There are dreams that follow us through life, as a red reminding thread, as an encouraging trigger. Some of the dreams are repeating the exact same scenario over and over again, and some show up in new costumes, acting out different variants of the same theme. The reason is that the soul, through the subconscious, tries to remind us about things we need to work with. And either it’s a trauma from childhood, earlier lives, a family history thing that needs to be healed – or something that interesting as a soul contract, it’s important to pay attention to these repetitive dreams, because they have a tendency to be quite initiating. Some of these initiating dreams can be really scary, and while it’s obvious why in some cases, as in dreaming about scary witches, it’s more of an enigma in other.
One of my repeated old favourite theme is horses. I am not a bit afraid of them in my awake state, and have never been – but in my dreams they have been horrible. The most common scenario has been me walking through a stable, between rows of horses, either with their backs or heads against me. They come closer since the space I am walking in becomes more and more narrow, and they start attacking by biting or kicking. At the time these dreams started I was young and had no clues about dream interpretation, but I knew what I was afraid of, and it wasn’t horses – rather the dark and ghosts. So why did I wake up sweaty after having nightmares about horses?
Obviously the horses was symbolizing something else. But my subconscious had to work hard to make me understand what. Of course I dreamed about horses that weren’t scary too, but those scenarios with the scary theme was repeating itself, relentlessly. But then suddenly it began to change – and it was two dreams that scared the living daylight out of me that begun to turn the table – and eventually give me an understanding about where the origins of this came from.
They arrived after years of narrow stable walking, and in the first one I was entering a dark room in an unknown but in some way familiar – house. When I could distinguish the contours of what was in the room, I stood in front of an old-fashioned bed with drapes made of coarse fabric, that concealed the one lying there. As I pulled the drapery, someone with a horse's head sat up in bed, staring at me with crazy rolling eyes, and distorted its mouth into a scary grin.
The appearance was hair-raising in a way that is difficult to describe, and the whole scenario made me terrified. It didn’t get any better when the dream was repeated again a night later. But now with an even more scary feature. The person in the bed was someone close to me, with who I had a difficult relationship, I saw her face, and when it twisted with the same kind of grin as the horrific horse’s grin - the night before, I almost lost my mind out of terror.
So what was the horse-dreams saying?
At first, look at the horse as a symbol. It is strong, beautiful animal, and therefore a natural instinct, it can be both wild and tamed, steady and crazy. A horse in a stable, eating hey gives a feeling of safety and peace, while a horse standing on its hindlegs with rolling eyes is quite the opposite. This means the horse is a double symbol. And therefore, on the second level of dream interpretation, where other persons and situations occur, it’s often symbolizing something or someone with a double nature. It could be a person who is supposed to be safe, but who suddenly can become quite the opposite. The duality of human nature can be very scary, and in certain when you’re a child. If having a parent who acts unpredictable, for example. But on level one where the horse is me, it’s my instinctive strength that is threatening the soul. By being unpredictable it’s shrinking the soul’s space. My instinctive strength is attacking the soul.
But how is this possible?
Well, with a double nature in instinctive strength the unpredictable element is always there, which means not knowing how to handle wrath, and how to set limits. This means building up inner stress, which in its turn means less and less space for the soul. Then one gets more and more fear oriented. Afraid of consequences and always trying to avoid annoying others. The anger building up inside attacks on the inside.
There is a tarot card in Thoth’s tarot: 9 of Wands, asking: “Are you perhaps a little afraid of your own strength?” Being afraid of the own strength may seem peculiar, but when understanding there’s possible that strength can have a double nature, it gets more comprehensible. The card also point out that the strength rises from within, from the subconscious and this means hard inner work. That kind of work includes connecting the dots, understanding the reason of dreaming about for example then, horses acting threatening, when there are no what so ever known reason in awake life to dream that way.
So what to do then? In my case my subconscious had kindly given me a pretty obvious clue about how to look at the scary horses on level two in dream interpretation, which led me to why I was afraid of my own strength. I loved the person behind the draperies, but had also always been afraid of her mood swings, and therefore tiptoed around the place not to cause any trouble.
The horse dreams took a new turn after this:
“I am walking through a forest shimmering with ice crystals. I am freezing and I am afraid of going astray but I’m following a path, passing a deep frozen little boat and continuing up on a hill. There I arrive at the backside of a house in which I sneak in and get myself up to the attic, where I look out from the window. Suddenly I am outside the house again, on the side where I came from and I can’t go back because there is now only a steep there. From the house.. horses , children and dogs come running, and I know I have no way to flee, so I have to control my fear and stay there, calm.
The scene changes and I am hanging from the open attic window, above the steep, and I am holding the jagged window frame, about to lose my grip. The only choice I have is to put my arms around a big white horse’s neck, who is looking out from the window. The scene changes again and I am standing outside again, face to face with a huge horse, afraid that it will bite me. Then I decide that I will not let it, that I can feel safe together with it.”
So, the dream made me choose to trust my strength, look fear in the eyes, grab it and come to terms with it. This dream work really helped me in my relation to the person symbolizing the double nature symbol. And more than that, it helped me find a common former life of ours, where the dark room was present. Where the reason for the complicated relation had its roots.
So what I am saying here is that when understanding the double nature element in strength, there was a clue perfectly fitted to elaborate on. And this goes for any repeated nightmare theme. Are there horses, rabbits, dogs or other apparently non-scary symbols coming back in the same drama time after time, it’s there because there is something that needs to be identified as a double symbol, under which often lays a trauma that needs to be worked with and solved. Otherwise there’s a risk that the space for the soul gets more and more narrow. The soul is crying for help because the fear is taking over the human system, and the subconscious is therefore sending the same kind of dream repeatedly.
When it’s about soul contracts, the symbols are more obviously scary, as in dreaming of evil witches. Here archetypes are more common, and they turn up in different variations on the same theme. Here the soul tries to remind us of an important task, something that have been decided on before entering this specific life. Sometimes it’s a red thread going through many incarnations. The first dream I can remember, is from when I about 4 years old, it was a nightmare, and it goes like this:
“I walk eastward against a big barrel, beside an old windblown oblique barn. In the barrel is shimmering and glittering gold. I feel a tremendous joy and hurry to get there. But the sky is getting darker every second and when I get there, the whole pitch black place is illuminated by a huge lightning. Then I see a horrible witch standing beside the barrel and she laughs at me. When I look down in the barrel it is not gold in there anymore, all I can see is dirt.”
This dream was very scary of course, not least since I was so young. But the witch and the treasure in the barrel, have been following me through my whole life, coming up in different variations in dreams. Making me understand the deeper symbolism and what’s most important; my soul contract.
If those symbols had been showing themselves in the same dream over and over again, I for certain had come to the understanding that there in first hand was a trauma which needed to be healed. But when it comes to soul contracts, traumas are more to be considered as tools needed to find the soul’s essential task. Of course it doesn’t have to be only in nightmares those red reminding threads turn up. Repeated symbols and scenarios are as much of importance whatever kind of dream it is, but nightmares have stronger penetrative power, and are therefore more effective.
So, take a look in your dream archive, are there any enigmatic repetitions of the same situations or symbols in different scenarios? They may hold the key to both traumas and soul contracts. Go treasure hunting!