“The root of sadness and grief is deeper than the skin. The only delusion is the grey sky.”
I found myself waking at 3 am from a dream about vampires. In the dream, I was with a group of people, and we were searching for vampires and being hunted by them. Somehow I found myself alone and in the presence of one of the vampires we were seeking. He was with another vampire, who did not seem as powerful or radiant as the first. The first vampire felt powerful ancient. He was the supreme. While this supreme vampire carried the respect of all others, he found himself in a different company with the second vampire. This second vampire was much younger, as ancient beings go, and he was filled with envy, regrets, remorse, and hatred.
In this dream, vampires felt things more intensely than their human selves. They felt ecstasy more vibrantly. They felt fear more destructively, and they felt love most intensely. The first and obviously supreme vampire had already assimilated his feelings and experiences into power. He was golden and shining, while the second was still wallowing in the loss and love of his wife and family. He mourned his former life and was angry that he could not achieve what the other vampire had. So he decided to take all his anger out on him.
These two immortals met as I watched on. The angry vampire launched himself into the golden vampire, desperately trying to get a rise out of him. The golden vampire laughed and held up his left hand to block any attacks made against him. Eventually, the fighting stopped, and they ended up transmuting into a liquid inside cups of crackled glass. The one glass was shining gold and radiated like someone captured the sun in a vessel. The second vampire turned into a dull pearlescent white liquid that seemed less fluid than the other. I walked over to the counter where the glasses sat. I picked them both up one at a time to examine them and marvel at the appearance of each glass and its contents. As I examined the glasses and their contents, I was instructed to drink from one of the glasses of liquid… and that is when I woke up.
Of course, now I can’t sleep. The messages from this dream are flooding my mind and dredging up shadows. Shadows I would prefer not to deal with right now. Sadly, the Shadow Work does not obey your desired timeline. It will reveal to you the things you need to know and address when the most impact can be made. Our pain is our denial and deflection of the truth and our unwillingness to heal. When we grasp too tightly to our victimhood, we prevent healing and only further our pain. When we are unhealed we can view this pain as retaliation or punishment. Shadow does not punish you, it only reveals to you what must be addressed. If the pain revealed is recurring and intense there is a reason for it. Shadow is deeply pensive and is never frivolous or petty. Yeah… no wonder I can’t sleep.
To help process all the things that have been dredged up, I pulled a card from my Dark Mirror deck for insight and clarification.
I pulled Downcast Pride.
The child scolded for being too excited. The dismissed achievement. The light unable to shine.
The message of this card speaks about how we learn to survive through adaptation. This card speaks of how we have learned to conform and mold ourselves to match the perception and expectations of others. We learn this at a very young age and carry this skill with us our entire life. Inherently this is not a bad skill. After all, we are social creatures and must learn to adapt to survive, but we often forget to place a limit on this skill. We fail to set boundaries with others as we transition from survival to thriving. The issue with using this skill comes when we give ourselves away too often and too heavily. This is where Shadow is born. Eventually, we lose ourselves. We create shadow aspects that writhe and disrupt our progress, dreams, and goals from under the surface. I speak more about this in my shadow work course, but I think you get the gist for now.
This card speaks of the adaptations we have taken on as our truth. Our adaptations become an illusion and look very much like our own skin. These adaptations are destructive and undermine our true purpose and self. These adaptations are also subtle. They formed through making subtle and consistent changes to our behaviors, attitudes, and preferences over a period of time. So much time has passed and so many subtle changes have been made, adaptations become our truth. Eventually, we no longer recognize our authenticity. In fact, these subtle adaptations make a mockery of our authenticity solidifying the pattern and affirming the adoptions as truth.
Perhaps our message for survival is to be responsible, forcing us to be more and more responsible each day. Now we have become ultra responsible. We are no longer responsible for only ourselves, we are now responsible for our partners, kids, houses, jobs, bosses, co-workers, teachers, etc. Suddenly we are responsible for how others feel about us, and how they perceive us. We were once too much because we were expressive, and now we are quiet and meek. We were once vibrant and joyful, and not we are somber and serious. Most noticeably, this shows up in our relationships where our partners are voided from common responsibilities. Our partners can’t do simple things like making dinner, do laundry, or scrub the toilet without our presence or instructions. Partners become incapable adult children, unable to make simple choices that support the balance within the relationship. As you can imagine the relationship becomes one-sided and is no longer nurtured. Simple tasks and chores become burdens only you can handle and therefore they go untouched until you address them. This places too much responsibility on one single person. Resentment and regret are inevitable. The relationship becomes unreasonable. No one person should be expected to be solely responsible for it all. This is absurd, yet many (especially women) are forced to believe that this is their role. Take care of it all so you redeem yourself through the lens of false perceptions.
Many people in our lives tell us many things. We are told we are lazy, ugly, fat, useless, stupid, and unworthy. Many times these things are never spoken, but the message is received loud and clear. In our adaptation, we give up taking pride in ourselves and what we do. We downplay our achievements and gifts. We feel our pain intensely but have not yet developed the skill of integrating our emotions and traumas into power. After all, we have given our power away to others. We have decided that we must adapt by dimming our light. It is a vicious cycle that is not easily broken. We adapt by using humility and responsibility as a mask, perpetuating the cycle one day at a time. This is how we have learned to survive instead of thriving. Even when we deserve to shine, we dull our power so others can shine over us. We also teach others to do the same. We echo resentment and jealously by refusing to acknowledge the gifts of others and through viewing other people as competition. We resent others who find joy in their gifts and strengths and remind them to snuff their light just as we have done. The message is clear. How dare we shine! How dare we find joy in our gifts and strengths! We mute our power one interaction at a time, and one passive comment at a time. Eventually, out light becomes difficult to find within much less reignite, or vitality is sacrificed. There comes a point when we risk losing our gifts for good.
Perhaps it is time to clear those cloudy grey skies and radiate golden light from every pore.