What is the Vase?
The vase, water-pot or pitcher is a universal symbol for the Great Mother. It contains the cosmic waters as the Feminine Receptive Principle, the Life Source. It stands for acceptance, fertility and the heart.
A flowing vase represents the beneficent female deity. With flowers, it stands for the fertility of waters, or in ancient China, for harmony.
The vase is a symbol for the Hindu Shakti. In religious rituals, it stands for the body of the deity invoked for worship; the small space of the vase becomes the universe in the centre of which the supreme forces exist so the initiate may gather them to himself.
In Sumero-Semitic tradition it symbolizes the fertilizing power of the waters of the Great Mother. In the Kabbalah, vase means treasure. The Shekinah is compared to a beautiful vase. In ancient Egypt the vase stands for eternal life.
In Celtic tradition it holds the healing waters; it is an attribute of mother goddesses one of whom is Cerridwen.
The alchemical or hermetic vase always means the place where miracles occur. It is the mother's womb in which new birth takes shape, hence the belief that the vase holds the secret of transmutation.
As the maternal symbol the vase implies nourishment, flowing waters. The vase may be big enough to contain a person for a womb-like function.
In general, the function of the vase is related to holding, immersion or pouring/flowing, all characteristic qualities of the Mother Goddesses.
In Buddhist tradition, one of the eight auspicious symbols is the 'vase of inexhaustible treasure' symbolizing spiritual abundance. This vase always remains full in spite of how much is taken from it.
The Meaning of the Vase in the Dream
The true impact of the vase dream (1) is understood when we ponder the paradox presented to us by the description of the vase:
"Drawn May 7, 1978 from dream of October 10, 1977. ‘The bottom of the vase seemed to be infinite; even though there was a definite shape
to it, it kept on going.’ Other characteristics of the vase in the dream are: It was made of milk glass. It has two golden handles curving
from the top of the neck to the vessel of the vase. The mouth opening has a gold edge. The vessel part rounds down into a thin 'leg' on a
circular flat stand. Yet in spite of this definition of form, the bottom seemed to be infinite.
Since the symbolism of the vase generally refers to the Creative Powers of Gestation, Birthing and Nurturing, and since in the dream (1), the main figure is advised to keep her gaze on the vase alone, we must infer from the symbolism of the vase, that some event related to New Creation is about to happen. The woman is also asked to disregard the importance of the carpet in terms of its cost or value. Compared to the importance of the 'vase', familiar concerns or values that we 'stand on' in the present, are not relevant.
The vase seems to carry some of the attributes of the Divine: such as the idea of the definite shape (immanence), but the infinite boundlessness (transcendence) of that shape. Milk is a nourishing fluid coming from the 'Mother'. Gold is always symbolically related to the Divine. So, whatever events are anticipated in this dream, they seem to be initiated by and contained within a Creative Force that exists beyond the reach and intellect of the human mind. The symbolic language allows an understanding that is acquired through trust in intuition, meditation, imagination and the 'inner' knowledge of the heart.
This dream takes on a collective dimension because it encompasses time present (the dream), past (the painting, 2) and to come (the crop circles, 3, and the distant future outside the window in the painting). The synchronistic event of finding the vase image in the book completes the meaning of the dream and pulls ancient times, historical times, present and futuristic time together to give a comprehensive understanding of a message coming from the imaginal realm, but informing us about world events. The message itself took almost 30 years to be understood by the dreamer.