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Sunday, January 24, 2010: Dream Analysis

            I always enjoy reading Beth’s blog, The Cassandra Pages. A few days ago, she wrote of what seemed at first to be a disjointed dream. The dream sequence instantly struck me as very powerful and significant.  It clung to me, the symbols screaming to be expressed.

            Note:  I am not in the business of interpreting dreams for other people.   Do not write and ask me to interpret your dreams.  I am doing this for Beth because I so enjoy her thought process and her incredible ability to express her thoughts.  I am doing it because the symbols initially hit me in the face and stuck with me until I felt compelled to write them out.  I will not do this for anyone else, so again I ask---do not send me your dreams.

            Sharing this particular dream interpretation can allow you to see the process by which I would pull apart Beth’s dream. You can read earlier entries on Dreams [see here].  The initial interpretation was done based on what I knew of Beth’s writings on the church. After more feedback about the recent challenges in her life, the second interpretation (in italics) reapplies these same symbols to her inner search.

        Note: inner challenges, struggles and blockages are often reflected in the outer world; because of our unrecognized inner struggles we end up noticing or focusing on similar struggles or challenges in the everyday world. The point is that you should not think a dream is limited to one interpretation. The value of a symbolic dream (where you awake and have that gut feeling that this was significant and true on some deep level) is that there are multiple layers of complexity and you can always ‘fish’ for new levels of interpretation.

        Dreams are a fascinating insight into our own psyche and inner guidance. I strongly recommend to all readers that you attempt to explore the symbols used by your own inner self, so you understand how it communicates hidden fears, desires and advice.

            First: [Beth’s entry for January 21]

        This dream begins in a “darker, smaller version of a cathedral… a vaulted space made of dark wood, crowded with piles of things.” A church should be expansive, enlightening, with room to accept in its followers and provide open space for their worshiping services.  This meeting area has lost the light airy space that allows the soul to reach upward.  The space itself seems neglected, cluttered with “outdated prayer books and hymnals no longer in use”, the clergy “gone or retired or… we could no longer afford to pay them…”  An active clergy might have brought order and light to the space of worship, and kept the teachings alive.  Instead, the church shows the effect from years of not having official (organization) leadership.

        There is a place within us where we retreat to find our creative flow. This space should be light, open and allow your spirit to reach upward, but in the dream the space has closed in, become dark and cluttered. The guidance or organizing force that should have kept the teachings and structure alive and vibrant has left.

       “A handful of us [lay people] were keeping things going, but it was a very disorganized group of a dozen or so people.”  When Beth's turn came to provide the reading, she could find only outdated material and eventually gave up.  This makes me wonder about her internal feelings of wanting to provide fresh or current insights to religious teachings, but being unable to find material within the church that addresses modern day needs.

           Often creative activities can be carried on using the everyday tools created for expression, but without spiritual or creative authority.  Beth’s husband finds a reading he can offer to the group but Beth looks around and finds only outdated material. She gives up and wanders outside the church (which she sees as leaving her old life and moving to a more casual, open nature setting)

         Let’s ignore that it is currently winter in real life and that some elements of our everyday life carry into dreams.  I think these symbols would hold true even in summer. Beth is stepping into a sunny but cold winter scene.  If a city signifies man-made constructs, the symbol ‘country’ is nature-based, open to growth, even if the landscape is currently in hibernation. To have the sun shining is a positive, hopeful note (versus stepping out into a blizzard or dark, overcast day).

            The igloo Beth sees is an impermanent, manmade construct, made of frozen snow or ice. Water, as a spiritual or dream symbol, most often represents consciousness.  In this case it has been formed into a rigid structure that encloses human activities inside (and hides the goings on from the view of those outside).  The few people who have crawled inside the igloo are believed to have broken through the frozen ice and are currently ice-fishing. The connection of fishing to Christianity popped instantly to mind.

            The igloo is also a representation of a new home, a dwelling indigenous to the area. Inside this new structure people are fishing (for new ideas, new food for the spirit) but Beth cannot see the fish from her current vantage point. Again, the concept of consciousness being frozen is significant.

        Next in the dream, a husky appears. My first association or impression was with a totem wolf, because of the photo she chose and the similarity in appearance between a Husky and a wolf.  Quoting from the book “Totems; The transformative Power of Your Personal Tote”, by Brad Steiger:

         “For many traditional people, Wolf is the sage, the Grand Teacher….”  He then quotes Ghost Wolf, from the Wolf Lodge Journal.

         “It was Wolf who taught us how to form community upon this Earth, for Wolves have an intuitive knowledge of order…and they possess the ability to survive change intact. Wolf medicine is very ancient and born of living experience. Wolf will look deep into your heart and share the greatest knowledge, but will demand full participation and absolute sincerity. Wolf…will rekindle old memories within your soul…Wolf medicine can make you whole.”

          Brad also points out: “In Christian tradition, the wolf is the emblem for St. Francis of Assisi, St. Edmund of East Anglia, and St. Wolfgang.

         “If the wolf has been designated as your totem animal through dreams or vision quest, be assured that you have a spirit helper that will always back you up, regardless of the consequences. This totem guide is known for its extraordinary powers of endurance, and it will willingly grant those strengths to you. Wolf is the Great Parent, the Great Teacher, the Great Friend, and your spirit helper will expect you to carry on its traditions and to fulfill your own responsibilities to your family, your community, your friends, and those less fortunate than you who need your help. Wolf will tolerate no shirking of duty, so while you have a fierce guardian on twenty-four hour notice, you also have an example of trust and nobility to respect and emulate.”

        Beth did not see a wolf but a Husky, a dog that resembles the wolf in appearance, yet has been domesticated, taken into human society and adapted to be a loyal and non-threatening companion. Dogs do not insist you pull your weight in the pack, but are content to provide friendship with minimal demands for outside excursions. Qualities of the totem wolf should be softened for the Husky.

           Brad lists the totem dog as a “protector and dependable guide in the exploration of higher consciousness. You can rely on it always to warn you of any impending threat from Dark Side entities. You are certain to feel its comfortable vibration near you as you enter the Silence to gain deeper wisdom teachings.”

         The thought crosses her mind that, “I'd always kind of wanted one, but maybe as a puppy.” This is understandable. There is a relationship that develops with the unspoiled newness of a puppy, a closeness and intimacy of interaction that is not quite the same as when one adopts a grown dog with established habits.  Rather, you watch a puppy grow and evolve; you create a shared bond of trust and a history that builds from learning together. Seeing her desires, the Husky transforms into a puppy for her.  It remains a puppy until she turns away, at which point it reverts back to its mature form.  I suspect if Beth had turned again, the Husky would have been back to being a puppy: ready to meet her needs, willing to start the bonding in that early, beginning stage.

         Beth has been considering a dog since moving and this is not to say one’s desires may not show up as isolated symbols in the dream---or that getting a new pet might not be connected to the process of discovering a new place to ‘fish.’ However, Beth had a strong feeling about the dog, the pregnant woman and the Inuit (not mentioned in her posting but presumably connected to the igloo) being more important symbols: inner guides.

          Totem animals that appear in dreams are manifestations of hidden powers or strengths within yourself that are willing to step forward and guide you. Assuming an animal or human form gives enough distance from ourselves so we can better recognize and listen to these strengths.

          Beth thinks about entering the igloo to observe or perhaps join the ice fishing, but hesitates because of the entryway.  The fear she mentioned is that of crawling through the confined, frozen construct that leads to the interior: the frozen confines (remember water stands for consciousness) built by others may narrow until she is trapped, unable to escape her own demise.

        When she told me she is currently struggling to figure out her next project or a new career path in the new surroundings, I reinterpreted this tunnel.  I do not rule out that the established 'rules' of art communities or a new discipline may be intimidating. Just as likely, the confines may be personal: her fear of being trapped in enclosed spaces representing inner fears (as she looks for new fishing grounds), of heading in the wrong direction and getting stuck. The tunnel is frozen, and unyielding, creating physical and inner conflicts with moving forward. (She needs to remember this freezing is temporarily and the structure will thaw with spring.)

          While a pregnant woman would find it even harder to physically crawl through the confined tunnel, the woman next to Beth insists she will go inside the igloo. This remark draws Beth’s attention first to the igloo’s shape, which she now “imagines as a very pregnant woman lying on her back”, and then to what seems a reversal of order, that the pregnant woman (who holds life inside her) will be crawling back into the frozen ‘womb’.  Beth questions the pregnant woman’s decision.

            "That's how the baby will be born," she said. "You see?"

           New life must develop inside the womb, must be nurtured to maturity until an independent entity is ready to emerge into the winter world.


    Beth intends to go into a Jungian meditation to search out the symbols of the Husky, the Inuit and the pregnant woman. Going back into the dreamstate for further clarification is also possible. She would need to program her thoughts before sleep to better understand the symbols, and then remain open to answers appearing in the dreamstate or the everyday world. 

         I had a similar gut reaction as Beth's, concerning these guides, or what these guides represent. I feel they have appeared in the dreamstate (where our nature resistance to seeing truth is lessened) to help her reach her goal. Understanding a deep personal relationship with one's dream symbols opens the awareness and should thaw the frozen aspects of consciousness.



Posted on Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 07:27AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | Comments1 Comment

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