Today we are returning to an activation exercise concept I’ve used in the past to demonstrate how to think metaphorically in your every day life. I’m super excited about this one because of a recent experience where I got to do this myself at an art show. While walking around at many exhibits of local and traveling artists, several paintings and photos caught my attention including this one above. Using this image, I’m going to show you how any form of art can be interpreted exactly like you would a dream. Once you see how easy this is, you will then be able to apply this same concept in everyday life. Featured today is a lithograph of a full size painting that I bought from Amelia Grace.
This is Me!
This painting, titled “Monument Moon“, caught my attention because it is a perfect picture of my own life for a recent ten-year period where I traveled like a nomad and had to do almost everything completely by myself. Interestingly, several of the most prominent stops along my journey included living in real deserts in both the American Southwest and the Middle East. Thankfully, I’m leaving that phase but in an upcoming article, I will be dealing with the topic of a personal wilderness. When ready for publishing, I will include some discoveries about the purpose for such a phase of life and what we must learn while going through them. My lessons learned will be an encouragement and inspiration for anyone to whom it applies. But, in the meantime let’s get on with today’s adventure…
We all know the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words“, and this is exactly why God gives us dreams! He can speak volumes to us in a single image or a short nighttime “movie”. Pictures are simply a much more efficient and effective way to communicate large amounts of information. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of artistic work of many kinds and it was something I spent countless hours on as a very young person. In my own family, art and music can be traced back at least four generations. As a result, I’m a huge proponent and admirer of anyone who has a talent in these areas.
God made man and woman in His own image. All creation testifies that God Himself is extremely creative. As such, we are rarely closer to fulfilling our divine purpose than when we are using the creative ability He gave each of us.
Having said that, it should be easy to see then that artwork has generally the same rules of interpretation as for dreams. Use the same process to look for primary characters or objects, any actions taking place, anything out-of-place or exaggerated, colors of primary objects, and then consider the symbology within the larger context. It might be interesting to note that many of my initial dreams were nothing more than snapshot images with no moving parts of any kind. I still get those now as well but, as mentioned in one previous post, sometimes I get these images in my mind while I am awake. So, let’s now take a look at what we see going on here in this painting.
Our primary character here is the cowboy. This can represent a very austere existence as a “lone ranger” but also reveals a very adventurous person who is willing to step out in faith where the next steps are not yet outlined. We see the Biblical parallel with Abraham beginning in Genesis 12 where God told him to get up and go to an unknown land that would be revealed to him after the journey had begun.
In my ten years of nomadic living, this is exactly what I did. I went from one work assignment to the next in locations all over the US and overseas and when each assignment ended, I had no idea where I was going next. I had many great experiences from this which I could not have gained by staying in one place, but there was also a high price to be paid for this lack of personal stability.
Traveling and Life Direction
Traveling is a very common theme in dreams. Many times we have “life direction” dreams that show us being in a car, train, airplane, or boat. I have had many of these myself which I have written about extensively in previous articles. The direction of travel that we see in dreams or artwork can be very significant. In this case, our hero is heading into the desert towards the left which often symbolizes the way of the natural (worldly) man.
Instead of the typical car or airplane we get in dreams, we have in this painting a horse. The horse is symbolic of a mode of travel in life which is made for only one person. This is not a bus or train that carries many people but may represent a time of traveling alone in life. In the event that it does not point to a person in such a solitary situation, it is then God’s way of isolating one aspect of a person’s life and revealing where they will end up if no change is made in what they are doing. Often this is what I see when people send me their dreams where they are driving or riding in a car.
A horse can be either a positive or negative symbol according to the Bible. Positive meanings can include power, authority, strength, warrior and speed. Negative meanings can indicate a person who is putting more emphasis on things of the world rather than God, or a nation putting its faith in its military force rather than God to secure the outcome of a battle.
The moon is our next main object and is featured here very prominently. The moon is an illumination/reflection of the sun and is pointing towards the right, in the direction of faith. A moon can be a Biblical sign of a change of seasons and also symbolizes the church and the reflection of the glory of God. The subtle hint given by the moon here indicates the ultimate direction the cowboy is being steered towards. If you see a moon in a dream as I have twice, consider this to be a possible major sign of a change of life either ongoing now or coming soon.
There is a another subtle but significant message found here concerning where the cowboy is positioned. This is really more implied rather than directly depicted but notice his position in relation to the moon and the rock. Due to the location of all these objects, the light of the moon would cast a shadow over the entire area where the cowboy is located. This is like saying he is behind the rock and under the shadow, or in the “secret place” of the Most High (Psalm 91). I previously wrote about dreams of being in caves and tunnels and this is exactly the same symbology.
Vegetation and Terrain
Next, we have a very positive object here with the green desert vegetation. If it were possible to know the exact type, that may have an additional level of meaning but for now, we can say simply that it indicates something that has ability to prosper in very harsh conditions. This green desert vegetation points toward something in the life of the cowboy which he will need to survive this time, sort of like a personal oasis. For myself, as I wrote in a previous post on personal transformation, that list has always included the Bible, certain types of Christian music and Christian teaching programs.
Now, we come back again to the rock and the title of this painting. Although I cannot say I’ve been to Monument Valley at the Arizona/Utah border, I can say that I was in Israel at the Jordan River near the area where Joshua led the crossing into the promised land (Joshua 4). In this passage, twelve stones were set up as memorials of the crossing which ended the Israelites’ time of wandering in the wilderness and the beginning of their receiving of the covenant promise. Here, the tall rock formations are symbolic of a memorial marking the time our traveller has spent in this wilderness phase of life.
The final symbol I’ll point out here is the time of day and sky condition. Dreams of nighttime scenes are very common. I’ve seen these several times in my own dreams as well as that of others who have sent me their dreams for interpretation. Biblically speaking, darkness or night can indicate a time of uncertainty, “walking” in the dark, personal trials, spiritual darkness or evil. Based on the nature of all other events going on in the dream or artwork, the exact meaning of a nighttime scene can be properly discerned. In this painting, the darkness we see fits the context of several symbols including the moon and the leftward direction of the cowboy. From my own personal life experience, I’m going to say this represents a time of trial or uncertainty which leads to character formation. And with that, we have just covered all the primary symbols.
Personal Application Thoughts
Now we see how easy it is to relate Biblical dream symbol interpretation to artwork. It is likewise possible to take this same concept and apply it to everyday life situations. I’ve previously written about this in what I call “prophetic activations“. The more we learn to think metaphorically, the easier it will be to understand our dreams.
Just like I did in the activation articles, you can take a simple object of any type and begin to think about the possible meanings of the colors, shape and any other prominent characteristics and come up with a prophetic interpretative message. It may seem silly at first but once you get the idea how this works, you will see this can actually have very profound application. One unexpected benefit I discovered in my own learning process was that the more I practiced this exercise in metaphoric thinking, the more I began to understand the strange symbols in the Bible as seen by prophets like Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, etc.
I hope you will take all this and begin to make a habit of this same metaphoric thinking in your daily life. The benefits are worth the effort and it might just be that you can use this to bring new prophetic insight into someone’s life!
Tips on Art Show Interpretations
- Use the same exact Bible-based meanings of all symbols just like you would in a dream.
- Note the primary characters and/or objects and discern the interpretation within the overall context of the image.
- Pay attention to subtle or implied symbols which can greatly affect or enhance the overall interpretation.
- Take a step back and look at all the artwork a particular artist is presenting at their display; you will gain insight into the person’s life, character, values, motivations and focus of their life. The same is true when considering a person’s dreams!
- As always, check out my contact page and use the dream interpretation request form if you need help interpreting your dreams. You will be amazed to find out what they really mean!