A Van of Robbers
I had a very lengthy and adventurous dream last night, but more adventure than content, I’m afraid. I can only remember bits and pieces, not a through line for most of it. The only narrative element I remember for sure was it ended with me getting the license plate number of a gang of bank robbers, at great personal risk. When I got close enough to their truck to read the plates, I saw that they had stolen several plates, including some that had been affixed to the bumper and side panels, to confuse anyone who tried. Two on the back were special plates- one was a veteran plate, and the other some kind of gov. plate, I think… both looked like temp plates- paper not metal, and both were missing their numbers. I surmised that since they had gone to the effort of adding options to confuse, one must still be the real plate. So I went around to the front, and copied down the plate number from there… I think the logic was that they had probably only put in the effort on one side, and/or they weren’t expecting anyone to look at the front plate. So I copied down the number while they were shooting at me, and then took cover. Then the dream ended. All I got for you at the moment!
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I like that you call it an adventure, for that is itself perhaps a form of instruction; that life is indeed an adventure, and from that perspective our “troubles” and fear filled experiences are felt differently, more as opportunity and less attachment.
So, license plates are used for identification purposes. Bank robbers are, I assume, aspects of your personality (i.e. identifications) that you feel rob you of personal power, keep you from experiencing abundance, etc. In that case the term “at great personal risk” is appropriate, for ‘personal’ points to the personality, which is indeed a conglomerate of identifications. “Personal risk” can then mean the personality’s experience that you could lose something in a social sense (reputation, investments in time, money, and relationships, for example), or that you could actually lose some aspect of your personality (loss of identity). In any case, there is a fear of loss, which is part of change in our lives. That the identifications are stolen, is true; lots of our personality characteristics are sort of glued on, taken from others, right? They may or may not end up being permanently useful to us; they may or may not feel authentic. They may never have felt good from the beginning, but were required at the time, in order to function; to get whatever we want and need. Or perhaps for the purpose of learning what it is we really want and what we don’t want. Maybe they were age appropriate, and time to let go. Human development and healing requires this letting go of outdated identities.
The van, like motor vehicles in general, is symbolizing a state of being, generally stated. Our states of being are in this sense ways we have adopted in order to “get somewhere”. So, our perceptions, our beliefs, our conditioning, our behaviors, thoughts, and emotions, are all designed to cope with our goals and our environment and its conditions, including our culture and our relationships. They help us move through life in a particular manner.
The motor vehicle will symbolize the way of being, the way of operating, that the dream is addressing. If the van was like a panel truck, with no windows, that is significant of low visibility, a narrow perspective, and hidden stuff, right? You can’t see in or out on most sides. So it is signifying this low visibility sort of experience, these sorts of limitations. There’s a feeling to it. It’s not the open and broader perspective that would be symbolized by a big van with lots of windows, where you can see everything really well in all directions. Glass is more easily shattered, so it’s theoretically less safe for the physical body. However, the illusion of safety that a closed van provides compromises visibility and multiple perspectives. The van is perhaps a work truck, since you say it is the vehicle of folks with a certain job or profession: robbing banks. So it represents the same for you, perhaps, an attitude or experience that pertains to your work, your means of obtaining financial resources. Bank robbers are not doing their work out in the open; they want to remain hidden. Thus so is this aspect of experience.
The big picture symbolism of money and finances is that of personal power. Personal power is, of course, enjoyed and perceived in many ways and in many forums in our lives. However, there will be a baseline feeling of empowerment-disempowerment that we experience in relationship to our “work”; our career or professional objectives, our ability to support ourselves financially. Of course it is always advisable to pay attention to thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, interactions, etc. that seemingly evoke loss or gain in our feelings of empowerment; our feelings about competence, our confidence, our self love, our feelings of security-insecurity. These losses and gains of empowerment in our daily lives are significant of thoughts or beliefs about ourselves and about “the world”.
Again, the stolen plates then become a reference to thoughts and beliefs the conditioned personality “stole” from its surroundings and experiences. From the perspective of the guarding ego, the more identities the better! For the ego or personality’s creation is usually based in large part on keeping us safe, in avoiding loss. The personality is essentially loss-averse. Not surprising if it thinks that power is something it has to steal from others, for in that case our power is like a “thing” that can be taken from us. If self love and self confidence is a thing can be taken from others, it can also be taken by others. It’s like the old adultery dilemma in its logic; would you marry someone who cheated on their spouse to be with you? All the little roles we create- our workaholism, our workplace victimhood games, our negative self judgments, our feelings of superiority over others, our reaching for more and more “stuff” in order to feel secure (materialism), our seeming need to be in love relationships- are the license plates. They are significant of the personality’s outer-referencing behaviors.
Lots of plates makes it harder to “read the plates”- to understand our personality tricks and see beyond them to the true identity, which is where inner referenced self empowerment lies. Empowerment that is based on socially conditioned identifications is dependent on others; thus we are constantly “robbing” our power from others, as we look to them for validation, for love, for confirmation that we are “doing the right thing”. If we were already feeling abundant, secure, loved, connected, capable, we would not have to steal our power from others. From another perspective, of course, we are only robbing ourselves through our beliefs about self and “the world”. There is no such thing as taking stable personal power away from another; we do imagine that we are giving it away, or getting it through others. But that is the coverup symbolism, the license plate coverup.
So the robbers have this slippery trickster characteristic of the conditioned personality, which is, of course, what ignorantly and innocently runs off with our deepest, most connected experience of personal power that needs no coverup, that need not shoot at people that get in our way, that need not hide and sneak, ha ha. The veteran plate might be the conditioning aspect which refers to our “battles”- our fears and defenses that are based on old hurtful events. It could represent our stories that sustain the identity as a victim of the past. The government plate refers to the personality aspects that wish to keep us safe and secure through limitation or rules, maybe. For ‘government’ if it is external implies that one must conform to the dictates of another authority in order to be safe, in order to make choices. You could play with that. In what ways are we ready for self authority vs. outer authority?
Good logic on “since they went to the effort”…! That’s very Zen. If there wasn’t a deeper or vaster aspect to our being, why would we play this adventure-game of hiding behind false selves? The fact that the plates are paper speaks symbolically well of their temporary aspect- the different identities and behaviors were taken on to fit a temporary condition (usually in childhood and adolescence), but then they are kept there for good measure… till soon we are plastered from every angle with conditioned identifications! They give us the illusion of protection; the plates on the bumper are a very great metaphor for such, for the bumper is also a protective device.
Also, “no numbers” could be saying the same thing- there never really was anything to the identification to begin with. It was the situation that elicited the temporary identification. It was never meant to last; it was just smoke and mirrors. And I believe that indeed it shall not last- past our death!
Or maybe “numberless” refers to the very impersonal nature of our larger, existential forms of conditioning common to all. Authority in general is one such, since it is at its core just hierarchy, a natural and universal paradigm that begins when we are dependent upon caretakers for survival. It is entirely possible to have hierarchy without a sense of superiority or bullying, which is the Wise King archetype. Suffering (the veteran plate) is also a universal human experience that we can learn not to take personally. When we take existential human suffering personally, we get stuck on the personality level. We believe that we are our suffering, that we are bound by those experiences, limited by them, for moving beyond them would mean that we must lose some part of our identity. Once we let go of the identity’s suffering we can no longer believe those stories, or tell them with any conviction. How will people know who we are without these stories, these license plates? For it is through stories of suffering and revenge that humans in my society often bond and create understanding. There is always beauty behind the story of suffering, but it takes insight to understand that deeper beauty and move beyond victimhood, beyond the general experience of being “done to”, of being robbed of love and personal power.
Putting in effort on one side would refer to masculine/feminine. The average male puts in more effort at developing personality on the right side, average female on the left or feminine side. Another symbolic point is that the masculine archetype is the one that protects. It defends and guards; creating boundaries with the mind (air element), and defending them with fire (the guns).
Going to the front of the vehicle is confronting the issue. You want to “get its number”, as it were; you want to figure out how you keep robbing yourself of power. The fact that they are in a truck does, again, refer to work. So this could be some stuff about your job search/career etc. Your being under fire implies fear factor, for fear is the way the personality endeavors to maintain status quo, the current belief system and identifications. The personality fears losing its parts, which it believes it needs for moving about safely in “the world”, since it is not operating through self empowerment. In any case the dream is implying that if you dare, you can get somewhere with looking boldly at some fears in this arena, getting proactive with identifying what you feel you have to lose from the viewpoint of the conditioned personality. Or it is saying that you currently are doing this.
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My Dream: Bread to Apples
I was shopping in a very crowded grocery store. I had a cart with a baby boy in it, about 6-9 mos. old. The main part of the cart was filled with bagged loaves of bread that had already been partially eaten.
When I got to the checkout area a man who worked there helped me route the cart. However, not to the checkout exactly. Again, the place was so crowded and squeezy it was difficult to even get to a register. Then suddenly my cart was gone; he had taken it to an outbuilding. (I think someone told me this, maybe him). I was very anxious about my baby disappearing. I went outside and found the shed, and though the baby was quietly facing away from the door, towards a wall, he was fine, a stoic little fellow. There was a young woman in the shed so he had not been alone. She was also an employee. Though she was not interacting with the baby at all. The small shed itself was pretty empty.
As I pushed the cart away from the shed, it now had a bunch of apples in it instead of the bread, big, bright, green and red apples. The man had put them there. I turned the cart and pushed it out of the shed, happy to be back with my baby.
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The marketplace generally symbolizes choice making in “the world”; for the marketplace is options. There are of course limitless types of both symbolic and more or less physical “marketplaces”, all of them the result of human cocreation. For humans create, in the multidimensional sense, “products”; different sorts of experiences that may or may not be prompted by a physical object purchased. The baby is “creative issue”- in this case my writing/counseling ambitions, which is certainly rarely a physical object, though words can be printed. My writing involves staring at a lighted screen. It is ideas, coded electricity. An older child would be a “career” that was already established to some extent. It would already have some momentum of its own.
In fact the publishing industry (the market) is very crowded. The bags of bread are creative projects that “feed me”- and that is indeed my motivation for writing and for my other arts. They feed me spiritually (through the inspired experience and a love of beauty), emotionally (they connect me with my emotional life, my love for humans and other beings, my desire to be of service) and mentally (there is a lot of puzzling in my writing art, from interpretation to editing, and I am always learning along the way).
The man represents some kind of inner masculine help, which of course could be specifically manifest in the physical or metaphysical somehow. I do in fact get pretty excellent help from men in general. He helps me to navigate the choice making process. He moves the marketplace experience from a bread (very feminine, heart center) concept, to fruition (the apples). In retrospect maybe there never was any objective to purchase something, since I never took anything from shelves and never went to a checkout. Perhaps it was only about my general experience with marketing my writing.
So the dream is telling me to partner with my masculine side, and/or that I am doing this. The red and green are opposite colors, and so that supports the symbolism too (masculine and feminine are opposites). My anxiety about the baby at the time I assessed as my needing to leave my writing projects because I went on a trip in “real life”. So, I abandoned my writing projects, the symbolic baby facing the wall. There are in fact both positive and negative results from doing that with a writing project, for you lose continuity and forget some things, but it is necessary for the editing process, too. Also, something new could be incubating and rise to the surface while you “look away” from the usual way of working on it. The woman in the shed assured me that there is always some amount of care going on, even when I am not directly engaged on a daily basis with the project.
In fact at this time, a week or two following the dream, I am doing some “harvesting”, as I collect my blogged symbolic interps (apples) from the last 4-5 yrs. in preparation for shutting down that website. The new website idea is in fact intended to get a bit more competitive (masculine) in the marketing dept. And it feels good to see all those awesome interps!
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There was a spider but it didn’t really look like a spider, it looked more like a huge tick. It was night time, and it was weaving webs on everything- on the chairs, on the tables. And I was supposed to take those webs and make clothes for myself.
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Q: Was the spider silver, or light grayish?
A: No, it was more brown and dark grey or black.
Q: How was it like a tick? Was it round?
A: Yes, it was round.
The reason I ask is this spider seems like moon energy, feminine moon energy. The spinning and weaving of webs happens mostly at night, during moon time. It’s a feminine energy that is about making connections. That’s why the threads are all over the place- they are saying “All is connected”. The circle holds the same symbolism. The archetypal spider web is the orb web, which is circular.
Q: Then why do I need to make clothes with these threads?
A: When you are making clothes, it is about self expression. What you wear expresses something about your personality, who you believe you are, what you want others to see about you, too. It can be an expression of your creativity. In this case the dream advises you to BE more fully your personal belief in Oneness, in unity consciousness. WEAR it. It asks you to integrate the belief more fully into your daily life, and to walk the talk. Not saying “talk” precisely, but just to act more and more in alignment with this belief and its values. This alignment is the journey of a lifetime!