Crossing the Bridge Between
Waking State and Dreamtime
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Having recently returned from a Soulcentric Dreamwork Intensive in Colorado, sponsored by the Animas Valley Institute, I am inspired to want to write about the creative power of dreams. Yggdrasil itself is a dream we on the Talking Council are working collectively to manifest. This awareness can be understood as a metaphor for bringing something into form that doesn’t yet physically exist. But it can also be understood in a more literal way, as a deepening awareness about the nature of physical existence itself. It is to this second possibility that I want to speak in this blog series.
To the intensive, I brought two dozen of my most recent dreams, thinking that I would pick and choose among them for those that seemed most relevant to the process of the moment, and perhaps get some insight into several of them. I was surprised instead to find myself working with the same dream – and particularly with one character in the same dream – for all four days of the intensive. It hadn’t occurred to me to this point just how much there was in the tiniest corner of my dream world to explore. But what I discovered as I did is changing my life as well as my understanding of dreams.
The dream I chose to work with was one I had on my first night at the intensive. I call this dream “The Triangle Movement Against the Seedy Rug Merchant.”
"I am buying carpet in a used carpet store. A seedy looking character asks me not to look too closely at the carpet I am thinking about buying. A woman with me is urging me not to buy it, as another would-be carpet seller in the store is trying to convince his potential customer that a few frayed ends are normal.
In the next scene, I am back in the store, returning the carpet. The seedy rug merchant is there, selling another carpet. The woman I am with rushes over to confront him, showing him a triangular mark on her hand that is part of a new movement warning people not to buy carpets from him. He looks horrified and says, 'No, don’t do that. I’ll be ruined'.”
My process began in a dialogue with the seedy rug merchant, whom I named Ralph. By assuming Ralph’s posture and movement – a kind of flinching hunchback gait with the hint of a limp – and accent – something Eastern European, with a faintly Jewish feel, Ralph began to assume a life of his own. Suddenly, this character – whom I initially didn’t like much – turned out to be someone with a life very different from mine, but with which I could empathize. It turns out that Ralph was working very hard to care for his sick mother, and a mentally retarded son, and was basically an honest man, but one who found it necessary to cut a few corners once in a while, in order to survive.
In empathizing with Ralph, I was able to make what Dutch Jungian psychologist Robert Boznak calls a transit – an experience of a dream from the point of view of another character in the dream.
Making such a transit not only opens up an opportunity for seeing the world – or any situation in it – from another point of view. It also raises the possibility that aside from being a point of entry into the depths of an individual psyche, a dream in which transits are possible – any dream, really – is a portal to another dimension that exists independently of the individual psyche. To realize that Ralph had a history independent of mine – one I could not have conjured had I set my mind to the task – suggested that the world in which he lived was different than the one in which I lived. Perhaps, then, the dream world itself is in some sense that has yet to be defined – as real as this one.
The next post in this series is Entering the Imaginal Realm.
To read more blog posts, go here.