The Dodecahedron

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I note that this dream comes on Good Friday, the day that marks Christ’s crucifixion.

In waking life, I have been working hard. In fact, I come down with pneumonia a few days after the dream.

I find myself back visiting my parents’ home stretched out on my four-poster bed with my mother and an old boyfriend, a gifted artist, who appears tired and unwell. We care for him. The atmosphere in the room feels peaceful suffused with a lamp's golden light. I notice a vase of blue and yellow glass roses on my dresser and go over to look at this knick-knack as it's new.

Then I notice the dresser's three-part mirror, and before I see my own reflection, I feel full of the beauty of the mirror itself, the stillness that it reflects and the softly lit beauty of the room. Struck by the beauty, I become lucid. As this happens, I recall that Nigel Hamilton, the Director where I trained in psychotherapy and dreams, said mirrors are also doors. I bow my head and wait. Then I feel my being literally pulled into the mirror.

In other dreams I have gazed into mirrors, but this is the first one in which my being enters a mirror. Once through the mirror, my dreambody disappears, and it feels as if I move or am carried “feet” first flat on my back on a magic carpet at a very high speed through the Holy blackness. At some point immense polygonal structures of intense colours--blue, green, red, and yellow--appear against the black light. As I pass through the shapes, it feels like I am bathed in colours.

The geometric shapes seem part of a mathematical formula, more and more complex and multi-faceted. I get carried through a yellow one with pentagonal faces and feel surprised to find myself with a dream body in front of a training centre of some sort. It reminds me of an enhanced version of the Baptist church where I grew up. A group of five women comes out. They feel very strong and independent, somehow larger than life.

They seem to know me and have come to greet me. They stroke my face, hands, and arms. Their touch feels like the breath of the Holy Spirit, and I think of the poem in which I wrote, “The Spirit puts on your hands like gloves,” and a new line comes: “Touch skin.” As the women touch me, I have the impression that they also receive something from me. It’s a kind of wordless, tactile conversation and exchange. I realize we have all come to this place to learn of God, and the line from Teresa of Avila’s poem comes to mind: “Teach me God all you know.”

The women leave the centre together to go where they live. I sense I can’t go with them and it’s time for me to go back. In that instance, my being lifts out of the dreamscape and feels pulled back, back, back, horizontally, until I spill out of the mirror and back into the dream. As I arrive, it occurs to me that for once I didn't worry about getting back to the “normal” world or dream world. I just knew it wasn’t meant for me to go with the women. Then I awake feeling very full and joyful, touched, as it were, by the Spirit.

The moment I approach the mirror and see the beauty of the mirror itself illustrates what Joseph Campbell calls being “transparent to transcendence."[18]  The mirror’s beauty felt so overpowering, and I became aware it mirrored the Spirit and with this awareness became lucid

After the dream, I learned that the geometrical shapes were called polyhedra, Platonic solids or forms—spatial symmetries in 3-D with multiple mirror planes.[19]  The yellow structure was a dodecahedron with pentagonal faces. As an interesting aside, Joseph Kepler’s in his Harmonices Mundi, World Harmonies, uses the five polyhedra to represent the four elements and the universe. In his model, the dodecahedron depicts the universe—the four elements plus one.[20]

When inside these forms, I was bathed in the color forming the shape. Nigel Hamilton once said in a lecture, “It’s not what we make of the colors that is important, but what the colors make of us.” I experienced these color baths as a purification and an imbuing with the qualities of each hue. In Arabi’s writing on “Fana” or “Annihilation” he notes that when a man is lost and buried in nothingness, ‘God grants him an existence from his own existence and paints him the Divine Color.'[21]

That is how I best understand the experience. Nigel Hamilton has noted that the geometric, colored structures are light structures. He likens this encounter with abstract forms and colors to the experience of splendor when the self-image, bathed in the Spirit, is healed through love.

From an alchemical perspective, this could also be understood as the operation of coloring. After nigredo, rainbow colors called ‘the Peacock’s Tail’ are produced. Of the rainbow, Goethe writes in his Faust:

The rainbow mirrors human aims and action.

Think, and more clearly wilt though grasp it, seeing

Life is but light in many hued-colors.[22]

In a love song called “Lay, Lady Lay,” the words of Bob Dylan’s lover speak of what I felt in the colors: “Whatever colors you have in your mind, I’ll show them to you and you’ll see them shine.” It felt like this in the dream.