Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Lions' Roar

A troubling dream filled my mind on the first evening of the lunar Month of Silence. What follows is a summary of the dream and its interpretation. I had begun a fast the evening before the dream and I would continue the fast for twenty-four hours.

The Dream

The dream appeared dark, as if a filter overlaid  it. Shadows, night, and teal tones stretched thick over the images.

I had been walking by when a group gathered around me, pulling me into their fold. The group counted me as an outlying member, only remembering me when they could use me. It felt cliquish, and they didn’t see me as an equal. I was content not to be a part of their social structure, but when I was useful to them they’d pretend I had always been a part of the group. The group seemed to have a schizophrenic nature to it.

There was some kind of problem and a group of people decided “Oh, Tess can deal with it, she’s strong, she can fix it.” In the dream, I seemed to be aware of and know the group, but I didn't know the people very well, and  I grew to like them less and less. I was angry at them for assuming I could fix their mistake: keeping lions but not attending the lions. I was angry at them for keeping lions and not understanding the nature of lions and lion’s needs, and the dangers inherent in keeping lions. There was no way they could or would care for the lions well. And I was angry at their demands. But I felt compelled—more for the sake of the lions, and less so for the screwed-up people—to help.

The enclosure was like a cage at first, but later it became more like a zoo enclosure. They kept a male and a female lion. There might have been one other lion in there but if so, he was disinterested and kept to himself. The two lions wanted to play and treat me as they treated one another. I had to hold my own until I could get out of there. I have no idea how I managed. They were kind of friendly, as friendly as alpha-hunters can be, but rough. When the group finally let me out, I picked white cat claws out of my skin, much like broken claws of housecats, but bigger. Each time a claw had sunk into my skin, the claw broke off and the feline got a new instant replacement. I felt like I’d fallen into a large, vicious cactus with spines about seven centimeters long. The group had no idea of the danger they put me in and assumed that A) I could handle it and B) there was never any real danger.

My actions had somehow repaired their mistakes for the short term, but I knew they would just keep on making mistakes.

I woke up feeling achy, heavy, and tired, as if I really had put up quite an effort last night.


In interpretation, I see this “group” as representing those of New Age folk, Pagans, "self-defined polytheists," on so on who don’t actually honor the deities’ individuality as beings, and whose respect of the deities is only a veneer. The lions represented the deities.

The fast, in waking life, was like going into the metaphorical lion’s den to repair the group’s damage, mostly on behalf of the lions who had been mistreated but also to some extent to aid people who demanded help. In the dream, I took hits meant for the group because of the group’s mistreatment of the deities, but the lions treated me as gently as possible given their natures and their strength. The group had asked, even demanded that the lions live among them, but they treated the lions as “pets” or a form of live decor. They didn’t actually interact with the lions any more than to look at them and weren’t centered on the lions’ needs. They didn't realize how misguided their actions were.

The barbs in my skin represented the misdeeds. As I interpreted the dream, the sensation brought me to reflect on the pain and misery I experienced later with my fast in waking life—a pain and a misery which hadn’t been there previously on my trial fasts because I hadn’t taken on the group’s misdeeds. In the dream, the group ignored the pain I was in and figured it wasn’t all that bad or that I was making it all up. They weren’t cognizant of nor capable of understanding that I was in pain because of their misdeeds. Worse, they seemed to think it was somehow my fault for being in pain, regardless that they caused the situation. In their view, the lions wouldn’t really hurt anyone because they were just cats, like sweet cuddly housecats only bigger. And yet, they had refused to go into the pen and sent me instead—this reflects a conflicting belief. On the one hand, they saw the deities as powerful and majestic, which is why they were afraid and unprepared to go in there themselves. On the other hand they saw the deities as not harmful, which is why they devalued what happened and couldn’t understand the danger and pain I was in. This is what happens when we grapple with gods. 

I wonder what I can do to curtail these problems in waking life in the future--problems like people treating the deities poorly and myself getting hurt trying to repair the situation. I believe the best way to address this issue is to speak up against acts and matters that demean and offend the deities and cause harm to people, and to educate where possible about the deities. Also, I should distance myself from those who would mistreat the “lions.”

Today is
2 Ra'shu Yeni, Shanatu 85
The second day of the month of Ra'shu Yeni (New Wine). It is the 85th year since the rediscovery of the Late Bronze Age Canaanite city-state of Ugarit, from where we have gained much of our primary source documents written in Ugaritic cuneiform on clay tablets. Our next holiday, Ra'shu Yeni, which celebrates the grape harvest and the new wine, starts the evening of Monday the 19th and extends for seven days through the full moon. Our new year begins on the coming new moon...

Image Notes
Photo of Greek sphinx by Rosemania, used through Creative Commons.
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, by Leon Bonnat, 1876. Public Domain. 

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