I’ve been thinking that this blog has been rather serious lately and I’d like to put something more faery frivolous in it, and this at least starts out that way.
I dreamed that I went to a town meeting. There were a couple of thousand people there. It was being held on the machair, a broad sandy beach with tufts of tough but richly nourishing grass on it. The tide was out, and between the low and high tide marks, the beach was very stony and harsh, unlike the firm sand of the machair higher up. The sea was restless. I was wearing my sandals with flowers on the soles, leaving lovely footprints in the sand, and was walking backward to watch the footprints. They made me feel blithe and whimsical. And happy.
A very old, large, ruined stone building stood on a dune nearby. It was scheduled to be demolished, although most of us wanted it to be restored instead — restored or rebuilt somehow. People were volunteering to help in various ways and offering to work on the building or to help reuse bits from it, saving the best parts. As they considered these things, some small groups sang or danced, some sat in circles, holding hands, while others wandered around looking thoughtful.
Somehow, I accidentally became responsible for all the wine racks from the building (house? castle? stronghold?). The racks were beautifully made of aged black walnut, and there were enough of them to fully furnish all the wine cellars of all the castles in Germany and have enough left over to fill the cellars of the Vatican and every monastic order in Italy. There were probably even more racks than that. Beautiful, strong wood for making furniture and — O, and wouldn’t it be lovely for making doll houses and faery houses and birdhouses? There seemed to be acres of the racks — they stretched as far as I could see.
There was a large, bulbous man who seemed to think he was in charge, though no one I knew seemed to know or like him or to care for his disapproval of all the suggestions offered. He demanded, “Young lady, what are you going to do with those wine racks?” There was a world or two of condescension in that “young lady” — he was many years younger than I. And somehow, I didn’t think he would appreciate the idea of doll and faery houses.
It was irresistible. I became very fluttery. “O, sir! I’m going to carve tiny figures out of them. You know — little humans and animals and other extinct creatures!”
“You cannot possibly use all that wood for that!” He actually stomped his foot in temper. Suddenly he became a judge, wearing robes and seated in one of those high, lectern things that judges use, towering over us all.
“O,” I waved my hands airily, “Do you think not? Then I’ll just have to find other people who’d like to do the same thing. I’m sure there are very many who would enjoy it, and then I’d only need to bring those people” (I gestured toward the imaginary crowd with one hand) “together with these wine racks,” (gesturing toward the racks with the other hand) “and poof! Problem solved! Voila!” I clapped my hands together happily.
“Young lady! You are not making this easy for me!” He pounded his gavel so hard he damaged the beautiful wood of his desktop.
I thought about this and his sarcasm and condescension in calling me “young lady” yet again, and smiled at him as if I were the small Shirley Temple showing off my dimples. I don’t have dimples and am of an elderly persuasion, and then said slowly, “Nooooooo… but I could if I wanted to. You just haven’t given me any reason to want to.”
His entire shiny head turned a brilliant scarlet, like a Christmas ornament, and he began to swell up, bobbing upward in his chair. It would make a terrible mess if he exploded.
So I woke up. And then I laughed and laughed.
There are lots of ways to think about dreams. They can be ways in which the unconscious (or subconscious) mind can tap into that non-local consciousness. Or they can be so simple as a chance to view everything in the dream as a part of yourself. Viewing yourself this way gives an opportunity look at the disparate parts, considering the symbolism, the interactions, the conflicts and resolutions, the ways in which the central “I” of the dream is being helped or harmed — or transformed.
For example, buildings in dreams may sometimes represent the body of the dreamer. Here the ruined building could be my body and the state of my health (which concerns me) or it could be my ‘body of work’ — the various (and often scattered) things that I’ve done, which I’m trying to organize and clarify so I can best work out what is important to focus on now. I suspect that it is both of these things, and in the dream we see this ruin that is maybe, perhaps, conceivably, feasibly, imaginably repairable. Or for all one knows, it might just be trash and scraps, some of which might be salvageable. In either case, body or body of work, it will take the cooperation of many aspects of myself to do anything worthwhile with the current mess. (I’m actually working on both things — O, and a third — trying to create order in my home, in my body, and in my work, but I’m not being very orderly about it. Being disorderly about creating order seems like a contradiction in terms.)
Many parts of myself seem easily distracted, but good-natured, while others seem cooperative and willing to help if only some agreement can be reached. One part, the bossy judge, seems only interested putting down the ideas of others. He offers no constructive suggestions and gets angry with the ideas offered. He wants to be in control and can always (or almost always) find a reason to disapprove of any action. One way of dealing with him is to make fun of him, but… that doesn’t seems to be working well and he is about to explode and make a big mess. This is a recognizable part of me, an internalization of a lesson learned wrongly, but early, that things must be kept under tight control, that action is not safe, that I can’t trust myself or my intuition to make plans and decisions, so I just create more muddle. I thought I’d long since overcome that attitude, and I know that it is not true, but obviously a trouble-making part of me still thinks it is — and I need to find a much better way to deal with it, hopefully a final cure.
I draw a Faeries’ Oracle card to represent the judge and get the Bodacious Bodach, a perfect fit — interfering, bossy, wrong-headed, but meaning to be helpful. I’m wondering what I can do to give him a way to actually be helpful. Perhaps that part of me might like to make lists and put thoughts into categories where they can be looked at in a more orderly way. Lists, plans, and maps can be very comforting, but are a bit boring to make. This suggests that the tediousness of it might well be worthwhile.
Later on, I pull a Medicine Card, asking what I can best do to help the judge be more comfortable. Grandmother Spider, sitting in the center of her own web, tells me that I need not only to be centered about my work, but also about all the other aspects of my life. I need to understand how they all relate to each other: gardening, house, meditation, writing and art, health, and everything. How do these different things cooperate and how do they conflict or get in the way of each other? I may need to draw a lot of Venn diagrams before I understand this.
I’ve no idea what the wine racks represent. Ideas and/or possessions that could best be repurposed (perhaps radically so) now? They are well-crafted, but not useful in their present form. The beautiful raw materials I have for making and writing?
“Footprints in the Sand” — why did I intuitively choose that for the title to this? Is that a part of the solution or of the question? Do I, in my heart, feel that none of it matters and it will all soon be washed away by wind and storm and tide? And where did the thought about “humans and animals and other extinct creatures” come from? I can guess — and have already decided that the only sensible way to live is to act as if there will be a tomorrow while focusing on the value of today. With courage and compassion, and, yes, hope.
What to do? What to do? What to do?