A Thank-You and a Confession


” A man likes to believe that he is master of his soul. But as long as he is unable to control his moods and emotions, or to be conscious of the myriad secret ways in which unconscious factors insinuate themselves into his arrangements and decisions, he is certainly not his own master. These unconscious factors owe their existence to the autonomy of the archetypes.” ~Carl Jung, “Approaching the Unconscious,” Man and His Symbols, p. 83.

Moments ago I received a phone call and another e-mail from two people who told me they voted for The Soul’s Twins after my recent post, An Announcement and a Request. I did not expect that. I hadn’t planned to ask, but my agent urged me: “People like to help.” I guess I couldn’t believe you would want to go to all that trouble.

I don’t know if I can find the words to explain how deeply touched I am. But I want to try. I owe it to you.

After writing the above I needed a tissue. To wipe my eyes. Because I couldn’t see through my tears. I see I have touched a deep and painfully sensitive issue with this decision to explain my feelings. I felt them earlier today when I was working on my latest dream. It revealed an unconscious archetypal factor that wants to become conscious. I think I know what it is. But first, the dream.

Dream #5331: 

Sonam is here. I’m thrilled to see her. A woman named Nour`e, something like that, has volunteered to sponsor her here in America. I feel guilty that I didn’t make that offer, but am grateful that she did. I can’t support Sonam the way she deserves. She needs someone with more time and energy.

 I look into the next room through an entry in the wall. They’re talking together on a couch. They seem close, friendly, affectionate. I’m thrilled that they get along well.

I find the woman alone. She’s attractive and sophisticated, small and slender with dark hair. She doesn’t like or trust me. I don’t know why, but accept her feelings, as if there’s something wrong with me that I don’t blame her for disliking. I feel guilty  and anxious, but approach her anyway and thank her sincerely for sponsoring Sonam. She’s cool and distant and I’m bewildered and hurt. But I needed to tell her.

Sonam is a beautiful young woman who lives in Kathmandu, Nepal. When she was about nine years old, my husband and I sponsored her move from an impoverished, remote village in the Himalayas to a new home provided by the Himalayan Youth Foundation. With our continued support she received education, assistance and general care. The mission of HYI is to help the underprivileged and/or orphaned children of the Himalayas, ultimately helping the region and the world become as stable and prosperous as possible.

Sonam was not technically an orphan, but something in me tended to think of her as one. After all, she was completely vulnerable, far from home among strangers in an unfamiliar setting. And she would live there until she graduated from high school with rare visits to her home, a three-day walk away from the nearest drivable road. The part of me that resonated with how she must have felt was my inner Orphan, an influential factor in my psyche for as long as I can remember.

My first conscious awareness of how she felt…sad, alone, vulnerable, unworthy, possibly unloveable…came at the age of three when I was lost and alone on the shore of Lake Michigan, having been forgotten by my parents who had returned to the cottage on the cliff where we were vacationing. My second awareness came when I was around ten. Then a few times in high school, and off and on after that. But I ignored her because I was determined to be a strong, tough, and independent Warrior. The last thing I wanted was to be a whiner or self-pitying victim.

Through the years, my Jungian work helped me see and understand her to the point I thought she might be healed. I haven’t had an Orphan dream in years. But there she was again two nights ago. This time, she was a lovely young adult whose dream of coming to America had finally come true. Someone was there to support her, but it wasn’t me. It was a woman I didn’t know who didn’t like me for reasons I didn’t understand. An aspect of my shadow.

Why doesn’t she like me? Because I’ve neglected her. I think she’s my grown-up Orphan who still hasn’t received the attention she needs from me. Why haven’t I given her enough attention? Because at an unconscious level I still think she doesn’t deserve it. I don’t like her/my feelings of unworthiness and unlovability. I still tell myself to get tough and over them.

Why was I so emotional when I decided to write a post about why your support touches me so deeply?  I think it was my decision to honor my adult Shadow Orphan by accepting and exposing her/my deep sense of unworthiness. She knows how vulnerable that makes me feel. She knows I don’t like that feeling. She knows how hard it is for me to remove my Warrior persona. And she’s beyond happy to be acknowledged at last. I think those tears of gratitude were hers.

It’s no wonder she and Sonam got along so well. They symbolize two different aspects of my Orphan. Sonam is small and slender with dark hair. So is Nour`e, who’s simply an older version.

I puzzled over her name: Nour`e? Why did that feel so familiar? Then I remembered a book I read years ago about the Beloved. It was written by a priest with a similar name. I looked it up. It’s titled You Are the Beloved. The author is Henri Nouwen.

Is that Dream Mother’s message? Am I really the Beloved?

Oops. Here come the tears again. Thank you so very much. Your kindness means more than you’ll ever know, and I’m deeply grateful.

Sonam, if you’re reading this, I hope you know I love you.

Image credit: Cosette, illustration from ‘Les Miserables’ by Victor Hugo, 1862 by Emile Antoine Bayard © PVDE

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.com. Her new book, The Soul’s Twins, is available at Schiffer, Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit and wherever books are sold. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.

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23 Responses

  1. Dear Jeanie,

    What an exquisite, mythic and deeply heartfelt post! It’s true, people do like to help. I agree, it seems like Cosette, Sonam and the grown up Nour’e collectively symbolise the Orphan archetype … and what a story, between them, they tell of your life! The deep truth of which only you in your heart Jeanie, know so well. Thank you for sharing this rich dream, your interpretation and your heart with us.

    The archetypes of Mother, Maiden and Crone (Triple Goddess) also come to mind, as the three of you, in different stages of life and womanhood meet within the dream. The tension between the opposites is palpable, as it often is, as the differences between each stage of our lives are … and yet healing has taken place between the Maiden and the Mother, all the while the Crone looks on. As it should be, I feel.

    The psyche is not neat and ordered, there’s no prediction as to when or where healing will come or be undone … there is only this moment, the one we’re living in, the one Cosette, Sonam and Nour’e live in. As Athena’s breastplate grows too tight, we must learn how to slowly remove it before the new words can arise … those beautiful, golden and auspicious ones, much like the deeper meaning of Sonam.

    Love and light, Deborah.

    1. Dear Deborah,

      Thank you so much for these rich associations to my dream. Everything you say resonates. I hadn’t thought to consider my dream ego as part of the dream, but of course! The Triple Goddess. The characters were three women in those exact stages off life. That certainly speaks to the archetypal depth of this dream. What a brilliant insight.

      And yes, there is always tension as we grow through the stages of our lives. How could there not be? Growth can’t happen otherwise.

      Your reminder that the psyche is not neat and ordered speaks strongly to me too. I need to be reminded of that. I certainly have tried to create meaning for my life, but I can see, especially in The Soul’s Twins, my penchant for creating order as well. At least in my inner life. I realize that’s a fruitless endeavor, of course. But tell that to my Warrior who seems determined to make everything right.

      When you mentioned the deeper meaning of Sonam, I immediately looked it up and see that you are way ahead of me. Beautiful, golden, auspicious!! Like the beautiful bee for which you are named that makes its nurturing golden honey. You certainly brought that quality in your response to this post as I know you do to your fortunate clients. Thank your sharing your generous spirit here.

      Love, Jeanie

      1. Oh, many thanks Jeanie! I do love the bee symbolism associated with “Deborah” and coincidentally, my middle name is “Jeanette” … you couldn’t make it up! On the subject of clients, after many months of telephone only appointments, I’ve finally returned to seeing my clients in person this week and how joyous that’s been.

        1. Jean/Jeanette, “God is gracious.” How lovely to be back with your clients in person. I met with my dream partner, maskless and in person yesterday, and it was so lovely just to see each others’ smiles!

  2. My dearest Jeane, you have deserved all the loves and Beloved from all of the world. You are one of the wisest women who I have known. And thank you for your brilliant analysis of your dream and your feelings. I thank you also for being there for us all. Take care ❤

    1. Thank you Aladin. Like Deborah, you also have a generous spirit that you share freely with others. I feel very fortunate to know you. And I’m enjoying the new direction your blog has taken, with more personal writing and sharing of your passions. Thank you for sharing them with us. Love and blessings, Jeanie

  3. Your moving story, and dream, reminded me of this short version of Odetta’s song, below, ‘Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,’ bringing tears to the deep sadness of that orphan feeling, which, to varying degrees, lurks deep inside all of us.
    … a clip from a roughly 20 minute video “Last Word: Odetta” from NY Times


    The orphan is shy of the adult. It takes courage to acknowledge this miserable and embarrassing aspect in us. Only gentle rapport and patience will make it come out of hiding. You’re sharing how it can happen. Thanks for reminding me.

    1. Thank you for sharing that exquisite clip of Odetta singing, Ashen. It freed more of my Orphan’s tears.

      There was a time when I couldn’t cry: “The orphan is shy of the adult.” Indeed. But she has been bolder lately. It seems she may be ready to come out of hiding. Welcome home, baby girl.

      Love and gratitude, Jeanie

        1. Oh, Ashen. I’m so sorry. What a terrible tragedy for a mother to have. For everyone involved to have.

          Each case is individual and there’s no way to say, but I believe she could have been a help to you in many ways.

          I have a daughter and a son. Both have taught me many things about myself and given me plenty of material to work on. As a psychologist, my daughter even helps me with dreamwork sometimes. And my son has helped me see my emotional wounding. Still, I’m sure you learned some equally valuable lessons from having to live with the painful knowledge that she wasn’t there for you to learn from.

          “…we give from what we need.” That’s definitely true of me. What I need most is acceptance and understanding, and that’s what I give others.

          Thank you for sharing the beautiful guided meditation. I’ve saved it and look forward to using it with others when the need arises.

  4. Dear Jane, I’ve been deeply touched by your dream and your story ♡♡
    Not only because it coincides with myne.

    Nour, or Noura, means The Light One, in Arabian language. We might say Lucy… 🙂
    Your description made me see her as a figure of the higher Self. It’s impossible that She would not love you. It only possible that your ‘everage’ self interprets it that way, not being fully ready to acknowledge its bright shine.
    Love you,

    1. Dear Vera,

      Oh my. “The Light One?” Your remarkable comment has certainly brought light my way this morning.

      And your observation, “It’s impossible that She would not love you,” brings yet more tears. Yes, my average self is afflicted with a negative intuition that does tend to read ‘rejection’ into what might only be a natural reticence.

      The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves can be very damaging. Sometimes my story puts me on the defensive and brings out my Warrior. I see it’s time to change my story. 🙂

      Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom here today.



      1. Thank you for your beautiful words and feelings. And thank you for having coped with my English 🙂

  5. Where are my tissues? I was glad to vote for your book, Jeanie. I know the exposed vulnerability of putting yourself out there to promote/share a new book child or anything so well nourished and tended. I feel how extra difficult this is in pandemic times–and how alone it must feel when you can’t present your book in person with human bodies in the room as you’ve done in the past. Zoom doesn’t cut it when it comes to human connection and a sense of being touched–at least for me.

    How interesting that the name means “The Light One” in Arabic and also how unloved and unlovable you felt in your dream. How orphaned. And Odetta’s song is another wonderful connection.

    Your book is slow going because I’m in a slow place with a need for many sauntering walks and long hours of sleep. Your book is rich and full of connections and depth. An amazing achievement. I’m just digging into The Couple which is where I wanted to begin. With love and tenderness, Elaine

    1. Dear Elaine,

      It seems today is a day of tears for several of us. I just had to get another tissue when I read your reply. And it’s raining here. Even the world is weeping! Unfortunately, there’s much in the news to weep over. Maybe our collective Orphan is also trying to make itself known.

      But that’s not a bad thing. There’s a positive side to weeping. Synchronistically, I recently came across this article that speaks to the healing properties of tears: https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-crying#detox Who knew?

      Thank you for voting for my book. You, of all people, do know how it feels to ask such a thing of people. I doubt I’ll ever be comfortable with it.

      I’m glad you’re taking your time to read The Soul’s Twins. I think that’s the best way to get the most out of it. This topic is unusually deep and unfamiliar to most of us, even we who have studied Jungian psychology for a long time. My goal was to make it as simple and clear as possible, but there’s nothing simple and clear about archetypes and gender. This book just barely scratches the surface. Still, I needed to try. If only for the sake of understanding myself better.

      Thank you for writing. 🙂



      1. Happy Birthday, Jeanie. You tried and succeeded with a hard task. I’m slow these days with absorbing anything other than the beauty of the Earth–including yesterday’s snow. I sleep more hours than ever before rather than trying to push my way through the neurological demands of the cochlear implant and Meniere’s Disease. I want to integrate your book and make it personal to deepen understanding of my own life. I’m waiting for that A-ha! insight. Something tells me it will come. Meniere’s makes everything slow and I’m experimenting with surrendering rather than willing myself forward. That’s a challenge for a woman with Aries on the Ascendant.

        1. Thank you, Elaine! This was the best birthday I can rememberer ever having. Something is shifting in me. Something good. I don’t quite know what it is or how to explain it yet, but once I do, maybe I’ll share it here. It’s a lovely surprise to know that it’s never too late to open up enough to appreciate life’s gifts.

          I think taking it slow and restful and enjoying nature’s beauty is a very special gift from this time of life. I think you’re doing absolutely the right thing in listening to your body and taking your time and not trying to push your way through. It’s such a healthy and loving way to spend these years after all the intense striving we’ve demanded of ourselves for so very long.

          As always, you are an inspiration. Your blog posts and comments demonstrate how to live through each season of life — with their heights and depths and challenges and everything in between — with presence and graceful acceptance.



  6. Dear Jeanie, I responded yesterday and I thought it was up but clearly not. So I’m just checking! But also to say that your post is so heartfelt and moved me deeply. I know how hard it is to ask … my worst thing imagining that the person says no. I hadn’t thought of this as an orphan archetype but it fits. My first response was much longer …

    The comments are lovely, I’ll check out Ashen’s link shortly … love, Susan

    1. Thanks, Susan. I looked for your yesterday comment in my dashboard, thinking it might have gotten somehow stuck there. It wasn’t there. I wish I could have seen it. But thank you for trying and writing again just to let me know. That was sweet. It’s enough to know it resonated with you. Much love, Jeanie

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