My three little daughters are asleep. The middle one is in bed. The youngest is curled up like a cat beside her and the eldest is stretched out on the floor nearby. I cover her in case she catches cold. All look happy and content.

Ostensibly, there is not much happening here. The atmosphere is tranquil and full of love. My daughters represent undeveloped feminine potentials in me. The dream indicates that these are literally dormant. All is quiet in my feminine soul for now. Dreams being what they are, I anticipate news concerning issues with my male side. They came the following night:

I am watching Chelsea play in a junior soccer match. I am a substitute, not good enough to make the team. They play in all blue. I look particularly at DD, who is having a very bad game. Afterwards, Mourinho (manager) storms into a white van as his team changes by the roadside. DM has been playing also but is not satisfied with his performance. He is gloomy and self-critical. I tell him that he needs only to improve his speed and self-belief. I resolve to do the same myself.


Chelsea are currently England’s most successful soccer team. They are multi-national, cosmopolitan and lavishly financed. They play in London, a city which by Irish standards constitutes a very big stage. I have them playing in a junior league. Why? Perhaps a sense of under-achievement on my part, having failed recently to ‘die’?  Certainly: I believe (or a part of me believes) that I am not good enough to make the team. As at my teenage final, I am forced to watch from the sideline, disqualified from participating, even at this level.

Chelsea wear all blue to match my depression. Their opponents don’t even figure in my dream awareness, so no other colours can impinge. DD, at the time their only Irish player, is having a bad game. That means, in the language of dreams, that I am too. Like DM, a timid and retiring friend, I am not satisfied with my performance. I am gloomy and self-critical. I need to bring myself up to speed and develop self-belief.

Mourinho, the man-ager who causes boys to grow, is famously passionate and fiery. I need to develop more of these qualities in myself. He is also highly critical and a perfectionist (white undiluted by any other colour), as I am. I need to relax and release this tendency. I carry too much of it already, being a no-good male, unable to make the team. For Chelsea’s millionaire players, to change by the roadside is a humiliating come-down, the fate deserved by one who has failed to die and, in so doing, graduate to the higher stage of a greater life in ‘London’.

Dreams never waste energy on congratulations for something that has already been achieved. They focus on what needs to be developed next. The sweeping self-indictment above doesn’t mean that I am constantly burdened by such reflections in ordinary life. Dreams don’t provide direct reflections of our ego dispositions but of sub-conscious tendencies which condition and underpin our egos.

These are alerted when significant change is in the offing, such as may threaten their state of defensive isolation. Typically, they fear for their survival. Thus they prevent me from jumping into a Fire of Truth but not, in waking life, from giving lectures and workshops or enjoying a rich emotional-spiritual life. They have survived such exposure before and know there is no danger. We are dealing here with something a lot deeper.

My subconscious parts fear deep change because for them it implies annihilation. The only way to deal with this is by integrating such fears into consciousness, rather than denying or over-riding them. This permits them to join the flow of current awareness. It rescues them from the deadlock of a past which for them was always present. Only when they have been safely held are they free to ‘die’ alongside our more developed parts, not into oblivion but present consciousness.

 This is crucial. Whenever deep change is under way, frightened parts will likely come to surface. Consciousness, forewarned, can witness and contain their emergence. If not, we become invested with their fears and our awareness contracts around theirs. We then act according to their dispositions, for example by shirking challenges or closing up. This is similar to what happens when we run away in a ‘bad dream’ scenario.

In any case, I was now feeling quite low. This is unusual for me because I am used to riding the ‘waves’ of my Unconscious. I knew that something significant was waiting to break, something that my consciousness hadn’t previously been equipped to integrate. The next night brought a new dream and another clue:

I am waiting for a red double-decker bus, in London. Several pass but none stops.

I miss several buses, as a surfer might miss choice waves. These buses are red. Once again, this detail associates with passion, the base chakra and survival: I am failing to engage the big bus of my Passion at this moment because of a sub-conscious blockage which concerns a tender, vulnerable part of me that fears for its life.

What can I do to move beyond this realisation? I still need to engage my passion to fulfil my highest purpose in ‘London’, the larger stage where the blues of Chelsea play.  I can do no more for now than resolve to welcome rather than resist fresh news from my Unconscious. A new dream comes that very night.


I’m in my childhood home with another cowboy. Apaches are attacking. I rush to the basement, where they’re trying to force entry from the back. My colleague defends the front. I break a hole in the rear basement window with my Winchester and kill two Apaches who are sneaking down the garden path. Three others rush in. I kill them also with repeated firing. Then there is quiet. It seems there are no more. I go back upstairs but there is no sign of my friend. Everything looks calm on the street. The house is fortified and I feel lonely.

There is action in this dream. Change is trying to happen. It’s not getting very far because something about my conscious disposition, represented by my ‘cowboy’ dream ego, prevents this by shooting down whatever the Apaches signify. Since I have experience with dream interpretation, just reviewing the text gives me lots of information. Because there is also lots of energy, I know that there is great transformative potential in this dream.

I’m one of two cowboys, which tells me I’m internally divided with regard to whatever the issue is. The Apaches represent this. That they are ‘attacking’ means I have been resisting their approach. The action takes place in my childhood home, which suggests that the subconscious attitude responsible for my dividedness was engendered there. The house is also a metaphor for my embodied self. Its condition is a reflection of my condition at the time.

I go to the basement, which represents the subconscious, and defend against attack from behind, which represents the past. Apaches, I know from childhood, are the cruellest of hostile Indians. They represent savages – dangerous and untamed. The part of me that is still a dutiful cowboy, childish and immature, kills them for fear of what they might unleash. I feel absolutely ruthless, desperate and afraid as I do this in the dream. I can’t afford to let savages into my house for fear they will annihilate the order of my life. Thus when more appear I blast them to oblivion as well.

Having secured the frontier of my subconscious, I return upstairs to find no evidence of attack out front. My cowboy friend has disappeared. All is quiet. The house is fortified and closed. Nothing happens because my actions have prevented this. I am alone and lonely inside.

But that is not all. I now know why I have been missing the ‘bus’ (vehicle) of my passion. I even know from basement décor around what age my survival-related fears were laid down. In fact, I have a pretty full interpretation of the dream but my problem remains unsolved. I can know exactly what a dream means – in this case that I’m deeply conflicted with respect to basic instinctual energies (represented by the Apaches) that are now waiting to return – and still not have access to its gift.

Understanding, even when accurate and comprehensive, doesn’t entail transformation. To benefit fully from working with dreams, we need to do more than interpret them. We must engage the energies they bring to our attention. This is particularly true of dreams featuring overt conflict and even more so of this one, granted its place in my sequence as described so far. Something fundamental is now being brought to light. I must enact this dream fully to get under the skin of its characters, so to speak, and integrate it.

I know that the ‘conscious’ cowboy and ‘unconscious’ Apaches represent very different aspects of my Self and that these are at war with each other. Not very flattering perhaps, but true. I also know that if I can reconcile these energies a huge gift from my Unconscious will become available – nothing less, I intuit, than the wave of my true Passion. To pursue this, I go to a lonely beach the next day, intent on integrating the divided energetic streams apparent in my dream.

Having accepted that all aspects of the dream are reflections of my Self, I set myself the task of experiencing its various realities from all the points of view that it contains. That is, I resolve to enact the dream from the perspective of each of its main characters with a view to seeing how these perspectives and the energy potentials they represent can be most creatively reconciled.

I begin by focusing on the defensive cowboy, crouched low behind a rock. He clutches his rifle grimly, staring down its barrel into the coloured tunic of the first Apache. My body becomes taut with fear as I sink into this posture. My finger curls around the trigger in anticipation. I allow the Apaches to come closer, noting that they are actually moving slowly, tentatively almost. Recognising this, I suddenly feel miserable and sick. I kill them nevertheless as my dream demands. Afterwards I lie sobbing on the rock, hollow and grief-stricken.

Finally, I muster energy to go searching for the second cowboy. As he looks forward from the front of the house, I name him ‘Cowboy of the Future’. Instinctively, I know his place is on top of a big rock facing the ocean, symbolising the upper floor of my house. I make my way there but he isn’t to be found. I realise that this is because First Cowboy, the cowboy of my past, carries so little energy that the world offers him no prospect. He operates with such narrow vision, framed by a gun-sight, that nothing can flow through him.

I cannot discern the path of my highest future because I have yet to enter into right relationship with my past. When First Cowboy kills the Apaches which symbolise returning aspects of this past, Second Cowboy has nothing to live from. The hope of his future was sustained by a promise of repressed energies which these ‘savages’ convey. Their murder has been happening in me for God knows how long but my dream has only now made it apparent. Intuiting this, I turn my attention back to the Apaches.

Refocusing, I steal down the garden path as one of the lead pair. My movements are stealthy but not aggressive. I approach the back door of the house, hoping against hope to be admitted. Then I am shot once, twice, repeatedly. As I lie dying I feel dishonoured, bewildered and betrayed. I enact this scenario five times, once for each of the Apaches. Each time I am shot, I feel more and more hopeless and dismayed. Each time I revert to the role of Cowboy, I feel more leaden, mechanical and shamed.

By the time I return to the front of the house, I feel utterly energy-less and disconnected. My legs trail like stone. I throw my rifle aside in disgust. Intuition calls me back to where the dead Apaches lie. I kneel beside the first and take him in my arms, singing a death song for him. As this happens, I sense his energy rise into my body, animating it towards a slow dance of hesitant wakefulness that eventually becomes a faltering, exploratory run.

I then sing over the body of the second Apache. His spirit enters me also and likewise the third. Each time I sing my dance gets stronger and the running more sustained. By the time a fourth Apache comes to life in me I am running at breakneck speed, emitting wild cries as I hurdle imaginary obstacles on the rock-strewn beach. The fifth Apache releases a proclamation loudly sung in a language I have never heard that I want to be a part of life again, ALL LIFE.

I clamber back up Second Cowboy’s rocky platform and face the Ocean, singing how we want to connect again with stones and Stone People, to be one with People of Stone Age, elder beings who hold the memory of Earth and know the inter-connectedness of All That Is. Ancient voices weave through me as I dance ecstatically to the music of pounding waves. We want to enter Life again. We want our wisdom and our learning to be known. These chants are neither explicit nor intelligible but my awakened reptilian brain translates instantly, drawing me deep into the consciousness of Earth.

When the song abates I realise, having viewed the world as Cowboy of my Past, that it would have been impossible for (the part of me that was) him to hold a greater sense of life than he had ever known in his fear and isolation. Remembering him, I remember episodes which his character dramatises in my dream, parts of me still held in trauma, defending against attacks that never end.

Filled with compassion, I return to where his imprint still lies sobbing at the rock and gather him into my Heart. He transforms into a little boy, anxious and afraid. Having thawed in my arms, he thrills to scampering over rocks with Apache finesse, running flat out, jumping rivers and braving untold odds.

We stop a hundred metres from the rock where I had earlier taken cover as First Cowboy. I see the back wall of my childhood home interposed. Mustering all my Cowboy and Indian selves we charge the wall, smash through the back gate and sprint recklessly, screaming, on to the rifles, untroubled by their rapid fire. Numbering multitudes, we overwhelm the defensive post of the rear basement window, absorb its defenders and swarm riotously over the top floor rock manned by Cowboy of the Future. There, merging with him, we intone a deeply passionate chant to the incoming waves.

As the chant fades I feel thoroughly renewed and deeply connected with Earth, Ocean, Cosmos, Stone and Sun. I recalibrate seals on the back gate and basement window of my dream and hear from within the words ‘I look forward with confidence and hope now that I can clearly see around in all directions’.

   Walking home, I wonder how I could possibly have realised all this; I John with my first cowboy, no-good male imprints? Then I see it: everything in the dream is a reflection of myself, including those parts which repression has always kept out of consciousness. By putting consciousness into their roles, both Cowboy and Indian sensibilities become part of my present awareness. Their doubts are eased, their fears assuaged and, eventually, their hidden gifts revealed.

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