Thursday, August 4, 2011

DREAM - IN THE GARDEN...June 14, 2010(edited Aug 4,2011)

I was in an ancient Greek looking garden. I am told this is Bailey Springs. There were 12 columns or pedestals of richly decorated  white stone in a semi circle. I stand at the center of the circle and observe.  The tops of  each pedestal are smooth shiny stone circles. Then the 12 change into basketball goals and nets.  I hear the 'swish' sounds of balls passing through the nets not touching the rim. Finally on each pedestal is a loaf of white bread that has been sliced down the middle and buttered on top.  I hear the A Capella hymn , " Be With Me Lord."

Roman Columns
                      Be With Me Lord
Music - L.O. Sanderson    Lyrics- T.O. Chisholm
Be with me, Lord, I cannot live without Thee,
I dare not try to take one step alone,
I cannot bear the loads of life, unaided,
I need Thy strength to lean myself upon.

Be with me, Lord, and then if dangers threaten,
If storms of trial burst above my head,
If lashing seas leap ev'ry where about me,
They cannot harm, or make my heart afraid.

Be with me, Lord! No other gift or blessing
Thou couldst bestow could with this one compare--
A constant sense of Thy abiding presence,
Where'er I am, to feel that Thou art near.

Be with me, Lord, when lonliness o'ertakes me,
When I must weep amid the fires of pain,
And when shall come the hour of my departure
For worlds unknown, O Lord, be with me then.
                                                                                                                                                         By Dallas Adult Christian Concert Choir.

REFLECTION: Gardens were frequently symbols of erotic love such as in the Old Testament Song of Songs and The Garden of Eden. It is very significant that the gospel of John uses a 'garden' as the scene of post -resurrection, John 19:41-20:18.  There Mary Magdalene like the lover in the Song of Songs comes to garden looking for Jesus' body. She wishes to 'take it away.' When she sees him her very first inclination is to 'touch' him as undoubtedly she is accustomed to doing.  This apparent parallel with the Love poem in Song of Songs, where the female lover comes looking in the garden for her lover, is  far more erotic than orthodoxy has ever been open to recognizing. 

Also the gardens or groves were places of the female goddesses that Yahweh, through his prophets, warned and threatened Israel to stay away from. This is a clear indication of  the fear and demonizing of Eros by the framers of  parts of Hebrew Bible. Parts of the Hebrew religious  story represent a strong effort  by the Levitical priests(in shaping scripture) to establish a patriarchal religious and national  system which marginalized women and demonized the Eros associated with woman. This is well demonstrated in the Genesis 2 account of creation of Man and Woman. Eve is described as an afterthought  made 'from Adam for Adam' whereas the original Genesis 1 account shows Man and Woman  created as equals,  mutual as simply 'male and female.' Then follows the story(also a part of the second account of creation) of the  'Fall of humankind' ' for which  Eve's erotic nature is designated as the primary cause. Eros of most any expression  has meant something negative and non-spiritual  in  Western Civilization ever since this interpretation was upheld by the orthodox church.
Visitors To Bailey Mineral Springs @ 1885

Bailey Springs were natural  mineral springs near the lake waters I loved as a teen. There had been in late 19th and early 20th centuries minerals springs here where people came for their medicinal and healing qualities. Only the stone  remains of baths and fountains were there in my day. 'Twelve' is a very solid number of wholeness and wellness. It is very frequently used by the Biblical authors. Pedestals or columns give a structure or statue strong solid support. The circle is another symbol of the Self and of   Sacred Completion.

There are strong  and positively presented sexual symbols here emphasizing that Eros is an aspect of spiritual love that has been  devalued and denigrated by our culture and  Christian orthodoxy. Present day  pornography which objectifies the human body separating it from spirit and soul  is one of the symptoms of this cultural  repression of Eros.  Sexual references in this dream include  the twelve columns as phallus symbols, the bread sliced down the middle as a symbol of the female vagina, and the passing of the ball through the hoops symbolizing intercourse. An excellent book that explores the erotic content of the Bible is The Erotic Word by Christian theologian David M. Carr.
The change from the ancient Greek-like columns to basketball goals shows how the Collective Unconscious is just as at home with modern images as with the ancient ones. The 'swish' is a sweet sound of scoring, of victory. Bread is a timeless symbol of life and of human prosperity and progress. It is one of the two highly spiritual symbols of the Eucharist. Together they symbolize a unity between flesh(bread) and spirit(wine.) This dream brings together the repressed quality of spiritual Eros and the 'healing' waters of the Springs. The Eros quality of love celebrates and embraces the human body and seeks to restore it to good health, the very opposite of pornography which is used to objectify  the human body and separate it from Soul and Spirit. When any fundamental human instinct is repressed rather than being given spiritual meaning (such as food and drink are in the Eucharist) it comes back in negative and destructive forms. Our culture is sadly  overly Sexualized but it is not genuinely Eroticized. The true Eros component of Human/Divine love  is generally repressed and missing and not made part of  the meaning of  love between humans.  This  dream seeks to heal the split between Sexuality and Spirituality that nearly defines our present culture's central psychological/spiritual problem. Sadly the Biblical  interpretations mentioned above have been used to create and support that split. Yet many parts of the Bible can  now  be used to help heal that split.

Healing in the Bible frequently is accompanied by 'touch', the 'laying on of hands', an erotic gesture. Erotic does not necessarily imply sexual desire or activity  but it seems to come from the same place within us that Sexual passion originates. It is a part of both sexual and non sexual expressions of love. Our Eros  longs to experience others and life through the senses. The erotic Bible stories referred to above recognize the 'Gardens' as sensuous places, places of aroma, touch, sight and taste,  places of  Eros, of love.

So this is a very love rich and hope filled dream. The powerful  hymn of confession and prayer,  "Be with me Lord" has spoken to my heart over my entire life. Being A Capella makes it very personal for that is the traditional music  style of my early Christian heritage. It stirs me emotionally.  The  lyrics and music  of 'Be With Me Lord' I think take one to essentially an erotic place within his/her self. It expresses the intimacy and immediacy of Human with the Sacred. I'm unsure if this is a hymn I've heard only in the Church of Christ or if it is also sung more broadly in the church. (Looking up this hymn I found it was written by Methodist song writer T.O. Chisholm and this music by well known Church of Christ hymn writer, L.O. Sanderson.)

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