Thomas Moore’s book Care of the Soul (1992) is a great read. He reminds us of many things, especially that psychology is more of an art than a science. And that dreams show us things of great importance. Moore discusses Carl Jung’s concept of the Self, the God Image, which usually appears in circular, mandala shape. Yes, that is the principle symbol of the Divine Source, a Whole, joining the separate parts together as one. Reading Moore’s words evoked a memory of that morning’s dream, which suddenly sprang into my awareness.
In the dream I was in my upstairs apartment and noticed there was smoke coming up through the floor. Alarmed, I got up from my desk and my writing to investigate. The thin carpet on the wooden floor was turning black in the shape of a large circle and smoke was rising from its edges. Approaching, I was on the stairs and could look through the floor. Below was a large work room with a white hot circle of coals. It looked like it had six sections, petals of yellow and white energy, contained, but emitting a huge amount of heat. That was the cause of the smoke coming through the floor of my apartment. I notice several young men working at, and around, the fire, so I descend to talk to them. The light is dark blue. The costumes Elizabethan. This appears to be an Alchemist’s laboratory. Although the men are busy, they indicate through their body language that they will talk to me soon, but now I must wait.
So what should I make of this dream? It obviously has the mandala shaped symbol Moore was talking about, and the Divine Source is heating up my world. It is beneath my ordinary reality, a reality which is surprisingly transparent. The Underworld can be seen through the effort of will and calls to my curiosity. There is a laboratory, a foundry of sorts, in my unconscious where this incredible heat originates.
I had been reading Synchronicity: Science, Myth, and the Trickster by Combs and Holland (1992), who say, “Zeus, for example, literally means “light” or “shower of light.” In the world of nature, Zeus was associated with the bright sky and was seen as the source of atmospheric phenomena. Perhaps the most dramatic of these are lightning and thunder, which are unusually common in certain of the mountainous areas of Greece and with which Zeus was particularly affiliated. As the central figure in the religion of Homeric Greece, however, Zeus symbolized the inner experience of light and illumination. (p. 79-80)” One of the Father’s sons, God’s emanation, was Apollo, who was associated with the sun, logic, and harmony, who killed Python, the Guardian of the Oracle of the Great Goddess Gaia at Delphos. Apollo thus became the masculine patriarchal “owner” of the sacred site whose priestesses prophesied the truth of the earth wisdom. Smoke was said to emanate from fissures in the cave floor which put the Oracle into trance. One of Apollo’s sons was Asklepios, also associated with his father’s earthy side in the form of his familiar, the snake. Dreams, another aspect of the intuitive faculties of the mind, were the main healing modality associated with the Father of the Healers, Asklepios.
The younger brother of Apollo and son of Zeus, was Hermes, but his mother was an Earth Goddess, not an Olympian. With Hermes we get the light of Zeus in its earthly manifestation. Only Hermes can travel between the upper realm of Zeus and the lower realm of Hades. Hermes is the guide of souls, literally of the dead. He guides them into the Underworld. But he is also the interpreter of messages of the Gods and Goddesses. He deals in symbols of communication. But Hermes, like his medieval alchemical counterpart Mercurius, was noted for sudden surprises, tricks which turn one’s fortunes upside down, for good or ill. He was in that regard a sexual initiator. He awakens sexual desire in men and seduces them into their masculinity, hence transforming them from innocent boys into virile young men. And those were the workers in the Underground world of my dream reality. Their ancient, ancestral character was symbolized by their Elizabethan clothing, well suited to the mini-ice age of that historic time period. The people were bundled up against the northern European cold.
Thomas Moore discusses a client, a man in his fifties who has fallen in love. He is embarrassed because he feels like an adolescent. Moore says, “I hear this often, that love arouses the adolescent. Anyone familiar with the history of art and literature knows that from the Greeks on down love has been portrayed as an untamable teenager.” He asks his client,”Doesn’t this sudden influx of adolescence make you feel young, energetic and full of life? (p.15)” This is Hermes again, his love makes us feel young, energetic and full of life. In my practice as a spiritual advisor, I am counseling (in relationship with) several younger men, whose problems as lovers and fathers, could be symbolized by the Underground Laboratory. In their work they often must “tell their story” before they can hear my words. I do descend to their level. I wait for them to finish their work before I speak. Otherwise they will not hear me. Their hot, adolescent behavior causes smoke and heat in my world of dreams.
In the Santo Daime tradition, of which I am a part, the Blue Light is associated with the Throne of the Blue Star, the Archangel Michael, and his Sword of Light. His shield is round. In the dream there are the six-pointed Star of David petals of the huge Divine Flower in the middle of the Work Room. This suggests that the Divine Source, symbolized by the round mandala shape of intensely hot, powerful energy, beautifully contained within Itself is at the heart of my work with myself as an adolescent and with my brothers and sisters in our development as humans. Not too surprisingly, tomorrow night when I attend the Mesa Branca (White Table) Work at our Church named Flor da Mae Divina (Flower of the Divine Mother), we will sing hymns invoking the Archangels, Michael especially. The seventeenth hymn is called A Estrela Azul by Baixinha (her #47) and in English “It comes rising from the depth of the sea, The Blue Star in its divine throne.” This is the Star of Healing. In the unconscious there are several associative connections used by the Source of Dreams to communicate with the dreamer. One has to do with numbers like seventeen, which could be considered Elizabethan as in the seventeenth century AD as well as the seventeenth hymn in the calls to St. Michael.
This association would be unique to me, the dreamer, as I recently saw an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with an all male cast (Private Romeo). The men were military school cadets, sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen years of age. The adolescent love was there in all its intensity. Even though I am turning seventy in January and am an Old Man/Wizard archetypally, what is underneath the surface is my Hermes/Mercurius Work Room, inhabited by those young men whom I love, the ones who tend the Divine Fire of the Source and whose Protector is my namesake, the Archangel Michael. All of this comes together in the symbols of the Santo Daime, when, during a Mesa Branca Work, I incorporated as the White Eagle and brought a ball of white light into the healing space with my outstretched wings/arms/hands. The veils of perception are thin with the Daime’s influence. I could see what I normally could not and my perception was validated by others, who saw the light and the eagle in the Healing Space.
Dreams weave up our lives. They are a magic mirror of our spiritual process and progress. This dream was a love letter from the Holy Spirit, a breath of the Divine. Whether we call it Hermes, Mercurius, or Pneumatos Agios doesn’t matter, it is a mysterious force, available to everyone. We are all equal in our access to the Divine Source. Viva the Great Mystery!