My dreams are wild dreams, and old dreams and new;
They haunt me and daunt me with fears of the morrow-
my brothers they doubt me-but my dreams come true. "
"All the things one has forgotten scream for help in dreams."
The human Province, 1978
"If you can dream it, you can do it."
"To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act."
-Anatole France (1844-1924)
"The dream is memory itself changing before your eyes."
"Dreams were never designed to be remembered, but they are keys to who we are."
"When we die we shall slough off this cheap intellect, and go abroad into Dreamland clothed in our real selves."
"I have no 'theory about dreams; I do not even know how dreams
arise...On the other hand, I know that if we meditate on a dream
sufficiently long and thoroughly, if we carry it around with us
and turn it over and over , something almost always comes of it . "
"And in each of us there is another whom we do not know. He speaks to us in dreams and tells us how differently he sees us from the way we see ourselves. When, therefore, we find ourselves in a difficult situation to which there is no solution, he can sometimes kindle a light that radically alters our attitude-the very attitude that led us into the difficult situation."
Collected Works, Vol. 10, p. 153
"The dream is the little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the soul.....All consciousness separates; but in d reams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man...."
Collected Works, Vol 10, pp.144-45
"We experience a dream as real because it is real.....The miracle is how, without any help from the sense organs, the brain replicates in the dream all the sensory information that creates the world we live in when we are awake."
Many and many a dream is mere confusion ,
a cobweb of no consequence at all .
Two Gates for ghostly dreams there are : one gateway
of honest horn, and one of ivory.
Issuing by the Ivory gate are dreams
of glimmering illusion, fantasies,
but those that come through solid polished horn
may be borne out, if mortals only know them.
I doubt it came by horn , my fearful dream-
too good to be true , that , for my son and me .
Penelope's dream from the Odyssey
"Whenever collective material prevails under normal conditions
it is a matter of important dreams. Primitives call them "big
dreams" and consider them of tribal importance. You find the
same in the Greek and Roman civilizations , where such dreams
were reported to the Areopagos or to the Senate. "
C. G. Jung
"Dreams are dripping with meaning, but they don't have to be interpreted. Dreaming is the way it is, probably for some reasons that are more like Freudian ideas that it might first appear. There must be some kind of reworking of memory going on, but it isn't buried stuff you can't manage. It's probably just the opposite: in dreaming we're trying to integrate and come to terms with the difficulties of having emotions."
-J. Allan Hobson
"Napoleon dreamed little, He slept soundly but not usually for
long at a time. Nevertheless , Constant relates that in October 1808, at Erfurt on the night of the performance of Oedipus
by the Comedie Francaise, his master had a frightful dream--a
bear tore him open and devoured his heart. "
"How odd is the world of dreams! Thoughts, inner speech crowd and swarm-a little world hastening to live before the awakening that is its end, its particular death."
Jules Renard ,Journal 1887
"The analysis of dreams is an art, a technique, a science of psychological life; it is not a game but a practical method of inestimable value to those who learn the language. "
"In dreams we see ourselves naked and acting out our real
characters. .. ,Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."
Henry David Thoreau
"Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their
minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the
dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act
their dream with open eyes, to make it possible."
T.E. Lawrence, (from the suppressed
introductory chapter of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
"Yes, I had the dream on November . They tease me now, re-
minding me that it was nothing but a dream. But what difference
does it make since the dream revealed the truth to me? Once you've
found Truth, you know it' s the truth and that there isn't and
can' t be any other truth, whether you're asleep or awake, "
"Of course, an absolutely accurate view of dreams is impossible. For dreams are functions of the human soul, and the human soul is the only thing that one cannot properly study, because it is at once both the study and the student. We can analyze a beetle by looking through a microscope, but we cannot analyze a beetle by looking through a beetle. But, though in the last resort the discovery of the truth about dreams is as impossible as the whole science of psychology, it is possible to arrive at certain general underlying laws of dreamland."
Lunacy & Letters
And my dreams are strange dreams, are day dreams, are gray dreams,
And my dreams are wild dreams, and old dreams and new;
They haunt me and daunt me with fears of the morrow-
My brothers they doubt me-but my dreams come true."
"We are so captivated by and entangled in our subjective consciousness that we have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions."
"Dreams have a poetic integrity and truth. This limbo and dust hole of thought is presided over by a certain reason, too. Their extravagance form nature is yet within a higher nature. They seem to us to suggest an abundance and fluency of though not familiar to the waking experience. They pique us by independence of us, yet we know ourselves in this mad crowd, and woe to dreams a kind of divination and wisdom. My dreams are not me: they are not Nature, or the Not-me; they are both. They have a double consciousness, at once subjective and objective."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Dreams are…illustrations from the Book your soul is writing about you."
"In a world of chance is there a better and a worse? We yield to a stranger’s embrace or give ourselves to the waves; we are asleep; and when we awake we have lost the direction of our lives. What are these blinks of an eyelid, against which the only defense is an eternal and inhuman wakefulness? Might they not be the cracks and chinks through which another voice, other voices, speak in our lives.? By what right do we close our ears to them?"
J.M. Coetzee Foe
"To me dreams are a part of nature, which harbors no intent to deceive, but expresses something as best it can…"
"I’ve dreamed many nights the next scene of a novel I’ve been working on, in great detail, even dialogue and details. One time just in a couple of dreams (which solved a novel) and in my last one, almost every night for months."
Robert Penn Warren
R.P. Warren, "To the Editor"
DreamWorks 2 (1981)
"Let us reject, therefore, this divination of dreams, as well as all other kinds. For, to speak truly, that superstition has extended itself through all nations, and has oppressed the intellectual energies of all men, and has betrayed them into endless imbecilities."
"Argument against taking Dreams Serious." In the World of Dreams,
ed. R.L. Woods Random House N.Y. 1947 p.199
"The dream sometimes allows us to look into the depths and folds of our very being – mainly a closed book in states of consciousness. It gives us such valuable insight into ourselves, such instructive revelations of our half – hidden emotional tendencies and powers that, were we awake, we shall have good reason to stand in awe of the demon who is apparently peering at our cards with the eyes of a falcon.
The dream warns from within with the voice of a watchman guarding the very center of our psychic life. It warns us against continuing on the pats which we are treading."
"The assertion that all dreams require a sexual interpretation against which critics rage so incessantly, occurs nowhere in my Interpretation of Dreams. It is not to be found in any of the numerous editions of this book and is in obvious contradiction to other views expressed in it."
"How often dreams have come to my assistance in the composition of my writings! Often they have aided me to put my ideas in order and my style in harmony with my ideas; they have made my expunge certain expressions, in imitation of the new Attic style…a god warned me in my sleep, censured my writings, and making the affected phrases to disappear, brought me back to a natural style."
Synesuis of Cyrene
World of Dreams
Ed. R.L. Woods Random House 1947
"A more precise description of what is happening during sleep is that our dreams take place when our waking intellects are suspended and not operative. We have little willful, volitional, rational, or logical control over why, how, or to what end our dreams take place. They occur because of some automatic function in us. This function is an autonomous thinking function in its own right, working independently of our waking intellects. We are completely justified in assuming that it is a mind in its own right."
The Nostradamus Factor
"The more I think of it, the more I am moved to press upon the world my question; Who are the little people? They are near connections of the dreamer’s beyond doubt;…they have plainly learned like him to build the scheme of a considerable story inn progressive order; only I think they have more talent; and one thing is beyond doubt, they can tell him a story piece buy piece, like a serial, and keep him all the while in ignorance of where they aim. Who are they, then? And who is the dreamer?"
` Synesuis of Cyrene
World of Dreams
Ed. R.L. Woods Random House 1947
"In the summer of 1983, the New Statesman magazine presented a new version of an old interest when it invited readers to attempt the solution of specific problems by way of their dreams. As an example, they were asked to say what is remarkable about the following sentence:
I am not very happy acting pleased whenever prominent
Scientists over magnify intellectual enlightenment.
In response, one sixth form pupil wrote in to say that he had experienced the following dream. He was lecturing to a gathering of scientists who were seated at tables scattered about a large hall, but no one was paying any attention to him, at which he became angry and shouted: "I am not very happy!’ The scientists seated at those tables nearest looked up, but at that moment the subject awoke. Recalling the dream, he realized that those who had responded were seated in a peculiar fashion. Only one was at the first table. Two were at the second, three at the third, four at the fourth and five at the fifth. It was then he realized he was being given the answer to the problem, for the sentence begins with a one letter word, moving to two, then to three-and so on up to thirteen. All other correspondents who arrived at the correct answer had experienced dreams that involved counting, with one woman actually dreaming of a Count, that is, a nobleman. But once she realized the ‘count’ was a dream pun, she solved the problem.
This foray in search of the subconscious was made at the suggestion of Dr. Morton Schatzman, an American psychologist based in London, in the hope that some clue to the apparent purposelessness of the dream world could be discovered. He reminded readers of the many instances where reverie or dreams had been known to play an important part in some material discovery, as with the way in which Poincare described mathematical ideas rising in clouds and dancing before him to collide and combine in the first Fuschian Functions while he lay in bed awaiting sleep, or as with Howe’s strange dream which led to the invention of the sewing machine.
Information by way of dreams, Dr Schatzman explained, is elusive simply because it consists mainly of metaphor or puns in imagery. In fact, he concluded, dreams have their own special language.
Another of the special problems set for dreamers was the question: Which verb doesn’t belong to this particular group?: bring, catch,draw,fight,seek,teach, and think.
One man wrote in to describe an involved dream which featured the actor Michael Caine, who appeared to him and then twice motioned over his shoulder as if at something behind him. On waking, the dreamer recognized the gesture as one seen on the TV panel game Give us a clue, meaning ‘in the past.’ And when you put the verbs of the problem in their past tense, all except one rhyme with each other: bought, caught, fought, etc. The odd one out is ‘drew’.
The most notable feature of many reported experiences is the fact that a dream entity often appears to know the answer already, as in the examples just quoted, the inevitable conclusion being that part of the dreamer’s mind knows the answer even before the dream is experienced. The noted psychologist Carl Jung, a thinker who attained remarkable insight into the subconscious processes, came to the same conclusion and didn’t hesitate to say as much:
For it is only our consciousness that doesn’t know; the Unconscious seems already informed…..
(Man and his Symbols C. Jung 1964)
The scope of the subconscious answers is by no means limited to mere puns, as the following example clearly shows. Dr Schatzman gave a colleague this question to ponder: which two English words both begin and end with the letters ‘he?’ The answer is ‘headache’ and ‘heartache.’ In his dream, the colleague first experienced an intense pain in his chest. The doctor attending him admitted to knowing what was wrong but refused to say so until the patient confirmed it himself. Goaded by the doctor, the patient said ‘I have a coronary’. The doctor testily replied that jargon would not suffice and kept worrying the patient until he eventually used the word ‘heartache’. But the pain persisted and the doctor continued to harass him until in exasperation the patient said’ riddles give me a headache’. At this, the dreamer awoke, fully aware of the answers he had given, and as he lay considering these, he recalled that throughout his experience with the dream doctor, various people had been laughing at him in the most peculiar way: ‘hee,hee…..hee,hee,…..’Thus the key letters of the problem (HE) were emphasized. No doubt some correspondence can already be seen between the unreal scenes created by the dream world and the way in which Hermetic writers manipulate symbolism while in the waking state, and it suggests that by mastering such allegory one is already treading on the threshold of the subconscious mind.
I make this point in the knowledge that certain readers will view the exposition in this book as inadvertent and meaningless synchronicity, their argument being that if the so-called code words and phrases can be found in one work, they will be present in others chosen at random. To those who hold this opinion I offer the suggestion that they make their choice of book and start the search for a comparable allegory which will even halfway comply with the terms previously stated. A possible starting point for such an exercise might be The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This text contains all the potential for such an allegory, it duplicating the main features of She-the long journey through hostile territory and wilderness, the climbing of a mountain, monsters, a death, etc. Unfortunately these possibilities are not utilized by being built into the requisite allegorical framework, and therefore I can authoritatively state that if Conan Doyle knew anything of the art, it is not evident in this well known adventure story-nor in any of his famed Sherlock Holmes novels. On the other hand, the story by Robert Louis Stevenson, Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde offers a wealth of familiar and correctly placed symbolism, the traditional Hermetic theme being visible in the basic Dualist conception, while the process itself indicated with the usual code words and phrases-the whole worked into only a few thousand words.
The decline in spiritual values during the present century is adequately reflected in its literary output, a veritable deluge of meaningless escapism which has but submerged the art of allegory. The traditional works in which the knowledge is carried are no longer read with care and penetration. Often they are not read at all. And yet Fate decrees that the ancient message may still be delivered on rare occasions, placed before the public’s very eyes by way of that supplanter of books, the cinema and television screen. Modern screen writers, in their quest to satisfy the well-night insatiable demand for viewing material, sometimes select traditional themes to reproduce as historical or mythological dramatizations. Knowingly or not, unmistakable allegories have been chosen and offered as entertainment. As an example, I quote the 1951 film production of Pandora and the flying Dutchman, starring James Mason and Ava Gardner, a story which in its original form is totally Hermetic, the symbolism being faithfully transferred to the screen.
A second instance, and one which holds a certain mystification, is the 1954 version of Robinson Crusoe, directed by Luis Bunel and featuring Dan O’Herlihy as the castaway. What is so intriguing from our subject’s point of view is that while the screen adaptation adhered closely to the original text, certain small sequences were added that were not penned by Defoe-yet they wholly conformed to the long established Hermetic rules. To illustrate: viewers were shown the name of the ship which foundered and cast Crusoe away. It was given as Gabriel, which in Hermetic lore is the name of the angel of revelation and thus an indication of the beginning of the mental work. A second example occurs when Crusoe falls into a feverish slumber and dreams of his father-and of water being poured over a pig. Again this latter act is not to be found in Defoe’s text, but is nevertheless authentic, symbolizing meditation (water being poured) going on in the would-be-adepts conscious mind(the pig). Of course, additions of this nature could be the result of accidental inspiration on the part of the writer responsible for the film script. If so, these accidents occur on at least five occasions during the film, each time a perfect expression of Hermetic symbolism.
In the 1970s, two other productions in the same category were screened. The first was The Magic Flute, starring David Carradine, Eli Wallach and Christopher Lee, where the story line, extracted from authentic Chinese allegorical works, was faithfully reproduced. The second was the BBC2 TV production.Gawin and the Green Knight, a transmission of folk lore in which Hermetic allegory is present in every scene.
In my opinion, one of the most delightful screen offerings open to Hermetic study was the 1953 production of The Captain’s Paradise, with Sir Alec Guiness, Celia Johnson and Yvonne de Carlo in the leading roles. Guinness played the part of a Captain whose ship ferried to and fro between Gibraltar and Kalik, a small port on the North African coast. But the Captain secretly led a double life. In Gibraltar, he maintained a nice home with a quiet, domesticated wife, spending his time there in mundane existence and retiring to bed each night at ten with a cup of cocoa. In stark contrast, his time in the North African port was spent in the company of a young, dark-haired, flashily-dressed mistress, enjoying high living, dancing and drinking, eating out at restaurants every night and roistering until the early hours. In maintaining this dual role, the Captain considered that he had found the key to ideal happiness.
The time came, however, when his wife in Gibraltar became bored and attempted to inject some new interest into their routine by asking to be taken out dancing and to supper. At the same time, the Captain’s mistress across the water showed signs of tiring of the high life, favouring instead a more domesticated existence. Deeply disturbed by this trend, the Captain attempted to steer his respective partners back into their original modes of behaviour, and at first it seemed that he had succeeded. But his double life was very nearly exposed when, without his knowledge, his wife decided to pay a sight-seeing visit to Kalik. Whilst there, strolling round the market place, she actually met her husband’s mistress and struck up a conversation with her. Neither woman realized the position of the other in respect to the Captain, so no harm was done, but the secretly watching Captain was greatly alarmed.
For a while, all seemed to return to normal, but one night, after bidding his mistress farewell and setting a course for Gibraltar, a boiler room malfunction forced the Captain to put about and return to Kalik. Forced to stay over night while repairs were carried out, he arrived at his mistress’s apartment to find her in the act of running away with a local taxi driver. A violent argument between the girl and the taxi driver ensured because she had not told him of her liaison with the Captain. At the height of the quarrel, The Captain walked out-not a moment too soon, for shots rang out and the taxi man was fatally wounded.
Much shaken, the Captain returned to his ship and as soon as it was seaworthy, set off for Gibraltar. Owing to the unexpected delay, he arrived at his home at a time quite out of his normal schedule and surprised his wife just as she was running off with a lover. Stunned, the Captain pleaded with her to stay, but was unable to shake her resolve. Thus, the Captain’s ‘paradise’ was lost forever. Impelled perhaps by conscience, he returned to Kalik to surrender himself to the authorities as the one who killed the taxi driver, thus allowing his mistress a reprieve from impending execution.
In prison, awaiting execution himself, he conceived a brilliant idea. Secretly, he offered a heavy bribe to the firing squad members if they would, at the moment of execution, shoot their officer instead of himself. At their agreement, he made haste to rid himself of all his former possessions and identity, giving his money to his children and his ship to his first officer, and then submitting to the mock execution. After it was over, completely free with a new identity, he disappeared from public view.
It may be that the strong allegorical content of this story will remain unappreciated until I add emphasis to a few of the many code word clues with the scenario.
The Captain’s name was Henry St James (the disciple brother of Jesus), he was based at Gibraltar, a place known to all as the ‘Rock’ (i.e. stone-the conscious mind), and the ferry which he commanded was named the Golden Fleece, a vessel which plied between two different lands. The Captain had two distinct sides to his life (like Castor and Pollux-the conscious and the sub-conscious). On one side, his woman was quiet and calm, while on the other, his mistress was active and noisy-and with this arrangement, the Captain was deluded into believing that he had found perfect happiness(as the non-initiate conscious mind often does). His wife unexpectedly crossed waters (first contact of the conscious with the subconscious), but when the two women in the Captain’s life happened to meet, they did not recognize one another (the two minds do not ordinarily know one another). While at sea, our sailor discusses the subject of happiness with his first mate and the script has him say: ‘He who seeks happiness must first find the golden key.’ Subsequently, there is a direct quotation about Prometheus ‘bringing down fire’ (a clear indication that the process has begun).
With the two women (the two minds), a gradual reversal of roles takes place, culminating in a total upheaval in the Captain’s affairs. In North Africa, the hot, dry place so often utilized by allegorical writers, there is a violent quarrel (a conflict) which ends in a death of the taxi driver, whose name is Absolom (a son who rebelled against his father)
This indicates the first stage of the process. In Gibraltar, a similar upheaval occurs. Finally, facing a self-inflicted death by execution, the Captain makes a further sacrifice by giving up everything he possesses in his former life and then staging his own death(final stage of the process). But although the rest of the world assumed him to be dead, in reality, he is resurrected in a completely new life (process complete).
I cannot with any authority state that Alec Coppel, the screen writer responsible for the production was in possession of Hermetic knowledge, for the idea for his storyline may well have originated from the plot of an earlier Hermetic work, and have been adapted to the twentieth century. Yet, the proliferation of initiate clues with the film script is both significant and remarkable.
The greatest problem confronting those wishing to become acquainted with Hermetic lore lies in the realization that many of the code words, once recognized, have a meaning attached to them today which is different to that originally conceived. As an instance relevant to a chapter in this book we may select ‘humility’, as it is used in connection with the Plantagenet family name. On reading the word ‘humility’ in the present day there is a tendency to envisage an attitude of self-effacement or subservience-all the outward signs of penitence. But this is entirely erroneous, for the mental process is something which takes place in the mind alone and has little to do with the physical body’s outward stance. The ‘humility’ in question, therefore, is a humility of mind, an acceptance of, a complete realization of the spiritual poverty suffered by the self compared to the Self. It is an admission to oneself that there is a subconscious power, that there is a way to reach it, and that this power exceeds anything that the day to day mind can envisage. Further, it is not merely a question of making just a superficial admission to oneself, and not really believing it. The admission must be wholehearted.
As a final comment, I particularly emphasize the fact that the words ‘meditation’ and ‘contemplation’, descriptive of the mental process, have themselves been subject to latter day misinterpretation. I there fore warn all those who would take up the practice to be certain that they can differentiate between true Meditation and that dangerous state which is no more than idle introversion.
I have no doubts whatsoever that many will find themselves unable to believe that the Hermetic ‘code’ as I have expressed it is anything more than synchronicity. To those, I leave a last quotation from Madame Blavatsky, who in Isis Unveiled significantly stated:
Too many of our thinkers do not consider that the numerous changes in language
, the allegorical phraseology and evident secretiveness of old Mystic writers, who
were generally under an obligation never to divulge the solemn secrets of the sanctuary, might have sadly misled translators and commentators. The phrases of the mediaeval alchemists they read literally; and even the veiled symbology of Plato is commonly misunderstood by the modern scholar. One day they may learn to know better."
The Language of the Gods
Book: "All about Dreams: Everything You Need to Know About Why We Have Them, What They Mean, and How to Put Them to Work for You" by Gayle Delaney
Book: "Living Your Dreams" by Gayle Delaney Ph.D.
Book: "The Interpretation of Dreams" Translation and commentary by Robert J. White
Book: Dream Working: How to Use Your Dreams for Creative Problem Solving" by Stanley Krippner & Joseph Dillard
Book: "The Understanding of Dreams, or the Machinations of the Night" by Raymond de Becker
Book: "Waking Dream Therapy" by Dr. Gerald Epstein
Book: "The Mind At Night" by Andrea Rock
Book: "A Little Course In Dreams" by Robert Bosnak
Back to Chrestomathy Next Page