A Dream Sampler
Do You Dream
Although a number of different types of dream have already been dealt with, we have by no means seen examples of all the major types. One of the things that makes dream interpretation easier is to be able to recognise what type of dream we are dealing with. In the last chapter, various descriptions or definitions of man’s being were given. It was said that dreams may arise from any of these parts of ourselves. It has been left to this chapter to show just how different these dreams can be. Also, certain typical characteristics can usually be found in dreams arising from the different parts of our being. Despite having a limited number of dreams to choose from, I have tried to select those that do express these typical characteristics. Therefore, this chapter can be used as a source of reference in helping us to determine the character of our own dreams. But quite apart from that, it is, due to the very nature of the dreams dealt with, full of information about life in general.
In this ‘Dream Sampler’ I am sticking to the general theme of ‘Body, Soul and Spirit’ as defined in the previous chapter. It will also be seen that the title of this chapter includes the words ‘and Sleep Experiences’. This is because some of the examples given are not recognised as dreams by some writers. As they occur during sleep, however, I feel it necessary to include them in order to make this chapter more complete.
Science, religion and philosophy have often been at disagreement with each other, or themselves, as to exactly what part the body plays in the making of a human being. Religion has generally agreed that the body is temporal and of less importance than the Soul and Spirit. On the other hand, science has often remarked that consciousness and mind are developments of matter, while philosophy has attempted to understand and reconcile these two extremes.
‘Dreams about the body do not usually deal with it in quite the same way as science or religion. Like philosophy they tend to reconcile the extremes. With Blake they agree that ‘Man has no body distinct from his Soul; for that called Body is a portion of Soul discern’d by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age. Energy is the only life, and is from the Body, and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.’
Getting down to the dreams themselves, we have the obvious ‘Body’ dreams like these of a mother to be. Her two dreams are short but to the point.
‘Dreamt I should take more calcium and certain minerals.’
‘Dreamt that I should be doing exercises to help with my pregnancy.
It is interesting that prior to these dreams the woman had felt very low in health. She followed up the advice of the dreams and gradually regained her energy and well being. She discovered then that she had been very anaemic, but had now overcome this blood condition.
In the book Dreams and Dream Stories, by Anna Kingsford, a footnote to one of the dreams says she ‘beheld a hand holding out towards her a glass of foaming ale, the action being accompanied by the words, spoken with strong emphasis, “You must not drink this.” It was not her usual beverage, but she occasionally yielded to pressure (from her husband) when at home.’
Generally, such dreams concerning what we should or should not partake of are reasonably clear. But where the dream attempts to depict the results of wrong eating, it may become more symbolical.
Dealing with the body in a different sense, we have the following dream of a man. He had been trying to understand how his conscious self related to the unconscious workings of his body. He dreamt:
‘I had been asked to run a sort of mission hall. It was a bare tin hall, wood on the inside. It seemed to be mostly coloured people I had to speak to. At first I simply stood at one end of the hall and spoke to them about God and life. I felt it was hardly worth the effort, believing that they would not understand or be interested. I believe I suggested they work as a team and produce a book. This was to be about their own life and work, and to help them understand and express themselves, and aid me to know them better. Again I felt it was not worth the effort.
‘When I spoke again the following week great changes had already been made in the hall. An orderly notice board was on the right of the hall. It was generally brighter and more purposefully united, and a rostrum and microphone were there for my use. Apparently Bob Miller had made these.
‘As I was looking at all this, a coloured woman came to me at the rostrum table. She was Afro-Indian and middle aged. She had with her two books produced by the team. I opened the books and looked at them, astounded. They consisted mostly of pictures, with explanatory captions. They were absolutely beautiful pictures showing their place in industry and society. There were coloured men stripped to the waist working in the steel works at furnaces; women busy at production lines, and so on. So wonderful were they, and I could see in every page the effort and loving care, the team work and deep appreciation, love and respect for myself and what I was trying to do with them, that I was overcome by humility and love for them. So much so that I took the woman in my arms and held her close while I wept. It was an ecstatic moment of communion and understanding between us. Then she felt slightly embarrassed and turned away.
This is a beautiful and unusual dream. So much so that when the dreamer understood its meaning he cried again. It is therefore worth explaining in a little detail, and I will let the dreamer explain it in his own words.
‘The meaning of this dream came to me partly through understanding the symbols, and partly through intuition. The Mission Hall is my own body. It represents also my search for understanding and self knowledge. But it shows that what I discover consciously about life or God, is sought eagerly by the coloured people of the congregation. This congregation is in fact the unconscious forces and activities of my own body. I had felt at one time that my body was something to be conquered. This dream shows how foolish and proud this was. The congregation not only need me, but I also depend upon them. I am their ability to think, to analyse, to try to understand life. While they are all the congregation of my inner forces and energies, that keep my body, and thus my physical consciousness, functioning. They work at the “industries” of construction, digestion, circulation, etc. The notice board represents dreams, which tell me what is going on in the congregation. The rostrum and loudspeaker represent my greater ability to communicate with myself. The rest now explains itself. The Afro-Indian woman shows that both instinctive and spiritual drives are expressed in the unconscious, and my humility is a necessary adjustment to my previous attitude. Then, how can I help but love these parts of myself seeing we are co-partners in the business of living?’
This dream covers so many aspects of our relationship with our body, that further examples are unnecessary. Also, those dealing with representations of sickness have already been mentioned in the dreams of the dog biting the dreamer’s body. But one more dream must be mentioned, as a further example of the dream as a guide to caring for the body. It is quoted from Dreams, The Language of the Unconscious by Hugh Lynn Cayce.
‘I dreamed my brother and I with our wives were out on a party with B.B. I fell asleep at the table. We got home very late. My brother left the car and walked home. He and I stopped to look at a bottle of milk that was marked “undistilled milk!”‘ An intuitive analysis of this dream by Edgar Cayce suggested that it represented the man as having too many late nights. This is portrayed by his falling asleep at the table. It also is said to suggest a need for more physical exercise in the part where his brother walks instead of using the car. And lastly, Cayce says, ‘Change from the present supply (of milk) for this shows adulteration in same.
Turning from dreams dealing directly with the body and its functioning, we now approach those dealing with our emotions, thoughts, drives, relationships, opinions, and the host of things covered by the word Soul. Because so many dreams fall within this category, they will have to be subdivided into further sections. Let us start then with typical worrying dreams and nightmares.
WORRIES AND NIGHTMARES
Dreams that depict worries and terrors are fairly easy to recognise. Their very emotional and fearful content, quite apart from the symbols, is enough to tell of their serious subject. Here are three worry dreams’, all from the same woman dreamer.
‘Not a very nice dream. I was in a boat, there seemed to be a lot of people in it to start with, and we were fishing. Then it wasn’t very light and I was by myself, and between me and the shore was a continuous row of lobster nets, and I couldn’t find a way through to get to the shore. It was dark and I was so panicky and I couldn’t try to get through the nets for fear of fouling the motor.’
Here we find the dreamer ‘at sea’. The darkness and nets represent her feelings and fears of being tangled up in life’s problems. The motor is her drive or energy, which is not capable of expressing itself due to fear of failure, fear of entanglement.
‘We were preparing for a party and I was trying to make up a plate of strawberries. At one moment they seemed to be strawberries and the next they were flowers, but half of them were bad and I was sorting through what seemed to be a mountain of wilted flowers to find one or two to make a dish. As fast as I found some nice ones, the next time I looked at them they had wilted and the pile got higher and higher until I was almost covered in a dark brown pile.’ In this dream all the nice things in life appear to wilt and go bad, giving the feeling of being buried under brown-ness or decay.
‘I was going to go across the street and along a lane to collect seven bottles of milk which were in a box behind a house. The mud got thicker and deeper and as I waded I was being sucked down. Then I got to the milk and turned around to go back but the mud was moving like the waves and I was trying to hold the box of milk higher to get it above the waves and it was so heavy. Then, fortunately I woke up and I’d got a splitting headache.’ Again, we do not have to find a specific interpretation to see in this dream the feelings of being held back, pulled down, and carried away. Most worry dreams follow similar patterns, distinguishable by the emotions or fears portrayed. But many people fail to understand these dreams simply because they are unable to look at the symbolism of the dream, and see it as an expression of their own feelings. Yet even without the symbols, these dreams are clear because of the emotions involved.
This also applies to nightmares. To understand in detail we have to look closely at the symbols and their arrangement. But a general understanding can be found just from the feelings themselves. Here is a typical nightmare.
‘I dreamt that I woke up in bed. A noise downstairs had disturbed me. It sounded like somebody moving about, and I thought about burglars. I could distinctly hear the noise now, and was annoyed because I would have to do something about it. But just as I decided to get out of bed, it sounded as if the person or thing making the noise began to come up the stairs to the bedroom. I realised now that I was terrified. I tried to move but was rigid with fear. I tried to call out to my wife in bed beside me, but could not move my mouth because I was so terrified. But it became even more horrifying because the footsteps seemed to keep coming forever, and thus deepen and deepen my paralysis. It was like an eternity of fear. Then at last the bedroom door began to creep open, and my fear burst the bounds of my paralysis, and I screamed to my wife to switch the light on. Then we both really awoke, and I switched the light on because the room seemed filled with my own fear, disturbing even my wife.’
The difference between worrying dreams and nightmares is really only one of degree. As the pitch of emotion deepens, one usually wakes in fear or terror. If it is just a mild worrying dream, one may remain asleep, but struggling with the situation. In the above dream, the symbols at their face value suggest some upsetting factor downstairs in the unconscious that is beginning to stir about and disturb the conscious life of the dreamer. The dream is saying that he has just awoken to this situation, and is paralysed by it in his outer life. In fact, the dreamer had just begun to discover fears and desires he had previously not known existed in himself.
Children’s dreams are very similar to those of an adult. It is only that a child is facing slightly different problems that changes the themes. Or at least they are probably the same problems but at a different level and from a different degree of experience. For the following dreams I am indebted to Liz Hayes, a schoolteacher, who collected them for me from a class of schoolchildren. All the dreams are from girls about the age of twelve.
‘I am going to tell you about my dream I had last night. It started when 1 went for a walk in a park near my home. Well, I was happy that day, then all of a sudden a man came out of a bush and got me by my hand. I hit him that hard he let me go and I ran as fast as I could. He came running after me. I ran to the Park keeper but he wasn’t there and I got scared. I could have cried. Then I saw an old lady and I ran up to her but she was death. Then I ran to a telephone box and phoned the police. They came and got the man and took him to prison and I got a reward.’
This is either a fear of assault, or what is more likely a representation of her own sexual desires. As yet they are too big to deal with or handle on a relationship level. Several methods are tried, and in the end, moral conscience locks the man up safely.
‘One night I dreamt that I was drowning on a boat and there were strong winds blowing against the ship. I was the only one on the boat and the ship was nearly touching the sea and the waves were over the boat and suddenly the boat went over and I fell out of the boat and the waves came right over my head, then I was screaming and shouting for help and then I found myself awake.’
Obviously things are a bit rough going for this young girl. A boat usually represents the frail craft of our personality structure, with which we set sail on the sea of life.
‘One night I had a strange dream that I was walking down a dark road on my way home from my friend’s when a car drew near me. I began to run up an entry and when I reached the bottom of the entry I saw two men with stockings over their faces. I ran back but the man in the car was behind me and I bumped into him. I dreamed that he stabbed me with his knife and dragged me in his car. Then I woke up very scared.’
Shades of Freud? No comment!
‘I had a dream and this is what it was about. There were some men who threw me down an attic window. The attic was only about one and a half yards wide, but it was very high. I landed on the floor and there was my aunt with her little baby in her arms sitting on a chair. There was no other furniture and the attic was painted all white. There was a very big fierce lion there. I screamed and yelped as the lion came at me. The lion sprang on me and I died. As it was a funny dream I came alive again. The lion sprang at me again. I started shouting and screaming. There was blood bleeding all over. Then I woke up. In the morning my Mom said, “I heard you screaming and shouting for help.” I told her about the nightmare.’
This dream by a young Indian girl possibly represents jealousy over the affection given to a baby. The other dreams is the 31st sent to me dealing almost entirely with violence, drowning, assault or chasing.
The large majority of dreams deal with general aspects of ourselves. Most of those already quoted in the book are examples of this, and one could go on forever with them. So, just a few dealing with common themes will be given.
A house is one of the commonest symbols in a dream. It was seen in the very first dream in the book, and in several others. Here is another house dream.
‘This house belonged to me, and I let some of the rooms to other girls. The furniture, apart from University stuff in some of the rooms, was mine too. I came in one evening and was sticking posters on the walls in my room when I realised that the chest of drawers only in the dream it was a bookcase was only about half its normal size. I couldn’t think why and then someone said one of the girls who lived here had stolen half of it. I was absolutely furious, and went on about letting my house and furniture, and how I couldn’t put a lock on my door because it looked bad when friends came. It was the middle of the night but I rushed downstairs trying to find the girl. A girl sleeping on the landing said she was Out with her boyfriend. I went to her room and burst in – her room-mate woke up and said she and the bookcase were out at Mearweed. I kept trying to remember the address but couldn’t eventually wrote it down. The housekeeper or caretaker or someone came down to the kitchen with us and made coffee – she handed me one before I had a chance to refuse (I don’t like coffee). There was a big tin of gingerbread which I thought would take the taste away but someone covered it with biscuits. I kept saying “Dammit, it’s all my furniture,” and, “But it’s my house !” The housekeeper said, “All right, we know, but it all froze up last winter.” I said, “I know, but if people are willing to put up with that sort of thing I am willing to put up with them living here – it’s a reciprocal arrangement.” Someone had left the gas on. I turned it off and said, “Try to remember not to leave it on.” One of the girls apologised in a mocking sort of way, calling me “Ma’ am”.’
This was dreamt by a young University student which explains why some of the furniture was the University’s. In other words, some of her inner ideas and opinions are not hers yet, but have come from her studies. Without attempting a detailed analysis, which is not the aim of this chapter, the dream is a good example of a house dream. The different girls and rooms represent different attitudes of her own, and the dream revolves around the conflict between her outgoing self represented by the girl with boyfriend, who relates well with the opposite sex, and doesn’t mind sharing things, shown by the girl in her room; and the dreamer’s other attitude of not liking her personal belongings, i.e. her feelings, ideas, etc., shared with others. The caretaker is probably what we might call her common sense, and the freeze up an emotional withdrawal or coldness.
Many dreams deal with the subject of destruction, or even cataclysm. These usually occur when the dreamer is going through great doubts, cynicisms and soul searching. Events may question religious or moral beliefs; break down self confidence, destroy the concepts one has of the world and life. Here is the dream of a girl educated as a Roman Catholic, but finding many of her beliefs threatened by the materialism of society, and the experiences of her life.
‘There was a group of people (none of whom I knew) in a room with metal walls, reached by a trapdoor in the floor, with a ladder down to the ground. There had been a nuclear explosion or some sort of world shattering disaster, and these were the only people left, and they read aloud to keep themselves amused.
‘They went outside – the air was heavy and foul with poisonous gases. They walked through fields of dead, brittle plants, through barbed wire fences, past a pylon, and came to a small patch of land which they’d reclaimed and were trying to grow things on a few small shoots were starting to appear. They walked over the brow of a hill and suddenly came upon the ruins of a cathedral. All that remained was the tower and a rectangle formed by the nave arches and the wall above, which formed a sort of lacy pattern. It was just an empty shell but was very beautiful – they hadn’t realised before that it was there. They went back to their room and watched a film of Leeds as it was before the disaster – it was very colourful and nostalgic. The camera followed a road through Leeds – quite a complicated route, and the final shot was of the underside of the trapdoor of their room.
The whole inner disaster that many of us face is portrayed here so well. Our intellectual schooling, and social influences in their commercial and political leanings, leave us in a difficult state of mind, leading nowhere, surrounded as we are by material and harsh values, unfeeling and unsatisfying. The outer life seems no better, one’s spirit is poisoned by the social scene, there is little if any natural growth, only that induced by particular effort on oneself, none induced by our society. Painful restrictions, destruction and seeming hopelessness. Yet although the dreamer’s religious beliefs have been shattered and much destroyed, the dream suggests that what does remain are the foundations of her own spiritual life, and these are beautiful. Then the dream looks back on the way things used to be before this inner destruction took place, and portrays the meandering complicated series of experiences leading to the present situation. Nostalgia for the past is felt; but what now? Will a living faith be built, and new growth arise from the debris of the old world? Such is the path dreams often take.
Another common theme is to discover a dead body and realise that one is somehow implicated with its death. A dream I do not have a written record of, but which was told me, runs approximately as follows. ‘I discovered a blood-stained cloth, and realised I was somehow involved in a murder. I hid the cloth behind a bush.’
Another such dream is:
‘I and some other people were burying a corpse, we weren’t concerned about the murder that had been committed, only that we might be found out – and I seemed particularly involved because a piece of paper with my address on it had been left by the grave. There was a part in this dream where I definitely became involved in it. I was watching the digging but taking no part in it. It was proceeding very slowly, so I got down and began to scrape at the earth with my hands. The moment I touched it I thought, “I’m involved in this. I can now be done as an accessory after the fact.”’
In these dreams the dead body often represents some part of our feelings or capacities that we have killed off, but do not wish to admit. For instance, through our marriage vows, we may kill off through guilt our feelings of warmth towards other people. But this may also ‘kill’ our warmth towards our children and partner, and so be represented as a dead body in dreams.
Of course it can be other parts of self we have killed, and we must look to the symbols for details. A point to make particular note of in death or murder dreams is whether it is oneself who is to die or is dead, or whether it is some other person. If it is oneself, this means that one directly associates oneself with the feelings or ideas involved in the death. We see this in the dream of the ‘holiday bed’. But if we do not choose to feel connected with such parts of our being (i.e. evil feelings within people were at one time projected upon the Devil! This made them easier to deal with in that the person did not feel directly connected with them. But it is only a temporary help, because the feelings represented by the Devil remain within to haunt us), then we see them in a dream as some other figure than ourselves.
Bathing or washing is another symbol often experienced. Here are two dreams from the same person. They occurred in the order given, within a week.
‘I was amongst a lot of people, some known to me but I forget who they were, and everything in the building was getting into a greater and greater muddle. Things wanted tidying up and generally cleaning, but instead, everything got quite chaotic. I decided to have a bath, but found it impossible.’
‘I decided I wanted a bath. I went to a woman who was somewhere in the building in her own flat and she said that she had just had something done to improve the plumbing and that since then the water was always dark brown, muddy or rusty. We ran two baths full but it was no good, we could not get through to the clean water.’
The meaning of washing is here made quite plain. The muddle of the house needs cleaning. Bathing is a rite of purification and cleansing. Therefore the bath is a cleansing of her inner muddle.
Marriage in its various aspects is another well worn symbol. The following dream, by a married woman, is both beautiful and instructive. In it we can see how one can feel ‘on top of the world’ in early marriage; then drift apart emotionally and physically, the pain of which can sometimes stimulate the partners to discover a deeper relationship than ever.
‘Dreamt that there was a green and beautiful place on top of the world. It had crags and cliffs and vales and hills, and all was covered with bright green grass and moss. In a deep dell, more green and beautiful than the rest of the place, a young girl met a young man, and married him; for what reason I cannot tell, except perhaps that the place was beautiful. Now the young man was an alien from another planet, but he did not tell the young girl in case she would not marry him.
‘As time passed the young girl and man drifted apart and slept in separate rooms, still on top of the world, and the young girl grew to hate the young man, although he seemed unaware of it and quite content.
‘This then was their state when I arrived. I immediately leapt and skipped over the hills to the place where they had met, but found it no different in appearance to the rest of the hills: no more beautiful, no less. I then went to see the young man and talked to him. I explained to him the feelings of the young girl, and that it was because she did not understand him that she felt the way she did. Whereupon he immediately went to her and confessed to being an alien, and she accepted him as he was. Then they grew together again and slept in beds side by side and peace filled their nights and beautiful children one after the other were born to the young girl. And the young man was surprised and amazed beyond his comprehension.’
GOING UP HILL
Going up hill means that things are difficult, but leading to higher things. Here is a typical ‘hill’ dream.
‘My husband, children and I were going up a terrifically steep hill, almost vertical, in our car. It was so steep I did not know if we would make it and I knew that once we started rolling back it would be difficult to stop. Nevertheless, although we had to put the brake on and stop a few times, I felt very strongly that we would make it all right especially as we were almost at the top.’
The fear in the dream can clearly be seen. At first the doubt about being able to overcome the difficulties one is facing is in control. As the dream develops, however, the doubt is replaced by feelings of certainty. If they had not been replaced, this would have been a ‘worry’ dream. Or, if the car had begun to roll backwards, then it would have been a nightmare. If this dream, and the underlying emotions, is thought about, the inner workings of a human being become much clearer, for it can be seen how our confidence can banish worries that would otherwise have caused us to slip into despair and hopelessness.
Dreams that often occur, but are seldom mentioned, are those involving our sexual feelings. Our society has such strong guilt and filth feelings about sex that it is difficult to talk openly about the subject without being misunderstood. But because they are as much a part of our life as our worries, ambitions and strivings, they have to be mentioned here.
Many, if not most, sexual dreams, are just plain methods of relieving the pressure of our feelings. When one has gone without food for some time, and the biological hunger grows, we dream about eating. Similarly, a pressure of sexual energy and hunger for a sense of completeness in the male-female union, also gives rise to dreams. But whereas dreams of eating do not fulfil one’s hunger, dreams of sexual union can, if one’s feelings of guilt and filth do not interfere at this level of consciousness, release the sometimes agonising tension and loneliness. Here is a reasonably straightforward dream of this type.
‘My aunt, whom I have often thought physically attractive, came to me in the garden. It was dusk, and we were quite alone in the quiet of the warm summer evening. She looked at me searchingly and came close taking my hand. “Do you not like me?” she asked; and as she spoke she passed my hand beneath her blouse on to the softness of her breast. As I felt her nipple between my fingers it was as if a charge of energy flowed into me and my breathing quickened. She spoke again, saying “Maybe you don’t love me, but have you felt no passion for me?” I explained that I had, and that my coldness had not been disinterest, but that “I did not wish to rush things.” Then we were undressed upon the ground, and beautifully and leisurely I expressed in her waiting body all my withheld desire for her.’
Kinsey found that such dreams occur in most age groups, and in both sexes. The next dream is that of a married woman, struggling with her own sexual feelings in the face of her husband’s disinterest.
‘Dreamt that I ought to let myself go and practise active imagination to get rid of the weight of depression that I felt. As I did this my hands moved of their own volition to my husband’s bed, and I knew that the answer to my problem was to get in with him. I shook him and told him I was cold and asked if I could get in with him. He was irritable and surly and told me to leave him alone, which was just the reaction I had expected as I knew him to be tired and worn himself. I did not, under the circumstances, like to persist and yet I knew it was the only answer. I got back into my own bed still knowing it was the only way to lose my burden.’
Sometimes our sexual dreams may hide problems we do not consciously realise. One man, reading about Freud’s views on a boy’s desire for his mother, felt that he could not honestly see any such desires in his own life. That night he dreamt ‘I was in a very dark and strange street. The police were after me, and the street was a cul-de-sac. Fortunately it was so black they could not see me. I groped to a door at the end of the cul-de-sac, and knocked on it.
It was opened by an elderly woman. Without saying a word I grabbed her and had intercourse with her. Her flesh was cold and smooth, and she moaned and cried with fear and pleasure. This awoke her passions, and she took me upstairs, as she had not had sex for twenty years. Her husband knocked at the door but somehow she got rid of him for good.’
What could be clearer? The ‘old woman’ is frequently used in dreams as a symbol for the mother – or ‘old man’ or King for the father. As with Oedipus, the father is ‘got rid’ of so that the mother can be possessed by her son. The reason we have such dreams is because the feelings and desires of early childhood (when such desires are natural) have not fully developed into the different relationships of adulthood. The dreams mentioned earlier under the section of hypnosis, will serve to illustrate those symbolising homosexuality.
Having said that the early desires change as we mature, let us look at an amazing dream that expresses the whole struggle an individual faces in developing towards sexual maturity. The earliest phases of sexual development are represented by the baby loving its mother during breast feeding or cuddling. This gradually develops into a sort of self love (Narcissus) in adolescence which may be expressed as masturbation. It is at this point that the following dream takes up the struggle, but does not quite solve it.
‘A couple of nights ago I had a strange experience that summed up my sexual situation perfectly. It was all in a sort of dream, yet F not in pictures but in thoughts and realisations. First I was masturbating in my sleep without knowing it. In some peculiar way the act has always been hidden or camouflaged by a host of confusing images and pictures. For instance, I might dream that I was pumping a bicycle pump, but in fact was masturbating. So there was always a sort of excuse or cover up for the real action because I felt guilty about it. But I had recently tried to drop this guilt, and now I gradually began to see through this screen of confusing images to what I was doing. When I awoke to the fact that I was masturbating, a question flashed into my mind: or at least, it was like a terrific type of realisation that posed a question. The realisation was that a man’s upright penis was more than just a “sex organ”. It was a sort of symbol for his whole manliness, his whole masculinity. Whatever way he chose to express this wonderful power of manhood, that was the direction the whole current of his life would flow, and I saw that masturbation was a type of selfishness. Hidden in it was a wonderful feeling, and this feeling should be shared – nay – given to others. So the question was, “Is this the way you really choose to express your manhood – all on self?”
‘I realised that deep down this was not what I wanted. Then an amazing thing happened. It was as if my decision had thrown a switch, and there was a complete change of scene and mood. The pressure of desire for fulfilment was still very strong; but instead of masturbation, images of various women arose before me as an alternative. First of all I realised that they were phantoms, but the idea was presented that I could save the pressure of my desire for the real women behind the images.
‘This seemed a likely solution, but I was married, besides which, an intuitive realisation of the results of such relationships came to me. I saw that to find or discover the deepest secrets of my manhood, I had to give my manhood to others. Not necessarily sexually, but through affection, protection, encouragement and so on, but one had to give this manhood in a particular way. The deeps of it could only develop through constancy and courage, the very two things not expressed in relationships with a variety of women. And the courage here is not that of a soldier in battle but of the human soul facing the tedium and emptiness of daily contact with the same person for years on end, and discovering wonder in it. It is the courage of putting aside promises and rumours of greater things, so that you can concentrate on discovering the secret beauty of the little thing you have.
‘All this I saw, and to the question as to whether I wished to spend my manhood on these other women I answered “No”. Again a sudden scene shift, and all the images disappeared. This time just the awareness of the awful tension that sought relief devoid of any images. Wondering where to turn for help I prayed. “Dear God, what can I do with this part of myself?” Immediately another scene change this time directing me to my wife. But, dear God, I couldn’t find the love, I couldn’t find the ability to overlook her human failings, that would allow me to fly to her with tenderness and give my manhood to her.’
If you are puzzled that a man finds it difficult to sleep with his own wife, perhaps you are either lucky, or do not understand the problems of marriage. The reason lies in the dreamer’s own statements. Marriage where it provides a deepening experience of each other and oneself, also confronts one with deepening demands and sacrifices. If we cannot meet these demands and sacrifices, then we may attempt to break free of the union or revert to earlier forms of sexuality or affection. The dreamer here finds himself as yet unable to give as much of himself as his particular level of marriage demands. Also inherent in the above dream lies the idea that one discovers deeper possibilities of self as one matures sexually in marriage.
The next dream in this series helps to show how greater self awareness, higher consciousness, or the ‘third eye’ as some people call it, is also bound up in the development of what the last dreamer called his ‘manhood’. As he explained, this means the whole current of life, not only sexual urges. Just as we saw in earlier chapters how the snake can represent male sexuality, in the next dream the creature represents this also, but is probably better described as the underlying energy that can express as sex, and also as love, affection, understanding, ambition, aggression, etc. We can therefore call it Libido, Kundalini, or Spirit.
‘I was with a group of people going to a meeting place, or house. We were passing through rolling hills. On our left, a rounded hill had a hole in its centre, surrounded by brushwood I understood that a great fish or creature lived in the hole, and it was dangerous. On getting to the house we gathered together and we were there to call up the great fish. It appeared slowly and gracefully through a trap door in the floor. It was very beautiful and symmetrical in every line, silver in colour; but as it appeared I saw that it was not so much a fish as a great creature, a mixture between a black panther and seal, with a smooth legless body. It reared its head, and I saw it had an emerald at its brow, just above its eyes. Our reason for calling it up was to get the jewel. Then somebody – the man who had called it up – said that the next thing was the most difficult. The beast then came out of the hole and changed into an enormous eight foot tall woman who was tremendously obese and cruel. She had huge water filled breasts hanging to her waist. Everybody scattered in fear.’
The centre of this dream is to get the jewel, which represents consciousness of the eternal, and wider vision, but this cannot be done without dealing with the creature from the unconscious, the earth, the physical energy, the rapacious huge mother who could swallow you up in a gobble.
In some dreams, we find the ancient gods appearing, even though consciously we may know little about them, their powers, functions or symbolism. The following dream was dreamt by a young man torn between love for his wife, and the imaginary (not actualised) pleasures he could find with other women. He is also struggling to understand what are merely his ideas and beliefs, and what is reality in life. He says of his dream:
I was at a party in a very large house set in its own grounds. I found the party frivolous, surface talk only, and unsatisfying to my inner feelings. It was dusk outside, but I stepped out of the French window on to the sloping lawns around the house. A large wood rose at the edge of the lawn and I entered it, eventually coming to a lodge house. The gatekeeper, the man who lived at the lodge house, told me I ought to be careful in the wood, as many strange creatures lived in it. I told him I thought I would be all right, and walked on. There were wolves in the wood, I saw them, and a strange serpent jabberwocky type of creature that was forever moving through the trees, but they did not harm me. I walked on and suddenly came to a clearing deep in the wood. It was still quite light and in the clearing stood the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. She was naked, yet somehow this was natural, as she was brown, and like a creature of the woods. We stood and looked at each other, people from two different worlds, and I knew that if I left my ordinary life, and went into the woods with her, I would find a love such as I had never believed possible. But I also knew that I would be lost to the world; that I too would become a creature of the woods. I was in doubt what to do.
Then, to my amazement, out of the shadows at the edge of the wood, where he had been standing all the time watching me, the god Pan walked to the girl and looked at me. Around him walked tiny creatures of the forest, rabbits, mice, deer and others. Without words, he offered the girl to me and tried to persuade me to come with them to unearthly delights. Then a voice spoke to me, telling me to save myself, to resist or I would be lost. I felt a tremendous power of attraction from the girl, as if I longed for her beyond all else, as if she were the answer to all my longings and dreams; but the voice kept on at me, telling me to think of a woman I loved in the outer life, any woman, and thus save myself. I did, for I knew I would be lost otherwise, but there were tears in my eyes as I did so; and the scene faded, and I was back in the wood again, a wood without magic, or fairy love, or unearthly delights or the strange presence and power of the gods. It was just a wood, and I turned away.
The wood here represents all inner ideas and opinions and also the inner self beneath consciousness, the strange unearthly world of the unconscious that can make the drab world magical and full of meaning, turn women into goddesses through projecting strange powers and emotions on to them. Yet it is dire to lose oneself thus, for one may lose one’s sense of identity, be possessed by the gods, or powers of nature active in oneself, and lose contact with the outer life, and family and friends. This is why the dreamer had to think of someone in the Outer conscious life he loved, to re-establish ties with them, to re-stimulate his awareness at that level.
The next dream is not directly sexual, but is included simply to show how some dreams explain the source of this energy in us, and how it can be blocked by fears or ideas.
‘I was in the basement of what I assumed to be work. Les came in, and we said we would start the machine. I somehow knew that this was a contraption that had a windmill on the roof, and a driving belt that came through the floors above straight down into the basement. Here it ran a machine that drove all the equipment in the building. We slipped the belt on to a flange and it began to move, but then jammed with some noise. Les shouted something like, “It’s stuck !” and he looked up through the hole in the ceiling where the driving band went. Looking up myself I could see that some rags and paper had torn away from the ceiling of the room above and jammed the belt. Somehow this was causing an electrical shorting in the machinery in the basement, so I threw the switches to off.’
As a quick interpretation of this dream, perhaps we can say that the Spirit, Prana, or Libido, is the main cosmic energy that drives the unconscious or basement processes of our body, which generates energy for the functions throughout our being.
In looking at the sexually orientated dreams, it becomes easy to think of sexual experience as an experience of energy. Or if we think of the energy that lies behind sexual pressures, possibly we can define it as vast potential lying hidden within a human being. We see that ‘manhood’ can be discovered, or the ‘jewel’ won from the creature of the depths, while in the basement dream it depicts a release of the energy or force from the blockages. In each case it shows the possibility of finding something MORE in our life or in ourselves. It symbolises growth, discovery of new faculties, emotions, energy or riches, and when a human being discovers a way of realising a further part of this ‘potential’, and releases it into their life, it is called Initiation. Initiation is the conferring of some new and expanded wisdom, or power, or capacity for love. In such organisations or Orders as the Freemasons or Rosicrucians, initiations are conferred upon the candidate by means of ritual and its impact. But it is acknowledged that initiation in its most vital aspect comes from within the person. In fact we can gain an understanding of this in thinking upon Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus, or Jesus’ baptism, both of which illustrate initiation. Needless to say, dream experiences are the commonest type of initiation open to each individual. Some examples were mentioned earlier in dealing with dreams in early societies, where individuals sought initiation during fasting and solitude; but even in our own hectic society, the process continues, for initiation is a vital aspect of life and growth. A few examples of dream initiation are given here.
‘Dreamt that J.A.’s Guru was coming to see me. I was waiting in some kind of reception hall. Suddenly he came with his followers. He gave the impression of being Eastern. He wore a long white gown and his arms were full of harvest produce, fruit and vegetables. He explained that he ate once a day and ate everything at the one meal. He then put down the food and took both my hands, palms upwards. He examined them for a minute and then pointing to a place on each hand told me I was capable of being very efficient; also something else I can’t remember. He then looked at me and told me there was something I should have done but didn’t, but again I cannot remember. He then told me to look at his forehead and see what was written there. I looked and saw the lines on his forehead were placed so that they spelt out a word explaining what he was. It was something like MEEK. He then told me to look again and I would see my own self written there. Again I looked, and this time saw the word BITTER. The other people there could not see the writing, and he told me everyone had what they were written on their forehead. He then pointed into the audience and said, “But you will do the thing you came to do. You will do it!” He pointed beyond me, but I felt the words were for me.’
This particular dream is really more of a prelude to initiation, but it does explain many things. First of all, what we have called the ‘potential’ is often symbolised in dreams as a holy man, guru, yogi, master, saint; or as Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna, or some great person. His arms are full of harvest because this part of our being holds all the fruits of our experience, as well as the future possibilities of self. It is therefore very important what this being tells us in our dreams. In this case, the woman found that after the dream repressed bitterness poured out of her for some months. In the next dream by another person, initiation is taken a step further.
‘I was walking along a street in London, and my wife came hurrying up to me. She looked very excited and said, “I have found a Master” (a saint or holy man). I was very sceptical and told her so. Nevertheless she insisted, and asked me to come and see for myself. We walked to a printing firm nearby, where a few people were already waiting for the master. I reviewed my scepticism, thinking that this was probably a man who was very clever and spoke much occult nonsense, and so everybody thought he was godlike; or at least, all those who desperately wanted to find a god-like man. Just then a man walked down some stairs from the building and said quietly to those waiting outside, “He’s coming.” Outside the building was a loading bay a few feet high. On to this walked a slim man of middle height, in his thirties. He seemed very ordinary and was bald except for the sides of his head, where his hair was a sandy ginger colour. He appeared a very passive man, and began to talk quietly, with little emphasis, his gaze above our heads, as if looking beyond us.
As he talked I thought to myself that I had heard all this before. I had read it in the Bible and a number of other books, but it hadn’t done me any good. Neither could I see myself even beginning to live up to it. In fact I dismissed the man as a dreamer. He didn’t talk for long, however, but soon finished and came down from the bay. We all walked slowly along the street, some of the people asking him questions. When we neared the end of the street he stopped. We also stopped, and were facing him in a small irregular semi-circle, there being about six of us. He didn’t speak, but looked at the person on the extreme left for a few moments. Nobody said anything, and he then looked at the next person. I watched him but had no idea what he was doing until his gaze turned to me. Suddenly it was as if a bolt had struck me and pierced me to my inmost being. I knew this man understood every fragment of my life – more than that – he loved me as I have never been loved before. A floodgate opened in me and a torrent of emotion and love swept over me. I stumbled forward impelled by the current of my feelings, and embraced this stranger with a fervent love. As he held me the turbidity smoothed and became a calm love, and I stepped back. His gaze turned to my wife and I saw her expression change under the impact of his eyes. Now I had no doubt – he was a master.’
In the East, one of the ways a master confers his grace, or initiation, on his pupil is by ‘look’. Here we see this dramatically experienced in the dream. The dreamer is suddenly ‘opened’. His attitude to inner power is changed, and the spiritual power of the Bible is seen as a living reality in the master. Also, his love, once held at bay by reason and scepticism, is released and received.
Sometimes the initiation is not given through the symbol of a holy man, but some other thing as seen here.
‘I was walking across open moorland, followed by a crowd of people. I was their leader, and was supposed to be leading them to “Salvation”. The only thing was, I had no idea in which direction salvation lay. We came to a barbed-wire fence and stopped. I was considering the best place to cross, when I noticed a rabbit beyond the fence. My dog was with me, and leapt on the rabbit to kill it as in my previous dreams, but this time the rabbit fought back and bit his foot, and he stood back respectfully, as he would if a cat clawed him. I now saw that the rabbit had turned into a huge and powerful hare, with four pink furry babies. Then the hare spoke to me, saying, “Where are you going?”
‘The hare looked at me and suddenly disappeared. Then, in a few moments it reappeared. This impressed me tremendously. I felt it was a sign of complete self mastery, and knew the hare was the master. He then said again, “Go back, and carry on with your accustomed tasks. Do not seek wildly the Kingdom of Heaven, for you already have what you seek within you. Your seeking only hides it.” Then we all turned around and went back to our village, and carried on our usual tasks, knowing that in time, we would realise our heaven.
‘I told him we were looking for salvation. He listened, then quietly said “Turn back. Go back to whence you came. At this I became irritable and said, who was he to tell us what to do. There were so many so called authorities telling people how to discover truth, and yet most of them either disagreed or hadn’t found it themselves.
This is an initiation of instruction and wisdom, it is a re-direction of the activities or energies of the dreamer. The dreamer interpreted the hare to mean his faculty of intuition which speaks of the inner wisdom. He was amazed to later find that the hare has been used as just such a symbol in many countries and cultures of the world. The next dream is also initiatory, but once more uses a different symbol.
‘I was in a large room – very sparsely furnished – rather like a warehouse. The walls were of brick with a light coat of whitewash over, but you could see the brickwork underneath and that it had been meticulously done. I was told that this building had to come down and whilst feeling a little sorry that such good craftsmanship was to be demolished, I quite accepted it. It seems I had prepared some kind of a stew – chicken, I think – and it was in a large (oval) cauldron ready for cooking. There was a square table in the room with a sort of flat plate (made of metal) in the centre. I put the cauldron on this thinking that it would then be ready for cooking when required. … Then I must have gone away because when I returned, to my surprise, the stew was boiling furiously and steam was puffing out of the lid. I couldn’t think where the heat to cook it was coming from, and then saw that the flat plate was connected by a thick dark cable to a huge battery – like contraption under the table.’
The main initiatory factor in this dream is the realisation of the hidden power. We sometimes speak of being in ‘a stew’. But a stew is also broken down pieces, and can therefore relate to various aspects of self. The square table is at once the material ‘surface’ of our life upon which we work – a working surface – and also an altar upon which we can sacrifice self to the unknown power underlying matter, or the square table. For we can thus sacrifice self in our material affairs. Then the unseen power behind life can be seen, for it transmutes the elements of our life into an integrated whole. But only when we sacrifice or surrender self in this way does the hidden power have a chance to manifest in our lives.
In the dream where the guru looks at the dreamer’s hands, he tells her that she will do what she has come to do. This is a prophetic statement, but in this dream it is ambiguous since it is not clearly defined exactly what the woman had ‘come to do’. Many dreams are much clearer, and so their statements can be tested against the reality of later events. We have to realise, however, that dream prophecy is often nothing more than a knowledgeable deduction. Not that I am belittling knowledgeable deductions, it would be helpful to make them more consciously. But really, a person’s actions can be almost pinpointed due to their latent and expressed tendencies. For instance, if a detailed and careful analysis were made of ten men, and they were then taken to a holiday town and set loose, one could prophesy with a fair amount of accuracy what they would do. Their very make-up acts as a sort of filter keeping them away from some places, attracting them to others. In the same way it decides the sort of people with whom they will associate, and so on. Obviously many factors have to be taken into account, and one cannot be dogmatic, but one man is almost certainly likely to go to the pub frequently: another may seek out the quiet places: yet another associate with as many women as are willing to accommodate him. If we think about ourselves, we can easily make such prophetic statements about our own future movements. Many dream prophecies fall into this category, but a large number are quite different and portray events it would be difficult to have deducted from past experience. The dream of the winning race-horse is in this category. Sometimes this can be explained by telepathic contact with others – sometimes only by conjecturing a higher consciousness that synthesises the experience of all things everywhere, and prognosticates from this. People have said that God is the great mathematician or geometrician; but we might also coin a phrase and say that God is the great Prognosticator.
The next dream given here is one of my wife’s. It falls possibly within the classification of self-knowledge prophecy.
‘I dreamt that I was in prison and I wanted to escape. There were no locks on the doors and the evenings when the officers went off duty presented the best opportunity. The first time I tried I was caught almost immediately, before getting clear of the grounds. The second time I got right away and went home to the flat where Tony was living. We sat talking and I was planning how we could leave the country and start a new life together. I knew that if I did not finish my sentence I could never return here. As I sat talking, a hand fell on my shoulder. I knew it was a policeman come to take me back to prison. I also knew in that moment that there was no escape, as I would probably have to serve a little longer now. My sentence was for three years, and I had about eighteen months left to do, and Tony and I would have to wait until that time was completed before starting a new life. But I knew that he would not start without me, that I was somehow necessary to him in the new life.’
This dream occurred at a time when my wife felt imprisoned and shut in by the circumstances of our life. It has a great deal of philosophy in it such as open prison doors, but the central fact is that although at the time we had no conscious plans, eighteen months later we suddenly moved house, changed occupations, and literally started a new life. The decision to move took place sixteen months after the dream; the house purchase began at eighteen months, and the move occurred at twenty-two months. So the ‘about eighteen months’ was very clear. One could easily explain this dream as a coincidence, but with some people such dreams occur far too often to be explained away so simply. As I have mentioned the sale of our house, I can illustrate this with dreams that occurred at that time to my wife.
Dream One: ‘Dreamt the surveyor would come that evening.’
Dream Two: ‘Dreamt the young couple had got their mortgage, and would call that night’
Dream Three: ‘Dreamt that we had won £100.’
With the first dream, the surveyor had sent a card saying he would call sometime that week, and would let us know beforehand. As it happened, no prior notice arrived, but after the dream my wife had all the house looking shipshape. The surveyor did turn up, and looked very surprised when my wife said she had been expecting him. The young couple who wished to buy our house were dubious about getting a mortgage, and had no idea when they would know. Because of the dream we sat up late waiting for them. However there was no sign of them and we decided to go to bed. At that moment they rang our bell, and once inside announced that their mortgage was through.
The third dream is not as well defined as the first two. We waited and waited for our premium bonds to present a win of a £100 and nothing happened. But shortly afterwards I was offered a contract to write a book, the down payment of which was a round £100.
There are a great many people who have this faculty for dreaming prophetically. Velta Wilson, who through her own hard work has made herself an expert on dreams, and is, as far as I know, the only person in the UK teaching dream analysis in a Further Education evening class, has sent me some of her own experiences. She says, ‘I am walking along and as I look up I see the splendid sight of three golden rainbows stretching across the sky. I am thrilled, amazed and delighted. Various people to whom I told the dream, gave interpretations of good luck. Some time later while turning over the pages of an illustrated book on astronomy – lo and behold my three golden rainbows! It is a speculative drawing of the view one would have if one were standing on the planet Saturn.’
This is reminiscent of some of the experiences mentioned by Dunne in his book An Experiment With Time, where he was investigating prophetic dreams. But Velta goes on to describe two further dreams of an even more interesting nature.
‘A friend and I were sharing an hotel room. I had a long and involved dream which ended with my intention of buying books by Edgar Wallace in order to solve a problem. I woke up and lay in bed thinking about the dream. Suddenly my friend spoke; “Don’t buy the books by Edgar Wallace. I will take you to the library where you can get them.” Amazed, I asked her whether she had had the same dream. She did not answer, she was asleep. In the morning she had no idea what she had dreamt.’
‘I dreamt that the fiancé of a girl I hardly knew was trapped in a submarine at the bottom of the sea. All hope was lost but finally the submarine managed to surface. When I met the girl I told her the dream. She went very pale. “That is exactly what happened to him – we never speak about it – who told you ?”‘
These are prophetic in the sense that the dream informs us of something we have no means of knowing through Outer information. Thus they prophesy what can be later known via the senses. A further example of prophetic dreaming was Sent to me by Bernadette Fallon. She says:
‘A strange thing happened recently. Before Christmas I had a dream in which a man (no one I knew) showed me his room, which was a very distinctive shape, and decorated in dingy brown wallpaper. At the beginning of this term (after Christmas), a close friend of mine moved into a new flat. On going into his room I was amazed to find it was the room I’d seen in my dream – only the walls were white. I described the paper in the dream-room to him and he said that’s exactly how it was before it was decorated.’
PROPHECY OR WHAT?
Some dreams, or sleep experiences are difficult to categorise. Sometimes they are not directly symbolic, or dealing with memories of one’s past, nor do they seem to be about a logically possible future in one’s own lifetime. The following is a dream experience during unconsciousness produced by fainting. The faint lasted ten or fifteen seconds, yet the dream is but one of the many experienced during those few seconds.
‘I was in a room filled with people, but not crowded. It was a circular room with windows all the way round, and there were about thirty or forty people in the room sitting casually at tables. People came and went, and there was the impression that everyone knew each other. Neither did anybody appear old. Mature, yes, but there was no age as we see it. There was something different about the colours too.The room itself glowed bright with colour, not artificially applied, but as if its very materials were colourful and brilliantly lit. The people’s clothes were also of attractive hues, none of them appeared formally dressed. Neither did any of their garments seem to be quite the same style as any other person’s in the room. It was obviously a place where one could eat and drink, but many came just to meet others. Yet in no way could it compare with a meeting place such as we usually know; for the informality went far deeper than the clothes. Possibly, in our terms one could call it naturalness. These people were natural in a way that was true. There was no effort to be a particular type. Nor, as has happened so often in society where groups of people decide not to conform to type, had the effort itself produced another type. These people were themselves, in a way beyond any effort. Each face was frank and open, yet completely individual. Their meetings and partings happened spontaneously, and as relaxed as themselves.
‘I realised also that there was no marriage here, although children were conceived and born as usual. But it is not easy to adequately describe their equivalent of marriage. For here there was no in-security, no sense of possession. no personal self-seeking for satisfaction or grasping for methods to prove oneself. These people were free. Their marriage reflected their freedom and their ability to love freely, which is not the same as so called free love. Here a couple came together because of deep links of common purpose, understanding, and sympathetic relationship. They might or might not live together, it did not matter to them. For how could it matter when there was no attempt to own each other? In our society we cover up our real feelings by social codes and fears of inferiority; or else destroy ourselves through doubt, worry and insecurity. Neither was physical sex the aim of the relationship. It was an event that occurred if and when all their feelings were right and matched. Their sensitivity to the demands of circumstance, relationship of mind, emotions and body ruled out promiscuity. Although again, there were no rules of marriage, written or unwritten, spoken or unspoken, to keep two people together or sexually faithful. For these people were indeed not faithful to one another as our vows would have us be, nor yet were they adulterous as we are. For they were not moved by the same fears or passions, graspings or self centredness.
‘In our world there are opposing schools of thought suggesting that either children should be reared by one single mother, or else collectively by the state. These people would smile upon all such rules, for they had no rules at all. To take their place, they had a deep awareness of relationship, of the demands of each given situation, an awareness of how each action would influence the society as a whole, and thus, how it would influence their own lives. Therefore a child could stay with its mother or it could live with others. The father might part from the mother, but never in anger or not to see her again.
‘It must be added that there was, of course, no fear of being unprovided for, because money did not exist Neither was there a government, a police force or armies. People worked, or did not work, as they pleased, and each in this way did what best expressed their energy and interest at any time. On Earth this would be called chaos, but for these people it worked because of their inherent understanding and lack of personal avarice. Nor was there any forced education. A child inherited culture through widening experience of life. There were those who enjoyed teaching, and all their energy was devoted to its study and practice. So there was plenty of opportunity to learn, not only in youth, but at any time in life. It was not a rigid system, however. Their culture was a blend of the technical, the artistic and philosophical or religious. It was a blend that had not been imposed by outer rules, or commercial powers, but developed naturally as a flowering of their own inner traits.’
THE SEARCH FOR GOD
In using the term ‘Search for God’, I do so without referring directly to organised religion. It is used to cover a wide variety of experiences. The search for self understanding, for new insight into life; the attempt to discover deeper relationships with others, or in what mysterious ways we are connected with others, can all be put under this heading. If we take the word ‘God’ to mean the hidden and revealed of our own life, the general and particular in the universe, the personal and the transcendental, then dreams are definite contacts with God. But generally, dreams relate us to God personally. That is, while they do not usually detract from any value OF meaning we find in belonging to a religious body or church, they show that our direct connection with God is through ourselves.
We might also call this section of dreams the Upper Reaches of the Soul. This is because a distinctive feature is often noticeable in these dreams. It is that they are much less symbolical, far more a direct experience. They either express a reasonably clear understanding of something, or else are as logically presented as any waking thought or experience might be. This is not always true, but is certainly a feature much in evidence. This can be seen in another of Bernadette Fallon’s dreams. Here, obviously, the ideas are no longer presented in symbols, but directly in words. She says. ‘On the subject of interpretation of dreams I dreamt the following sentence some time ago: “The purpose of symbols in dreams is to fix permanently the subsequent significance of subconscious elements, which are not always clearly understood, in the conscious mind.”‘
Bernadette goes on to say, ‘I don’t really understand it, so I don’t know whether it is just a truism or contains anything of any significance.’ But possibly we can rephrase it and get at its significance as follows: ‘Symbols in dreams act as a record and focus of ideas, gropings, half-felt meanings, that we have not yet consciously understood or defined. In this way the elements that are collected but not quite unified into a new conscious realisation, are nevertheless fixed or held in the symbol; which is still vague or undefined, but can later be worked on further.’
Bernadette’s difficulty in understanding is experienced by all of us who meet an experience in these Upper Reaches of the Soul. This is because they are often super-logical. They contain information not yet found in our memory or reasoning. In other words, if we take numbers to represent ideas or facts, we cannot add three and two making five, while we still only have three. We have to discover two before we can add it to make five. In the same way. we cannot reach certain conclusions logically or with reason, if bits of information are missing. But the dream does not always work logically, and so can present higher ideas without their supporting reason. It is often only much later, having rushed around and discovered supporting evidence, that we can understand the statement logically.
Anna Kingsford is certainly one of the most amazing dreamers of the last hundred years. She is also one of the few who explored the possibilities of ‘dreaming’ information. Her experiences in URS (Upper Reaches of Soul) are superbly clear and astonishing in detail and revelation. Her Dreams and Dream Stories has already been mentioned, but her greatest works are undoubtedly Clothed With The Sun and The Perfect Way. From Clothed With The Sun I quote a dream experience to show how clear it can be. In her sleep it is as if someone is telling her the meaning of the prophecy of the vision of Nebuchadnezzar. Here is what is said:
‘The King Nebuchadnezzar is mystically identical with King Ahasuerus, in that each alike denotes the spirit of the latter age, that, namely, of mere intellectualism, as distinguished and opposed to Intuition. And both narratives, as well as that of the Deluge and of the Book of Esther, are prophecies which are now beginning to have their accomplishment on a scale greater than ever before. For the image shown to the king in his dream represents the various systems of thought and belief which find favour with the world. Of these, the intellectual philosophy which rests upon the basis of a science merely physical is the head, and is symbolised by the gold. And this rightly, so far as concerns the intellect, for it is indeed king of kings, and all the children of men, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, are given into its hands. That is to say, all the activities of society, its learning. industry and art, are made subordinate to the intellect. The breasts and arms of the image are silver. This is the domain of morality and sentiment, which under the reign of the mere intellect hold a subordinate place. Belonging to the region of the heart, it is feminine; implying the intuition, which is of the woman (i.e. the feminine receptive principle in male or female), and her assigned inferiority, it is silver. The thighs and the belly are of brass, and this kingdom is said to rule over the whole world. By this is meant a universality under a regime wholly animal and non-moral, where falsehood, cruelty, impurity, blasphemy, and all those deprivations of true humanity, characterise an age of materialism. The iron, of which the legs are made, represents force, and denotes the negation of love, the consequent prevalence of might over right, and the universal rule of selfishness. By the mingling of iron and clay in the feet is implied the weakness and instability of the whole structure, the clay representing matter, which is made the foundation of the system instead of spirit, which alone is stable and enduring.
‘The Stone cut out with hands, which destroys this image, and becomes a great mountain filling the whole earth, is that “Stone of the Philosophers”, a perfected spirit, and the true gospel of the inner knowledge which appertains thereto. This it is which smites the age upon its feet, or fundamental basis, its materialistic hypothesis. And with the demonstration of the falseness of its doctrine, now being made to the world, shall fall the whole fabric of society with its empire of force, its exaltation of the masculine mode of mind, its subjection of women, its torture of animals, and its oppression of the poor. With its clay, its iron, its brass, its silver, and its gold, all swept away as chaff before the wind, the true knowledge and spirit of understanding, which are of the intuition, shall usher in the kingdom of God, and the “stone” become a mountain. shall fill the whole earth.’
This tremendous outpouring, which as an interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is clarity itself, is an expression of the intuitive function in dreams. Here we see it as intuition instructing the intellect, information being given to the intellect that has not understood these things. I have also said that the URS dream can be more directly one of experience. Below I give the experience of a friend who died for a short time, but then revived. I have to quote this from memory, so I hope she will forgive any slight errors.
‘I was critically ill and in terrible pain. My husband had been called and was sitting near me. Gradually the pain began to lessen, and slowly disappeared altogether. I was then floating above my body and looked down on the whole scene. As I did so I began to hear beautiful music in the distance. I felt that something beautiful and wonderful was waiting to be explored, and felt an urge to go to find it. But I could see my husband and somehow knew all his thoughts and feelings. He was in terrible despair because he could see I had died, and felt he could not go on alone, and care for our child. Despite the promise of beauty away in the distance, I knew I had to go back and stay with him. As soon as I had made this decision, I began to sink into the body again. The pain and heaviness returned, and for ages I could not even move. Later the nurses told me they thought I had gone for good, and were amazed that I had recovered.’
We might be tempted to take this as a symbolical dream instead of a direct experience, if it were not for several important factors. One is that her experience coincided with physical events in her body. Secondly, her husband later admitted that her description of his thoughts and emotions truly described his own. Thirdly, her description exactly tallies with that of other people who through electrocution, heart failure, illness, drowning, have died and been revived. All who can remember, describe the separation from the body, the beautiful call, sometimes waiting friends, and then the return.
I turn now to an experience of my own which further illustrates the possibilities of dreaming.
It occurred while I was doing my national service in the RAF in Germany. After duty I had remained in the billet reading. Then, feeling rather homesick I decided to have an early night, and lay in bed thinking of home. I wondered whether one’s consciousness could reach out across space, and visualised home as clearly as I could. But realising that it was only my imagination I gave up and went to sleep. The next thing I knew was that I felt as if I were being carried upwards in a fast lift. Everything was black and rushing and I felt confused, but like a cork coming out of a bottle. Then suddenly I could see. It was still light, and I was looking down from above the bed, and could clearly see my body asleep below me. I became very frightened, but this passed as I realised my consciousness had projected from my body. The next thing I knew I was flying through the air, knees curled up to my chest, arms clenched round them. I looked down and saw fields and villages below. I noticed something very strange, rising from the ground. It was like ripples or bands rising from particular points on the earth; like rainbows, only with many, many bands going right down to the ground. I couldn’t really understand it, but wondered whether it was people praying. I was then over the sea, travelling very fast. I could see ships below. Next I was in our sitting room at home in London, standing behind the settee. I noticed that I was dressed in my civilian clothes instead of uniform or pyjamas. I also saw that my mother was sitting looking at the television knitting. She was alone except for our Alsatian dog Vince, who was asleep in front of the gas fire. I called out to my mother feeling sure she could see me. She paused in her knitting for a moment, as if she were listening, but then carried on.
I called again, this time shouting in an effort to make myself heard. She carried on with her knitting. but a strange thing happened. It was as if some deep part of her responded to me and knew I was there, yet her conscious self still carried on unaware; and I suddenly knew why we could not see the dead. But then Vince raised his head as if he had heard me shout. He saw me and came bounding to me behind the settee, which was in the middle of the room. He hadn’t seen me for months and barked and yelped with delight and love. The next thing I knew, it was as though I were being put into a lead suit – I was re-entering the body. Out of it I had felt more conscious, more energetic, lighter, with deep receptiveness. Now I felt the weight of the body, and the dimness of waking consciousness, like moon compared with the sun. Writing to ask my mother if anything strange had happened that night, she replied that she had experienced a tingling feeling up the spine, and thought of me. Then Vince had leapt up from his sleep in front of the fire, and run behind the settee barking. She had also been alone, knitting watching the television, as my father had gone out.
This experience is typical of those had by many people and is often called astral projection, bilocation, or astral travel. The main feature is that the consciousness is able to apprehend events happening even thousands of miles away. Sometimes the physical environment is not seen, however, and one is opened to tremendous intuitive information about questions asked (as seen in Anna Kingsford’s description). Some people claim to meet and converse with the dead, which seems entirely logical if the consciousness can leave the sleeping body. Another feature is that. as seen in my experience, the body one uses is completely plastic. In bed I had pyjamas, while in projection I wore civvy clothes. It seems that whichever way one unconsciously thinks of oneself, this is the form one will take. as the body is formed of one’s own desires and thoughts. (The physical body is likewise changed by one’s desires, thoughts and attitudes, but not as quickly.)