Gilgamesh: Dreams and the Deep

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The oldest known dream is from the epic story of the king Gilgamesh (c. 2100 BC). He had a prophetic dream of a star being that fell from the sky, landed at his feet, and then he had to fight it. The gods sent Enkidu to challenge Gilgamesh, because the king was a trouble maker. His subjects were frustrated by his meddling behavior and had prayed to the gods to intervene. Enkidu was their response.

I love the title of an ancient version of this story, which is called, “He who Saw the Deep.” The modern translation is “He who Sees the Unknown,” either of which is compelling.

Like Gilgamesh, from over four thousand years ago, we all dream. Even if we don’t remember, we wander while we sleep. All of our experiences, day and night, are like dreams. What’s the point you may wonder?

Well, that is a good question and one I have been pondering for quite some time. I began following my dreams 23 years ago. I have boxes filled with notebooks of dreams and musings about them.

I find them compelling and fascinating to say the least. My own, Gilgamesh’s, and the dreams of others. Why? They contain something that is hidden from sight. Gilgamesh went to his mother, the goddess Ninsun, to interpret his dream. She knew the dream language and understood its meaning.

After all these years, I believe there is a guiding force in the universe. Are we all being pulled toward the great deep black hole? I don’t know for sure, but I do know something is, well, let’s say, unfolding. It’s as though dreams are showing us the way, but we don’t quite know where we are headed. Of course there are theories…

Jung believed we were on a path he called individuation and the journey was to wholeness. I can totally see that, since the symbols of wholeness are present in dreams. And yet, the understanding I received through dreams, was that we are already whole.

There isn’t anything to add or take away. There isn’t a journey, say, from here to there, and there is wholeness. It’s as though we have merely forgotten that we are already whole and the dreams are trying to remind us.

Like they are trying to redirect Gilgamesh toward the truth and what really matters.

He was distracted, preoccupied with the mundane trivialities of his subject’s lives, and caused trouble. His dream, and the star being Enkidu, were sent to get him back on track. To move him from his physical orientation to a more spiritual one.  The point is not to reject the physical, but to embrace everything. To live from the inside out and not the outside in.

Life and dreams helped Gilgamesh, and assist us, in remembering who we are, what really matters, and to reveal the true nature of reality. They add meaning, richness, and enchantment to life. They point to the things we believe that aren’t true and ways we are caught in the past. We are evolving and the dreams are guiding us.

Gilgamesh peered into the inner unknown, the depths within, and there he discovered the truth, or no self, which is who he really is. It is who we really are. We can also see into the deep. All that is required is to look beyond what we are conditioned to believe is true.

 

 

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Is the Witch Really Wicked?

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Or is she just concerned about an invasion of her boundaries? She is similar to the Lion in temperament, since she is defensive and afraid of others. She’s different from him because she does more damage. They both overreact whenever someone approaches. The Lion roars to scare others off and doesn’t get close. The Witch, on the other hand, wants to kill or capture. They both have the same agenda though, which is to stay safe.

The Witch didn’t want Dorothy and her friends to come to her castle. Why? Well, she had a good reason. Dorothy killed her sister and took her sister’s magic shoes. Remember the ruby slippers in the movie? We can understand her wanting to keep them at arms length. Not to mention, they intend to kill her next.

If we see the entire cast as aspects of one person’s psyche, then the Witch is one part and the Wizard is another. The Wizard tells Dorothy that she has to get rid of the Witch if she ever wants to go home. That translates into, “We need to get rid of the Witch, in our own psyches, if we want to live from the heart.”

What does the Witch represent? The aspect of ourselves that judges and destroys. She keeps our gifts from getting out into the world because she is afraid. Either they aren’t good enough or she’s doesn’t want to be seen. She wants to keep us safe and hidden behind the high walls of the castle. She is the inner voice that comments and criticizes. She avoids feeling vulnerable, and keeps us from living in the heart.

Everything suffers with her in the psyche. She hampers our ability to bloom into our potential, our gifts being shared with others, loving relationships, anything that involves the heart. When she is active, we live with a sense of inadequacy.

So, when Dorothy melts her you might think, “Well, good riddance to a bad actor,” but she had good intentions. She was only trying to protect us and keep us safe. It’s just that, well, she has outlived her usefulness. Now that we are adults, we don’t need her protection anymore, and she has to go.

When people are stuck in Witch mode, they exist in a perpetual state of anger and defensiveness.

Shhh, don’t let her what we have in mind. We’ll have to melt her when she least expects it. “With what?” you might be wondering. Water symbolizes emotion. When you get past the Witch’s anger, you reach the water of sadness and grief. Oh, it wasn’t easy for her. She carries the rejection and criticism of others from childhood onward. She may have feelings of being unheard, unseen, unvalued, inadequate, or unloved. She got it from somewhere. A critical or perfectionistic parent, teacher, or coach maybe?

It comes down to either Dorothy or the Witch. One of them has to go. In order to reach the heart, it has to be the Witch. Looking inward. Feeling deeply, through the anger that arises at being unsupported, ignored, not valued, or whatever activates us. Whenever she is front and center, we feel her. Witness her pain , frustration, and anger. Being present to her in a way that hasn’t happened before.

Instead of rejecting her, which has been the response for far too long, embrace her. As we love her, and feel the grief, she melts away. The emotional waters reduce the fire of anger. She gradually reduces her fearful grip on us and allows us to live more fully from the heart. The fear of being unsafe diminishes and eventually dissipates entirely.

Then, remember to click your heels, and boom! your home:) And truly, there is no place like it.

 

 

The Lion Who Forgot He was King.

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When Dorothy, the Tinman, and Scarecrow were on their way to see the Wizard, they encountered the angry roar of the Lion. Which, of course, most of us know, very shortly turned into a whimper. He cried, and wiped away his tears with his tail, when Dorothy directed her anger toward him.

This isn’t exactly how we would expect the king of the forest to act. How did the Lion forget he was the king?

This forgetting can happen when a child lives in a stressful environment. This causes the child to remain in a chronic state of fight or flight. When he or she grows up, the fear-based memory remains in the body and mind. This memory is then relived as though the original situation is still occurring, even though it has passed.

The Lion wasn’t angry so much as petrified. If anyone got too close, he would roar to scare them off. He wouldn’t let anyone get near him to even discern if they were a potential threat or not. He lived in fight or flight mode. This was his way of being in the world, or hiding from it. He kept others at arms length because he didn’t feel safe.

In order to move from fear to fearless, the Lion had to face what he was afraid of.

This means we have to sit with what we really feel and not deny it. I admit that this isn’t the easiest thing to begin, but it’s worth the effort. The good thing is that the more we do it, the more comfortable we get with just feeling it. When we are able to sit with being afraid, uneasy, unsafe, and vulnerable, the less fearful we feel. Focusing on the sensations felt in the body allows them to diminish.

In the book version of the story, the Lion faces a giant spider that is terrorizing all the animals who live in the forest. He has to face what he fears in order to free himself from it, which he does. That is how he regains his fearless title of “King of the Forest.”

 

 

What about that Scarecrow?

 

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Remember when Dorothy came to a fork in the road in The Wizard of Oz and wasn’t sure which way to go? The Scarecrow was in the cornfield, stuck up on a pole, pointing in two opposite directions, to demonstrate her uncertainty.

He represents the intellect that can’t answer the question of which way to go. Many of us have been taught to make decisions by thinking our way through them. This can be accomplished by gathering information on the internet; from friends, acquaintances, and family; searching through memories of similar past experiences, or by reading books to shed light on the subject. The plethora of information available to us can create confusion about which option to choose.

A friend mentioned to his therapist that he was having trouble making a decision. The therapist said, “Make a list of the pros and cons.” When he told me, I asked, “How do you weigh things that cannot be compared?” Some things on each side matter more than others. It’s not an apples to apples comparison. He tried the list and found it didn’t help for exactly that reason.

When the mind gets involved in decision making, we can end up in uncertainty, stuck on that pole like the Scarecrow.

How do we make decisions when we don’t know what to do? Remember in the story, the Scarecrow thinks the Wizard can help. The Wizard can give him a brain to “figure things out.” When they reach the Wizard, he tells the group they already have what they are looking for. The Wizard confesses that he can’t give him a brain. The Scarecrow, like the others, doesn’t want to hear that and insists. The Wizard creates a ceremony to convince the Scarecrow that he has brains. But it was just a show. Then, and only then, did the Scarecrow believe he was sharp enough to solve problems.

The Wizard’s message was that we already have the answers inside us. Sometimes it is referred to as intuition or instinct, but it doesn’t really matter what label it has. We already know what to do. If we are quiet and look inward, we can access our own greater wisdom through intuition, or even dreams. There we can discover all the answers we need. If we are patient, and look, we will know.

Looking for a Sign?

 

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I was driving home from a visit with my friend Teresa, who has been my best friend since fourth grade. I glanced up at the sky and there was a heart in the clouds. I smiled. Not even a mile later, a billboard said, “What are you looking for, a sign?” It made me laugh.

When something out of the ordinary occurs, we pause. We are pulled from our daily state of consciousness into a heightened state of curiosity. What was the message?

I pondered it the next morning and reflected on the events of the previous day. I am surprised every time I do this to discover a daily theme, which I am normally oblivious to. I encountered three separate people who needed to hear that they mattered. Two were strangers.

I experience signs, synchronicities, and coincidences on a fairly regular basis. Despite that regularity, I still am surprised by them. Sometimes, I, or the people I interact with, feel the meetings are divinely orchestrated. Occasionally, I don’t even realize they are occurring, until they are over. I would imagine there are times that I don’t ever notice.

What orchestrates these encounters? What cares enough about us to manifest these experiences?

I had a realization several years ago that the world is all love. I have mentioned that before and also included that I don’t live in that world even though I know it is the truth. Today, it came to me that most of us walk through this world of love in fear, without seeing the love that is always present.

Can you even imagine it? That the world we fear is actually one of love? My dreams have told me this on several occasions. What else could be creating our dreams every night? Guiding and helping us expand into greater awareness. Causing us to grow from children into adults, beating our hearts, inspiring us to take the next breath, or getting us to look up at the sky at the exact right moment to see a heart in the clouds, to remind us that we are loved?

What if the energy that inspires everything to unfold really is love? Jesus said we must become like children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, which is at hand. What if we are so busy defending and protecting ourselves that we don’t see the love all around us and know we are ourselves love?

And what caused you to read this, if not maybe that same energy that caused me to look up and see a heart in the sky? Just wanted you to know that you are loved and you matter…

Sophia’s Royal Origins ~

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The king and queen rejoiced at her birth, it was the moment when Heaven kissed Earth.

Once upon a time, on a lovely day in early summer, the King and Queen welcomed their long-awaited child into the world. They named their beautiful daughter Sophia. The day was perfect in all regards, except that with the descent of the sun, as the day transitioned from evening to night, the Queen took her final breath and left the world. The King was overjoyed at the birth of his daughter, but equally distressed about the loss of the Queen.

The King dreamt that very night of his dear departed wife. She told him to give their daughter to the nursemaid to secretly raise as her own. No one was to know the King and Queen’s child survived, because Sophia might not be safe if she remained with the King. Those with ill-intent could try to manipulate her and use her for their own gain, since she was the heir to the throne. He was so moved by the earnestness of the Queen that as soon as he woke up, he summoned the nursemaid, told her of the dream, and she took the child home.

The nursemaid and her husband, the cobbler, were such honest and upstanding people, that when they told the townspeople the child came from the nursemaid’s sister in a distant town who had died suddenly in childbirth, the townspeople had no cause to question it. They were mourning the loss of the Queen and her baby, so they never gave it a second thought. The couple raised Sophia as if she was their own.

She was a beautiful child. The girl was humble and adopted the ways of her poor kindly loving parents. They had a simple life in which she worked hard, like they did, and accepted their beliefs as her own, as most children do. Although, her parents didn’t tell her who she really was, to protect her, she occasionally woke from her dreams with a feeling of having been home, but it wasn’t the one that she knew. Those dreams evoked a sense of belonging elsewhere. She never told her mother or father because she didn’t want to hurt their feelings.

Sophia dreamt of her origins on her fifteenth birthday. When she awoke that lovely summer day, she was perplexed. It was the same old familiar dream of being in a home that wasn’t the one she lived in with the nursemaid and cobbler, but this time, a Queen told Sophia that she was the daughter of the King and Queen. There were servants in the dream that helped Sophia put on beautiful clothes of sumptuous fabrics. She knew that she was their daughter and the dream was true. Upon arising, she went to her mother.

When the nursemaid heard the dream, she told Sophia to sit. With tears streaming down her face, she told Sophia the whole story. She said they kept the secret to protect the princess until she was old enough to understand and act with integrity.

Sophia thanked her mother for her honesty and went for a walk in the woods to take it all in. As she ambled along the path, she realized that many of the things she had come to believe, weren’t true. The nursemaid and cobbler weren’t her true parents. She grew up simply and in relative poverty, never wanting for anything, but always with just enough. Now, she understood that she would not only inherit a throne, a castle and all that goes with it, but the entire Kingdom as well. She would eventually rule over all of it. Her future had changed in an instant. She learned the truth of her origins from the dream and wondered who she was without her old story.

Sophia said to herself, “The parents that raised the me I thought was me, are not my real parents. My true parents are those who awakened me in a dream to the me that I truly am. They are not of the world I am familiar with. Abundance is my birthright, the gifts which I have now realized are an everlasting source of wealth. The Queen in the dream castle, my true mother, told me of my real inheritance.”

Sophia had to choose which story she was going to live. When she looked up, she saw that she had walked to the castle. The nursemaid and King were waiting for her. They cried tears of joy as they welcomed her back to her true home.

What Happened to the Tinman?

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The Tinman in The Wizard of Oz is a wood chopper, just like his father was. He is a flesh and blood man who lives in the forest alone, since his parents died. He’s lonely until the day he meets a Munchkin girl and falls in love. He wants to marry her, but she wants him to build a bigger house first. He sets out to build that house.

The Munchkin girl lives with and cares for an old woman. She does all of the chores. When the woman hears about the plans of the Munchkin girl and the wood chopper, she asks the local witch to intervene. The woman doesn’t want to lose the girl, because then she would have to do all of her work herself.

The witch put a spell on the ax of the wood chopper. The ax slips as he chops wood for the house and his leg is cut off. That is unfortunate, until the tinsmith says he can make the wood chopper a new leg out of tin. The wood chopper continues building the house.

The old woman discovers the wood chopper is still at it. She goes back to the witch, which means another spell, the ax slips again, and the wood chopper loses another leg. The wood chopper has the tinsmith fix him up again and continues working. The whole cycle repeats, until the wood shopper chops his torso right in half, and loses his heart.

This last slip of the ax means he can’t feel anything and no longer loves the Munchkin girl.

Once he is all tin, he must carry an oil can with him, since he gets stuck whenever it rains.

The wood chopper followed in his father’s footsteps and lived in his parent’s house. This indicates to us that he lives in an old family consciousness. Did he ever ask himself if that was what he wanted? Was it his heart’s desire? To be a wood chopper and live in his parent’s house?

He meets the Munchkin Girl and starts to build a bigger house to get her to marry him. Did he want a bigger house? This Girl represents an out of touch feminine energy, who says things are inadequate as they are and wants more. This is also evident from his behavior as well. Why? Because he doesn’t know when to say “it’s enough” either. He just continues going along, chopping off his own limbs, and never stops to look at what he is doing. The Tinman doesn’t ask himself if the price of this house, or Munchkin Girl, is too high. He is sacrificing himself.

He doesn’t know when to stop, sit down, and look inside at what he is doing, or how he is living. Work, work, work without question. Chop, chop, chop the emotions get repressed. Contact is lost with the body. Go, at all cost, without realizing the price is too high. He is slowly losing too much. Eventually, he cannot even access his heart and love. The body becomes rigid and there isn’t any feeling.

He’s a wood chopper cutting down trees for a living. Trees represent the connection between Heaven and Earth, above and below, the seen and unseen, which he is severing. His activity disconnects him from the below, body, and the above, spirit. The inner and outer life is separate. He is not present or aware.

The fateful rain, which is emotion, when it does come, freezes him up. He gets stuck and is unable to move. It forces him to stop. The Tinman is mired in rigid thinking and predictable patterns of response. He has to be still in order to access the lubricant that will get him moving again.

In order to free him and the heart, the Wicked Witch, who is afraid of water like the Tinman, has to be melted by the waters of emotion. When she takes Dorothy hostage, she puts her to work in the kitchen, which is associated with the heart. Dorothy must learn to tend the fires of her heart and love.

When we sit in stillness, we discover what we feel about what we are doing and how we are living. Wisdom is gained through silence. Things are going so quickly today that it is easy to forget to check in to ask important questions. Are we following the heart? Feel in the body and connected to spirit? Taking time to be quiet, feelings our feelings, linking the inner and outer life through awareness? Or stuck in rigid outmoded beliefs and patterns of response? Is the Wicked Witch alive or has she been melted? Are you free and living from the heart?