A Cry to Heaven

Dream: I see two train cars side by side. Both are filled with people. I can see their hands, fingers curled, reaching out through wooden slats like the Holocaust trains. I feel like they are desperate, trying to get to each other.

What does the dream bring? What depth of feeling does it want me to remember? What teaching and what medicine does it offer?

To be on the train is to know devastation. It is all of my life’s blood and hope and love turned to a wrenching anguish, loss, anger. It is wails of pain and rage and why’s. It is shaking, shock and anticipatory fear. It is alone, frantic whisperings. Chaos, disorder, loss, desperation, anguish. A cry to heaven.

Where is Grace in these moments? Others must have know God then. Perhaps not I. And even if it was true that I knew, did doubt not ride in on the darkness? How could faith raise a sword to the dark horseman of suffering?

Anguish (artist unknown)
In this moment, I am alone.  No family, no people in this moment, isolated even in a train car full of people.  Inability to speak, ask for help. Don’t draw attention. Even comfort would be too painful in this place.

Did I know what was happening? In the train car, do I care what is happening? Or am I lost in an inward spiral of doubt and pain and suffering....alone. There is psychosis in trauma and anguish is a physical sensation, a yearning to escape the body.

When we follow the dream, we turn inward, find the support of the Animus, the Anima. It is an inward journey back to the love, following the intelligence of the dream, even into the most devastating moments. In trauma reaction we turn inward too, but it is an inward turning of isolation and separation. Part of the descent is back to this place where all is lost to find ourselves again and our connection to love even in the suffering. The dreams can help us.

Dream: I am with an older woman (the Anima). She wants me to play the piano and is going to teach me. I am sitting at a small child's piano that looks old, not all the keys functional. The woman puts her hand on the keys and is showing me. It is a very aggressive style of playing where you put your hand way into the keys so your fingers are curled and you play fast. I feel like there is no way I could do that but I put my hand on the keys like hers and try. It is like I am playing but I don't know how I am doing it. I am not following music and it feels like it should just be noise, but it is music, wild, passionate, raucous and fun.

In this part of the dream cluster, the Anima brings redemption, in the gift of proximity to the terrible train car, she is teaching me how to play the piano. I do not know how to play the piano but I trust her and place my hand on the keys. Who can know how to descend and recover from the terrible trauma we carry? I do not know how to do this, but, in faith I follow the Archetype, often going against my mind which tries to keep me from what I clearly know.

There is a relationship between the feelings associated with trauma and creative expression. In the deeper acknowledgment of the felt experience of trauma there is a depth and breadth that may be brought to the creative moment. Does the flower bud feel pain when it opens? When the seed cracks its hardened shell and germinates, is there pain? When the chrysalis breaks from its cocoon and the butterfly spreads its wings for the first time, does she feel pain? What is this thing we call pain? The release of pain in creativity carries a passion that can move mountains. It is as if something is born into the world in that moment. Deeply personal, a cry to heaven.

Bringing the devastation of the train car to the moment playing the piano is bringing the full depth and breadth of myself to the music. It is raucous, loud, aggressive music...a release of libido and passion that is very different than my old friend anger. I can play! It is amazing! My fingers move and I pound the keys, pain spiraling up to joy, rising in my throat, a cry to heaven. I don’t know how I am doing it! The Anima showed me: place your hand like this, your fingers like this and now play. Can it be this simple? To simply trust the Archetype, God(ess). She knows what I did not, but the memory of this must live in me somewhere...that there is music in me, passion, libido, fire!  The passion as pain released in sensuality and joy rather than trauma reaction, projection, anger, and blame. This is the powerful medicine of the dream.

Dream: I am in some kind of building. I go outside and the whole landscape is of water and rock and jungle like plants. It is partially man-made as if there is structure and buildings underneath, like lost Incan temples. I love it. A teen boy is with me and we are exploring. It is very sunny and I slide down a kind of water slide in the stone. Water sprays up sparkly and I feel the mist of it hit my face and it feels good. I keep seeing the door across the way that goes back inside and think that we are supposed to go back but I don't know how to get to to door and I keep getting distracted by all there there is to explore.

And suddenly, I find myself outside the bunker, the train car. It is a sun-drenched, water wild, slick copper rock, jungle ferned world filled with mystery, possibility and adventure. Something new is born.

There is a fierce girl in me that wants to play the piano with wild abandon. There is a boy in me that wants to splash in the water and explore with a new found sense of discovery.

The exploration of the intelligence of the dream requires that we bring tenderness to each moment it reveals.There is always the temptation to stay in the "good" feelings, but when we do this we do not have all of us, the full depth of our passion is incomplete without the devastation.

In my dream writer's group, I was inspired to write this poem:

A cry to Heaven

Little girl hand hovers over keys.
Horizontal slats, bright light.
Fingers curled, reaching.
Black and white striped ivory clad.
Dusty train car. Steel rails of death.
Fingers crash to keys.
Hammers strike steel strings.
Girl lifts head, a cry to heaven!

My recent painting, completed June 23, 2014: The Piano


  1. This is beautifully written and expresses such anguish, pain and yet..... with the hope of something more, Rebirth, renewal, life continues even through the darkest hours, eternal and infinite. This is what this says to me. Thank you for this, the timing for me seems amazing whilst continuing my own journey of working with Holocaust memory and now creatively writing in order to get to the next stage wherever it may lead. Shalom, blessings and peace to you.

  2. Thanks Elise...
    Warmly and in companionship on the warrior's journey,