The Wisdom of Infinite Solitude

A few months ago I had a dream which gave me new insights into the wisdom of a relationship as it matures. In this dream I was in the Twin Cities for a renewal of vows ceremony with K and T, a couple whom I've known for decades.

IN CONVERSATION TOGETHER WE HAVE ARTICULATED THE EXISTENTIAL TRUTH THAT EVEN AMONG COUPLES WITH LONG AND HAPPY MARRIAGES, WE CAN ONLY REALLY BE TO EACH OTHER AS "SHIPS PASSING IN THE NIGHT."

Each soul has already been betrothed to its own "north star" and must faithfully follow where it guides. So the most important realization is to know that there is another soul also pledged to that same star. Then, in the clear, dark nights when we look up our own bright star, we will remember that we have a soulmate who follows the same light.

The ceremony is taking place during the time of the alignment of the five planets, in the hour just before dawn when the night sky is still visible to the naked eye. T and K will be exchanging silver rings that have ships carved on them in honor of their deep alliance.

IN THE DREAM, I AM BEING ESCORTED BY A WHITE AND ORANGE CALICO CAT TO THE CEREMONY SITE, WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE IN A CERTAIN SPOT NEXT TO THE RIVER.

The cat is guiding me down steep wooden stairs that run along the south side of the house, and down the cliff to the river.

I am dressed in a long gown and pragmatically hold the railing with my right hand while in my left hand I hold aloft a carved wooden box containing the two silver rings.

The cat moves gracefully before me under the star-studded canopy of night.

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Notes: Dream of Feb. 16, early AM, 2016

The Planetary Alignment happened the week of Jan 25-30th and I viewed it both the 25th and 26th from the west coast at around 4:45 AM. One of the most significant dreams of my life also had this planetary alignment motif, so I am paying attention to this one. 

The dream has deep resonance for me as I enter my sixth decade of life and begin to come to terms with many of the fundamentals of what is means to be alive. In particular I feel the currents of life as being beyond the forms of individuality with which we are so obsessed in our youth. We are all both more and less than we think. . . . less than our attachment to physical forms allows us to perceive and more than our earthbound focus permits us to behold.

The relevance to relationships is to remind us that all human attachments are temporal and that each of us comes into and moves out of this life alone. As the great balladeer, Richard Dyer Bennett, used to sing at the conclusion of every Midnight Special (WFMT Chicago):

You've got to cross that lonesome valley,
You've got to cross it by yourself.
There ain't no one gonna cross it for you.
You've got to cross it by yourself.

At first glance the story of the dream feels isolating and certainly "unromantic" for someone engaged in ministering to couples during their wedding planning and nuptials. But the more I sat with the images and feelings of the dream, the more I came to feel that this understanding is actually a necessary prelude to the capacity for genuine love - if by love we mean true compassion and affection, and not the kind of projected hopes and fears we tend to equate with love.

ONCE WE ACCEPT OUR COMPLETE SOLITUDE AND SOVEREIGNTY WE CAN THEN CONNECT WITH INTEGRITY. IT IS THE PLACE WE GROW TOWARD ON THE LONG JOURNEY OF LOVING.

Rebecca Armstrong