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Saint Bridget

Dreamed between 1963 and 1968 by Jenny Badger Sultan
jennybadgersultan.com

I am with a group of people in a desert landscape. We are building a Scythian church. I recall red tile roofs, whitewashed walls. When we are finished we gather inside the church and join hands in a large circle and do a circle dance together.

Later I wander around the dim interior by myself, looking around. On the floor, right near two steps leading down to a lower level, I see a painting and some words.

The painting shows a green bundle, all tied up, next to a black-haired woman dressed in green, with arms outstretched, flying. The words say:

"Little Saint Bridget was bound so hard, that when they released her she flew."
Painting seen in a dream and painted on waking by Jenny Badger Sultan: A girl tied up, face hidden in a green robe; and a grinning barefoot girl in the same green robe, flying. Words round the margin say: 'Little Saint Bridget was bound so hard, that when they released her she flew.'

NOTES

This dream was a major one; I've returned to it many times. Building this church together in the desert felt magical.

I do not recall exactly when I dreamt it; I was not keeping a regular dream journal at that time. But it was between finishing grad school in l963 and l968 when my husband Henry and I met.

--Jenny Badger Sultan

EDITOR'S NOTE

The wording in the dream implies St Bridget's binding fostered or even allowed her flight. Do oppression and deprivation confer blessings, help us soar? Ancient and medieval people took it for granted that pain and limits can foster freedom and enlightenment--that binding fosters flight. But now it's unfashionable; we'd rather believe flight is easy. Just lower the bar, hire more teachers, add self-esteem courses, buy new computers, take vitamins--or Ritalin.

But in some fields the tradition survives; athletes, dancers, musicians, poets, doctors, scientists and soldiers still acknowledge that real achievement demands real sacrifice: time, expense, concentration, frustration, risk and pain.

Saint Bridget makes me re-evaluate my own childhood. I was pushed ahead in school, and older, larger boys treated me brutally. They taught me the dark side of human nature; taught me to fear. But today I wonder if they taught me strengths, too. Facing brutal giants, I stuck to my principles of nonviolence; learned both physical and moral courage. Boot camp of the soul.

--Chris Wayan

Painting seen in a dream and painted on waking by Jenny Badger Sultan: A girl tied up, face hidden in a green robe; and a grinning barefoot girl in the same green robe, flying. Words round the margin say: 'Little Saint Bridget was bound so hard, that when they released her she flew.'


LISTS AND LINKS: more Jenny Badger Sultan - deserts and oases - holy sites, temples etc - riddles - flying - religious figures - slavery and freedom - dream-paintings - paganism, Wicca, and Goddess cults - austerity and asceticism - bondage, fetishism, S/M, etc. - healing from abuse - a dream on blessings rooted in lack: Rabbit World - but binding can cripple flight too: Salia and Chur - welcome to anorexic boot camp: Bonk Veronica! - Central Asia - Jenny's husband Henry is a dream artist too: see his Celebrate Both

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