Wellsprings of the Psyche ~ dreaming of Healing Waters

Wellsprings of the psyche ~ dreaming of healing waters.

Springs of healing waters are something of a personal obsession; I’ve been a seeker of these most of my life and this concept has become central to my core self. A healing spring is at the heart of my novel, Strangers and Pilgrims,

 but the yearning for such places has been a constant in my life long before I wrote that novel.

I dream about them, and as I am trying to work with my dreams, I’d like to share a few of the more recent dreams that concern wellsprings.

Frozen wellspring dream 21st April 13

I am underground. I have been giving a tour, though who for I don’t know. The cave next to the one I am in seems to have a faint light emanating from it so I go through the passage way between the caves.

There is a natural stone structure that I know to have been a wellspring, it rises up to a conical shape. But water does not flow. Ice coats the sides of the rock and the pool below is frozen too. I scramble to the top and I try to break the ice and scoop out great chunks of it. But though I remove the ice the water does not bubble up and flow again.

I leave the cave, but above ground odd things are happening. As I surface to my shock the sky is lit up by what seem to be the Northern Lights, aqua-green and blues, shimmering and flashing.

Analysing the dream it feels as if my source of inspiration is not working because it has frozen solid. Is this because of the long cold winter or is this something deeper?

August 28th dreams.

I had a terrible night, hardly sleeping because of nerve pain, anxiety and hot flushes, but when I did sleep I dreamed. I also managed to continue the themes of the dream after waking and going back to sleep.

1st dream.

I dream I am going down a lot of steps to a basement where a healing spring is located, and when I get down there it is in partial darkness, lit by a few unseen spotlights. The spring is encased in a kind of bath affair, rather like that of the cold plunge bath at Bath, a round pool encased in smooth off-white stone, but with a square exterior walls. There are steps down into the water and I want to bathe my feet, which in waking life have been causing me vast amounts of pain and discomfort due to the hypermobility issues. I stop to take off my shoes and socks but as I am doing so an old woman passes me and goes into the water completely. She is wearing a bathing costume and I see that other old people are in the pool, immersed up to their necks in the water. I put my bare feet in and the water is very cold, and I know I am not going all the way in. I have no bathing costume. The people tell me that this is the Catholic spring and I could become a Catholic. Then someone mentions that might be difficult as my husband is an Anglican priest. The water is very still and calm and there’s a sense that they’re waiting for the water to stir or a tide to rise and fill the bath area much higher but nothing happens.

2nd dream.

I have woken, gone for a drink and to the loo and gone back to bed, expressing a desire to find the spring again but this time go in if I can. I think the same experience of descending stairs takes place but this time I find myself in a very different wellspring. It’s much larger and warmly lit by diffused lighters, that are not visible. The air is warm and I can see steam coming off the water. There are also what look like flaming torches that have appeared and sitting near one, with his feet dangling in the water is a man who is wearing a sort of toga. The whole bath area is like a small indoor swimming pool. The stone is the same creamy sort but because of the warmer lights it looks pinkish red rather than blueish. To my left, there seems to be a sort of corridor or inlet, and I have a sense of anticipation. The man in the toga tells me this is the Quaker spring. As I look around, the sense of anticipation grows and where the inlet corridor is I hear angelic music and see gossamer figures like winged beings, and a surge of water rushes into the pool raising the level of the water and then there are other people who have rushed to get into the water. I touch my feet to the water and find it is warm but I cannot go in, though I don’t know why, beyond feeling I missed the moment.

When I wake from this second dream the word that comes to me in my hazy state is Bethesda. I remember the pool at Bethesda and the angel that stirs the water and the first person into it is healed. I did indeed miss the moment but it did feel as if I were there to observe rather than be healed. I wasn’t sure enough of what I wanted healing to venture into the water.

Now there are several features that all these dreams share. They are all set underground and in each I know without being told that these are springs. In none of the dreams is it visible that these structures house natural springs, and yet I know that this is so. In a linear manner, the first dream has the water so cold it has frozen solid and the water does not flow; in the second dream, the water is liquid, but it’s cold and uninviting and while it is free flowing, there is no movement, no refreshment of the water by an influx or a bubbling. In the last of the three dreams, the water and the generally surroundings are much warmer, much more inviting, and there is motion, a rising of a sort of tide, accompanied by divine or angelic attendants, and on waking, the word Bethesda is given to me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pool_of_Bethesda .

In the two recent dreams, dreamed the same night when I was in continual distress of both mind and body, there are denominations mentioned. In the first it is suggested that the pool of healing waters belong to the Catholic faith, and in the second to the Quakers. I am an occasional attender at Quaker worship and find that the Meeting for Worship, which is mostly in silence, refreshes me more than any more traditional church services. Yet while I find myself more at home there, I have never taken the step of becoming a member. I am content to visit. I do not feel 100% at home there. But it comes closest to what is my rightful spiritual home than any other I’ve found.

There is a clear progression within these three dreams and a sense of getting closer to a healing moment, a progression too from deep under the ground in caves, to being below ground but in carefully crafted buildings. There’s a progression from the very faintest of lights, to the dim lights of the first of the healing pools to the warm, pinkish light of the final dream. There’s a progression of temperature and movement too.

Perhaps when the angel does stir the healing waters, I may be ready to enter the waters and be healed. Or perhaps I am only here to help others into the water. I do not know. But looking at these three dream accounts, I have a sense of hopeful anticipation.

10 thoughts on “Wellsprings of the Psyche ~ dreaming of Healing Waters

  1. I looked up Bethesda, and what came to mind was that both the Greek and the Roman ideas attached to the place have a patriarchal flavour. And I wonder if the pool could also relate to mother, the womb, a re-birth maybe. In this case your hesitation could indicate something about your relationship with mother. What’s encouraging is that there is movement. If it was my dream I would continue it with active imagination, asking ‘what wants to happen?’


  2. Hi Viv,
    I have similar associations with you and courseofmirrors. I would add that water is often a metaphor for emotions in dreams. Hence the sense that some unconscious (in the depths) emotions have been frozen or stuck and are getting unstuck, or melting, and growing progressively warmer and more available to my ego self.

    At certain points in my life, I’ve had similar dreams about damns that restricted the water’s flow with only mud below the dam. At those times I couldn’t figure out what emotions I had been holding back or repressing, but simply continued with the dreamwork and only in retrospect can see how much freer I am to see and express my emotions honestly. At other times I dreamed of floods or tidal waves; these dreams usually occurred when I was feeling or about to feel emotionally overwhelmed.

    But I would agree that a healing spring adds feminine, creative, and healing dimensions to this metaphor. The work is happening Viv, and as long as you continue to pay attention and record your dreams it will continue.


  3. How marvelous this seems to me, to have three dreams as part of a series, with such similar themes and settings. I love the image of the old people bathing. One thing that occurs to me is the “other” meaning of Catholic: not the specific religion, but “universal, all-embracing”.


  4. Wow, Viv, your dreams are more interesting than a lot of novels I’ve read recently. I used to pay more attention to my dreams. Actually, my dreams used to push themselves upon my attention and demand to be noticed. Now I never remember anything, not even fragments.


    • I think that because I take 5htp for insomnia and depression it does make a difference to the vivid nature of my dreams. Not sleeping much means I don’t dream as well as I need to. xx


  5. I was drawn to this piece because I love the dream world. You’re a power dreamer, Viv. The word and image of Wellspring reminds me of workshops named “Wellsprings of Feminine Renewal,” led by Marion Woodman some years back and now led by her students. When I attended Marion’s workshops, it was always an initiation. Going down, finding the feminine source, not being able to navigate from a rational mind perspective, and emerging with new inspiration and discovery of more layers of my feminine self. The coldness reminds me of the cold impersonal underworld feminine, the one we reject but the one we need for protecting ourselves and healing animus wounds.

    Thanks for sharing your inner worlds.


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