Kwan Yin and the Dragon: When the Goddess Shows up in Dreams
The Sacred or Divine Feminine is manifested in many forms of the goddess, crossing centuries and borders. She is Mary (both Virgin and Magdalene), Shekinah, Isis, Ishtar, Shakti, Innana, the Green Tara and, of course, the Sophia herself.
However, here in the Western world, she is the Fallen One because she has been abandoned, shunned and even put in exile. This is why she is hidden, veiled from the world. But there are precious moments when the goddess shows up to teach us: usually about something much bigger than ourselves.
The trick is to recognize her.
Dreaming of Kwan Yin
These divine visits from the goddess can happen in dreams. In 2007, I was visited by Kwan Yin in a most unexpected form: As a baby hiding in a brown, paper bag:
There is a little girl that everybody wants. She’s a baby but older (not sure of her age). She is Asian with dark hair and eyes. I feel she wants to be with me. She allows me to hold her—not so much the others, including my sister.
There are others who want to adopt her but they ask the little girl to choose—to write down the name of the mother she wants. She writes my name down, “Linda,” on the paper. She is with me now and I notice how much she loves to play with this particular rattle. It is large, red and shaped like a ball.
I also ‘know’ her name is Kwan Yin. I see her inside a small, brown paper bag and she’s rattling—the rattle is lifted up high so I just see the rattle, not Kwan Yin.
She is strong and wise and “not an easy baby” but I feel up to the task. I feel love for her and want to take care of her. This will not be easy but we love each other and that will ease the difficulty. I feel a lot of support for me to have this baby.
I am now buying Kwan Yin shoes and I realize she is not happy. I forgot to get her all the shoes she wanted—she lets me know she wanted the black patent leather party shoes. I am surprised to find that nothing has changed over the years. That she wants the same shoes I had as a little girl. I tell her I will get her a pair and does she also want the Buster Brown “school shoes” as well? I believe she does.
Kwan Yin’s Manifestations
Before this dream, I had little to no knowledge of the goddess Kwan Yin and was amazed to discover she had many names and forms like The Bodhisattva of Compassion, Goddess of Mercy and Great Mother. She manifests Love and tends to souls both the living and the departed: Guiding both in birth and in death.
But more startling was her depiction in some artwork as to have eleven heads as to hear the cries of the world and a thousand arms to aid and hold the many. In other manifestations, she is sitting on a lotus or riding a dragon out of the sea or pouring drops of “dew” (draught of immortality and ‘pearls’ of wisdom) into the dragon’s mouth.
Sometimes she is seen with two small attendants: A “young man of excellent capacities” and the “daughter of the Dragon King,” both descendents of Miao Shan, one of Kwan Yin’s incarnations here on earth.
I later learned that the dragon as “yang” force in Buddhist cultures (the Tiger as “yin”) represents wisdom, transformation and the Universe, as well as the ouraboros (also serpent) in alchemy: Form from chaos.
Yet dragon energy is water energy, revered for bringing good fortune and fertility and can manifest more feminine “yin” principles.
Entering the serpent or dragon’s mouth can also symbolize a ‘wormhole’ or portal as a means of astral traveling to many worlds, attaining new knowledge (altered states of consciousness): Including the Underworld.
Red Rattle/Brown Bag
When I woke from this dream the immediate image that came to mind was the large, red rattle. It is being used by a baby, a common toy in our western culture, but this was no ordinary baby. This was the Chinese goddess, Kwan Yin. Clearly this was something I needed to pay attention to.
It’s a striking image in both its color and function. According to Robert Hoss’s book Dream Language colors are meant to amplify an image The color red for me is pure energy and elicits life, passion and love. It’s the rubedo in alchemy, a final stage of the Great Work when you manifest your divine calling here on earth. It’s the lifeblood in us all and in Asian cultures red is what the bride wears for her wedding. Rattles are used in many ceremonies, mostly by healers to wake the dead.
Was there a part of me that was asleep and needed “waking?” And why the brown paper bag?
For me the color brown is earth, where growth can begin, new beginnings, being grounded and in the body. The bag itself reminds me of the lunch bags I used as a child. It carries nourishment but is no nonsense and more organic than the lunchbox. The fact that she was hiding in there was also an indication that I was not conscious of this energy.
Shoes Fit for a Goddess
Shoes often depict foundation and identity in dreams. When I was a little girl, every year right before school started I would get three pairs of shoes. One pair of sneakers for play and sports, one pair of Buster Brown shoes for school, and a pair of patent leather Mary Jane’s for parties and formal social gatherings.
In the dream, I didn’t think that little girls today wanted these shoes anymore and the tradition outdated, but I was wrong. The fact that Kwan Yin wants the same shoes I had as a little girl is fascinating to me. Perhaps my passions as a little girl have shaped my interests and identity of who I am today.
The Year of the Dragon, 2012
For years, I struggled to find a form and foundation for which to contain my passion for dream work. When I had this dream, I was beginning to take dream research more seriously as a career and considering an MFT in counseling psychology.
It is now the Chinese year of the Water Dragon: An auspicious year for Kwan Yin. And five years later, since the dream, I have graduated from school, finished my practicum and am currently a grief counselor at hospice.
Perhaps the dream visit from ‘baby’ Kwan Yin was (p)recognition of my calling to serve the many in a no-nonsense way. That this calling has been with me since childhood and it is in the last few years that I am integrating and more aware of this energy.
I am certainly riding dragon energy by traveling in the Underworld, walking between worlds, and facing my own fears of mortality: Learning the ways of compassion and mercy by bearing witness to my clients’ grief and sharing their dreams.
And hopefully I will continue to find the courage to recognize the goddess in all her manifestations and in myself.
Have you had a visit from the Goddess?
What form did she take?
What lessons do you need to integrate especially in this Year of the Dragon?
Source for image of Kwan Yin: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kuan_Yin_Sea.jpg