Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Stag in the Woods

LONDON - OCTOBER 11:  A red stag stands in the...
I was walking towards the sunrise, the early morning light through the trees a background ahead of me, when a stag appeared out of the woods on the left. He crossed in front of me nearly close enough to touch, stopped and looked me in the eye. Overcome with awe and wonder, I thought I must get my camera so I could share this moment with you.

And then I woke up.

I'm no expert on dream imagery -- C. G. Jung said the dreamer is the best interpreter because, after all, it's their dream. That said, my only impression was, this reminds me of Harry Potter's patronus. So, what does J. K. Rowling say? Well, Harry first mistook the patronus as sent by his father to save him and Sirius Black from the dementors in The Prisoner of Azkaban. Later, we discover Harry has sent the patronus himself in a kind of time warp. If you haven't read the book or seen the film then I've lost you already -- but keep reading while I'll try to fix this.

For Harry, the stag (the form taken by his patronus) represents both his late father and himself as a maturing wizard. His yearning to know and experience his father is expressed in a rescue fantasy that comes to fulfillment in his own actions. The one past, the other present, both together. Father and son meet in the instant Harry raises his wand.

One writer suggests the stag is an image of self-renewal, establishing territory, becoming one's truest self. Whatever it means, it's a process in which we're all engaged, every day. Transforming who we are into what we wish to become, being the best we can be for those we love as well as those we've yet to love. Those whom we know and those who remain a mystery as surely as the stag who entered my dreams all-too-early yesterday morning.

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