Landscapes of the soul

Years ago, I had a dream I called ‘Landscapes of the soul.’ It was one of those dreams which doesn’t have a story, but just a voice.

Cornish moorland

The voice of the dream said, ‘The scenery your soul feels at home in never changes. The empty huge spaces of the highlands, always at the mercy of the elements, that is my soul scenery and will not change, but all the less important things have changed…’

Burra Isle in Shetland

It was after this dream that I started to notice the consistency of my dream landscapes, which are most often moors and mountains. In the workshops I do now, I find other people’s dream landscapes also have a surprising consistency.

North of Scotland
The mountains of the far North West

I grew up in leafy Wimbledon, but immediately after university I went to Shetland for a holiday and simply couldn’t leave. It was love at first sight, for me, that wild windbeaten landscape of empty hills and wide horizons. I lived in Shetland for nearly ten years before moving to Cornwall, but I still go to the far North most years in the summer.

This week, I read a fascinating post by Abi Burlingham about her relationship with trees and woodland It reminded me of my long-ago dream, and made me wonder if everyone is drawn so strongly to one kind of scenery, for pleasure, solace or inspiration.

8 thoughts on “Landscapes of the soul”

  1. How lovely to know that my blog triggered your memory of this dream. This is a lovely post. How strange that the voice of your dream said that your soul’s scenery never changes. Sometimes I think dreams are insights – it’s as if, in sleep, the subconscious has space to tell us that which it can’t do by day with all the other clamour going on. Your Shetland views are breath-taking.

  2. Yes – you can never rely on the voice of the dream except when it’s talking about the actual business of dreaming, but it’s always thought-provoking. My dreams have triggered lots of interesting lines of enquiry, over the years. I enjoyed your trees – so I’m delighted you like my Shetland and North of Scotland pictures too.

  3. What an inspiring and thought provoking blog! As an astrologer I was fascinated by your ‘Landscapes of the Soul’. It got me thinking about the lowest point of the birth chart known as the IC (Imum Coeli) which represents our spiritual as well as physical home. It shows where our roots lie and what we are like deep down inside. In the words of the astrologer Howard Sasportas: “What we encounter when we withdraw our awareness from the transitory objects of experience and reconnect with the underlying “I” which is the subject of all experience, is designated by the sign on the IC.” The sign on the IC indicates the place to which we retire in order to rest (sleep/dreams?) and gather ourselves before launching into activity again. For instance, those with Pisces on the IC would comfortably go to the sea or vast expanses of water, those with Aquarius at the IC would ‘feed their roots’ by experiencing wide, open spaces with big skies, preferably in a cool climate, whereas a fire sign on the IC might prefer a hot desert landscape.

  4. Wow – amazing! I would love to see some research on how the landscapes we are drawn to most strongly relate to our astrological birth charts. I’m also struck by the idea of dream landscapes as the places we retreat to from the world, to rest and gather our forces before launching into activity again.

  5. Gosh, just re read all the posts and found this. I’ve always wondered why as a light skinned red head i love to be in hot dry climates and feel the sun trying to get through my layers of sun block and clothing rather than cool northern climes.. but then you’re an Aries too Jen and you still love your Northerliness. Maybe we should meditate in an imagined fiery place before going to sleep

  6. According to Pat, it’s the sign on the IC that might express the ‘landscape of the soul’, Liz – do you know what it is on yours? Have you ever had your birth-chart read for you? I think the sun sign – ours being Aries – would be more how you engage with the outer world… but I’m by no means clear on the mysteries of astrology!

  7. This is definitely an area for some research – looking through charts of friends and family I’m still pretty convinced that the sign on the IC indicates the kind of place we go to renew our spirit. A friend of mine says that the only place she gets close to feeling spiritual is in the highlands of Scotland. She has a Capricorn IC with Saturn (Capricorn’s ruler) close to it. Capricorn is of course represented by the mountain goat! My watery sister needs her escape to hot climes each year – her IC is in fiery Aries.

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