Toilet Dreams and the Alchemical Vision

By Mark Stavish

Over the years I have received much correspondence from people asking about the meaning of their dreams. Usually I tell them a little bit about planetary rulers of the day and night and suggest they learn to use that as a means of figuring it out themselves. However, there are classes of dreams that are common that people are often embarrassed to talk about: including dreams about incest, self-performed fellatio, rape, and bestiality.   These are primitive drives in the psyche and frighten many people who experience them. There is a considerable amount of shame, fear, and guilt associated with such dreams as the person often wonders, “What is wrong with me? Do I really want to rape (or be raped by) my (fill in the blank) and a (pick animal of choice) while I have oral sex with myself?”   You get the picture.  Or rather you wish you didn’t.  Now, if we look at these dreams from the context of mythology and symbolism they take on a meaning very different from what they are presenting literally.  While there may be genuine psychological issues at work, from the people who have asked me about dreams like these, I did not get the impression that mental health was an issue – rather, it was their strength as individuals that was creating these dreams.  It takes a great deal of courage to discuss dreams, which by their nature are personal and a reflection of one’s own psyche, when they deal with forbidden topics.

As a rule, these types of dreams represent a primitive state of development, not unlike the early gods and goddesses of the classical traditions. Here we see a vast degree of sexual license, most of which is not meant to be taken literally (although it has and continues to be in some circles) as it points to an unconscious and primitive understanding of creative impulses and energies.  It is these same energies that we use in esoteric practices, but with the intention of having a conscious realization of their purpose and value.

Now, if you have continued to read this far without be either revolted or terrified by the subject matter, then that is very good. The creative forces of the cosmos, and that means us as well, are simply not “nice” by human standards.  For this reason esoteric practices have sought to create channels for their – read ‘our’ expression – that allow us to experience, use, and direct them without being overwhelmed by them.  This takes place in stages, often known as initiations.

Of course, in alchemy the uses of urine and animal feces is well documents as means of obtaining nitrates and providing a slow, steady heat. There is also the mention of other human and animal products – both essential to life as well as excrements. That which is excreted is considered waste, but it is more than that – it is concentrated life force that is toxic or impure.  What is acceptable in a dream as a means of self-communication, or for an animal to undertake, such as the eating of feces, raw blood, or other bodily discharges is not acceptable in daily like and for that reason are correctly treated as a psychological disorder.   Again, this is why people are often frightened of strange and powerful dreams, even if they are not what are typically classified as a nightmare.  Dreams that touch upon our deepest yearnings, primeval desires, or forbidden areas of activity are among the most powerful and important we can experience as they offer an opportunity to encounter and transform powerful aspects of our psyche.

This encounter can sometimes be preceded or followed by dreams of walking through water, rain, washing, bathing, swimming, or toileting.   Dreams of urinating and defecating are common, but rarely understood for what they are: dreams of purification.  Dreams like this can be said to be mainly of Yesod, particularly if they are grey or misty in nature.  They may also be more concrete in form, but the colors are muted and dark with only one or two colors dominant.  These dreams usually occur during a waning moon.   This is an important point, as we are told in spagyric and alchemy to undertake procedures of purification of our materials during the waning moon. Washing is also an important part of alchemy, wherein we ‘wash’ toxic minerals in a series of rinses or baths to remove unwanted elements or residue from previous stages of the work. Again, this washing does not take place quickly and in what can be easily defined as a ‘single rinse cycle’ as if we are cleaning our laundry, but rather, it takes time and often several cycles before the material is clean enough to be used in the next stage of the work.  For this reason we must view our dreams purification as part of a set of dreams related to a cycle rather than as a single instance.  By recording our dreams we can see where we are in this ‘wash and rinse’ process of interior purification.  From this we will know if mediations or rituals using the Elements of Air or Fire are helpful, or their combined qualities as a psychic form of alchemical Sulphur.

In defecation the method of purification is ‘filtration’ and it is a purification of the body, or Salt. In fact, within Tibetan Buddhism there is a common practice of visualizing your feces and urine as descending down through nine levels of hell and feeding the Lord of Death and all the hell demons, satiating them, and in doing so paying off your karmic debt to them.  Again, we see the notion of purification and spiritual practice combined giving us “deification through defecation”. ….


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