Making Space for the Dark

Photo Copyright 2021: Christine Bradley

I think a lot of us are probably feeling the stress and trauma of the world in this moment. An unrelenting pandemic, a devasting hurricane, violence in Afghanistan—it’s hard not to fall into a black hole of news headlines and obsessive phone-checking. This is definitely the theme of the past year or so for many of us. I know that’s where I’ve been recently: overwhelmed by this world trauma, ungrounded from the pain and suffering of others who I am helpless to care for. I feel like there is SO much to process, and these situations are not even directly happening to me.

Helpless. And in the darker moments…I feel a little hopeless too.

It’s important for me (and you!) to acknowledge this suffering. Create some space for feelings. The pain is very real. But—we are not alone; we are all connected here.

I’m feeling all of this trauma influence my dreams lately. And maybe you are too. My brain is literally trying to process the world around me, and it has not been pretty. The dreams I’m about to share are darker and more violent than previous entries, so please proceed with caution if you are feeling sensitive or vulnerable.

Last night, my dream begins with me standing in front of a large crowd. I have just been elected president of this group of individuals. I am waiting patiently on this wooden platform as others take turns making speeches and sharing their ideas. I begin to grow impatient as I keep thinking it’s my turn to speak, and another person walks forward to the microphone. I mean I feel like I might have something important to say since I was just elected “president.” But my turn never comes here—by the time I am able to speak, everyone has to leave.

Then, I am in a hospital. I am in a room with a young man and a young boy. Heart monitors are beeping. They are wrapped up in strange, metallic covers and have bandages on their heads. They are victims from a mass genocide event—and more specifically, victims of radiation poisoning.

We somehow hear that there is a shooter in the hospital building. Panic begins to ensue. The young man runs out of the room, never to be seen again.

The young boy runs to the back bathroom in their room. I try hiding under the hospital bed, but the legs are too high. It’s obvious I am under there and not hidden at all. So, I run to the back bathroom too. I walk in, and the little boy is just crouched against a wall to the right. I see there are three bathroom stalls. I consider hiding in one, but that seems obvious too. Then I notice that this bathroom door closes. It even has two locks! So, I turn around and close the door. I lock the left side, then lock the right.

The young boy and I are sitting in here for a while. It seems very quiet. Then I hear my cat, Kitter, begin to meow. He’s doing this anxious “where are you?!” cry. I’m flooded with panic and want to let him in the bathroom immediately. I unlock the left side of the door. I start to unlock the right side.

The little boy says, “Stop! He’s out there! Look through the peep hole!” (Yes, there is a peep hole like on a front door of an apartment.) I look through the hole, and I see a man dressed in black clothing from head to toe—even a black mask covers his entire face. He is standing there with an eerie, predatory calmness.

It’s too late. I already have the door unlocked enough that it cracks open.

I try to shove the door back closed with all my might, but I fail.

The man dressed in black pushes the barrel of his gun through the crack in the door. I’m eye level with it. I look over at the young boy, and I know we are doomed. The man pushes his way into the bathroom. He throws some strips of cloth on the ground, meant to blindfold us. He tells us to put them on.

And I wake up.

No surprises here—but the moon was in Gemini last night. So, I see some personal, recurring themes surface. The theme of the shadow: although not my typical shadow-ghost with more a feminine nature, the man with a gun and dressed in black still reminds me of repressed pain and fear. What/who is he chasing? What exactly is he trying to destroy?

The theme of duality also makes a small appearance: the two locks on the bathroom door, the two patients in the hospital room.

I’d also like to take a moment to note that Mars was in Virgo yesterday and at a perfect, exact conjunction with my Ascendant. Despite the placement in earthy Virgo, I feel like the planet’s fiery energy and even violent tendencies, themes of war were rising up inside me and making their presence known. Couple that with recent world trauma, and it’s a recipe for a pretty creepy dream.

No lie—RIGHT NOW as I’m typing this—my boss tells me to check the local news website because there is a new story about the recent standoff between an armed resident of the area and local police officer.

This theme of guns is everywhere. What they represent is completely situational too, at least for me. Sometimes they represent an imminent threat, danger, and violence. Sometimes they represent self-defense. This reminds me of another dream I had about two years ago and recorded in my journal.

In this dream, I am on a train with several people. A very young, blonde girl and her dad are there. We arrive at a big loading dock on the water. There are police armed with guns lined up along the shipping containers on the dock. There is a man at the end, between the officers, also holding a gun. It’s some sort of standoff.

They call in an old man to diffuse the situation. He seems to talk to the armed individual for a moment then is very cavalier about the whole situation.

As the old man turns around and starts walking back towards me, I hear three gunshots.

The old man’s mouth opens unnaturally wide, like a super creepy Halloween mask or something from a horror movie—a huge, deep, black pit that overtakes his entire face.

He picks up a shovel and shoves it into the back of his mouth. A bullet falls out of the back of his head, and his face goes back to normal.

He looks at me. He is all bloody now. He says, “It just got into the bad part of my brain.”

And I wake up.

Now, I’d like to note here that I had that dream during another stressful, traumatic time in my life. Someone I had known for a while was convicted of a horrible, violent crime. And I was struggling to process how I could know that person and not know that they were capable of what they did.

So, I feel like the theme of “guns” in dreams is not completely unexpected when we look at processing trauma and feeling helpless in certain situations. The overall message is very mixed when guns are portrayed as both a dangerous, fatal threat and a means of protection of our lives. Our tool for “self-defense” is the same tool that could instantly end our life. “Whoever has the gun has the power.” This is what so many of us have been taught, consciously and unconsciously.

I know that my brain will process trauma in its own way, and guns will likely continue to make appearances to make their point.

But I would like to maintain that whoever has the gun does not have the power.

Whoever does not fear the “gun” nor needs it has the true power.

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