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Personal Dream Reading

Updated: Jan 10

This dream is not my dream or your dream, but the dream of all people. When a dream is refined or healed, it is healed for all people.

This is a recounting of a raw dream that came to me this afternoon, along with the processing of that dream on a personal level.

In the forest there is some kind of retreat, a place where people go to relax and walk around. Between the paths, there is a shortcut, and there, hidden by the trees, I am with a uniquely nasty bully from my childhood. He is old now, much older than me, he can barely punch the punch bag that hangs from the tree. I can see his frailty, his lack of power, so I encourage him, as though that is my service, as an old endearing slave to fear whose master is now too feeble to act himself but his influence remains. Our psychological relationship is like Stockholm Syndrome, where the kidnapped becomes dependent on and comes to dote upon the kidnapper, except here the roles are of slave and master, or, more subtly, the loyal butler and the ageing sir.

There is a body in the forest, a dead person, a woman. I am responsible for it, although I don’t know how. The body lies in a dry stream bed, just off the path. I am aware of the people here, that they may discover her, and I become anxious about moving the body to a place that cannot be found, but there is nowhere hidden from the eyes of others.

There is a way down off the mountain, a long, winding road, busy with speeding traffic. I am with my mother, watching my nephew go down the hill from a distance, the cars and lorries roaring by. Although he, a child, doesn’t seem to take note of the danger, I am fear stricken for him. I can only watch in anxiety as he goes down the hill.

The dream I first separate into three parts, and to each part I gave a title: Butler of Old Fear; Body in the Forest; Coming Down from the Mountain. This is the beginning of the process of distancing myself from the dream, so that I can work on it disinterestedly, as would a scientist. Three is the number that works for me when recording and organising dreams: the less to keep me focused, the more to give the dream some shape and story.

I write the dream the first time, with all the details and all the faces that were presented by that peculiar facet of my time-body bound translation. This translation, the one you read above, is a raw translation, unrefined and dense with personal belief and memory. There is deeper dream beyond this, and if dream is an ocean, what I have already shared is just the waves breaking on the beach.

To dive down deeper, I first render the story in a personal way, to make it known to all the facets of my personality, as an act of admission of trust and confidence in the forces that govern the depths of the unconscious, the source of all human dream.

In the writing that follows, I will treat the raw dream to a personal reading or rendering. This will give you a feel for Dream Alchemy, the process of penetrating into the deeper, more subtle substances to glean ever more powerful insight from the messages dream brings. Even from a dream that seems so pathological and discomforting, a dream that many would turn their back on and banish as a nightmare, these darkest dreams will, if processed properly, refine into the lightest substance, the insight that shines upon all aspects of our life and guides us both in our waking and in our sleeping. The first movement in this transformation of substance that I call Dream Alchemy, I now reveal to you in what follows.

In The Butler of Old Fear, I am a long endearing slave to an old bully. I have memories, as a child, of being so lost and without quality attention that I sought that attention in the more cruel elements of life. This bully, I sought him out, I created situations to be close to him, although I feared him acutely for his unique nastiness among humans and played the servile coward to his dominating tyrant. In the dream, he is old and cannot even punch the bag; his energy has waned, but still I project power onto this dying psychological entity, like a loyal dog wagging his tail, trying to stir up the hand that once beat him. It is a habit of dependency, that this relationship once provided me with psychological emotional fulfilment, that it gave me a feeling of position and control, although inverted. Of someone being aware of and attendant on me, albeit in a hurtful and cruel way. And, as with all such roleplay of opposites in life, I would myself elsewhere play the bullying master as there were others who, in turn, would play the cowardly slave.

But this relationship is breaking down now. The tyrant is old and has no energy of his own; the urging of the slave has little impact. The energy in this pact of roles is almost dead, and when that happens the slave will be liberated. But now I ask myself, will the slave go looking for another cruel master or will he be able to guide himself without fear of losing control? And what is it that I so desperately sought in this relationship, and, if I need it so fundamentally, can I find it through other, more self-compassionate ways?

Like an extension of the thread of fear and control, the second part of the dream, The Body in the Forest, is concerned with a responsibility for actions that cause hurt, damage, and in this case, death. On the personal, it is about the pathway of my psychological emotional reactions towards that sense of responsibility and how this manifests with guilt, culpability, and fear. There is a strong connection between this part of the dream and that which before it, as though the two are perspectives of different parts of the same process. A circle of damage is coming to an end, but do I have the emotional maturity to relate to the suffering I have caused in a new way, in which the blame and guilt of my own mistakes be transformed into the acceptance that I can take forward, healing the wound of anxiety from which the life force leaks and insulating it against further infection?

The round of damage has affected all my relationships, none less so than my relationships with women, hence the body of the woman. I cannot change the past; there is nowhere to move the body. The hurt that I have caused to the women in my life must stay with me. I still have strong feelings about this topic and am awash with sadness and remorse when I recollect certain especially dark passages of my love life. It is a thread of experience that has given me the most substance for reflection, for acceptance and for forgiveness. Although my relationships with women are no longer the same as they were, the dream and the emotional confirmation tells me that there are still skeletons in the shadows of the woods, and that they are calling to be brought out into the light.

The last part of the dream, we are descending the mountain. Fear of loss of control remains, now projected onto the child, my nephew, from a distance. He makes his way nonchalantly, never-a-care; I remain next to my mother. Energetically, emotionally, my mother, quite likely as with your mother, is the person who has had the greatest formative influence on me. Still I cannot say that our energetic relationship was a particularly harmonious one; that is, to bring this in line with the rest of the reading, that there was throughout our time living together a lively transmission of guilt, blame and anxiety. Any occurrences out of the bounds of order - and each family has their own boundaries of order - or hint of losing control, would be, for my mother, the casting of a spark that could easily set her on fire. As the boundaries of order, in all levels of life, are forever being broken, and as I, for my own part, played an especially effective role as The Breaker of Boundaries, I learned by energetic osmosis to fight the fall of order with the behaviours of anxiety and stress. This is only now, as I write these words, becoming apparent to me, since only now, at this point in my life, am I finding my life in such a high degree of order. The energetic model of my mother remains with me, but it is not conducive to the well being and functioning of this world that I have created for myself and by myself. A question naturally appears: how would I now wish to relate to the fall of order in my life?

To return to the symbolic image, the descending of a mountain, I have a few parting words. The meaning comes strikingly, of a beginning of a return to earth, of a gradual coming to grounding. I have a reflection now that descending a mountain should be easier than climbing it, and that, after such a long and arduous journey to the top, a leisurely descent would be just the thing, taking in the panoramas and rolling easily with flow of the land. This energy, a very different energy, is presented in the dreamform of my nephew, the child making his happy-go-lucky way down before us. The question at the end of the last paragraph returns. There are dangers on the road, and there will always be dangers as long as this great ball of fire that we call the sun hangs over our heads; but I do wish to be closer to the way of the child when order and control falls apart.

Again, for all its depth and revelation, this is still only a superficial, personal reading. I have shared many things here that were not even known to myself. As you can imagine, going further into the alchemical process, you can begin to refine substances and insights that have deeply powerful implications, not just for you in your personal world but for all of humanity.


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