Sunday, September 30, 2018

Trainer bikes for dream travelers


I am walking on the beach. The colors are the wonderfully vivid hues of poster paints. The sea is French blue, with fluffy little whitecaps. The sand is oriole-yellow. There is a distinctly French Impressionist quality to the whole scene, so much so that I feel that if I turn around quickly, I might catch a glimpse of the artist who has just painted it - and maybe the scene will end at the edge of his canvas. Yet the scene is entirely alive.
     I walk with a male companion, studying the scene. He is wearing a frock coat and a top hat, has a neatly trimmed black beard, and is swinging a walking stick. I notice that everyone on the beach, like my companion, is dressed in the clothes of another era. The women wear full bathing costumes, and the men wear sleeveless tops with their bathing trunks. There is something more remarkable. Nearly everyone has a cycle. More sedate couples ride bicycles - including at least one tandem bike, built for two - along the esplanade. Others are riding on the sand, or through the shallows of the water. More daring cyclists are riding in mid-air, ten feet off the ground.
     While many of the bicycles are intact, some are just the vestiges. One lady sits on a padded seat, gripping handlebars and pedaling away, but below her the bike has vanished - no frame and no wheels, A beaming boy is riding high into the air, riding a bike that is invisible except for the handlebars. A dashing young man with hair like a raven's wing and an artist's silk scarf billowing from his neck is showing off, doing aerial acrobatics, on a bike that has completely vanished, while he has his fists clenched as if gripping the handlebars and his legs are cycling away.
      My companion explains to me that this is a school for dream travelers. "All the bicycles you see are training bikes. As dreamers become conscious that they are dreaming and grow their understanding of what is possible here, the machines become less and less necessary. The bicycles fade and finally disappear." I follow his upward glance and see some high-flyers among cotton-wool clouds who move through the air like swimmers, or rocket-men.


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Dr Freud's slips, and others



I am leafing again through the book in which Freud gave the most complete account of the phenomenon known (after him) as the Freudian slip. First published in 1901 as The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, it's a collection of essays that was probably better-known and more widely read in Freud's lifetime than any of his other works. 
    In my favorite local used bookstore, a shelf elf placed a copy of an elderly Macmillan edition, with A.A.Brill's translation, in my line of sight. The paper label on the spine had rubbed nearly away, like the label on a well-soaked bottle of wine, so I had to pull the book off the shelf to see what was facing me, which begins to sound like a Freudian joke in itself.

    The merits of Freud's study of slips of the tongue and memory lapses are threefold. First, he assigns meaning to incidents that many of us tend to overlook. Forgetting the name of a town where you once stayed, or giving the wrong name to someone you know perfectly well, isn't simply a memory lapse or passing confusion; it speaks of something in you and your life situation which merits close attention, because you can learn from it. Second, Freud does dreamwork with these incidents, applying the same principles of analysis to episodes in waking life as he applies to dream symbols. Third, his prime lab rat, first and last, is himself. Like Jung (and unlike lesser scientific minds that fail to realize that knowledge is state-specific) he knows that understanding begins with self-knowledge, and that the most important data on inner events (and their interplay with outer events) must be gathered from first-hand experience.

    We follow Freud down some interesting trails as he studies such phenomena as forgetting names and otherwise well-known phrases and word substitution. He recounts a chance encounter with a fellow-traveler on a train who begins to quote the famous line, in Latin, in which Queen Dido of Carthage issues a terrible curse against Aeneas, the hero who loved her and left her. Exoriare aliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor (Aeneid, IV 625). "Let someone arise from my bones as an avenger."
    In the days where a good education still required Latin, Freud's educated companion would be expected to get the quotation right. But he cannot recollect the harmless indefinite pronoun aliquis. By the end of a long conversation in which Freud guides his travel companion through the free association process he also applies to patients' dreams, they understand that there may be deep significance to the suppression of a seemingly harmless pronoun. In aliquis the speaker now recognizes the echo of "liquid" and "liquefaction" in the Latin word. This reminds him that he's alarmed that his girlfriend may have missed her period. He's scared that he is the "someone" who will be cursed if he abandons his girl and a baby he doesn't want.

    Freud called errors in speech or memory Fehlleistungen, which means "faulty actions" or "misperformances." His English translator dubbed these phenomena "parapraxes" (nborrowing from Greek words for "another" and "action") - a term used in psychology - and "symptomatic misperformances'.  Freud maintained that word-amnesia and name substitution are related to "disturbing complexes" that prompt the psyche to seek to repress memories and information that may cause us pain. We hear of a man who simply cannot remember the name of a business partner who stole his girlfriend and married her; he just doesn't want to know. Freud can't remember the name of a town he knows well (Nervi) when treating a neurotic at a time when he himself is feeling nervous and may be heading for a migraine.

    While Freud's theory of repression may apply to some of his examples, there's both more and less going on with our slips and memory lapses than he allows for. Common sense tells us that memory gaps can be the result of all sorts of life factors, from fatigue to drug or alcohol abuse to migraine to information overload. Einstein once made people laugh because, asked for his phone number, he had to look it up in the book. He declared that he had so much on his mind that he didn't need to burden it by adding the need to remember things he could easily look up.

    I am generally pretty good with names, so when I call someone I know by a name that isn't their own I pay attention to what may be showing through my slip, In one of my workshops, I kept calling a man "Michael" though I was perfectly well aware that his name was "Don." Finally I asked, "Who's Michael?" Through tears, he explained that Michael had been his partner for many years; Michael had died but Don felt him close and was actually wearing his sweater that day.

     One of my rules for life navigation is: Notice what's showing through your slip. To which I will now add: And don't tag it a Freudian slip until you've explored what else may be going on. 





An Egyptologist aces his exam by dreaming it ahead of time


A common dream theme is of having to take a test for which you are unprepared. If you have no literal exam ahead of you, these dreams may be regarded as symbolic of a test that life is putting to you. However, if you are facing a literal exam, such dreams can be very helpful rehearsals when taken quite literally and used to guide last-minute preparation.

When I spoke at the Bermuda Rotary some years back, I confessed that one of the reasons I did very well at exams in my last years of high school was that I sometimes dreamed exam questions ahead of time, which clued me in to how I should approach my last-minute prep. 

The Bermuda Rotary is an interesting institution; the British Governor and his lady were present for my luncheon talk, along with yachtsmen, financial moguls and past and present members of the island government. An elegant black Bermudan lady, until recently the island Minister of Education, stood up at the end of my remarks and declared, "I want to endorse the statement by Mister Moss that we can dream examination questions ahead of time. This helped me greatly when I was in school. I recommend that anyone who knows a student should pass this advice along."

I discovered a fascinating and detailed account of how dreaming exam questions ahead of time aided the career of a famous scholar, E.A.Wallis Budge, who produced many important works on ancient Egypt, including a famous edition of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, during his long tenure at the British Museum. His career might never have gotten off the ground had he not dreamed, in exact detail, what would happen in a locked room where he would be presented with green examination papers containing certain Assyrian texts for translation. 

Budge recounted the episode to his friend H. Rider Haggard, the famous author of King Solomon's Mines and She, and Haggard retold it in his autobiography. I'll let Haggard (no mean raconteur, who fired my imagination with his adventure tales when I was a boy) tell the story: 

"When he was at Cambridge Dr. Peile of Christ's offered [Budge] an exhibition if he would be examined in Assyrian, and as Budge's funds were exiguous he was very anxious to get the exhibition. An examiner, Professor Sayce of Oxford, was found to set the papers--four in all-- and the days for the examination were fixed. 

"The night before the day of the examination Budge dreamed a dream in which he saw himself seated in a room that he had never seen before--a room rather like a shed with a skylight in it. The tutor came in with a long envelope in his hand, and took from it a batch of green papers, and gave one of these to Budge for him to work at that morning. The tutor locked him in and left him. When he looked at the paper he saw it contained questions and extracts from bilingual Assyrian and Akkadian texts for translation. The questions he could answer, but he could not translate the texts, though he knew them by sight, and his emotions were so great that he woke up in a fright. At length he fell asleep, but the dream repeated itself twice, and he woke up in a greater fright than before. 

"He then got up--it was about 2 A.M.--went downstairs to his room, lighted a fire, and, finding the texts in the second volume of Rawlinson's great work, found the four texts and worked at them till breakfast-time, when he was able to make passable renderings of them.

"He went to College at nine, and was informed that there was no room in the Hall, it being filled by a classical examination, and that he must go into a side room near the kitchens. His tutor led him to the room, which was the duplicate, skylight and all, of the one he had seen in his dream. The tutor took from his breast pocket a long envelope, and from it drew out several sheets of green paper similar to that of the dream, and gave Budge the examination paper for that morning, saying that it was green because Sayce, on account of delicate eyesight, was obliged to use green paper when writing cuneiform. The tutor then turned, said he would come back at twelve, and, going out, locked the door behind him as Budge saw him do in the dream. 

"When he sat down at the table and looked at the paper he saw written on it the questions and four pieces of text for translation, and the texts were line for line those which he had seen in his dream. Surprise at his good fortune prevented him from writing steadily, but at length he got to work and had finished the paper before the tutor appeared and unlocked the door at noon. The three other papers were easier, and Budge got the exhibition--for him a very vital matter.

"I asked Budge if he could explain the matter, or account for it in any way, and he said,'"No. My mother and maternal grandmother both had dreams of this sort from time to time when they were in any kind of difficulty, and in their dreams they were either shown what to do or were in some way helped. Being very pious folk, they regarded these dreams as the work of Divine Providence, who wished for some reason to help them out of trouble or difficulty. For myself, I could never imagine Providence troubling about any examination, but I was quite overcome for a time with astonishment at my good luck.'"

 [source: H.Rider Haggard, The Days of My Life: An Autobiography]

photo: Budge in his office at the British Museum




Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A place to write from (Red Ink)



Write from the place that is raw
from the night when you lost your skin.
Write of the time in the war-torn city
when your heart was a quivering bird in your palm
and the blood pool kept filling, and you knew
no doctor could heal this wound
though the world would end if you failed
to keep the wounded lover alive for three days more.

Write from the night you wished yourself dead
and spirit flew from your heart, winged by your desire,
down to the lightless lands of the dead
that no one escapes without help.
Write from the day when, incredibly,
there was enough of you topside
to bribe the ferryman with the ribcage boat
and carry home the part of you that married Death.
Remember the promises you made her:
"You'll never be hurt again." "Every day you'll make poetry."

Write from the night you could not keep those promises
and had to hold the young lover in you by force,
rough as a jailer's armlock, soft as lambskin,
when she thought the one you were losing now
was the one she lost before. And when your heart
breaks again, hold her fast, willing a greater power
to embrace and join you, and write from that.
Dip your pen in the blood pool. This is the time for red ink.




- This poem is in my collection Here, Everything Is Dreaming. 

Art: Georgia O'Keefe's Red Poppy


Monday, September 24, 2018

Feeling Blue


I am in love with the whole spectrum of blue. Even the names excite me: aquamarine, azure, chicory, cobalt, cornflower, cyan, Egyptian blue, electric blue, French blue, hyacinth, ice blue, indigo, midnight blue, ocean blue, royal blue, sapphire, sky blue, teal, ultramarine. Colors of sea and sky, of blue fire and lightning, of great blue morphos winging through rainforest, of memory, of saudade, of Touaregs in flaring blue robes against hot desert sands, of home among the stars.
    Our lives are dyed in the colors of our imaginations, said the philosopher emperor Marcus Aurelius. Mine is deeply dyed in blue, running into violets and turquoise, purple and malachite. The marriage of blue and green delights and excites me.
    One of my favorite scenes from nature is of bluebells popping up through lush green grass under ancient beeches in a forest in England.
    I keep an azurite crystal in my line of sight and it has sometimes opened and focused my inner sight. I pick it up now and it becomes my spyglass. It shows me a boy standing in the water of a blue lagoon up to his knees.
    My mind is streaming blue memories:

A dusting of blue woad on the breast of a woman warrior who leaped from the pages of a Geoffrey Treece novel to excite me when I was not yet twelve

The heron blue walls of the chamber of an Egyptian king’s star-copahgus, ready for the return journey to a blue star

The blue lake of healing, above mountain mists, where animal doctors bring humans who are judged worthy

The electric blue fire that is the gate to the School of Soul and the Greater Self

A being with the wings of a giant blue morpho butterfly who showed me how people lose their dream souls and how to bring them home.





The journey to the Blue Lake of Healing is described in Dreamways of the Iroquois. The blue morpho being appears in "Dreamtakers" in my new book Mysterious Realities.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

At the Stag Tree


AT THE STAG TREE

I am the antlered one.
I raise living bones
as taproots into the sky
to draw down the strength of heaven.


I am sure-footed, potent,
a warrior in love,
with power to read the land,
to see behind me and around me.


I grow my own crown, royal,
magnificent, and have the wisdom
to give up its burden
when the year grows old.


I come here, to the hickory,
to rub out my royalty,
to drop the burden of my crown
and grow again, stronger than before.


- Ryzymburk, September 15, 2018

- lines composed in an exercise to become Animal Speakers that I led in my writing retreat in the Czech Republic

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Yoga of Consciousness in the Place between Sleep and Awake




"You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That's where I'll always love you. That's where I'll be waiting."
-          
                  - Tinker Bell to Peter Pan in the movie version of J.M. Barrie's story.

I have been following these fairy directions for a very long time. If you can train yourself to maintain a state of relaxed attention in this in-between state, you will notice that you may be receiving a whole menu of possibilities for lucid dream adventures. Images, faces, landscapes rise and fall. When you learn to hold one of them in focus, it may become the portal for a conscious journey.
    The Parade of Faces is a frequent phenomenon in this state. You may feel you are among a crowd of people, with faces and figures rushing by. Sometimes one may turn to look at you, which can be an interesting opportunity to enter a shared experience with another dream traveler you may or may not know in ordinary reality.
    Sometimes the images rising and falling before you look like a child's sketches, or cartoons.
    A frequent sighting for me, in this in-between state, is of what initially looks like the weave of a carpet or the mesh of a net. I have come to recognize this as a kind of border between states of reality and consciousness. With intention, I can part the strands and find myself in another order or reality.
    The liminal state of hypnagogia, which I often call the Twilight Zone, is a good place to become aware of your ability to travel beyond the body. I often find myself lifting out of the body quite effortlessly in this state, without bumps and grinds. Sometimes, when tired, I simply rest half in, half out, of my physical form. Sometimes I float up to the ceiling. Quite often I go flying, like a bird, over my sleeping city and to places far away.
    As Tinker Bell counseled, the Place Between Sleep and Awake is, above all, a wonderful place to rendezvous with other beings and other intelligences. It is a state in which we often become away of the psychic activity around us.
    Often, I find different casts of characters waiting or popping up as I hover on the edge of sleep or linger in the twilight zone of hypnagogia. Sometimes, they appear to be quite literally on stage, or in the wings, waiting for me to show up in order to start or resume a play. More often, they seem to be characters in life dramas that are being played out in other times or in parallel worlds, dramas in which I have a lead role from which I may have been absent while attending to things in my default reality.

     I frequently have inner dialogues in the Place Between Sleep and Awake, with sources of knowledge I have come to trust. This is a time when I can often receive streams of counsel and information from inner guides.
In Dreamgates, I record some of my conversations with the intelligence I decided to call "G2". He carried the vocabulary and knowledge of a great Western Mystery order. I felt he was a transpersonal figure, though in no way alien to me. Many others have come to me in this liminal state. The most important of these inner guides is certainly no stranger; he is a self who observes and operates on a level of reality above the one I inhabit while living on this Earth in a physical body.

    In the history of creative breakthroughs in every field, including science and technology, the hypnagogic state has been of vital importance. In this liminal zone it is easy to make creative connections, which often involves linking things that seem to the routine mind to be unconnected. Many inventions and discoveries attributed to dreams by over-hasty writers - like Kekule's discovery of the benzene ring - are actually gifts brought through from hypnagogia, to such an extent that I call this zone of consciousness "the solution state" in The Secret History of Dreaming.

        It is surprising that so little has been written about the nature and manifold possibilities of this liminal state in the literature of sleep and dreams. Greek Cypriot author Andreas Mavromatis wrote the only book I know entirely devoted to this liminal state of consciousness, marrying scientific data to rich accounts of creative and visionary accomplishments in this zone. In Hypnagogia: The Unique State of Consciousness Between Wakefulness and Sleep, originally published in 1987, Mavromatis writes that

“Hypnagogia…facilitates the emergence into consciousness of material that might otherwise remain unconscious. It might, thus, also constitute the platform onto which is periodically raised the substratum of continuous but not always conscious mental activities taking place throughout life. As such, it opens great vistas of psychological exploration. Its introspective study may furnish the individual not only with the benefits of an integrated personality but also with the means of discovering new or little known modes of experiencing which will undoubtedly enrich him/her as a psychological entity.”  

    The Place Between Sleep and Wake can be the very best place to go on with a dream or go back inside one. You may want to practice dream reentry to clarify information from a dream, or get to its full meaning, or continue a conversation with a dream character. You may need to reenter a dream because there are terrors to be overcome, or a mystery to be explored, or simply because you were having fun and adventure and would like to have more. Or because Tinker Bell is waiting for you.
    The Place between Sleep and Awake is the best place to develop the continuity of consciousness prized by advanced practitioners of the yoga of sleep and dreams. I am talking about growing your ability to maintain awareness and witness perspective as you move back and forth between sleep, half-sleep, dream, lucid dreaming, what Sri Aurobindo called “the sleep of experiences” and the dream of everyday life.



Art: "The Victory" by René Magritte (1939)

Thursday, September 6, 2018

In Dreams, We Scout the Roads Ahead



Our dreams are constantly coaching us for challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us on the roads of life. It's possible that we rehearse everything that will take place in the future in our dreams, though we forget most of it. 

Across human evolution, dreaming has been a vital survival mechanism. In the days when we were naked apes without good weapons, our dream radar - our ability to scout across both space and time - often enabled us to avoid becoming breakfast for saber-toothed tigers or leathery raptors. 

A recent theory posits that dreaming prepares us for challenges by putting us through frequent workouts in threat simulation, helping us to develop the reflexes and responses that will get us through. I suspect our relationship with the future in dreams is much deeper and more important than this. In dreaming, we have access to the matrix in which the events and circumstances that will manifest in our physical lives have their origins. We can not only see future events; we can choose - to varying degrees, and according to our level of consciousness - which among many possible future events will manifest. 

It's my impression that we are dreaming the future all the time. If you adopt the practice of recording your dreams and comparing the dream data with subsequent events, it won't take long for you to notice some match-ups. The incidents you preview in your dreams may be trivial or terrifying, blah or wonderful. They may be events in your own life, or events in the future history of the world. Our dreams start preparing us for what life will give us months, years, even decades ahead of events. In dreams, we have several kinds of engagement with the future: 

Precognitive Dreams 

Through precognition, we see events and circumstances ahead of time, as they will be played out. A precognitive dream may be literal, or symbolic or both. For example, a dream of a tsunami might turn out to be both a preview of a literal disaster and advance notice of an emotional storm that will hit with the force of a tsunami. We may not understand what we have seen in a precognitive dream until a physical event catches up with that dream. It may also be difficult for us to understand what we have seen because we are looking at things from a certain angle, perhaps the perspective of a different person. But with practice, we can learn to recognize markers that a dream relates to future events, and we can then move to clarify and use the dream information.

Early Warning Dreams 

Dreams may contain early warnings of a possible future development we may not want - a crisis at work, the bust-up of a relationship, a health problem, a car accident. We may not want to focus on any of these unpleasant possibilities. But if we are willing to study what an early warning dream is telling us, we will often find that it is giving us vital information that can help us avoid a possible future problem if we take appropriate action. Sometimes we dream the future for the benefit of another person, even a great cause. What will then happen depends whether we can find an effective way to get the dream information to the person who can best act upon it. 

Early Opportunity Dreams 

Early opportunity dreams may also require action if we are going to manifest a future we'll enjoy. You dream you are in your ideal home, or doing the work that nourishes your soul and your bank account, or you are with your soulmate, who is someone you have not yet met in the regular world. These dreams may be inspiring and encouraging, but you won't want to leave them floating away from your physical life like helium balloons that have lost their strings. You'll want to figure out what practical action you can take to move decisively in the direction of that happy dream. 

Choosing Alternate Event Tracks 

Any future we can see (in dreams or through wakeful intuition) is a possible future. We can influence the odds on the manifestation of a specific future event. While it may seem impossible for an individual to change certain future events perceived in dreams - like a natural disaster or death at an advanced age - it may still be possible to work with the dream information in a useful way: for example, to alert friends not to go on vacation in the place where the dreamed hurricane will hit, or to help someone whose death is near, and the family, to meet that situation with grace and closure. 

As dreamers, we discover and inhabit the true nature of time, as it has always been known to dream travelers and is now confirmed by modern science. Linear time, as measured by clocks, and experienced in plodding sequences of one thing following another, always heading in the same direction, is an illusion of limited human awareness, at best (as Einstein said) a convenience. In dreaming, as in heightened states of consciousness, we step into a more spacious time, and we can move forwards or backwards at varying speeds. We not only travel to past and future; we travel between alternate timelines. 

With growing awareness, we can develop greater and greater ability to choose the event track - maybe one of infinite alternative possible event tracks - that will be followed through a certain life passage, or even the larger history of our world. 

This may be a case of the observer effect operating on a human scale. It is well understood that at quantum levels, deep within subatomic space, the act of observation causes plucks a specific phenomenon out of a bubbling cauldron of possibilities. It may be that, in the cauldron of our dreaming: through the act of observation, we select a certain event track that will begin to be manifested in the physical world. By a fresh act of observation, or re-visioning, we can then proceed to alter that event track, or switch to an entirely different one. 



Coincidence and Imagination published by New World Library

photo by RM


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Stone Jung's Builders Rejected



Jung dreamed of a tower and he built it, on old church land at the edge of the village of Bollingen, on the shore of the Obersee basin of Lake Zürich. He started work soon after his mother’s death in 1923. What began as a simple neo-medieval tower with a pointed roof grew, in successive waves of inspiration and construction, into a small castle. Jung embarked on the final phase of construction after his wife Emma’s death in 1955, adding a high upper room he called the chapel to the middle building between what were now two towers. He painted the walls with scenes of other times, and filled the room with things that took him “out of time, out of the present.”
   
 He always refused to install electricity and indoor plumbing. He lived here like a farmer of an earlier time, pumping his own water, chopping wood for his fire, lighting his candles and oil lamps, cooking his hearty stews. He spent several months of the year at Bollingen. He came for solitude and simplicity, leaving behind his patients, his lecture room audiences, and his persona as professor and professional analyst. He went about in old, comfortable clothes, and was often to be seen in overalls and even, on occasion, washing a pair of jeans. He did the best of his creative writing here in the last period of his life.
    
 Very often, if you were nearby, you could hear the tap of Jung’s chisel or the clang of his hammer. He worked here with stone as well as paper, covering many surfaces with images and inscriptions. He called the whole place his “confession in stone”. Some of the things he carved were there for any visitor to see, some were hidden.
     One of the hidden inscriptions read in Latin
 Philemonis sacrum Faust poenetentia [sic] which means “Sanctuary of Philemon, Penitence of Faust”. Philemon was the name by which Jung knew the spiritual guide whose importance is fully revealed in the Red Book, the guide who, as he wrote, convinced him of the objective reality of the psyche and its productions. Philemon is also the name, in the myth, of a kindly old man who gives hospitality to gods who are traveling in disguise – and is killed, together with his gentle wife, through the greed and megalomania of Faust, the model of heedless Western man, in Part II of Goethe’s Faust.
    
 When he was writing his essay on synchronicity, Jung carved the face of a laughing Trickster on the west wall of the original tower.
    
 Jung’s confession in stone contains many images that spark fire in the imagination but do not immediately yield explanation, except where Jung has added words, always in Greek or Latin, which he read fluently. Here is a woman reaching for the udder of a mare. Here is a bear behind her, apparently rolling a ball. Here is Salome. Here is a family crest.
     
 The best story of Jung’s stone work involves the block that was not supposed to be delivered. Jung wanted to build a wall for his garden. He engaged a mason who gave exact measurements for the stones required to the owner of a quarry while Jung was standing by. The stones were delivered by boat. When unloaded, it was clear at once that there had been a major mistake. The cornerstone was not triangular, as ordered. It was a perfect cube of much larger dimensions, about twenty inches thick. Enraged, the mason ordered the workmen to reload this block on the boat. Jung intervened, saying, “That is my stone! I must have it.” He knew at once that the stone his mason had rejected would suit him perfectly for a purpose he did not yet understand.
    
 Fairly soon, he decided to chisel a quotation from one of his beloved alchemists on one side of the cube. But something deeper was stirring, through affinity between Jung and the stone itself. On a second face of the stone, he saw something like a tiny eye, looking at him. He chiseled a definite eye. Around it he carved the shape of a little hooded figure, a homunculus. 

     He had a name for this figure, Telesphoros. The name means “one who guides to completion”. In Greek mythology, he is a son of Asklepios, the patron of dream healing. This figure was a recurring archetype in Jung’s inner life, one he sought to give physical form with pen and chisel and, as a boy, with a pocket knife. When he was ten years old, Jung carved a little manikin of this kind from a school ruler and kept it hidden in a box. He regarded this as his first great secret in life, and “the climax and conclusion” of his childhood.
    
 Now, around Telesphoros, he chiseled words in Greek that came to him. In Memories Dreams Reflections they are translated as follows:

Time is a child – playing like a child – playing a board game – the kingdom of the child. This is Telesphoros, who roams through the dark regions of this cosmos and glows like a star out of the depths. He points the way to the gates of the sun and to the land of dreams.

The broken first sentence is a loose translation of one of the most mysterious and compelling fragments of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Key words are open to rival translations. The word Jung renders as time is aion for which “time” is perhaps not a strong enough rendering. A recent translation of the line from Heraclitus offers this: “Lifetime is a child at play, moving pieces on a board. Kingship belongs to the child.” 
      I wonder whether Jung played with the idea, as he chiseled, that what Heraclitus was talking about was a secret law of manifestation, perhaps none other than what Jung dubbed synchronicity. Beyond logic, beyond causation as it is commonly understood, the play of forces outside time determines what happens within the human experience of time. Play is what we must be most serious about. Play in the spirit of the child, who plays without concern for consequences, because the play is the thing.      
     So, I suggest: “Synchronicity is a child at play, moving pieces on a board.” On our side of reality, we see the pieces move, but not the hand that moves them or casts them.




Text adapted from Sidewalk Oracles by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Nine Keys to Understanding Your Dreams




1.  Trust Your Feelings

Always pay attention to how you feel when you wake from a dream. Your feelings and bodily sensations may be your best guide to the relative urgency and importance of a dream, and its positive or negative implications.

2.  First Associations

In keeping a dream journal, you will want to get into the habit of jotting down your first associations with the dreams you record. What floats to the surface of your consciousness in the first minutes after waking may come from layers of the dream that have eluded, or from deeper levels of dreaming 
3.  Reality Check

Compare what is going on in the dream to the rest of your life, including the life of your imagination. Always ask whether it is possible that any part of the dream will manifest, literally or symbolically, in physical reality. Though dreams are inner experiences, they often contain accurate information about external reality. In both subtle and unsubtle ways, dreams incorporate signals from the outside environments.

4.  Dream Reentry

Dreams are real experiences, and a fully remembered dream is its own interpretation. The meaning of a dream is inside the dream itself. By learning how to re-enter dreams, you will develop the ability to clarify messages about future events, resume contact with inner teachers, and resolve unfinished business.

5.  Dialogue with Dream Characters

One of the best ways to work out what your dream characters are telling you is to ask them. You can do this through dream reentry or simply by sitting down with a pad and pen, imagining that the dream figure is in front of you, and opening a conversation.

6.  Tracking Your Dream Self

Who are you in your dreams? Are you the protagonist or simply an observer? Are you younger or older? Male or female? How does the situation and behavior of our dream self compare with that of your waking self? The character who appears in all of your dreams, even if only as a witness, is you.

7.  Symbol Exploration

Although the dream source tries to communicate with us as clearly as possible, it must often speak in symbols in order to carry us beyond the limitations of the everyday mind.  Symbols take us from what we know to what we do not yet know. You'll be inspired to track your symbols far and wide, and may discover that your personal dreams embody timeless myths from many traditions. Always remember that the best encyclopedia of dream symbols is your own journal, kept over time.*
8.  "What Part of Me?"

Dreams make us whole. They show us the many aspects of ourselves and help us to bring them under one roof. This is why it is often useful to ask "what part of me" different characters and elements in a dream might represent. However,this approach is rarely sufficient since dreams are transpersonal as well as personal. If you meet a tribal shaman in a dream, that may be an aspect of yourself and an actual shaman. If you meet your departed grandmother, that is more likely to be Granma trying to communicate than merely a part of you that is like her.

9.  Dream Enactment

Dreams require action! You may take creative action, turning a dream into a story, a picture a collage.You may do some shamanic shopping, to get shoes or earrings your dream self was wearing or a sculpture of a deity you saw in a dream. You may use the dream as GPS on your life roads. You may accept dream assignments, seeking to translate that strange word or find that obscure place on a map of this world or another world. At the least, you can harvest a bumper sticker or action phrase from the dream that will help to move its energy into life. 





Adapted from Conscious Dreaming by Robert Moss. Published by Three Rivers Press.


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Dream horses




Horses run through our dreams. We wake, hearts pounding, still feeling the thunder of the hoofbeats.

Our dream horses are not the same, of course. Some are oppressed by dreams of a black horse that seems like a figure of death, or a red horse foreboding war and bloodshed, or a ghostly pale horse that brings the sense of sorrow and bereavement. Such dreams - and Fuseli's famous painting of nightmare - have encouraged the belief that the "nightmare" has to do with a mare, whereas in fact (the etymologists tell me) the "mare" part here is most likely derived from the Old Germanic mer, meaning something that crushes and oppresses.

In dreams, the state of a horse is often a rather exact analog for the state of our bodies and our vital energy. When you dream of a starving horse, you want to ask: what part of myself needs to be nourished and fed? You dream of horses flayed and hung up under the roof beams (as did a dreamer in one of my workshops) and you need to ask: which parts of me have been flayed and violated in the course of my life, and how do I heal and bring those parts back to life? 

Such a dream also evokes the ancient rituals of horse sacrifice - common to many cultures - and might also require a search back across time into primal material from the realm of the ancestors, lost to ordinary consciousness, but alive in the deeps of the collective memory.

In Greek mythology, horses are the gift of Poseidon, and come surging from the sea, their streaming manes visible in the whitecaps. Or they irrupt from the dark Underworld, from whence Hades charges on his black stallions to ravish Persephone with his unstoppable sexual energy and hurl her into a realm of savage initiation beneath the one she knows. Yet in Arcadia, Persephone's mother Demeter, the great goddess of Earth and grain and beer, was depicted with a horse's head.

Go to the British Isles, and you find the white mare revered as the mount and form of the Goddess. She is Epona, and her prints still mark the land whichever way you ride, even if only by train or car or Shanks' pony. In ancient Ireland, a true king was required to mate with the white mare, as the living symbol of the sacred Earth. (It would take a manful king indeed to couple with a mare; I suspect a priestess was substituted.)

We know the horse in certain living myths as healer and teacher, as vehicle for travel to higher realms, and as the source of creative inspiration. It is the hooves of Pegasus, rending the rock, that open the Hippocrene spring, beside the grove of the Muses, from which poets have drunk ever since. It is Chiron the centaur, the man-horse, who is the mentor of Asklepios, the man-god synonymous with healing, especially through dreams. In fairy tales (the Grimms' and others) it is often the horse that can find the way when humans are lost.

I dreamed of rounding up a great herd of wild horses, and understood, waking in excitement and delight, that this was about bringing vital energy back where it belongs and helping to shape a model of understanding and practice of soul recovery for communities as well as individuals, The wild horse racing through our dreams may be the windhorse of spirit, or vital essence, that needs both to run free and to be harnessed to a life path and a human purpose. 

Of all the shaman terms I have heard, "windhorse" is my favorite. It is native to at least three traditions of Central Asia, where the word "shaman" and the shaman's frame drum (often made with horse hide and commonly called the shaman's "horse") originate. In Buryat (Mongolian) the word for "windhorse" is khiitori; in Old Turkic it is Rüzgar Tayi; in Tibetan it is rlung ta (pronounced lung ta).

When you think about it, the horse is unlike any other animal. Stronger than man, it yet allows itself to be gentled and bridled and provided the main form of locomotion for all those centuries before the invention of the internal combustion engine. As in Plato's image of the charioteer of the soul, challenged to manage the rival energies of a horse that wants to go down on a rampage, wild and sexy and possibly violent, and the steady horse whose instinct is always to go up, to rise higher, we are challenged by our dream horses to recognize, release and temper the horse power within us.


Photo: Pegasus in Powerscourt gardens, County Wicklow, Ireland