Usually the abyss represents the unknown, and perhaps the infinite, of your own mind or consciousness. The fear of falling into the abyss represents your attempt to control your feelings and what emerges from within yourself. It also frequently refers to feelings about, or fear of, death. To quote from Dream Yoga, “Death is a fact that we all face, and it is no good running away from it in our dreams. That only makes it more scary. Because you CANNOT run away from death you should meet it face to face. If you do that it will transform into the beautiful part of life it is, instead of the horror we have been taught to see it as.”
The positive side of the dream is that it links your conscious mind with the immense potential you hold within yourself unconsciously. Part of this potential is an experience of going beyond opposites, of resolving paradoxes, of moving beyond the limitations of the rational mind and emotional responses. In these ways it is similar to the dream images of the Sea; void. It can also be thought of as the void or nothingness. This can be frightening until we realise that the void has everything in it, but it is without form. Another way of looking at it is that it is the polar opposite to waking consciousness – the deep dreamless sleep type of awareness. See Levels of the Mind in Sleeping.
Falling and the big black hole are things we avoid in waking life, but should not be avoided in dream life. Here is a dream of someone who is no longer afraid.
“I can remember being dressed as an heroic warrior running through crowds of people or soldiers who were trying to stop me. I pushed or knocked them aside and ran toward what was a huge caldera – the mouth of a volcano. It was hugely deep, and in its depths was a massive glow from volcanic lava. But I knew that this was the core of myself, so I ran and leapt into the void falling into what I knew or felt sure was the light at the core of my being.”
The hole is an important part of you and should not be ignored. If you can enter it you realise that it is the way to your own center and power. It is the hole described in Alice in the Wonderland.
The abyss in a dream gains its meaning largely from how you respond to it. It suggests a situation you might fall into or be lost in, but it is also space, infinity, a situation or state of mind not limited by form or smallness.
Sometimes the abyss is the same as a void, suggesting the formless spirit of life lying within and at the core of all physical formed life. Therefore it might link with the transcendental or the spiritual life of death.
If feared: Fear of losing control; loss of identity; fear of failure; meeting with those dark fears or worries we hide in our depths; lack of confidence; death in some form; the unconscious. Having these fears in no way suggests the external or internal world warrants anxiety. But lack of confidence will obviously hamper performance in dealing with the difficulties represented by the abyss.
Without fear: Being able to take risks, not be afraid of illness and death in a paralysing way. It suggests going beyond the boundaries of one’s own limitations, concepts, present experience. It represents the enormous personal potential lying beyond already formed conceptions and experience. It is the aspect of human consciousness existing beyond the opposites such as good and bad, right and wrong. Access to this gives tremendous liberation to the dreamer, freeing them from restricting rigid concepts or habits of thinking, responding and relating. See: death; falling; pit; void; archetype of the void.
Useful questions are:
Am I frightened of the abyss?
If so what is my fear about?
What does the abyss offer me if I enter into it?
What holds me back from it?
What have I found in meeting it?
Try Acting on my Dream.