I thought I was done and dusted with the Canyons of My Mind series but no, my subconscious had another surprise in store for me – a nightmare!
I’ve only, thankfully, had one other nightmare in my life, when a Dementor (a monstrous being in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling) appeared and, I can assure you, I hope I never see another Dementor in my life!
I dithered about writing about this nightmare as it took a while to work out and also it has a rather unpleasant content – at least, until the end. But it seems to me it’s an example of healing at a very great depth which may be encouraging to others who may experience something similar.
So here goes.
“In the dream I am back in the house where I lived as a kid, Liverpool Lawn in Ramsgate, Kent, south-east England. I go into a room where my father is asleep but he wakes up as I enter and walks threateningly towards me, a real monster. I realise he intends to rape me and I am absolutely terrified. I run out of the house, with him in relentless pursuit and it is pitch-black outside. I then run frantically down the alley way which used to run between Liverpool Lawn and Adelaide Gardens. All these houses had semi-basements and I am absolutely terrified as I run along.
Then I see a light on in one of the basements, run down the steps and burst into the house through the back door. I shut the door and find myself facing a young couple looking somewhat alarmed (as you do, I suppose when someone bursts into your house unexpectedly). I tell them my father is following me and intends to rape me, they say they’ll help but then we all suddenly realise he’s gone around the front of the terraced houses and is outside the front door.
The young man looks outside, says that my father now has a gun, and goes outside to confront him. However, I can’t let the young man be harmed so run out and push past my father. As I run around the centre lawn and arrive at the other side, I come across people at an outside party who, when I tell them my story, advise me to tell the police who have a branch office in one of the houses on the crescent.
I run up to the police post, ring the bell and tell my story when the policeman answers the door. He tells me I’m imagining things and to go home and stop dramatising things. But then I realise I can hear my father and his parents upstairs being warmly received by the police. I am furious and enraged, rather than scared, shout at the policeman for not doing his job, and run upstairs to confront my father and my paternal grandparents.”
When I woke up straight after the dream, I felt so terrified I got up and had a cup of coffee until I’d calmed down enough to return to bed and get back to sleep without worrying about the dream recurring. It’s my belief that, when we have a powerful dream/nightmare which affects us deeply, it’s important to find out what it’s about as the dream/nightmare has significance in your life.
I must say, upfront, that in fairness to my father, I’m pretty sure that he never sexually abused me. I know there are many instances of repressed memories but it was emotional, mental and physical control which characterised my relationship with my father.
If you look at the nightmare, it divides into three: 1) running away 2) seeking refuge 3) finally deciding to stop running, stand up for myself and overcome the fear (if you are trying to analyse a dream, look at how it breaks up. You’ll generally find a new section begins “And then….”).
I also think that the inclusion of my grandparents – with whom I had a distant relationship once my aunt, the favourite, had a daughter and replaced me – is also about ancestral healing, perhaps again because I felt I’d been also on approval with my grandparents and discarded as soon as my cousin was born.
It seems to me, the fear and terror represents what I felt as a child with the episode which I described in an earlier post and which left me believing I was in my family on approval, so to speak, with that approval liable to be removed any time. Of course, this wasn’t the true situation – this was my perspective as a child. It also represents the fact that I’ve been running from these feelings for a lot of my life.
I found the middle bit a bit hard to understand, until I realised that both the young man and woman were aspects of myself – the immature beings which, in my life, have been represented by my desire for approval and to be liked which, quite often, have led to me appeasing others at my own expense, fudging the truth, putting on a friendly face when I felt quite hurt by what people had said.
And finally, standing up to the police, my father and my grandparents is the position I’m in now – one where I’ve cleared out the old fears and childhood insecurity, and asserted my ability to be a powerful force for myself, for my creativity and for my self-confidence and self-esteem.
I should add that, since I completed writing about my childhood and since that nightmare, I am far more laid back, far less driven and far more ready to honour myself as a worthy, loveable human being who approves of and stands up for herself.
If anyone has any additional ideas about my nightmare, please feel free to contribute your thoughts, I’m more than happy to build up a collective understanding of my nightmare/dream as I feel it helps others in understanding their own dreams.
Oh, and just as an afterthought, my eating patterns have stabilised and I’ve started losing weight!
I thought for this post I’d do a hop,skip and jump to a few years ahead because really, there’s only so much misery you can take! Our time in Boonah township,after we quit our block up Mt French, had many plus points but, on the other hand, I had to deal with Dad’s descent in rampant alcoholism so I’ll leave that dreary tale for another time.
I had been dithering with writing about dreams but I’ll save that for another time too. Because I finally decided to write about totems and soul retrieval as, when I came into my study, the big spider hanging off my blind’s chord was hanging over my computer screen. Big hint – my spider totem wants an outing!
Although I’ll cover this another time too, we moved from Boonah to the UK in 2002, it didn’t work out, and we returned to Perth in 2004. We had in mind to move to South Australia, where we hadn’t lived at all, but stopped off in Perth – our old stamping ground – as our Jack Russell, Rosie, had to stay a month in quarantine on her return to Australia.
And in that time, we did research on South Australia, found it was stinking hot in summer and was also a very dry state with water a bit thin on the ground. So we started looking around in Western Australia and eventually found a place within our means – a 100-year-old mud brick cottage in Pingelly, on WA’s wheatbelt. I say “cottage” but it was huge – three big bedrooms, a large living-room and a large kitchen. The bathroom wasn’t brilliant but it did have – ta-daaa – a huge claw-foot bath!
The garden was in an appalling state, filled with rubbish, so when we moved into to Cobweb Cottage (lovely name, eh, and a very apt moniker for my totem when she turned up), Bryan set about transforming the garden, clearing out the rubbish, landscaping and putting in plants suitable for a rather arid landscsape. He also completely repainted the interior which had been in quite lurid colours, and I did a clearing on the very angry, negative energy left by the previous inhabitants. The house was transformed and looked one hundred percent on when we moved in. It also felt a lot calmer and more peaceful.
As I mentioned in my earlier post on crystals, I’d learned a lot from a shamanic crystal worker and healer in the US, Fabeku Fatunmise, and I eventually decided I’d like to undertake a soul retrieval process with him. Soul retrieval works on the basis that with certain experiences you lose a part of your soul – not completely lost, just travelled into never-never land, for want of a better word, until the time comes to retrieve it. Funnily enough, once I’d decided on it, I could feel a dark spot low in my tummy as if something hidden was reaching for the light, much to my surprise.
Soul Retrieval Process
Fabeku did all the groundwork in the US, working with energies and prayers to open up the process, and then I did the personal work in Pingelly. The box with all the goodies arrived and I eagerly unpacked and checked out the content. A thin string with prayer knots along its length was to be tied securely around my left wrist and left in place until it disappeared. Well, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see how a tied cord could disappear from my wrist, but in for a penny, in for a pound. I tied the string tightly, walked out to the car to fetch something and hey presto! the string had disappeared. I really couldn’t believe it. I stared at my bare wrist, hunted around for the string but it had completely vanished.
On the other hand, my totem – a spider – appeared! Interestingly, a spider made an appearance in 2000 when Bryan travelled to the UK to see his mum. For some reason, I felt I needed to stay in Australia and we both needed to walk a different path for a while. And in that time on my own I created this personal mandala where a spider has started to walk to the centre but is still only present in the corner.
In accordance with tradition, you don’t say exactly what spider is involved or what she is called and, believe me, my totem let me know in no uncertain terms what name she wanted. I could feel her perched on my right shoulder. Bryan thought it was a load of old rubbish but, to the astonishment of both of us, spiders came out of the woodwork, so to speak, throughout the house. It was if they’d appeared in order to pay homage to the Spider Queen totem now inhabiting our home. There were spiders all over the place – big ones, small ones, medium ones – so basically we decided to cohabit with them and well settled into a co-operative lifestyle in Cobweb Cottage.
When we first moved to Perth we visited a mind, body, spirit festival in the Perth foothills where I came across a drum which I knew was just right for me. I walked around the corner and there was an octagonal drum, quite big, which gave me a big smile and waved hello. Bryan groaned when I said I was going to buy it but I knew it was meant to be mine. And once my totem appeared, I decided to paint her image on the drum. It was incredible – the difference in tone was enormous once I’d invested my energy and that of my totem into my drum. The sound was deeper and much more intense.
And once my spider totem had turned up, I started creating art in a quite different fashion – more symbolic and no more mandalas. This is the painting I created to represent Spider Woman:
I continued with the soul retrieval process and, again, as part of energy work and tradition, I won’t go into the rituals I carried out, except to say that Bryan thought I’d really gone off my rocker! I would feel bits of energy returning to me – some I could recognise and know what hurt that had happened in the past was being healed. One particular time I could feel a huge energy moving back into me but, when I asked what it was about, simply got a message that I didn’t need to know.
My One and Only Nightmare
This last one felt a complete doozy and shortly afterwards I had the one and only nightmare of my life. I was in an underground cavern walking along a narrow ledge on the right side of a bottomless cavern. All of a sudden I felt frozen in place and suddenly a Dementor appeared and swooped towards me. Dementors are characters in the Harry Potter series of books, rather ghastly apparitions which suck out your happiness and will also suck out your soul, given half a chance. The Dementor towered over me as I shrieked that I couldn’t go any further, I felt stuck in the one place and absolutely terrified. Then the Dementor said: “What happened when you were six?” and disappeared.
The nightmare disturbed me deeply. I felt shaken, depressed, lethargic and kept crying. God knows what the nightmare stirred up, as the only thing I can recall happening when I was six was that I was transferred from a state school to a private convent. Mind you, when you think about it, to a scared six-year-old, a nun swooping down on you probably did resemble a Dementor although, of course, they hadn’t been invented then! And I was deeply unhappy at the convent. I was lonely, a scholarship girl when everyone else was wealthy enough to pay full fees, and I thought the Catholic religion was a heap of old cobblers. As I said in an earlier post, when I got to 11 years of age, passed the 11+ exam and had a choice, I dumped my convent days for the local grammar school. Apart from that I have no memory of what might have been so disturbing to a 6-year-old girl.
I am also into astrology and know that I have nine air signs, four water signs, 2 fire signs and no earth signs. So getting grounded and staying here on Planet Earth is quite hard for me. It was really interesting then that, as I was doing the soul retrieval process, we were driving around sight-seeing on the wheatbelt one day, when I felt a sort of “pop” and suddenly felt as if I’d connected with Earth at long last. It wasn’t so much a case for me of “Beam Me Up, Scotty” as “Beam me down and get me grounded!” I looked around and felt quite different, as if I could feel the earth energy and also, when I looked down at my body, felt a connection I hadn’t had before. Mainly I used to sail along in my head, look down sometimes in astonishment at the body trotting along under my head, then get back into my head!
And as the end of the soul retrieval process came into sight, I had another dream with the Dementor appearing. On this occasion I just yelled “Oh my god, not again” and kicked the Dementor over the side. As it fell into the chasm, its robes fell open and there was nothing there. It was as if I’d faced whatever darkness was lingering in my from experiences as a six-year-old, and found that the fear was groundless and the only answer was to be fearless.