I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. It has always stood out from the other 51 weeks in a year like a peaceful Zen garden, a special oasis where I attend to soul needs that require annual closure.
Last time in “The Psychology of Creativity” I discussed how creativity originates in the body’s physical instincts. But, you might wonder, what does this mean for me in practical terms? How do I gain access to my creativity? Where do I direct my energy and attention? What, exactly, is the link that connects my body’s natural instincts with my ego’s potential to produce something truly original?
If you’ve never thought of dreams as having any relevance to your waking life, I can assure you, they do. This one which came at a pivotal time in my life convinced me beyond any doubt that some unimaginable Mystery which dwelled both within and outside of me knew what was going on with my puny ego and had something to tell me about it. I’ll share the dream in this post and comment on it in the next.
Last week I wrote about an encounter with a rattlesnake on our forested mountain property. The day before that I found a skeleton of the head of something that looked like a baby alligator. Friends later confirmed that it was another snake. A bigger one. I had my third wild animal encounter in as many days the day after the live rattler appeared. This time it was a very large, very alive black bear!
I’ve returned to my beloved mountain valley. After five days the stillness is starting to settle in. This morning the eastern sky was red. “Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.” It will probably rain today.The sun is slow to reach the west side of the house. For now the garden is shrouded in shadows and mist.
Most people think working with horses is a one-way form of communication: the human does the training and the horse does the listening and learning so it can serve the human’s needs. Most riders and trainers love horses very much and train them with kindness and patience; others believe they need to “break” horses with bullying and brute force. Either type can achieve great success…from the perspective of the human ego.
A BIG black spider crosses the porch toward me. What if it climbs up my leg while I’m absorbed in my book? My territory. I consider stepping on it.This feels harsh. Maybe I’ll just relocate it. I slide a piece of paper under it but it leaps onto the nearby wall and scuttles beneath a plank of cedar siding.
I love the humanness of the dream I’ve been sharing. It’s so “lower chakra” with its symbolism of a possum and its excrement. Why do I love that? Andi sent me this quote in which Catholic priest Richard Rohr explains:
After I wrote my associations to the symbols in my Ireland dream, I started on its message. The biggest clues to a dream’s meaning are recent waking life experiences and how you responded to them. I was aware of some issues, thoughts and feelings in the days before the dream, but which were relevant and which were not?
Now that I’ve related my dream from the night we arrived at the Jungian conference in Ireland, I’d like to use it to demonstrate how I work on my dreams. Every year I start a new file on my computer and write out dreams in the order of their arrival, giving each one a number, date, and title. I try to include every detail, image, event, color, plot change, behavior, thought and emotion I can remember.