A drowning dream brings relief

“By virtue of our ancient roots, we are all instinctively disposed to respond immediately to threatening and fearful stimuli. We do this in both our waking lives and in our dreams, often through the intervention of nightmares. In a very real way, nightmares tell us that all is not well in our outer or inner worlds.” (Cole, RJ, Pg. 543) *

Along with recurring dreams that seem to show up when there is something going on that may be critical to our well-being, nightmares seem to be an evolutionary and instinctive adaptation to peripheral threats and should not be ignored.

Lately, I’ve been experiencing a dream that incorporates both recurrency and nightmarish qualities.

In this dream which showed up across three nights I puncture a large cube-like container that starts gushing water.  I try to stop it and get sucked in feet first but get stuck moving forward as I try to pull myself out. I struggle mightily but eventually give up and let it suck me into the cube in hopes of overcoming it and then swim my way out. As I find myself underwater with little chance of escape, I begin to panic and frantically thrash toward the entry hole letting the water that’s escaping through the hole suck me back out into the air.

Whew!

Water overwhelming and threatening to drown. As a metaphor for strong or overwhelming emotions that were threatening my well-being this cry for help dream definitely caught my attention. So, the question is, what’s going on right now that is overwhelming me emotionally? What I noticed upon reflection and not going into details was that I had for several days been experiencing a general background malaise, anxiety, and despondency that had been spoiling my ability to enjoy the good things that had been going on and making me feel ill and listless, sort of ‘Bah, humbug’ if you will. I had also fallen into the cynical “everything is meaningless” trap that was making every color turn gray. Given the current circumstances in the world and in the country where I live this attitude had become my defense against the fear, violence, and hate i.e., it can’t hurt me if I render everything as meaningless. 

But it robs me of the joy in life, the love, and compassion because if I render it all meaningless then they too are taken away. As in the dream I’ve let the malaise take me over in hopes that by stopping my resistance to it that it will let me go. Dealing with it is not, however a passive act, it requires an active participation.

This post as well as a number of other activities (such as watching corny Hallmark and Netflix movies) is my way of swimming up toward the hole and escaping the overwhelm.

*Morpheus Speaks: The Encyclopedia of Dream Interpreting

Loss of independence and personal power

The Dream: A disturbing nightmare where broken teeth and a crowned molar are falling from their place in the upper jaw. I’m trying to put them back where they belong, but without much success. People are killing other people, stabbing and mayhem. 

Interpretation:*

Clearly, I’m experiencing conflict and violence in the waking dream and it’s registering in the dreams of my sleep.

Teeth in dreams often refer to power and independence with the loss of same suggesting equivalent losses in one’s waking life. Broken teeth can reveal problems with self-image or lack of self-confidence. Trying to put the fallen teeth back can be about the need or the attempt to regain power or independence. As one ages these dreams can occur more often reflecting the weakening and losses of power and independence one experiences as they get older.

The killing in this dream could symbolize the feeling of being undermined in status, self-esteem, or self-confidence. Killing can also reflect restriction of independence or of some aspect of the self. Death can be a metaphor for the need to kill off something such as a way of being or negative aspect or trait that may be affecting self-worth.

*Some of the interpretive elements (incl. picture) came from the book Morpheus Speaks: The Encyclopedia of Dream Interpreting

A Dream Metaphor for Death

The Dream: I’m in a room crushed against many people waiting for my number to be called. Some people with numbers behind me are being called. “That’s not fair!” I complain in my mind.

The Interpretation: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all those family and friends who have died, some were younger than me.

I really hate this whole death thing and usually avoid thinking about it but once in a while a dream will come along and insist that I pay it some attention. It’s as though my soul wants to say something and uses the medium of the dream to express itself. It’s funny what happens when I let go of my resistance to the awful thought of personal death and allow myself to sink down into it and to feel its pull.

the fear,

the grief,

the anger,

the loss,

the sadness,

the unknown,

the not knowing,

the mystery,

the wonder,

the curiosity,

the what’s next?

And down here it doesn’t seem so awful.

Death in dreams: not so ominous as you might think

Philosophy and religion on the surface look like opposites where on one side one operates on faith and belief while the other critiques and challenges belief. One espouses the rational while the other embraces the irrational.

However, both are of one mind regarding death in that both welcome the mysteries of death because it speaks to the mysteries of life.

When life and death are seen as opposites separated at birth death becomes real. But when death is seen as the continued transition of the soul’s migration through reality the separation and opposition disappear into a mystical unity.

In Jungian philosophy a goal of life is the reunion of opposites called the coniunctio.

In this vision of life’s purpose death takes on a new meaning shifting from an ending to an element in the soul’s journey toward unity and becomes about change and transition from one way of being to another. This point of view is also reflected in one’s dreams where death can be a symbol for change, an end from one way of being to another. Thus, the image of death becomes an archetype for transition. To embrace it is to partially fulfill the purpose of life i.e., to bring all of life’s opposites (life/death, male/female, the conscious/unconscious) into unity.

After doing a little research on the meaning of death psychologically I put down my laptop and ambled down the hall to bed. During the night I had a dream where I sat before a desk with others standing around me and I placed a small beaker upon the desk and concentrated my focus upon it. When I did it correctly a transition from one place of being would become a new one i.e., we would all sort of “portal jump” from one place to another. I was elated with each successful transition.

Upon awakening the dream seemed significant though a mystery as to how. As I continued my research later that morning the dream’s meaning began to clear. The portal jump from one reality to another was an archetype of death. It’s a focus that I find I often think about these days as life gets closer and closer to this transition period. A shift in focus from an ‘ending’ of life, or place of being, to one of a ‘change’ of place of being seems important to me and gives me a new sense of purpose. As with my earlier life my purpose was to prepare myself through all of life’s transitions to live my life as fully as possible, I now can create another purpose that of preparing myself for this next transition. As a soul it’s all my life.

Dealing with the Dark Night of the Soul

I did not grow up in the Christian church or any church for that
matter. The first time I ever heard of the Psalms was while attending
a field service in Vietnam for a friend who had died two days earlier.
He was a friend who had taken my place on the night crew, for I was going out on a mission the following day. If he hadn’t, things might
have been different in both our lives. I was feeling very
disconnected, confused, and holding a little guilt.

The Psalm read that day during the service was called the 23rd Psalm.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down
in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He
restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his
name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy
staff they comfort me.”



As I listened to the words, I found myself crying and Marines NEVER
cry. Suddenly I found myself lifted and all my fear, anger, and
sadness, the turbulent waters of my mind and heart “stilled.” For a
moment, I knew that as I walked through this “valley” with death all
around me, I was not alone. This gave me the strength to carry on.
 
It wasn’t until years later that I realized the grace given to me on
that day, even though I was experiencing the dark night of the soul
(aka depression) and felt I wasn’t worthy of anything good. That day
was the beginning of my journey toward spiritual maturity, and that
day was the day I awakened to something that I later called soul.
Spiritual awakenings can happen at any moment in life. They can be
spontaneous, triggered by major life changes, illnesses, tragedies,
and traumas such as life-threatening illnesses, accidents, divorces,
midlife crises, war, and so much more. They can happen during
meditation or while taking a walk around the neighborhood.

There are also those times when all seems hopeless and emotionally
overwhelming, what some call The Dark Night of the Soul. If you’re highly sensitive to the suffering of others and are a deep thinker by
nature, it is possible that you have gone through, or are currently
going through, this dark night.
 
The Dark Night of the Soul is a period in life when you feel
completely cut off from the Divine. The more _aware_ you become of
your disconnection from the Divine, the more chances you have of
experiencing a Dark Night of the Soul.
 
In my experience, going through this encounter with the dark night is
profoundly entwined with the process of spiritual awakening, i.e.,
before spiritually awakening, we often “walk through the valley of the
shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4); that prepares our minds and hearts for
it.

From the perspective of an Alchemist and Jungian analyst the Dark Night could represent the nigredo which means ‘blackness’ or putrefaction or decomposition. Many alchemists believed the nigredo was a first step in the pathway to the philosopher’s stone or wholeness.

Death in Dreams

Tarot: The death card, a sign of spiritual transformation and great change and even fresh starts.

“Without death, life would be meaningless…limitation enables you to fulfill your being.”
C. Jung

Basically he’s saying that death is a condition for the meaning of life.  

Death in Dreams (The symbolic meaning) Death often relates to the ending of something.
But it can also suggest our relationship, or attitude towards death e.g. how do we feel about it? As an archetype it can show up as a sunset, crossing a river, twilight, a skeleton, gravestones, a cemetery, blackness, the grim reaper, an old man, or woman, a fallen mirror, a stopped clock, or an empty abyss.

Death often shows up in our dreams during times of transition
Dead animals can also be metaphors for our own demise.  

“These are the woods you love where the secret name of every death is life again”  Associated with death is also rebirth and resurrection. 
-Mary Oliver (Skunk cabbage)

Shiva, Hindu god of untamed passion also known as the “destroyer.”

Such things as a cave, or an egg, Spring, dawn, the cross, a snake, a seed, a bird taking flight (though if it were to fly off into the sunset it might suggest death), a Phoenix, flame, a pearl, or the womb.The body itself is in a constant birth, death and renewal cycle in that individual cells need to die in order to be replaced and renewed without constant injury to the body’s cells, fresh cells could not revitalize. This is the idea of creating by destroying. The Hindu god Shiva is the destroyer of the world (actually the ego—the false identification with form, and the letting go of habits and attachments). Brahma then recreates what has been destroyed. In short, all that has a beginning must also have an end. The only thing that dies according to this concept is the illusion of individuality and separateness. In this way Shiva is the great purifier. 

Caduceus Medical Icon/ also known
as the staff of Asclepius

The ancient Greeks believed that a person’s well-being depended on the opposing forces of dissolution and creation. The Caduceus with its entwined snakes and being the symbol of the healer can be symbolically linked with Psyche interacting with matter and transforming both. This idea of the snake representing both death and renewal sheds its old skin to reveal something new and revitalized, thus dying so as to be reborn.                                       

Dead people in Dreams:In most cases this is about the dreamer trying to deal with the passing of someone close. It’s all a process of letting go and of resurrecting the one you interacted with on a physical level into the memory of that same person. For some the deceased become eternally living within the memory of those left behind. 

To see a dead person in a dream:This can represent some area in ones life that has “died” such as a feeling, a relationship, or situation. Sometimes anger repressed in your waking life can kill ones vitality and satisfaction. It can also represent a part of yourself that you would like to leave behind (to see that part, look at what aspect the dead person may represent). 

To see your own death in a dream:This can suggest a transformation in the way you have been, in thought, in feeling, or in attitude. It can also suggest the transition of one phase of your life into a new one. 

“Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear?Who made the grasshopper?This grasshopper, I mean-the one who has flung herself out of the grass,the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.I do know how to pay attention, how to fall downinto the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,which is what I have been doing all day.Tell me, what else should I have done?Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” –Mary Oliver (the Summer Day)

For more on death and resurrection in dreams go to the Dreaming Wizard website.http://thedreamingwizard.com/death-and-resurrection-in-dreams_295.html

See also Darkknightofthesoul.blog Dec 20, 2019