A Tiger in the Zoo
By John W. Robinson
Dream Work & Personal Growth Facilitator - Enchanted Spirits, in Dunedin, FL
Recently I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful party. Although a diverse group of people, they all did have a lot in common. Each was exploring their world and their own consciousness in a way that was outside of “the officially accepted dogma”. You might say each had a different world view.
The energy level seemed high as the evening progressed so I decided to ask the host if I could share a game I had learned with the group. The host was gracious to accept my offer. The game was called “The Coincidence Card Game” as I learned it from Robert Moss, Dream Work Educator & author of many excellent books. In the spirit of the ancient Greek Dream Temples, I called it “The Oracle ofEnchanted Spirits card game.”
The game went like this: Each of the players was given a 3x5 index card on which they were asked to write anything – really, I mean anything. Whatever popped into their mind that moment and keep it to themselves. I collected the cards with the writing turned down and shuffled them. On another card I asked each player to write down a question or make a statement that they would like to receive guidance on when they visited the Oracle of Enchanted Spirits. Next, each player chosen at random picked a card from the Oracles deck and shared the thought that had been written down originally by an anonymous player. The anonymous response becomes the answer from the Oracle to the player seeking guidance.
It really was a fun and enlightening game. The purpose and outcome of the game is an experiential learning exercise dealing with synchronicities and coincidences.
When I started a study of dreams about 30 years ago, I also was involved in a study of synchronicity, coincidence and creative visualization/imagination. As I recorded my dreams in a dream journal, I was making notes on seemingly unrelated events resulting in a meaningful coincidence in my life. The experience, like my awareness of dream messages, had moved beyond amusement to the point that these events became grounded in my expectations. I became a believer in the concepts of the Collective Unconscious and Synchronicity as developed and written about in many books by the great Therapist and Psychologist, Carl Jung.
In the Oracle Card Game, I think the collective unconscious wisdom of the players became the collective unconscious as described by Jung. Many of the "answers" from the Oracle of the game were "right on". To me, dreams, coincidence and the imagination go hand-in-hand as written about by Robert Moss, in The Three Only Things.
As an illustration, I will share the experience of one of the game players at the party. There were 17 players on this evening. You can play the game with any number of players. I will call this player with a female energy, Rachael (a pseudo-name).
Before drawing a card from the Oracles deck, Rachael shared with the group the question she was asking for guidance on – “I desire guidanceon what direction to take”. Obviously, there were some probable directions held in mind by Rachael which were not shared with the group. The card she picked from the Oracle’s deck stated simply: …..“A Tiger in the Zoo.”….
Now this may not seem very enlightening, but without passing judgment, let’s take a closer look at what happened considering what you may have learned about dream messages, imagination and meaningful coincidence, or synchronicity.
If I use a dream analysis method of Fritz Perls, considered the “Father of Gestalt Psychology” and consider the episode a dream segment, I have a dream segment in which I project my dreaming self as a Tiger in the Zoo. And, as a Tiger, if I look out from behind the bars I see a zoo full of “human spectators who appear to be trapped behind bars.” - A different twist of the imagination indeed. As a Tiger, I might even carry on a conversation with myself directed toward the humans behind the bars as Perls would suggest.
… “Why do you humans trap yourself behind the bars of rigid dogma and unimaginative thinking, not realizing the power of your consciousness and your subconscious mind? Why do you stare at me like I am the one trapped? As a species, when left alone my kind knows how to survive the way “All That Is” intended.”….. - Something to think about?
Or, if I look at the Tiger as an archetypal symbol I get another take on the event. The idea of archetypes became meaningful to me as I studied the works of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. But, I will draw again on the writing of Robert Moss, in his terrific book Conscious Dreaming, pp. 52-53, to gain insights into the Tiger as an archetypal symbol from other cultures that does often appear in dreams. As Moss writes,
……” Among the indigenous peoples of Southeast Asia, the tiger or clouded leopard is frequently the animal guardian and soul companion of the most powerful shamans. Such shamans are believed to be able to shape-shift into tiger form not only to fight enemies but also to heal and to test and initiate shamans-to-be…”
…..” The Senoi, a forest people of the Malay Peninsula, also believe that the tiger is the shaman’s most powerful spirit helper. The Senoi are said to teach their children that nightmare adversaries are hostile spirits (mara) that become spirit helpers (gunik) when they are confronted and overcome. When a dreamer develops the courage to confront and accept a tiger that challenges them in dreams, he becomes a shaman…..”
So, for Rachael, if there was an answer in the Oracles message, and if the event was a meaningful coincidence arising out of the collective unconscious of the players, maybe thinking about it this way will lead to other insights and direction. Maybe even in the direction of a shaman. Maybe the Tiger is Rachael's spirit animal helper that will revel itself to her in a dream.
As I suggested to Rachael and the others playing the game, "also take your guidance question (the idea you desire to receive guidance on) to your inner self before you fall asleep tonight and record what you remember from your dreams when you wake up in the morning. Give yourself the suggestion that your own subconscious mind will bring you back a message from the dream world, the unknown reality where the fulfillment of physical world dreams begin. Be on the lookout for symbols and synchronicities that may appear in the days or weeks that follow. Know that night time dreams can help you fulfill your life dreams and desire".
If you work with groups in any venue, I have found the coincidence card game can be a great "ice breaker" along with being insightful regarding the coincidences our desires attract from the unknown reality. Our thoughts, beliefs and emotions become magnets attracting what we desire. This process commonly takes place in our dreams.
September 17, 2011