When Ann and I started dating in 2008, I waited until our third date for the cat reveal. When she came over to my place, I picked up Shadow and held him upside down, rubbing his belly. I had started holding the cats upside down like this when they were kittens. So, as adult cats, they were like silly putty in my hands. From the deer-in-headlights look on Ann’s face, I immediately realized that my cat-putty demonstration was ill advised. Our date ended quickly and awkwardly. Thankfully, she was eventually able to see past this quirk of mine and the cats started to win her over.
I’m very interested in the concept of totem animals or animal spirit guides. As a totem symbol, the cat has many different meanings including mystery, intuition, lunar (feminine or yin) energy, dexterity, laziness, and independence of spirit. For me, however, the most interesting cat characteristic is the cat’s total disregard for ordinary borders or boundaries. Good luck trying to fence in a cat! A cat will either scale the fence or slip through small openings between the slats. For lucid dreamers like me, this cat characteristic has a deeper meaning. It represents the ability to easily overcome the “fence” that separates so-called waking reality from other parallel dimensions, including the dimension of dreams.
Like most cats, Shadow is nocturnal. He will meow at us (or paw one of us in the face) around 3:00 AM, demanding immediate doorman service. When we know we want a good night of sleep, we plan ahead and lock Shadow in the garage. Problem solved, right? Well, not really. It turns out that, for Shadow, the locked garage door is no more intimidating of a barrier than our backyard fence. Shadow knows how to slide right through that garage door -- and into my dream state.
I see your eyes rolling, so let me offer a few examples. In each of these case studies, Shadow was locked in the garage at the time I had the dream:
Fortunately for me, Shadow sometimes targets Ann instead of me. Good kitty! From my journal:
These are just a few samples from my large database of Shadow dreams where he wakes me up from a dream, seemingly in hopes that I will let him out of the garage. Another one of my dreams paints an interesting picture of how a locked door is no barrier for Shadow’s consciousness. The mail slot in this dream seems intended to serve as an analogy for the idea of dream telepathy. From my journal:
In late 2012, I had a curious dream about a cat. I occasionally assign titles to my dreams and I call this one “High Wire Act”:
What is this dream about? My intuitive conclusion was that this dream is about lucid dreaming and other altered states of consciousness. Shadow has taught me that cats are experts in the “high wire act” of manipulating their consciousness. The cat in this dream is showing me that the secret to their advanced flexibility of consciousness is fearlessness combined with a playful attitude. In another 2012 dream, Shadow showed me another example of such playful acrobatics. I dreamed that a basketball was rolling down a hallway, with Shadow on top of it. He was somehow keeping himself balanced atop this fast moving ball – an impossible balancing act.
In addition to journaling my dreams, I also journal the intriguing (some would say “trippy”) visual and auditory experiences that often happen in the hypnagogic or hypnopompic state. These are the transition periods between wakefulness and sleep (and vice-versa). I’ve found this state to be fertile ground for mind-expanding (drug free!) experiences. In the following example, Shadow was napping with me and perhaps he was helping to give me a taste of a cat’s perception of parallel realities. From my journal:
I’ve never been to see an animal communicator, but I’ve become very open to the possibility that a human medium can attune his or her consciousness to receive messages from animals. Shadow has occasionally communicated a desire or request to me via a dream. Two examples from my journal:
Shadow also once sent me a message while I was in the hypnagogic state, seemingly asking for some attention:
For many years, I was experiencing very persistent congestion in both my sinuses and in my chest. Things got to a point where my voice was constantly nasal sounding and I was coughing up phlegm throughout the day. This became a chronic condition that continued for over a year. At the same time, Shadow was going through a period where he was constantly throwing up in the house. In Shadow’s case, we would almost always find a large piece of grass in his throw-up. At the time, my sentiments toward Shadow were usually something like this: “Stupid cat! Why do you keep eating grass when you know you can’t digest it?”
Eventually, I came to learn that the largest contributor to my congestion was my diet, especially my heavy consumption of acid-forming foods. Both my dreams and some knowledgeable health advisors helped to lead me to this realization. While I’m still not a health nut, I have gradually scaled back my consumption of acid forming foods. Nowadays, I breathe a lot easier and, interestingly, Shadow almost never throws up.
I now understand that Shadow’s habit of ingesting a food (grass) that his body was unable to process was a synchronistic reflection for me – because I was consuming a lot of food that my body found challenging to process. In this way, Shadow was serving me as a loving mirror. As I was searching my journal for Shadow dreams to include in this blog post, I re-read the following dream that made this point very clearly. If I had paid greater attention to this dream at the time, I could have improved my health much sooner. From my journal: