even play guitar. I don’t know what he did to “break the spell” but giving the book to us apparently helped a lot.

I remember taking the book into my room and setting up a ritual with candles, casting circle etc. However I freaked out when the wind picked up and the candles flickered so I quickly snuffed them out, packed up the altar and put the book back in its spot in the bookcase. Years later, mum threw the book in the fireplace.

In my late twenties I started dabbling with an ouija board. My neighbor at the time, Debbie, came up with the bright idea, and even though we didn’t have a board, we decided to make one out of a piece of masonite and some scrabble pieces. We used a little liqueur glass and placed our index fingers on it. Immediately it started moving. It was strange as it seemed as though it was moving of its own accord. Both of us were quite skeptical and wanted to test it, out of curiosity. Sometimes it would go so fast that it would slip out of our fingers and keep moving across the board. It was hard to keep up with it.

 

English_ouija_board

 

The same people would come through and it would say random crap that usually bored us to tears. We noticed that even after just twenty minutes our energy would be drained dramatically, and we had to stop to recharge our batteries with cups of tea and cookies! One time was freaky though. An entity came through and told us that Debbie’s son had torn his pants climbing over a fence at school. I went with her when she picked him up and fair enough, when he got into the car, he told his mum that he ripped his pants climbing over a fence! We raced home to jump back on the board!

It was amazing though, that we couldn’t get the lottery numbers! It wasn’t long before a nasty entity came through, saying that my brother Peter was going to die (he did die a few years later). I was so angry I told Debbie that I wasn’t going to do it anymore so we broke the board up into little pieces and threw it away.

I still wonder about what happens with an ouija board – whether you’re just channeling your own subconscious energies through it, or if there really are actual ‘spirits’ coming through.

the-high-priestess

Debbie and I started getting into tarot cards and read for each other over the following years. We also went to a professional reader who did a reading for me that I will never forget – as it made me laugh so much. She said that I would end up living in Argentina on a cattle ranch, with 40,000 head of cattle! Debbie promised me that if it ever eventuated, she would personally get on a plane and come to the ranch and eat her own shit from a gold platter. The funny thing is, it kind of came close. I did relocate to the U.S. and am living in Nashville, just not Argentina and without the 40,000 head of cattle. I hope to one day make enough money to do that, just to see Debbie eat her own shit. (Just kidding!)

Whenever I did my own tarot readings I recorded the questions I asked as well as the answers, so I could go back to them after a certain time to see if  whatever was predicted came true. The problem with doing this is that once ‘programmed’ with the supposed outcome, you subconsciously bring about the result, unless you’re a saboteur and stop it from happening. I found it annoying when I realized that no matter what, I had the power to begin with, to bring about whatever change I wanted. Even though it was fun and enchanting to do a reading, whatever question I asked – I already had the desired answer in my mind.

I knew what I wanted to happen so I felt that I was affecting the outcome with my subconscious desires. I resorted to doing readings where I just asked “You tell me.” I got more honest and interesting results, which I still recorded and checked, months down the track. At times things did come true, but then it was easy to project certain outcomes. These days I don’t bother with the cards, as I rely more on cause and effect, research and knowledge, based on what has gone on before and what seems logical and reasonable.

 

Etching of Vendome Green Man, France

Etching of Vendome Green Man, France

 

We also started getting into witchcraft but I dropped it when I got into my relationship with Jim, the crazy unemployed writer. When I split up with him I picked it back up. I went the whole hog, doing rituals, wearing capes and pentagrams, celebrating the Sabbats and Esbats, writing my own incantations, gathering herbs, playing with gems, oils, spells and so on. I was already into dream interpretation, astral traveling etc so it went hand in hand. After years of practicing I realized that essentially, I was still an atheist at heart. I wondered how I could reconcile this with my pagan heart. Then it dawned on me.

We use magic as a touchstone to program the mind and deities as archetypes to understand our psychology. Symbolism is the language of our subconscious and ritual allows us to tap into it and to project our intentions. I realized that my connection to nature and the animal kingdom was what expressed my spirituality. It is my spirituality. The collective unconscious and the symbolism of the world is what speaks to my ‘spiritual mind’.

It’s not necessarily a faith, as it’s something that I can test and can see real outcomes eventuate in my life. Although my spirituality is still a work in progress (which is the same for all of us), I do feel that I don’t need a religious dogma to nail it down.

Organized religion has an agenda that is not in accordance with the ebb and flow of the rhythms of nature. It is preoccupied with the motivations of greedy and power hungry humans, who are hell bent on controlling other humans. I am happy to side step all of that and to find peace with the reality of nature, without the unreality of religion.

 

jarni-nalada-pri-zapadu-slunce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Otherworldliness

wpcasnake

We’re all on our own journeys in terms of spirituality and I, like most others have vacillated between a variety of beliefs (and most recently, more towards non belief). But for me, at least, it’s far more interesting to go back to when I was a child and to remember what it was like to not know, or at least, to wonder. As an adult I hate not knowing and much prefer concrete evidence, common sense, reason and intellectual understanding. I can look at a sunset, knowing that it’s a collection of vapors and chemicals and can still be exhilarated by the beauty of it all without having to attribute it to a deity. (I don’t mean to offend the religious, each to his/her own etc – this is just my opinion, at this stage in my life.)

However I do remember the ‘magic’ of otherworldliness. I do remember being mystified by the idea of fairies and the idea of an all powerful, all knowing Godhead who watched over us and had all the answers. I remember believing that my teddy bears and dolls had feelings and souls. One early memory I have is being a toddler in my crib and setting fire to it, with a box of matches I had found. I lit the matches one by one, throwing them to the edges of the crib, watching the flames in rapture, feeling like I was in the center of a birthday cake.

My mother remembers the screaming, calling the fire brigade and crashing into the room to save my baby brother and I. My nightdress had gone up in smoke and all that was left were the arms and the back of it. I didn’t have any burns whatsoever! Everyone thought it was a miracle. My teddy had a burnt leg and I was completely grief stricken. Every time I looked at him I was wracked with guilt for having hurt him so much.

Even as a young adult I felt a twinge of shame and it took a long time for me to realize that he was just an inanimate object! (It was even worse when I had taken him for show and tell at school years after the fire, when a nasty little shit had ripped out his eyes, the bastard! I thought – now he’s blind too! I couldn’t bear to let my mother sew new eyes on him for fear of putting him through more pain. More guilt for me!)

When I was about ten years old I walked into our kitchen and straight out asked my mother if she believed in fairies. I did – but I needed an adult to tell me so I could feel secure in the ‘knowledge’ that fairies were real. I knew the instant she responded with that ‘Oh god, I better humor her’ look, that fairies were not real. I was angry, hurt and deeply depressed. Even though she tried to convince me “Yes darling, of course I believe in fairies!” with that patronizing smile, it was too late. I had my answer.

Mind you, I didn’t stop reading fairy tales, and books by Enid Blyton, mythology, Catweazel, The Children of Green Knowe etc. I was 50% willing it to be true and pretending it was true and 50% knowing it wasn’t and ignoring that fact. For me, the bottom line was that it was entertaining and afforded me the kind of escapism I dearly needed.

When I was little I remember going to stay at my aunt’s farm in the country. She and her boyfriend were hippies. They had chickens and a ginger cat called Peter, who went on adventures with me. They had a statue of David for a doorbell. There was a sign over his penile unit that said “Pull”. You flipped the sign up & pulled on the penis that was attached to a wire that sounded the doorbell. Hilarious! They had a big shed full of these statues. I was mystified by these statues. (Not sure if it was the start of Agalmatophilia, which is sexual attraction to a statue or figure – but I don’t feel like that now, even though I appreciate them!)

david

I would spend ages hiding in the shed, just staring at them, transported to another dimension. I can’t remember what I was thinking, but it was magical. A few years earlier, when I was around five years of age, I had started having hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations – which is basically dreaming while awake. I’ll write about those experiences in more depth later as there’s quite a lot of ground to cover. But at that time I had also started to get up in the middle of the night and would talk to myself in the mirror. Needless to say, it freaked my elders out! They would put sheets and towels on the mirrors but I would just go to another room and do it again!

I was always attracted to the idea of alternate worlds, portals, other dimensions. Maybe it was a subconscious need for escape, as my parents were divorced then and I was living at my grandparents with my father and my cousin and brothers. I kept having a recurring dream of a mountain which still haunts me to this day. I’ve always wanted to find ‘my mountain’. In the dream, I would wake up at my Nanna’s house and go out into her garden, around the side of the house and I would see this majestic, snow capped mountain behind the shed.

I could never get to it because there was always something in the way, like a gate I couldn’t get through, a clump of weeds or bushes, etc. I can see now that it probably represented the integrated self calling to me – for a chance to escape all the crap our families were going through and to ‘find myself’. Every time I see a perfect, snow capped mountain I get a chill of excitement, like I’m still waiting for it. It’s almost a spiritual pull. But it’s a very particular type of mountain and for some reason, ever since I can remember, it’s somewhere in Sweden!

Villar d’Arene by vincentfavre - http://vincentfavre.deviantart.com/

Villar d’Arene by vincentfavre – http://vincentfavre.deviantart.com/

(Not Sweden – but looks just like my mountain!)

When I was living at Nanna and Pa’s, around five years of age, I had an experience that could be explained as either my synapses misfiring, or a narcoleptic experience (although they say that hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations are not technically under the umbrella of narcolepsy). It could have been a dream. The funny thing is – my Pa had the same experience when he was a boy and so did my father and his twin, in the same room! (Pa had his experience in a different house.)

In my event I was asleep in my room at Nanna and Pa’s, when a bright light suddenly filled the room and woke me up. It was so white that it was tinged with blue and was almost too bright to look at. I was under the covers, afraid and wondering what was happening when an astronaut came into the room. (When it happened to my father and his twin brother they called him the white milkman and my Pa had said he thought it was a ghost.) As soon as I saw the astronaut I passed out. Then I felt waves over me, as though two people were on either side of the bed wafting the blanket up and down on me. I was so scared but couldn’t move.

astronaut_spacewalk

I’ll talk about my ‘narcoleptic’ experiences in another post, as they would take up a whole chapter. The sensations were always the same, tingling up and down my spine, feeling frozen and not being able to move, not being able to scream for help. My father and uncle had said that the white milkman came to them when they were in the crib and the room also went a vivid white color. Apparently he just stood there staring at them for a while and then he disappeared. My Pa had a similar experience with his ghost.

I’ve also had OBE’s (out of the body experiences – also known as astral traveling). I’ve seen fantastic planets with colors that I’ve never seen before and had experiences that aren’t easily explained. One time, I slammed back into my body so hard that my boyfriend at the time freaked out and leapt out of bed, thinking that I had deliberately jumped onto the bed from the ceiling! He was angry, scared and confused. When I explained to him what happened he still didn’t believe me and thought I was nuts.

The idea of these magical experiences being real is quite delicious, as they hint at otherworldliness, which would mean that there is something else out there, the ‘unknowable’, that would allay my fears of death and ceasing to be. In my twenties, when I was going through a phase of fearing death, I had an OBE where I was floating in a strange place amongst a lot of crazy mathematical equations. I kept hearing a voice telling me that death was not the end. Of course, when I woke up, my fear of death had vanished.

A religious person would say that it was God coming to help me. A scientist would say that it was my subconscious will trying to calm myself down so I could keep operating. My attitude is – whatever works.

I enjoy fantasy as it juices up the imagination and enriches my creativity. I also enjoy reason as I am most comforted by the truth, facts and figures. I like my feet firmly rooted in the earth so my head can safely wander through the universe and back again.