We are living at a period of history variously called “the shift” and “the great turning.” A time when the spirit of domination, conquest, heroism, and individualism are on the wane, and a new spirit or zeitgeist is emerging—of cooperation, respect for diversity, and recognition of the interconnectedness of all life.
It’s a challenging and trying time to live through, because these two paradigms are in direct opposition; they are actively and intensely antagonistic. We might wish that the redwood trees on the empty lot at the corner here belonged to the earth, to all of us; but they belong to the owner, who has a right to cut them down, which he did. The international geological society that names the eras, epochs and periods of earth history has recently come to the decision that the Holocene epoch is over and we are now in the Anthropocene, meaning “human-centered.”
We are becoming more interconnected, thanks to the amazing electronic network that now circles the globe. In the 1800s, Hopi medicine people received prophecies, one of which was of spider webs enveloping the earth. That is an accurate image for what we now have: an electronic web. In most indigenous societies, the spider was not negatively viewed, but was an icon of the Great Mother, in her ability to weave together and hold together all of life.
Unfortunately, the road we’ve taken by making our interconnectedness electronic is not stable or sustainable. One big solar flare, and the grid could be wiped out. It has already happened to large areas; Sweden went through an entire blackout. Also, electromagnetic fields involved are not healthy for living tissue—human, animal, or plant. They conflict with and disrupt the natural electrical impulses by which our heart, brain, muscles, and all cells function.
There are other modes of interconnection, ones we have yet to develop. There is the psychic mode, which uses human intuition and has been well known for millennia. Australian Aboriginal societies have used it to communicate across the vast distances of their land for 60,000 years. Though we know about psychic communication today, it tends to be marginalized as weird and spooky, or simply mysterious and unreliable. It seems this way because we have not brought it out of the shadows to develop its practical potential.
Another mode of interconnection, less well known, is dreams. But dreaming tends to be viewed through the old paradigm lens as private and personal. You have your individual, separate dreams and I have mine; your dreams are about you and mine are about me. This is only partially accurate. We do dream most often about ourselves, but it’s always in the context of our ongoing life, the web of interrelations in which we exist. We do dream about the world around us—family, friends, neighbors, and the larger sociopolitical world that’s meaningful to us.
There have been cultures that understood this and provided places where cultural or collective dreams could be shared and acted upon. The Roman Senate heard dreams! The Achuar council of elders in Ecuador hears dreams of tribal members daily, as did the Iroquois and Lenape.
There aren’t places to go when we have big dreams about the world around, its conflicts and its emergent potentials. The Dream Institute hopes to be such a place, but it’s been hard, since people don’t know about collective dreams or how to recognize them. The personalistic perspective tends to override seeing them for their larger scope.
The four dreams that follow, told at our December Solstice gathering, are collective dreams. Three were donated to The Dream Institute because their dreamers recognized their larger implications. Three are short, one is longer, but they haven’t been altered in any way, just shortened a bit. All concern the “Great Turning” at this moment in history.
Collective dreams belong to all of us. It helps to hear them aloud, like a fairy tale or myth told in dramatic voice. If they spark memories of a similar dream theme, or spur new big dreams you may have, we’d be glad to add them to our collection. As with big dreams, personal associations are not needed; big dreams require objective amplification instead, which can be provided by reference books, Google Scholar, pooled knowledge, and so on. We have not provided that here, but it may be added soon. Many thanks to the three dreamers who were gifted with these dreams and made them available.
An elevator takes us to the top floor of a tall building. The doors open onto an old dusty warehouse. Inside, it’s filled with statues of retired gods and goddesses! They seem frozen. But then they begin to move, each to its own rhythm. They have a deep desire and intent to be re-animated by human beings, so they can be of service to those on earth.
We’re in a wilderness area in the mountains, near a lake. We’ve gathered to witness the fulfillment of a prophecy. High in the sky, an image gradually takes form. It’s Athena’s crown! In the past, other parts of the goddess had been visible—her tunic, an arm, a leg—but it wasn’t known what was being seen. Now, the whole figure of Athena appears directly overhead, lit by some unseen source at the darkest hour of night.
This vision of Athena’s crown comes at the same time that a complex mathematical formula is discovered, which proves the theory of relativity—as a relationship of different points of perspective. Observer and observed are inseparable, and influence one another. And time is a function of one’s position in space.
Then, in this same setting in the mountains, we’re in a lecture hall filled with scientists, philosophers, and spiritual seekers. I tell them that the appearance of Athena’s crown and her whole figure being visible is due to the evolution of collective awareness. Particular to this moment in the cyclic unfoldment [the “great turning”] is a convergence of science, philosophy, and religion. There’s a feeling of awe at this spiritual vision of Athena and the scientific proof of relativity.
A temple of vast proportions is being built. As far as the eye can see—ahead, behind, to the right and left—incredible numbers of people are building on gigantic pillars. I, too, am building on a pillar. The whole process is in its beginnings. But the foundation has already been laid. Around the world, people everywhere are working on it. (This dream took place in 1949 and is recounted in Max Zeller’s Dreams: Visions of the Night, with a commentary by C. G. Jung.)
We’re driving in the Berkeley hills, a man and a woman. We come to a flat, open field, and park the car. We start looking for large stones. Then we move them into position to form a great stone square. We’re trying to put things in order.