Of Shadow, Gods, and the Gift of Dream

Two gates the silent house of Sleep adorn;
Of polish’d ivory this, that of transparent horn:
True visions thro’ transparent horn arise;
Thro’ polish’d ivory pass deluding lies.

~From the Aeneid by Virgil

From my perspective, at every level of consciousness – i.e., unconsciously, subconsciously, and consciously – our souls are always Working. We are always laboring to more fully and potently be and to harness our skills, talents, and resources for a (hopefully sacred) purpose. Ancestors, spirits, gods, and other Holy Powers may choose to aid us in that process – either to serve their own agenda and/or because we supplicated them and they’re invested in us. However, in the process of Becoming, the Powers only offer aid…a lantern light that is ignited to illuminate an important idea, feeling, direction, etc. Though others help out, in the end we are responsible for our own personal growth and development. The Powers can’t do our Soul Work for us (or any other Work, really). [This simple truth is how we end up with magical practitioners – powerful or not – that are some variety of dysfunctional, pathological, and/or assholes, or are generally uninterested in making strides to become better people, or insert *other irresponsible response to problematic aspects of self and life* here.]

Enter Dream. Dream is a place where fragmented parts of our Psyche can be articulated and reconnected. It is also a place where Holy Powers can interface with us and participate in the process of our Becoming (or deliver a message or insight or inspiration that has nothing *directly* to do with our growth and development…but that’s another topic for another post). I have had a smattering of dream experiences over the last several weeks that have aided my psychotransformative process i.e. my becoming, and have helped me to accomplish tasks given to me by the Powers with whom I work. One in particular stands out.

About two weeks ago, just before bedtime, I marked the Algiz rune on my left wrist and anointed it with a blessed dandelion tincture. My intention was to add some extra oomph to the protection work I’ve been doing for about a month or so. Following marking and anointing I slipped into bed and crossed over into Dream. Gripping the elk-sedge (another name for the Algiz rune) and pierced by the lion’s tooth (a folk name for dandelion) I entered a truly murky realm where Powers and shadows whispered together.

In the the dark of a mausoleum in some forgotten cemetery in Dream – somewhere between Soul and the Astral – He spoke. It was the first time in a long time that I heard him, urging me to release him. He shared what he knew of the Little One – buried alive – who scratched at the walls of the mausoleum. He was quite frustrated with my ignorance of who she was. He was downright furious that I did not seem to initially recognize him either. He wanted his freedom and he was willing to shake me in anyway he had to in order to get it. This was a confrontation, and he’d been waiting for many years to have his day with me.

His rage was palpable. I wanted to diffuse it so I opened the door to the tomb and told him to depart if that was what he wished. Then I saw. He was missing a wing. Algiz flashed across my mind’s eye. My intuition told me that Algiz and his wing were one. When I first gripped the elk-sedge, it was with my left hand. I now needed to grab it with my right. I awakened in order to scribe the rune on my right wrist, then I returned to Dream. When I did, He was released. He walked through the cemetery without breaking stride and emerged in a ruined city where a woman covered in what appeared to be black mud raged through the streets. She slashed with her razor sharp talons at every poor soul attempting to flee her fury. Between her talons and her teeth blood ran freely. It was chaos. She was chaos and quite a bit more.

He embraced her and her rage cooled. His rage converted to purpose. I could feel their calm. They walked the streets as one and ascended to a building roof where they looked out over the vast and ruined lands. He stretched, with her still in his arms. His wings were broad, grey-black, and strong. They could carry them both above the destruction below. The dream seemed to end there.

This dream was ripe with shadow, made manifest by the might of Algiz. As a rune of protection Algiz seems to know that it is the fate of inner shadows to meet the light because it is difficult to gain protection against a thing that one won’t face. In dreamtime I’d journeyed the labyrinth. Oddly they were my shadows but they were also supercharged. They seemed set ablaze, fueled by a holy fire. The Dream was on the cusp of internal and external, divine and personal. When I woke up my temptation was to forget about it, or to minimize its impact on me and treat it as a bit of undigested food. But the fire in me after it was done would not let that happen.

In Dream, my own shadows and the might of the Gods merged. There was a message there and I am still decoding it. I do not know which powers kicked my shadows into high gear, but I have a sneaking suspicion of their identity. It likely holds the key to the next steps in my becoming. In some ways I would rather this dream have been of ivory but it smacks of horn. So…I look forward to my Work and theirs with great anticipation!

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