Somebody I know’s recent dream…
I had just given birth to a baby, and laid down on a square moss-covered platform to sleep for the night. It was outside, in a pristine wilderness area in Alaska, and the baby was laying on my stomach. What looked like a horse approached the baby, and was surprised to see me there. It then circled around me and jumped over me – very close to my body. I realized it was a unicorn. Two other unicorns joined it. The first unicorn said they had come to take care of the baby. I resisted letting go of it – I had just given birth to it! They said it was a unicorn reborn in a human form, and that is why they had come to take care of it.
The dream was experienced as very vivid and real (a “big” dream).
This is an archetypal dream, and although they will have a special meaning to the one they appear in – they contain images and processes that can speak to all of us. They have a collective importance.
The unicorn has many associations, including purity, virility, strength, innocence, virtue, courage, and androgynity – combining the male and female in a trans/nondual way. After Christianity, it has been associated with Christ.
Looking up cultural associations online, I came across an Arthurian story very similar to the dream. A woman gives birth to a child, she dies, and a unicorn takes care of and raises the child.
The person the unicorn dream appear in had an awakening to Big Mind/Heart a few weeks back. When I did my own active imagination on the dream, as if it had appeared in me, it became clear that the child was what emerged from the awakening, and the unicorns were Big Mind, Buddha Mind etc. That is the level which takes care of the development of the awakening, not the small self. In this case, the “I” person was still identified with the small self, and the dream seemed to ask her to step back and allow the process to take care of itself. No need to interfer, no need to think that she can or must control it – just sit back and allow it to mature, nurtured from its own realm.
Of course, this is what these images awaken in me, and what can benefit me right now. What is in it for the original dreamer is another matter – that is her process, and what she can discover for herself through associations, active imagination etc.
An excerpt from the Arthurian story:
‘Well, I was so taken aback that for a while I did not know what to do. Then suddenly their mother returned. She was a great white beast, as large as any mare and with a sharp horn like a lance on her brow. She had a spark in her eyes that told me she thought I had been about to steal or harm her children. I panicked and ran and was just about to congratulate myself on my escape when I realized that I had lost my own son. Then I heard his cry from far away and knew I must have left him by the hollow tree.
‘In fear and trembling I crept back and my heart almost stopped when the babe suddenly went quiet. I loved the child dearly already, both for his own sake and because he was all I had to remind me of my dear wife. As I crept nearer, I found the Unicorn lying in the hollow of the tree with her fawns nursing at her breast, and my own babe in there among them, feeding as mightily as if he were their brother.
‘That night I hid nearby, almost freezing to death, unable to decide what to do. It was plain that the Unicorn could feed the babe better than I, but how could I abandon him to the care of a wild beast? In the morning the Unicorn left to feed and I took my son and washed him and wrapped him in swaddling as best I could. I meant to return him to the nest, but before I was done, the mother returned. This time though, she greeted me in the sweetest and gentlest way. There was no spark of anger in her blue eyes and, when she lay down with her fawns, she motioned with her head for me to return the child to her.
‘From that day until he was weaned the Unicorn remained my son’s wetnurse. I built a hut near the hollow tree and we lived together as a family, no evil creature daring to threaten us. Such was the virtue of the Unicorn’s milk that my son grew into a giant, soon able to uproot trees with his bare hands. In time he built this tower for me, so I would be safe when he was off hunting or at play. And the Unicorn is still my son’s constant companion, although her other children have long gone off into the world.’ [full text]