The other night, as I sat listening to the March winds wash through a verdant spring-filled ancient volcanic valley, I asked for a dream from the living creatures nearby.
Feeling as if this idea came knocking of its’ own accord on the door of mind and heart, I noted the presence of a few small, young trees, including one delicate and tender seven-foot tall pine tree a few feet off to my left.
A vital intuition occurred to me in that moment to seek to connect with the land and the earth and the wild forces of Nature – in the moment, yet also through a sleep dream. Many dreamers have done this and found that the actual living earth and its inhabitants who aren’t human seem only too willing to respond. The impetus, in my case, has to do with a desire to learn something about the truth of the way we’re all connected and truly need each other and are someways indebted to the earth that cares for us so devotedly.
In contemporary North America today it may be all too easy to feel and think that the main event of Life is the human race. Perhaps with the clearly evident changing climate that we are witnessing, we could consider that it might be otherwise? Our lengthy cultivation of psychological and therapeutic viewpoints seems to have left us with an over-emphasis on the importance and primacy of our so-called individuality. In my work with dreams and dreamers, I see over and again how what occurs in the dreamworld is a call to recognizing that Life and Death and everything in between doesn’t revolve around our selves as triumphant, separately sovereign kings and queens of Creation.
The dream that graciously appeared to me following my curious petition seems to underscore this in an elegant and profound fashion.
In the dream, I’m climbing a “larger-than-life”, tall and enormous dead pine tree. I know it is propped up against another tree and that the two rest against one another somewhere up high in the direction I am climbing. The tree I am embracing and clambering up, which has all its’ branches broken off except for stubs, begins to submerge itself in the earth below. As I look down, I realize that what I had thought was cracked, dry earth is now become cracked and broken large ice floes. Either I will be taken into the ground and swallowed or I can try to hop on to one of the pieces of ice, yet I fear that I will slide off and in to the icy water if I try to do so.
The trees and wild forces that I asked for a dream would appear to have spoken! What might they be trying to tell me, and even us, that goes beyond (but may also include) the mere scope of personal individuality? The dream and its’ occurrence itself shows that it’s possible to relate with the other beings in our world – in this case the plant people and the elements – and that they seem to be wanting to speak to some form of urgency about their own experience of what’s taking place with Nature and the climate at this moment. The trees in the dream, at least, are seemingly imperiled.
The earth is cracked and dry at the beginning of the dream. This feels like an expression of the current drought, which we are suffering here in Northern California. One can hardly escape also noticing that the ice floes recall the plight of the polar bears and the melting of the polar ice caps. The human perspective in the dream is one of fear, danger, “collapse” and equal peril and concern.
Dreams speak in different ways at different times due to a whole long list of influences and realities. This dream, which was invited and arrived as an expression of the voice of the wild and natural non-human creatures that we share the earth with, appears to reveal the possible sensations and perspectives of trees, earth, sky and water. Much could be said about this dream and its’ various levels (as is true of any dream). The point I want to make here though, is that it is possible to receive and invite the living experience of the plants, animals, elements and vital living forces that surround and support and to be given a clear and evocative message of experience by the very creatures that we share the earth with. This dream suggests that there is much more to Life than an isolated list of needs and achievements that relate only to a human-centered form of experience and awareness. In fact, the dream reveals a kind of interdependence, a relatedness, and sounds an alarm about human and plant survival related to observable waking realities in the form of climate change, apparent dying and drought.