As you probably know me by now, I’ll spare you the situational openers and launch straight into one of my recent dreams which concerned a dead bird.
I was in the Black Cat (not the real name) on Saturday night we being M and V, and what with them being my favourite witches and knowing about omens and all, it felt like a suitable time to ask something that had been bothering me for a while.
“Is there any special meaning to a dead bird in a dream?” I asked subtle like.
“In a dream or in your particular dream” asked M.
“In my dream” clarified yours truly.
“And how many times have you dreamed this dream” asked V.
It was at this point that I was sent to the bar, on the dubious basis that as I was asking for advice, it was only fair that I should pay for it in some way.
“Tell us about your dream in more detail” one or other of them said when we were all once again sitting comfortably - near enough to the fire to hear it spitting and crackling, and in our favourite spot as usual.
It was of course empty on our arrival. I had remarked on this once, the strange set of coincidences meaning that out spot was either empty or recently vacated whenever we arrived. V. smiled at me, spoke to me like I someone marvelling at an electric bulb without knowing about electricity, suggesting that I try looking a little harder for once, especially at the shadows.
“Look askance at the shadows cast by the flames. Don’t look at them directly. See how they move. Do this every time you arrive.”
V. at times has an interesting turn off phrase. I mean why use 'askance' when 'squint', 'sideways' or 'obliquely' would be more usual. I put it down to her background - and English being her second or third language.
“You are in here often enough.”
So are you, I thought but didn't say, and often with me.
But that is by the by. Today I want to tell you, as I told V and M about my dream of a dead bird dreamed four times, or rather the same dead bird occurring in four dreams.
Dream number one. I don’t know about you, but my dreams split more or less evenly into two types. Lucid dreams which I love (although other people enter them as and when) and dreams where I am being chased, needing to go for a piss or something and not finding a toilet, being harassed in some way or running from nameless fears.
This dream was type two, and started innocently enough with me wandering through a meadow, green grass, flowers, a warm sun on my face, and a gentle breeze caressing my face etc etc. It took a turn for the worse, when as dreams do the atmosphere suddenly shifts, and the shift in this dream was preceded by a pigeon, wings outstretched, neck twisted grotesquely in death and feathers moving in a wind which suddenly turned cold.
Dream number two. I was walking along a beach, listening to the crash of the surf and feeling the sand between my toes when the mood changed. Again the change was heralded by a dead bird. I felt something between my feet, looked down and saw soft downy feathers and a chick dead before it had had a chance at life, and felt tears run down my cheeks. My dreams have always felt exceptionally vivid, and at times I have difficulty distinguishing between waking and dream memories.
Dream number three. It was a bird of prey this time.
In my fourth dream, I was in a museum, surrounded by dead birds and ...
“Taxidermy” said M “that doesn’t count. And anyway that’s what happens after watching a Night at the Musuem”.
All the birds were the same. I mean they looked the same, but had the same slate grey eyes, and as you know of maybe should know “vultus est index animi”.
“So what do these dead dream birds mean?”
“And why have they got ...”
“... your eyes” finished M.
“You must remember that with dreams and symbolism that there is never only one interpretation or meaning. It varies between cultures and belief systems.” said V.
“The symbolism of dead birds in my culture is generally associated with change and rebirth."
I sensed M watching and listening to V intently, and realised that she also didn’t know as much about V as I had thought, and was perhaps waiting for V to reveal more about her origins.
V. smiled as if guessing my thoughts.
"Firstly and obviously, the bird has your eyes, showing that it pertains to you."
"Me? I really don't want to be a dead bird".
"Dreams are not literal. Your life, has changed dramatically recently, with scrying, witch bottles and the acceptance that your old life is now over. I imagine that you are now able to scry successfully again?"
I nodded. My scrying had been cloudy and was now clear.
"The dream birds dying, and falling to earth, symbolise the death of your old life, and the start of your next chapter"
"It's taken you two years to get here ..."
"... which is pretty slow."
"And I think that we should celebrate."
And so we did. Absinthe, a whole load of eastern european spirits, sambuka (my choice) and more.
Hours later, as we unsteadily got up to leave, I looked again at the flames, and just for a second could have sworn that the flames from the fire and shadows didn't move exactly together.
I blinked and looked at V. who smiled and winked.