|Beloved by Autumn Skye Morrison|
A subtle feeling of anxious anticipation or "butterflies in my stomach" began about a month ago – the kind of feeling that reminds me that something important is coming.
I can usually get to the source of the feeling through meditation or just by tuning in, but this time, it’s not so simple. There’s no specific thing that is making me nervous like taking on new responsibilities at work or preparing for a big presentation. Nothing like that is on the immediate horizon.
Around the time the butterflies started, I began having a series of dreams about weddings. In one, I was a guest at a huge, extravagant wedding. Although it was very impressive, it felt more for show than anything I could relate to or feel part of. In another dream, I was to marry a very traditional, controlling man who was trying to force me to wear a religious garment reserved only for men. I resisted his demands, but still felt trapped by the impending marriage.
It was only the most recent dream that finally felt like me.
I’m in a body of water, next to a raft. The water is dark with ocean life in it – crustaceans, seaweed. The water is almost up to my chest and I’m in a wedding dress. My groom, whom I don’t recognize, is with me, and he is naked. A man standing on the raft next to us is taking our pictures.The theme of weddings in my dreams reflects what I’ve been thinking about recently – the sacred union or inner marriage of the masculine and feminine.
I try to get out of the water and onto the raft, but there are a number of small octopuses stuck to the side of the raft and I don’t want to hurt or kill them by standing on them. Their eyes are looking at me.
Eventually I find a spot that is safe and I get out.
I’m now in a building and people are expecting me for another part of the wedding ceremony. I go to my room and change my clothes while a male friend waits in the hallway for me. I find a beautiful purple bra and put it on, knowing that it will show through my white dress. Once I’m ready, I make my way down the hall where family and friends are waiting.
Over the past year, I wanted only to be nurtured in the arms of the Mother – the Sacred Feminine – a relationship that I had sacrificed through the demands of my ambition and my career. Now, standing in a very different place than I was a year ago, I find myself very tentatively, very carefully, asking: How do I bring all parts of me together? How can I honour the disparate parts of myself that I still love?
The first two dreams reveal my base fears about this – that true balance isn’t possible, that I will either be dominated or feel like an outsider, unable to have everything I need. But my most recent dream paints a different picture.
In dream imagery, water symbolizes the unconscious, intuition, creativity and the feminine. Water is also used in initiation rites like baptism and for cleansing, anointing and purification. I awoke from the dream with the feeling that I had experienced a kind of initiation or rite of passage.
The three men in the dream all play supportive roles: the unknown groom represents my inner masculine, naked and vulnerable in this new territory – the waters of the feminine; the photographer reminds me that this union is something that requires my attention; and the friend in the hallway is someone in my life who supports both my career ambitions and my spiritual growth. His presence in my dream reminds me that the union of these two worlds is worth waiting for, and that it’s coming.
The presence of octopus in my dream is also meaningful with regards to the sacred union. With its eight arms, it shares symbolism with spider – including creativity and the spiral of life. Octopus is a creature of water, able to maneuver through the unconscious, the depths, and the emotions. At the same time, the octopus is a bottom-dweller, reminding me of the need for grounding and balance. It is highly intelligent, can lay up to 150,000 eggs, a can regenerate its limbs when damaged. It is a symbol of the inner marriage that sometimes seems illusive to me – the coming together of the skills and experience of my logical side – which I still value – with the needs of my feminine side that I no longer want to keep separate or hidden. It is a reminder of the importance of expressing myself creatively; staying grounded; and taking care of my health. It reminds me of the importance of being true to myself – in all ways.
The thing I fear – the source of the “butterflies in my stomach” – has to do with integrating all the important parts of myself, and the concern that part of me will be left behind.
As I confront this fear, I need to remember that my defiance and my promise to myself are branded proudly on my chest – like the purple bra beneath my wedding dress. In truth, I am already walking a new path, already doing things differently, already learning a new way.