“The heart is a living symbol. With conviction, we speak of the 'heart of the matter' to refer to something essential or central without which an issue could not exist.” ~ from the article “Heart” ARAS - Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism
Today, I opened and read the ARAS article "Heart" that Jungian analyst Steven Parker shared with those of us who visit his always-interesting Facebook page, Jung Hearted. Attached to the article was a copy of a Bear totem in which the bear’s lifeline, starting from the heart, is depicted (Textile: trade cloth, with trade beads, sinew. USA, ca. 1900 A.D). I immediately recognized this ancient reproduction as similar in meaning to a recent Bear totem/symbol from my own dreaming.
Back in mid-July I had what I consider to be a Big Dream, one that I will ponder its deeper meaning in my life over time.
In the dream, titled “Heart to Heart” ~
We – a bunch of people, including my son Dylan and his wife Angela - are in a house in the woods. I go to the front door and attempt to open it. Blocking my way are several black bears. I close the door and call for everyone in the house to come see the bears, because it is highly unusual to see bears in this part of the country. In fact, I had never seen a bear this far south in Michigan before. Before the others make it to where I am watching through the window, one of the bears pushes the door wide open. I attempt to close it, but the bear’s strength is too much for me. I run into the interior of the house calling to everyone to go into their bedrooms and lock the doors because now a bear is in the house. In one bedroom with only a curtain for a door are two young children, totally unprotected. I grab them and run to a room with a door. We make it inside, but as I attempt to shut the door and lock it, the bear pushes it open and grabs my left hand and wrist. I am frightened, but Bear’s long, sharp claws don’t break the skin as he holds my hand so he can get in. Because of this gentle handling of my arm, I realize that this bear and I can be friends. I begin singing and crooning to him and smoothing down his facial fur. Soon I'm experiencing love instead of fear, and feel the love from the bear in return. Bear and I begin to communicate telepathically. He tells me that he’s a maverick in his group, and that he broke into our house because he was lonely. After 'talking,' we go out into the main part of the house. Eventually, Dylan and Angela and I walk Bear into the woods so that he can go back to his life in the wild. We stop at a wilderness store to get some provisions at the beginning of our journey. A woman shows me a map and asks if we are going to all the places on the map. She seems very impressed if we are. I tell her that it’s not my map…but I am interested in what all the symbols mean on it. Bear and I step outside for the sake of others who are uncomfortable with a large black bear in the store. I know on some level they think he is my pet, but Bear is not tame. His home is in the wild. After we go on a walkabout together, he will be returning there. Soon, Dylan comes out of the store carrying an over-sized drink that he’s bought to share with everyone…water, I think. I ask Bear where he finds water in the wild when he’s thirsty, concerned that he will have enough to keep him healthy. (EOD)
Upon awakening, I felt a deep gratitude to Bear for connecting me to my inner wildness - a longing for my own instinctive and natural life rhythms - that has been breaking into my conscious awareness since I retired from a marketing career two years ago. When I talked to Dylan about the dream, I discovered that he and Angela had taken an impromptu trip to the west rim of the Grand Canyon after visiting her father in Texas, and that Dylan had expressed a wish, before the trip had even begun, to see a bear as part of his wilderness travels!
Alas, no bears were encountered during their travels except those in my dreaming. That in itself is a gift of meaningful coincidence; one that leads me to hold fast to my belief that connections of the heart cross all barriers of time and space. For, while my night dreams of Bear provided a heart connection to my own inner longings, it also connected my mother’s heart to the waking dreams of my son.
In my opinion, synchronicity doesn't get much better than that...