Monday, January 24, 2022

King Kong and Soul Recovery




I recently wrote here about my encounter with King Kong in my dreaming. I was talking about how amazing dream symbols are, how they morph and dance in our dreams, sometimes thrilling, sometimes terrorizing us into attention.

When we trust our dreams to be out for our own good, we know that even the most unwelcome dreams might hold healing for our battered souls.  Why are our souls battered; soul's run on pure love energy and in our might-makes-right patriarchal world, some souls find love energy too scarce for their survival.  Psychiatry calls it dissociation, when overwhelming trauma causes some aspect of ourselves to split from our awareness; many ancient and indigenous cultures call it soul loss.  As we are often unconscious of this happening, perhaps because it was in our childhood, we don't realize that actions we take from the habit of protecting ourselves the only way we could in the trauma moment, are now not so effective in serving us well.

When my partner was hit by a car many years ago, in the moments before impact, he saw it coming and told me he heard a voice in his head say, "I don't want to be here for this"; that caused him to rise up on the balls of his feet, as if to jump. That movement probably saved his life; he was thrown and battered instead of crushed under the heavy car.  He's worse for wear, but mostly fine now.  That story illustrates for me what is common in crisis and trauma, we seek any escape we can, if not in a physical realm, then in a psychic one.

Dreams have the power to give us healing symbols.  A friend of mine asked me after my last King Kong post what this symbol teaches me?  I told her I'd let her know when I found out.  Using a dream symbol begins with recording the dream so you can return to it to refresh the story in your mind.  Dream Re-entry, as Robert Moss teaches it or Active Imagination, as Jung conceived it, are valuable ways to fathom a dream.

Dreams are the right brain's domain; imagination is the engine of our creativity.  When we approach dreams with creativity and imagination instead of logic and analysis, ("what does it mean?) we get results that benefit our healing.  

Re-entry is often incredibly healing; it's also greatly entertaining. (I like to re-enter a dream I choose before I go to sleep or when I wake up in the middle of the night; for me it's a great way to fall asleep already dreaming.) I let my imagination spin the story my dream began into one where I am able to feel safe and capable of using the myriad options dreams allow to save myself in the dream story and gain the gifts this dream offers.  I can fly to safety, talk to any character or object and bring into the story whomever, whatever I choose to assist me, to help me feel safe or keep me good company.

My quest to understand Kong's part in my dreams begins with me re-entering the dream with the help of new characters I create to support me. My plan is to get Kong to a huge wild life sanctuary and the freedom he deserves and to begin developing our friendship. Over many re-entries over many days, I befriend Kong and find him a willing guardian and protector of not just me, but of the little kid me who suffered trauma and could now use some love and understanding from her big sister, me.

In dreams time is literally immaterial so I can readily get back to that little sad, confused girl and help her gain a sense of safety, support and guidance that my sincerely loving parents didn't know how to provide.  How?  By creating a story with her in it where she feels safe and she gets to do things that make her wildly happy, which in turn reminds me of what makes me happy now.  It's a win-win.  Whatever confidence and self-love she gains in the process is a transfusion of soul for me now.

Robert Moss developed the practice of soul recovery in Active Dreaming; it differs from the shamanic tradition of soul retrieval in that it doesn't necessitate a shaman's help; the dreamer has the power of being both the healer and the healed, as Robert puts it, to be their own shaman. It also doesn't presume a cultural cosmology; it uses a dream as a gateway to where, when and what must be done for the good of the dreamer. 

I've found this practice to work at a profound level, not just for my soul healing, but for many dreamers with whom I've shared these wonderfully creative ways of doing dream play.  I suggest that a person who has suffered severe trauma and is experiencing terrifying nightmares not attempt to go it alone; I hope they can find a compassionate professional  counselor to hold the physical space with them and guide them while they bravely work to heal. Many others of us have been knocked around in ways that damage but don't cripple us.  Unfortunately, we sometimes push the wounds out of consciousness and don't face the pain in our day to day, busy waking ego lives. Dreams seem to know when we need a particular aspect of our personal unconscious to heal if we're to live our best lives.  They are not above using monsters to get our attention, but if we pay attention, they can become gentler and often, extremely funny. If we take the time to get to know our dreams through the stories and symbols they offer us, we develop ways to heal spiritually, at our soul level.  

My initial way of honoring this dream was to look up the story of the making of King Kong with all its subsequent cinematic iterations.  The original story is so obviously a white male's fantasy, where women exist with a defined sexualized role in the margins of the action, usually as victims to be saved, and people of different race and culture can be caricatured and equally marginalized.  Of course, Nature can also be conquered by man, and Kong must die to prove the white male hero's power. The height of irony is delivered at the end: Kong has been catapulted off the Empire State Building by military planes and lies dead in the street.  The big shot producer whose hubris is responsible for the mayhem, destruction and unnecessary death of Kong, intones sadly,  "Beauty killed the Beast."

Yeah, and Eve ate the apple.

So it behooves Beauty, the archetypal feminine, to also free herself from whatever chains this bullshit patriarchal paradigm has inflicted on her psyche and rescue Beast from the insanity that motivates patriarchal thinkers and leads them to bring us all to the brink of physical extinction.  We will all continue existence in other forms, of course, but I sure hope the misogynist racist folk in the world don't get any more beautiful planets to fuck up.

As for me, I see great promise for us in embracing our dream experiences and wisdom.  Once we discover that some things can be addressed on the inside, in our inner worlds, and that our inner worlds that we travel in dreams are as real as are our waking physical worlds, perhaps we'll gain the resource, the magic key, that tips the scales back into balance. If we must die trying, then at least we can live somewhere, after this physical life, away from ignorant racist misogynists. We get to choose. 

The more of us can use our dreams to heal ourselves and help others to heal, the more the scales tip on the side of hope.  When we know that spirituality doesn't have to be earned because it's organic to us and that we are connected to soul/spirit through dreaming, we are free to explore both waking and dreaming realities with more awareness, compassion and courage. 

May it be so.


Photo 4887362 / King © Han Cheng Tan | Dreamstime.com

Monday, January 17, 2022

A Perspective on Time That Dreaming and Age Has Taught Me


My mom had the best Cuban sayings that she would pepper in the wisdom she gave us. One of my all time favorites is, “Mas sabe el diablo por viejo que por ser diablo.” The devil knows more because he’s old than because he’s the devil. 

I was talking with a dear friend about young people contemplating suicide in our country and how it is epidemic.  It’s so distressing to witness, let alone to live that sad reality as a parent or guardian. When we’re very young, perhaps we don’t see time as changing all things as easily as we do when we’re older.  Our passion for whatever we deem to be our sorrows is overwhelming.  We can’t speak it and it seems it will never go away or get better.

 

What is causing our youth to suffer so poignantly?  We need to listen to them and then do something to alleviate that suffering. How can we better open our hearts to the young?  How can we open our ears and hearts and help?

 

Listening is a tremendous skill to develop.  One way to develop your listening skills is to listen to your dreams.   You would think something so simple and so beneficial would be taught in every home and school to our children, that we’d be telling them, here’s a simple way to connect with your inner life, your organic spirituality. Here’s what you do to understand what you’re doing in your dreams and what indeed, you can do.  Your wildest dreams, your most passionate desires can come true in dreams and perhaps, as they do, so they will in your waking reality. Fear is power in your dreams; you can learn to do much to create what you want in dreaming, despite the obstacles.

 

However, we aren’t “in control” in dreaming, we are hyper aware spirit beings with super powers, but those powers come from powers greater than ourselves.  Above all, dreaming has taught me that Love is the greatest power in the dream worlds.  That it should also reign in our hearts here on this beautiful struggling planet, I can only dream.

 

Why don’t we teach our children to dream well now?  Dreaming can help them rely on themselves as eternal spiritual beings, living for a purpose unique to each of them.  Since it wasn’t taught to us, we adults need to learn how to dream first and how to live our best dreams, as Robert Moss puts it.  Doing so can help us get our creativity back and change the things that need to be changed so that our kids don’t have to feel so overwhelmed. 

 

Only Love guides without asking for anything but love back.  God is not a man or a woman; that’s how we may manifest in the physical, but we are energy connected in every way to the source, Love.   All the confusion and constraints are man-made, literally.  Patriarchy has truly set a barrier to people feeling good about themselves and their sexual expression, an iron curtain in the psyche.   Sexuality belongs to the physical; spirituality is formless.  There are no genitals in the afterlife unless you want them, of course. It’s not God the Father or God the Mother.  It’s Love. Simple.  Love.

 

Living a spiritual life has nothing to do with joining some denomination of patriarchal religion and goose-stepping to whatever they tell you to do.  Living a spiritual life is paying attention to your constant connection to spirit, to Love.  Participating in your dream life is a way of participating in your spiritual life while living your physical one, as best you can.

 

What is the perspective on time that dreaming has taught me?  There is no “time” in my dreaming experience; dreams can take me back, spotlight the present or fly me forward to what’s coming on the river of temporal events in the physical.  

 

"Old" is another construct of the physical world.  Living a long life of dream exploration and waking experience can lend much needed perspective to any life; especially, the perspective that the end is a new beginning, one in which we can be intentional about creating.  Once I die, I will continue my work in the service of expanding dream awareness, in myself and in others.  Perhaps, I'll volunteer for dream bringer duties, part time.

 

I also plan to surf the tunnel of an amazing ocean wave unafraid and many other things, as well.  I once had a beautiful dream that presented itself as a gateway through death’s transition, if I should want it.  Yes, I want it and am gifted to have it. If I can, I will enter that landscape and be guided as I was in my dream.   


Once we really listen to the way dreams speak to us and what they consider important (it’s rarely our egos), we can let go of the self torture we’ve been taught or terrorized into making our belief system. We can begin to experience our spirituality organically, not on a merit system.  As William Buhlman, master teacher of the OBE experience says, the first thing we need to let go of in order to experience our authentic dream/energy bodies is to examine our conscious and unconscious learned beliefs and let go of them in favor of direct, experiential exploration of our uber-real inner worlds.


May we listen and learn from our dreams so that we can help our wonderful young people survive the fake world and find strength in their spirits to do what they were called to do in the physical.



Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Power of a Dream Symbol

 


In a previous post, I told you about a delightful gorilla dream as an example of how fun and funny animal dreams can be.  I didn’t fear that gorilla, but when he came back as King Kong, well then; it’s time to take stock.

When we have a dream practice, which means we pay attention to our dreams, record them, at least some of the time, and ponder them often, we recognize the power of a dream symbol. 

 

If my dream symbol grows from personal dream energy to the archetypal size of King Kong, it is an important story my dream is telling me.  This means I go on the trail of this symbol, what Robert Moss refers to as "dream archeology." First I search through my own dream recollections and written records.  In King Kong's case, this is the third instance of this energy in my dreams in the past decade.  I print out each dream and add it to my journal now because whatever this dream is signaling with this symbol, it holds healing energy available to me now.  

 

The challenge is to ponder the symbol a dream has presented for quite a while and in many ways until I have a felt sense of what the dream is saying, if not an intellectual explanation of its meaning. It’s not that dreams are never obvious. I’ve had many dreams that were decidedly unsubtle and quite verbally direct, but that’s not the way of dreams generally.  Understanding them can be like playing charades or Pictionary. 

 

Given the fact that many of the great Aesclepian temples of ancient Greece had amphitheaters for performance of plays and that the temples were places where people seeking healing came to petition the god, Aesclapius, for a healing dream, perhaps those ancient actors in Greece performed people’s dreams.  Was dream theater the catalyst for modern theater?

 

Dream language is definitely the language of pictures not of words. According to an early pioneer of modern dream studies, Dr. Ann Faraday, it’s no coincidence that our earliest ancestors communicated through drawings, some of which are magically still extant on cave walls like those of Lascaux, in France.  She also points out how most all of us, as children, loved to draw and tell stories from our drawings.  Pictorial, symbolic language is inborn in us; perhaps because it’s the language of our dreams and we are never apart from our dreaming selves.

 

To honor this dream symbol that has so forcefully called on my attention, I begin by asking various questions. What is the context of each dream adventure?  Is the location familiar, unfamiliar? What is my dream self doing and feeling; am I happy about where she’s at?  Who else is in my dream? What is my relationship to each character in the dream, and in waking life, if I know them?  

 

Another step to open the gift a dream is offering me is sharing my dream with other trusted dreamers.  A dream friend is one who honors the dream as yours but can also put her/himself in your dream shoes and give you their associations and feeling responses.  In Active Dreaming's Lightning Dreaming process, that feedback is always offered without personal projection onto the dreamer by using the preface, "If this were my dream..." 

 

Whether I share my dream in that way or not, I’m going to have fun exploring what I can find on the internet.  I’m not looking for the “meaning” of gorilla or King Kong in my searches.  I’m letting serendipity lead and just checking out various references like the King Kong movies and movie reviews for starters.

 

Wow, what an archetypal patriarchal white man shadow King Kong turns out to be!  Far out! My dreams are not playing; they are posing an important challenge for me and I am excited to give it my best effort.

 

In another post, I’ll share what this symbol teaches me, but for now, I want to share with you this understanding of the vitality of dream symbols for personal and spiritual growth, as well as for good fun.  May your dreams shine a path through the darkness. May we become strong enough dreamers to bring about a healing future for all and for our Earth.

 

May it be so.

Friday, August 6, 2021

A New Heaven For A New Earth

 


I’ve been thinking about toxic masculinity, with questions like, what exactly are the proud boys proud of?  Then I researched them and came away sickened and soul-chilled.  Basically they are proud of being white supremacists, incredibly racist but equally, decidedly misogynist.  

 

This is what bothers me so greatly about our public discourse, or lack thereof, at the moment.  What is destroying us is a psychic paradigm at its core.  As people believe, so they do.  As they do, our shared physical reality is manifested by the consensus will of the many. But it’s a paradigm!  Another way to say it is it’s a set of beliefs made into law, not natural law, like gravity, decreed by men in charge.   


Patriarchy is big and scary in its manifestation here on earth. At least three quarters of our beautiful earth is plagued by patriarchal rule exercising various degrees of repression of women, minorities, animals and the planet itself.  Around the world, women suffer untold indignities and cruelty based on the patriarchal laws that rule them and the men who so gladly enforce them.  In our own country, we are close to losing our reproductive rights as women, therefore, our equality and autonomy as citizens of this particular patriarchy.

 

Patriarchy is based on the supremacy of one gender over the other. It is about 6 thousand years old, not coincidently, as old as Creationists say the earth is old.  Religion is the psychic enforcement of the patriarchal paradigm for society.  Patriarchal religions are all based on tomes declared sacred texts and absolute law by the patriarchs who wrote them.

 

Once patriarchy succeeded in subjugating women, it was natural for the toxic credos of might and cruelty, empowered by divine justification, to turn to the next conquest, men and women of lesser power and might around the world. Slavery is based on the patriarchal paradigm that power deserves rewards; what’s yours is mine if I can take it. 

 

The other day I was at a party hosted by dear friends.  I was talking to their lovely young college graduate son about this and that.  Something came up in our conversing that put me at a crossroads quite familiar to me; do I go there or not?  Going there means using the P word to describe how I view our social situation; the P word is patriarchy.  See, I know that word is going to be met with some form of dismissal; sure enough he repeated it, and smirked.  He felt that summed up his opinion of the topic.  He isn’t a wise-ass guy or disrespectful.  He’s a lovely young man; it’s just knee-jerk conditioning we have all endured.

 

Patriarchy’s credos are chilling; its history is one horrific blood bath after another.  We’re indoctrinated to think this is the only way that people have ever existed on this planet, which is complete bullshit.  Archeological and other scientific investigations have dispelled the blinkered views that patriarchs prefer.  Is it a coincidence that proud boys and their fraternities like to be called patriots? They’re patriarchal patriots who don’t want to see the good old days of racism and misogyny vanish and themselves out of power.

 

There are multitudes of armed to the teeth last defenders of a dying paradigm in our country.  It is the most painful reality I must acknowledge daily; an army of disgruntled white men with dangerous weapons is seething in righteous rage, ready to protect these collapsing paradigms, male supremacy and white supremacy.  

 

Yet, it is each individual that cements this ludicrous paradigm into reality by accepting the absurd imbalance between sexes, races and classes as god ordained and by having anything to do with a divinity who would ordain such a thing.  Love is the manifestation of divinity; all else is a false god and a lie.

 

There are also multitudes of people deeply committed to Love as the ultimate spirituality. I hold on to the knowledge that spirituality has a much longer shelf life than violent man-made paradigms like patriarchy.  I chose to be born into this time, this place, in a physical lifetime to learn what I need to learn and to do what I can do.  I will be exiting at some point back to the spiritual path I have followed for eons.  I know my life after this life will be pleasant and interesting because my ability to create my reality will, as it is in dreams, be much easier than it is in the physical. 

 

We create our realities, individually and collectively.  Modern dream studies have left us with little doubt. Anyone, who like myself, has pursued a dream practice for years has learned this certainty from experience.   So it would seem that a person who has created for his or herself a reality of hate, division and fear is likely to continue that path after death. No thanks.  With the bigger picture in mind, I choose Love.

 

Most of the men I know have no conscious interest in subjugating the women in their lives; most women I know respect women and love their men and children.  What is less apparent to all of us, because it’s like the air that we breathe, is that we live in an old patriarchal paradigm.  When we continue to diagnose our problems in isms and separate them one from another, we don’t see that it’s all one piece.  Nature, that’s us, cannot be divided and conquered because nobody wins. The extreme psychic imbalance that patriarchy has caused is at the heart of every crisis we face.  

 

Our unconscious devotion to the paradigm into which we have been indoctrinated hampers our metamorphosis into the most awesome human beings we can be. The paradigm we adhere to because God the Father says to is one of divisiveness; he alone is the one true it; my way or hell is patriarchal religions’ bottom line.  

 

If you’ve read the gospels you might ask yourself what would Jesus think of today’s proud boys?  Based on where and to whom he was born, he certainly was not Caucasian, European or “white” and he championed women while living in an utterly archaic patriarchy. I wonder if breaking all those taboos about menstruating women and women hearing teachings about the Torah contributed to his enemies, Jewish and Roman patriarchs, conspiring to crucify him?   

 

Jesus’ teachings do not fit in with the rigid patriarchal constructs that were built into the world’s major religions, including Christianity.  Jesus was about finding spirituality within; religion is about relying on external authorities and their dictates to tell us what our spirituality is or should be, all the while, relieving us of the responsibility of finding out ourselves. Remember the money lenders Jesus kicked out of the temple?  What would he think of these rich ass pastors with their super churches, TV shows and constant hustle?

 

We are plagued world wide, not only by a physical coronavirus, but ironically, also by a mental virus.  The vitriol and threats that are building from militant terrorists like the proud boys around the country is a sign of how desperately patriarchs want to hang on to their power.

 

But the counter weapon isn’t a bigger machine gun; it’s a change of heart and a change of mind.  It’s opening to a new possibility for a world that is wonderful in it’s magnificence and deserves to be respected.  It’s recognizing that the trappings of genitals and skin color are a thing of the physical world we’re living in together.  They don’t mean anything outside of the experience that spirit is having in that body.  Why would I choose to judge another spirit’s journey; that only diverts and stunts my own.

 

The difficulty people have in making that change, however, is that we aren’t offered much in the way of an alternative to God the Father religions. The numerous stories of goddess cultures before patriarchy were repressed and silenced; history is the story told by the conqueror, not what actually happened. 

 

But our spirituality, our soul’s longing, is a natural flow in our psyches; we long for a vessel to express it.  Embracing and including the Feminine Divine as God equal to the Masculine Divine is a good way to bring some balance to the modern psyche that has been drenched in penis worship for so long; but god/goddess is just a metaphor for what we intuit is beyond our physical senses, what lies in dimensions beyond this one.

 

Dreams can open our inner organic god/goddess given paths to all the divine knowledge we need to get by on this beautiful earth.  The First peoples of the world knew and practiced this inner searching, but our modern awareness is focused externally almost perpetually, except when we sleep.  When we stop ignoring our dreams, we begin the inner journey Home.  When we live our best dreams, we bring to the world the healing all of us here so desperately need.  

 

  

 

 

 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

 Big Dreams Can Carry You a Lifetime

 


Today I was unpacking and storing groceries in my kitchen when I came across a rubber band, a small one, the size maybe of a communion wafer.  I didn’t want to keep it, but lately it seems insane that we just throw things in garbage cans and expect them to go away and cause no harm.  Most things we throw away on a daily basis cause the overload of waste we’re seeing around the world and a dire threat to ecological life on the planet.

 

I’ve also been listening to the spectacularly beautiful audio book by Robin Wall Kimmerer, “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants”.  If you’re not mindful of the planet before her book, you can’t help but fall a little bit more in love with nature after reading it. 

 

Now, I’m standing there with this rubber band thinking I can’t toss it, as is, because what if an animal suffers harm from it? I’ll cut it I think. When I cut the rubber band, a powerful image from a Big Dream swims into consciousness.  I titled the dream “Howling Mary” ( I’ve written about it many times on this blog; here’s a link to the original.)

 

The last scene in that amazingly prophetic dream from my Senior year in college is of me having, in desperation at Mary’s distress, snatched the consecrated chalice from a priest who was about to give communion and began to serve each worshiper myself.  When I had first snatched the chalice and looked in, I was horrified to see writhing worms, but as I steadfastly began to hand them out to each outstretched hand, they were rubber bands.  

 

In an earlier post I described how poignant the dream still was for me, how I hear Mary howling and understand now, decades later, why she howls. I was writing about what happened to CBS 60 Minutes correspondent, Lara Logan while covering the Arab Spring demonstrations in Egypt, in February of 2011.  If you don’t know, here’s the full story, so now you know.

 

I wrote:

 

Why is Mary Howling?  The huge imbalance, injustice and under- championed status of women in patriarchies all over this current world, the one that is imploding of its own greed and wrong-heartedness, is causing more and more suffering.  She's mad as hell and won't take it any more.

 

Now, looking at this rubber band I cut in two, trying to figure out how best responsibly to dispose of it, the gestalt hits me; yes, Mary is howling about how women are treated AND She is howling about how the Earth, Her Body, is treated under world-wide patriarchal rule.  Of course She is! 

 

The Feminine Divine was banished along with a long list of human attributes deemed “feminine”.  Inner-knowing or intuition, compassion, forgiveness, sexuality, the spirit in the physical in favor of an other worldly cerebral spiritual and of course, women themselves were banned from full equality in the eyes of religion and the law.  


From this first enslavement of half of humanity to the will of the penis gender, it flowed  that enslaving whole peoples the ruling male class deemed lesser was also justified by their toxic paradigm.


The first peoples of North America were one group viewed by the uber-patriarchal colonizing settlers as weak and stupid because they respected the earth and saw Spirit in all things.  Patriarchies operate under a might makes right paradigm that allows for ever more horrific displays of cruelty and brutality. Patriarchal thinking also places great emphasis on knowledge as power but undervalues wisdom and understanding. 

 

The Feminine Divine Archetype is the repository for banished wisdom, understanding and psychic experience. Direct personal access to an individual’s inner world was dammed and diverted by patriarchal religions which forced us to look at all divinity as Male and in command. The Good News is that you can't stop humanity from dreaming and you can't stop dreams from revealing our personal and collective truths.  No wonder we've been taught to ignore rather than how to understand dreams. 

 

Mary is truly pissed and fed up with this needless suffering! All it takes is each one of us to let go.  Let go of the tons of bullshit that we’ve been taught. Let go of any idea that undervalues all human beings as one and the same. We’re all eternal beings having a human existence for a purpose known only to each.

 

Let go of the absurd anthropomorphizing of divinity. Recognize that the grand Mystery behind this amazing existence is much bigger than our puny projections. Recognize also that the prevalent projection of one sex on divinity is a power play that gained purchase in humanity and has lasted some 6 thousand years; a comparatively small fraction of our history on this planet. Unfortunately, the result is a dying planet and endless grief for all beings on it.

 

Dreams are calling many souls to a new awareness that is desperately needed in order to heal from the psychic trance patriarchy, especially its religions, induce. What is amazing to me once again is the power of a dream that is so very old; for an image in that dream to come alive to me in meaning so many years later is awe inspiring.  And for that image to teach me a lesson, for that dream to keep on schooling and sustaining me so many years later is deeply comforting.  My dreams are my best teachers.

 

 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Honor Your Mother


In 2014 I was asked to give a homily for a wonderful Unitarian Universalist community on the Centennial Celebration of Mother's Day.  Sharing it with you for Mother's Day

Today is Mother’s Day, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you about Mother. Actually, today in particular is the centennial of Mother’s Day in the US, first declared officially as the second Sunday in May by Pres. Woodrow Wilson in 1914.  This holiday, which probably has its roots in ancient Mother Goddess Spring festivals of Greece and Rome, was championed in the US by Anna Jarvis, who beginning in 1905, campaigned vigorously to establish a day where each family would honor their personal mothers in a special way at home and with church services.  Unfortunately, it took no time at all for the holiday to become so commercialized that she actually spent the rest of her life fighting to have the holiday removed from the official national roster.  Thanks, Hallmark.


What Anna Jarvis wanted was that on Mother’s Day we be reminded to celebrate the unconditional love, sacrifice, untiring care and selfless devotion of our personal mothers.    To give thanks to our mothers for having the courage to give birth to us, and thanks to every woman who after taking on that heroic biological task, in the majority of cases, did her very best to take on the moral/spiritual task of nurturing her children, as well.  

Moving from the personal to the collective, on this centennial of our national celebration of Mother’s Day, I’d like to invite you to remember with me not the personal mother of our own experience, but the archetypal mother of our collective experience as a human race, the Great Mother, the Feminine Divine.  

At the very core of our collective psyche as a human race on this beautiful, bountiful planet is the Great Mother, known throughout antiquity and across indigenous cultures as the Creator of all that is. Thanks to the work of exceptional scholars like archeologist Marija Gimbutas, we know that: “The Goddess is the most potent and persistent feature in the archeological records of the ancient world, a symbol of the unity of life in nature and the personification of all that was sacred and mysterious on earth.”

I was completely delighted to learn that Unitarian Universalists have for many years offered a very sophisticated curriculum about the ancient and indigenous Goddesses from history and diverse cultures, “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven”. I was going to spend some time with you sharing slides of many of these pre-historic and multi-cultural images of the goddess, until I realized I’d be preaching to the choir, many of you already know about HER.

Whether God as Mother is a familiar concept or a new one to you today, I’d like to invite all of us to reflect on the status of the Divine Feminine in our psyches, both personally and collectively.  Because for the last five thousand years or so, She has been persecuted, obscured, neglected and finally banished. This has had dire consequences for humanity.  The elevation of the masculine to exclusive divine status and the denigration of the feminine to subservient and inferior status has grave implications for our personal psychic health, whether we are male or female, for our cultures and for the well being of our endangered planet.

The Wisdom of the Feminine, personified in the many forms of the goddess, is essentially the understanding that Divine Light is not separate from creation, but inherent in creation, embodied and birthed over and over again by women.  For ancient peoples, woman was the matrix of creation, both literally and metaphysically. Moreover, to ancient and indigenous peoples even today, the Earth is our Mother, alive, sentient and interactive with our every thought, word and deed.  We are part of a physical and mystical web of life that is inter-dependent and inter-connected.   

History is the story as told by the conqueror and the stories we have learned are about the triumph of the masculine sky gods, giving birth without women, from Adam’s rib, the head of Zeus or even the spoken word.  Patriarchal mythologies have divorced divinity from nature, exhorting conquering, dominating and exploitive ideologies that have brought us to the very brink of our own annihilation.  It has placed divinity outside of matter and reduced matter to a mechanical science, devoid of soul. All ancient and indigenous peoples even today know this is a grave error. 

But today, we are in the midst of a spiritual revolution. Enlightenedl teachers from all over the world, across cultures and disciplines are pointing to a new/old paradigm for understanding our world and our purpose in it.   From subatomic physics to new metaphysics we are hearing that we are essentially energy; we are spiritual beings participating in a physical manifestation and each of us has chosen this manifestation with a purpose in mind.  Today’s spiritual teachers point to the need to bring balance back into our psyches by once again honoring the Feminine aspects of Divinity and recognizing the sacredness of the Earth as the embodiment of the Feminine Divine.

They’re telling us that our world is in serious trouble and at the root of what ails us is the terrible psychic imbalance caused by the inflation of masculine principles and the devaluation of the feminine.  In Chinese Taoist philosophy, these principles are known as the Yin, the Feminine and the Yang, the Masculine.  Taoism teaches that these opposites are in a continual dance, an ebb and flow that results in balance; neither is superior or inferior, each has its time and its purpose.  When one becomes too pronounced, the entire system is thrown out of balance to the detriment of the whole.

Mother’s Day is a fine time to consider what the consequences of shutting the Feminine out of divinity are.  I recently wrote here about the new, celebrated Pope Francis who has firmly stated that he won’t consider finally ordaining women as priests, although he is very concerned about their level of poverty and exploitation in the world.

But it’s a Catch22; the majority of the world's poor are women because women have no status in patriarchal government, patriarchal religion nor as the Divine Archetype.  In patriarchy men rule, make all the decisions concerning women and children and God looks like one of them. In patriarchal paradigms, woman's power is stripped from her and to the degree that it’s justified by “the image of god” her situation can’t and won’t change.  You’ve only to look at the status and experience of women in the most orthodox patriarchal cultures.  As Jimmy Carter recently put it:

“The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women.  They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.  Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.”

To change the status of women, we have to change the paradigm that devalues women by excluding the Feminine from divinity. This work begins at the level of the individual psyche, as psychiatrist Carl Jung taught.  The fate of humanity, he said, hangs by a thread, and that thread is the psyche.  As the mystical poet, William Blake, wrote, “mind forged manacles” imprison us.  What we believe at our deepest unconscious level is what really drives our behavior.

Like most of you, I grew up with the psychic imprint of God as male, God as Father.  Jesus, though his teachings espoused rather feminine values, was also a male representation of the divine and all his earthly ministers, up until the mid 1980s, were male, as well. As an on again, off again Catholic, Mother Mary did factor in, but definitely as an obedient helpmate, not a divine equal to His Holiness, Father God, and always a Virgin, despite marriage and motherhood, because another artificial separation of this paradigm is sexuality from the sacred.

I first met the Great Mother in a dream when I was 21, way before I knew anything about Her in waking reality. She came to me as “Howling Mary”; I talk about this dream here. 

I woke from seeing Mary howling in anger and pain, heart pounding and completely baffled.  I didn’t know then the value of recording my dreams, but I’ve never forgotten this one. It was a Big Dream with a Big Message for my life that proved prophetic. In a manner I’ve come to recognize from following my dreams, my waking life unfolded in a series of one meaningful coincidence after another, until the Great Mother embodied in my Psyche, out of the shadows and into the Divine Light. 

Though my original plan was to go to graduate school to study literature, I went to seminary instead, campaigned to be ordained a priest in the catholic church and when I realized that wouldn’t happen, despite the many other denominations opening the ministry to women, I abandoned Catholicism for psychotherapy and Women’s Spirituality and came full circle to marry my love of HER to my love of dreaming, where I first met Her. From my perspective today, I see what Mary was howling about. 

On this day of Honoring the Mother, I invite all of us to examine our paradigms, our deeply held, knee jerk beliefs inherited from our parents, family systems, cultures and belief systems.  Knowing about the Queen of Heaven is an intellectual exercise; healing the Wounded Archetypal Feminine, the Anima and the Feminine relegated to Shadow is the soul-searching challenge of our time that each of us has to accomplish individually. Recovering a reverence for the earth and all life based on a deep, intuitive understanding of our Oneness with Gaia is the test we face.

But we can’t create the new order we need using the old logic that got us into the mess we’re in.  We need to use the principles we’ve been told are inferior, heart, intuition and instinct.

Here’s an example of what I mean; close your eyes and imagine a prehistoric time, cave people, cave man, cave woman.  How do they relate to one another? Is it hard to dispel the caricature of the caveman with the club, dragging the cave woman by the hair, dominating her way back then?  At an intellectual level, we know it’s not politically correct, but is it a knee-jerk visual?  Can we imagine a pre-historic culture where women were revered for their personal magic?  A culture that deduced the Creator of humanity from observing the creator of the personal world, a culture that finds no problem in revering a Divine Mother as ultimate Creator?  In this culture, people exercise their talents for the good of the group; knowing that sticking together and loving one another is the way to survive?  Oh, and a people who are constantly in and out of psychic experience, one to whom dreaming and dream adventures meld seamlessly with waking and waking adventures?  A culture far more advanced in spiritual practices than we are today.

We are plagued by the tunnel vision of interpreting all of history, at least 40 thousand years back, through the lens of the last six thousand years.  We have a patriarchal, war obsessed mindset that tells us it always had to be this way; human nature is naturally contentious, greedy and selfish, anything else is wishful thinking.

Amazonian and Mayan shamans teach that “the world is as you dream it.”  We create the realities we live through our communal expectations. We created this paradigm when we banished the Sacred Feminine, and in order to break free of its unconscious hold on our psyche, we need to re-instate the Great Mother as she is embodied in the earth and in all feminine characteristics we have devalued.

Here’s another example of how knee jerk our denial of the Feminine Divine can be.  I taught theology in an all girls’ RC high school, back when there were enough progressive religious communities, especially among nuns, to allow me to teach a course I called, “Christian Feminism.”  On the first day of class, I asked the students; “Is God male or female?”  They were prepared, and gave me the bonafide answer from the catechism.  "God is neither, God is Spirit."  "Fine", I said, "In this classroom, for this semester, when we pray, we’re going to say, Our Mother, and when we refer to God, we’ll use the feminine pronoun, She."  They were horrified; "We can’t do that!"  "Why?" I asked; "Because God is Father," they replied. The masculine divine has been imprinted in our psyches, both personally and collectively; it’s hard to reshape that image. 

Until we heal our personal psyche, we can’t heal the collective.  Until we heal the collective, we remain alienated from the resources we need to create balance.  Here’s the good news as taught by Llewellyn Vaughan Lee, a contemporary Sufi master who wrote “The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul.”

“The mystery of the divine feminine speaks to us from within her creation.  She is not a distant god in heaven, but a presence that is here with us, needing our response.  She is the divine returning to claim her creation, the real wonder of what it means to be alive.  We have forgotten her, just as we have forgotten so much of what is sacred, and yet she is always part of us.  But now she needs to be known again, not just as a myth, as a spiritual image, but as something that belongs to the blood and the breath.  She can awaken us to an expectancy in the air, to an ancient memory coming alive in a new way.  She can help us to give birth to the divine that is within us, to the oneness that is all around us.  She can help us to remember our real nature.”
How do we reconnect with the Feminine Divine?  Turn off the TV and step out into Nature. Listen deeply to what you hear within you.  Be still and know that She is Divine, alive in the beauty of the simplest flower.  Follow the counsel of your heart over your head.  Listen to your dreams, your own organic spirituality, your connection to revelation and trust that you are part of the One, you are not separate and you are not Alone.  
I wish you all a very blessed Divine Mother’s Day.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Words and Reality


Words.  We give them a lot of weight; they prop up the paradigms that shape our reality.  We are given words to believe in, creeds, and we do.  And because we believe in words, we act our worst, towards others and even towards ourselves.  We theologize the words that bind us; the Word is made Flesh. 

Reality.  Should you base your definition of what is on words or on your experience?  Quantum physics assures us that we can't define reality using our five senses alone because what seems solid isn't, what appears to stand still is in constant motion.   Physicists' experiments have proven that much, though they can't explain it yet, not even to themselves.

The most precious gift over 50 years of personal and professional dream exploration has given me is the certainty that I can use my dreaming to find my center, to test my beliefs and to find my way home when I die.  There is so much power in being able to know what is true and what is right because you've lived it and not because someone tells you what to live.  

Words can be so damaging, especially when they are used to mislead and indoctrinate.  For instance, "Stop the Steal."  You know where those words led.   "Qanon", "deep state", we are awash in trigger words, words that bring out the worst we're capable of, hate and violence.  What is the basis of these words? Who is speaking them and to what end? 

Experience is different than belief.  I recognize I play a part in shaping my reality with my thoughts, words and deeds, so I want to make my experience as pleasant as possible, for myself and for others. There's much anger, vitriol and hate in the speakers of these trigger words. If I were to immerse myself in their headset, I'd be creating a dark experience for myself.  I'd rather create the best I can experience.  What is the best we can experience as humans?  Love, joy, bliss?  What words evoke these feelings?  

The most important aspect of reality is that we shape it, consciously or unconsciously.  Once you fully experience the non physical aspect of your consciousness that wakes in dreaming, and once you see how easily you can take control of your existence in dreaming, you know waking reality is just as easily, if far more slowly, shaped. Connecting to the dreaming aspect of existence puts perspective on beliefs. 

A new trigger word in Foxland USA is "woke". It's being used, like "cancel culture" was, in the most un-awake ways possible; I have to laugh.  As a dreamer, I can safely claim a woke experience is what you get when you have a dreaming practice.  One disclaimer, though, if your dreams are nothing but painful at the moment, I would suggest you get reliable help from a counselor you can trust.  Many of life's traumas can leave our psyche so wounded that we can't get through it alone.  But if you have only the garden variety neurosis born of what patriarchal culture has wrought, your dreams can be a good road to real "wokeness".

Let our words contribute to the manifestation of a wonderful reality, both in the waking and in the dream worlds.