In the dream I am walking between railroad tracks that curve into a distant horizon. I see only earth, sky, this hard metal road with rock-covered banks that fall away on either side into dark woods below.
I know this place. I walked these tracks with Daddy when I was five and we lived in Tallahassee. Daddy wanted me to feel the magical allure of trains, but also to know their danger. There were hobos in tent camps in the woods and I should stay away from them. I should stay away from the tracks too. Little girls could get crushed by the metal monsters that rode them.
Are there hobos in the woods now? Will a train come soon? Why am I here? Where am I going? Where’s Daddy? I don’t know. I only know I am alone and must keep walking.
From behind me a voice calls, “Jean!” I turn, and there is Tonto.
“Come,” he beckons. “Lone Ranger wants you.” I am thrilled. The Lone Ranger is my hero and he wants to see me! I push away a niggling shadow of apprehension and follow Tonto. The Lone Ranger stands in a clearing. Behind him his magnificent white horse, Silver, munches grass contentedly. Beyond them, the dark woods. I feel wonder, excitement, curiosity. Beneath these, that tiny knot of anxiety.
“Stand there.” The masked man points to a spot on the ground in front of the steep embankment. I obey and wait for the words that will reveal his regard for me, tell me why I’m here, confirm my mission.
The Lone Ranger pulls his gun out if its holster, aims at me, pulls the trigger, shoots. I feel the kick in my mid-section, clutch my body at the point of impact, wait for the blood and pain. Is this it? Will I die now?
I wake up screaming, “Nooooo!” between great heaving sobs, outraged by this inconceivable betrayal from a man I have admired second to no one but Daddy. Mama rushes up the stairs into my bedroom and holds me in her arms.
“Shhh, you’re okay. You’re okay. It was only a dream.”
Only a dream. That’s when I tell myself, stunned with incomprehension but fierce in my determination, “This is important. I am ten years old and I will never forget this dream!”
If you have read my book, The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth, you already know this story. In the book after that, Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine Through Jungian Dreamwork, I mentioned the Lone Ranger once again. Then, thinking I was done with him, I set him aside to address headier matters. I’ve been writing for years, hoping to round out these two books with a third that would complete them, but nothing quite gelled. Now I understand I still had unfinished business with the Lone Ranger, Tonto, and Silver.
The Lone Ranger gave me my mission: You want to know why you are here and where you are going? I will tell you. These tracks represent your spiritual journey. I have given you an experience that will shape it. Never forget the pain of being betrayed by the god of your childhood: a lone, remote, and mysterious masked man who doesn’t value your significance and holds the power of life and death over you. Remember this dream and become conscious of its fullest meaning. This is your life’s work. He was right.
You can find my newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide, at this Amazon link and at Larson Publications, Inc.
Jeanie, what an amazing dream…..
and what a wise soul you possessed at ten, to recognize its power and channel its energy into creative and transformative endeavors across the arc of a lifetime…..
i seem to remember that we begin to develop our individual sense of self around age ten, although i can’t remember where i remember that from….
and the phrase “I only know I am alone and must keep walking” seems to be waiting to be paired with the title “The Lone Ranger.”
do you think your own development as an individual primed you from the inside for some catalytic change from the “outside” (meaning of the course the unconscious)? kind of like, “even with family and friends, i really am alone.” even to the point of facing your own death at the hands of the “good one.” isn’t this reminiscent of our own deaths at the hand of “a just and loving God”? really, what an amazing dream–obviously, it’s got me thinking pingpong thoughts……
but what especially intrigues me is the presence and function of Tonto in this dream–
i imagine that’s something you’ve delved into….
how do you look at that these days?
thanks for such a provocative post!
It’s 3:30 a.m. here on the east coast. I’ve been waking up every night around three for the past few weeks, unusual for me. My brain seems to be on overdrive ever since I began writing about my disillusionment with organized religion, (“Gated Religions”) and I’ve written 3 more new posts in the past two days. This one was the first. In your question about whether my development as an individual primed me for a catalytic change, you’ve anticipated the third one written just this afternoon called “The Hero’s Journey.” It’s scheduled for next week and addresses that question.
My current sleeplessness and writing frenzy tell me I’m touching on my soul’s core issues now, and your comment comes like a welcome friend to remind me that while I do feel alone, at another level I’m not alone at all. Three weeks ago I consulted The Toltec I Ching for guidance about direction in my writing and received Hexagram 56, “Recapturing Vision.” Tonto, my native tracker and shaman guide, is with me still, calling me to revisit the Lone Ranger’s message in these posts. In following him I am, indeed, recapturing my vision.
According to Piaget’s theory of intellectual development, ten is in the stage of concrete operations when children can use deductive reasoning and differentiate their perspective from other people, so yes, at ten I was becoming aware of my individual self. This dream, and my father’s death within the next year, did indeed force me to face death at the hand of “a just and loving God” at a most crucial point in my development. I dearly love your observation that my soul was somehow wise enough to channel this energy into creative and transformative endeavors; I feel that is exactly what happened.
Uncovering the psychological foundation for my spiritual development feels like unearthing a huge cache of hidden treasure. There should be enough rich meaning here to sustain me for a very long time indeed. As they used to say in the old cowboy movies, “There’s gold in them thar hills!”
Thank you for being such a wise and understanding companion on this adventure.
jeanie, something else nagged at me–what was Tonto’s horse’s name? of course, Hi-Yo, Silver is impossible to forget…..but Tonto’s? then it came to me: Scout. What a wonderful image–the one out in front scouting the way, exploring and discovering, just ahead of (and serving the needs of) the main body of travelers…..wm
William, I love it! I’ll have to see if I can find a picture of just Tonto and Scout for one of my upcoming posts!
You’ve opened my eyes to an important new insight. Maybe the injustice of sexism wasn’t the only reason I felt betrayed by my childhood God-image; maybe at the bottom of it all there was simply moral outrage at knowing that someday I would have to die at the hands of “a just and moral God,” the most basic and final injustice of all, especially to a budding ten-to-eleven-year-old ego. More lights coming on. We’ll see what comes of it. Again, thank you.
and the shaman guide tonto coming and leading you to the death-rebirth ordeal is so archetypal as to nearly knock me over with a feather….
reawakened vision/idealism: the initial sense of betrayal “killing” the idealized vision of god/hero/father, only to “revive” your deeper faith by setting you firmly on the path of enlightened individuality??? do i read that right? is that consistent with the developmental stage even, saying that out of the death of the child, the adult is born–the whole dream begins to sound more and more like the archetypal initiation drama….a recapitulation of the neolithic ordeals in the caves, only here the cave paintings are on the wall of the tv images! a dream worthy of setting a life course, indeed!
it so reminds me of the zen sword that is double-sided so that first it kills, then it brings back to life…
You absolutely read the killing of the idealized God-image and the revival of an individuality based on reverence for the Divinity within correctly. Thank you for adding that piece of the puzzle to the picture. I had never quite connected this dream with the archetypal initiation drama, but, of course! That’s exactly what this is. It’s so much easier to see these things in others and on the screen than in oneself!
Love the Zen double-sided sword too. I so much appreciate your help with this dream. Your wise and generous spirit is a true gift to us all.
Love the conversation here between you and William. Jeanie, did I ever share my blog post with you that I wrote about your dream? Of course it has to do with a synchronicity linked to the dream. 🙂
Jenna, I don’t remember you sharing that blog post with me. I’d love to see it! Could you send me a link to it here so others can see it too? Thank you so much.
While we’re on the subject of horses’ names, Silver in a alchemical and dream sense means “subtle strength” and is associated with the moon and the Feminine archetype as well as protection and neutralization of negative energies. If this were my dream and looking at it from the vantage point of adult self, I might conclude that the death I experienced was shamanic and an initiation into what would be my life’s work as my future self.
Well, I missed reading William’s shamanic death-rebirth comment before posting my last comment about shamanic initiation above…It’s a consensus, then!
Thank you for these associations, Jenna. They have really helped bring home the amazing depth of meaning of this dream. Yes, I see that Tonto was leading me to a Shamanic death. And the shock of this ordeal was as real and had as powerful an impact on my soul as if it had physically happened to me in waking life. Likewise, the alchemical meaning of Silver fits in perfectly with my passions and the focus of my life’s work. It feels so strange to realize that I carried this dream around with me from the age of ten without understanding its value, the incredible transforming treasure it was. And yet, understanding it wasn’t really necessary; I felt its power even at the age of ten. And it changed me and guided my life anyway. It’s very humbling to know how puny the ego’s power is in comparison to the Self.
By the way, I recently saw the new Lone Ranger movie and there’s no way I can be objective about it! I’ve heard a lot of criticism of it, but I loved it. Silliness and all, I loved it. Johnny Depp was a wonderful Tonto, his Crow/Raven headdress was wonderful, Silver the spirit horse was wonderful. (By the way, a few years ago I bought a painting from a fabulous artist in Highlands, NC named Mase Lucas of a white horse with a black Crow/Raven on its back. I had to have it and I had no idea why. Now what was that all about?) But back to the movie: I even cried a couple of times — mostly in scenes involving Silver, as I recall!!! And I adore this new endearingly human and vulnerable Lone Ranger!
Thank you again, my friend. I appreciate your soulful contributions and the opportunity to find more meaning in this dream.
Being part of this conversation helps me to feel the timelessness of our lives here, i.e., that there is No Time in matters of spirit and soul. Who you are, Jeanie, has always been…you just needed to catch up to that consciously – as we all do. I remember 10 as a magical age of spirit and ‘knowing’ before the forgetting that happened with further acculturation. Some of us, like you Jean, are able to keep that thread and weave it into a beautiful tapestry for yourself and others to enjoy. Thank you for that.
Thank you, also, for sharing your feelings about the movie Lone Ranger. I’ve wanted to see it, because I, too, loved the Lone Ranger and Tonto as a child…yes, I know about the stereotypes that are valid to American Indians, but they were both good men and the episodes were all so exciting to me as a child. Besides, I love Johnny Depp. So, I will be seeing it, too!
Here is the link to my blog post about your dream:
Oh, Jenna. I just read your post. Thank you for the link, and for your wonderful, affirming words about Healing the Sacred Divide. I did recognize the first part of your post as the wonderful review you wrote for it on Amazon. Thank you very much for that too! It was a very kind and generous thing to do.
Your post mentioned The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. I read that years ago, but didn’t know there was a movie. When I read it I didn’t get the connection about the absent father, divorced parents, etc. And now I see that you, too, have a similar history. I find that, and the fact that our interests and life work are quite similar in many ways, fascinating! I’d certainly love to understand the psychological factors at work in that particular scenario!
I love your comment that who I am has always been and that I just needed to catch up to that consciously. Yes. And it feels to me now, just this summer, as if I’m doing that, and living who I really am, in a much fuller, easier, more consciously accepting way than I’ve ever done before. I feel so grateful to have found and kept and woven the thread of my true self through this life.
I hope you’ll let me know how you like the movie. I’m pretty sure you’ll love Johnny Depp in this role!!