Signs and Symbols: The Language of the Deep Mind

This is a subject that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.  2009 has been a very tumultuous year for me, and when the world starts spinning around you like a top on acid, you start looking to the universe for some direction.

I think that a lot of people turn to their religion for comfort in times of personal difficulty.  Witches are really no different.  When the going gets tough, we turn to what we know.

“Give me a sign. Where do I turn?  What should I do?  Tell me everything will be ok.”  We cry out to the night hoping that whoever is listening will take mercy on us and help to ease our fear of the endless darkness.

And maybe that night we’ll have a dream that seems bizarre or frightening.  Maybe the next day, something will happen that will offer us that comfort in way we weren’t expecting.

We don’t always know why it makes us feel better, it just does.  Signs speak to our subconscious.  They soothe the deep mind, which in turn can help to calm and quiet our conscious mind.

It can be anything.  A song on the radio.  The perfume of baking bread caught on the breeze that instantly transports you back to your grandmother’s kitchen when you were 5 years old.  A friendly smile from a stranger who offers to hold the door for you.  Or maybe just for one day all of the little annoyances that usually pile heavy on your shoulders are mysteriously absent.

This is the comfort of the universe, telling us that no matter what happens, no matter how bad it might get, life is still pretty cool.  You’ll get through it.  The sun will rise tomorrow, and it will warm you like it always has.

In the dream world, any messages we may receive become more symbolic and can often be more confusing than enlightening.  Especially when the dreamer is not familiar with the language of the message.

Our subconscious mind speaks in impressions and symbols.  It doesn’t understand linear thought, and cannot communicate with us on the same level we use in the waking world.  There are no little post-it notes to remind us to buy milk.

Obviously, not all dreams are prophetic or hold an esoteric message.  And a lot of the time, the messages that they do hold are things that you already know.   In this case, the message is less about the content and more about getting you to stop ignoring it.

This is especially true of recurring dreams.  More often than not, the moment you unravel the message in a recurring dream, you’ll stop having it.

One recurring dream that is fairly common involves having your teeth fall out.  I’ve had this one myself off and on my whole life, and I can tell you, it can get pretty horrifying.

For me, this has always been the dream that I could never control.  Prophetic dreams are common in my family, and quite often they get to be pretty intense.  Many years ago, I learned that lucid dreaming can help to keep nightmares in check and allow a way to start to understand dream messages before I wake.

In this dream, however, there is no sign that I can grab onto that lets me pull myself up into a lucid dreaming state.  There is nothing that alerts me to ‘this isn’t real.  This is a dream.’  It spirals out of control until I just can’t stand it anymore.

I often jump out of this dream with a racing pulse and a full body shudder.  It’s a little different each time, but it always includes spitting out my teeth, only to have them grow back and fall out again and again until I feel like I will choke to death.

This dream is not that hard to interpret, if you think about it.  It has to do with a refusal to or an inability to speak your mind.  You’re keeping something important inside, and it’s choking you.

I think that there are situations in everyone’s life where they just prefer to keep the peace rather than rock the boat.  My mother used to tell me “pick your battles”.  It’s this instinct that can cause this dream to come back on me again and again.

Even if it doesn’t seem like the situation is worth causing a fuss over, if this dream comes calling, it’s a pretty clear sign that there is a part of you that thinks that it is worth speaking up about.

Another fairly commonly misunderstood dream is about death or dying.  This is one that even people who understand that dreams are symbolic tend to take literally.

I think that the key to this dream is to remember the Death card of the Tarot.  The Death card symbolizes change.

This thought seems to comfort a lot of people.  And I find that a little bizarre.

The Change that the Death card portents is not the simple and easy kind.  The Reaper is not a figure to be taken lightly.  He may not come to take your last breath, but what he does come for is often not going to be something you’re going to want to give up.

If you dream of yourself dying, this is often indicative of an approaching change in yourself or a desire to escape a specific situation in your life.  The circumstances surrounding your death are important to unravel the message that this dream contains for you.

If you dream of someone else dying, it can mean a change in your relationship with that person.  Or it could also be a warning that if things do not change between you, the relationship may end altogether.

While the above two examples tend to be more universal or ‘classic’ of dream symbology, it is important to remember that dreams are intensely personal and the symbols will often be difficult for someone else to unravel for you.

“Give me a sign.”

I think that if you’ve reached the point where you find yourself making this plea, it is important to understand that the answer you receive may not be the comfort you are looking for.  The truth can be harsh and hard to swallow.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that whether you believe that signs and dreams are communication from the divine or just your subconscious mind trying to process your life, the information made available to you should be looked at in the same light as any other advice.  You always have the choice of whether or not to follow it.

The future can never be predicted with total accuracy because it is always changing.  Everything we do, every choice we make changes what would have happened otherwise.  And while the world is filled with circumstances beyond our control, we can always choose how we face the uncertainties in life.

To paraphrase something a good friend of mine told me recently, ‘Sometimes all we can do is make sure that we are still in one piece when the storm subsides’.

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