There are many ways to wrap up the old year and bring in the new. Personally, I don’t see the point of New Year’s resolutions. Like daydreams, they’re rarely based on reality; like good intentions, they never make any difference; and like drugs, they only provide fleeting comfort.
I’d rather spend the week between Christmas and January 1st re-reading the year’s dreams and summarizing their messages. As practical guides for deep personal reflection, dreams have no parallel. They lay bare truths our egos don’t see in waking life, expose our emotional strengths and weaknesses, and inspire needed changes.
Having just completed this year’s review, I’d like to share the highlights in the hope that something of my experience will be helpful to you. As you will see, Dream Mother does not hold back, and therein lies the priceless value of her nightly dramas. Her bold explorations reveal both darkness and light, melancholy and joy, discord and peace, everything I fear and all that I love: in short, everything I need to integrate into my consciousness on my journey to my whole self.
My animus played a major role. Twice in February he showed up as an accomplished man — once a doctor, and once a wealthy landowner — whose intense attentions made me uncomfortable. Other roles included a sweet man I enjoyed and trusted; a charming actor whose aloofness belied his professed love; two men who helped a wise woman writer and me elude and thwart a terrorist threatening to poison a school; and a special boyfriend who loved me as I am. In August he revealed his dark side, first as “The Man,” an image of all the repressive patriarchal values I fear; and then as a rapist. A few nights ago he returned as a dear old trusted friend. My favorite dream about maleness came the night before I published my first blog post in March. In it my dream ego was surprised to find I was growing some, excuse the term, balls! (Hopefully they will help me deal with the terrorist, the rapist, and The Man!) And so I continue to clarify and heal my relationship to my masculine side and the masculinity in the world around me.
My dreams also highlighted some unfinished business. My compulsion to serve the needs of others without asserting or protecting my own to the point that I become overwhelmed, angry and depressed can still be a problem sometimes. Others include difficulty expressing my anger and feeling guilty when I do; undue sensitivity to criticism; and nagging self-criticism and self-doubt about my work and relationship skills. None of these are as extreme as they once were, but sometimes I wonder: Will I ever learn to love and accept myself as I am?
Positive developments provided the theme for other dreams. Several depicted a healthy integration of mind and body. In one I was playfully interacting with a delightful black and white horse; another said my inner strength and wisdom come from listening to my emotions, intuitions and animal instincts; in a third I rescued and released a trapped bird which transformed into a cat.
Two dreams are especially gratifying and feel like rewards for all my inner work. In one I experienced overwhelming gratitude for the beauty of my remodeled childhood home, a metaphor for the childish aspects of my psyche I have finally outgrown. And my favorite dream of the year used mythical imagery to let me know that sharing my knowledge about the Sacred Feminine and the inner life via my writing, particularly in this blog, is my sacred destiny and the purpose of my life. I wish you many happy visions of your own destiny in the New Year.
Ego and God-Image: Part VI
[T]he most important relationship of childhood, the relation to the mother, will be compensated by the mother archetype as soon as detachment from the childhood