Taming Dream Dragons


When my emotional climate gets too hot for comfort or the gap between my inner and outer lives grows too wide, everything in me demands congruence. At times like this I consult my dreams like other people consult therapists. Is digging in my inner darkness hard work? Is it scary? Painful? Difficult to learn? It used to be but not any more. Now it’s fun; the self-validation and self-affirmation accompanying each insight are just so rewarding.
Last time I said my dreams from the year 2005 brought some of my shadow issues to center stage. Three were particularly troublesome. To get a better handle on them I gave them names: Orphan, Spiritual Bully, and Heroine (with an “e”) Addict.
As a child I tried not to mind my father’s long absences or bother my hardworking, emotionally exhausted mother. When I was 11 my father died. For years my dreams were dotted with needy little orphan girls whom my dream ego tried to ignore. Then in 2005 I saw how certain emotions I didn’t like — particularly loneliness, self-pity and sadness — signaled my Orphan’s presence in my waking life. As I got better at admitting to these feelings their influence waned and Orphan stopped bugging my dream ego. Since then, most of the little girls in my dreams have had mothers. Two weeks after my mother died, a forlorn teen-aged girl showed up. When my dream ego embraced her, she left, comforted. I guess Orphan is growing up.  Is Cinderella becoming a Queen?
Recognizing Spiritual Bully with his excessive perfectionism was an especially significant breakthrough. For a long time I admired this grand inquisitor’s high-minded scrupulousness. Now I see it as a sad supplication for mercy from a judgmental deity whose retribution he fears. How can I allay the dread that drives this pitiful puppet? What new, healing job would bring more warmth to such a callous fellow who believes it’s in my best interest to keep criticizing me and making me feel guilty? These questions shape my struggles to accept him as part of myself.
I was both thrilled and appalled at the discovery of my Heroine Addict. I now realize she is a product of personal trauma (the early death of my father) and cultural conditioning (hero myths and stories of saints). How could I have overlooked the unauthentic martyrdom of this Joan of Arc wannabe after so many years of dreamwork? What will bring surcease to her compulsive need to save the day with noble self-sacrifice in every situation? Each step I take toward replacing her anxiety-ridden, self-important goodness with relaxed authenticity excites me.
Integrating these shadow figures has been huge for me. Self-knowledge is balancing the extremes of my inner world, reducing my anxiety, and bringing the sense of moving a bit closer to the centered, non-reactive state of receptivity, spontaneity, and peace to which I aspire.
Carl Jung said, “. . . today most people cannot see the beam in their own eye but are all too well aware of the mote in their brother’s. Political propaganda exploits this primitivity and conquers the naive with their own defect. The only defence (sic) against this overwhelming danger is recognition of the shadow.”
Politicians take note: Killing dragons in the outer world will never free us from psychological, political, or global tyranny. The lasting solution is to make peace with our inner dragons.

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0 Responses

  1. Jeanie,
    Your posts just keep getting better and better! It feels to me like you are honing in on your Self, polishing more and more brightly this written mirror you hold up not only to yourself but to all of us, as well.
    I so look forward to each of these jewels. This one is especially comprehensive, a real connect-a-dot linking our individual transformation to that of the world…..
    All My Best,

  2. Thank you, William.
    To see and be seen. To know and be known. To love and be loved. Isn’t this what we all yearn for?
    And then to help others do the same? That’s my idea of heaven.
    Your words are such gifts to me.

  3. divine…..…..your inspiration has guided me to write my blog..you are on my blogroll…..will always inspire me ….warm regards….
    ease humanity from the disease insensitiveness……
    please…..listen with heart…..men and women walking on relationships like musical chairs……..still searching love shaking right hands……not knowing love is holding right with left…..
    left brain which is body and logical intelligence and masculine in nature controls right hand……right brain which is soul and emotional intelligence and feminine in nature controls left hand ….. .mirror is togetherness of left and right…..purpose to mirror god in us …..love is god….
    breath in…..love…
    breath out …..happiness…
    true ends of life…….
    alive….breath to breath..
    bless you …
    p.s. ..life is a examination of self and love is the answer if one fails come next time in this world with tail ….. love all…

  4. Ram0singhal,
    And you will always inspire me. Thank you for putting me on your blogroll. I’m putting you on mine too.
    May neither of us have a tail next time!

  5. Dear Jean,
    Wow, almost every word of your post resonated for me. Thanks for sharing! I relate to your shadow discoveries, your desire for authentic congruence, doing personal shadow work and the joy (and necessity) of integrated personal truth – all of it. I even resonated with your archetypal influences (Orphan, Excessive Perfectionism, Heroine Addict, and Excessive Self Criticism) and their meaning for you. I share those experiences with you.
    Yes, I agree, it was hard at first, and now, like you said – “it’s fun; the self-validation and self-affirmation accompanying each insight are just so rewarding.” Thank you for sharing your deeply personal journey, it meant so much to me I even dreamed about my gratitude to you.
    Cheers to you and warmest regards,

  6. Dear Sandy,
    Thank you so much for writing. It’s a real treat to meet others who are on the same path, conducting the same, vitally important inner work. It used to be such a lonely journey and now I’m finding like-minded companions every step of the way. My Orphan is doing a happy dance!
    And how delightful that you dreamed about your gratitude!! The same thing happened to me last weekend after an experience of being overwhelmed with gratitude for my life. In fact, I’ve written about it for an upcoming post. I love knowing that my sharing gave your soul a double dose of gratitude: once waking and again in a dream. And now your letter has given me another chance to feel that delicious emotion too!
    All my best,

  7. Jeanie,
    Thanks for writing. I know what you mean! I join you in that happy dance! I look forward to your next blog post!

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