Now a word of caution. We must be careful not to dismiss this dreamscape with its unsettling images simply as a meaningless nightmare. Rather, we ask, why this dream at this time? Why these images? Why the trauma? What are we to understand about this supernatural trauma?
In general, I think of trauma as the experience of unbearable pain. This "pain" may be acute (experience of a very stressful event), chronic (repetition of experiences of pain), and complex (the ongoing experience of the very stressful source). But in this case I have also used the term "supernatural" to describe the experience of the dreamer who is not likely to label experiences beyond his understanding as "supernatural."
That adjective, "supernatural," is described by the New Oxford American Dictionary as "a manifestation or event attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding of the laws of nature." However, the workings of nature have long led human explanations to seek explanations beyond rational understanding. In fact, one of the synonyms of "whirlwind" is "dust devil." How remarkable can that be? But also how understandable that if in the past a powerful and destructive force of wind destroyed homes, uprooted tress, threw heavy objects through the air as if they were match boxes—then we might say in colloquial language that "the devil did it," with no understanding of what this really means. However, there is in the language a residue of myth, superstition, folk tales, and religion in which nature and supernatural beings become entwined.
For example, in the Old Testament book of Job, Chapters 38-40, the terrifying whirlwind is described as God a "tempest" swoops down upon the home of the eldest son of Job where the other sons and daughters are visiting, and all of them are killed. Later, in this account, the voice of God speaks from "the heart of the tempest" and lectures Job about the Creator's ways of "conducing the business" of creating. Job cannot possibly understand but can acknowledge a force beyond his natural understanding.
Much more can be said about the Old Testament's book of Job, and for those who are interested I recommend Carol A. Newson's masterful commentary with reflections in Volume IV of The New Interpreter's Bible. However, this folk tale or didactic story as it often is described, is not the point of my writing here. I referred to it as one of the countless stories, commentaries, and folk tales that wrestle with the problem of suffering, the nature of justice, the mystery of how our world came into being, and the role of its creator.
In its own limited way, our dream under consideration leads us to look at how the dreamer understands the trauma of a destructive whirlwind bearing down upon him in the darkness of night. What are we to make of the dreamer's words, "This is God"? What kind of "God" is this? Is the dreamer's "God" a natural explanation for understanding the place of traumatic suffering? Or is the dreamer's "God" a supernatural force that acts upon the natural order of things with no discernible reason, sometimes bringing "blessings" and at other times bringing destruction and suffering?
However, the probing of all the images seems thus far to lead us back to where we started. Like the dreamer, we remain in the dark.
But before we turn our backs on this exercise in dream interpretation, there remains one symbol in the dream we have not explored. This is the total darkness in which the dreamer finds himself. The darkness is markedly pronounced. There are no lights in the building, no stars, no moonlight, not even the lights of his car. Except for the mysterious light descending from somewhere up above, silhouetting the movement of unidentifiable characters who appear to be miming a meaningless act, except for this light there is total darkness.
What are we to make of such darkness? As I work with my dreams and those who bring their dreams for understanding, I have found over the decades of dream study that wherever darkness appears in such a pronounced way, there is something unconscious that needs to be brought to light.
A person may "know" much about many things and still not be a conscious person. As the Buddha taught, we may sleepwalk through life in the sense of not being conscious. To those of us who are sleepwalking, the Buddha says, "Wake up"!
In other words, bring to mind your consciousness, meaning-full perception and awareness. Such perception and awareness bring us face to face with our full potential to be ourselves, to do good but also to inflict harm upon ourselves and others. In the absence of such consciousness, we dwell in darkness.
We ask, then, what brings us to consciousness? How do we "wake up" psychologically? Unfortunately, our education today focuses largely on the transmission of information that we remember and regurgitate when called upon. And also there are times when our consciousness is so shielded with superstition, misinformation, convenience, or secondary gains of wealth, fame, power, etc., that we settle into the pseudo-comfort of unconsciousness. However, in our lives there are whirlwinds, accidents, sickness, or dreams that wake us up to the darkness of our unconsciousness and awaken us to the consciousness of meaning by which we are fully alive.