Image by Lance from Pixabay

What is god, what is not god?
What is between us and god? Who shall say?
                                            -- Euripides, Helen

The god-powers were known through dreams, oracles, visions, and strange encounters and invoked and worshipped through stories, songs, rituals, and private and public ceremonies and prayer. We cannot know exactly what occurs behind a big dream, oracle, vision, or synchronistic event. The unusual event is often called a “coincidence.”

Those without spiritual or holistic philosophies or who are dominated by materialism or hyper-rationality often judge these events as random or accidental. Further, to a significant degree, in modern psychological and popular thought dreams are often judged to be random, accidental, or nonsensical, and their interpretation is rarely taught in academic programs. But a “coincidence” literally means only that events coincided and we are given the opportunity to discern meaning.

Jung’s observations on synchronicity are valuable here. Whether in oracles, events, or dreams, we are given compelling symbolism that, as he declares, serves as an “acausal connecting principle” and is the perfect prompt for our free associations that can reveal our hidden meanings. It is not one in the sense of being random or accidental, but it literally means that events coincided.

Greek filmmaker Menios Carayannis defines a coincidence as “a time when two necessities collide.” When such an unusual occurrence happens at an unexpected time, it draws our attention to some hidden connection or meaning unfolding before us. It seems like a miracle in the word’s original sense—an event that seems to defy natural laws. It makes us attend, listen, question, and realize that we do not know, but that everything is somehow connected and forces beyond us may be communicating with us. We become part of the web again.

innerself subscribe graphic

Seeking the Archetypal and the Magical

We need the archetypal, intuitive, irrational, fantastic, and magical. We need dreams and attention to them. When it is not available through established religious or civic ritual, people will seek it in other forms.

Philosopher Abraham Heschel entitled one of his books God in Search of Man. In some sense the god-powers are there seeking connection with us, and it is we, in our postmodern, secular, technological, empirical, consumerist mindset, who have cut ourselves off from them.

Seek “big dreams,” visions, oracles, synchronistic events. Encourage incubation, pilgrimage, quest, leaving the ordinary for a time to contact the hidden deep and extraordinary.

Pass beyond the concrete and rational to seek the deities and myths  in the disease. We are always in archetypal processes, and our awareness is only the puddle on top of the iceberg of consciousness. Seek the god-powers and their stories replicated in our conditions that are trying to make themselves known, not to harm but to deepen and enlighten us.

Affirm moira (fate and destiny). Most of us have ordeals, burdens, wounds, illnesses, and challenges we would rather not have. Seek the ways these are the necessary and the inevitable unfolding of our lives. Strive to say yes to all that happened, no matter how distasteful. Understand the Cosmos is unfolding our stories and if we strive for it, we can find our inner daemons that carry our purpose and gifts.

Sacrifice and gratitude are essential. Asklepios sometimes refused treatment to people who were too selfish and not willing to serve others.

Give thanks to cosmic powers and principles, no matter how you name or understand them. Remember that any name or image of the divine is only a representation helping us to approach the ultimate, not that ultimate itself.

Serve. Thrive in a new identity deeper than the one that led to your afflictions and large enough to carry all that life sends your way.

Ritualize these conditions. Create or replicate a container and orchestrated process that carries the seeker through from beginning to end.

Use prayers, invocations, and references to higher powers. Use poetry and the arts that express the sacred and reveal dimensions of the exploration. Make the process sacred. Encourage transference to God, the gods, the god-powers—life itself.

Everything else we learn from established health and mental health practices teaches us to think and behave in certain limited ways from within a limited worldview defined by history and the times. Everything else is just tools in your medicine bag. Seek the “ahistorical self” and “experiences akin to the ancients” that are bigger, deeper, wiser than the times we are trapped in. In Dennis Slattery’s words, “see with the eyes of the soul rather than with the vision of the intellect.”

Copyright ©2023. All Rights Reserved.
Adapted with permission from the publisher,
Healing Art Press, an imprint of Inner Traditions Intl.

Article Source:

Soul Medicine: Healing through Dream Incubation, Visions, Oracles, and Pilgrimage
by Edward Tick, PhD

book cover of : Soul Medicine by Edward Tick, PhDUsing both ancient wisdom and modern depth psychology alongside stories of healings from his more than 25 years of guiding Vietnam veterans on Greek pilgrimages, Edward Tick explores how we all can use ancient healing philosophies and practices to achieve holistic healing today. He examines the interaction between mind and body (psyche and soma) and between physical illness and the soul to heal PTSD and trauma. He explains the art of making accurate and holistic interpretations of signs, symbols, and symptoms to determine what they reveal about the soul.

Showing how dreams and other transpersonal experiences are essential components of soul medicine, the author reveals how restoration of the soul facilitates true healing.

Click here for more info and/or to order this paperback book. Also available as a Kindle edition.

About the Author

photo of Edward Tick, Ph.D.Edward Tick, Ph.D., is a transformational psychotherapist, international pilgrimage guide, educator, author, and poet. A specialist in archetypal psychotherapy and the healing of violent trauma, he is the author of four nonfiction books, including The Practice of Dream Healing and War and the Soul. 

He is Founding Director of the non-profit Soldier’s Heart, Inc. Honored for his groundbreaking work in the spiritual, holistic and community-based healing of veterans and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Dr. Tick has been a psychotherapist for over 35 years, specializing in working with veterans since the 1970s. Dr. Tick is a gifted healer, teacher and guide specializing in using psycho-spiritual, cross-cultural, and international reconciliation practices to bring healing and hope to veterans, communities and nations recovering from the traumas of war and violence. 

He is a tireless advocate for war-healing and peace-making, lecturing around the world and leading semi-annual educational, healing and reconciliation journeys to Viet Nam and Greece.

Visit his Website:

More Books by the author.