Working On A Dream About Individuation: Part III


I’d like to begin by saying a huge thank-you to Joseph, Jerry and Jane (what’s with all the J’s?) for their comments (Jane’s came via e-mail) about Dream #4337.  Their thoughtful associations were enormously helpful as I pondered this dream.
Dreams express things essentially unknown to the ego. Most believe, however, that they are primarily about emotions, which are charges of energy that influence our thoughts and behavior. Sometimes they create so much anxiety that stopping to reflect on what we are feeling before responding does not come easily to us. We find it far easier to either ignore them or act immediately, often with disastrous consequences. Emotional awareness is the stairway between the archaic being at the deeper levels of our psyche and higher consciousness, and dreamwork builds this stairway.
Dream #4337 (see previous two posts) is like a 3-act play.  Act I takes place in a social setting. Emotion is introduced by the thirsty woman who wants to fill her plastic cup with water. The energy of her wanting compels her to leave the collective and set out on a solitary journey. As Jerry noted, this seems to express discomfort with aspects of my positioning in society which are too plastic and unfulfilling to quench my thirst for personal meaning and self-knowledge — i.e. individuation.
Act II introduces Ms X (as Jane calls this shadow of mine) with her warning of potential danger. The meeting of these two streams of emotional energy sets up a conflict: Thirsty Woman’s determination vs. Ms X’s fear. Joseph sees Ms X as one so involved in her work that she has stopped along the way. Jane, too, sees her as one who has made it over the first railing but then stopped: perhaps because she got tired or frightened. Because she’s in my dream, there is a part of me like her. One association I have for the waking-life Ms X is that she resists facing her shadow emotions and appears to rechannel their energy into hard work. Whereas 22 years of dreamwork have emboldened me to face my shadow, I obviously still have some sublimated, unredeemed fear.
In Act III my thirsty woman dream ego experiences three new emotions: receptivity to Ms X’s fears, willingness to stop and examine the road ahead, and conscious concern for her safety. I had no idea what this had to do with my waking life until I read Jerry’s question about my involvement with social media: “Could this dream be addressing the issues that go with these instruments of social communication?” This brought a huge “Aha!” My shadow has an important message for me and my ego is listening.
Two weeks before this dream a few communications on Twitter shook me up and stopped me in my tracks. As Jerry suggested, “The use of these media devices can become [so] ego influenced it threatens the fabric of someone like yourself who is ‘spiritual to the bone’. It can be a great outlet for expression but when dealing with the release of emotions {by others} there is always a danger. I sense the dream is focused on these issues. I also sense from the last part of the dream [the bathroom as a place of elimination, cleansing and refreshment] it is something you can control. There will always be challenges to the spiritual self when participating in a world full [of] ego.” Bingo!
And so the question remains: Shall I continue in this direction? Jerry’s words could be mine: “…the answer is yes. It is just too great a way to ‘get out the message’, to share what we have learned so others discover a path to wholeness.” But I’ll be listening to my shadow and watching the way ahead.

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0 Responses

  1. Hi Jean,
    More reflections were stirred to the surface.
    Dreams– moving murals painted across the living canvas of the mind by the artists of the soul. The mediums they use are so mysterious: experiences on twitter, foods we eat, events from our childhood, scents and aromas, music, the sense of touch, movies we saw twenty years ago…The venue they’ve chosen to work in is even more mysterious—the dark theater of sleep. We must enter the darkness in order for the artists to step from behind the curtains and begin splashing paint across them. Once they’re finished, and the curtains form a watery backdrop, they arrange a set with props from the past and silken memories draped over moveable, skeletal scaffolding. Then they invite us to go up on stage and parade around with huge, larger-than-life-gestures wearing the masks of dog, aunt, uncle, neighbor, co-worker, angel, devil—even ourselves. And oddity of oddities, we get to watch from the audience as well—and we watch with our eyes closed! It’s all so strange. And yet the players and the artists creating the whole vision are there to do more than entertain—each night they prepare elaborate mystery plays, initiation rites, ancient sacrificial rituals, and birthing ceremonies; and all of them on the stage of the imagination—that wonderful and blessed, living playground of the soul, and all of them meant to instruct and enlighten—to open our eyes to the truth. These players form the most loyal, dedicated guild of artists there is. They are the trusted servants of our deepest desires. Day after day they labor for us and with us. And every morning, as we wake, and sunlight begins filling the auditorium, all of the artists, the players, and the set, are moved behind the curtain to remain back stage until the next showing. Your posts are like peeking behind the curtain…and as you guide us, we see backstage the most amazing mystery of all—the play within a play—all of the workers are one worker, one director–the person we most want to become.
    I am so glad you found some resolution to your dream. Thank you for inviting us to the show and giving us front row seats! You are courageous and generous. I hope the rest of your dreams and twitter days are safe and bright.

    1. Dear Joseph,
      Your word picture captures the magnificent mystery of dreams beautifully.
      I’m glad I found some resolution too, but in keeping with the living, growing mystery and multi-dimensionality of dreams, today’s resolution is tomorrow’s question, and the search begins anew. Who knows what lies beneath or ahead? The trick on this journey, and the lesson of this dream, is essentially the same advice my policeman father gave me at the age of seven when he taught me how to navigate the streets and traffic lights on my daily walk home from school: “When you reach a crossroads, stop, look and listen before you take the next step.”
      Sweet dreams to you,

  2. Jean,
    This has been a wonderful experience. Having someone of your stature, someone who was in the beginning and still is a ‘sage’ in my education to Jungian psyche, allowing myself and others to participate in the interpretation of this dream is truly reflective of the spiritual soul you possess. You were willing to bare that soul and accept other possibilities. And in the end you were able to put it all together and better understand the message{s} of the dream. It is an education of the process as well as the possibilities.
    The whole process in which you presented the dream and the possibilities are in my mind the proper way to approach the dream. We learned about that process and in doing so the different aspects of every* dream, that there is at least two applications/meaning to each dream. The different levels of the psyche reflecting the different applications to the dreamer’s psychology, with what is usual for the dream, addressing the spiritual as well as recent waking life experiences {two applications/meaning}. It confirms my belief that the structure of dreams, the process in which Jung taught us to understand the dream, are correct. With this type of approach we are learning that dreams are no longer the great mystery they once were. By understanding the language of the dream, of symbol and metaphor, we can reach down into the deepest depths of the unconscious soul and see the true self. Your tutoring has helped me in this process of ‘seeing’ and because of that assistance I am nearer to my bliss than I could have ever ‘dreamt’ possible.
    twat twam asi,
    *nothing is absolute about the dream world

  3. Hi Jerry,
    Thank you for the kind and affirming words about these recent posts. Your comment, “It is an education of the process as well as the possibilities” of dreamwork pleases me very much. This was my intention; I’m glad to know I have fulfilled it. I know you are doing the same thing on your wonderful blog Myths-Dreams-Symbols at and congratulate you for your much needed, beneficial work.
    I’d also like to say I realize that baring one’s soul and accepting other possible ways of viewing a dream’s images feels very risky for many people, especially once they realize that dreams are nature, and, as such, incapable of lying about our true selves. And, of course, some dreams need to be held close and kept private. But if we’re determined to get past persona and ego to the truth beneath, it can be very helpful to have a knowledgable and trusted friend, guide, dream group or forum of some kind to help us with puzzling dreams. Thank you again for your excellent contributions to this process.
    My best,

  4. Good morning, Jeanie,
    I’ve been ‘away’ one way or another most of the summer but looked forward to each post when I found time to check in. Thank you so much–especially for sharing your process in dream work. It informs and enlightens mine. And I just bought the Herder dictionary! bett fitz

    1. Hi Bett,
      It’s good to see you back! I’m so glad you’ve found my recent posts informative! You’re going to love the Herder Symbol dictionary. It’s an excellent resource and my all-time favorite. I’ve used mine so much it’s falling apart!
      Sweet dreams,

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