"Tara or Lily"
A Dreamed TAROT Card
"Wisdom of Flyers"
Traditionally known as the Queen of Swords
...There are two parts to this dream: or perhaps there are truthfully two dreams: but however it is, they belong together - two parts that create a whole: a diptych or maybe more properly a yin yang statement. I wrote in my DreamNoteBook: "...good and bad, lovely and ugly...". It will also help for the reader to understand that I am a follower of the work of Carl Jung, and adhere to his ideas concerning symbols and archetypes. "The Explorer", as described in this dream, is the 'Wise Old Man' within me, and is an amalgam of several characters I love from various books and movies. He is always with me and is a very important character in my personal symbol system. Jung himself had a similar relationship with an inner Wise Old Man, whom he called 'Philemon'...
As the dream begins I am not Luna; no - instead I am my hero and guide, The Explorer ... and I am out at dawn on the golden shore of a large body of water: either a huge lake or the ocean: no further shore can be seen. I am naked or nearly so and I am exercising as I usually do at this time: a kind of Eastern discipline that is a series of connected ongoing dancer-like motions that flow uninterrupted. I have a sense of strength and freedom in these movements, and it is peaceful. I see my body as I move. I am not a young man, in fact I'm quite old but my body is strong and muscular and limber and golden like this shore is. As I turn in one smooth motion to face away from the water, I see a woman approaching me from inland. I know immediately she is a special woman, no - more than that: she is the Goddess Green Tara! She is clad in a long wrapping and flowing costume in shimmering green and gold and she carries a golden parasol with a stylized water pattern. She is barefoot. Her hair flows. Her face is beautiful, ageless and serene. She comes right up to me and begins to talk to me, and I stop and draw myself up into a respectful attention position to listen to her. She speaks and I don't move or interrupt. I listen. She tells me that the way I find myself at this age, now, is the result of having lived a noble and honorable life and for following certain disciplines - I am rewarded for that with a strong healthy body and mind. And she goes on to reveal that I have been given extra years, ahead of me still, for having lived in the way that I have. She has come now to tell me how to conduct myself during this time! I don't recall her exact words but the emphasis is that I must continue to honor the female as I have - even more than I have in fact - and make this my devotion as this is the proper path and the only one worth taking into the long years. I must not veer from this path. I accept this: this has been my direction anyway, I would not change my life or values now. I don't seem to need to say anything nor does Tara appear to expect me to. I am highly honored by this visit and she knows that. When she finishes all she has to say, she smiles at me one final time, turns toward the water and walks straight into it, and at the same time over it, away into the West...
Then the second dream begins: and I think there is a pause between them: it's not immediately after the first. And then I am myself - Luna, again, and I have Sonora the horse out somewhere in some mountains near a town The town is mostly perched on the steep mountainside - the horse and I are in a valley below. I find myself fascinated by some silver ladder or track-like constructions that run up steeper parts of the mountainside. They look like a cross between the trestles that rollercoasters run on, and scaffolding! They also look like they're made for climbing and although in waking life I am afraid of heights and climbing is never an attractive prospect for me, here I find myself irresistably drawn into climbing one! So I put Sonora to graze in a pasture and I begin to climb. Up up I go - a long way, and the ladder-like track bends and winds and sometimes plunges or goes straight up but I keep going. I find the climb very interesting: passing by odd rocks and trees growing out of the sometimes nearly-vertical mountainside. There are owls in the trees... Then suddenly the track goes over a wall and plunges down a short way: and I see it goes right into someone's backyard! I hadn't expected this and now I wonder if the people of the town use these ladder track things to travel back and forth from here to the valley floor. Recreation? Or a novel means of transportation? I don't know, but I don't want to go into someone's yard! So I climb back down: I don't recall much about that - it seems to get over quickly! Back at the bottom, I spy the begining of another track nearby and so I decide to climb that one. Up and up I go again - and again I don't recall much about the climb other than that it is more difficult than the previous one: there is some element of danger - actually quite a sense that I shouldn't be doing this ... but I keep on anyway! This time, at the top I suddenly go over a wall and find myself in what appears to be a service area behind a large grand hotel! These tracks all appear to be "the back way in" to places they lead to. Hmm... I decide to go in this place, although I can't really say why! There seems to be an appeal to the idea of "sneaking in" here for some reason! So I go in a big door and thru a kitchen and then some corridors. There are a lot of workers around but they don't pay any attention to me. It becomes apparent that some big event is going on here at the hotel: everyone is buzzing around and busy and I hear talk about the crowd, etc. Finally I ask someone what's going on and am told a big SciFi/Fantasy convention is being held here! It is in their ... ?ballroom? Some large hall they have for such affairs... Today is the last day. I am fascinated and want to see it - after all this is my thing! So continuing with the sneaking in theme I decide to do just that - sneak in the convention! And so I do - successfully - it isn't even difficult! (I don't recall the specifics of how I do this, however!)
Well, this convention IS exactly like all the big Cons are: crowded, people in costumes, all kinds of fan stuff - a tremendous amount of merchandise for sale - and much of this, on closer examination, things that seem empty and meaningless to me. Anything to make a buck off the big names: "Star Trek"; "Star Wars"; "Lord of the Rings" is here: from clothing to ball point pens to coffee mugs to ... oh - I don't know: everything and anything, just with the names and logos emblazoned upon it! It reminds me of a huge cluttered Pic-n-Save with a SciFi or Fantasy theme! (In fact that is exactly what it looks like too! Once inside the huge space where the convention is taking place, I realize the space is a replica of the former Pic-n-Save - now "Big Lots" - down on Oracle Rd. in Tucson!) Most of the junk is not only - well - absurd (I swear I think there was StarTrek toilet paper!!!), there is absolutely an air of cheapness to it all! Yet this doesn't appear to bother the gigantic crowd that is present: they are definitely buying! Although they will have to buy a lot to make a dent in the excess of "stuff" I see here! I need to add that it is also very noisy in here: a constant gabble of sound just on the edge of what I can tolerate. I discover that the convention has separate 'official' areas set aside for each of the many big name franchises, and I avoid them. Between the general air of cheap exploitation of it all AND the fact that apparently there isn't an Art Show at this Con, I have quickly come to the conclusion that the whole thing isn't for me! I really only care about "Tales of the Explorer". He is really the finest character I have ever encountered in any mythology and I am quite fond of him. He is an important symbol and has "come alive" to me, and I have always followed his story. I wonder if he's even represented here. I want to leave now but before I go I decide to take a last look for an area where he might be - it would be among the smaller independent franchises whose displays are tucked away here and there in this massive hall. And I finally find it! Not a huge spread, nor a tremendous fan following, but this is important to me .....
~~~ I have a hard time writing about the following events, both because of the emotional impact, and because I can't specifically define how the story I learn about here is told! I can't tell whether I'm reading this tale as in a book or magazine, or if I'm watching a movie or teleplay they are showing...I definitely "see" the events unfold - but anytime I am reading I generally "see" what the words relate in my mind's eye - so it could be printed material! But whichever it is, it has a tremendous and terrible impact, and I wish I hadn't seen it ~~~
.....Because the main new item presented here is a tale of the future: or I guess the next story they will do - and obviously it will be the last! I see The Explorer - he has grown older, but in an unexpected way (or rather, in a way I had not expected!). He has taken the conventional path: perhaps the path others expected of him or that he felt obligated to take. It is a path of conformity ... he has become "a slave to duty" (Odd reference! this is the subtitle to the "HMS Pinafore", whose song The Explorer sang in a previous tale!). He has stayed in The Fleet and I guess he's an Admiral, and he has acquired a family. But this conventional or conforming path has taken a toll on him in the worst way ... he is "old", sedentary and bitter. He is angry. This is not a happy man, nor a healthy one apparently! His keen intellect seems gone and he is completely out of shape both mentally and physically! I vividly recall a scene of him sitting on a traditional sort of front porch of some whitewashed home somewhere. This looks "conventional" too so I suppose it's his! He and a younger man whose description escapes me now are sitting out there in rockers. I may not recall the younger guy (whom I somehow know is his ... ?"son in law"?) because I am so distracted by The Explorer's appearance! The following is very hard to write! ..... He is grossly overweight, dressed in sloppy baggy khaki shorts and a stained t-shirt stretched over a big belly. I think he's wearing combat boots, for heaven's sake! His face is puffy with saggy jowels. I only know it's him because he is still totally bald and he has the same exotic eyes and nose of the man I admire so much. But that man is otherwise completely lost, and this is what has replaced him ... suddenly he jumps up and pulls from somewhere a great big automatic weapon and begins randomly spraying gunfire up in the air! His face is contorted and bizarre as he begins to bellow beligerently up at the heavens - angry empty curses into space! And then the scene changes suddenly and I find that this painful-to-watch angry pseudo-violent display was among The Explorer's last acts of life ... shortly afterwards he hanged himself!!!
..... And now we are at the funeral, or at least at a funeral home or perhaps an old church ... The Explorer is laid out on a grey marble slab (not in a casket!) in a white dress uniform and the uniform doesn't fit anymore!!! It is stretched as tight as it will go and looks bizarre and ridiculous! It must have been his at one time, but apparently he had gained about 40 pounds since last he wore it. This is like the final outrage to me: couldn't they get another uniform: one that fit and gave him a measure of dignity??? Because he is certainly robbed of that here... He deserves respect - instead he looks just awful. Directly behind his head I see a single Calla Lily. It's rather dim and murky in the room - a grey room of stone walls with one high window thru which some light comes - and the lily shows up more than anything else. The window is directly behind the lily: it frames and yet lights it. This flower is green, gold, white and glistens a little. Then, although I don't see anyone else, I hear voices speaking. One voice comments that it's funny they'd give him a Lily of the Valley - it's a flower The Explorer always said he hated! (This is another oddment as the flower is clearly a Calla Lily - it's vivid!) A second voice snidely remarks that it looks as if they had to literally stuff him into those pants! And I hear yet another voice say, very faint and far-off, that he is survived by a granddaughter, but she is just a little girl, age 2 or 3! This is the only voice I detect that has a sad feel to it. I hear other comments but they are garbled or faded now: many are in the tone of the snide one, and I don't think Poor Explorer is being remembered kindly... his latter life actions and pathetic defeatest death have all but wiped away the memories people had of his honorable, courageous earlier life. They have forgotten "the wise old bald dude" he always was. No longer revered and respected. ... And then it all seems to fade away ... is it the end? I don't even know, because I am so saddened and distracted that not only am I not aware that the production or whatever it is has come to an end ... maybe it's the end of the book? ... I am unaware that the convention closes as well - I don't even realize it!!!
I am in a state of shock. I am horrified and saddened to the point that I am effected physically as well as mentally. I feel sick. What did I come here for??? It gradually dawns on me that the convention is over, but I remain and wander around the huge space now devoid of people, and what is left is wreckage: trash and unwanted junk are scattered everywhere; unsold cheap merchandise - a lot of it - lies all around as well. This is in itself depressing - it's now the SciFi Fantasy garbage dump! I had thought this was just an empty and meaningless, superficial pop-culture construct. But it has become much more than that for me: a shatteringly painful event: robbing a noble and admirable character - MY favorite character of all time, of the dignified and graceful exit he so richly deserved... HOW could such an ending be written, and what kind of people would be pleased by it? Isn't there a place anymore - in our society - for a moral, noble, idealistic culture hero? Is honor an outmoded concept: that people want to see the honorable fall? I see no integrity - a word I strongly associate with The Explorer - in any of this ... And at this point in my painful wandering musings, I wake up!
.............I woke up with the same feeling of utter devastation that I had at the dream's end. This was one of the most sad and wrenching dreams I can ever remember having, truthfully! And I recalled it with such painful clarity! At first I didn't even want to write about it in my DreamBook, and I couldn't make it go away - this horrible feeling that someone "close" to me - a personal hero and integral part of my psyche's symbol system - had died, and died a horrible death following a miserable end-life. And I wanted it to go away and pretend I'd never had it, but it did not go away ... Because at the same time that I was so utterly wishing it would vanish or I could just dismiss it, I KNEW I couldn't do that in good conscience! And I realized this was a powerful dream to evoke such a response ... I knew I had to write about it and think about it. Then as I began to try to write about it, try to even figure out how to describe such excruciating events - just notes on them at that point (I was still lying in bed!) I remembered the first "Tara" dream, which I had completely forgotten upon awaking from the "Lily" dream! I saw the yin and yang. It was a true Epiphany. Then I could write my notes about them. It has taken me a few days to write the two dreams down to my satisfaction here in my journal, with the detail, description and emotional tone that I wanted!
About that writing: it was just like the dreams in how it proceeded: the first part, "Tara", just flowed from me: like the flowing motions and the Sea in this dream. The second part, "Lily", was agonizing to write, and I had to force myself to sit down and complete it, even as I was wanting so badly to do just that, as my mind was much occupied with it!
Tara is the same goddess as Kuan Yin: a diety of Eastern peoples, Goddess of grace and compassion and healing. I am sure she ordained this whole thing! Of added import: she is the Patroness of Sailors and the Sea! And I didn't know this when I had the dream: I looked her up and found it out. And of course The Explorer is a sailor, sailing a Sea of Stars, but always referencing back to the seafaring days of old: a tradition he holds dear. And there he was by the Sea in the dream. And when he does appear in my dreams, it is always by or near the Sea or a body of water!
White Lilies of various kinds are conventionally used as a funerary flower. I looked up both Calla and Lily of the Valley in my Language of Flowers and between the two the symbolism is happiness, beauty, honor. Lily of the Valley in fact says, "return of happiness" (the Calla is beauty and honor - actually "magnificent beauty"!) and so perhaps this is where the cross-perception comes into play. The voice mentions Lily of the Valley - this is one of those unseen references - insinuating that The Explorer's soul has crossed over into a place where he can find happiness again (I wonder why he hated the flower though? Perhaps because he wasn't happy prior to death?). But in the visual world of the dream, although no person did, at least the Calla appeared to honor him and the beauty previously his.
In looking at the whole of this dream-experience I of course now see the obvious yin/yang of it, and I realize that the important thing here: the whole overarching theme - is that a choice is offered. Because while the yin and yang presented create a wholistic statement, one cannot take both paths. I don't even see how one could try. No. One must choose. And these dreams and the choice extend in a global way to encompass not only myself and my inner workings - my dreamtime life and my reverence for The Explorer as a positive male symbol and guide - the dreams and choice extend to my outer life in this physical world as well. These worlds have intersected here, and I am shown how often, at least for me: what applies in one applies equally in the other! Lookit the themes presented here that are very important in my waking world life: feminism, goddess-reverence, yoga (exercise/fitness), aging, life-purpose, concern over unnecessary violence, Popular culture and what I percieve as it's often silly excesses, cheap materialism, health, conformity vs. free-spiritedness... Geez it's a laundry list of my concerns!!! And as well as listing these life issues, the dreams show 2 ways in which the protagonist - The Explorer or myself - could live out life. And my perception is that for me the choice is obvious, and it should have been for him! There is a time when one must let go being a slave to duty (Following the directives of an institution or a parent when these no longer apply to one's life direction! When they are in opposition to one's inner wisdom. Conscience and conformity are in direct conflict here! Family and institutions are relevant to both our experiences in these matters.). When the "uniform doesn't fit anymore", grace by the sea is the obvious choice! For any person of consciousness...
The two dreams illustrate this in an interesting way. The man in the first dream has a trim fit body which would no doubt look handsome in the uniform - but the uniform no longer fits his mind: he has moved beyond it. His body has not expanded but his mind has. The second man has a mind that still conforms to the uniform, or is trying to so hard that the mind is squeezed into a position it can see no way out of. This mind has not expanded; it has shrunk, if you will. But the body, almost like a reaction, has expanded - exploded right out of the uniform the mind couldn't escape. The first man gracefully and quietly honors the feminine and the water - the second man cannot escape patriarchal precepts: he sits heavily with men, fires a phallic weapon, and screams uncontrollably. Both men are equally "male" - they are both "active" (in fact the yin man is more active than the yang man, who has grown out of shape physically due to being sedentary!), but one model is positive, one negative ... at least to me. After all: one looks forward with wisdom to a long life. The other ended his in disgrace. To me the choice is obvious: I choose the yin, the Tara, scenario. And I wonder about The Explorer. (I happen to be one of those people like Bradbury who believes that written characters take on a life of their own.) Since "time doesn't matter" in dreams or stories, perhaps this character has this choice ahead of him too, and can save himself. I'd like to think so! ALSO - Of note here is the fact that no matter which choice is made; which path taken, there will be a female survivor. The female will survive! We always have: thru many abuses, haven't we? But in this case, even though she survives, what will her life be like? If the negative, firey path is taken - and there is no one to honor her - no wise elder to guide her? ........ I UNDERSTAND.
Even before I had finished all this writing, I knew that I wanted to make art inspired by this dream: specifically a portrait of Tara as she appears at the beginning. I also knew that this was a Tarot card...
About the "Wisdom of Flyers" (Queen of Swords), and why this dream contains that energy for me.
"Responsibility for Choices" is a key phrase to remember when working with the energy of this card. It symbolizes the mind at work channeling wisdom - a very strong mind with a conscience. The personality is detached, stern, reasonable and clear-headed; a lone thinker from whom wisdom flows. An austere, uncompromisisng and somewhat formidable presence which houses a compassionate heart. Here is intuitive knowledge linked with science; openness to information both sacred and profane. Unflinching Integrity. This personality is a master of critical thinking who also understands and listens to the wisdom of the heart. Often a judge or arbiter, this person realizes that their thoughts and choices belong to themselves alone, and takes complete responsibility for them. This is a card of Air and Water, although sometimes that manifests as ice! Ice in the veins, perhaps. The energy here is strongly "female". Water, the Full Moon, and Stars are associated with this card, as are owls. Colors common for this card are white, crystal, green and gold.
Reversed - this is a cold, hard, critical personality - possibly cruel. This person suffers as much from the jabs of their own cutting mentality as others do, but most people are too hurt by her to care! In the end this person is unremittingly lonely, which only makes them hurt themselves and others more.
This "Tara or Lily" dream with it's 2 parts, plays out both the positive and reversed aspects of this card. The Explorer is a personification of all the positive aspects: old and wise; tough and often stern but with a heart of gold. He is a model of conscience and integrity. In the first part, he/I choose a life path that honors this energy. In the second part of the dream, the tale I see or read reveals the consequences of the energy reversing perfectly. The overarching theme of Responsibility for Choices is obvious. All the usual concepts and symbols associated with the card are also here: female energy (always remember that the energy of a card has nothing to do with the gender of the person experiencing it!); water; stars; a "lone thinker"; air and space - even the owls are here - in the trees as I make my surreptitious climb! The colors are here too: in the shore, Tara's costume, and the Lily.
Notes on the Artwork.
When I created this artwork, it flowed in much the same way the writing of the first part of the dream did. It must be noted that this piece is an installation, with the painting surrounded by a cathedral window frame I build of construction foam and painted; and a Lily, which I made of paper and beads and painted, sits in a vase in front of that. The picture here was taken with my digital camera and only shows the painting and the lily. I have taken film photos of the entire piece and will soon have them scanned and on the page here. I hope what is here suffices in the meantime. The painting itself is acrylic on rag board, 18"w x 30" h. It is not for sale.
Questions or comments about my artwork, dreams or Tarot are always welcome! eMail me at: