The Darkling Wood

 

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Into the wood where the Darkling play

Follow the path, I’ll show you the way.

Look carefully now for all crawly and slither

They’ll make you all creepy, scaredy and shiver.

The night falls here with a cackle and thump

A crack of a twig, a murmur, and bump.

For it’s these dark woods where the nightmares play

The nightwoods where darkmares have say.

Beware, beware the darkling soul

He cannot be bested by fairy nor troll.

For he rules the forests of your mind

Your lighter and darker forever entwined.

Look close dear one for there is a charm

That can tame before there’s too much harm.

Face the demon to make you wise

Embrace his fire and don’t despise.

Give only what he is due 

Accepting that he is part of you.

He will bow his head and give you true

For his master is really you.

So harness him up and together take flight

Across the deep lake and into the night.

–R.J. Cole

Possession in dreams

 

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The following is a draft section of a new book to be published later this year, Morpheus speaks: The Book of Dreams” (RJ Cole, 2018).

 

Insight: Being possessed is an archetype itself (symbolic meaning that is found across all cultures). Many years ago people would employ priests or even lay mediums to exorcise an individual’s devil that has “possessed” them. But even now the old version of the primitive possessor demon lives within an unexplored psychic phenomena and acts out behaviors that are contrary to a person’s best interest. One only needs to look at how many so-called fearful “conservatives” will vote for the very issues and people who only mean them harm, directly or indirectly, to see the truth of that statement. All too often when we deny our complexes, our demons so to speak, we become possessed by them, we allow another force and energy to take over our lives.

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Nightmares, Night Terrors, and fear in dreams

 

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By thinking about what each dream element means to you or reminds you of, by looking for parallels between these associations and what is happening in your waking life, and by being patient and persistent, you can learn to understand your dreams.

Nightmares are very common among children and fairly common among adults. Stress, traumatic experiences, emotional difficulties, drugs, medication, or illness often cause nightmares. However, some people have frequent nightmares that seem unrelated to their waking lives. Recent studies suggest that these people tend to be more open, sensitive, trusting, and emotional than average.

Recurrent dreams or nightmares, that can continue for years, may be treated as any other dream. That is, one may look for parallels between the dream and the thoughts, feelings, behavior, and motives of the dreamer. Understanding the meaning of the recurrent dream sometimes can help the dreamer resolve an issue that he or she has been struggling with for years.

Some people experience extreme feelings of fear in their sleep. As opposed to nightmares, which happen during REM sleep, night terrors or ‘incubus attacks’ occur during stage four of sleep. Unlike nightmares, which we often remember as movie-like dreams, those who suffer from night terrors can rarely explain what they were dreaming of, other than that they experienced an extreme sense of fear.

However, when they do remember, spiders, snakes, animals, people, paralysis, or an evil presence in the room are often featured.

Some sufferers continue to hallucinate when they wake, which can cause some to become violent, either as a response to their dreams, or in an attempt to run away. The cause of night terrors is thought to be increased brain activity, or a chemical reaction that makes the brain ‘misfire’. For many, medical treatment is necessary to help them cope.

Note that in children any night terrors tend to dissipate over time with most children no longer experiencing by the time they reach their preteens.

For more on nightmares you might want to consult the following link:

http://thedreamingwizard.com/nightmares_304.html

Another link that looks at nightmares is a March 15, 2017 posting on this blog:

https://darkknightofthesoulblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/nightmares/

If interested in exploring this further go to this blog’s “search” box (to be found at the bottom of any posting page after clicking on the title of any posting) and type in “Nightmares” and several posts dealing with dark dreams will come up.

Reading and questioning the symbols can open doors into the unconscious

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A shared dream about visiting over and over again a “Hippie” village, or commune where all the houses were fanciful conglomeration of cast off parts of other houses, brought up some interesting symbols related to excess and the rejection of shared values. In this dream the dreamer entered a darkened room and saw the shadowed silhouette of a hippie lying on a sofa, drunk, or stoned. The dreamer also climbed upon a wall on the hippie’s property to get a better view. All primary symbols suggest societal mores rejection and perhaps a form of addiction. Climbing upon the wall might suggest the need for a new perhaps even higher perspective on life or some specific issue.

One of the first questions I asked of the dreamer was, “What in your life are you obsessing about?”

I also asked, “Is there something missing, e.g. some void, in your life that you’re trying to fill and that might be an inappropriate way to do it?” And finally I questioned whether there was a shadow side to their life that they might not be confronting e.g. that they may be in denial of?”

This person may very well be suppressing the concept of addiction as it may be related to their particular behavior. For example, they may not be addicted to a substance, but an action (as in a habitual response pattern), or even a way of thinking (as in a habitual negative inner dialog, or a belief that persists despite evidence to the contrary, such as a prejudice). These can be subtle in nature, yet still be important enough for the unconscious mind to shine a light on them through the dream. There are, of course, less subtle addictions e.g. sexual, porn, food, smoking, risky behavior, and etcetera.

The morals rejection part of the dream is also interesting in that it begs the question, “What societal norms are you rejecting and why?” The village in this dream is put together by the cast offs from other people’s houses (persona’s) might suggest a depressing loss of personal identity and/or the person is creating a sense of self that further alienates them from the society they live in. But it also may reflect an attempt to cobble together an identity from what they admire in those around them.

Again, the dream can be very useful toward revealing inner material that may be affecting one’s mental health and even social health. Both learning to read the symbolism and asking questions can be equally important and can bring a light into the darkness.

 

A Dream of Shadows

I stepped into the night–a lonely, frigid blackness with glowing lanterns here and there. I sighed and my breath rose into the sky and a part of me became one with the stars.

Animals came out of the inky dark to greet me–raccoon, rat, and owl.

They whispered some ancient wisdom, sharing from a place that only they could bear, dancing to a rhythm that only they could hear.

I pulled the night around my shoulders like a robe to comfort me against its emptiness.

Owl, rat, raccoon, and I walking through the night, walking toward the light of home.

–RJ Cole (2014)

The Gift of the Dark Dream

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The Dark Dream by.–jbrown67.deviantart.com

 

Dreams of being a child have come into my sleep along with being wrong and making mistakes, feeling shame and powerlessness and falling. When my waking dream becomes too stressful, when I find that I can’t stay in the here and now because I’m caught up in worries about the future, or guilt from the past, I find my dreams full of powerlessness and fear. Hurricanes, storms, titanic waves, and floods wash through my dreams and add even greater stress to a psyche overburdening itself. If the dreams shared with me on-line are any indication, I’d say this might be true for many of you.

Though I did not measure up to my personal expectations, to the image of myself that I thought I should be, I realized something much greater. The Black Dream where I found myself in the waking world had been giving way to something new.

When facing the darkness one can receive images much grander than their limited images of self. For me I saw that I never gave up, though the way looked impossible; that I always strove to become better than either my own judgments, or the judgments of others. Somehow I found the courage to stand up to the feelings of failure and rejection and to face what I judged to be humiliation with my head held high. I allowed myself to feel the fool and to grow from its presence, to go beyond the fears and become bigger than my estimate of myself.

The experience of recent events and the consciousness they brought in their wake have helped me to realize some of how big I really am. I may not be what I think I should be, an ego-self desire, but once again I’ve discovered that I’m really so much more.

Until I was willing to truly accept the darkness and honor its value, I couldn’t see the ever so small light flickering in the corner. I’ve been fighting the darkness ever so long, but the truth is that rejecting the darkness also rejects the light. This morning, I saw the barest glow and reached for it and it warmed and filled the space that dispelled the darkness before it. Hanging onto the light often seems harder than living in the darkness. But I think it’s a miracle that the light is there at all.

And that’s the gift of the Black Dream, the Shadow, the darkness; it highlights the flicker of light that is our true self. I can also see that to keep it burning I need to share it and it’s in that vein that I do so now. As I’ve said earlier, love is the cure for our nightmares; it’s the light within our darkness.

Nightmares

 

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I had a nightmare the other night, you know one of those where the narrative takes you right up to the most awful part of the horror and then…you wake up. Whew, thank goodness!

Well, not always. Usually I try to get back to sleep so as to resolve the outcome, to finish the story so to speak. In that way I have some control over the outcome, or get more information on the meaning of the dream.

If you were to consider the point where you wake up as the climax of a story then perhaps asking yourself “what happens next?” Or  “How might the story end?” might be a good technique for exploring the nightmare further.

Now I don’t mean for someone who is dreaming a reenactment of a literal horror that has happened in their waking life (such as for those who are suffering from PTSD), stay away from those nightmares, they may need more professional guidance*. I’m talking about those that are symbolic of something going on inside you, or that you are reacting to in your daily life, something psychically broader. You might ask yourself, “Does this dream remind me of something in my waking life?”

Nightmares can be a normal dream occurrence after a trauma, but most of the time they present material that you’ve kept hidden (e.g. threats to your self-esteem, loss of something, or someone important, or trouble coping with certain stresses, unconscious memories stimulated by some recent event, or scary emotions that you have avoided) and the unconscious mind, in the service of your health and well-being, is trying to bring them to consciousness so that you can deal with them appropriately. They literally demand attention.

I think that many of us with the standard unfinished nightmare event want to be able to master them, it’s probably why we like such authors as Stephen King, remember Carrie? Finishing the nightmare in a psychically satisfying manner is much better than ignoring it, because if you do …it’ll be baaack!

I’m also not talking “night terrors” here, in those there’s no plot just a lot of scary chaos**. On the other hand, nightmares have a plot, and often a fairly complicated one. You go from balance, or equilibrium, to extreme out of balance then wake up. When you awaken, the climax then dominates the story and this can truncate the meaning and leave you stuck. If you were to treat the nightmare as a narrative, you would then want the story to return to equilibrium i.e. resolution. I’m talking about the process of transformation, the psychic alchemical process of turning something base into something of value.

The kind of intervention to which I’m referring has the advantage of giving you some feedback i.e. if the nightmare has recurred and then after intervention disappears you’ve been successful, if not, try something else.

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*Those suffering from PTSD might use these nightmares as part of a treatment intervention. These nightmares may also be the mind’s way of treating the psychic injury, however,  one can get stuck in a constantly recurring nightmare that reintroduces the horror of the event over and over again. This kind of nightmare needs treatment with a professional trained to work with them.
** As an adult and if you get a lot of these night terrors where you are thrashing about in bed you may want to share this with your physician.