Saturday, August 6, 2022

J. W. Dunne's dream of the shadow of God

As described in my last post, "God vs. King," the name Godzilla made me think of this dream of Dunne's, because the Hebrew name Zillah probably means "shadow." I've decided to quote the whole thing, from Dunne's posthumously published book Intrusions? This is a book almost nobody reads -- Dunne is known almost exclusively for An Experiment with Time -- and I think the dream is worth sharing with a wider audience.


The intelligent part of me 'awoke', alert and curious from a duller, forgotten dream, to a vivid scene which appeared to be of a purely allegorical nature.

I was sitting in bright sunlight on a rock half-way up a gently sloping, sandy hillside. At the bottom of this declivity there ran a brook. I was dressed, somewhat to my annoyance, in the attire of one of Mr. H. G. Wells's 'Samurai' as these are pictured in his book, A New Utopia. Two lines of Longfellow's hymn, beloved in spiritualistic circles, were ringing in my head: the ones about great men leaving footprints in the sands of time. I saw that my own tracks were leading up from the brook's edge to the place where I sat. Obviously, I was dead, and the brook was the allegorical Jordan. I experienced a mild thrill, succeeded by a flame of anger, for I knew quite well that I was not a great man and suspected that I was being fooled. The other side of the brook represented evidently the world I had left, and I looked at it to see where my footmarks entered the water; for I had a horrifying idea that I might discern (vide the poem) a string of idiots following them. But the whole of that world lay in shadow, and, although I could perceive numbers of people moving about therein, none of them was clearly distinguishable, and any footprints there might be were quite invisible.

The deep shadow was contrasted so strongly with the brilliant sunshine in which I sat, and ended so abruptly at the water's edge, that I became puzzled as to what might be the cause thereof. Then it dawned on me that, about a hundred yards to my left and slightly behind me God was sitting working with bent head at something of which I was ignorant. I did not see Him because I could not turn my head: I merely knew that He was there. The whole scene was as silent as a picture. And the shadow which lay upon the world was the shadow of God.

I must emphasize that I was, from first to last, fully aware that the entire vision was purely allegorical, and that all the images therein were merely conventional symbols. Had there been the slightest attempt to suggest to me that any of the figures were veridical -- e.g. that God was a Male Worker -- I should, probably, have shied away from the whole.

I was deeply puzzled about one thing. God's shadow was lying over the whole world. Then why did not those blind fools see it? As I asked myself this, I became aware, abruptly, that two yards to my left and just behind the limit of my field of sight, there was standing -- an allegorical Angel. Do not ask me what he looked like; for that is quite unimportant. He symbolized something which could be questioned. And I fitted him with an allegorical make-up which would be in keeping with the rest of the vision. I made him a conventional Angel, tall, dark, beardless and attired in a long white garment. But I was not interested in him. Wild curiosity held me in its grip. I called to him and pointed. 'Look! look!; I cried, 'God's shadow! It's everywhere! It's all around them! Why, why don't they see it?'

I had expected that the reply would be something conventional about their being too much absorbed in their own, worldly affairs; and if that answer had come I should have discredited it; for my sympathies were with these people, and I knew that many of them were searching everywhere for evidence of God's existence. But the answer which came -- came immediately in five short decisive words -- was completely unexpected.

'Because it has no edges,' said the Angel.

And I found myself wide awake -- really awake -- and memorizing carefully every detail of the dream. Of course, I saw at once that what the 'Angel' had said was true. It is psychologically impossible to be aware of anything which 'has no edges'. To realize the existence of this or that there must be a 'not-this' or 'not-that' with which to make comparison. As for the dream, it meant obviously that there was no place in the whole world where God was absent. Consequently, it would be useless to search anywhere for evidence of God.

There is, however, something else about that allegory which is important. It did not preach Pantheism. God and the world were not one and the same thing. But His shadow covered the world; which means that His Spirit or Mind pervades the physical world which is neither Him nor that Spirit.

3 comments:

Ra1119bee said...


William,

You wrote: "Obviously, I was dead, and the brook was the allegorical Jordan. I experienced a mild thrill, succeeded by a flame of anger, for I knew quite well that I was not a great man and suspected that I was being fooled.

The other side of the brook represented evidently the world I had left, and I looked at it to see where my footmarks entered the water; for I had a horrifying idea that I might discern (vide the poem) a string of idiots following them.

But the whole of that world lay in shadow, and, although I could perceive numbers of people moving about therein, none of them was clearly distinguishable, and any footprints there might be were quite invisible."

My response:

As J.W. Dunne perhaps knew, and I personally believe, is that it's through the shadow (the darkness, the yin, the blackening ) is where we must first start to find the light.

As I'm sure you know water is a conduit to the other side, which like the vastness of the sea(see) has no edges.
I personally believe and as I've stated many times on your blog,
that our Soul is connected to the vastness of God(the Divine).

When our Soul 'falls down' to this duality dimension to incarnate/incarcerate we are not alone, God never abandons us. However so many times we abandon our Soul (the darkness, the Yin within which is where ALL of the answers and the Sacred Science/Knowledge exist which God provides to us, much like a blueprint/map).

When we ignore our Soul we succumb to our Ego which as I believe and have shared many times on your blog, I believe our Ego protects and pleasures the physical body only.

It's our Ego that desires to be 'great' and leave physical footprints behind as if to say;
' look at me'.

The Soul's objective through lessons learn and lessons taught is to help not only ourselves, but also our fellow man, to evolve spiritually so as to eventually earn the worth to be one with the Divine.
For the high vibrational Soul,t o be one (in pure spirit) with the Divine is Heaven.

Also interesting your reference to God on your Left.
Here's your comment: "Then it dawned on me that, about a hundred yards to my left and slightly behind be God was sitting working with bent head at something of which I was ignorant."

My response: Symbolically the left side represents either a female in our life or the female side of us. In other words; The Yoni, Yin, Water, Darkness, Intuition, Soul.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@Debbie

"Also interesting your reference to God on your Left. Here's your comment"

Just to be clear, everything after the introductory paragraph is a direct quotation from Dunne. These are not "my" references or comments.

Ra1119bee said...


William,

Ok, sorry I didn't realize that,
but nevertheless, my perspective on the topic still remains the same.

They have a fight, Triangle wins, Triangle Man

A monster made of hundreds of tiny triangles