I went back to school for my doctorate in the late 70’s and spent the 80’s teaching university students. The unsuitable new houses in my dreams depicted my unhappiness with myself and my life. It took another year of dreamwork before I trusted my dreams enough to leave a profession that wasn’t right for me. Two days after I left for good I dreamed I was escaping from prison!
In the early years of working with my dreams my focus was almost entirely on head work: thinking, reading, discriminating, clarifying, understanding, analyzing symbols, and so on. I had heard that dreams were pictures of emotions and I enjoyed dreams that left me feeling happy or good about myself, but others that left me feeling bothered after I woke up were deeply puzzling.
When I started this blog over four months ago I had no idea how much my soul hungered for the psychological and spiritual companionship of like-minded travelers, so was somewhat surprised to see how avidly I’ve been lapping up the warmth, wisdom, and compassion revealed in the comments of readers. Making your acquaintance has been a true blessing to me, and I offer you a gift in return: the recommendation of one of the wisest, most soul-satisfying books I’ve ever read written by one of my favorite new internet friends: William Douglas Horden.
When my emotional climate gets too hot for comfort or the gap between my inner and outer lives grows too wide, everything in me demands congruence. At times like this I consult my dreams like other people consult therapists.
The Western world does not recognize the shadow (everything we disown about ourselves) as being a natural part of every individual. Most of us are willing to admit to certain flaws, but for every one we bring to the light there are others of which we have no conscious knowledge. We can easily see our most despised qualities in others, and are usually only too happy to point them out, but rarely can we admit to their presence in ourselves.
People and animals in your dreams show you aspects of yourself. How or when are you like that admired teacher or controlling relative? What part of you is a wounded puppy, soaring eagle, Nazi guard, wise elder, vampire, priest, intense perfectionist, helpful taxi driver, seducer/seductress, artist, singer, lonely child?
The way we think influences the way we live and relate to others. If there’s anything about yourself, your relationships, your life, or the world you’re not happy with, you can change it with greater awareness of the way you think about it.
Have you ever known someone who can be feeling vaguely uncomfortable for hours before realizing she’s cold, or hungry, or has a headache? Or who can be standing directly in front of the object she’s looking for and simply not see it? That’s me. Or it was me before Shadow.
When I bought Shadow I had no idea I had power issues, but he showed me just how shrouded in shadows this area of my soul was. Through him I saw my confusion about the positive and negative aspects of power and discovered a strong tendency to surrender my power to avoid conflict and keep peace. Shadow made it very clear to me that this was not a good thing.