Long ago, before I took up Zen practice, I considered taking up witchcraft. Old longings stirred in me as I read Witches of America by Alex Mar over the past week, although reading the book also made it clear that I don’t want to mess with magic. Doing so would be at odds with my desire to create less karma and learn to wash my bowl—or, as is often needed, my family’s many bowls.
In Witches of America, Mar describes several visions and visitations experienced by various witches and her. The idea of having visions to guide me was especially attractive, and it occurred to me that I don’t need to do anything particularly special to tap into my intuition (which is where I guess any vision would come from). I need only to pay attention to my dreams.
Earlier this year, I read Why We Dream by Alice Robb. In it, she argues:
Dreams can help us become more self-aware; they draw deep-seated anxieties and desires to the surface, forcing us to face up to hopes and fears we haven’t acknowledged. They offer a window into our psyches; a dream can be the key to recognizing an emotional problem.
If we fail to take the simple steps to remember and understand our dreams, it is as though we are throwing away a gift from our brains without bothering to open it.
So I’ve again taken up the dream journal I had more or less abandoned this spring. Among my recent dreams is one in which I find that a table similar to the table on which I keep my altar is blocking the door to my bedroom. I didn’t know that I had this second table and don’t know where it came from. It is dusty, probably from incense ash, and when I move the table aside so that I can get out of the bedroom, the vase and incense bowl that were on the table smash on the floor. Clearly, my unconscious mind is telling me that just the one (Buddhist) altar I already have is enough.