Universal Language

Universal Language

by Elizabeth Garden

There is a universal language we all speak fluently regardless of time, place, identity, religion, regardless of everything. We all speak and understand the universal language of dreams, intuition, creative thought and psychic connection. In this state we create our own worlds, gain insight, inspiration, and receive messages from what I call our Higher Selves. It is where we can work out our issues and find answers. These subtle, quickly forgotten experiences have an effect on our actual lives because the dreamworld, where a huge portion of our experience plays out, seeps into our waking one.

People throughout history have grappled with interpreting the language of their dreams and of collective consciousnesses. The dark netherworld of wordless vision has tantalized and inspired creative thoughtful people to keep reaching for answers and meaning. Every culture has recognized and categorized these aspects of life through religion, mythology, art, music, literature and dance, created and sustained by beliefs in their own unique systems. Taking a closer look at these, a beautiful, golden thread of truth emerges. People, and probably all creatures on earth, share our life experiences in ways that are undeniable, not just in a physical sense like breathing, eating, sleeping, etc., but in aspects that far exceed our shared physical existences.

Some societies have emphasized these commonalities more than others. Cultures that once flourished, whose treasures now fill our museums, seem to have celebrated this part of life more than we now do. This modern age is one that examines the subconscious in scientific terms rather than in spiritual or psychic, esoteric terms. There have been some notable developments in hybridizing the scientific approach to these ancient mysteries by researchers such as Rupert Sheldrake, Sir Oliver Sachs and Depak Chopra and lesser known visualization pioneer named Dr. Steve Gallegos. Dr. Gallegos’s work, stemming from the study of aboriginal animal totems, allows us to directly reach into our own subconsciousness through relaxing our minds enough to access and narrate our own waking dreams. There one can meet many inner guides, often in the form of symbolic animals. Together these form a council that address and heal and inform in a deeply profound way.

When I lived in Boston in the ‘80s, I met Dr. Gallegos. A friend from my Tai Chi class invited me to a dinner party the Gallegos home.  A visualization therapist, Steve Gallegos has written several books on this subject. A form of self-hypnosis, visualization is nothing new. It is used in therapy to recognize problems within the self in an objective manner. Elements in the subconscious are given form and character which are part of an unfolding dreamlike story, self-narrated and recorded over the course of about two hours.

Symbolic animals and mandela-like symbols appear during the sessions, just as they do in dreams. These symbols have been in the mythologies of all races and are not difficult to interpret.

I am a visual artist. Psychology, theology, mythology, and many other ologies inform my art and sparked growth in my own intuitive, psychic ability. When it was my turn to introduce myself at Dr. Gallegos’ table that evening, I mentioned that as an artist, I have to visualize all the time in order to create. Dr. Gallegos asked if I would be interested in trying his hypnotherapy, and of course I accepted.

The result was a fascinating and insightful reading (I consider it a psychic reading) about my whole life. I aways thought it was, but now that I am 65 and can look back 30 years, I see this clearly. One of the basic principals of psychic work is that you can’t read for yourself. It is impossible to objectively interpret the information. Under hypnosis, however, I was outside of myself.

The story that unraveled is my inner treasure, truly valuable and meaningful to me. I borrowed some of the scenes from my hypnosis to write Tree of Lives. What I wanted to share with you is one of the later tableaus that was not in the book.

“A bat comes along and lands in front of me. It’s here to tell me something. It says its from the ‘night world’, which is part of life and that its fine, nothing bad about it. We go into the night world together. We fly over the rooftops of houses in the night sky. It is beautiful and monochromatic….”

In terms of the Covid-19 virus that has been attributed to an infection from bats, I find this scene both interesting and worrisome. Will I contract the virus and die? I met this animal towards the end of the narrative, though a bit more of the story unfolded where I met a few more animals. In the final scene of my inner journey, I had crossed a big desert and entered a strange city, a new place entirely in black and white.

We never truly know our entire story until the end. I don’t know if the bat represented  Covid-19. Maybe it represented my subconscious, my night world. Maybe a new city in black and white implies I’ll be doing more writing, rather than painting which is what I have been doing lately. Maybe the night world is the Other Side, and maybe the Other Side is in black and white, and this world is in color, which wouldn’t surprise me.

My remaining time on earth will determine the meaning behind that bat symbol, but I do know that we continue to exist after life and guidance is right under our own eyelids. And I also know we are much wiser than we realize.

from TREE OF LIVES, “Going Down” page 356


Ruthie reclined in Dr. Gallegos’s comfy overstuffed chair with her eyes closed. She was at the home of burly, bearded, professorial Dr. Gallegos. He was from New Mexico and the subject of his work was totems. He had written a couple of books about helping people access their “animal guides,” though she hadn’t read his books. She met Dr. Gallegos at a party and was interested in seeing if she could get an answer to the many questions she had about herself.

Elizabeth Garden is an artist who uses her imagination to overcome major life obstacles including trauma and child abuse.