It’s surprising how the first reaction to disturbing dreams is fear. It’s the ego trying to assert itself.
When we fall asleep and dream, momentarily exiting the restless body and mind that we inhabit for most of our lives, we access our ethereal body. Absent of ego, we are freed to travel into a world of symbols, archetypes, and energetic possibilities far beyond our waking conscious lives. Though for the most part hidden from waking consciousness, we nonetheless bump into and engage these same meaningful aspects of life as we go about our daily lives. As we live out our psychological makeup and interact with others, these symbols and archetypes live out and interact along with us. In dreaming, however, like bees gathering nectar that they will take back to the hive to produce sweet honey, we too have the opportunity to take what we encounter in our dreams back into waking consciousness for deeper understanding of who we are.
During my recapitulation I dreamed a slew of dreams about snakes. Frightened of snakes, I saw them at first as evil energy until one day I was given a new insight: Snakes are healing! I was so stuck on my fear of snakes that I could only see them as scary and dangerous. How could they possibly mean anything else? How could they possibly be positive symbols?
As soon as I grasped the concept, however, I knew it was the truth: snakes are symbols of healing and transformative energy. After that insight, things began to change rapidly for me, both in my dreaming and my waking life. As snakes regularly shed their skins in a cyclical process of death and birth, so is recapitulation a similar process, a shedding an old self to gain access to a new self. Snake medicine was showing me how the symbols in my dreams were clearly part of my recapitulation and that the recapitulation that I was undertaking in conscious daily life was equally intertwined with my energetic dreaming self. I was being given meaningful symbols in my dreams that were helping me to gain greater understanding of who I was and what was in store for me as I did my deep inner work.
Recently, I dreamed a frightening dream. At least that was my first reaction. This time, however, it was not a snake that jolted me awake but a spider clinging to my nose! In the dream I was standing between two worlds. On the left was a lush forest. A light being lay like the dying Buddha on his side in the trees of this lush forest. On the right, surrounded by shadows, stood a healer, a dark haired man who was a doctor. As the dream began I was emerging from the earth. Covered in dirt, roots, worms and bugs I emerged spitting and shaking from the wet rich soil at my feet. I stood over a square white table and shook out my hair, watching the debris fall onto the white surface. I pulled bugs from my hair, asking each of the beings if they were ticks. Each time I asked the bug would fly off. Knowing that ticks do not fly I was immediately soothed. Neither of the beings answered any of my questions. They simply observed. Suddenly, a large translucent amber-colored spider was clinging to the tip of my nose, spraying venom into my mouth. Spitting and gagging I tried to remove the spider, but it clung tenaciously. I was aware that I did not want to injure or kill it, but I wanted it off! I showed the spider to both of the beings but neither of them reacted, they simply shrugged their shoulders as if to say, “Whatever.” I feared that the venom would be bitter and detrimental, but in fact it had no taste and I was not harmed by it, but still there was another part of me that just wanted the spider off my nose! As I struggled to remove the spider I woke up dripping with water, earth and bugs, totally freaked out.
As I analyzed the dream, it became clear that it was a healing dream and not the poisoning situation that I first reacted to. My ego self was both offended and frightened by the spider clinging to my nose, but I knew it had to be something pretty significant. My first reaction upon awakening was that there was something wrong with me, that I was ill, or putting the wrong foods into my mouth, but then I remembered that in the Hopi creation myths Spider Grandmother was an important figure, as she consciously wove the world. Before long I realized that, much like my snake dreams during my recapitulation, this was a dream about birthing new awareness. I was birthed in full consciousness this time, as opposed to previous lives when I was birthed into life in forgetfulness. As I studied the dream, I began to see its beauty and power, its symbolism clear, the archetypes of which it was made up clear as well. I readily let go of my frightened ego, so eager to reassert its superiority, and sided with my awakened—in more ways than one—spiritual self.
I came away from this dream more thankful for my dreaming process, knowing that our dreams, as much as they take us into other states and other realms, tie directly in with our evolutionary process here on earth. If we are to truly understand the meaning of those other states and realms, we must first figure out the meaning of our lives here and now. From my own experiences, I can only conclude that the meaning of our lives is to become fully conscious of our energetic potential and then use it to evolve.
The spider, like the snakes of my previous dreams, represented infinity and the cyclical nature of everything. She really was saying that I must watch what I put into myself, both into my physical body and into my ethereal body, both of them vitally important as I navigate this life. Only healing food and healing endeavors must enter me. There was a soberly calm part of me that knew this even while I dreamed.
In addition, when I looked more closely at who the light being and the dark being were, I knew they were representing both birth and death, past and future, but also that they were one and the same, each representing a beginning and an ending, an opportunity for shedding and birthing. It became clear that those beings were also me, and as I know myself on a deeper level and experience my energetic self, I know there is nothing to fear in those big moments of transition. Like the spider or the snakes of my dreams, those beings were representing my wholeness. They patiently waited for me to answer all my own questions, knowing full well that all the answers lie within. Indeed, everything becomes increasing clear as I study the dream. My ego is further removed now too, not as necessary as it once was; no need to protect. I am on a new journey now.
I am also certain that if we can begin to imagine ourselves as living in a dream all the time, viewing the symbolism of our experiences in life that same way we view the symbolism our dreams offer us, we can more readily gain access to the mystery and magic of our lives as a whole. Fear and the ego play a critical role in how we decide to interpret both our dreams and what happens to us in waking life, but we can decide to use all our encounters with fear and the ego to advance ourselves now. Are we really dreaming all the time? Why wait until the next life to find out?
Doing it now!