May 12, 2023

 “You are not your body.”


This seems to be the message from today’s excursion into the Symbolic Realm.


I started out seeing a black dragon-like creature who reminded me a lot of the character, ‘Toothless,’ from the animated movie trilogy, “How to Train Your Dragon.” Hey, I know that things get plucked out of my imagination during these journeys and this was no exception. Toothless was a goofy, doglike dragon full of energy and enthusiasm. He led me into a mountain range covered in misty conifers. The prevailing colors were evergreen, gray and brown. It was quite beautiful.


Toothless took me to an old man who appeared to be stuck in the ground, like a fallen tree that had been partially absorbed into the earth. This man’s body did, in fact, appear to be wooden and he merged with the earth such that it was difficult to tell where his body ended and the earth began. The earth around him was extremely dry and the man’s wooden body was likewise very dry. His mouth and eyes were open but he didn’t appear to be aware of me. He wasn’t dead, though, just in a state of suspended animation.


As I stood there looking down on him, I realized there was a knotty stump (his penis?) sticking up from the ground where his crotch would be. This stump was smoldering. Looking closer, I realized that it was like a chimney and I could see a red-hot fire burning within. It was like a furnace.


I understood what I was seeing: This was a representation of the sexual drive/instinct and this man’s sex drive was out of control. He had a desperation about him. I’ve met men like him, both gay and straight. They don’t want to admit that their bodies have aged and they are no longer as young and physically attractive. I get it. I mean, it sucks getting older but it’s also a fact of life. And, ideally, we gradually outgrow our attachment to our bodies as we age so that there isn’t a painful drop. Ideally. There are, of course, numerous examples of men who are in denial about their age and maintain a narcissistic insistence in their continued attractiveness despite evidence to the contrary.


This was one such fellow.


I have no idea what his sexual orientation was. It doesn’t really matter. It’s kind of funny - I was looking down at him, wondering what I was supposed to do when ‘Toothless’ bumped me. The message was clear: Put out the fire!


I leaned over the man made of burning wood and rain drops fell onto him, dousing the smoldering fire inside his groin area. This left a smoking black pit behind and, almost immediately upon seeing the smoking blackness, I understood that I was meant to enter it. I did so, finding myself ‘inside’ the man. In the pitch blackness, a soft light appeared, emanating from within my chest. In the light, I could see the form of a being who had previously been consumed in the smoldering, red-hot ash.


Now that the fire had been extinguished, he was covered in soot but the soot washed away in the rain, leaving his ‘body’ fully visible. He was most definitely not human, yet I recognized him as a brother. His hair was long and white and his body was the deep blue of the cosmos and seemed to contain constellations. Despite his white hair, he was not old. Actually, he was ageless. His body was muscular and well-formed and he was the epitome of robust health.


He was also very angry, not at me but at the ‘wood man.’ Somehow, the two had been paired and, when the man was seduced by his sexual instinct, this being had been trapped inside a living hell of burning flame. He was extremely eager to be gone and, as soon as he emerged from within the black void, he and Toothless took off.


This left me with the man who was no longer made of wood and earth. He was fully human again, complete with an aged body which he didn’t like. He was a little bitter about being old and sulked a bit. I reminded him, however, that he was not his body and never had been. Forgetting this - or never learning it in the first place - had been the cause of his troubles.


We sat in the evergreen forest for a while. It was beautiful and cold. After a while, I looked up and recognized where we were: This was the crossroads that I’ve visited so many times. Waiting for us on the roadway was another familiar figure: The Man in White. I’d seen him last when I had been led back to ‘Bat Boy’ but I’ve encountered him several times before. He’s not a man, of course, but that’s how I see him. He appeared as an old man with white hair, something the old man with me didn’t appreciate. Still, he willingly accompanied the guide and they left me behind.


I thought this was all but soon became aware of a white wolf. It had red eyes and was following a trail of red blood through the snow. The blood, I realized, was menstrual blood and there were tracks, human footprints. The wolf was male, as far as I could tell, and its gender would soon become important.


I followed the tracks and blood through the snow, eventually discovering a snow hare. The hare was not really a hare but a frightened woman. As I stared at her, she transformed, becoming a very voluptuous, quite heavy woman. She was terrified of the wolf. I couldn’t figure out why at first but soon realized that she was not at home in her body. She didn’t feel like a woman, did not identify with her soft, full-figured, very female body. 


Was this a transgender man who felt trapped in a woman’s body? It seemed clear that the wolf stalking ‘her’ was ‘her’ masculinity. I sensed a lot of agony about this. I could feel the agony that ‘she’ felt about her gender, both wanting and not wanting her body to be male. ‘She’ did not want to be a woman but ‘she’ also did not want to have to fight to be a man. It’s quite a conundrum. I don’t know how I would find the strength to transition if I were in their shoes. This experience gave me a very clear picture of the immense amount of inner resolve it takes to live ones gender when that gender does not match one’s body.


My message was the same as with the old man, although I delivered it with a lot more compassion: You are not your body. I don’t know if this helped. I mean, I know it’s not that simple, right? Still, at some point, all of us have to let go of our bodies and our genders. They are not what make us who we are. I totally get that this is not a simple process and it’s fraught with all sorts of difficulties.


When I left, the wolf had transformed into a very male human. Clearly, this was ‘her’ true form. The woman was still there but ‘she’ was no longer quite as resistant. Perhaps this was the beginning of a change in ‘her’ relationship with her body?


***


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