I want to tell you about a dream I had last night.
I’m at a women’s weekend gathering, and we’re each supposed to make a dish for a potluck. I decide I’m going to steam some crabs for the group, and I go out and buy four of them, which I carry in a small plastic bag.
I sit down on a bench near the ocean. Next to me, on my right, is an older man, and I ask him, “Do you know how to steam crabs?” He’s annoyed, but he helps me crack open the shells of two of the crabs and asks me which parts I want to use. As I crack them open, there’s a lot of meat, but also other things - a dark red organ of some kind, and a silver metal orb. I feel sick as we’re doing this, but I put the meat aside in a bowl and turn to the other two crabs in the bag.
As I pull one out, there are two older women sitting to my left and I ask them, “Do you know how to steam crabs?,” even as I’m thinking inside, “I know how to steam crabs - just put them in boiling water with some butter.” I go on to crack open the third crab, and it turns into a large white bird that appears to be dead. I feel horrified and sick as I put it on the ground.
Next, I crack open the fourth crab, and it becomes a large, wet black bird that also seems to be dead. I’m even more horrified, and I share my disgust with the two other women.
I place it on the ground and feel awful. Within a few seconds, the bird - a crow - comes to life, but it seems injured because of what I did. I feel so ashamed. It hobbles ahead toward the beach, and I can’t bear to look at it anymore. I get up and start walking away.
I’m joined by a companion, and I tell her, “I can’t believe I decided to steam crabs - I don’t even eat crabs!” I feel sick to my stomach.
We turn and the crow is following us, apparently injured, but not badly. It’s not flying, and there are people all along the beach who are watching me walk away from the crow I harmed. My companion blows up a ball and puts it in front of the crow as some sort of peace offering. We continue to walk away, my head hanging at my shoulders.
You’ll have your own interpretations of this dream based on the lens you see the world through, but I’ll share some of mine below:
I’ve been meditating on the Crab a lot because I’m learning more about my ascendant sign, which is Cancer, symbolized by the Crab. I'm in the process of shedding an old shell that no longer fits me, and there is a literal “cracking open” happening in my life, which is very uncomfortable.
In the dream, I believed that I had injured the Crow by cracking open the shell around it, when in hindsight, I actually freed it. It’s possible I even brought it to life.
The Crow symbolizes many things, but for me, it offers a spirit of magic and deep intuitive ability. It’s possible that these traits have been “cracked open,” but I’ve been too afraid to accept them and turn to face the Crow that follows me. In my dream, I assumed the Crow was injured because it wasn’t flying away, unaware that it only wanted to be closer to me, the person who had set it free.
I’m learning more and more that when we’re going through a period of transformation, it’s incredibly important to take a wide view of ourselves and the situation we’re in.
In an attempt to shield us from the real and grotesque pain associated with breaking off an old shell, shedding an old skin, or dying to old ways of being, our minds seek comfort in familiar patterns of thought and perspective.
In my dream, I experienced a familiar perspective when the Crow was born: “I did something bad, this creation is injured, and I’m ashamed.”
Reflecting on this dream consciously, I’m able to see that old pattern so clearly that its falsity is apparent, and I get to choose a new perspective: “I’ve cracked something open and I choose to befriend its magical nature.”
What is really true about us?
The truth is that we are unconditionally supported by the Universe / the Divine / Spirit.
The truth is that we are inherently good, whole, and creative.
Any belief about ourselves that contradicts these two statements is a lie. Many of the lies we tell ourselves are internalized forms of oppression that we’ve taken on as a result of living in a spiritually bankrupt culture.
Below is an exercise you can do to shift the perspective you have about yourself at this moment in your life. Without clear sight - meaning, the ability to see the truth about yourself - it’s incredibly difficult to take right action.
Take a moment to ponder the questions below or, better yet, write your responses to them in a journal:
What does your nastiest, most full-on inner critic say about where you are in your career these days?
Here are some tapes my inner critic likes to play in case you need some “inspiration”: You’re not able to financially support your family on your own, so you’re a failure. No one needs what you’re offering. You really should get a “job,” but no one would hire you. On and on…
Do you have your inner critic’s statement written down or captured in your mind? Notice how it makes you feel in your body. What kind of actions do you think you should take from this place?
Next question: What does the part of you that’s really afraid of change say about where you are in your career today?
Notice how that makes you feel in your body. What kind of actions do you think you should take from this place? Generally, they’re actions about staying in place, “the devil you know,” etc.
Finally, imagine your most beautiful, regal, generous, abundant higher Self. Imagine that, no matter your gender, you are your own perfect Mother, and this part of you thinks you’re amazing, creative, and capable - she deeply and absolutely believes in you.
What does she say about where you are in your life right now?
How does her message feel in your body? If it doesn’t feel good, toss it aside and ask again - her words will only feel supportive, even if they require us to change or do something differently.
What kind of actions do you want to take from this perspective?
Which perspective is the right one? Which is True? The “correct” tape is the one that is aligned with the two truths I shared above:
That we are unconditionally supported by the Universe / the Divine / Spirit.
That we are inherently good, whole, and creative.
Chances are, your highest Self’s message about where you are in your life is the true one, because it inspires actions that expand you and call you onto your own right path. The other two perspectives contract us. They make us small, stiff, and weak.
It’s time for us to discard the messages that keep us horrified by the magic that wants to be born through us.
It’s time, now, to choose better. To choose the Truth about our lives, which may be really, really hard to hear sometimes, but is ultimately clarifying and life-giving.
It’s also time to choose the Truth about our society, which is that it is fundamentally broken and stuck in the shadowlands. It’s time to accept that we can only do so much career development while we’re burdened with rising healthcare costs, no paid parental leave, and rising income inequality. It’s time to accept that right action includes concrete things like free education for all, radical gun control, and reparations for African Americans and Native peoples.
Our highest Selves desire truth and right relationship, which begins within us and ultimately has to find expression outside of us in order to flourish.
This year, will we choose to turn and face the Crow that wants to bring us more magic, more knowing, and deeper connection to Spirit?
Or will we be too disgusted, confused, and ashamed to upgrade our own consciousness and culture?
I hope, with all my heart, that we’re crossing a threshold into greater collective understanding about what it means to take care of each other.
We can each do our part to get closer to this awakening by choosing to shun the hateful messages we believe about ourselves and believing instead in the messages that inspire clear, generous action.