DESCENDER Dreams, Part Two: Messages from the Deep

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With the last post, I invited you to recall and reflect upon dreams in which your DESCENDER part of Self (persona archetype) reveals itself to You. Often such figures show up in lower or deep spaces and they can represent feelings that you have “submerged” or aspects of You that simply feel more comfortable in the shadows or quiet recesses of your Self.  When such images show up in memorable dreams, take notice! They may illuminate for you how that “part of You” is feeling with regard to some current situation in your life. They have Deep Messages for You; your DESCENDER can be your Ally in bringing ‘buried’ perspectives and feelings to your attention.

This week, as I have been reflecting on some of my own DESCENDER dreams, one of them—a very dramatic dream experience—makes sense to me now in a different way than I understood before.

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The Dream: “I Can’t Believe My Life Has Been about This!”

(Dreamwork Tips:  Give a title to a significant dream in your dream journal or when telling it to bring forth its Message to you more clearly.  Also, write your dream in first person, present tense so you can be more present in the experience; this can help you better feel its import.)

Background:  I experienced this dream while I was traveling in Ireland.  I traveled there in part because I had had another significant dream a couple years earlier which had felt like a “past life” dream.  In that earlier dream I saw I had endured abuse, but the dream encounter I had while in Ireland, while also appearing to relate to a past life, turned that earlier experience on its head!

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I am in a lower level area of some structure; the flooring either is made of or has alot of dirt on it and there is dark wood all around. I am being shown this place by a familiar, masculine Spiritual Guide who is with me. As we walk through the space it feels very familiar to me. I say to my Dream Guide:

“I know this place; I have been here before.”

My Guide says nothing, waiting for me to remember more.

“People died here,” I say slowly. Then it hits me hard: “I had something to do with that; I was responsible for their deaths!”

My Guide remains silent but I feel his support. I know there is a reason I must be here.

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Then a group of people come down from a stairway into this semi-darkened, lower level place. It is a group of rural Irish peasant folk. “Salt of the Earth,” I think to myself as they come into the area accompanied by a Priest. The Priest sets up a table and puts a candle on it, so I know he will conduct some sort of ritual. (I sense it is to be a cleansing.)  Two of the peasants are a brother and sister; suddenly I know these are people who had lost loved ones because of my action that had resulted in their loved ones’ deaths.

The peasant sister (in her early 30’s or so) and I approach one another intently.

I say to her:

“I am so sorry for your loss.”

She says to me:

“I am so sorry for what you have had to endure because of this.”

Then I wake up, but in the process of awakening I say three times out loud, each time with more force of awareness:

“I can’t believe my life has been about this!”

I called a friend in the U.S. as soon as I was awoke (early AM her time):

“Jan, I’m a murderer! I mean it really, I am a murderer, many times over!”

My friend helped me to realize this had been “a dream.” I knew intuitively though that it was a very real encounter, relating to a deeply buried memory.

Message:  This dream event occurred around five or six years ago, yet I remember it as if it were this morning.  In processing the meaning of the dream, I have felt it had something to do with the experience of personal loss or separation in this life from relationship partners of various sorts: friends, romantic partners, family, and pet companions. My strongest desire in all my relations has been for permanence and “continuity,” yet some of the closest relations I have shared, I have had to let go of for the sake of that Soul moving on in their lives or journey.

But this week, while reflecting on this poignant DESCENDER Dream, I am understanding the message in a more holistic way. My whole life HAS “been about this.” The personal growth book I have written, a manual for life mapping that will be published in a matter of months now after nearly fifteen years of development (Your Life Path), aims to help readers to COMPLETE their Life Path with a conscious focus of intention to fully Realize their Life Dream!  Perhaps after my action in the past life ordeal had prevented some people from fulfilling their  dreams, this time I must give back this opportunity.

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I don’t know exactly what the memory could have been about. Perhaps I was an officer on a ship taking people to emigrate after the potato famine and for some reason I did not allow lower berth peoples to surface for food or shelter (maybe rations were low and some could not survive, so I chose to only let the more privileged passengers have the rations). Or maybe I was an officer who shut off access to an upper level in a castle against servant class folks while we were being attacked. Either way, “I was responsible for their deaths.”

Whatever the “real life” validity, dreams DO matter; they have a substance and vital meaning all their own. Writing your dream recall in a Dream Journal is very helpful. Especially the most significant dreams will then linger with you, revealing several layers of meaning over time.

Have you had a significant DESCENDER Dream? Have you fathomed its message? Feel free to share, here or with a loved one. Honor your DESCENDER by listening, attending, and ACTING on the Message received.

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome  and invite YOUR Comments and Stories!

P.S. to All: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

 

 

Your Recurring Dream Messages

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This week’s Life Mapping activity invites you to reflect upon a recurring dream or a recurring image in your dreams. These sorts of dreams or dream images can reveal archetypal messages for you about important potentials and challenges. If you keep a dream journal, you will notice repeating images or scenarios and you can keep track of how they appear to you and whether they change over time. As you work with your recurring dream imagery—either through dream-based therapy such as Gestalt or archetypal dreamwork, or by actively contemplating the dreams you record—you will come to understand what they represent about your own feelings or unconscious complexes.

For many years in my dream life, I encountered archetypal lions, tigers and bears (oh, no!).  There was always a similar scenario: I have befriended a Tiger, for instance. Then something stresses the Tiger and I realize that, being wild, he will turn on me and try to hurt me. So, I run, climbing through three degrees of fences or walls (like the 3 epidermal layers of skin!) in order to reach shelter and safety, with the Tiger hot on my tail until I get through the thickest, third barrier.

In one of my Bear dreams, my sister and I are in a woods and we find a cute little bear cub in a clearing. We approach to pet the bear, but of course, then the bear cub’s Mother sees us and comes after us to protect her cub. I tell my sister to run and climb a pine tree (axis mundi, “world tree” for you Jungian readers, linking Earth with the Heavens).  I climb up behind her, then looking down I see the Mother Bear—beautiful and graceful–climbing after me as easily as if she were on level ground!

To benefit from these vivid recurring dreams, it is important to work with them inwardly as well as outwardly in your journal. After the Bear dream described above, the feeling of the dream lingered, but I didn’t completely understand it at first. So on the second evening, I took the dream “into contemplation”. Asking for help in understanding the dream from my Inner Guide, I asked inwardly about the meaning of this dream. Then, the dream played itself out visually on the screen of my mind, like a movie rerun. As soon as the rerun faded I heard a voice, telling me clearly: “Even though you run from Her, she is driving you to greater heights!”

This interpretation was exactly the point of the whole series of lion and tiger and bear dreams I was having: I was projecting my own strength or power into these animal figures. Rather than claiming and harnessing my own power, from fear of that power being overly aggressive, I ran from It. Yet, indeed, even running from my Power required me to use it, to get away, to protect my sister, and to survive.

After I realized the meaning of these dreams, they started changing. In a Bear dream several years later, I see a cub and then a Mother Bear and I climb a pine tree. But this time, at the top of the tree there is a platform; I walk across it to a Laboratory where a female scientist is preparing a potion she gives me. Somehow this prepares me with what I need to know to ward off the Bear. I go back to the tree and strip off sections of bark, tossing them down at the Bear, who backs off down the tree and goes away!

So, what is an example from YOUR dream life of a recurring dream scenario or dream figure?

Write down as vividly as possible a typical dream with this recurring scenario or figure in it. Let your unconscious mind help you to write out this dream description; it will give you the right words to use.

Now, you can ask yourself, or better yet, ask your own Inner Guide to help you understand the meaning behind this recurring dream. Does it remind you of any outer situation in your life, perhaps showing you something about how you typically respond to it?

If you are an artist you can draw or paint the significant elements from your recurring dream. If you are a poet, you can write a poem, or if you are a musician, write a score or lyrics.

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

(William Blake, from “The Tyger,” in Songs of Experience)

However makes most sense to you, record what you can of the meaning of your dream. Then, put it aside. You can create a dream dictionary at the back of your journal (cf. The Art of Spiritual Dreaming, by Harold Klemp), and then every time you have your recurring image or dream, you can write the date and describe the image to see if or how it might be changing over time as you assimilate the force of the image into your daily life and understanding.

For me as an avid Dreamer for all of my life, I believe that recurring dreams always bring important messages. Dreams are not merely phenomena to be experienced or even just remembered or retold. Dreams are messages from Spirit and from your own Higher Self. Learn to listen to their messages to you and to act on your dreams to benefit from their lessons or nudges. Even if the action is just writing a dream down or sharing it with a loved one whom you can trust, I believe the more you pay attention to your dreams, the more clearly they will speak to you and help you to identify and then to fully Realize your Life Dream.

Better Endings to You!

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I invite you to Comment about your own recurring dream image or the lesson you have learned from this activity.  Remember, ultimately YOU are the best interpreter—and active beneficiary—of your dreams. The more you can learn from your dreams to realize your Dream, the more service you can also be to others!