Tag Archives | dreaming interpretation

Recurring Dream With Wild Cats On My Path

I received this dream from a life-long friend.

I’m traversing a path. Sometimes it’s indoors. Sometimes it’s outdoors. It’s not familiar, but I don’t feel uneasy about that.  What’s unsettling is that it is populated with wild cats – tigers, cougars, etc. – miniature in size, but not cubs. I’m on some sort of rolling cart and riding with me are 2 of these cats, one of which is gnawing on my right arm, but not breaking the skin. My feeling is to continue on, but I’m trying to remain very still.  When I wake up I’m not upset – just stuck be the fact that I’ve had this same dream twice.
The best way to approach a dream like this is to go symbol by symbol, and go straight to universal meaning of the stories that the symbols are telling us.

You start on a path.  A path in a dream is essentially your private journey in life.  More specifically, it is the journey of your life that is outside of the consideration of the people who join you on your path (family, etc.).   You say that sometimes it’s indoors and other times out, which means that this is the path of your life in both your interior, personal experiences as well as your social experiences.  But because you are alone in the dream, we are looking at your private journey.

You tell us in your description that you are not feeling uneasy, even though you are facing the unknown.  This gives us a bit of info.  It tells us that a change is afoot (which we also know because the dream recurs).  It also lets us know that it manageable enough to leave you feeling relatively at ease.

Animals connect to instincts.  Often, they appear in a dream to remind us of the instinctual nature that we have access to.  The dream may be telling you to tap into this energy as an asset.  On the other hand, it could be your unconscious indicating for you to not over compensate and cause destructive behavior.  The sensations of the dream and the process of ruminating over it will bring the insight you seek.

In this dream specifically, this energy is trying to get your attention with a gnawing gesture.  Have you ever noticed the word gnawing related to a thought – something gnawing on your mind?  Things to tend to “gnaw on us” till eventually, we are forced to take action.  Whatever it is, it has not broken the skin and perhaps has no intention of harming you, but something wants your attention.

The realm of unconditional love is well expressed by dogs and cats.  We have brought them into our world to respond to us with complete and utter love.  Dogs represent the masculine principle and the realm of the feminine is ruled by cats.  The Divine Feminine relates to the power of creativity, receptivity, and the ability to nurture and bring new expression into the world.

These cats are mature, yet small in size.  So these are not instincts that are new to you.  In fact, these are cats that might look like cubs, but are no longer young.  Something to ask yourself is could this dream also connect to managing your waking-life role as a mother?

The arm that’s being gnawed on is the right, which is the masculine side.  You are aware that you are not in danger and you recognize that stillness is your best posture (stillness is the feminine principle).  Whatever associations you make with this dream as it relates to your current life, ask yourself where might you be tempted to take action, and then don’t.  Here is the fortune cookie version: “You are stepping into more power.  This is part of who you are: Value stillness over action.”

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Am I Dreaming, Or Am I Awake?

I got this message on facebook the other day:

Hey Michael, question for you – hope you don’t mind. This morning, Jane was having what appeared to be a bad dream, so I ran my hand across her forehead to gently wake her up.  But then I wondered, is that a bad idea? Should we let dreams take their natural course?

Here was my reply:

That’s a great question, Brett. There is certainly an argument for the idea of letting a dream run its course. However, there is also the perspective that we are all participating in a living dream – and as a couple, you are each intertwined with each other in such a dynamic way, that your impulse to comfort her and wake her is as much a part of her consciousness as it is yours. I like your impulse and I REALLY like the way you executed it (hand gently across her forehead). My input is this: If you feel to do this again, be as gentle as you possibly can – perhaps with the intention rather than of waking her up, of calming her from the waking world and joining in her experience bringing comfort, grace and ease. It’s basically what you already did, but taking it one step further with intentionality.

My friend really enjoyed my answer, telling me he thought it was thoughtful and insightful.  And it got me thinking and seeking more insight to one of the questions that people have for me with some regularity.  Just how fluid is the boundary between the dreaming world and the real world?

The true answer is of course that there is no boundary and that the two worlds are one and the same.  The challenge with that answer is what we do with the information.  If we take it literally, we are lost.  Any hard scientist (or reasonable person for that matter) will flatly disagree and they’d be right to do so.  The idea that these two worlds are intertwined is an idea that has yet to be explained in any way that might be satisfying to any but the tried and true followers of hooey-hooey.  And yet, I believe it is so.

Using the example above of Brett and Jane, we have a married couple who share their lives and within that construct each night, their bed.  The brain is an electrical organization that functions on a system of waves.  Waves can synchronize and desynchronize.  In fact, the synchronization of usually chaotic and erratic brain waves is the first evidence that sleep is upon us.  It is entirely possible that when two people sleep together, the synchronization of their brain waves creates a similitude of experience that may be profound indeed.

I was once asked by my pregnant neighbors about this phenomenon.  It seemed that the husband was having just as many vivid and fantastic dreams as his hormone-saturated wife.  While pondering my answer, I found myself expressing just this notion: the electromagnetic activity in one person’s brain impacts the brain of someone nearby.  There is research to back this notion up, though it is still very rudimentary.

So does this mean that if you dream about the hot guy or gal you have a crush on that they are also thinking about you in their nocturnal journey?  Probably not.  But there is certainly more to this than meets the eye.  We are all connected in ways that are far more mysterious than explainable.  And if in the dream world we can create anything just with a thought, then that is the life I would like to be leading while I am awake.

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Celebrity Dreaming

In recent weeks, I have been asked about the meaning of celebrity dreams with more frequency than usual.  I decided to post the term “Celebrity” from my book, Dream Sight: A Dictionary & Guide for Interpreting Any Dream.  If you don’t have my book yet, buy it now on line or at your local bookstore!

Celebrities

Universal Landscape: Archetypal Character Aspect; heightened expressions of human traits or qualities.

Dreaming Lens:  Were you with a celebrity intimately or was it a celebrity sighting?  Did you know each other?  What was the connection between you?  Were there other people around?  Did you have sex?  Were you comfortable with the connection that you had?  Did you want more?  Did you want less?

Personal Focus:  Celebrities are the gods and goddesses of modern life and represent archetypal human qualities with which we all identify.  The essence of a particular celebrity’s image can be distilled into a character aspect by the ways in which we perceive them.  Millions of people hold the same projected image of celebrities.  The power of all that magnified perception endows them with superhuman status and removes any sense of the person underneath the persona.

Celebrities show up in our dreams when the stakes are a little higher in terms of what we’re dreaming about.  By providing a more powerful image, the unconscious is telling you to pay more attention.  Approach the interpretation the same way you would anyone in your dreams.  When considering the qualities of the person you are dreaming about, remember to look at everything about them and take into account how you perceive them, including if you are a fan or not or whether they are currently in or out of public favor.  When interpreting a celebrity from a dream, first consider what they embody on a universal level.  Then, and only then, add your personal feelings about them.  When you have done this, you will be clear about what character aspect of yourself you are dreaming of.

In the way that people in our dreams represent character aspects of ourselves, celebrities represent character aspects of the global consciousness as reflected by the idea of archetypes.  Celebrities are our modern-day gods and goddesses.  Dreaming about one of these elite individuals represents a need to explore the qualities they embody as a character aspect, but in a much more powerful way.  In a process identical to working with a character aspect of someone at the pedestrian level, a celebrity’s fame elevates the significance of the meaning you assign to them.  Your unconscious is using the notoriety associated with their public visibility to get your attention.  It is, in effect, providing you with an image that has a chance of making the dream memorable upon waking so that you might more readily take notice of the guidance available to you in the dream.

Sexual dreams with celebrities are common.  Most dreamers assume this is so because of how attractive most of them are.  Additionally, what they do puts them in a position to carry the sexual fantasies of their public.  However, in dream work, sexual dreams with celebrities are common because the drive to integrate archetypal energy is integral to the evolution of our souls.  When the unconscious is encouraging you to own the more powerful parts of your psychic makeup, there is no better way for it to get your attention than through highly charged, sexual imagery.

It is natural for us to need larger-than-life representations of the human experience to motivate us through the various challenges we face managing the stressors and disappointments that are a part of life’s journey.  Our culture’s fascination with the life of celebrities provides us with hope that our own lives have the potential for excitement and glamour, even if this is just a fantasy.  In fact, such fantasies can function as survival mechanisms for many people.

Discovering what a dream involving a celebrity might be telling you is the same as with any character aspect.  Since we are in the realm of archetypal energy when dealing with celebrities, the quality that your dream is inviting you to explore may be very obvious.  A sports figure may be asking you to examine your willingness to play the game of life with more confidence whereas a pop singer may be suggesting that more self-expression is crying out for release.  If you get stuck on how to interpret the meaning of a celebrity’s presence, the technique of using three adjectives to describe them works just as well with the famous as with the ordinary.

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Universal Meaning of Individual Symbols

In the world of interpretation, there is no right or wrong.  This is why I prefer the term dream interpretation over dream analysis.  To analyze something is to reduce it down to all of its essential parts.  From this perspective, there has to be a “right” and accurate meaning of a dream.  An interpretation explains the meaning of something, but it is completely subjective.  From this perspective, there is no such thing as accurate, there is only satisfying.  A dream interpretation that satisfies the dreamer and provides some level of meaning is a home run.

My entire work is based on the fundamental law of universality.  Universality has to do with agreement; the more people who would agree about the meaning of something, the more universal that idea is.  When I am teaching someone about the principles of interpretation, I put a lot of emphasis of going beyond the personal and connecting with the universal.  For example, you might be afraid of dogs (personal) but you know that in our culture a dog is a man’s best friend (universal).  The notion that a symbol can be deconstructed down to its most universal meaning can be applied to any image that appears in a dream.

When in doubt, it can be helpful to look toward something’s USE or ESSENCE in order to find a satisfying universal meaning. The use of something applies to its function, while its essence connects to its purpose.  These may seem barely distinguishable from each other, but they are in fact different.

Use takes into account what something does and that helps define how it relates to us.  A refrigerator keeps a certain amount of space at a specific, desired temperature that is colder than the surrounding space.  That is how we use it, taking advantage of the chilly area it creates.  Its essence connects to the purpose of a refrigerator which is to lengthen the life of our perishable foods, for which we value it highly.

Both the use and essence of something may need to be examined in the course of interpreting a dream.  One or both will always lead you toward the universal meaning of a symbol.

A woman dreams she found someone’s disembodied head in a refrigerator.  She decides that the head represents thoughts or ideas that she has not incorporated into your mainstream thinking.  In order to discover the universal meaning for refrigerator and further inform her understanding of these images, the dreamer turns to use and essence of refrigerator.  The use would tell you the head is going to be kept cold, but that may not provide a good meaning to incorporate into your interpretation.  If you go to the essence, to preserve, there is suddenly something interesting to explore.  This is now a dream about ideas whose time has not yet come; they must be kept fresh though, preserved for later use.

To further illustrate, take the example of a bomb appearing in a dream.  Its use relates to creating sudden, intense combustion.  It isn’t until the essence of deliberate destructiveness with an implied target is added to your definition that you have something to work with.  If you had a dream that you were carrying a bomb from one place to another, you can now consider both the dangerousness of sudden combustion as well as deliberate destructiveness that the bomb represents.  These minute distinctions will pay off powerful dividends when the symbols you are working with are even more esoteric and challenging.

The use of a hat is to cover and protect the head.  The essence of a hat is to adorn and express.  Therefore the universal meaning of the symbol of a hat in a dream will connect to protecting or hiding private thoughts and/or expressing thoughts indirectly (wearing a hat on the head is what adds the element of thoughts or thinking).

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Is Everyone In My Dreams Part Of Me?

Dreams are filled with people.  Some you know, others are strangers.  Sometimes, you know exactly who they are despite the fact that they may look nothing like the person they seem to be representing.  And while dreams feature a myriad of settings, objects, themes, creatures – the list is endless – the bulk of our dreams contain people more than any other type of image.

There is an adage in dream work that everyone in your dreams is a part of you.  While this is not the only way to approach the people who appear in your dreams, it is the only way that I work because for me it is the perspective that offers the most value.  This is not to say that dreams that involve people close to you in your life are not reflecting the relationships you have with them.  They are.  However, the dream work that I am drawn to is entirely about self-investigation.  Therefore, considering every person who appears in a dream as representing a part of your own personality is the best route to go.  I call these individual representations Character Aspects, where each character represents an aspect of your personality.

Have you ever noticed how often we use language to describe how we feel that goes something like, “part of me feels one way and part of me feels another?”  This is a great example of how we organize our inner experience in a compartmentalized way. Dreams operate on the same principle, but exclusively through the language of symbols.  It is in this way that the people in your dreams are symbolic representations of different aspects of yourself.

I’ll give you a few examples from my own life.  A professor of mine from graduate school was very analytical and, at times, harshly critical – that’s the polite version to describe him.  If he showed up in a dream, I know that he would be a Character Aspect of the critical part of me.  On the other side of the spectrum, I have a close friend who is one of the warmest, most affectionate individuals I have ever known.  If she were to appear in a dream, she would be a Character Aspect of my own capacity for warmth and affection.

Let’s use an example from a real dream of an actual client.  A woman has a dream that her high school English teacher is standing at the back of the conference room in which the dreamer is soon to give a presentation at work.  When asked for three adjectives to describe the English teacher, the dreamer replies “negative,” “harsh” and “demanding.”  It was easy for her to understand and even express to me how nervous she was about this upcoming presentation.  But it was by examining this person as a Character Aspect of herself that she was able to relieve some of her anxiety by understanding that she is her own worst critic.

The better you know someone from your life, the harder it may be to envision them as operating as a part of your own personality.  In these cases, it’s best to attempt to stay very detached in your thinking.  You might consider how someone else might describe such a person in order to reach a more objective sense of them as a Character Aspect of yourself.

Of course, the dream world is just as populated with people you have never met before, if not more so.  When this is the case, use whatever information you have from the dream and any details you can remember about them. The less stuff offered by the dream, the more work you will have to do to discover what Character Aspect might be represented by these strangers.

Sometimes this is not at all easy to do, especially if a Character Aspect represents elements of your personality that you don’t readily relate to.  I ran into this with a client who so resisted this idea that it took every ounce of my patience to guide her through the process.  She was a woman in her late twenties who had a dream about an older, female boss she worked for many years prior to when she had the dream.  When picking the three adjectives, she came up with “aggressive,” “powerful” and “unethical.”  It was clear to me that the merciless boss-lady from the dream was a Character Aspect of the part of the dreamer that is also capable of being ruthless and unconcerned with the moral constructs of right and wrong.

Let me tell you; my client didn’t like this process one bit.  In her waking life, this young woman certainly does her best to do the right thing in every situation and would hardly be considered ruthless.  Ironically, while railing against the idea I was asking her to consider, she became quite ruthless in her defensiveness.  She finally relented and understood what I was trying to convey when I explained to her that all things live inside of us; the good as well as the seemingly bad.

To be truly effective with your dream work, you must be willing to explore all sides of yourself.  Remember that the unconscious mind knows the totality of who we are:  Even the parts that are ugly, unpleasant and hidden away from our conscious awareness.  This is called The Shadow and brings us to the next concept that is one of the most powerful and important parts of effective dream work.

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An Airplane Dream – Rapid Transformation & Change

Katie was a guest on my web series show, Perchance To Dream (on Facebook as Perchance To Dream or at www.perchancetodreamseries.com).  She recently sent me this dream and asked for some input, so I decided to share it with all of you as well.  Here’s what she had to say:

“In last night’s dream, I was in the front area of an airplane full of passenger that had just come into land.  It was night time and for some reason the landing was diverted so we were landing in a field, but it still had a runway on the grass with landing lights along the side.  It was bumpy as we went over tufts of grass and I remember looking out of the cockpit window.  I wasn’t scared but some of the passengers were. The pilot was my sister’s husband who is an airline pilot in waking life.”

Airplane dreams are fairly common.  In order to understand them, it is best to go the use or essence of the symbol itself.  Airplanes take us from one place to another in an extraordinarily short amount of time.  In this way, they relate to sudden shifts in awareness or transformations that completely alter the landscapes of our lives.

As is the case with most dreams that feature airplanes, there is usually some sort of obstacle, such as a crash or monumental delay.  It is the obstacles themselves that reveal the theme of these dreams.  They represent the process of change and transformation that is both rapid and halting: the rapidity is symbolized by the plane and the halting nature is embodied by whatever obstacle is present in the dream.

In the case of Katie’s dream, we have an unexpected landing sight into a field somewhere.  The grassy field is in direct opposition to the metal and concrete mechanizations of an airport.  In this way, perhaps the tufts of grass and the wide open natural space suggests that Katie would rather be restful and in the ease of nature than attend to the business at hand.  This may not be a bad thing or indicate avoidance; after all, this particular field is equipped with landing lights and a runway, suggesting that this alternative landing sight may be in the natural turn of events.

What is most interesting to me is the word “diverted” in her description of the dream.  To divert is to turn aside from an intended destination, but it also has a secondary meaning which relates to seeking pleasure for the purpose of distracting the attention from that which burdens or distresses a person.

That the dreamer is in the cockpit and is calm suggests that there is a great deal of confident choice in this diversion.  The frightened passengers represent various thoughts of fear and confusion in this process.  The real juicy information is to be garnered from the qualities of the brother-in-law, for it is he that is captaining this current choice.  Remember, he is but a symbol of the part of Katie’s personality that is suggesting a momentary diversion to a more natural landscape for the time being.

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The Unconscious Mind Is REALLY Unconscious!

I have been thinking quite a lot about the unconscious mind lately.  Depending on what source you look to, apparently only about 15% of how our minds operate is conscious, the rest is relegated to the unknown, the invisible.  And if that’s the case, I’d venture a guess that about two thirds of that is not happening as mindful awareness, but is actually the ego voice within us run amuck, engaging us in conversations with people who aren’t in the room, reviewing the past or rehearsing for the future.

So if most of us is operating from the unconscious mind, it is fair to say that the struggles that we have are grounded there as well.  This has left me feeling a bit confounded about how healing takes place.  We can direct our thoughts till the cows come home to affirm that we are filled with well being, but if our unconscious mind is railing at us that the sky is falling, we are living in a house divided.

How this relates to my experience of dreaming intepretation comes in the form of a dream I had last night.  In this dream, I was in a community of people putting on some sort of production of a play or musical comedy, in which I had a prominent role.  The woman who was directing this was an old friend from high school, Anna.  In the dream, we were quite intimate, enjoying a romantic connection of some depth.  However, prior to this (in the dream’s past tense) there was some issue about a contract she had signed for some furniture she was to have delivered.  She changed her order, going against the contract, and I had pointed this out to the authorities.  This occurred before we became intimate.

At some point, there was a rehearsal in which she began to change things that had been already staged and set, which through me off considerably.  Shortly after this, there was a big board meeting going on which I was not invited to.  I knew that I was being discussed in this meeting in a critical manner.  While this was going on, I noticed that my travel plans were set to take me home from this location (which now revealed itself to be England) on the Saturday morning before the performance.  It turns out that I was never going to be in town to do this show in the first place.  As the board let out, I approached the president of this group (who resembled the psychotherapist with whom I did my mandatory didactic therapy with as part of my doctorate).  This man was dismissive of me and seemed completely uninterested in the fact that my travel plans were going to render me unable to participate in the upcoming performance.

So the juicy part of this dream was this:  All of the above was essentially exposition for the scene in which now, my beloved Anna was ENRAGED with me.  She was railing against me in every conceivable manner and had now called this board meeting in which she was setting me up to be the villain in the scenario that had unfolded.  I was dumbfounded.  Not only was I pretty certain that I had behaved in a good and true way in each moment that I had been in, I also didn’t think that the “wrongs” I had done merited such a violent and vitriolic reaction from her.

If what I have shared with you isn’t cluttered enough, there were dozens of other images from this dream that I remembered vividly.  As I sat and ruminated on what they all might mean, my mind just collided in a frenzy of over-intellectualized chaos.  How was I going to work with this dream?  I knew it felt important, but I was initially stymied by how I was going to find the nuggets of truth and a valuable interpretation in and amongst all these details.

And then I thought about this notion of how my challenges are rooted in my unconscious mind and that they are just that: unconscious, and therefore invisible to me.  So, rather than try to figure all of this out, I thought I should just go for a process that was more about the sensation of the whole than an intellectual understanding of the parts. 

I closed my eyes and relaxed as fully as I could.  I pictured myself in the space that this group of authority figures had met and called the board back to order.  I gathered all of these nameless characters, as well as the president and, of course, my beloved Anna.  I found myself saying to them, this:

“Okay, I can’t know what you all talked about when you met.  I can’t even pretend to know, Anna, why you are so desperately angry with me.  And while I can’t go back and fix what I’ve done in the past and I can’t know what is unknown to me, I can insist that a healing takes place.”

With those words being spoken inside my meditative mind, I felt an emotional shift.  Something settled in the pit of my stomach and while I don’t know what it was, I could feel the change inside me without reservation.  I felt a healing take place.

I don’t always have to KNOW how that is happening or even what was out of alignment to begin with.  But having a healing is my birthright as a human being.  My mind may not have known how to heal this situation, but my heart certainly did.  And I would rather dwell in my heart than in my head.  I am reminded of the old saying, “I think, therefore I am.”  These days, I am more inclined to say, “I am, therefore I think.”

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Numerology: The Meaning of Numbers in Dreams!

Numerology is the very elegant interpretive system associated with numbers.  It is easy to understand once you align yourself with the progression of meaning that starts with 1 and ends with 9.  This is the term “Numbers” from my book, Dream Sight: A Dictionary & Guide for Interpreting Any Dream.  Enjoy!

Numbers

Universal Landscape:  The building blocks of all reality.

Dreaming Focus:  Did a number itself feature in your dream?  Was it the number of something that was significant?  Is there more than one digit or is your dream number from one to nine?  Is there calculation involved?  Did the number have a specific purpose, such as a phone number or address?

Personal Focus:  Numbers are the building blocks for our understanding of how life is constructed.  The movement of the earth, moon and other planets are geometrical in nature.  Music is simply math expressed as tone.  Digital technology reduces various data to numeric sequences and then back again to its original form.  Our need to describe physical phenomena led us to create nine whole numbers that, in different sequences, can express anything from gravity, the speed of light, to the way visitors can identify which house on the block is yours.
 The universally accepted meaning of numbers is what informs the discipline of numerology.  From this tradition we get the foundational and metaphysical interpretation of the nine whole numbers.  Use this as a base to inform how you consider the image from your dream with which the number is associated.  If there is more than one digit involved, add all the values together until you arrive at a final, single number.  For example, if an address is 115 Main Street, you would add one plus one plus five and get seven.
 The explanations below are meant to be read in order in one sitting, no matter what specific number you are interested in examining.  There is a structure to the way the meaning of each digit expands on its predecessor which will give you a powerful sense of the whole system that will aid you in using numbers in the interpretation process.

One:  One represents beginnings and is the starting point of existence.  In human terms, it is the self alone.  It is the idea before any action is taken.  As such, it embodies the concept of potential and that which has yet to happen.  In fact, the energy of one is limited by its inability to do anything by itself.  However, it also connects to stillness and the cultivation of desire that that precedes movement.  One is the beginning of the journey, which can be a very exciting energy.  However, this can bring with it the challenge of loneliness and isolation.

Two:  When a second joins the one and two is formed, partnership is created.  The concept of relativity evolves out of the energy of two, as the one has something to which it experiences itself as relative to.  The one can now know itself as self, because there is that which is other.  All of the elements of two are embodied in this idea– partnership, duality, opposites, yin/yang, balance, sharing, to name just a few.  The shadow side of two is the potential for collapsing into one another and losing the sense of self.

Three:  When two are gathered, eventually their energy will create a new element, and a third is born.  Three is the number of creativity.  A powerful energy, there are many examples of the concept of three:  mother, father and child is perhaps the most universal.  The holy trinity in Catholicism is another instance.  The artist, the paint and the finished work is just one case that can be applied to any creative endeavor.  In music, a trine is the simplest and perhaps most pleasing harmony.  In the world of geometry, it is only when you have three points to work with that you can create an actual shape and accurately define a location in space.  The challenge of three is a lack of grounding and separation from reality.  This is because three relates so strongly to the drive to create, that feeling unable to do so would be the fear-based side of this energy.

Four:  When you add a fourth point to a triangle, you end up with a square.  Four is the number of structure.  Once the creative impulse has been satisfied, it is time for solidification, which can be accomplished by the power of four.  A wonderful weight-bearing shape, a square is what allows for building the foundation on which the creative energies of three can be supported.  Four connects to the establishment of institutions, order, rules and regulations.  While a number of great strength, it can engender a sense of limitation and the concept of restraint.

Five:  What follows the foundational sense four is the freedom of five.  Once a structure has been established, there is now a sense of safety and security for exploration.  The number five embodies this expressiveness.  The human body expresses the number five as represented by the four limbs and the head.  The ability for the body to move about through space is a vibrant and exhilarating experience.  In this way, five symbolizes joy and bliss.  With this, comes the shadow of freedom; indulgence.  This expression of five can carry grave consequences such as compulsion and addiction.

Six:  Six is the number of partnership, marriage, creative collaboration and balance.  After the freedom of five, there is a need for stability, which is provided by the even number six.  This energy can also be seen as a pairing of two threes.  If three is about primal creativity at an individual level, combining two systems of three allows for six to engender worldly partnerships and the concept of marriage and union.  This number represents partnership on every level: business, social, educational and spiritual.  In the personal realms, the number six represents the happy union of opposites within us and the integration of our own opposing forces, such as containing two powerful emotions that contradict each other.  The challenge of the six energy connects to responsibility and a sense of burden.

Seven:  After all the work in the external world which brought us to the concept of partnership, we are now prepared for a more elevated experience of human expression.  Seven is the number of spirituality and higher thought, which is only possible after the basic human needs are met.  We are now free to look up and contemplate our existence in a more esoteric manner.  Meditation and any consideration of the interior landscape of our humanity is governed by the number seven.  This includes thought, contemplation, mysticism, prayer, faith, psychology and any endeavor that seeks to understand life from a higher perspective.  This is a number we are all familiar with as significant:  seven days of the week, seven deadly sins, seven notes in the diatonic scale.  The challenge associated with this vibration is to get lost in the ethers and lose contact with life on the ground.

Eight:  After spiritual matters have been made manifest, great abundance is possible.  Eight is the number of infinity and all that it implies.  This includes wealth of every kind:  love, money, bliss, joy and every amazing experience life has to offer.  The concept of infinity states that there is no limitation in the universe; that time and space continue forever and ever in a way that is beyond our ability to truly comprehend.  When an understanding of infinity and abundance are combined, there is a realization that there is an endless supply of anything you could possibly desire, even those things that you perceive as limited and unavailable to you.  Eight is the magic of seven in action.  The shadow side to this is greed, hoarding and withholding love.

Nine:  The final number in the system is nine, which represents completion and endings.  All things must end in order for the inevitable new beginning to follow.  Nine embodies that cycle of existence that demands that change occur and that the old give way to the new.  We have started the journey alone in the infinite (one), discovered opposites and relativity (two), invented creativity (three), built a foundation (four), expressed freedom (five), partnered with another (six), went inward to find spirituality (seven), expressed and enjoyed the rewards of the outside world (eight), and now we come to a close (nine).  The shadow side to the completion energy of nine is the fear that can be associated with endings and death.

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This Last Mercury Retrograde KICKED MY BUTT!

I don’t know about you, but this past Mercury retrograde cycle was about the most intense one I can remember in recent years.  It finally relinquished its grip on us this past weekend and we can all finally breathe a sigh of relief.  I thought this might be a good opportunity to point out some of the reasons why this particular experience was so difficult.  My hope is that this will offer you some perspective on the insights and awareness that may have emerged for you recently as well as encourage you to value these regular Mercury cycles, no matter how challenging they can be.

First, let’s make sure you have a good understanding of what retrograde motion is.  It is an optical illusion created by two objects moving through space at different speeds.  When one object overtakes the other, there is a change in how they will perceive each other relative to the backdrop that they are being perceived in front of.  In this case, the backdrop is space itself.

There is a phenomenon that most people are familiar with right here on Earth that can help bring this concept into perspective.  Have you ever been the passenger in a car and looked out at the spinning wheels of another vehicle?  For a moment, the wheels might appear to be spinning backwards.  This is an optical illusion (clearly, they wheels are NOT spinning backward or a horrific accident would result) created by virtue of the movement of the two cars in front of the relative stillness of the road and street beyond.  While this is not exactly the same as a retrograding planet, it has some similar sensibilities that can help people come to accept the awkwardness of just what it would mean to look up at the sky and see a planet appear to move backward.

Astrology is the science of astronomy (the actual geometrical movement of heavenly bodies) combined with the art of interpreting the archetypes they represent.  I suppose that is one of the reasons I love astrology so much is because it is yet another opportunity for me to flex my interpretive muscle.

Mercury is interpreted to represent communication and the mind.  The backward movement of a planet is interpreted to represent the process of integration.  Mercury (the mind) moves forward and collects all sorts of data and experience in its direct motion most of the time.  When it moves into retrograde motion every three months or so, it is given the opportunity to integrate all of the information that has recently been collected.

During these times, life seems to pause and the mind is turned inward.  When that happens, experiences in the outside world appear to be hindered, delayed and loose the sharp focus we are used to.  I always experience lateness and cancellations during Mercury retrograde.  It is not that I don’t experience lateness and cancellations at other times, but I imagine that during Mercury retrograde, those lateness and cancellations feel different; somehow more intense.

So, let’s take a look at this last cycle.  It occurred in the sign of Aries.  The Ram represents the archetype of getting things started, butting head first into any activity.  When Mercury goes retrograde in this sign, the impetus to move forward is thwarted and that can cause discomfort.  If that weren’t enough, guess who else was (and still is as of this writing) in Aries.  Mars. Venus. Uranus. The Sun.  And the New Moon of this past month was also in Aries.  Holy moly!  That’s a LOT of energy that wants to rush headlong into action; but it can’t because Mercury is busy making sure that time stands still while the integration process takes place.

And if THAT weren’t enough, we have the cosmic teacher, Saturn, in the opposite sign of Libra.  That means all of those Aries planets are being stared down by the ruler of Kharma, who is saying, well demanding actually, that only the highest most responsible course is being taken.  And Saturn means business; if you aren’t playing your absolute A game in life, he will unequivocally kick your ass to make sure the lesson is learned.

Aries/Libra is all about relationships.  And not just those primary relationships like your romantic partners, but all relationships.  From friends, family, loved ones, to the bus driver and the checker at the supermarket.  How were you showing up to your one-on-one relationships during the last three weeks?  With judgment and opinions ruling the day?  Or with love and acceptance.  How were you presenting yourself in the world to be mirrored by others?  With your integrity in tact, or were you cutting any corners.  If you were (which all of us by virtue of being human would have to be to one extent or another) you were knocked to the mat by Saturn’s stern hand.

What Saturn is really teaching us all while traveling through Libra (roughly for the past year and next year) is the lesson of the mirrored self: that there is no relationship that matters more than the one we have with the Self/Source.  Every other relationship is ‘out there’, and is therefore actually a relationship with one’s own reflection, which we can only do with the consciousness we have.  We are separate but we are not.  We are all a reflection of the cosmic oneness.

With Saturn in opposition to Mercury, the part of our Selves that commands authenticity is face to face with the part of our selves that thinks and communicates.  We may be experiencing this reflection in the form of another person, but it’s a great idea to think of that person as your reflection.

The bottom line is that once we landed in this past Sunday morning, everything about who we are and how we relate to our world changed.  The journey there was more than bumpy, but if you survived it, things will never be quite the same.  Here’s hoping you took advantage of all that you could to learn as much about yourself as you could.  And next time Mercury goes retrograde (August 2nd) you are prepared to go inward with as much grace and ease as you can.  It won’t be nearly the rocky ride this past one was, so you can breathe easy.

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Opera and Abandonment: A Personal Dreaming Interpretation

Though I am fully committed to dreaming intepretation, I don’t process every dream that I have.  I usually know intuitively which dreams to work with and which to let float back into the ethers.  The dream I’m going to share with you today was not necessarily one that felt important when I first awoke.  However that evening, when I looked back on my day, I remembered the dream once again.  What seemed unimportant in the morning, was clearly preparing me for the events of the day in a very powerful way.

First, the dream:

I was with my entire family (mother, father, sister and brother) at a restaurant and we ordered dinner.  After ordering, everyone left for one reason or another, leaving me alone.  Two hours went by and my family didn’t return and the food never came.  I was feeling very abandoned and quite upset.  Suddenly, I found myself at the opera, looking desperately for my family as I did not have my ticket and didn’t know where our seats were.  At a certain moment I discovered that not only was I at the opera, I was IN the opera and had just two hours to learn how to maneuver a very complicated set with many staircases and platforms in a costume that was very difficult to walk in.  Oh yes, the costume was a dress, a very intricate ball gown that was iridescent blue.

Second, the background:

If you’ve been reading my blog, you probably know that my brother died suddenly this past winter.  In the process of grieving, one thing that seems to be happening is a reevaluation of my role both as a man but also as a part of a sibling unit that was three and is now two.  Who I am today as a function of who I was in my family unit has reached a whole new level

My sister and I have always been close.  She, in turn, was also close with my brother.  With him gone, it feels more important than ever that we maintain the intimacy of our relationship as we move into the territory of the idea that one day we will be mourning the loss of our mother and become orphans at long last.  So when she announced to me one day a few weeks ago that there was something she needed to talk to me about and that she needed to get some distance from what had sparked her discomfort, I was a bit nervous.  I didn’t know what it was that I had done that upset her, but experience told me that just because there was nothing in my version of things that might have been inappropriate or hurtful, that didn’t necessarily mean I hadn’t actually done or said something that I would have to take responsibility for.

Third, the day and the conversation:

The talk my sister and I had couldn’t have gone any better.  She approached me with her truth in tact, but with a strong sense of presenting herself (to the best of her ability) without offence.  I received her with openness, space and (to the best of my ability) without defense.

Fourth, how the dream played into my day:

Since I knew I was going to be having a potentially confronting conversation with my sister the next day, my unconscious kicked into high gear and was helping me process a number of feelings.  The two themes that emerge from the dream tell the story-behind-the-story.  The first of which is abandonment.

I’m with my entire family of origin, so we are looking at my sense of self as it pertains to the first construct through which I experienced myself.  All my perceptions about love and needs being met are going to come up when I my unconscious is using this symbol to self express.  And in the dream, I am both abandoned by the family (feeling of isolation and aloneness) and unable to get my food (access to nurturance and sustenance).  Clearly, if my brother is gone because he has passed away and my sister is mad at me, my fears are going to be telling me I am alone and unfed.

The second theme is a little more complicated to discover, but ultimately just as clear.  The opera has a generational connection to my family, as we have been going to the Met in New York City for three generations.  It is also where our last family outing was held as a celebration of my mother’s seventy-fifth birthday; we all went to the opera and dinner two days before my brother’s unexpected death.  The day was an absolute blast and has provided for us all a beautiful memory with which to associate our last experience with David alive.  In the dream-scape, that I was at the opera and still separated from my family might suggest that I was expressing fears that I was cut off from the happy elements of my family.  In the dream, I am desperately seeking connection, only to be thwarted.

So the plot twist is now I’m not only AT the opera, I am IN the opera.  And I have to maneuver a very complicated set complete with many levels and stairways.  Could it be that this image is reflecting the anxiety I had about the pending conversation with Kathy?  Why not?  Opera is communication on a large scale.  So was the talk we were about to have.  The complex and various levels on the set might be representing the potential awkwardness of a delicate conversation the topic of which was still a mystery to me.

Now the dress.  When I told the dream to my sister, she laughed and asked me if I was having some gender identity crisis.  And of course, I am not.  However, there is a wonderful parallel to this image and the notion of approaching a conversation with responsiveness rather than reactivity.  To be willing to hear my sister out, to listen openly and willingly to anything she had to express without interrupting or making excuses or justifying myself would be the height of the feminine principle in action.  Masculine approach to conversation takes over.  Feminine approach to conversation allows.  And the color blue (remember, the fabulous gown was bright blue) is the color of the throat charka and connects to issues of communication.  My traversing the set several hours before the performance in order to be as graceful as possible was my psyche’s way of mentally and emotionally preparing myself for whatever my sister wanted to discuss with me.

Fifth, the wrap-up:

While I didn’t wake up from this dream feeling that I had to interpret it immediately, I did remember it vividly.  It wasn’t until the end of the day as I was reflecting on the events and how they unfolded that I made the associations that I have shared with you today.  If I can leave you with anything it is to appreciate that the work being done on an unconscious level by your dreams is happening whether you attend to it or not.  We are wiser today than we were yesterday and I believe with all of my heart that it is in dreams that this incredible process unfolds.

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