The Woman Who Dreamed about a Man


PosterIt’s an unusual portrait for marketing the film. For if it’s about a woman and her dream about a man, why is she taking a picture of a naked woman instead?

Perhaps it’s because she’s a photographer, using the camera to capture bits of the world that catch her attention. She’s also a choreographer, arranging props and models to recreate the image in her mind’s eye, replicating in the material world what already exists on another plane.

One might say that the model’s an astral projection, evidence of a kind of travel not visible to the physical eye. This usually occurs when asleep or in a trance. And since the photographer is clearly not asleep, we can only conclude that she’s entranced: a “lesser” samadhi, that serves as a vehicle from one state of existence to another.

In short, it’s a sign of her spiritual evolution.





The question is: what’s she trying to see?

Since it marks her journey’s beginning, the photo shoot provides only a handful of clues, mostly symbolic, evidence of a code waiting to be understood and broken.

The code’s organized around a polarity enacted by the photographer (in black) and her model (in white): the photographer dominates, standing above, while the model is passive, posed below; the photographer gives directions while the model does what she’s told: remove her (black) jacket and expose her breasts; lie down, tilt her head, close her eyes; look into the camera. “Beautiful!”

The smoke – perhaps to lend some atmosphere – threatens to obscure her vision. In drawing inspiration from another place, the model is asked to recreate it, a replication and embodiment in the here and now.

At times, she resembles a baby-doll; at others, she looks like a corpse.
Maybe, she’s just asleep.

Dream1 Dream2

We soon discover that her dream is a nightmare. It’s haunted her every night:

She’s walking down a hotel hallway. She notices a door that’s left ajar. She peeks inside. A naked man sits on the bed, tears streaking down his face. She wants to help but doesn’t know how. She enters the room. The man vanishes, then appears on the balcony. When their eyes meet, he raises his hands and jumps. An ugly pool of blood slowly grows.

That’s when she usually woke: a tragedy that’s repeated every night.

One day – in Paris – she saw the man from her dreams. She was unsettled: never before had her dreamworld collided with the real, a glimpse of another’s soul. Compelled, she followed him, only to be confronted and asked what she was doing. And yet, later he would seek her out, armed with questions, interrogating her for the answers he sought.

She learned that he was married and taught economics at the Polish National University. He learned that she was Swedish, in Paris for a photo shoot. When saying goodbye, they tested their feelings with a kiss, both aware they were treading a delicate line between one world and the next.



That night, the dream returned.

She’s walking down a hallway. The door to one of the rooms is ajar. She peers through the crack to look inside. But he’s not sitting there. Neither in anguish nor in pain. Instead, he’s in bed, fast asleep.

(The dream had changed, although its new direction wasn’t clear.)

She goes inside, removes her clothes, and lies down next to him. She trembles, anxious about her decision. Slowly, his arm wraps around her waist. He then reaches down between her legs.

(The dream about sadness and death had turned into something else.)

She woke up with a start, shaken by this shift in her nocturnal vision. But rather than being tantalized by this turn of events, she returned home (to Sweden) instead.

The Bridge

Her restraint didn’t last long. A few days later, she returned to the bridge where they met. He was waiting there. It would become their meeting place, a secret known only to them.

Those early moments would define the height of the affair and their emotions; everything after would be an effort to recapture those rapturous beginnings. Of the two, she was the more courageous, willing to sacrifice everything to be with him. She left her home and family; she moved to his city so she could be closer to him. She tolerated his hectic schedule, as well as his ambivalence: his difficulty in making room for her in his life.

She lived in a grungy apartment, but she was happy. Their coupling eclipsed everything else. Her job and her photography were a distant memory; friends and family, forsworn. Nobody could understand what had happened: she’d been transported and transformed.

The end of the affair came when confronted by the limit of his affection, the point at which he was unwilling to bend. His preexisting life would remain sacrosanct – his job, his reputation, his family – none of these would be subject to change. He grew impatient with her neediness and her pleading, which is how the tug-of-war began. Each possessed something of value to the other. Each tried – but failed – to win the upper hand.

The end — her end — came in the form of her humiliation. Yet, the force of her yearning remained unchanged, as if the object of desire held the secret to her salvation. Quite cruelly, she was met with the impossibility of its materialization instead. This impossible-failure would leave her broken.

Reading to Her Daughter

One night, before any of this happened, she read the story of The Little Mermaid to her daughter. Both were surrounded by the snow globes she’d given the child.

And if you do not win the prince’s love,
causing him to forget his mother and father,
and to think of you all the time,
and making the priest join your hands in marriage,
you will not receive and immortal soul.
The first morning after he marries another,
your heart will break and you will become foam upon the water.
"It’s what I want," said the little mermaid, as pale as a corpse.

In pursuing the love of the prince, the Little Mermaid yearned for a human soul, giving up her life in the water. She was warned about her aspirations: if she failed, she’d be heart-broken and turn to foam. The soul she sought would be lost.

The Little Mermaid embraced her decision, fully aware of its potential cost. Such was the depth of her courage and her aspirational force. Perhaps it also measured of her ability to bear the burden of defeat.

When humiliated and broken, would the woman be able to connect the mermaid’s story with her own obsession? For what are fairy tales if not coded wisdom passed between the generations? Why else fill youthful minds with fantastic stories, if not the hope that – one day – the message might be deciphered when the world itself seemed to be lost?

Inhabitants in the Three Worlds

The philosophers of the New Age say this kind of “impossibility” is not an accident. Drawing upon ancient wisdom traditions, they point to the separate evolutionary lines of devas and humans: one line growing through happiness, the other growing through pain. While often translated as “god,” deva more accurately means “the shining one,” and is said to include what are sometimes called mermaids or ondines.

On the path of involution – the downward arc – spirit incarnates through the elements; the path of evolution – the upward arc – is spirit’s return. On this upward journey, humans and devas follow separate lines. Despite this, they provide invaluable assistance in the other’s evolution, since each possesses something the other lacks: humans represent consciousness and devas represent the principle of life, and without the two, all spiritual progress would come to a halt.

Devas evolve, first, in taking the shape of different nature-spirits and then, in the astral plane, as devas of desire (kama). In the mental plane, they are rupa and arupa devas – devas with and without form – otherwise known as angels and archangels. Humans move through the planes through sleep, trance or death until they reach “heaven.” Karma determines whether they reincarnate or continue upon the upward arc.

These three planes make up the field of reincarnation: the physical, the astral, and the mental. Each of us traverses these worlds every time we incarnate. Because spirit requires a body to learn, it will seek manifestation in the physical until its lessons have been completed.

The Three Worlds

Each of the three worlds is associated with an element: earth, water, and fire. All three coexist in the same way that the earth can hold water and water can hold air. Depictions of these worlds as “planes” merely emphasize one aspect of their relation to each other: the continuum of densities that defines the path connecting matter and spirit.

Each plane consists of seven subdivisions corresponding to the states of matter under certain energetic conditions. Earth is generally a solid although — with sufficient heat and pressure — it can be transformed into liquid or even gas. If this process is continued, it transforms even further (e.g., ether) until it’s finally broken down to its basic building block: the atom. After this, the atom takes on the “solid” form of the astral plane, at which point the same process of transformation (from dense to subtle) can begin once again.

Surrounding us are “bodies” (auras) that correspond to each of these planes. Through vibration, each body receives impressions from these worlds. Meditation requires maintaining a state of tension while focusing on these planes, ultimately stringing the atoms together on a thread that resembles a chain of lightning. In this way, the bodies serve as vehicles for consciousness on the upward arc.

Everyone possesses these bodies. Since they operate automatically, few are conscious of how they work. More often than not, we’re oblivious, acting on impulse without really knowing why. The clairvoyant is merely someone who recognizes vibrations beyond the normal spectrum of consciousness.

Seven Subplanes

Each subplane has its own (symbolic) color; ascending, each becomes lighter, less dense. Each step brings a shift in consciousness, as the “body” tunes into different vibrations. Resonance occurs when vibrations match, when an external vibration calls out and the body responds.

The shift from one plane to another is analogous to the evolution of life. For example, the mineral kingdom is defined by crystallization, the constellation of atoms, each with its unique vibratory rate. In the vegetable kingdom, life becomes fluid: plants develop rudimentary forms of sensation as seen in leaves following the course of the sun. With the animal kingdom, mobility and the instincts are full-fledged, accompanied by rudimentary forms of mind.

At the top of each plane is the atomic subplane, often depicted by a single atom: the nucleus or seed of the subplanes below. The physical atom comes in two varieties – male and female – which spin in opposite directions and “float in the astral sea.” In the male, energy is projected outward from the astral into the physical; in the female, energy is introjected inward from the physical to the astral. In other words, the atom serves as a bridge or relay between the physical and astral worlds.

At the level of the atom, all subplanes become accessible, since consciousness is no longer confined in any one alone. It could be likened to being on a mountain top, which would go a long way to explain “peak” experiences. Except here, it’s a prelude to another plane with its seven subdivisions, moving from solid to liquid to gas, etc., which gives rise to yet another – and different – peak experience.

Sudden Rush of Affection     Sudden Rush of Devotion     Intense Anger

It’s said that the astral plane is the most difficult to traverse, for it’s associated with the strongest desires and emotions. Clairvoyants who “see” astral bodies describe them as auras, their colors indicating the personality’s health and well-being. Particularly vivid are strong feelings, conveyed by intense and darker colors, often producing swirls and – when directed outward – thunderbolts and arrows. (A more thorough discussion can be found here.)

The colors and hues indicate different emotions: pinkish-red for affection, light blue for devotion, dark red and black for anger and hate. The vortexes and swirls are thought-forms infused by feeling, which is one reason why the mental and astral are often described as a unit (kama-manas), so frequently are they linked together.

These vibrations are contagious: anything that shares similar astral substance will synchronize at the same vibratory rate. Dark magicians specialize in this kind of manipulation; unconscious magicians unwittingly have the same effect. The long-term effects can be devastating: repeated experiences “train” the astral body to respond to a specific vibration, leaving it predisposed to certain feelings.

Underneath these flourishes are the more permanent features of the astral body. The cumulative effect of experience depends upon the type of resonance created: positive feelings are uplifting and empowering; negative feelings are disabling, perhaps even leading to the loss of control. When this happens, the astral body fails to function as a “relay” or “vehicle” to the mental plane: rather than registering on the mind, the message simply gets lost.

The Devotional Type      The Ordinary Man in Love      The Scientific Type

The more permanent features of the astral body demonstrate traits of the personality, the qualities developed over the course of a life. The different colors and their locations illustrate predispositions for certain rates of vibration. Clairvoyants able to see these auras describe personality “types” – although rarely found in their pure form – which provide a glimpse into the astral world, particularly the ways the personality comes to terms with it, consciously or not.

The Devotional Type, for example, shows a preponderance of blue, indicating a strong religious feeling, as well as a touch of violet, the capacity for responding to the highest ideal. The near absence of yellow around the head suggests a limited ability to direct this energy, leaving it open to dangerous influence. The band of red signifies a powerful sensuality that’s common to the devotional type. This suggests a hidden connection between sensuality and devotion; both traits are shared by those who live primarily in the realm of feeling.

The man in love shares the band of red in the lower portion of the aura. There’s also a hint of blue and violet which accounts for the exhilaration of falling in love, lifted out of a monotonous existence and introduced to a new world: reddish-pink suffuses the sphere. While usually attributed to the beloved, this reflects the dramatic shift in the astral body, a divine spark that dethrones habitual self-concern. And yet, a band of jealousy around the waist punctuated by scarlet flashes of anger betrays this higher feeling, as love is turned into a possession.

The Scientific Type shows little if any red (sensuality) and absolutely no violet (highest ideal) or blue (devotion). Instead, the most dominant feature is the predominance of yellow. This signals the unusual development of intellect which, in this case, is directed toward the acquisition of knowledge. The cone of orange indicates ambition and pride in achievement, and usually for good reason. Despite the lack of devotion, this acquisition of knowledge is committed to unselfish ends.

The Irritable Man     Deep Depression

The astral body of the Irritable Type shows a prominent band of scarlet signifying anger. Beyond this, little flecks of scarlet fill the astral sphere. These indicate the permanence of anger, usually in the form of little irritations, always primed to be set-off, always threatening to explode. Other colors (and qualities) are hidden beneath this scarlet but the irritability and anger predominate, threatening to target those deemed responsible for whatever’s gone wrong.

The astral body in Deep Depression is also dominated by a single color. Dull grey bands encircle the aura, which give the impression of a gloomy prison. The other colors (and qualities) are dimly visible but overwhelmed by these dark, weeping lines. In some cases, there may only be one or two bands, while in others it may appear as an amorphous cloud, but the effect in all cases is a fog of despair.

Often, depression is caused by another astral entity that’s also depressed, hovering around in search of sympathy or the hope of stealing vitality. In fact, most astral types illustrate the effect of astral entities or a strategy for dealing with unwanted astral influence. Over time, these stabilize and become traits of the personality which can only be modified with extraordinary effort and exercise of will.

The atom of the astral plane serves as a link with the mental, also known as (lower) heaven. Only the lighter colors and higher vibrations can carry one there. Which might be why most religious traditions emphasize devotion – essentially, bhakti yoga – and why the ethic of service is similarly stressed: both put the practitioner in a stance of selflessness, forced to abdicate worldly concerns in order to experience the divine.

Causal BodyExerting influence in the opposite direction is the causal body which normally looks empty. It provides the “cause” for the cycle of rebirth, clothing spirit in physical form in order to learn, as if its emptiness was crying out to be filled.

Since the causal body corresponds to the three highest subplanes of the mental plane, its spaces can only be filled by the lightest of colors. As such, the Irritable Man must learn to transmute anger into something higher, just as the Man in Love must learn to overcome his jealousy and lust, in much the same way as the Devotional Type must learn to properly channel feelings of adoration and the Depressive Type must learn to remove the bars of prison.

As one learns to move through the subplanes of the astral and mental bodies – responding to higher rates of vibration – the “holes” of the causal body slowly come to be filled. When this happens, the causal body itself becomes a vehicle to a place beyond the cycle of birth and death.

Desire is one of the most important pivots in this process. Originally, as Kama, it was recognized as the divine and all-embracing impulse for creating happiness and love. Only later did it become equated with the sensuality of the physical body alone. But even in its degraded form, kama is a reflexion – reflex action – of Spirit when it comes into contact with Matter, and from this conjunction, the entire universe is born.




Whether by virtue or by fate, by the end of this story we’re returned to the site of a photo shoot. Except this time, several elements have been reversed.

No longer does she gaze down at her model laid out on the earth; instead, she’s placed on an elevated bridge or walkway, aligned with the sky. No longer does she ask the model to expose her skin (the jacket, once removed, has returned); instead, she asks that her hair be moved so she can see the model’s face. Their colors have also been reversed: the photographer in white and her angel in black, as if during the course of this journey both had become ennobled, thanks to the astral vehicle, each acquiring her rightful place. Now, the model – in a suited, androgynous look – brings a different kind of message, no longer obscured by fog or reminiscent of death.

Clearly, this is a different vision of beauty to be admired and adored. We’re not told exactly how it happened. It’s more like a coda tagged onto the tragedy of unrequited love. But immediately prior to this, there was a dream, this time belonging to Him rather than to Her:

She’s walking, looking for something. She enters the hallway with the door ajar. She enters, but no one’s there. She sits on the bed, recalling her dream: the man’s grief and the balcony from which he jumped. Meanwhile, he peers through the door, shuts it, and leaves her alone. Not knowing what else to do, she goes to the balcony and reenacts her dream: she raises her hands, leans into the air, and allows her body to fall to the ground below.

This time, it’s the man who’s roused from sleep. If he’s awake, it will mark the beginning of his spiritual evolution, for it’s a reflection of her vision of him, and there’s more than one way a reflection can be made. The soul-image first seen in another, now recognized as one’s own. The humiliation of defeat turned into a victory.

New Moon     Full Moon

It’s said that opposites attract, which may well be the case, particularly if reflections have a role to play. Like humans and devas, each possesses a quality that the other lacks. Like introverts and extroverts: the way the personality relates to the world … and itself.

At one extreme is the introvert whose soul-force is too strong for the personality to handle. The pull of the soul outweighs the pull of the external world. For the introvert, the path toward mind, emotion, desire, and spiritual vision is easiest; in contrast, interacting and integrating on the physical plane are underdeveloped skills. Among their ranks, particularly those who’ve mastered their vehicles,  is where true mystics can be found.

At the other extreme is the extrovert who focuses on the physical plane alone. When the external pull is strongest, there’s a tendency toward exhibitionism; but if trained and controlled, it can produce wonders in the material and social worlds. Among their ranks is where leaders in business and politics can be found. And should the best of these add soul quality to their external bent, they become true messengers of god and real leaders of men.

At their extremes, each tendency represents the impulse toward perfection, although in opposite directions: one concerned with the internal, the other concerned with the material world. Where one shows great facility, the other stumbles, evidence of their different constitutions. But while extroverts usually enjoy a degree of earthly success, even they must eventually turn within. Which is why, in certain traditions, retirement is devoted to the spiritual life rather than recreation, so that even the most worldly will make time for the soul.

Water Spout

When the empty spaces of the causal body are filled, the cycle of birth and death will end. For this is when the soul is finally and fully known. When this body-vehicle is completed, another task presents itself: learning how to cross the space that separates the three worlds (of reincarnation) with what comes next. The symbol used in teaching aspirants about this task is the waterspout:

We have a great cloud hovering above the sea, on the surface of which waves are constantly forming and moving. Presently, a great finger is extended from the cloud – and inverted cone of violently whirling vapor. Underneath this, a vortex is rapidly formed in the ocean, but instead of being a depression in its surface, as is the ordinary whirlpool, it is a whirling cone rising above that surface.
Steadily, the two draw closer and closer together, until they come so near that the power of attraction is strong enough to overleap the intervening space, and suddenly a great column of mingled water and vapor is formed where nothing existed before.

Some call this Antahkarana or the Rainbow Bridge, for it connects the material and the spiritual worlds: by becoming like foam upon the water – dislodged from the ocean – that’s how the leap is made. Not with arms outstretched, grasping, but with the aid of an angel’s wings.


~ by mistified on July 11, 2013.

One Response to “The Woman Who Dreamed about a Man”

  1. Expertly written on a film, one few people have watched.
    Thank you!

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