Dream Gates

Dream Gates

The spider in your dreams is not the spider in my dreams

posted by Robert Moss

Atrax_robustus.jpgThe wonderful discussion generated by my last post on Dream Spiders brings home how we want to approach every dream as an experience unique to the dreamer, even while it evokes universal themes.

Suzette reports that when she is ill a spider climbs inside her torso and starts spinning a web. While this would be terrifying to many dreamers, and might suggest a chest infection, Suzette’s dream spider is an ally who catches what is bugging her, rolls it up in a silk ball, and elegantly expels the possible complaint from her body.

By contrast, Wanda has found it necessary to eject spiders she felt were adversaries – possibly embodying a threatening disease – from her dream houses in various creative ways. In one of her examples, she managed to convert a large and menacing spider into a wind-up toy that could be put out into the street, like the trash.

I’ve had spider dreams of both kinds. I just rediscovered a dream report from two years ago in which I knew that I had to remove a large black spider – not a tarantula, and not furry, but about that size – from my dream kitchen. I tried to catch it in paper towels in order to carry it out without harming it, as I would probably try to do in regular life. However, the spider died as I struggled to contain it, and then promptly morphed into a set of plastic parts, like a broken child’s toy, that I carried out and placed in the trash. I woke from this dream feeling a strong sense of wellness and resolution, and felt no need to interpret the dream. Moving with the energy from a dream is often more important than figuring out what the content means.

When it comes to the pursuit of meanings, let’s remember that it’s usually a good idea to study the nature, habits and habitats of the critters that turn up in dreams. There is a vast variety of spiders on this planet, most of them non-venomous but some incredibly deadly, so when we dream of spiders we may want to pause and attempt an identity check.

We also want to study the specific gifts of different kinds of spiders: what kind of webs they weave, for example, and the uses of those webs. The first dream catchers were spider webs. An Onondaga friend told me that when his son was very young, he hung spider webs above his sleeping head to catch and keep out bugs of both the physical and the psychic kind, in the old way. Don reminds us in a comment on my last post that spider webs are helpful in stopping bleeding.

Finally (for now) let’s remember that in the shaman’s way of dreaming, we can learn to get close to fierce and dangerous creatures with whom safe encounters in the physical are generally inadvisable. In my dreams of my native Australia, I am sometimes offered a funnelweb portal to enter the Dreaming of the Koori, the Aboriginal people. I remember being sternly lectured by my parents, as a small boy in Queensland, to check boots and shoes every morning in case a funnelweb spider had built inside one of them overnight, and to avoid or kill this type of highly venomous spider on sight. In the Dreaming, things work rather differently.

Atrax robustus, Australian funnelweb spider, in threat position

Dream spiders as disease markers, and possible allies

posted by Robert Moss

spider - Western black widoe.jpg

A woman named Jennifer recently shared a vivid and very specific account of how
the behavior of a black spider in a series of dreams has given her
disease markers she has learned to take seriously. As she tells it,
the sequence includes the following prodromic dreams (and follow-up
events):

1. “I am standing in an open doorway. A black spider leaps from the
frame onto my abdomen, scaring me badly. Three months later, I developed
appendicitis in the same spot and had to be rushed to hospital for an
emergency appendectomy.”

2. “A black spider jumps on my face. I am terrified and grossed
out.
Several months later, I developed a horrible and virulent skin
condition that made
me look
about a hundred years old. After 5 days, hospitalized on intravenous
antibiotics and anti-viral medicine, I learn was a life-threatening
strep
infection.”

3. “A black spider leaps on my face, near my left
eye–again from the
door frame in former dreams. A few months later, I am driving on the
freeway and a black, spider web configuration covers the entire visual
field of this eye. In an urgent care intervention, the on-call eye
doctor discovers that I have a
torn
retina in that eye, and I undergo emergency laser
surgery.”

This is a very instructive example of how dreams can anticipate physical symptoms. By learning to recognize personal markers, we may not only be forewarned of possible problems; we may be able to take action to avoid manifesting those problems.

The spider in Jennifer’s dreams is not the spider in your dreams, or mine. While we recognize common themes when we hear each other’s dreams, every dreamer’s experience is personal and unique to them. For some dreamers, the spider is an ally, offering the power to re-weave the web of possibility in life.

I worked with one dreamer, a gifted artist, for whom the spider was at first a disease marker- warning of a possible recurrence of cancer – but then became an extraordinary ally when she found the courage to go back inside her dream, through our Dream Reentry technique, and face the spider.

The artist was terrified by a recurring dream of a jumping spider that grew bigger and bigger until it took over her studio. I urged her to go back inside the dream and volunteered to go with her. Sitting together, with our hands joined, we embarked on conscious shared dreaming with a clear intention: the dreamer would face her terror and find out what she needed to do, while I would support her as friend and bodyguard inside the dream space.

Between the energy of her fear and the familiarity of her dream space – her studio – the artist had no difficulty reentering the dream. Almost effortlessly, we found ourselves together in the dream version of her studio, facing a spider that grew rapidly to enormous size. Its multiple eyes and cheliceral fangs were not a pleasant sight at close range. The artist was shaking and sobbing, but she stayed inside the dream.

Then spider shapeshifted into Spider Woman, an indigenous American form of the Goddess. Spider Woman told the artist: “Because you found the courage to meet me, I will give you the power to re-weave the energy web of your body and the web of possibility in your life.”

At that time, the dreamer was facing a biopsy. The results showed she was cancer free. She embarked on the most creative period of her personal and artistic life. Spider kept her promise, when the dreamer found the ability to brave up and reach for the power beyond the terror.

 
For more on the techniques of Dream Reentry and tracking (entering another person’s dreamspace to help bring through guidance and healing) please see my books The Three “Only” Things and Conscious Dreaming.

Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus) photograph originally posted to Flickr

Oceans to fly

posted by Robert Moss

amelia_movie_poster_01.jpgEveryone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it.
Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?

- Amelia Earhart

I just watched Hilary Swank’s stunning performance as this brave and forever boundary-pushing flier in the movie “Amelia”.
And it struck me that Hilary herself is a stellar example of a person whose dreams and active imagination gave her oceans to fly, on a journey that is still unfolding.

Hilary Swank grew up in a trailer park near Bellingham, WA, an only child with a single mom and a missing dad. She dropped out of high school. Then she dreamed of making it big in Hollywood. Her mom took this “impossible” dream so seriously that she drove them to California, where they lived in the car.

Hilary’s dream came true. Her first big role was in “Boys Don’t Cry”. She was paid only $3,000, but she won an Academy Award. Her next movie was “Million Dollar Baby” and since then no one has been paying her bottom dollar.

Hilary is a dreamer in many senses. She has described a recurring dream in which she saved someone’s life. After the third of these dreams, she felt deeply that she needed to “honor the dream”. She took a CPR course “just in case.” Three weeks later a man in an airport collapsed in front of her and she kept him alive using the CPR she had learned, until the paramedics arrived. The man died on the way to hospital, but she gave him a chance.

Hilary told the last dream story on “60 Minutes” on January 30, 2005.

Techno-tilisms and astral mind traps before “Inception”

posted by Robert Moss

Thumbnail image for Hoshruba.jpgThe maze constructed in the movie “Inception” to ensnare the mind of the target is far less sophisticated than ancient astral traps described, most memorably, in the vast Urdu fantasy cycle of Hoshruba.

In their dastangos itinerant Urdu storytellers – eagerly sought from princely courts to humble markets – preserved an imaginal geography that includes contructed realities known as tilisms.
The word tilism, related to the more familiar “talisman” describes a realm of enchantment created by sorcerers that becomes a prison for one who falls into it.
Any world may prove to be a tilism, a mind trap constructed by Dark Side magic in defiance of “the laws of God and of nature”.

The vast tilism of Hoshruba, with its multiple layers of illusion and deception, is the realm of Afrasiyab, the Emperor of Enchantment. Its geography is more various and complex than that of the ordinary world.

There are tilisms within tilisms, nested worlds created by magic and imagination. Humans live in such places but do not see where they are. It is much easier to fall into a tilism than to get out.

The only way to pierce the veils of illusion and overthrow a tilism is to find the tablet that holds the secrets of the tilism, including the conditions for its destruction and the name of the person who will destroy it. The tablet could be concealed anywhere, often inside the tilism itself.

These traditions were largely unknown in the west until an Urdu scholar and novelist named Musharraf Farooqi was stirred by a dream to embark on a fantastic enterprise. He dreamed he was visited by mythic creatures who came galloping right out of the great Urdu story cycle known as The Adventures of Amir Hamza. He made a tremendous contribution to world literature in giving us an elegant 900-page translation of this work, published by The Modern Library. But this was only the start of his labors. Farooqi has since produced the first volume of a projected 24-volume translation of the oceanic Tilism-e Hoshruba. Titled Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism, this is published by the Urdu Project.

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