Morgan Libray, Manhattan, New York City, NY

Image via Wikipedia

Friday afternoon I was browsing in the gift shop of the Morgan Library in New York City when postcard caught my eye. It was a picture of a tree with nesting birds in its branches. On the ground below the branches an ox with two hearts on its side was grazing beside a person crouched down eating something.

The Dream of Nebuchadnezzer

I know exactly why that picture–amongst the hundreds others displayed on racks beside, above, and below it– caught my eye. I’ve been dreaming of trees lately: There was the beautiful painting of a tree that I discovered in a drawer in a dream a couple of months ago, and the giant tree that I came upon in a dream of India in which I was trying to fly to its highest branches–among others.

I studied this postcard for a minute or so, enjoying its colors and the whimsy of the birds in the branches, before finally turning the card over to read more about the piece of artwork. The printed information read:

The Dream of Neuchadnezzer

Illumination from Beatus of Liebana’s

Commentary on the Apocalypse (M.644, fol. 252v)

Spain  926

©The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York

 

That was tantalizing indeed! First I was drawn to the postcard because I’d seen a similar tree in my dream, and then I discover that this was an illustration of the dream of another.

When I got home I went to Google to learn more about the image and the ancient dream of Nebuchadnezzar. What I found was intense and disturbing – unlike the blissful beauty of the trees that heave been appearing in my dreams, this is what Wikipedia had to say about the Tree dream of Nebuchadnezzar:

Daniel chapter 4 contains an account of another of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams, this time of an immense tree, which Daniel interprets that Nebuchadnezzar will go insane for seven years because of his pride.

While boasting over his achievements, Nebuchadnezzar is humbled by God. The king loses his sanity and lives in the wild like an animal for seven years. After this, his sanity and position are restored and he praises and honors God.

While reading the text about Nebuchadnezzar’s pride and insanity, I also found another piece of art by one of my favorite poets and artists, William Blake.

Nebuchadnezzar, by William Blake

I’m still not sure what the trees in my dreams represent, but I am forever fascinated by the places my dreams (mixed with my awakened curiosity) take me. In this case: Art, Poetry, Apocalypse, Pride, Praise and Humility.

That’s one way to, “Follow your dreams.”

Where do your dreams lead you?

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