The Unicorn in the Walled Garden, The Thermal Springs are Frozen

The Unicorn in the Walled Garden

The Thermal Springs are Frozen

I’ve been having some powerful dreams again lately; ones that somehow defy the usual noodling that is the brain doing its filing. In a bid to try and understand them a bit better, I’m writing them here, and hope that the contents might resonate with others too.

First dream begins as a familiar and recurring dream that borders on the nightmare territory. I am trying to cope with an influx of people into my home that I am obliged to allow into the house and I have to offer hospitality. But they will not remain in the designated area of the living room and I begin to feel panic-stricken as the guests take huge liberties by wandering all over my home and into areas that I do not wish them to be in. Constrained by politeness, I urge and entreaty them to go back to the living room and to stay there, saying I will bring refreshments to them. In vain I try to police their incursions, and the final straw is seeing a series of people coming out of my kitchen bearing bowls heaped high with ice cream they have helped themselves to. I am standing in the hallway trying to decide what to do when someone asks me about the area behind me, which contains stairs going up into a tower. “Oh, that’s where we keep the prisoners,” I tell them before finally fleeing. I go outside into the garden to escape, having given up the attempt to protect my space, and I see the garden is an old-fashioned walled garden, somewhat wild and overgrown, with traditional features like an orchard, a kitchen garden and other such things. I feel some relief to be out of the house and away from the melee, but the relief is short-lived when I see that a unicorn is approaching me, head down so that its sharp horn is level with my heart. The initial burst of fear is over with quickly, replaced with a feeling of relief that it will all be over with finally, and I don’t mind dying like this. But as the beast comes closer, I cry out, “You cannot kill me; I am holding a baby. You cannot kill me while I am holding a baby.” I am indeed holding an infant in my arms. The dream shifts and I am inside, having taken the baby upstairs and have laid it at the door of the room where its mother is staying. The baby’s name is Flora and she really needs to go to bed.

For context, I am not “into” unicorns and this is the first time I have ever dreamed of one.

The second dream has a muddled start that I did not remember once I woke but continues thus: I am in a hotel in a very cold place. Outside is thick with snow and ice and I decide to go outside into the garden. There is a large rectangular pool almost completely lost under the ice; it looks like a sort of outside swimming pool. I know that it is fed by a spring but it seems to be completely frozen over. The ice and snow over it is frozen in a kind of wave pattern, as if the water had been rippling when intense cold descended and turned it to ice. Someone seems to tell me that this was a thermal spring and I see that a small area is emitting steam and I see that where the steam is rising is clear of ice. I want to touch the water but am afraid to, because I think it may be boiling hot, and that if I lean out too far I will fall and break the ice and then be trapped under it as it refreezes. It looks as if it has happened before as great chunks of ice are trapped in the mass of snow that has been frozen. The chunks are a beautiful shade of deep emerald and of aquamarine, like huge slabs of gem stones. I want to go round to the other side of the pool to get closer, but there is an ice bridge across and I worry it will break. Someone else crosses it ahead of me, jumping it so they put no weight on it; I take a few steps and feel the ice creak under me. I want to touch the water but I wake before I can.

There are obvious ideas about what messages these dreams hold for me, but I am struggling to understand their full import.

3 thoughts on “The Unicorn in the Walled Garden, The Thermal Springs are Frozen

  1. Dear Viv, I believe every dream that comes to us, comes in the service of health and wholeness. Yesterday, in one of my dream books I looked up “unicorns” and read that, “Christian symbolism combined the unicorn’s fiery, penetrating spiritual nature with a loving benevolence; he was imagined as a metaphor for Christ.

    His legendary attraction to the scent of virginity (he was said to lay his head in the virgin’s lap or suckle from her breast, and so allow himself to be captured) was interpreted in terms of the spirit’s willingness to be incarcerated through the body of the Virgin Mary.

    The unicorn especially his horn was thought to have magical powers: to detect poison, therefore (he visits) to purify contaminated waters, to heal wounds and illness. He only appears fleetingly and reluctantly in dreams.”

    Hopefully, lots to unpack there! I think I’ve only had one unicorn dream ever, and sadly it was one I didn’t record. Coincidentally (or not), all I remember was being unwell at the time. I hope Monika’s article helped yesterday, she’s one of my best online resources!

    I may be wrong, I often am! All the same I can’t help thinking that the “influx of people” in your first dream may be what Donald Kalsched refers to as the “self-care system,” those that were once there to protect you, now they’ve turned into “persecutors.” If this doesn’t resonate, just ignore.

    However if I’ve piqued your interest, here’s an interesting article you might enjoy: Also there’s several interviews with Donald on YouTube. Warm and wild blessings, Deborah.


    • Thank you very much. The part from your dream book is excellent and worth pondering. I did find Monika’s article useful, too, though the real problem for me is picking through stuff and finding something that resonates. Usually what happens is I feel no sense of resonance with any piece of information; might be to do with the usual “dead” feeling that is so common in depression. The first part of the first dream, with all the people, is part of an on-going anxiety issue; because of my husband’s work, it’s not unusual to need to host events in our home and I live in dread of some of these events because it’s very intrusive at times. I often want to march into my living room and tell the people to go home because I want my place back!!!


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