In looking back over the dreams of a considerable period a man may sometimes discover in tiny scraps and fragments, even in single images, meanings to which he was utterly blind at the time. They were parts of a pattern that was slowly being woven....
The Meaning of Shakespeare, p. 16
As I read these words I remembered a dream that came to me about 15 years ago.
In this dream I held in my hands a piece of midnight blue material, of heavy silk perhaps, square, about ten inches by ten inches. Fine gold threads were woven into the dark background in what seemed an entirely haphazard way, making no coherent pattern, having, it appeared, no meaning. Yet I knew in my dream that a woman had written here in gold thread the story of her life, if I could but know how to read it.
I interrupt the dream to explain that this woman was an old friend of mine in actuality. She was older than myself, and had meant a great deal to me since my youth, had been in fact the one who first opened the doors for me to the wisdom of C.G. Jung.
Yet outwardly her life had appeared a complete failure. None of her great artistic gifts had matured, she was crippled by illness, her husband was dead, she had barely enough to live on.
A few days before my dream I had had a letter from her expressing her sense of ultimate and irremediable failure. As I read the letter and looked back over the many years of our friendship, I was flooded with a sense of gratitude to this woman, remembering her indomitable courage in the face of every kind of suffering and how my every contact with her as a girl and all through the years had jerked me out of triviality and subservience to collective opinion and reconnected me with a sense of the meaning and dignity of life.
In the dream, as I tried to decipher the jumble of threads, I suddenly knew that I was looking at it from the wrong angle and I gave the cloth in my hand a quarter turn clockwise.
Immediately I saw a beautiful and coherent golden pattern, and in the center, exquisitely embroidered, was the figure of a woman holding a child, and her robe flowed out from her shoulders like a river of gold.
"House of Gold"--the image came to me from the Litany of Loretto. In wonder I questioned in the dream how my friend could possibly have created this lovely, intricate thing, when, as I knew, she had simply been trying to write the story of her failed life, and the result had seemed to her a meaningless jumble.
The answer came to me as clearly as though I had heard it spoken, and with a sense of profound joy. She had done nothing but choose a direction for each line of stitching, with all the consciousness and integrity possible to her, and the pattern had emerged and the picture had been woven, to be seen in all its beauty by those who would learn to make the "quarter turn."