Saturday, October 31, 2015
A Time to Honor our Dead
I believe our beloved dead are always accessible to us in the dreaming, but yes, this day is special. It offers a holy day set aside to remember and honor our dead. This is the etymology of Halloween, "hallowed eve" of the dead, though it's devolved into our "trick or treat" and ghoulish fixation of modern day. At one time, lit gourd lanterns in the windows and sweet honey cake offerings to the spirits, was a sacred practice ritually honoring the dead. Though, I like the idea of sweet kids dressed up in the imaginal character of their heart's content, goddess only knows it's fun for them, trick or treating at Halloween is somewhat like presents at Christmas, it's not the point.
One thing I love about paying attention to my dreams is that dream gifts often come around special holidays or anniversaries. Sure enough, both my deceased parents showed up in a dream this week; pondering this dream has led me to a very happy resolution of some issues we can heal together. I'm busy assembling an altar to honor them and my dream revelations, in thanksgiving for it all.
In Active Dreaming "honoring" the dream is a standard practice derived from the teachings of many indigenous and ancient cultures. It means bringing the energy of the dream into the waking by embodying this dream somehow in the physical through creative efforts unique to the dreamer. If I take action to bring the dream story into the waking in some way, it's likely my dream will release it's energetic charge in me, allowing me to better understand the gift it offers. Understanding a dream is not necessarily Left Brain analysis; it's more like a dialogue of heart, head and soul.
For example, the day after my dream, without trying to interpret it, I dug out my high school prom dress, which I was wearing in the dream and which my so talented seamstress mother made for me, and hung it where I'll pass it several times a day. I also found a wonderful picture of my parents dancing I'd forgotten I had; in the dream, we were all at a dance, so I'll use it on the altar.
Our dead come to us in dreams in many different guises and with different errands. That's nothing to be afraid of. I'm always puzzled by the ghoulish aspect of Halloween. My husband, Jim, and I were married on Halloween. We asked our guests to a masquerade ball, but to think whimsical, please not ghoulish. Our guests had amazing outfits, from a bonafide Beefeater man to Mother Earth and Father Time. Nobody came in dripping in blood or zombied out.
Perhaps the ghoulishness is an unconscious attempt of the modern psyche to laugh at it's own fear of death and what lays beyond death. Yes, there can be some scary characters and situations in dreams (not talking about PTSD dreams here), but as the Senoi tribes revealed to mid-twentieth century anthropologists, if you turn around and face your fear in a dream, ask what it wants and be ready to negotiate, it will transform into an ally, 99% of the time. And at any rate, you have better odds dealing with anything outside the physical than in the waking world. I like what my dad once said when my brother and I made spooky noises as we passed a cemetery, it's not the dead ones you have to worry about. We have all sorts of capacities while in our dream body that we don't have as easily in our physical ones, one of them is to connect to the dead.
Our dead are in other dimensions; it's not necessarily "heaven" as depicted in religious tomes, but parallel realities, other consensus realities. Hopefully, they're all growing and developing their soul's purpose and reaching their own connection to ultimate Source. It's a soul by soul process, though we all pass through it. That's what I think from what I've experienced. What I believe with all my heart is that my soul will survive death safely, as did the souls of my mom and dad. I know this from my own dream visits to these dimensions, from their visits to me here in this one and from the scores of people who've borne the same witness in their own stories or writings.
When I have a dream visit, I pay attention and carry the dream in my heart until it unfolds its gift to me. Never fails to happen, that aha moment when I understand the dream gift and can start using it in my waking life. But it's not always an immediate revelation. Often the dream is one I really want to turn away from, one that evokes painful or bad memories, though, sometimes it's plain wonderful, right from the get go. Whatever its residual feelings, I pay attention. I write it down and let it sit with me until I get it.
So on this day of Death, a day not to fear but to celebrate, may all those you love that have crossed be well and be near to your heart. One of the quintessential gifts of dreaming is that we have nothing to fear in death; we never truly lose anyone; death is as common as the changing of the seasons, and just as impermanent. Depending on how near we are to the physical separation, death can bring us great sorrow. But meeting our departed again in our dreams can help us know for sure that we are forever, in one form or another, not ghost, but holy, holy spirit, each one of us.
A blessed Hallow's Eve to all.