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The Path, The Clearing, The Cave

Hi,

I had a dream a short time ago which has been particularly fascinating to me. The dream started off with me walking on a narrow path in a dense forest. It was the middle of the night, and I suddenly became aware that I was not alone. Coming out of the shadows of the forest was the black outline of a man, but he did not look so much like a man, as he did a cartoon drawing of personified lightning. He excitedly danced around me, silently urging me further and further along the path. I felt as though I had no control, as if his desire for me to continue rendered me helpless. Shortly after, we came into a circular clearing in the woods. In one portion of the clearing, there was a cave which was blocked by a large boulder. There were smaller rocks lying scattered here and there within the rest of the clearing. The clearing was dimly lit by bright neon "grafitti" which covered many of the rocks. It was all written in a language I did not know, or perhaps in some other form of symbols. However, above the boulder on the cave was written, "Do Not Enter Or You Will Die!" The vibrancy of the grafitti seemed to emit emotion, because it was so bright and life-like. It reminded me of glow in the dark paint, only it was so much more vibrant, and the colors changed, as though they were breathing. My companion was still with me, and I felt very apprehensive being near such a dangerous place. He quickly got to work on moving the boulder out of the way, which I warned him not to do, as it was promised we would both die if we entered. Again, his will seemed to compell me into the cave and I walked along, scared of what was going to happen to me. Suddenly, in the tunnel, there came a man surrounded by intense light. He looked like some form of monk--he was definitely Asian in appearance, and fairly old. He was very pleasant and seemed glad to see me there--his smile was brilliant. I immediately apologized for coming, and tried to point out my shadow-companion which, of course, was nowhere to be found. The monk led me further into the cave. Up ahead there was a light around the corner, and I was ushered into that area, where the monk stayed behind. Inside the lit area of the cave was a large chamber, filled with women. The women were talking amongst themselves, very interested in the conversations taking place. Then they saw me, and rushed to greet me. There must have been hundreds. They were all well dressed, well-mannered, and extremely intelligent. Their conversations were all philosophical in nature. However, soon after I arrived, they told me it was "bedtime" and the whole group laid down on one enormous bed which seemed to go on forever. I laid between two women which competed for my attention: to my left was a woman who tried to seduce me into having sex with her. On my right was a woman whom was engaging me in intimate conversation. I eventually rejected the seducer, and rolled over to face the one whom was engaging me in conversation. I awoke shortly after.

Any ideas?

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 23, Pennsylvania

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Re: The Path, The Clearing, The Cave

My Personal Attempt At Interpretation

I am somewhat acquainted with Jung's theories, as I have studied him to a degree, and psychology to a larger degree (I am currently finishing up a Masters Degree in Counseling). I'd like to collaborate with others in trying to decode this dream.

1. The "personified lightning" man strikes me as having to be my Shadow. He came came out of the shadows of the forest, as was very chaotic, energetic, and overwhelmingly frustrating. He did not share any of the social niceties which I strive to show others, and instead made demands upon me. He did not seem inherently evil, but I would say that he was more of my opposite than my likeness, and was a very psychically charged entity. I must address the notion of "personified lightning". This figure was entirely black and shadow-like. However, his arms, legs, and entire body were somewhat zig-zagged as though he were some cartoon rendition of what lightning would look like if he were a man.

2. The path itself. This I take to be "my path" or my life in general. I find myself in a dense forest at night time, and very lost. At the time of this dream (a little under a year ago), I felt very confused and felt as though my life were at a dead end. Enter my Shadow--whom serves as a catalyst in forcing me onward, beyond the bounds my persona is allowing me to explore.

3. The circular clearing. While in the dream, this clearing struck me as a perfect circle. In fact, I was amazed by it's presence there in the middle of the woods, because it presented itself as though it were a product of nature, and not a man-made clearing. I have read that a circle represents the Self--many children draw circles shortly after overcoming psychic trauma. Perhaps the circle represented my desire for wholeness, since I felt so stuck, defeated, and lost at the time.

4. The Cave and the stones. Here is this enormous, intimidating cave! I cannot express how powerful it seemed. All around are these symbols written in pulsating neons, which alter between greens and yellows and oranges--beautiful, and yet dangerous because of their exotic qualities. Perhaps these symbols serve as amulets to distract me from entering the cave. The dream occurs at night time, so these vibrant colors (they gave off light) make me think of the conscious--particularly in that they are used in the "DO NOT ENTER OR YOU WILL DIE!" grafitti above the boulder blocking the cave. Here two Christian symbols come into play. First, you have the "...OR YOU WILL DIE". This goes back to the Garden of Eden. The Cave is a taboo place to be, as it offers enlightenment. Becoming enlightened splinters man apart from his environment and from others, and so, journeying into this cave will be a death to me--but also a rebirth. DEATH AND REBIRTH. The cave is also much like the tomb of Jesus Christ. Rolling the stone away will expose the empty tomb--the yet hidden Ressurection. I will die from entering this place, but because I die ("if I lay my life down for His sake, I will gain it") I am promised rebirth--and life everlasting. However, my conscious holds me back, and my Shadow must do the work for me.

4. The Tunnel. Now I am in a tunnel, or birth canal. I am going deeper and deeper down the tunnel. All along I assume my Shadow is still with me (by the way, I have been shouting at him the entire time, cursing him for getting me into this mess). However, once my buddhist/taoist/hindu monk-guide comes to greet me, the Shadow is gone. I try to spot him so I can explain to the monk that I was conned into entering the sacred cave, but I cannot find him. MORE CHRSTIAN IMAGERY. This is much like Adam after eating the fruit. I try to blame Eve (my Shadow) for my disobediance--for my new enlightened state. All this aside, the monk/sage is very happy to see me, as if he were expecting me the entire time (he is bald by the way, if that matters). Further, he seems to emit unconditional love. ("God is Love"?) Also, he doesn't speak to me at all. He simply gestures that I follow him. He was also wearing an orange and cream colored robe, if I remember correctly. Perhaps this is the Wise Old Man, or even my Self. In either case, he is the facilitator of my meeting with the great den, where the women are.

5. The Great Den. The Den...I don't know what to think of this. It is a very welcoming and generous place. The women are extremely intelligent, philosophical, and kind here. I am overwhelmed by more unconditional love and acceptance. In fact, I have never experienced such a strong feeling of unconditional positive regard in my waking life--it was so wonderful. There was such a great air of mutual respect and sharing in this place. However, my time spent there was short. I was only there a small time before "bedtime" came--it was kind of like a commune--they lived by a shared code of rules. Perhaps this entire place represents my anima? Growing up, I had always been a very intuitive, charismatic type. This continued on until college, where I adopted a more rationalistic, reductionistic attitude (so that I could survive in that environment!). However, this persona I took on was killing me deep down, and now I had to reacquaint myself with my anima--which was like a happy family reunion of some sort. I don't really understand forgoing the sex for the conversation--perhaps I was not yet willing to fully integrate my anima (intuition, charismatic religious experiences) into my life.

For the last several months since having this dream, I have had a great number of sex dreams, in which I have sex with girls I know from various parts of my life. In each dream, I am overcome with a sense of shame or fear, feeling that I have been given a disease, or that I have been used and rejected. In the earlier dreams, I would stop myself in the act, or block the act from happening at all. But more recently the full act has been accomplished. In my most recent one, I am actually being advanced upon by my mother, who then turns into another girl who I know. After the sex is over, the girl shouts out in horror, "YOU LOVE ME MORE THAN MY DAD LOVES MY MOM!" The dream left me nauseated, as it involved both my mom, and this girl whom is a recently-married, extremely conservative Christian type (she was, at the time, the perfect picture of the pristine virgin). Perhaps I have finally allowed my anima to come back into my life? I can tell you, I no longer demand strictly rational arguments as a proper means for making my decisions. I don't know. Why would she say something like that though?--about me loving her more than her dad loves her mom? What is that?

Does any of my interpretation ring true to Jung's ideas?

Thanks for any insight you can give me!

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 23, Pennsylvania

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

Re: The Path, The Clearing, The Cave

Alan,
Your dream not only rings true with Jungian ideas but also with your deeper search for your true self. The symbols indicate a deep search that is well into the development stages {you are not a beginner at this as you indicated}.

I see the cave as an important aspect of this dream. I sense some deep archetypal {see archetypes at left column} forces at play with this dream. The "DO NOT ENTER OR YOU WILL DIE!" grafitti may provide clues to the meaning of the cave. Often caves are symbolic of unconscious contents and the deeper you go the deeper the contents {and perhaps in your dream/life contact with archetypal aspects of the psyche}. The 'do not enter' graffitti would be a warning of those contents that may reveal information that is opposite of what your beliefs/knowledge have been previously. This could very well have to do with religious indoctrination that seems not to fit as it once did {if so join the club- recovering Church of Christ here}.

The monk would be that true self, balanced and wise beyond the normal self. And he is leading you deeper into the cave where you come upon those feminine qualities that are a part of the deeper psychological and spiritual Self {and let's not forget the creative self, a vital feminine aspect}. This is an important aspect {feminine} that is ready to receive you.

Laying between the two women may represent the choices that are now available to you. If you look at what is being offered by the two feminine aspects, it is the communication from the ninner feminine self that you are interested in. This is of great interest. But perhaps you have rejected the seductress {giving in to the new spiritual possibilities} and as of yet giving thought only to the conversation.

The choices probably have to do with the spiritual aspects, discovering new possibilities that have not accepted previously. Have you looked into other possibilities beyond those of your established faith?
{your dialog at the end of your second post indicates as much}
Having studied Jung you would have to had come across such temptations since Jung's model of spirituality is less religious and more spiritual. Having evolved into a person who not only requires rational realizations but also are open to the unknown possibilities gives creedence to this.

I believe you are correct in your assumptions of having begun to open up to your anima. Besides the important God within there is an even more important Goddess within. Discovering this previously unrealized aspect can and will open up areas of new discovery, spiritually and psychologically.

Let me know your thoughts. I would be interested in knowing how you feel about my interpretation, especially to the spiritual aspects.

Gerard

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 55 Murfreesboro, Tn.

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Re: The Path, The Clearing, The Cave

"Let me know your thoughts. I would be interested in knowing how you feel about my interpretation, especially to the spiritual aspects."

You are definitely right about the religious tension. I was raised in the United Church of Christ (probably the most liberal church in the universe). However, as a child I was extremely bored there and didn't pay much attention to anything being taught to me. By the time confirmation rolled around, I was just going along with it since it was "the thing to do". Meanwhile, I was beginning to experience all sorts of internal and social issues. During my 8th grade year my face became covered with acne, my teeth became even more crooked, and I felt like I was utterly alone. With all the pain and self-hate, I found it hard to believe there was a God, and the promiscuity that was going on (already in middle school!) seemed to support the idea that human beings were simply animals with a strong desire to procreate. Deep inside, although it hurt, I acknowledged that I had lost my faith--that life was an accident with no meaning, and that it's only point was to spawn some kids before one dies.

Well, this didn't go on forever. I couldn't stand thinking this way, and decided that I ought to at least give my own religion a real good try. For nearly a two year span, I read my bible(s) in the secrecy of my room, and meditated on each line, as though I were some sort of mystic. After a period of reading, I would then lie face down on the floor and begin to experience these violent shakes, which felt amazing. I felt as though I was in direct contact with God--and knew that I was "saved". My two years of this ran down, and ended with a very odd vision. One night, I had a "dream within a dream" (or at least I tell myself this) in which an angel appeared in my bedroom. He emitted intense light, and lifted up his left hand to point at several words written in a language I didn't understand. I was puzzled, and tried to communicate my confusion to him. Then he vanished, and Christ appeared--at least I call it Christ. It was the most intense light I have ever seen--light so intense that it felt as though it could annihilate me and the entire universe simultaneously. Nearly against my will I was thrown down on the carpet and laid prostrate on the ground...face pushed into the carpet with all my strength as to protect myself. It did not feel as though He was going to destroy me--just that this was how a mortal naturally feels in the presence of God. Then He was gone, and I found myself (just as in the vision) lying face down on the carpet of my bedroom. I got up and laid there shaking...unable to understand what had just happened.

This, for whatever reason, ended my "religious" period. I finished up my senior year of high school focusing on what college held in store for me. College then came and went, I found that a lot of people I met were either atheists or agnostics, all of them looking down upon spirituality as some form of ignorance and childishness. This hurt me. If there is one thing I learned while in college, it was that "an intelligent, educated man does not believe in God" or spirituality of any sort, for that matter. As I debated with one after another, I found myself having the weaker argument--I was wrong--there was no God and no purpose or meaning in life. One day in my senior year, I was standing in the shower when this terrible, foul energy came upon me. It was not a panic attack, but it was a sort of panic. To this point, I had been happy enough to eschew my spiritual responsibilities and had pretty much become a chainsmoking drunk--I had no reason to live anyway. Well, this experience made me rethink that. It was horrible, and as weeks went by, I found that I could not even enjoy the beer or cigarettes which I had come to rely on for comfort. So, I turned to my long-dead faith--which of course couldn't be jump-started. I knew I had to go to graduate school in order to become a counselor, so I decided to find a "Christian college" where perhaps someone could intelligently argue for the existence of God and help me to believe again.

Well, let me tell you. I managed to avoid the religious right for a long time...but not any longer. The place where I am at now (no, it's not Liberty University) is a freaking Nazi death-camp compared to my old church. However, despite that, being here has served as a catalyst for me to consider my spirituality at greater lengths, and I must say that I no longer feel spiritually dead (how you feel is important--regardless of what Charles Stanley says )

So anyway, yeah. To make a long story short, I have definitely been on a spiritual journey. I tried for several months to adopt the theology of my present school, but because they are Calvinistic here (meaning, God creates people with the intention of sending them to hell) I just couldn't do it. I have pretty much become a closet Christian Universalist, since that is what I believed when I was experiencing all the shaking and whatnot. But I have found that, if one is to have any sort of faith in our current world, you must be a mystic of some sort--as God seems to be outside the bounds of rational arguments. And yes, it has been an uncomfortable journey...everyone is very happy to tell you how you're going to hell for not sharing their particular theology. But to hell with them! Judge not lest ye yourself be judged. I cannot adhere to a theology in which Christ (God incarnate) expresses disgust for hypocrites, tells us to love our enemy, to forgive 7x70, and then sends everyone to hell. "Jesus Christ, the savior of all men, especially those who believe." 1Tim4:10

Thanks for your insight.

Namaste.

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 23, Pennsylvania

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Re: The Path, The Clearing, The Cave

P.S.

"The choices probably have to do with the spiritual aspects, discovering new possibilities that have not accepted previously. Have you looked into other possibilities beyond those of your established faith?"

I've looked into Taoism, Buddhism, Jungian Psychology, Joseph Campbell tapes and books, New Age talk radio, liberal Christian theologians, syncretists, etc. Oh yeah, and philosophy--lots and lots of philosophy. I started off my new search by reading thousands (literally) of near-death experiences. Then moved on to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross...which got me back into Jung. I've bought about a hundred books in the last two years, all about religious/philosophical stuff. I lost my girlfriend amidst all of this changing, so yeah...this spiritual quest is the focal point of my life. I almost have stopped caring about other things. I guess I'm a spiritual junkie.

Namaste

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 23, Pennsylvania

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Re: Re: The Path, The Clearing, The Cave

Alan,
I seems that WICCA has become an important part of your spiritual search. Any earth based spirituality is benefitial. WICCA, when properly understood, is an excellent spiritual philosophy.

Perhaps having to still endure the ignorance of those around you {those stuck on a literal interpretation of religion} is unconsciously more than you can endure. I have many problems with so called christians because of their ignorance in atking too seriously the literal explainations of those who wish to use them to gain power {most orgainized religions are merely a play for power and control}. It is important to understand all religions {and the fact that all religions are myths} to have a full knowledge of how spirituality functions in the mind of different people. But being constantly exposed to this, especially after you have gained a higher knowledge of what spirituality really is
" can keep you from being all that you can be. Being around like minded people may help with this.

Are you familiar with the Gnostic Gospels? Beinga recovering christian I found truths beyond the dogma of the church in these gospels that provided me with deeper insights to my christian foundations. It released from the grip of the church and opened up a true relatiosnhip with the inner Christ. It is amore about Jesus with god being a minor character. Forget god, think Jesus is a good explaination of the psychological value of these gospels. When you read them, especially the Gospel of Thomas, you will realize that they are pure Buddhism, directing your focus inward, and not outward. Elaine Pagels is an excellent sorce in understanding this heretic christian view of the inward journey.

Gerard

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 55 Murfreesboro, Tn.

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Re: The Path, The Clearing, The Cave

Gerard,

I once started reading a small book on buddhism written by the Dalai Lama. Within the first five pages, he cautioned against converting to buddhism if you had been raised in any other faith, and suggested that only atheists or agnostics consider conversion. He then went on to talk about the "paths" to the top of the mountain, and that each path can lead there. I have decided to take his advice.

HOWEVER. I must tell you that I have read some of the gnostic texts, and that they resonate very deeply with me. When I was having my religious experience, it felt as though the ideas written in the gospel of Thomas were springing up from within me--I was certainly experiencing a very internal, psychological/spiritual experience. I found this odd, since it didn't seem like the other Christians were having the same experience, so I kept it to myself. I feel this has to do with wholely delivering oneself up and allowing what I call the Holy Spirit to enter. All this was before reading Thomas. When I got around to reading him, I felt as though it was obvious that this was the truth--that this was indeed some of the "inside information" that Christ concealed in his parables to keep the Jews/Romans from killing him (before it was time). At that time, I was comfortable being somewhat unorthodox, because I was having all these spiritual experiences, and took them as proofs that I wasn't doing any wrong... however, since my desert experience, I began to wonder if I had commited some sin that caused God to abandon me, and began to doubt myself. I guess this is why I crawled to this college looking for guidance--fundamentalists are so sure of themselves (thanks to the groupthink) and I am so unsure of myself. It is frightening to be on a spiritual journey alone--but then again, nearly every holy figure in human history had to go it alone. If each of us is truly to carry our cross, perhaps this struggle is only my birthright.

Namaste

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 23, Pennsylvania

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