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Of A Dream Of A Little Bird...

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Jungians and Joseph Campbelites, gather round, for I have for you a tale of a dream...


It was back in the late summer and fall of 1998, a bit over 13 yrs ago, as i was first being drawn back toward matters of religion that I had largely withdrawn from early in my adult life, that I began to have a dream of a little bird.

I had submitted to re-baptism in September that year, and knew that something major and significant was happening in my life, within me, that I was entering a period of psychological, emotional, and spiritual transformation such as nothing I had ever experienced in my life. It drove me to questioning my sanity, and toward seeking answers and understandings of what was happening, and to the discover that what was happening to me was neither a unique or new experience within human kind.


The dream of the little bird came three times in that period of weeks toward the end of that year, as has often been the case in my experience of truly signficant dreams in my life.


In the dream, I watched and listened as a curious crowd approached...the people were arrayed in gaudy and colorful and volumnous clothing, and there was much excited and joyful shouting and singing...something of a circus, or a mardi gras celebration, so it seemed.


As the troup drew near me, I saw that before them a little bird, strapped into a harness from which many colorful ribbons and streamers trailed out behind it, was struggling mghtly to to stay in flight, weighted down by the gaudy contraption. As it drew closer, I could see the bird's distress, as it struggled to fly, it looked so very weary, so very desperate, and yet as if submitted to its indignity, its struggle. It flew so low, so burdened, that the ends of the ribbons and streamers near touched the ground at times briefly, before another labored wingstroke lifted them again.


I was overwhelmed by compassion for the little bird, and could not imagine people doing such a cruel thing to it, subjecting it to such misery, aparantly merely for their own enjoyment. As it struggled past me, I reached out and took hold of several of the trailing ribbons, and reeling in hand over hand, drew they little bird toward me, finally taking hold upon it in my hands.


The people in the crowd protested loudly, angrily, and began to excitedly "explain" to me why they did this, why the little bird had to fly so, with the harness and gaudy costume and streamers, and while i could hear their shouting and protestesting voices, seemed to know they were giving me explanations in expectation I would understand and release the little bird to continue its struggled flight, that they may follow, I couldn't understand their words, only that it seemed not only very important to them that the bird fly this way, burdened by the heavy gaudy costume, but that they were insisting it good for the bird, as well, that the bird wanted and liked doing this. Part of their words I did understand was their argument that it was just a plain liittle brown and black and white bird, actually quite ordinary and nothing expecially pretty, without it's colorful costume, As if they thought that mattered to the bird, that it wanted to be pretty like that.


Despite their loud vocal protests, it seemed in the dream they could not actually lay hands upon me, or take the bird away from me, and their cries rose ever louder and more desperate as I set about unlatching the straps of the harneess, letting the gaudy costume fall free, The people gasped in shock and horror, and rushed forward, grabbing the falling contraption as if it must not be allowed to fall to the ground, and at once lifting it high above their heads as if in worshipful awe of it as a precious thing...their attention actually turned more toward it, and away from me and the bird, as several of them then proceeded to set off again, holding the thing as high as they could, and marching off ahead of the others, letting the ribboms and streamers trail behind them, as the whole merry procession got under way once again, and left me there, holding the bird cupped in my hands.


Its frantically beating little heart and labored breaths gradually slowed, as the bird recovered its strength, at after a bit, I opened my hands, releasing it to fly away free.


I feel I come to understand the signficance of that dream in my life journey more and more.



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