Thursday, June 28, 2007

Dream Conference

I'm off to Sonoma State University for the annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams where I will be presenting a paper on myths, dreams and art. I will post a copy of the PowerPoint when I return next week.

Although I took up the formal study of dreams after I returned from Alaska in 2001 and have used dreamwork extensively in my ministry, the paper takes me away from the Church (I was only ordained in 1999) and back to my former life in the humanities, when I wanted to be the female answer to Joseph Campbell and reveal things he could not see about the Power of Myth and the Masks of God.

At about the same time the Power of Myth aired on PBS, my own dream teacher Jeremy Taylor told Jeffrey Mishlove in a television interview that dreams exist to subvert closed systems. Closed systems represent any kind of institutional view of the world, be it government or religion or monomyth or hero quest or anything that purports to tell us "the way things are." Dreams, in their magnificent incoherence, remind us that "the way things are" may be anything but obvious. Not surprisingly, this was one of the things Jesus, too, came to reveal. Quoting Psalm 78 he said, "I will open my mouth and speak in parables. I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world." Dreamwork opens this hidden, foundational world to anyone who dreams, and since we all dream, the secrets of all time are there, just for us, if we but have eyes to see, ears to hear, and words to tell.

Formal philosophies seek to limit and to tame the wild wonders of the truth so that we may "get on with it," whatever that means. As a wild woman, I'm going out with my little lantern, hopefully to shine some light on the truth that to be fully human is to be created male and female in the image of God, not male in the lead and female in her place, whether veiled in the burka or crippled by 5 inch spikes.

It's another reason my personal myth is the dog team. The huskies and the wolves both know this. Female and male they take us singing, all the way to Nome.

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