But I was reading Deuteronomy 18, verse three, the phrase, "and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw." That phrase triggered a vivid memory of a dream I had had just before waking up that morning that involved cannibalism.
Here's the text as I recorded it in my dream journal:
I was at some kind of firm family party put on by [the law firm I work for]. As usual, [our firm administrator] had a variety of activities available for the whole family, but we were starting with a communal meal. We were in some kind of log-cabin lodge, and there were service tables set up for a meal with servers dressed in white. The idea behind the meal was that we could each create our own soup. There was every kind of food imaginable, and many things that I had never seen or heard of or imagined going into a soup. I got in line, and saw some raw cinnamon, and some beans, diced tomatoes, and little apricot wedges. I dished some of each on my plate and continued along. I came to a server who was standing in front of a large bubbling pot of something.*****
She asked me, “So, what kind of soup are you making?”
I said, “I really don't know. I have no idea what kind of soup to make. Can you make any suggestions?”
She suggested I try something like “Rancher's soup.” I asked her how to make that, and she said it was very simple, but I already had some wrong ingredients if I wanted that. She said nothing sweet or fruity would go into that so the cinnamon and the apricots I could put back. She said it was a basic sort of meat and potatoes type of soup, with whatever herbs or spices I wanted for flavor. But the most basic ingredient was meat. She offered me meat from the pot she had in front of her. I reached out my bowl and she ladled a big piece of meat into my bowl.
I continued down the line, but as I looked at my meat, I realized it was a human calf and foot. I was repulsed, and disposed of it. But when I complained, a number of people replied, “We all got human meat. It's the only kind of meat they have available.” Some offered that it wasn't so bad, and I ought to try it. So I got back in line, and got another serving of it. I got another calf and foot, but this time quite a bit smaller. I wondered if I would get enough meat from this one, it looked so skinny. I took it over to a table and started to work on it a bit. I skinned the meat and stripped it off the bones, and put it into the soup, and tasted some. It tasted quite good and nutritious.
In dreams, eating means incorporating some aspect of whatever it is you're eating into yourself. And what is interesting here is that the dream is basically about a huge smorgasbord. I have the option of eating absolutely anything I want. My choices are so limitless that I'm not sure what I want. A woman dressed in white suggests something specific, something with lots of meat in it, and I accept her suggestion, only to be temporarily put off when I discover that she has served me human flesh -- in this case part of a foot and leg. In the end, however, I try it and find it to be "quite good and nutritious."
My first impression, upon remembering this dream, is that it is about my sense of the human condition itself. It's about "being human." (In dreams, "You are what you eat.") And my basic evaluation of the human condition at this time in my life is that life is good. I am glad to be who and what I am and where I am.
The fact that the food servers were dressed in white has religious significance for me. In Mormon scriptures and in modern-day accounts of angelic encounters, angelic messengers are typically described as being dressed all in white. When Mormons are baptized, or when they go to the temple (where important rituals related to eternal life and eternal marriage take place) they dress all in white. So the food server in my dream may have represented some sense that the particularities of my life -- even the more inconvenient aspects such as being gay -- are actually a gift from God, intended specifically for me.
The dream had some rustic themes in it. We were served this meal in a log cabin lodge in a rural setting, and the type of soup I was offered was "rancher's soup." Perhaps reflecting a sense of condescension. Ranchers raise cattle, and one would expect the main ingredient of "rancher's soup" to be beef, not human. I think this suggests a sense (a message perhaps?) that human beings share a common condition with animals. We are all sharing the same planet, and sharing this fundamental condition of life and death, spirit and flesh inhabiting the same realm.
The key to interpreting this dream I think had to do with the part of the human anatomy I ate in this dream. Our legs and our feet are our main means of transportation through life. They relate to walking, moving, progressing. And my skepticism about whether the leg I got was sufficient might reflect some self-doubt. In the dream, I worry that the leg that I'm eating is "too skinny," that it won't provide "enough meat." I'm in effect asking myself, "Do I -- in this physical body -- have enough of what it takes to get where I want to go in life?"
But once I get down to work on it, I discover that it is quite sufficient. So the dream seemed to confirm the principle of "my grace is sufficient." However inadequate I may feel in the journey I am on, I will -- my dream assures me -- be able to get there with what I have available within myself.