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"The Wheel" tarot card from the Druid Craft Tarot deck. The message is, "You can see the patterns in your life and the wider patterns in the circles of Birth, Life, Death, and Rebirth. Harvesting the seeds of destiny, you continue to sow seeds of love.
A memorable dream of circles and squares…
Recently, I had one of those memorable dreams. I want to try to share it and I will do my best. But please forgive me, like all dreams, there is so much lost in trying to put something like this into words. The dream felt like a working out of some deep questions that I didn’t really understand. It seemed to address some of the big questions I think about in my life, including how to navigate a world of challenges, deadlines and tasks, while at the same time keeping roots in the spiritual world that lives beneath all things.
In the dream I have the sense of the four directions. People are grouped according to each of the four directions. They are experiencing some sort of challenge involving different levels of experience. They are “singing their way around the four directions.” The dream takes place in the forest (and at the same time, in a subway car!)
The first person in line for each of the four directions achieves something. One man “achieves a square” and gets the message that the next level is open to him. There is great joy and connection along with this accomplishment. I feel like I am quite close to this next level but not yet there. I get information for signing up for the next level. One of the others gets the same message as me and the last person gets a less clear answer.
It is obvious to me though, from another perspective, that at a higher level, none of this means anything. And that in addition to this “square” way of being, there is also a “circle” way and that in this circle way, surrender is key. The circle way is open to all. It’s paradoxical. Surrender is the circle and this surrender is another, equally valid way of making it “up” the square.
Summer of 2011, Sackets Harbor, NY, this story and the wheel tarot card reminded me of the summer I made this labyrinth by Lake Ontario. Another reminder of the circles/cycles of the seasons.
Looking at dreams in a new way
I woke up from this dream with a strong feeling of contentment. In the Hagitude, year-long course I am taking, we are looking at dreams in a way that feels very familiar to me, from my past experience as an art therapist. Instead of trying to analyze and put meaning into the dream, we try to experience it as it is, taking in the symbols and metaphors as living beings. Just as, when I was an art therapist, we tried to help our clients or patients live into the meaning of their art work.
Living in a Circle or Square Way
Since this dream, I have been musing on this idea of living in a circle or square way, along with the idea that either way is just as legitimate as a way of being/living. Maybe you can relate to this too? I’ve talked in other newsletters here about my fascination with different ways of tracking time. One the one side, the square (or rectangular) calendar with its neatly organizing time into days, weeks, months, years-so essential for getting things done, achieving goals, remembering dentist appointments.
The Circles/Cycles of the Season
On the other, the circles/cycles of the seasons, where goals and achievements have less relevance. In the circle way, repetition is key, seasons reoccur, stories are told and retold, gaining meaning and depth with each repetition. All harkening back to the central stories that our ancestors would have told, to give meaning to the seasons-the old Goddess/crone of winter dying in the spring and the young Goddess/maiden of spring taking her place. The birth of the young god of winter, growing into manhood, and his union with the maiden in summer and then his being sacrificed in the fall, as the fullness of the harvest is reaped. Over and over again.
In Mother Nature's Gaze, watercolor crayons and mixed media
Our Collective Stories
We are drawn to these stories, even if we don’t tell them, because they are in our, what psychologist and mythologist (is that a word?) Carl Gustav Jung, called our collective unconscious. In the midst of our rushing from medical appointments to work to social events, our lives feel more deeply meaningful when we are able to listen to, even in the slightest way, those deep bass notes of archetypal meaning. By this I mean, our daily, surface stories, resonate at all times with the deepest stories, outside of time, running beneath ours.
The Web of Life that Connects us All
We live within the circle that is the web of life, connecting us to each other, living and dead and there is no distinction between someone who has lived a life of great achievement and someone who perhaps has led a quieter, less “consequential” life. And we are connected in a way that transcends time, as in the words of Donald Kalsched in his new book, Trauma and the Soul: A Psychospiritual approach to Human Development and its Interruption, “there might be a dimension of consciousness that transcends time and space and includes the pooled memories of our ancestors.” (pg. 37) We can tap into these dimensions at any time, but it is the “circle” time that seems to make this connection easier. And in the tapping into deeper meaning, we are at the same time sending down deep roots into our “square” lives, paradoxically making it easier to function in our day-to-day lives.
Sanctuary: Take Comfort Now, collage, watercolor crayons, watercolor pencils, revisiting from blog post, January, 2023
I've been making dolls for about ten years now. I believe that dolls serve as representations and reminders of the best part of ourselves. I am excited to share with you here my learnings about new methods and techniques for doll making and healing. So glad you are here!