Wednesday, May 22, 2013
When the panther has your scent
Hameau de l"Etoile, near Montpellier
At breakfast time today, a group of us were sitting comfortably with our bowls of cereal, our plates of cheese and fresh baguette, and our tea and coffee in front of the low burning fire in the great hearth, sharing dreams and other experiences from the night.
One woman told me, "I have no dreams."
"Then you must make up a story immediately," I told her.
After only a moment's hesitation, she produced a fine adventure story involving a "corsair" seeking a treasure in a deep cave that turned out to resemble a child's marble. The story maker agreed to let her story be used as a script for improv theater in our morning session, and we are eager to see the plot development and many levels of meaning that may emerge as others bring their imaginations and body language into the role playing.
Another woman in the group shared a fresh dream in which she was lugging an immense crate of hot water bottles - full of hot water - around a residential complex that she knows. Exhausted by carrying all this weight, she threw one of the hot water bottles down some stairs. Immediately a splendid panther appeared. She froze, realizing she was in the presence of a dangerous and possibly hungry predator, then turned sideways.
She now realized that the turn was a wrong move. In presenting her flank, she had placed herself in the posture of a game animal, something the panther might treat as food. She turned back to face the panther head-on, standing upright, willing herself not to show or emit fear.
She felt the danger recede, and now a panther cub came up the stairs to stand with the full-grown big cat.
She woke with a sense of great curiosity and high anticipation. In discussion, she revealed that she had met the panther in previous dreams, and that there has been an interesting progression. In earlier dreams, a panther had attacked her. Then she dreamed they were looking in each other's eyes. Now she is claiming her ground and the panther cub emerges. If it were my dream (I suggested) I would think that the panther in me is emerging. It is not yet full grown but it has room to grow. And it will help me to manage my energy and make sure that there is a fair energy exchange in what I do. I may be a compassionate and caring person, but the panther in my soul won't let me lug around all those hot water bottles, endlessly available to serve the needs of others.
We saw how dreams often need to be read as a series. But of course dreams are not simply texts to be read, but powers to be embodied. Asked for an action plan to honor her visitation, the dreamer announced that she would climb a tree; she had already demonstrated she is good at this. i suggested it would be okay to leave claw marks. She also said she might now be willing to eat some meat, to feed the panther in her (not the human, who eschews meat).
Her intention before sleep the previous night had been to access more of her creative spirit. What came was the panther, dangerous and beautiful. Once again we see how the big powers - the big stories - are hunting the right people to carry them.