Dream Gates

Dream Gates

What the bleep do you know that you don’t know you know?

posted by Robert Moss

WORLDEYE.jpgWhat the bleep do we know that we don’t know that we know? A sudden shift in your energy or feelings in the presence of a stranger – or a life memory that floats to the surface – may be telling you something about that other person. A sudden twinge or pain that has no obvious explanation may be an inner beeper, alerting you to something that is happening, or will happen, at a distance from you in space and time. Or a song that starts playing on your inner soundtrack. Or a smell that doesn’t have a physical source.


Facts before theories, always. Let me give a few personal examples of how this works. I’ll confine myself, for now, to four modes of knowing that seem to involve somatic cognition  –  of the body picking up something in the field, through the physical senses, before the mind-brain perceives it.

Smelling across an ocean

I’m cooking goulash for dinner when I notice a smell in the house that isn’t coming from anything there. It’s the smell of cheap cologne, laid on heavily. My wife smells it too. We discuss it and agree that it’s the smell of a little-girl pretend perfume one of my daughters bought at the local general store when she was out here on vacation from school in England. She’s now back at school on the other side of the ocean. Is it possible we are both sensing her, across the distance? The next day, when I talk to her on the phone, her first question is, “Daddy, were you cooking that Hungarian dish that smells really bad last night? I was thinking of you and I smelled it in my room.” Seems like this may have been a case of two-way clairolfaction (good luck on finding that word in a dictionary).

The White Queen Gambit

I go to the doctor for my annual physical. The nurse who is checking my blood pressure is alarmed by the size of the numbers, especially since my blood pressure has been well regulated for many years. I tell her not to worry; we’ll see what happens next. Puzzled, she sticks a needle into a vein in my arm to draw some blood – and produces a gusher. Blood goes spurting high into the air and comes down spattering my new linen pants. Horrified, the nurse rushed to get the gusher capped and mop my pants with hydrogen peroxide. I now suggest that she takes my blood pressure again. She’s amazed that the numbers have come down to a perfectly normal reading. I tell her my body has just played the White Queen Gambit. In Through the Looking Glass, the White Queen screams before she pricks her finger, so she doesn’t need to holler when this actually happens. It often seems to me that in a similar way the body knows things before they happen and reacts physically ahead of the event that explains the reaction. An old word for this is presentiment.

Viral fear, over the teacups

I’m interviewing a powerful man for a magazine article and afternoon tea is served. I can’t hold the cup steady and spill the hot liquid into the saucer. I realize that, on a somatic level, I am full of fear. I can’t find an immediate explanation. Though I’m in the presence of an important person, I am in no way in awe of him and am a veteran of hundreds of similar interviews. Slowly it dawns on me that my body has picked up on his fear, and is responding as if it were my own. Within six months, the sources of the other man’s fear became public knowledge. He was ousted from his post, forced to flee his country, and diagnosed with the cancer that killed him. This is one of countless examples of how we move in an energetic minefield of overlapping energy fields. I’ve learned to check whether any sudden shift in my own energy and bodily sensations may be related to picking up another person’s energy state.

The suicide’s bridge

A friend tells me she’s worried about a male acquaintance who is is seriously depressed. Would I be willing to counsel him? I say that I’ll think about it, but rarely conduct private sessions. That afternoon, I have to lie down and take a nap. I wake feeling as if I’ve been shot in the head, with a blurry recollection of pushing away a gray figure that was flapping around like a bat. My friend phones me that evening to tell me her depressed acquaintance killed himself that afternoon – by shooting himself in the head. He did this in the period of my nap. After discussion, we agreed that in his panic and confusion – as he began to realize that suicide is never an escape – he tried to get to my friend for help and, failing to get her attention, then traveled along a psychic bridge between her and me. He did not do this in a wholly disembodied form, but in an energy vehicle sufficiently dense for me to pick up, on a somatic level, what he had done to himself and what followed. This goes beyond our general understanding of telepathy.

There are various models for understanding such phenomena. The great pioneer in this area was the Victorian researcher of the “supernormal”, Frederick W.H. Myers, whose classical education and literary flair has given us many of the key words we use to name and discuss such things – telepathy is his best-known coinage. In his “Scheme of Vital Faculty”, an essay appended to his master work Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death Myers attempted to present a coherent schema of all the modes of subliminal knowledge. Our “official science” (to borrow William James’ phrase) has yet to catch up with him. Theories of quantum nonlocal connection or “entanglement” (which Einstein, shaking his mane, called “spooky action at a distance”) give us some promising ways of looking at some of these phenomena. Our primary requirement, however, is to gather a personal inventory of instances and modes of supernormal knowing that will encourage us to expand our attention and speed the access to consciousness of what the bleep we don’t know that we know.

Tarot cards from the world

posted by Robert Moss

red fox.jpgA frisky breeze is tossing fall leaves into the air in front of my windshield when I turn on the car radio. The commentator on a classical music station is introducing a recording of Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio. He explains that “Kegelstatt” is the German word for a place where you play skittles, and that Mozart came up with this chamber music for viola, clarinet and piano while playing skittles with friends. 

I like the idea that composition can emerge from pure play, in this case in some 18th century version of a bowling alley.[1] This gave me my first message for the day: create through play.
I love the sense that the world is sometimes slipping us a Tarot card, from an infinite deck. On the literal roads of everyday life, I’m often struck by how the first thing that comes on the car radio, or the first vanity plate or bumper sticker I spot on a car, may contain a clue to the quality of the day. Yesterday the first vanity plate I noticed while walking my dogs read WAT U WISH. This got me thinking long and deep about the nature of wishcraft. What we encounter in life has a great deal to do with what we wish – or fail to wish – and whether our wishes come from the head or the heart, from the little self of the big Self.
A friend reported that the first bumper sticker she saw read “I Won the Time War”. That feels to me like an nod of approval from the universe, whether you read it in the mundane sense of managing to get things done in allotted tick-tock time, of in the larger sense of inhabiting a more spacious time in the multiverse (which my friend had been discussing at the moment she spotted the bumper sticker).
The behavior of birds and animals sometimes has the quality of a Greater Trump coming into play. Once when I was speaking about the character of the Trickster in mythology, a red fox appeared on a grassy knoll behind my head, visible to everyone in the group except me. Every time I turned my head, he would vanish, only to reappear when I wasn’t looking, until that session was done. Hard to miss the fact that the Trickster card was in play that day – as proved to be the case, richly, beyond that workshop session.
[1] Due diligence: the history professor in me always needs to check the provenance of stories like this. It turns out there is no evidence that Mozart came up with the Kegelstatt Trio while playing skittles; the title of the piece was added by publishers many years later, However, by his own account a week before writing this piece he was inspired to write 1212 duos for basset-horns (K. 487) while playing skittles; he noted on the first page of that autograph: “Vienna, 27 July 1786 while playing skittles” (“Wien, den 27ten Jullius 1786 untern Kegelscheiben”) So the message on the car radio – create through play – holds good.

Dreaming into Egyptian blue

posted by Robert Moss

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ankh9.jpg

After a murky sequence in my dreams last night, when I needed to avoid various dangers and distractions, I found myself lying at the edge of the ocean in marvelous gleaming morning sunlight. With my legs in the water, I enjoyed the waves lapping over my lower chest, and the warmth of the early sun, turning the whitecaps of the blue sea into gold.

As I surfaced from this dream, I thought, What a perfectly simple and lovely image to linger in, for relaxation, cleansing and healing. So I stayed in bed, putting myself back into that gentle feast of color and rhythm. As I drifted in my conscious dream, a blue form separated from the blues of sea and sky. It moved like the finest silk and seemed to extend from shoulder-height into the sky. It seemed to me that it was some kind of pathway. I let myself join this blue light, and soon found myself enjoying wonderful kinesthetic sensations of flight. Soon I was winging over greenwoods, swooping low to enjoy the sights and smells close up. I was drawn to a town I did not recognize, where no one noticed me until a swarthy old man stared at me, his eyes fierce as a hawk. He beckoned me to a doorway where a beautiful younger woman – his daughter? – was waiting. Over the doorway hovered the energy form of an ankh, the Egyptian symbol of life. A new adventure was beckoning….

This is a simple example of how Active Dreaming works in everyday practice. You pick an image from a dream you would like to explore, or simply stay with, and allow a new cycle of conscious dreaming to unfold. The blue of the energy path that appeared spontaneously and led me to the Egyptian door was very like the distinctive “Egyptian blue” – whose blue derived from copper oxides like malachite – that you see on scarabs, and hippo sculptures, and fertility statues, and on the painted skins of gods and New Dynasty pharaohs, and on the djed pillar of Osiris. And on ankhs. I have seen ankhs that were used as water vessels painted this color. The idea was as you drank from them – whether plain water or a potion infused with crushed petals of the blue lotus, an oneirogen – you would take vital life force into your body.

In their dry country, the Egyptians dreamed the whole spectrum of blues. They prized lapis lazuli and azurite. They sought the origin of human life and purpose in a blue star from which gods descended (in some versions of the cosmogony) to Earth via the the Moon. In the Egyptian mind, blue (irtiu, khesbodj)
is the color of heaven, of the primeval flood, life, rebirth, fertility and of the inundation that renews the land. A good color to dream on.

Ancient ankh amulet made of lapis lazuli via touregypt

Martyrdom of a woman philosopher

posted by Robert Moss

Agora Spanish Poster.jpgWhen I posted my recent essay on Synesius – the “bishop of dreams” and student of Hypatia -on this blog, I had no idea that writer-director Alejandro Amenábar had made a movie in Spain (“Agora”) with Rachel Weisz as Hypatia and Rupert Evans as her admiring student Synesius. Still less that it opened at the end of last week at a local arts cinema. That kind of nod from the universe can’t be ignored. I went to see the film today and here are some brief notes.

I enjoyed this film after I adjusted to the fact that Synesius is used as a fictional character. The historical Synesius was not a Christian in 391; he was not with Hypatia in the period before her murder; he was bishop of Ptolemais, not Cyrene (though that was his home city); and his attitudes to the new religion were not those of a convert but of a thoughtful and pragmatic man who saw the need to make an accommodation between the old and the new. However, for scripting purposes the continuity of the Synesius character, as one of Hypatia’s trio of student admirers who remain central to her drama, works well.
Clearly the writer-director wants us to see the resemblance between the Christian militants of this time and the Islamist fundamentalists of today, and he succeeds. Walk into a middle scene from this movie without any knowledge of context, and you might think you are looking at Taliban fanatics at play among the ruins of an ancient site – except that they are wearing crosses. Their contempt for women, and the rights of women, is identical.
The horrific martyrdom of a great woman philosopher and scientist at the hands of “Christian” thugs is in no way hyped in the movie; in the only two surviving accounts, Hypatia was actually skinned alive, an option considered by the mob leaders in the movie but not carried out by them. 
The disparity of class and education between the Christians and the pagan establishment at this time is delineated very well, and we have no doubt that we are inside the agora of ancient Alexandria – and inside the Serapeum – as the action swirls between these locales.
The cast is excellent. Rachel Weisz is wonderful, pursuing her inquiries into the “crazy” theory that the Earth revolves around the sun in the midst of all the violence and religious hatred. The cinematography is sometimes breathtaking, especially when we are treated to aerial footage in which the book-burning Christian thugs are reduced to scuttling black beetles. 
If you have ever heard Gibbon’s notorious pronouncement that the fall of Rome marked “the triumph of barbarism and of Christianity” (but have never read his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) this film will give you a few ideas about what he had in mind. The cameras take us there: to 391, when the remains of the great Library of Alexandria were all but destroyed, and to 415, when the greatest philosopher of her age was butchered. At the same time, the film speaks to us now, in our confused and divided world, about the cost of substituting religious authority and claims of exclusive revelation for rational inquiry and tolerance for the many paths to the sacred. This is an important movie with a timely agenda.
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