The night before my 39th birthday I had a particularly obfuscated Dream, filled with twists and turns, clutter, low vision, spikes and edges; it was over-populated with people, events… just a whole lot going on.
As a started working on one aspect of the Dream, namely ‘the birth of three babies of mine, in the shape of 3 giant horse chestnuts”, I followed a specific process. One that has sustained me, that is pretty straight forward, and that takes you on a steep but highly rewarding journey of self-discovery.
As I was descending down the symbolism of these spikey, huge and at the same time charming trio of chestnuts aka babies, every little detail mattered. As it does. Every little detail presented with an opportunity of touching upon unknown, unfamiliar, weird concepts.
I know that when I get to that state of “Hm, wow, hmmm, I wonder what this is…hmm ..:. It is strange”, a shift is about to occur.
The more I hmmm and ooomph about and try not to run away with the first and most convenient association or interpretation, the more new layers crack open. Just like chestnuts. Doors start opening. I go deeper into the forest, metaphorically speaking. The forest is both my safe and happy place, as well as a mysterious dark, dangerous and unknown area. Emotions start to bubble up. At first slowly emerging, then flooding. I keep the container steadily, firmly. I know I the one who is in control. So I hush and sush, for my sometimes scared little inner child, until she settles and we continue.
Those who work with me are quite familiar with the metaphor I use during our travels into the forest, into those darker aspects of our psyche – it is muck like holding a torch and as stepping forward as we illuminate the path. We can pause, look around, explore, get to truly see, learn, feel, with a different kind of Inner seeing, inner hearing, and we can safely proceed.
The body also responds, of course. The body, our Consort, the one that never leaves us (well…) and is our most loyal companion (a profound yet simple concept which Clarissa P Estes explains beautifully), stores each emotion, each autumn leaf, each smile, each heart beat. Dreams engage the body in an interestingly controlled way. And there are plenty of reasons, one of them being – we don’t literally walk off into the night and into the forest. But we also engage lots of drives, our entire nervous system participates.
I woke up with a headache. A tension, the one you get after a lot of effort, physical strain, intellectual push…
Where are these spikey babies in me? Which part of me, a triad, is going through an intellectual push…and also these chestnuts (so rich and full of symbolism) are linked (of course) with my endless fascination with pine tress, pine cones, needles… trees…and their fruit.
One of the ways I engage with a Dream further in order to deepen its meaning, access its symbolism, and observe where does my body gets “poked” when I create, is through drawing. Art is a language, art is liberating, art is medicine. Art heals.
The emotions, the sensations, the thoughts and connections which overcame me when I was drawing my chestnut (pictured) cannot be ‘spoken’ about. This is when I know I am in rich and fertile ground – when I reach the place of the “unspeakables”.
The unspeakables is a concept I have engaged with for many years now, both academically and in my work with women, who experience distress, depression and maternal ambivalence. The unspeakables is a concept I am still developing now, and it has a spiritual, mysterious, yet very real, present and almost tactile meaning to it.
I am not going to go into analysis of the dream here. It’s deeply personal, individual and nobody but me would be able (or would benefit from) understanding it.
But I will say thes. Babies, archetypally signify new ideas, creativity, generosity of body, endurance and renewed life. Birth. Babies also gravitate deeply within the realm of the unspeakable. They have to be cared for. Despite their spikes.
Happy birth-day to me.