It is holiday season in many parts of the planet, and God and Goddess are sitting on their lawn thrones observing the many rituals their children on Earth have created to celebrate their Mystery. There are preparations: lists drawn up, duties assigned, purchases made, rehearsals attended. Spaces are beautified.
Imagine our surprise when, on our recent trip to Indochina, our group of travelers arrived in Saigon to find it decorated for Christmas! Windows of one major department store were topped with thick mounds of carved styrofoam snow. Our hotel lobby held a giant blue Christmas tree and a life-sized Santa Claus who swiveled his hips while he sang “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”
Psychologists look for meaning in dream, myth, and fairy tale symbols because, as products of the unconscious, they compensate for the narrow visions of our egos and show us what we need to know to grow and thrive. Reflecting on the metaphorical meaning of our stories educates, encourages, and empowers us.
If the entire psyche were to be compared to a mystery story, complete with plot, characters, and events, the ego would be the detective who can never know all the facts because s/he cannot inhabit the minds of the other characters or be everywhere at once to see all that happens behind the scenes.
The killing fields of Cambodia are worse than I imagined. You pull into a parking lot. You walk under a stucco arch identifying this as a site of genocide. You get it. In your mind. But you are utterly unprepared for the impact it makes on your emotions.
Wedding dreams mark transitions between outworn stages of growth and more mature ones. Essentially, they are metaphors about the dreamer’s readiness for greater internal unity and the birth of new psycho-spiritual life.