Making good Mondays is like making coffee -

The week is before us - like the coffee pot - waiting to brew. Making it good is a matter of choice, luck, creativity, patience and acceptance of the outcome.

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Active elements on this page: Occasionally I will publish a new blog post, but I write mostly at other sites.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Circular Imagery

Circles, squares, triangle and rectangles are common geometric forms. I have sometimes thought that my thinking "pattern" would take the form of a triangle. When I am "doodling," however, I often draw circles. This tells me that I am unconsciously drawn to the circle motif, and would benefit from understanding a bit more about circular imagery and the unconscious. Since dreams are "the royal road to the unconscious," that is where I started.

The meaning of dreams about circles, according to the Dream Interpretation Dictionary, is, to quote:
The circle symbolizes infinity, the circle of life and the eternal unknown. You, the dreamer, may have come to a greater degree of spiritual awareness, so the dream could be spiritual in nature. Carl Jung called all circular images a "mandala." It is one of the most important dream symbols which represent the psychic center of personality. It is symbolic of wholeness, completeness and unity of the self. However, as always, examine all of the details in the dream, as well as its tone and mood, and rule out the possibility of "going in circles" as the primary message in the dream.
A dreamcatcher is supposed to catch nightmares and let the good dreams through.

I have a very beautiful one hanging on the wall near my bed. explains:

The legend of the Native American dreamcatcher varies somewhat from tribe to tribe, but the basic theme or intention was to allow good dreams to slip through the web and into the sleeper during the night while the bad dreams were caught in the web and would be perished at morning light. The Lakota Legend has the opposing belief that the web will catch your good ideas and the bad ones will go through the hole.
Dreamcatchers are often very beautiful, but they can also be rather "tacky." According to Wikipedia, to quote:
In Ojibwa (Chippewa) culture, a dreamcatcher (or dream catcher; Ojibwe asabikeshiinh, the inanimate form of the word for "spider"[1][2] or bawaajige nagwaagan meaning "dream snare"[2]) is a handmade object based on a willow hoop, on which is woven a loose net or web. The dreamcatcher is then decorated with personal and sacred items such as feathers and beads.

. . . they came to be seen by some as a symbol of unity among the various Indian Nations, and as a general symbol of identification with Native American or First Nations cultures. However, other Native Americans have come to see them as "tacky" and over-commercialized due to their acceptance in popular culture.
Where to obtain them -- has a dreamcatcher section that discusses the origin of the objects, and gives a good list of sources. sells handcrafted dreamcatchers, medicine wheels and other native inspired crafts online.
Closely related to dreamcatchers are mandalas, another example of ancient circular imagery.

Mandalas, according to Wikipedia, are, to quote (includes Wiki links):
. . . in practice, mandala has become a generic term for any plan, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the Universe from the human perspective.

. . . Its symbolic nature can help one "to access progressively deeper levels of the unconscious, ultimately assisting the meditator to experience a mystical sense of oneness with the ultimate unity from which the cosmos in all its manifold forms arises." [2] The psychoanalyst Carl Jung saw the mandala as "a representation of the unconscious self,"[3] and believed his paintings of mandalas enabled him to identify emotional disorders and work towards wholeness in personality. [4]
Closely related to dreamcatchers, medicine wheels originated as much bigger images, stones laid out on the ground in a spoke and wheel pattern.
Medicine Wheels -- The Sacred Destinations travel guide described a site located in my home state of Wyoming, that is known as the Bighorn Medicine Wheel. To quote:
The Bighorn Medicine Wheel is the most important of several medicine wheels in the American West. Constructed around 700 years ago and aligned with the stars, it is an important sacred site for local Indians as well as New Age practitioners.

For centuries, the Bighorn Medicine Wheel has been used by Crow youth for fasting and vision quests. Native Americans also go to Bighorn to offer thanks for the creation that sustains them, placing a buffalo skull on the center cairn as a prayer offering. Prayers are offering here for healing, and atonement is made for harm done to others and to Mother Earth.

A number of great chiefs, including Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, have come to the Bighorn Medicine Wheel to pray for wisdom and guidance to lead their people in the transition from freedom to reservation life. The medicine wheel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.
So now I will go back to thinking in triangles and dreaming in circles. But what do I do if it is the reverse? I guess it would be "back to the drawing board" in that case.
Cross-posted at Southwest Blogger
My topical post today at South by Southwest and The Reaction is about domestic surveillance.
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References on Spirituality -- Favorites from my old collection

  • "A Return To Love: Reflections On the Principles Of a Course In Miracles" by Marianne Williamson. Harper Collins, 1992
  • "A World Waiting To Be Born: Civility Rediscovered" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Chicken Soup For the Unsinkable Soul" by Canfield, Hansen and McNamara. Health Communications, 1999
  • "Compassion in Action: Setting Out On the Path of Service" by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush. Bell Tower Pub., 1992
  • "Creative Visualization" by Shakti Gawain. MIF Books, 1978
  • "Finding Values That Work: The Search For Fulfillment" by Brian O'Connell. Walker & Co., 1978
  • "Fire in the Soul" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1993
  • "Further Along the Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Guilt Is the Teacher, Love Is the Lesson" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1990
  • "Inner Simplicity: 100 Ways To Regain Peace and Nourish the Soul" by Elaine St. James. Hyperion, 1995
  • "Insearch:Psychology and Religion" by James Hillman. Spring Pub. 1994
  • "Man's Search For Himself" by Rollo May. Signet Books, 1953
  • "Mythologies" by William Butler Yeats. Macmillan, 1959
  • "Myths, Dreams and Religion" by Joseph Campbell. Spring Pub. 1988
  • "Passion for Life: Psychology and the Human Spirit" by John and Muriel James. Penguin Books, 1991
  • "Peace Is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Bantam Books , 1991
  • "The Heroine's Journey" by Mureen Murdock. Random House, 1990
  • "The Hope For Healing Human Evil" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1983
  • "The House of Belonging" poems by David Whyte. Many Rivers Press, 2004
  • "The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth" by M.Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1978
  • "The Soul's Code: In Search Of Character and Calling" by James Hillman. Random House, 1996
  • "The World Treasury of Modern Religious Thought" by Jaroslav Pelikan. Little, Brown & Co., 1990
  • "Unconditional Life" by Deepak Chopra. Bantam Books, 1992
  • "Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Hyperion, 1994
  • "Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Doubleday Dell Pub. Group, 1974

About Me

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A retired counselor, I am equal parts Techie and Artist. I am a Democrat who came to the Southwest to attend college. I married, had kids and have lived here all my adult life.