Last week I had a dream about a tiger. I dreamt that Ian, Lula and I lived in one of those apartment blocks where you enter through a main door and inside there is an inner courtyard that all that apartments look out upon. Access to the residencies is by elevators in each block of the compound. I don’t know what this architectural style is called, but it’s common here in Spain.
So, in my dream, I am at home. It’s a normal day, when I realize there is a tiger in our apartment. It is prowling, I immediately think about food. What food can I give it to eat? Maybe some food will calm it down. I feel a bit afraid, but not overwhelmed with terror, which is how I think I’d feel if there were a tiger for real in my house.
I put some of Lula’s dog food in a bowl, the tiger sniffs and walks away. I open the refrigerator, hoping to find something more up to tiger-standards, a hamburger or sausage but no, and the next thing I know, the tiger has burst through the front door. Jumped completely through the door, leaving a gaping hole.
Immediately I feel concern for the neighbors who may be in the central courtyard and I climb through the hole in the door and look into the courtyard. The tiger is lying down, resting on its side, its tail flicking occasionally, looking totally relaxed and I notice a feeling of tranquility within me and the space. There are no people in the courtyard but a dozen or so kittens. Lots and lots of kittens, several were black but there are other colors and some calico or with stripy markings. One was small fuzzy and a blue-white, it almost looked like a soap bubble
what does it mean?
And that’s it really. I woke up then.
I don’t often remember my dreams but when I do I try to write them down and understand them. I don’t understand a lot about this one yet, apart from the obvious.
What strikes me a bit cosmic is the evening before the dream, some friends and I had a very touching conversation about death, dying and living, rituals, traditions and cultural changes around death. Four friends, all from different parts of the world, all with stories of family dying and the distance between us and home when it happened. We sat under a tree, in a park, the new normal for a meeting location and group tasks during coronavirus restrictions. We were meeting to make a recording for a radio program for international women’s day, and lots of other topics came up too as we chatted.
I remember walking home that night, I felt like something within me had opened, or pieces of a wall had shifted and there was now a gap. Within myself I felt light yet with an alert, relaxed chill from the evening but warm inside too, the afternoon had been sunny and delightful.
Then I had the tiger dream. And all last week, I felt the presence of this large, friendly, loving tiger in my life. I talked to her, I discovered she was female, and occasionally I felt a nurturing lick on my face, like a mother tiger would tend to a kitten. In silent conversations with myself I would notice her presence and she’d give me an affirming lap of the tongue or head butt to nudge me along in a different direction.
learning to listen differently
It all felt pretty powerful and magical as these things tend to. As time is passing, the experience is fading, which is normal. But I also think these sorts of connections with others and within ourselves and with nature more widely are a question of practice, it’s learning to listen in a completely different way.
So today I write down this story and I say to myself, to you and to the universe, I’m here, I’m ready to continue this conversation or start a new one.
And now I will simply listen, and thank you for reading.