Dreaming Back to the Earth
Thoughts on how our dreams can awaken our earth soul
“Stepping into the room I am enveloped in darkness. As my eyes strain to adjust to this new environment I notice the floor seems to be moving. I reach for the light switch and tap it on. To my surprise and horror the surface below me is covered with rattlesnakes slithering and undulating, pushing off one another like a moving blanket. They seem uninhibited by the announcement of my presence. Terrified I search the room for some escape. Finding none I stand there paralyzed, rigid in form waiting for help. And then a snake begins to spiral up my leg.”
Our dreams are a gateway to the story of who we are; where we travel; how we engage the world, and what keeps us from embodying our true selves. They assist us in facing our traumas and offer a remedy for the pain. Dreams show us our greatest gifts and our deepest fears. They are the primordial juice of our universal knowing unencumbered by the ego and therefore rich in personal and universal mythology. And through these stories we are offered guidance that if taken will begin to shift our consciousness and open us up to the healing and wholeness we yearn for.
And if we observe the dream with a wide-angle lens, we discover the dream also speaks to the collective experience that is the earth’s dream, dreaming us awake to her.
Journalist & environmental designer David Tracey, talks about how we cannot solve the environmental crisis from the same ego based trauma driven approach that we have been using that created this crisis in the first place. To understand this we must come to terms with the reality that the human species has contributed to the ecological crisis we are facing in this century. This impact has been driven by a trauma based in fear and manifested through a consumer driven survivalist at all cost mentality. What we don’t realize is that this universal trauma coupled with the impact of our own trauma has separated us from not only our deeper soul self but has also created a profound separation from the more than human world.
This separation expresses itself in depression, isolation, unfulfilled desires, spiritual numbness, and reckless behaviors to name a few. And on a universal level it is manifested through a fear of the natural world, a deep denial of the ecological crisis, or an overwhelming grief for our role in this crisis. At the core a deep longing can arise along with a primal panic over the powerlessness of the earth’s current condition.
All of this intensifies our own separation from self and impacts our ability to experience wholeness and walk a path in conscious relationship with the earth. In response, we spend a lifetime searching for guidance and healing. It is clear that we cannot heal the earth or ourselves in isolation. In order to transform the earth we must transform ourselves and this involves a journey to re-remembering our ecological self, one forgotten centuries ago.
Dreamwork modalities such as Integrative and Archetypal have shown that our nightly dreams hold an approach to awakening to the soul self that brings wholeness. Could it also be possible to engage our dreams as a path to re-remembering our connection to the earth community? How the dreams sketch a picture of our relationship with the earth showing us the places where we are separate or connected. And in so doing open to a deeper of healing ecologically that bestows us a gift of knowing that we have an integral role in the survival of the earth.
It is in recognizing the fullness of the dream’s offerings that we can take the journey back to our soul self and the earth. We can acknowledge the kinships waiting to be healed and experienced within these stories.
If we work our dreams as the embodiment of our own life story without interpretations and generalized symbols, but instead from an integrative and archetypal perspective we will tap into a profound wisdom. To embark on this path the focus of working the dream centers on the associations and feelings that arise from the dreamer’s unique story. And each dream when worked guides us deeper and deeper into a meaningful awareness of our life’s story. The dream challenges us to face the blocks that keep us separate/hidden and the openings that will release us to incredible longings that have laid dormant waiting to be felt into. As a result we discover a way to embody a new story of awareness to self and the earth.
The snake comes in the dream as a reflection of our waking journey. How we relate to snake is a mirror to our perception of self and the earth. Snake comes as a mythological and archetypal creature engaging us in an alchemical experience. Snake comes as a living-breathing reptile offering the experience of relationship with us on a very personal level. Snake comes as a mirrored reflection of us struggling to gain access to our wholeness. We come as snake opening to the consciousness and vitality of this incredible creature. Snake may come as teacher, initiator or guide. Snake invites us to know ourselves just as tree, tornado, ocean, mountain, bear, or human, etc. does in our dreams.
In working the dream we feel into the experience of being with snake by opening to the associations that snake represents in our waking lives and archetypally. We dive into the feelings that snake elicits and weave the dream story encounters within. We work the dream as a combination of the individual and collective story of ourselves and snake. This provides the substance to creating a daily practice, which incorporates feeling into a unique relationship and new story with the snake.
Done daily this practice triggers an alchemical reaction on a conscious and unconscious level that opens us up to experiencing the awareness (connection/love) of other on a profound level and heals the fear and grief that fuels our separation from life. We discover that in this opening our fear of the snake may also be the fear of knowing our wild primal self. This awakens us in a way that we cannot ignore and changes the choices we make about our responsibility to our own and the earth’s healing.
If we are receptive to the guidance of the dream, risking the pain of trauma or the joy of desire we can re-remember and awaken to deep healing on a personal, spiritual and ecological level. We can heal the split in our relationship with nature and re-remember our place in the more than human world.
There is an interlacing braid here that weaves an opening to all the love the universe has to give. Our dreams activate the spiral motion between awakening to our soul and the soul of the earth No matter where we are in life’s journey if we are receptive to stepping into the dream, risking the pain of our lost ecological self, we can awaken to and heal that self. If we let ourselves feel the grief and pain of our impact on the earth as Joanna Macy speaks to, our relationship with the earth will evolved. We will once again feel her love and take a path to reclaiming our role in acting on her behalf.
If the dreamer stands in the feelings that the story of the snake offers they can reimagine a more profound relationship with snake and our primal wild self. In doing this we have begun our journey back home to self and the earth.
I stand in the presence of a room full of snakes, one spiraling up my leg. I am terrified I will be bitten, I will feel pain, I will die, I will be transformed. I will discover who I really am.