The very first dream I ever wrote down featured a vitally important message about my ego’s relationship with my masculine side. I offer this deeply personal dream as a gift to every woman who has struggled to integrate her animus.
In my previous post I wrote about a man who, in the middle of his life, had a powerful dream in which he briefly identified with being a woman. I’d like to explain what this means from the perspective of Jungian psychology.
Some years ago, a very successful and talented friend of mine began to experience a crisis of meaning. As he became more receptive to his inner life he found himself drawn to Jungian psychology and dreamwork. One night he had the following dream.
In ancient times spiritual guidance was the province of women who mediated between the gods and humanity. Apollo’s temple at Delphi, which was superimposed on an earlier shrine of the Goddess Gaia, was always presided over by female oracles. The dove oracles at Dodona in northern Greece and the sibyls at Olympia, Tetrapolis, Athens, and many other sites were likewise women.
As you grow more introspective on the inward spiritual journey, your perspective on life grows more expansive. This speaks to the common misconception that taking oneself seriously through self-study is somehow selfish, self-indulgent, or self-centered. In fact, the contrary is true: The better you know and love yourself, the more you feel and express love for others.
Personally meaningful spiritual experiences give rise to gnosis, the spiritual knowing that transforms our ego’s heroic struggle for consciousness from single-minded self-centeredness into centeredness in the Self, the source of all our spiritual striving.
Many of us have felt our spirits quicken through glimpses of something ineffable in the mist beyond normal awareness and longed to pursue it. But habitual assumptions are not easy to overcome. Moreover, the daily demands of life are so compelling that we usually defer our journey into the deeply alluring recesses of the forest until another day.
I never took dreams seriously until about 22 years ago when I enrolled in a five-year Centerpoint course on Jungian psychology. One of the first topics we discussed was dreams, and one of our first activities was to share a dream. When my turn came I related a dream I’d had at the age of 10 in which the Lone Ranger shot me and I woke up screaming in outraged protest.
Dreams symbolically represent underlying truths of which we are unaware. Dream events, like those in fairy tales, fables, myths and films have allegorical, metaphorical meanings. Rarely are they meant to be taken literally.