What lies beyond death is conjecture, but the archetype of death we are considering is not completely about physical death. It is about our observation of it in others; our conceptions of it gained from our culture and our impressions; the feelings which generate around our experiences and thoughts; our attempts to deal with our own aging and approach to death, plus what material the deeper strata of our unconscious release regarding it. It is about how our sense of conscious personal existence meets the prospect of its disintegration.
Unless we can come to terms with what is behind the haunting images of death we meet in our dreams, we fail to live fully and daringly, we are too haunted by death lurking in the shadows of injury and the unknown. Images of death and the associated emotions, carried within for years, can have a negative influence on our health. Coming to terms means the courage to feel the emotions of fear or chill and discover them for what they are—emotions. They are certainly not death, only our feelings about it.
The differences shown in the two following examples illustrate the avoiding and the meeting. Example: 4So to get to the bedroom I had to jump across this gap. I tried to jump but missed and I fell and hit the bottom.
The next thing I remember was I was floating up. I looked down and saw myself lying face down with arms spread out and I suddenly realised I was dead. I was so frightened that I woke up. I had the feelings of fear of dying, but I felt no pain’ (Cath). Example: “Suddenly I was in a huge underground cavern. It was hundreds of feet high and as wide. It had two great statues in it, both to do with death.
The whole place overpowered me with a sense of decay and skeletal death, darkness, underground, earth, the end. I cried out in the dismal cave, “Death, where is your sting! Grave, where is your victory!” I immediately had the sense of being a bodiless awareness. I knew this was what occurred at death. Fear and the sense of decay left me’ (Andrew).
Summarising these and many other dreams, it is not only the accumulated images of death, but also bodilessness and loss of power and identity which bring so much fear. There are two antipodes of human experience. At the tip of one is focused self-determining self consciousness. At the tip of the other is unfocused void without identity. Strangely enough we experience both each day in some degree—the first while awake, the second when we sleep. Yet to face the second with consciousness feels like all the horrors of death and loss. Yet facing it is important, especially to the second half of life.
The symbols of rebirth are: the cave; an egg; spring; the tree; the cross; dawn; emerging out of the sea; the snake; the bird; a seed; arising from the earth or faeces; green shoot from a dead branch; phoenix; flame; a pearl; the womb. Rebirth is as difficult to face as death. It holds within it not just the memones of the struggles and difficulties of our own physical birth and growth, but also the challenge of becoming the unknown future, the dark possibility, the new.
The dream of Andrew in the underground cavern is an example of positive rebirth. After realising himself as bodiless awareness he emerges from the cave and finds himself near a tree. Example: ‘A tremendous jolt of power poured into me from the tree. I saw that we had arrived at a place where a line of trees, about a 100 yards in length, stood very close together in a slight semicircle on the top of a bank.
The trees had great spiritual power and the place was a holy temple. Two spiritual beings were there—an ancient Earth Being, and Christ’ (Andrew).
The next example is of a dream typical of meeting memories of physical birth. As can be seen, the experience is powerful enough to cause physical shaking. Example: All I can see of what I enter is a very narrow space with a light showing through. But immediately I enter I realise I have made a mistake for I am being forced swiftly through a dark, very narrow tunnel. I feel pain as I am dragged along and I hear loud banging noises which frighten me, but although they are loud they seem to come from inside my head. I feel terrified and breathless and very relieved when I wake before reaching the end of the tunnel. In fact as I write this account I am shivering” (female, anon). ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
A sudden jolt can either be destructive or bring us back in line.
The muscle jerk as we fall asleep might be interpreted by the dreaming mind as an electric shock.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
If spirituality is taken to be an inner truth, and religion as that which links us back to source, then it must be the case that religious imagery partly assists in that function of recognition. Using images that cannot be interpreted successfully in any other way reinforces the idea of spirituality being something separate in us. Because the images are so specific they may be startling.
2- When the individual, through deliberate or spontaneous neglect, denies himself access to the store of religious imagery in waking life, dreams will often react to this lack and try to compensate by jolting the dreamer back into an awareness of his inner spirit. In today’s society it is very easy to fasten on the hypocritical aspects of religion and to acccpt that hypocrisy. It is also easy to make the assumption that the outward forms of religion often deny the existence of a true inner reality. This rejection can be valid, since it is not until the individual accepts responsibility for his own existence that true spirituality emerges.
If spirituality the inner truth that we all hold is neglected, it will not go away: it will simply reappear in its negative and terrifying form. In waking life the closest image we have to that is the Devil (see Devil), or the more vengeful Indian gods. Our own personalised demons can be more frightening than those.
3- If we are prepared to accept that each truth will have its own personal slant, and that we must get back to the basic truth, all dreams can be interpreted from a spiritual point of view. This is especially true of religious imagery. Most interpretations have had to be stated in general terms and are given here only as guidelines. When the reader can throw away the book and say that the interpretations are not valid, then he will have taken on personal responsibility.
Angel In spiritual terms the angel symbolises pure being and freedom from earthly matters.
Angels tend to be androgynous, and arc not recognised either as male or female. There is a hierarchy of angels; 1) Angels (the realm closest to the physical), 2) Cherubim and 3) Seraphim. As more people are seeking spirituality; there are those who have become more aware of the angel form, particularly in dreams. It is vital that the dreamer is able to differentiate between the personalised aspect of the Higher Self, and the angelic form, since they arc similar but different. Dark angels are reputed to be those angelic beings who have not yet totally rejected the ego or earthly passions. When this image appears in a dream, we are being alerted to a spiritual transgression, which often has already happened. Warning angels usually symbolise what should not be clone. Buddha (also see individual entry) The figure of Buddha appearing in dreams highlights the necessity to be aware of the Qualities of Being which Buddha taught. It links us to the power of renunciation and of suffering, but in the sense that experience of suffering is valid. Ceremony/Ritual (also see individual entries) Ceremony and ritual are all part of the heightening of awareness which occurs on the path to spirituality. In dream ceremony the images are even more vivid.
Christ appearing in dreams epitomises the recognition of the ability to reconcile the physical and the spiritual, God and Man. He personifies Perfect Man, a state to which we all aspire. Appearing on the cross he signifies redemption through suffering. We do not need to be crucified physically to suffer.
The ideal Christ is that part of ourselves which is prepared to take on our portion of the sufferings in the world by- working within the world.
The anarchic Christ is the part of us whose love and lust for life permit us to break through all known barriers.
The Cosmic Christ is the part that is prepared to take on Cosmic Responsibility that is, to be connected with the Universal Truth. While these aspects have been spoken of in Christian terms, obviously they- are also present in all religious figures. Church, chapel, temple (also see Church Buildings) We all are aware of our need for sanctuary from the batterings of the everyday world. Within the church we / are free to form a relationship with our own personal God. In dreams we may also have the realisation that our body is our temple. Church or Religious Music These sounds, dedicated to the perception of God that one has. are sacred sounds and are a way of expanding the spirit. Crucifixion images in a dream link with the human being’s need to sacrifice himself through passion and through pain. Devil (also see individual entry) In dreams the Devil represents temptation. This often arises from the repressed sexual drives which demand attention. It may also signify the Shadow (see Introduction). Ghosts (also see individual entry) Independent forces within, which arc separate from the individual’s will. It will depend on the dreamer’s belief as to whether lie accepts the appearance of ghosts as psychological or spiritual apparitions. Gods/Goddesses (also see individual entries) We are each given the opportunity to make real our fullest potential. In doing so, we must undertake an exploration and possibly a confrontation of our perception of gods and goddesses.
Hell is a state of being where nothing is ever as it seems and could be thought of as continually existing in a state of negative illusion. Reputedly it is a state of Spiritual Agony where one’s worst dreams are fulfilled. Heaven is a state of being where the energy is of such a high frequency that there is no suffering. In dreams it appears when the individual is transmuting his awareness into dimensions other than the physical. It is reputedly a placc where bliss exists. It is also known as Nirvana and Samadhi. Holy Communion The belief that Christ’s body was transmuted into heavenly food symbolised by the Last Supper appears in dreams as the intake of spiritual food. Holy Communion represents a sacred sharing. Icon (also see individual entry) An icon is a representation of a religious figure or concept. It can, through usage, become revered as a holy object in its own right. Incense (also see individual entry) Incense is an offering to the gods and a physical form of prayer through perfume and smoke. Initiation takes place when some barrier is transcended to enable us to have access to other ways of being.
Mary, the Mother of God/Virgin Mother flic symbolism of Mary, both as the maiden and as the mother, is a potent one. She epitomises all that is woman, and all that is holy Moses often appears in dreams as the holy figure who will lead us out of difficulty.
Old and New Testaments or all religious books A resource and a repository for knowledge is available in dream imagary this will often appear as books. Priest/Prophet A conflict between the present and the future.
A Religious Service is the act of worship which is used to bring people together. It is recognised in dreams, perhaps as an act of integration of the whole self, and as an illustration that the whole is greater than the parts. Third Eye This is the developed clairvoyant perceptiveness that comes with spiritual development. It is the Third Eye of Buddha and symbolises unity and balance. In no case does it represent a physical quality, though it is thought to link with the pineal gland.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary