Let me tell you about the mysterious woman with the cowboy hat from dream #209 (see my previous post: The Metaphoric Meaning of Dreams.) This is one of those things about dreamwork that always blows my mind.
I never took dreams very seriously until about 22 years ago when I enrolled in a five-year Centerpoint course on Jungian psychology. One of the first topics we discussed was dreams, and one of our first activities was to share a dream. When my turn came I related a dream I’d had at the age of 10 in which the Lone Ranger shot me and I woke up screaming in outraged protest. Why was I a victim of my hero? my child’s heart had wondered without words. Didn’t he like me? Why not? Was it because I was a girl? Was he telling me I could never be a hero like him?
As I told my dream to my Jung group I was surprised, then alarmed to notice my heart pounding. Before long I realized I was struggling to hold back tears: I was going to cry and these people were going to see it! All because of a childhood dream. This utterly unexpected public display of strong emotion had a profound and lasting impact on me. Determined to figure out what had caused it, I became intentional about working with my dreams. About a year later I had dream #209: Running Out of Gas. By then I knew my dreamwork was waking up my ego and taking me on a thrilling journey to increasing wholeness.
Fast forward 15 years. My life was dramatically different. I was an author, speaker, workshop leader and teacher at the local Jung Center, had been practicing dreamwork, meditation and yoga for years, and had fulfilled a lifelong dream of buying and training my own horse. One day in preparation for a speech I reread Part I of my book Dream Theatres of the Soul for the first time in many years and ran across dream #209. More heart pounding. More tears. More insights.
That year my husband had commissioned a painting of my horse and me for a birthday present. When I’d had the photographs made for the painting I wore a party dress with a cowboy hat hanging down my back, even though I rarely rode Western. Why? I had no idea. Just a whim, I thought. But there, at the end of a dream I’d had 16 years earlier, was the image of a peaceful woman with her back to me sitting in a lotus position with a cowboy hat hanging down her back!
What was going on? Is the Self an oracle or simply a guide? Did the woman in dream #209 prefigure the person I was destined to become, or did that dream unconsciously influence my future choices? Or both? I do not know the objective truth, but I know that the symbols of this and my Lone Ranger dream spoke to my souls’ truths and “something” in me knew it. Knows it. Knows me. Knows my issues, needs, and passions and is still creating original dramas to affirm and empower my soul.
I have theories about this mystery, but when it comes to knowing, I really only know this: Whether I understand it or deserve it I am loved by an unimaginably benevolent and wise “something” that sends me love letters when I’m asleep. Call it Life, call it Self, call it God/dess, Dream Mother, or Beloved. I don’t care what you call it. For me, this is not about words, creeds, or beliefs. It’s simply what I know!
Like me, you are loved and need to know it. Have you had a love letter in a dream? If so, I hope you’ll share it. If not, I hope you’ll start looking for one. We need more stories about love.