One, Two, Three…Flood

tsunami-deep-impact(From the movie Deep Impact)

I don’t know if this just started when I started paying more attention to dreams, but now that I am, they do seem to be trying to hammer home messages to me through particular bits of symbolism. Over the last week-and-a-half, it’s been water. Specifically, flooding.

Floods are one of the symbols that have shown up in my dreams for almost as long as I can remember. From what I’ve been able to figure out, water can represent emotions and spiritual energy, so flooding would apparently indicate energy of one or both of those sorts being out of control. Maybe I’m letting things run away from me, or maybe I’m not paying enough attention. Whatever the answer, over the last eleven days I’ve had four flood dreams:

#1: A tsunami – think thousand-foot-high mega-tsunami like the one from Deep Impact – is rushing over the mountains towards me.

#2: My hometown is flooded, and I’m trying to make my way up a street in water deep enough to rise up to either my stomach or chest depending on where I’m walking.

#3: I’m on a second floor of the building where I work, staring down at the pond across the street. The pond has risen up over its banks and is threatening to swamp the streets.

#4: The flood isn’t here yet, but while I’m attending a 4th of July celebration in town, a warning goes out that a massive storm is heading our way, a storm which will likely include flooding and tornadoes (the other elemental symbol that’s found its way into my dreams since I was a kid).

They all sound pretty alarming. And except maybe for #3, they were alarming when I was in the middle of the dream. But along with the warnings, there were also hopeful symbols too (though one with its own caveats):

The tsunami dream provided escape in the form of a castle and a staircase – though these would be impossible in waking life, the castle walls would hold against the flood, and the staircase would take me above the water level. Castle and staircase seem are both iconic dream symbols – the castle for protection, of course, and the stairway means a rising consciousness or spiritual awareness.

There was a caveat with this dream, though: I was able to save myself, and friends and family, but there were also hundreds of people who could not go to the castle’s upper levels who would drown when the wave came. And the walls were invisible, so I could see everything that happened below me. I was thankful that I could save myself and my loved ones but also feeling guilty that there was no way I could save the rest of the people gathered nearby, and the invisible walls meant that ascending that staircase wouldn’t make me any less aware of what was happening around me. In fact once I was higher, I could see even more of what was happening around me, and thus was even more frustrated that I couldn’t help more people than I did.

In the dream where I was slogging my way down a flooding street, I had a huge dog to guide me. By huge I mean imagine what you think of as the biggest dog you know, and double it. The dog was swimming, occasionally looking back at me, and occasionally I held the fur on its back to keep steady. I knew as long as I followed the dog, I’d get to wherever it was I needed to go.

Dogs seem to work out to be my social life – my need to be social and accepted – so I’m wondering if this dream was letting me know that whatever I might be going through or was about to go through, I could count on friends to help guide me.

 The third dream, the flooding pond, didn’t make me feel like I was in any danger. I was in a solid building well above the street, looking down. If that part of the street flooded, I could try another way out. There are multiple possibilities for the meaning of this one, such as the solidity of the building itself to the (I hope!) solidity of my job, which I’ve had for over a dozen years.

The last one was interesting in that the flood and tornadoes were only a possibility rather than something I was witnessing myself. Nevertheless, there was help available here too – many of the people in town were National Guard members, and the storm warning came with a call-up. I was alone this time with no one to try sheltering except for myself, though, so instead of seeking shelter I went looking for the people in charge so I could offer whatever help I was able to give.

Despite my dreams trying to hammer home a message, I’m not exactly sure if they’re trying to tell me that they’re referring to something happening now, or something that is going to happen in the future. Either way, though, all were crystal clear on the fact that whatever happens, I don’t have to face it alone, but will have help that I can seek one way or the other.

There’s one final twist on this that Alexandra got me thinking about when she asked me if I’d been doing a lot of spiritual work while these dreams were going on. The answer is that aside from writing my last M&I entry, I hadn’t been doing any at all – not even any reading. The imagery in the dreams seems too stark and vivid to just be a simple reminder to get back into things. But I suspect it isn’t coincidence that I had a “flood” of flood dreams at a time when I was doing practically nothing in my spiritual exercises and explorations.

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