June 2023 Newsletter
"Breaking down refined ways..."
The wild side
My next Dialogic release to come out later in June is Hunting Cry. As with various of my songs, the inspiration for this one came from a dream. So, in a way, you could say that I consciously teamed up with my unconscious to write Hunting Cry. I've found this partnership to be a fruitful one in song writing, and life in general.
I'll take the opportunity to write a bit more about that partnership - esoteric perhaps for a music newsletter, but this is my chance to share about my inner workings, and those workings are, after all, at the core of my song writing factory. I have always been interested in the parallel reality of my dream world, that weird and wonderful place where I have vividly colourful, other-worldly experiences. The fact that I am asleep doesn't make the experiences any less real. It's just a different facet of real life.
It is a mysterious realm, for sure, and no-one can have the last word on pinning down the meaning of dreams. No-one can even definitively say that dream experiences have any meaning at all beyond neurons randomly bumping around in the night. But some notable teachers have said that our dreams are in fact laced with significance. Freud described them as the 'royal road to the unconscious'.
Down to the old world
Why would I want to take a road trip to my unconscious? My hunch is that the unconscious chunk of iceberg that lies beneath the surface knows a good deal more stuff than is readily available above the surface. I'm thirsty for that knowledge, wanting and get a fuller picture of what's going on. Life can be frankly muddling, and my dream world lends a hand in making sense of it all.
Dreams themselves can seem muddling and disturbing (as with the one that sparked Hunting Cry), and I think that is because the submerged knowledge that they speak of is often counter-intuitive to what makes sense above the surface. Beneath the civilized veneer that we've crafted in the last sliver of our history as a species, lies a wild heritage stretching back millennia. Those old ways have a depth of wisdom that can put a radical slant on modern ways of being.
Another reason dreams may not seem straightforward to understand, is that they speak in a foreign language, the language of imagery. The interpretation of this imagery requires some sideways thinking, with the meaning of any component of a dream referring not directly to what is depicted, but rather to whatever associations come to mind for the dreamer.
In my experience it's worth making the effort and tolerating the disturbance in this interpretive work, transporting shards of experience from the dream world into waking life. It can yield insight, guidance and energy. Who doesn't want a bit more of that?
For anyone who is interested in a helping hand with some dream exploration, I'd recommend a short audio book by the fabulous story-teller and Jungian analyst, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, 'The Beginner's Guide to Dream Interpretation'. I love how she describes dreams as 'letters from home'.
So, on to the dream that was my starting point of the song Hunting Cry. Certainly it was a disturbing one. But can't it be good, being disturbed into paying attention! By way of background, a few years ago, with the help from some local friends, I made a major life decision to commit to a vegan diet.
It was after that that I had this vivid dream experience of being part of a hunting party. The scene wasn't from this day and age. I was in a gathering with my ancient forebears, somewhere outside, around a large blazing fire. As we wove together in movement and sound, we were infused with a primal, pack energy prior to embarking on the hunt.
I am passionate about my vegan commitment. It makes total sense for me personally, in this day and age. So, what message could this dream have for me? I don't have a neat interpretation, but I do have a powerful energetic feeling left over from the dream, and I love to touch base with that feeling as I perform the song. It's something to do with the wild aliveness of my far distant ancestors, back in deep time, and feeling a raw and vital connection with nature.
Does a part of me, beneath the surface, want to go out and hunt animals. No, I don't believe so. I love my animal cousins. But maybe I am a hunter of life-force, hunting high and low for energy to sustain all of life.
Watch out for the release of Hunting Cry later this month!