Sunday, August 28, 2011

Circle of Life: Not as Scary as It Looks

The Dream: I’m in a large structure, part cave and part man made. My friend Polly and two others are with me. Polly and I talk about taking a pattern-making or draping class just for fun and to refresh our memories (we were once clothes designers). I have some sort of hooked implement with me. We go up and up, into this structure. It’s not too difficult a climb; it’s like a Disney version of a cave. I decide to show the others how to use the hook, throwing it into a cave wall with the idea that I’ll hoist myself up. As I put my weight on it the hook breaks and I fall into a very steep-sided crevasse. I realize as I fall and fall—while my friends watch in mute horror—that there is no way I can climb out of this deep pit.

After my terrifying descent I finally hit bottom. After a little exploration I realize the spot I’m in is not far from our entry point—the place where we started our ascent. I find a door out from the dark and scary pit into the brightly lighted stairs, now looking like a lobby, that lead to the cave ascent. I know I can quickly rejoin my friends, and I feel greatly relieved.

Interpretation: The action in this dream forms a kind of circle: in some way it reminds me of life, death, and rebirth. I climb with my friends; we are involved in work-related activity (pattern making) and enjoy the gentle challenge of the climb. The cave reminds me of early peoples in the Dordogne who created art and practiced religion within similar walls. When I use my “hook” to try to attach myself to this earthly (and what’s more earthly than a cave?) life, I get a terrifying shock. My connection to the earth fails, and I fall into the depths, seemingly gone forever. As the early cave people lived their lives and passed on, I must be prepared to do the same. The reference to Disney tells me that although we would like to sanitize the difficult realities of life on the planet,  the superficiality of commercialism and consumerism don’t actually change our core experiences. At the same time, I am given the insight that what looked like the end is a new beginning.

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