Part One: The Cosmic Jew
Each of the religions expresses essential universal truths about the human condition. As such, everyone is Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Taoist, and so on. Dreams bear this out. Dreams do not promote one religion over another. Instead, they use religion to give context to the dreamer's experience. Dreams also interconnect the religions, illuminate their true meanings, and reveal the roots of their misappropriation.
In my dreams, the religion most directly associated with the global collective — with all of humanity — is Judaism. The Jewish story — its exodus from slavery, quest for a Promised Land, eras of stability, and eras of Diaspora — is everyone's story. It is the story of the collective as well as the individual. To find the Promised Land, every person must wander the desert for forty years.
While the collective realizes wholeness in its global identity, the individual does in his/her cosmic identity — in self-identification as a Child of God/the universe. Such a Child is a Cosmic Jew.
In my spoken-word, Dr. Seuss-ian dialogue, "God and the Snake," the Snake asks God, "So, who are these people? The Jews?"
God replies: "Well, they really endure. That's for sure.
They make music. They wear cool shoes.
They fall in love and they've got the blues.
They go to work. They come home.
They rent movies about the Terrordome.
The Jews kick ass and kiss ass, too.
Some go to class and some skip.
Some get a piercing in their lower lip.
They free the mind. They need a hug.
They learn a step. They try a drug.
"Jews are all the people of the world,
Each baby, man, woman, boy and girl.
Over all the Earth do they roam
Looking for a place to call their own,
And the most Jewish of Jews has no home."
Where "Jews are all the people of the world," the World itself is the Promised Land. The Cosmic Jew, at home in him or herself, is at the threshold of the Promised Land.
A metaphor for the collective of Cosmic Jews comes in a poem from a dream I had:
Two armies face to face
Accompanied by a third,
In green: Israel, an ancient ocean
The two armies of the dream are groups that fight over any land. Neither sees the third army, which is the abundance of the Earth, rooted, in harmony, its leaves exuberant in the sunshine like the hands of dancers — dancing long after the two armies have perished.
Being the whole World, Israel is both land & sea, an "ancient ocean" symbolizing the collective unconscious, the reservoir of all the stories there ever were — not just the stories of the ethnic Jew, but the stories of all, we Cosmic Jewry. The stories of the two armies face-to-face doom their descendents, eternally denying them Israel. Israel is not a state. It is a state of mind.
My first encounter with Israel was in 1998, chronicled in this excerpt from my memoirs:
As the cherubs' laughter pealed out of eternity, the darkness behind my closed eyes went white. A smell began blowing into my nostrils and sinuses. It was the same smell that lingers in the nose after a long cry, but denser and all-encompassing. Intuitively, I knew the smell was called "pneuma," a word I didn't know at the time, but which means "soul or spirit." On ordinary Earth, pneuma could not be sensed because of the soup of mold, decay, body funk, bacteria, pollution, and so forth. Were these neutralized, pneuma would dwell everywhere. As it was, while I rested limply in my seat, there was a pocket of pneumatic purity and peace around me.
The pneuma transmuted into a smell that I intuitively knew was of Israel. It was the richest and most colorful smell I had ever experienced. I had a vision of the place God intended Israel to be. Its geographical location was unimportant. It was a place where people lived in harmony with the freedom, joyfulness and peace of God's spirit. It was so beautiful that I cried.
Part Two: Beyond Judaism
Dreams sometimes use "Jewish" to describe any group that espouses a consensus reality made inflexible by the assumption that its collective beliefs are self-evidently true. In this sense, fundamentalists of any sort, Nazis, and Muslims are all Jews. From the perspective of dreams, everyone is a Jew to some extent. Since all people are God's Chosen People, all people are Jewish.
Diaspora does not apply exclusively to Jews. Any group that is uprooted and cast out suffers Diaspora. Not until there is global wholeness will Diaspora cease. In fact, when the globe is whole, no one will identify themselves as either a "Jew," "Muslim," "Buddhist," "Hindu," "Christian," or "other." Instead, people will appreciate that spirituality is unified — unified like a diamond whereon each religion is a unique facet of spiritual truth. The diamond is set on wedding rings exchanged between God and the World, cosmic partners mutually sharing all religions. The wedding rings are identical. God's represents reality and the World's represents how reality is perceived. This is the marriage of Heaven & Earth.
Last January 16th, I dreamed:
Amidst a Jewish ceremony, I have urinated in my chair and people can smell it. I return a glass to its proper place. The Jews think I am a Jew desecrating it, but I am not a Jew and have no intention of desecrating anything.
The Jews in the dream are not ethnic Jews. They are any collective with a sacralized consensus reality. In the dream, I am not a Jew because I do not share consensus reality with the collective in waking life. The reason is not that I am a non-conformist. It is that I conformed to God (who is alien to consensus reality). In solitude I was crucified, existentially, becoming so individuated that dreams say I am Christian.
Crucifixion makes whole. Wholeness is more wrathful than man. Wholeness subsumes man's resentments, legacies, inertia and ignorance. The world's inevitable destiny is wholeness — due to its cosmic origin in the wholeness of God.
When I was callow — and male identified — it was empowering to desecrate that which the collective sacralized. Now it is empowering (and self-sacralizing) to be my deepest self first and foremost. If being myself happens to mess with someone's mind, that's what art does sometimes.
It is sometimes the irresistible calling of artists and young people to burn away the past. Usually, young people do not completely forsake their connection to the collective past. They resettle into family life and perpetuate, in some degree, consensus realities they may have once rejected. Others of them don't make it that far. Satiating their appetite for destruction becomes an end-in-itself and they end up babbling to themselves, without children to love.
I was losing myself to the latter fate, but escaped it through spiritual awareness. The babbling became a brook that led to eternity and the children are inside myself. Along the way I had to do some radical things to neutralize how far I had strayed. Referring to the above dream, I had to pee in my chair and sit in it — an act symbolic of accepting my shit, and the world's shit, in order to get past it. I did this metaphorically and literally in the following excerpt from my memoirs. It was spring 2000. I had come to identify as female weeks before:
In the mirror George saw me clearly beginning to appear through the face. The skin was softer, hands smaller, hips wider, and breasts swollen. George shaved off all the body hair, except from the head and crotch.
In the afternoon, while we were dancing in George's room, he suddenly and urgently had to poop. His flatmate Livia was in the bathroom. George couldn't hold it. He didn't want to shit in his pants. He was afraid to. For this reason he knew he had to do it. It was always like that for us. Doing such things were rites of self-reclamation. "Oh, man," George said to himself.
We stood in the middle of the room and let go. It came out quick and smooth. George felt embarrassment and shame, and said, "Oh, man."
We sat down on it and felt it against us and relaxed. We put the fingers into the pants, got some poop on them, pulled them out, rubbed our brown fingers together and looked at the shit. I told him, "It's just brown stuff. It's not bad."
We rubbed some onto the penis. We brought it up and sniffed it. It smelled healthy. We were eating well. "It's just brown stuff," I told him again.
Then, the bladder let go, wetting the pants through to the carpet – and we were finished.
George envisioned a day when I would offer guidance with these types of things in psychotherapy; helping clients to take back the body from fear and shame.
After George cleaned up in the bathroom, he came back into his room. My mouth opened into an O. God's penis slipped into it and let out a few drops of semen that coursed warmly into me and settled in my stomach. George tried to ignore the crudity of this, and to be with its beauty; with the sense that I was receiving spiritual nourishment, creative power, mana. George thought of the rain of star-semen in the room, and the spray of star-semen onto my face, represented by its embedded colored glass.
Back to the dream:
Amidst a Jewish ceremony I have urinated in my chair and people can smell it. I return a glass to its place and the Jews think I am a Jew desecrating it.
The residue of my "unclean" past is still with me – people can "smell it," which is to say, they can sense it subtly, though I do not run it up flagpoles like when I was male identified. I am trying to return the glass back to its place – trying to give the collective what is its – while maintaining the absolute freedom and power of being identified as an avatar of Rose Mary Pillowwater.
Rose Mary is wed not to the collective as a "Jew," but to existence, as a "Christian." This is not meant to poo-poo Judaism. It is saying that to transcend the collective completely, an individual must be crucified. Individuals must be crucified in order to give the World to the Chosen People.
The glass in the dream alludes to the Jewish custom of breaking glasses at weddings. According to do-it-yourself-weddings.com, no one knows exactly why this is done. Indeed, there are many aspects of consensus reality that self-perpetuate for no apparent reason, other than inertia and that they provide a sense of continuity. The collective knows – deep inside, unconsciously — that substituting tradition for continuity cannot go on forever. Perhaps this is the real meaning behind why Jews break glasses at weddings. The glasses symbolize the paradigms of consensus reality that will someday be smashed by the marriage of Heaven to Earth.
After the glasses of consensus reality are broken, Rose Mary will help sweep up the shards and empty them in the bin. Then maybe someday God & the World may marry, and the Chosen People will be redeemed.
Image by Iguana Joe, courtesy of Creative Commons license.