A student wrote in who recently had surgery to remove a tumor and is currently receiving chemo. A devout Christian, she shared that she uses the rosary in meditation and prayer for herself and others, often ending with a visualization or mental imagery that I had given her.
The student described a dream in which Jesus appears to her dressed in a white robe with a red shawl around him. His arms are outstretched as in the Our Father prayer. He is standing next to a black granite pedestal. In the dream he tells her he is doing penance for either seeking or seeing the face of God.
Then he shows her how he does penance. He holds his right arm outstretched and his hand is in a fist. His left arm is held out at the same height but is bent at the elbow so he could grasp the wrist on his right arm. Once he assumed this position he began to pray.
How to Read the Dream
Here are a few pointers for reading a dream:
Dreams are mainly perceived in images, so they reveal multiple meanings and layers; and unlike words that are strung together in a logical sequence, dreams need not follow the everyday logic of cause and effect.
Instead, when you read a dream, you read it not logically, but analogically. This means that you are looking at the relationship between things, noting similarities and differences without drawing conclusions, without seeking endpoints.
Together, we discussed the dream and what it revealed:
Dreams reveal qualities of self. Everything you meet is at first a reflection of self, seen through the mirror of inner life. Jesus is her inner or higher source of wisdom, her inner healer and guide, wearing a red shawl and white robe. The white robe reflects the dreamer’s holy soul substance and is encircled by the red of pure earth, the physical realm.
Dreams reveal how we are functioning physically. The robe and the shawl reflect, by analogy to above, the red and white cells of her immune system functioning very well together. This is a dream informing the dreamer that the healing is progressing quite nicely. Prayer as a healing function is prominent here. Furthermore, the chemotherapy seems to satisfy her support to the salutary effects of prayer.
Dreams reveal what possibilities are available for fulfillment. Jesus is standing next to a black granite pedestal. Granite is an immutable substance, analogous to the tablets in which the Ten Commandments given at Mount Sinai and the immutable, Black Stone at Mecca honored by Muslims. Jesus is standing next to it, not on top of it. The dreamer paid attention to this point to say that Jesus came down to be human, “a brother” who is at the same level as the dreamer. As well, Jesus comes down to instate himself as a model for living and for healing, reminding her she can become her own healer.
Dreams reveal answers to our current issues. Doing penance has to do with feelings of guilt and shame. She can’t meet God without cleansing herself of these errors. The dreamer remembered there were many errors to clear out from the past and present. (See the following imagery exercises from Healing Visualizations : Retracing the Past (p 205-206), Burying the Past (p 197), and Reversing Guilt (p 119).
Next, we reviewed her favorite healing imagery exercise of sitting at the base of a great tree that has a strong trunk and roots and luscious green leaves that send healing chlorophyll down into her body removing all toxins and diseased cells
Finally, the dream revealed the prayer pose she was to adopt to aid her in prayer when doing penance. This answered a current question in her life.
All told, the dreamer came to understand that the dream is as real as waking life, providing her with new possibilities of living as well as answers to issues that she faces as well as calling forth from withing her to take corrective actions in her life.