Musings in the Olive Grove

Following a Dream

Night Sky

Dream work is soul work. We all have access to another world when we sleep and if we pay attention we are offered opportunities to develop praxis and wisdom.

The ancient Greeks perceived the entire universe as a living organism, endowed with its own intelligence, encompassing beings on all levels of existence within an interrelated collective soul. Plato was the first to introduce the concept of the Soul of the World. He writes that the cosmos is infused with soul and hence we are living in an ensouled universe. Therefore, when we dream at night we are all dreaming with and in the soul of the world.

Adding to this, depth psychologist James Hillman moves us beyond the anthropocentric view of dreams. To Hillman dream images were not just related to the personal and collective unconscious. He held that all the images that presented to us in our dreams have a life and story of their own quite independent of us. These guides, gods and other imaginal figures are also living within the soul of the world with us and can assist in our soul journey.

Recently, I had the owl dream. I offer this dream as an example of how we can work with our dreams, how our soul does not distinguish between dreaming and waking states, how the images have a life of their own and personal meaning to the individual.

The Owl Dream 

“I was back in my childhood home.  It was chaotic.  I was in my bedroom, there were papers everywhere.  I was shocked to notice that on my desk sat a large birdcage covered by a cloth.  I must have ignored, forgotten or taken for granted that it was there. Inside was an adult owl and her chick.  I thought it is incredible that these owls were still alive because they had not been fed, watered or tended to for who knows how long. They somehow got out and I brought them food and water.”

I did not fully realise the deep significance of this dream until the next day, when I received four signs in the physical world drawing me into deeper exploration. This is what happened…

  1. In the morning I was doing some research which led me to a book that I had not read in a while and upon opening it I found a bookmark portraying an owl and her chick.
  2. When I got on my laptop in the “type here to search” section was a picture of two owls.
  3. Later that day as I was on my walk I noticed a silhouette of what looked like the top of an owl’s head. I hurried to take a look and there it was.  A large statue of an owl!
  4. During a consultation that evening with a client via zoom, I was stunned to hear an owl in the background calling very loudly and drowning out my client’s voice.  My client asked, “can you hear the owl?”  I sure could!

I got the message loud and clear that my soul in the image of the owl had something to say to me.  By way of the shamanic journey I went to meet the owl who reminded me of something important that I had not attended to for many years and that was in plain sight. The journey was revelatory and emotional. Next, to embody and attend to what I had forgotten I created a ceremony in my garden to honour the guidance I had received.

I continue to work with this dream because the energy and images are not done with me yet. They are mysterious, inspiring my imagination as I reflect and dialogue further with them. 

This example is only one way in which we can follow a dream. There are many others. There are numerous sources available that offer a one size fits all shortcut interpretation of our dreams. They do not serve us, or enrich our lives, because our soul communicates in a personal manner. It is up to us to follow the promptings and discover the meaning for ourselves. Where is the mystery, sovereignty, joy and unique discovery if we hand over our soul’s messages for someone else to interpret?

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