i’ve been having nightmares almost every night for two years now. i’ve grown accustomed to the nightmares, and i can get up in the morning and move on. Other than the nightmares though, i don’t dream often.
Since leaving Texas last year and starting over in a completely new place, i started dreaming again.
i’m not always a very spiritual person. I am acutely aware of the line between reality and fantasy. i like what i can see and touch and confirm to be real. When you are recovering from trauma, it’s important to know where you are. What you can feel, see, and touch. It’s important to know you’re safe.
But there is still a very large part of me that is driven by my heart. i can be more directed by emotions than logic. i’ll risk the busy street to pick the flowers that grow along it. It hasn’t always served me well, but it’s a tender part of me i’d never give away for anything. it connects me to people, the earth, and most importantly, to myself.
i don’t remember when it started exactly, but it was definitely last year, at the start of winter. i stopped having as many nightmares, and started dreaming about cats. Big cats, to be specific. i love cats, but my focus has always been on house cats, not big cats. i’ve never felt a connection to big cats before, and so it was strange to start dreaming about them.
At first, i brushed it off. Maybe i had seen a picture of a cat, or watched a movie with a cat in it, or something like that. But the dreams started coming with more frequency. i mentioned it to my boyfriend. “Maybe they’re trying to tell you something.” he suggested.
Maybe. i couldn’t think what they would have to tell me though.
Finally, after months of dreaming of cats, i had a very intense dream. It kind of scared me, to be honest.
In the dream, i was standing in a forest, unable to move. i was scared, alone, and unsure. All the emotions i feel everyday because of the PTSD.
Suddenly, there was a big cat in front of me. Not a tiger, lion, or panther. Something only from a dream. It was pulsing with colors, and it had several extra eyes resting on its head. i immediately got scared and tried to look away. It followed me, keeping its eyes glued to mine. i could hear it asking me why i was so scared, but it never opened its mouth. As much as i tried, i couldn’t get away from its gaze. i was very unsettled when i woke up.
i’ve always joked that my cat, Lilith, is a reincarnation of the goddess Bastet. It’s a comforting fairy tale: the goddess Bastet was the goddess of love and health, as well as protection and warfare. She was one of the eyes of Ra, someone who looked out for people and reported injustice back to Ra.
The thought that my cat–who has been through as much as i have–is watching over me and protecting me is very soothing. Whenever i’m triggered or have a panic attack, my first thought is to find Lilith and hold her. She is always happy to comply, purring and nestling against my stomach. i’m very lucky to have her as a companion.
i don’t know what the dreams mean. i’d like to think there is a stronger part of me, molded from what i’ve experienced, being nurtured inside my heart and brain. Large cats often symbolize power, femininity, unforgiving vengeance, and strength. Power and strength are not something i’ve had experience with much in my life. These dreams though–they are very empowering. It fills me with hope for the future.
One step at a time, growing into the goddess i was always meant to be.
*The art is not mine. All credit go to the artist.