We live in a metaphoric world…meaning that we live immersed in the energies of the Deep Creative. But because we’re taught to perceive and learn about the world through our thinking minds, most of us aren’t consciously aware of how these powerful energies are “working us” in our day-to-day lives.
Symbolic images show up in our speaking when we say something like, “I feel like I’m drowning” or “I’m overwhelmed” or “I’m so happy I feel like I’m floating.” (When I was falling in love, I felt a clear feeling of “falling.”) They show up in our dreams, and in synchronicities we can’t explain. And they also show up in our everyday lives as animals, weather patterns, plants and other elements of nature crossing our path. However they show up, these images come from Source Energy and we can engage with them for profound guidance, creative shifts and healing.
Our human brains learn early how to “name” things in the world around us, and they do that with images as well: “That’s a tree, gosh darn it!” They don’t have the patience to allow the intuitive part of ourselves to feel into something, because they think they already know what it is.
But just as we can’t know a person by merely looking at a person’s physical features, we can’t know the meaning of a powerful symbolic image by merely visioning it or logically analyzing it. When metaphoric images are alive, they hold an energy and we can feel that energy…just like we can feel or sense the energy of a person standing behind us. This energy is not esoteric, it’s simply a way of knowing that has been overlooked in our culture.
Have you ever driven in your car and felt moved to look to your left and found the person in that car is looking back at you? How did this happen? There’s a part of you that can sense and feel energy. We share an unconscious yet-very-real energetic language with the world around us… and it’s time for our culture to learn this language.
When I work with clients, I guide them in a short interior journey to reveal a Soul image. Very rarely but occasionally, someone will share an image that has been manufactured by his or her thinking mind. This often happens when they’re struggling with some big question or decision, and their minds want to answer that question in a particular way. But when an image/answer comes from Spirit, we have no idea what we’re going to get, it’s a surprise. The Sacred brings surprise, and the solution to a dilemma rarely lies at the level of the “problem.”
Because I’ve been working with this energetic field for many years, I can tell when an image has come from the thinking mind…. there’s an energetic feeling sense of “nothing there.” Have you ever stood next to a dead body? I stood alone, next to my father’s dead body at the funeral home, desperately wanting to get one last sense of him. But there was nothing there. When the Soul has left the body, you can physically feel the absence. That’s the way manufactured images are–they have no life. (Of course, I can still tune into my father’s energetic presence in other ways, but it was no longer available to me through his body.)
Metaphoric images that are alive have an energetic shape…they occupy space, just like you do or just like a redwood tree does. Of course, we can’t see the back of a tree or the back side of a person standing in front of us…we can’t know the shape of something by merely looking at it. So too, with metaphoric images. Just as we humans carry gifts that can’t be seen on the surface and just as we can’t know a human by merely looking at him or her, images carry gifts that can’t be seen on the surface.
But through the amazing shamanic powers of imagination (which are very real and not “make believe”), we can enter the energetic space of a metaphoric image and receive guidance, shifts and healing from it.
In order to begin to enter into this energetic field, I start by getting a sense of how the image occupies space. So…instead of LOOKING AT it, I BECOME it. Becoming the image takes me beyond my linear mind, into a powerful field of shamanic energy.
Becoming the image is trippy for the mind–it makes absolutely no sense to it–so it’s not surprising that my clients have difficulty grasping this idea. When clients receive an image and I ask them to become that image…they typically visualize themselves inside of it, because that’s what makes logical sense.
For example, looking out the window right now, I see a white truck. If I were going to BECOME the white truck, I wouldn’t see myself sitting INSIDE the white truck. Instead, I would notice what it feels like to have a metal body, I would notice how the front of me is heavier than the back because that’s where the engine is located. I would notice what I’m resting on…my body is resting on the chassis or frame. I’m dependent on my wheels for movement. I would notice what it feels like to have this frame supporting me.
Let’s say that in a dream you receive an image of a castle. You might start by noticing the features of the castle—it’s doors, walkways and other features. But to work with this image’s deep metaphoric energies, try this… let your vision go soft. It’s no longer a castle, it’s now a shape–a 3-dimensional blob. This shape has an outer edge, it has a perimeter.
I begin by letting the outer perimeter of the image guide me. I feel how big I am, how I take up space. I notice whether I feel solid or rigid or tight, or whether there’s part of me that feels wiggy or mushy. I notice whether I want to expand or maintain a particular shape. All healthy humans have good boundaries, and an image’s message might be about needing boundaries or containment in a particular situation.
If it’s alive, the image often wants to get bigger (even if the energy and message of the image is to hold your boundaries.) Just like we humans are in a growth process and we want to keep evolving and growing, images want to be as big as they can be.
However, you might also notice…is there any part of the image that feels closed or shut down?
Because the image is alive, we’re feeling/sensing for movement. It has a direction and purpose and a way it wants to go. It has something it wants to reveal to you energetically through that movement (…even if the movement is stillness).
Finally, this is shamanic terrain, so…does the image want to shift or change into something else? These images can shape-shift into something else at any time.
Being a BEGINNER is absolutely necessarily in working with images, because images are coming from another realm (they’re not speaking to what we humans think we know.) For example, one client received an image of seeing herself standing in a rectangular hole in the shape of a coffin in the ground. While her mind was freaked out about “being buried”, the energetic qualities of this image were quite the opposite of death. The energetic message was for her to allow herself to be planted in the soil like a seed. She was on a path of fresh, organic growth.
As is probably clear by now, the most important thing is to let the image’s message emanate from the beauty of the image itself, rather than be manufactured by your thinking mind. Its’ message will feel expansive to your physical body and heart…even if the message of the image is of grief, there will be an expansive feeling of deep peace. It will feel like a deep “ah” as you finally allow yourself to settle into deep truth.
Stepping into this energy, we feel bliss… as we connect to something much larger than ourselves