During the Dark Moon is the time to commune and heal with the Dark Mother or the Crone. It is a time to dive down deep into the dark abyss within ourselves and deal with that which has wounded us. It’s all part of the great cycle of birth, death and rebirth – it’s how we heal ourselves. “As a culture and a society, we have been taught to fear the darkness, the unknown and death. We have forgotten the purpose of the Dark Phase and have no idea how to navigate its terrain. We are consumed with fear, panic and anxiety when we think about physical death of the body, our planet, a relationship, a way of life, an addiction, an identity or even a belief system. Because of our lack of understanding of such times and lacking the proper guidance in order to deal with them as they arise, we end up more dependent on chemical addictions or engage in self abusive behaviors to deal with the feelings of grief, depression, anxiety, and anger” (George, Demetra, Mysteries of the Dark Moon, p. 266).
As the Goddess stirs and awakens from Her long slumber, we are finally being given the opportunity to reclaim all of Her, both light and dark aspects and everything in-between. The Dark Goddess is not to be rejected, denied or feared. She is to be acknowledged, respected and listened to – for its Her knowledge and wisdom that guided our ancestors through the dark times and it is Her wisdom and guidance that will guide us through ours to come, as individuals, societies and as a species.
Only within the last century as the Goddess has slowly stirred from Her Dark Phase have we had incredible breakthroughs in realizing the power of the mind. As Demetra George has pointed out, it is thanks to people like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung (a personal favorite of mine) that we have been able to comprehend the workings of the unconscious and our Shadow Selves (p. 276). Many therapeutic techniques have been “discovered” in Eastern philosophy and medicine as well as Aboriginal shamanic teachings. Techniques, such as dream analysis, allows people to explore the depths of the unconscious and understand the workings and wisdom of the Shadow Self and the Dark Mother, especially when dealing with nigthmares.
“Nightmares represent our innermost fears. They suggest that we have emotional fears and issues that need to be confronted. The monsters and other terrifying and disturbing images that haunt these disturbing dreams are thought to come from a universally shared mythology recognized by all cultures. The word ‘nightmare’ itself comes from Gaelic mythology – the night ‘mare’ is the horse Goddess Rhiannon, and connected with the Underworld, dreams and the moon.
Nightmares occur very frequently in childhood as children struggle more than adults to deal with powerful emotions, such as rage and other strong emotions. During the night, children’s vivid imaginations recreate these feelings as forceful dream images. Children have difficulty coping with nightmares because they have trouble differentiating between dreams and reality. A child’s mind has limited reasoning capacity as it is still developing. This affects their perception of the world and can cause inner conflict. If left unresolved, these childhood fears can cause very muddled thoughts and feelings that linger into adulthood. At any time, an incident could trigger this old memory, reeling the psyche of the adult into a nightmare scenario.
It is important to note that bad dreams can have physical causes as well as mental ones. If your body comes under stress, due to high temperature for example, it can give rise to hallucinations as you sleep. Nightmares can even induce sleepwalking by increasing the flow of adrenaline and producing the “fight or flight” response in the sleeper (I suffered chronic sleepwalking during Basic Training and through my early years while on Active Duty). Hormonal fluctuations too can have an effect on our dreams.
Hormonal changes upset the balance of the body’s chemistry and in a dream, this upheaval is encoded through disturbing scenes.
Some psychologists believe that people who have nightmares have not fully integrated or understood physical sensations in relation to real-life situations. Teenagers often have intense dreams reflective of the emerging sexual drives they have difficulty translating when awake.
Anyone at anytime could experience an inexplicable trauma which can resurface without warning. These could be forgotten childhood traumas reawakened in adulthood. They could be experiences of going to war. Recurring nightmares are caused by unresolved emotional issues that are deeply entrenched in the sleeper’s mind. An entire dream can recur, which is identical each time or disguised using different dream symbols. Its purpose is to get our attention…” (Enhancing Your Mind, Body and Soul, Interpreting Your Dreams).
Through journeying to the Underworld to the Dark Mother, we can uncover the meaning of such dreams. There are methods you can use to confront and gain insight from your nightmares. As Demetra George states, “You need to cross the logical threshold of the consciousness and travel across a terrain of your psyche that is normally hidden from your conscious awareness and one which we cannot comprehend with our conscious mind. The dark sphere of the human psyche contains all that lies beneath the surface of consciousness” (p. 279).
The following is summary, found in Enhancing Your Mind, Body and Soul – “Interpreting Your Dreams”. These are questions to ask yourself to assist you in decoding your dreams. First, look at the imagery of the dream. The imagery of dreams can be interpreted in two different ways: Literal – information found in your dreams is seen to have a direct parallel to your everyday life; and Symbolic – information in dreams is “coded” in an unusual way. What was the theme and time? The time you had the dream indicates how relevant it is to the everyday world. The nearer to the waking hour, the more accurately the events reflect problems in your waking life.
Was it light and spacious or dark and claustrophobic? Where did the dream take place? On land? At sea? Water represents emotions, land represents money and self-worth. Air relates to the intellect. To find yourself underground suggests a search for lost treasure.
What happened? Where did it happen? Is it a place you know from the past or is it unknown? This can give you clues about personal insecurity or issues about your childhood or present circumstances. Were you a participant in the dream or were you viewing form afar? This will tell you how intimately you are involved in the situation in the real world.
What was the form you took in this dream? Were you someone who exhibited unwanted or underdeveloped traits? This would be your Shadow Personality manifesting. What stage of life where you at in your dream? Were you male or female? Dreaming of being the opposite sex may indicate an imbalance of the opposite sex’s qualities. Did you take the form of an animal? Perhaps you you’re struggling with your so-called “animal instincts” or baser instincts.
Who was in your dream? Were they people you recognized or were they strangers? Family, friends and acquaintances may highlight a particular deficiency within your own character, mirroring back and making you aware of an unfavorable trait. Were there any animals? Did they remind you of anyone you know? Often animals stand in as representatives for a situation or a person. In this way, our subconscious can explore our true feelings about a person or event without interference form everyday prejudices.
What were the colors of certain objects in your dream? What was the mood of the dream? Dream situations in which you feel scared, tense or fearful are often reflections of a dangerous or overwhelming situation that is brewing around you. Such sinister moods can be revealing of great anxieties you are experiencing in real life. Threatening moods in your dream can be illustrated in the dreamscape as nighttime scenes or overcast skies. Alternatively, there may be just be an underlying feeling of impending doom. Blurred or hidden details in a dream suggest that you have confused feelings which, if unheeded, could lead to many troubles and worries in business. If the truth is hidden in your dream, this may be indicated by a cloudy atmosphere in your mind.
Look at the symbols in your dreams and try to examine what, if any, are linked with a childhood situation or just a sense of helplessness. Your dream could also be caused by a sense of guilt or disgust of being in a situation in which you did not want to participate. Ask yourself, were you physically, mentally or emotionally terrorized?
If you’re not already keeping a dream diary, start one NOW! A dream diary is like any other collection of information that is gathered and put into order. It builds up into a reference of information about your personal responses to your own life experiences. Keeping a dream diary helps you understand yourself, enabling you to make informed decisions about how to fulfill life’s journey. By keeping a dream diary, you are putting snippets of the jigsaw puzzle that represents your life into a book so that you can piece them together in order to help you heal.
Note the date, time of awaking, main theme, characters and objects, action, atmosphere, special comments, previous history and real-life connections. Note connections between the main characters in the dream; the significance of characters and previous history with the characters; dream atmosphere and the message if one was given. (Enhancing Your Mind, Body and Soul, Interpreting Your Dreams)
As Demetra George makes it quite clear, “the home of the soul, the Dark Phase is the place where we hold the residual memories of the sum or our past, in this and previous lifetimes. Here, we find the wounds of the soul that are crying out to be healed. It is here where we hold our repressed traumatic memories and rejected aspects of our selves.” (p. 279). Nightmares have a constructive purpose and may point the way towards resolving a difficult situation from our past. Our passage through the Dark Phase offers us the opportunity to heal these wounds, and in the process we can discover the hidden wealth of the unconscious. It is only going into the Dark Phase of inner space and coming to peace with our memories and resolving our issues that a way opens towards healing and the nightmares stop. During this essential healing process, we can discover who we truly are and come to know the Dark Mother and the lessons She has to teach us.
Enhancing Your Mind, Body and Spirit, “Interpreting Your Dreams”. International Masters Publishers
George, Demetra. Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess. HarperSanFrancisco, 1992.