Last night I was gazing quietly at one of our Navajo rugs and I felt how analogous they are to our dreams…how when we’re connected to our inner life we see how connected we are to everything…to the earth…to each other…how, in our own unique ways, we speak of the same things. Like a Navajo weaving I’ll weave back and forth between the rugs and the dreams.
Navajo rugs are comprised of woolen threads that make up the warp and the weft. The weft are the horizontal lines that is the surface of the rug with its colors and patterns, really the story of the rug. Our dreams come to us with these elaborate story lines and characters. They often represent the horizontal, the surface story of our lives and who we think we are. Most of us leave it there, not realizing there is the deeper story. Underneath, hidden from the eye are the warp strings, that run vertically, that is the underneath support necessary for the rug to be a rug. A damaged or broken warp string is reflected in the surface of the rug, a wound as it were. This is what’s underneath the surface story. When we work with our dreams we are invited to better understand our surface story, to feel into the warp, the vertical, the places we may have been wounded, and to find the healing there.
Navajo rugs, especially those from the Two Gray Hill region of the Navajo reservation, are often woven with what is called “reflection symmetry,” that is the rug is a mirror image of itself. If you fold it in half and slowly peel back the upper part of the rug, you will see how the rug reflects itself and the pattern meets in its center. So, too, with our dream. Like Navajo rugs, our dreams are filled with repeating patterns and images of our connection to the inner. They come to us each night reflecting who we are and how we are in the world. They often do this through dream characters that behave in ways we can’t imagine having in ourselves…but we do. They are mirroring us and inviting us to explore these parts of ourselves.
The rugs also have what is often called a spirit line, weaver’s pathway or spirit pathway. Near the final few wefts the weaver leaves a subtlety visible thread that exits the rug. (If you look closely you will see this in the upper right hand corner of the photo.) This has several interpretations. One is that it allows the spirit of the weaver, which was heavily imbued into the rug a ch’ihónít’i…or way out as the weaving is completed. Another interpretation is that there is always a humble mistake woven into the rug, that it not be perfect, because only the Great Spirit is perfect. The spirit line is like the spirit of the dream. Each night, we are visited by the spirit of the dream, as it invites us to explore more deeply these surface patterns and stories that weave through our lives, that we have misunderstood as our true nature. And like the rug, upon exiting, upon awakening, there is a ch’ihónít’i…the way out and we have a choice to awaken with the spirit of the dream…to imbue our life with it…accepting the invitation it offers us…to learn about our vertical selves, our mirrored selves and the spirit that connects us to our true selves.
Mary Jo Heyen
Archetypal Dreamwork Practitioner
Author of the dream primer, “Who are Those Guys?”
Dream sessions in person, via Skype or on the phone