Wednesday, November 30, 2011


1. I was insisting that a white and purple pastoral stole I was to wear have a feminine touch to it.
2. I was in a corn field in (name of small town). Some friends were watching me. Suddenly I was very clearly riding a dark brown stallion rapidly across the field. I had never ridden a fully running horse and seemed to be in full control. But I thought, "I've never learned to do this. I should stop and have my friends  teach me the fundamentals of riding. I may be doing something very incorrectly." But friends were smiling in full approval. Similarly in (same town) with friends I was a passenger in a large bus on dangerous roads. Someone else was driving but they all questioned if I were going to take the wheel. Finally I became aware that I was very qualified to drive this bus and should take over for awhile.
3.The image of three modern looking scrolls neatly contained in three solid green tubes. It was not made clear what they represented but I assumed they represented 1.scripture, 2.non-fiction and 3.intuition.
4.The image of a modern double paned window glass with hand smudges on it.
1. My reasoning was that since the pastoral role has always been an image of God for people, to some extent, that it was important that it reflect female as much as male dynamics.
2.Both of these images represent a willingness to fulfill roles and experiences that one is 'called to do'. They take place at (the small town), my long time UCC church. The friends in the dream are key members of that church. This denomination unlike any other was unquestionably the appropriate place for me to practice the role of pastor for nearly twenty years. I think the two images reflect what that role was like to me. This reflects what has already happened , not the future.
3.The meaning is already clear. These have been three important resources and kinds of knowledge in my development. The non-fiction has been primarily works that have been very helpful to me in the areas of religion, psychology and human development. Of Jung's four psychological functions, intuition has proved perhaps to be the stronger and most natural in my adult life. The Bible is my foundational outer spiritual resource.
4. A double paned glass may be a metaphor for the idea of spiritually 'seeing'. What we 'see' spiritually is always an interpretation that we make through a barrier(space between the panes). This means that spiritual experience must necessarily come through our human subjectivity. For ages religious institutions have attempted to build and claim a foundation for the spiritual that avoids the subjective basis of it. It is believed that the 'voice of the church' (catholic)or the 'voice of the Bible'(protestant) is such an objective foundation. The dream challenges that effort and says the most significant spiritual and religious insights are necessarily subjective and intuitive , dependent on the human psyche. The smudges remind us of the very human and imperfect aspects of the processes of spiritual enlightenment.

I think each of these dream images is depicted in various ways in the Book that I am reading described below.:
Abelard And Heloise
I've nearly completed a historical novel that has come to mean a great deal to me. I'm not recalling how I happened to buy this on the internet. I'm sure I came across a reference to the rather well known story somewhere. This like so many of the books that become important has simply made its way to my attention.
The title is Stealing Heaven, the love story of Abelard and Heloise by Marion Meade. It is based on the lives of two very real people in 11th century France. They were lovers and through much tragedy and hardship  both later became Church officials, a monk and a nun. Both were strong intellects, she being considered the most intellectual and reasoning woman of that period, far ahead of her time. I connect strongly with the spirit of Heloise. I identify with how she interpreted life and religion. She was a very reluctant nun and I think it made her a better one.(The longest paragraph in the page below describes her reluctance.) I nearly have a kind of reincarnation feeling about  what drove her Spirit and how I have come to interpret and live life. This is hard to explain. She seems to have, with much effort and suffering,  kept in touch with and honored the 'opposites that love brings forth', especially 'Agape and Eros' and 'Flesh and Spirit' but she had to feel herself as not loving God in order to do so. This is a split and suffering place to be but in her time it was a spiritual task that needed done by someone.  This is the greatest tragedy of the whole story. It is my strong conviction that these opposites are not at all mutually exclusive, that fully developed human love and love of God are now intended to be united in human consciousness. I think I'm not like her I trust in that way.  But her example can help assist postmodern Western culture to transcend the split dynamic of love that she was called on to suffer. She showed great courage in that  endeavor as seen near the end of the  paragraph below. I do love and serve my real God, the ultimate God   I find such deserves to be served and loved, the God in which the opposites are becoming united.

I have written several reflections while reading this story over the past two weeks. I'd love to visit the places where they lived and worked in France including Paris but mostly in smaller villages. They are even supposedly buried together.  You can tell I've been rather swept up in the story and how I connect with it, especially with her and her way of thinking and valuing. I cling to the importance of revelatory kinds of love fantasies that I had beginning in August 0f '85 whereas Heloise clung to the importance of actual embodied love experiences. That is why I think perhaps the actual experience of another, such as hers, became a part of my spiritual/psychological being through a kind of revelatory inner experience. Either way the images have a similar effect on consciousness and demand the same kind of suffering attention, otherwise they are repressed and great harm is done to one's Spirit and opportunities to add something to the collective journey is lost. I think Abelard chose more the route of repression, which is what many Westerners have done from that period on to the present.  I will have to see what the story says of his final condition/attitude before I reach that conclusion.

I think the story has to do with what I have tried to write much about, that is the union of  'reason and feeling', 'body and soul',  'flesh and spirit', 'God and Human', 'Agape and Eros.'   My assessment is that Heloise clung to this kind of intuitive truth but had to feel she was not really loving and honoring God to do so, and that perhaps Abelard did not find the depth of reason and especially faith to live these out. He regressed into a religious role that avoided the conflicts of owning his own personal love experience, even to reject and regret them. She also accepted a religious role but was conscious that it was just that- 'a role' and not really her deepest reality which she was able to keep owning, her own in the here and now, love experience. I suspect the author is going to make a more happy ending than perhaps was their reality. But then I would be happy to believe they both found these 'unity of opposites' far more than we Westerners are doing in our own day , a thousand years later. It is a story that reflects the problems related to Romantic Love which had its origins at that period of Western history and Christian development. Most of us cannot imagine the world without romantic love being a hope of most every person for their mortal life. Abelard's  and Heloise's experiences may have shown even then the great cost of  a more fully developed love between two people and  eventually for all of humanity.

Two persons  who have  written well about the dynamics of Romantic Love are Robert Johnson , in the little book WE and John R. Haule in Divine Madness.

Note: The reader may also wish to read the blog called  God,Man,Woman And Love at;

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