I had the following dream in my twenties:

A group of us are being held hostage by several men. We all lay on the deck at the front of a cottage in the middle of a field. The men sit inside watching us. We have to jump up and catch a transistor flying through the air when no one is looking to gain our freedom. I do this and am released. I walk toward the woods.

Dreams come for the benefit of the soul, not the mind. They speak in the soul’s symbolic language and not the mind’s literal language. This is also true for myth, fairy tales, stories, and the things related to the life of the soul.

There is usually one literal meaning to something, but several possible meanings when symbolism is involved.

One possible meaning of the above dream is that the mind was holding me hostage. That I needed to be still until I received information that wasn’t coming from a material source to win my freedom. I had to catch the information floating on the airwaves, which could mean intuition. The masculine says, “This is what you need to do to win your freedom,” be still, wait until the right time, listen, and make your move. Listen for the still, quiet voice to learn something essential to our freedom.

What appears on the surface as being held hostage by someone or something, can take on a deeper meaning when we see that what seems to be one thing is something else entirely. More specifically, we interpret the situation as being held against my will, but in the end I win my freedom. If I hadn’t been held, I might not have opened myself to intuition and won my freedom from the patriarchy, mind, or however it might be interpreted.

Dreams are like fairy tales. This dream theme appears repeatedly in fairy tales. Dorothy is held hostage by the Wicked Witch, Cinderella by her Stepmother, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty by the Beast, Rapunzel by the Old Woman, the mythic Psyche by Eros (then Venus) and Persephone by Hades, Hansel and Gretel by the Witch. None of these characters are free at some point in their story.

When we look at stories literally, we miss the deeper meaning. If the stories were about young women who were in these situations, then we would say this is about the poor heroine as a victim who waits for the prince (in some stories) to set her free. As you may have noticed by the range of stories I have included, they aren’t all rescued by a prince. If we look at them symbolically, none are.

If we read about Dorothy talking to the Tin Man, we don’t say, “She’s psychotic.” We often say it’s pretend, a story, entertainment. What if this is Dorothy conversing with the part of herself that has lost touch with her heart? The part of her that says, “Work, work, work, more, harder, faster, to get what you want.” In the process, she got stuck, and lost contact with her own heart, love, and her soul.

What if the stories weren’t meant to be taken literally? What if they were not intended for the mind but for the soul? What if the stories, like dreams, were in the language of the soul and were about the soul’s freedom from the conditioning of the patriarchal culture?

The soul thrives on depth. Deeper meaning, being, interaction with nature that comes from open and aware engagement. It is nourished by poetry, beauty, and love. Not superficial beauty, love, and stories, but stories, love, and beauty that does not conform to the culture’s ideas of what has value. They reach through the doorway of symbolic language to a deeper truth and meaning to nourish and assist in the growth of the soul.

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