Tag Archives: carbon

Where do dreams come from?

Whether we’re talking about what happens when we sleep, or what happens when we daydream, dreams are significantly informed by our every day experiences. What we’re exposed to gets in. This means what is around us in our immediate environment. People we spend time with. Stuff we do. Things we watch. Books we read. It all goes in. From it we weave the often irrational seeming dreams we have at night, and we also create our ideals, hopes, aspirations and desires.

It’s worth pausing now and then to see what is coming in and where it comes from. What are you feeding your mind with? How much of that is advertising designed to sell products? How much of it normalises western consumer culture? How many of your daydreams come from what your society encourages you to want – fame, fortune, the fast car, the white carpet in the immaculate living room, the exotic holiday…?

Are you dreaming, and daydreaming as a Pagan? If you look at the imagery of your dreams, you’ll find the answer soon enough. If you can see your Paganism in your night time dreaming, it’s a good indicator that you are living it while awake. That doesn’t have to mean deities and mythic content – in my case it means that my dreams are full of landscape. Often when we analyse dreams, the temptation is to try and find meanings in specific symbols. However, it can be well worth looking at dreams over time, to pick up trends. The overall shape of your dreaming over a period of weeks or months can tell you a lot about what’s influencing you. A dream diary can be a good way of exploring this.

We’re being sold commercial dreams designed to lock us into patterns of work, consumerism and frantic, carbon guzzling leisure pursuits. These advertising-induced dreams keep us working, struggling, getting into debt, running after things we can’t have, and destroying our home and habitat as we go along. Reclaiming our dreams is part of how we change this. Taking back control of our longing and desire, and taking back control of what feeds our unconscious dreaming gives us a lot more options.

Perhaps one of the key things here, is how we handle instant gratification. Often, instant gratification – in the buy now pay later mode – is offered as a bad thing. But, life is now. It’s not next year, or when you retire. The dreams we are encouraged to aspire to are so often set just out of reach. When we get the promotion, the pay rise, or some other distant thing happens, then we can have the stuff we really want. The simpler our desires are, the easier it is to gratify them. An afternoon pottering in the garden, a night out dancing, a meal with friends – these are things you can have quickly. These are the kinds of things a good life is made of. If we’re always working towards some big dream, we may never get round to being happy in the moment, satisfied with what we have, or able to enjoy life.

Your dreams – especially your night dreaming, are in some ways very natural. That doesn’t mean dreams are immune from human influence. Dreams are made of what we absorb. Dreams can tell us a lot about what we expose ourselves to and what effect that has on us. Question your dreams and make sure they really are yours, and not someone else’s marketing strategy.

More about dreaming in my book, Pagan Dreaming, available from most places that sell books…  https://www.bookdepository.com/Pagan-Dreaming/9781785350900

Weighing your heart

There’s a concept in Egyptian myth about how, in the afterlife, the heart of the deceased is weighed against a feather. A heart that is too heavy with sin and guilt will sink and is eaten, and thus endeth everything for that person. I have absolutely no certainty about what happens to us when we die, but I have read a few things that interest me around how the consciousness we develop might impact what we get when our bodies pack up.

So, with no assumptions about the literal truth of any of this, what might make our hearts weigh heavy, and what might lighten them?

It would seem obvious to think about the weight of pain we have caused to others as balanced against the love, joy and compassion we have brought into the world. How does that balance up? The odds are we do not really know. We can look at our intentions, and whatever feedback we get, but quite how we affect anyone else remains a mystery. Doing good things is no guarantee, because there are people who take offence at bleeding heart do gooder types. In being nice to people we can reinforce their most destructive behaviours. In insisting on thinking the best, we can become enablers of abuse. If we do not know the consequences of our actions, how does that weigh on our hearts?

‘Sin’ is a word I find difficult. The idea of sin is so often religiously based and doesn’t have as much as it might to do with how we treat each other and the planet. Which leads me round to the thought that prompted all of this. I woke this morning with the idea of a carbon balance in my mind. If there are gods who weigh and measure, what if the current balance is all about our carbon? How big is your carbon footprint? How many trees have you planted? How much carbon is there, weighing on your heart?