Dream Messages from the Fruitful In-Between


Dream #5363:  August 6, 2021

I’m in a room with several young people. I walk past my granddaughter Sophia. She’s standing in front of a young blonde-haired man who’s sitting on a couch to my right. He hands her a small round canister, like the kind Kodak film used to be rolled up in. She pulls out something written on paper, reads it, then says, “Aw, no, I’m really sorry…”  I don’t hear the rest, but he’s obviously crushed. I imagine he’s asked her to the prom and she can’t, or doesn’t want to go. She’s being gracious and kind, trying to let him down easily, and I’m impressed by her compassion for his feelings. They have obviously liked each other for a while. I wonder what’s going on.

I realize this is a classroom and these young people are students. An Asian boy shows me a paper filled with handwritten mathematical calculations and says, “Can you help me with this?” It’s some kind of higher math. I say, “Oh no, I don’t know anything about this.” I feel guilty, as if I should know. He persists, “But could you just show me how to score this?”  I look at the figures and have no idea what they mean. I say, “I’m so sorry.  I really don’t know.”  He walks away disappointed.

Sophia is their teacher. She’s still talking to the boy/man, trying to console him. The students are all chilling, talking, waiting for her. I want to help her by taking over the class until she can start. I ask a girl what the subject is. She says, “Food.” I say laughing, “Oh no, I don’t know anything about that. You’ll have to wait for her.” The girl and her friends smile good-naturedly.

I sit on a couch and Sophia comes to me. She wants to talk: ”I don’t know what to do. I think I just broke up with my boyfriend. I really like him but there’s this other guy. He’s so cool…..”  With tears in her eyes she tries to explain while fiddling with her hair, looking very sad, and obviously feeling awful. I’m touched that she wants to talk to me and hope I can think of something to say that will make her feel better.

The scene changes. Now I’m outside in a courtyard behind the classroom and she’s inside teaching. I look up into the night sky and stare in amazement at the most bizarre phenomenon I’ve ever seen. Above and in front of me, the air over the courtyard is filled with sparkling gold strings of glittering lights arranged in all sorts of formations that reach so high into the sky that I can’t see where they end. Some look like slender beaded necklaces. Others have clusters at the bottom that look like huge glittering chandeliers. I’m stunned, in awe.

I rush into the classroom to get my cell phone. I call out to Sophia to come out and see this. Everyone comes out looking equally amazed. They start taking pictures with their cell phones. I frantically try to turn on my cell phone camera. Students run around taking pictures. I worry that the clusters are hanging lower and changing configurations and I want to get some good pictures before they melt or disappear.


Sophia:  My lovely, caring, scrupulous granddaughter who represents a youthful part of me.

The boy she’s rejecting: A sweet, yearning writer Animus part of me who no longer elicits passion in/from Sophia/me.

The Asian boy:  An unconscious (because from another country) aspect of my writer animus who has difficulty with the logical, linear language of math, and wants my help. I have the same problem so can’t help him. I feel guilty about letting him down but I don’t know how to do this. 

This reminds me of what I’m learning about myself from my online presentations about The Partnership Profile. Parts of it are difficult to explain because they require the kind of left-hemisphere cognition that’s difficult for me. In the past, my shadow Sage would have felt embarrassed or defensive about this weakness. This dream says I feel some guilt, but that’s all.

As I readily admit in the next scene, it’s the same with food. I enjoy it, occasionally feel like cooking or baking something special, but mostly I’m not interested. I’ve stressed over cooking for most of my adult life and don’t want that any more. 

Sophia/Me feels remorse about the loss of libido for my writer animus, symbolized by her boyfriend and the Asian boy. Lately, I’ve been feeling the same way about my writing. Maybe this is just a temporary thing, but whatever it is, my dream says I’m accepting it.

The lysis of the dream — that extraordinary numinous luminosity — is my reward for heeding the messages I’m getting from my unconscious this summer. Something in me is shifting and I’m struggling with it. I’m slowing down, have less desire to write about anything but my dreams, feel guilty about considering leaving teaching to someone else. But I just want to read, relax, enjoy nature and the rest of my life. I’m in that difficult, but infinitely fruitful middle mandorla place of dialogue between the old me and an unknown new me that needs to be heard. 

These are my burning questions right now: Who is this special new guy that Sophia/I feel so attracted to?  What gifts might he bring in the time to come? I’m just about ready to accept him/them.

What aging issues demand your attention? May you find your answers in the fruitful in-between.

Paper and E-book versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. The Wilbur Award-winning Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.com. Jean’s new Nautilus Award-winning The Soul’s Twins, is at Amazon and Schiffer’s Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.

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14 Responses

  1. Dear Jeanie,

    Thank you so much for sharing your recent dream, alongside your own rich, insightful associations. I hope you don’t mind me diving in, as like you, I love helping friends and clients unpack their dreams, however, do feel free to discard what doesn’t fit. On first reading, a couple of things came to mind …

    Firstly, your communication with the Asian boy left me wondering about your thinking and feeling functions and how they seem to be attempting to come into a new relationship with each other but ended up missing the opportunity to do so … or perhaps not, and this is the beginning of a deeper integration between them. Also, since you’ve made a strong connection with your recent presentation work and the difficulty you’re finding in using the right language to explain yourself, a typology theme kind of fits to me, especially when …

    Looking at how Sophia was contemplating a new relationship, again your thinking and feeling functions come up as for me, as the potential new relationship with “Mr Cool”, feels rather aloof, detached and absent somehow, in contrast to the warm, loving relationship that is on offer with the young blonde haired man who seems to be asking for a new relationship, offering the circle of life with the round container, proposing an “inner” marriage …

    Lastly, ha-ha! I love how the dream compensates for your conscious attitude regarding food by insisting on cooking lessons on the inside! Pure alchemy! And as for those golden strings of glittering light, well for me, it felt like you were in the presence of the Great Mother Herself, Sophia. We both know that the psyche knows exactly what it’s doing at all times, so I don’t believe your granddaughter, Sophia was a random choice either!

    Love and light, Deborah.

  2. Oh, Deborah! I love your associations. So different from mine, yet so right on.

    Thank you for feeling free to dive right in with your associations. I’m always open to that, and especially love having your help. You’ve given me so much more to work with than I found on my own. Most of the dream does seem to be about typology, especially a conversation between my thinking and feeling functions. I totally missed that. Thank you. This is an amazing insight. These two are closer to each other than any other pair on my Myers-Briggs scores, but their relationship doesn’t feel balanced to me. Since both are very active in my personality, I suspect they both carry some unresolved shadow material that shows up in my internal and external conflicts. For that reason, I do think this dream might signal the beginning of a deeper integration between them.

    And the comparison between the blonde-haired man and the absent Mr. Cool! Missed that too. I did have a twinge of unease when she described him to me though. I should have followed that thread deeper. Another amazing insight.

    I also see alchemy at work in the compensatory function of the unconscious when it comes to food. Conscious me isn’t drawn to cooking, yet out of necessity I have a lot of experience of it. Perhaps the lack of interest is because sensation is my weakest type….I’d rather make magic by cooking and synthesizing my intuitions into a hearty, nourishing cognitive stew than peel potatoes and chop onions to make a material one. There’s some shadow in there too.

    Finally, I agree wholeheartedly with your conclusion. Thanks to your associations, I have no doubt the Great Mother Sophia was the subject of this dream. Everything in it revolved around Sophia the person, and it concluded with an image of the Great Mother. No random choice there.

    Thank you for the dream therapy! What do I owe you? 😉 Love, Jeanie

    1. That’s great! Cherry pick what resonates for you Jeanie and discard the rest. I’ve been working with clients dreams since 2008 and love it! As “thinking” is my inferior function I like to, from time to time, challenge myself with a difficult book (obviously written by a dominant thinking author!) which is what I’m doing this week. And, oh my goddess, the book is driving me crazy but I’m gaining many new insights and hopefully creating a little more balance between my dominant and inferior functions.

      1. I know how hard it is to willingly step into your inferior function. It’s challenging, frustrating, difficult, stressful, and annoying, especially if it’s something you have to do in order to accomplish an important goal, so you can’t stop. This is what learning so many new intricacies of computer technology to finish and promote my book has been to me for the last few years. It’s been worth it — I’ve stopped fighting it and am a little more patient and observant of details. But wow it’s been hard! Maybe that’s why I automatically resisted helping the Asian boy. Trying to figure out all that gibberish on that piece of paper was just too daunting and I’ve had more than enough of it.

        Is that good or bad? There’s really no answer to that, is there? Good if I’m finally giving myself permission to slow down and rest instead of pushing myself so hard; bad if I’m unwittingly rejecting another opportunity to grow. Perhaps future dreams will bring more clues.

        I love it that you have regular dreamwork sessions with clients. That must really have honed your intuitive skills. Your expertise comes out loud and clear in your responses to me! Much appreciation, Deborah.

        1. Ha-Ha! I found myself nodding and laughing at your description of how one works with their inferior function because believe me, I could’ve thrown the book I’m reading across the garden several times already this afternoon.

          Re your interaction with the Asian boy in the dream, I agree, I don’t think it was good or bad, it just was what it was. Hmm, now there’s another thought, you have one dark haired and one blonde hair animus, again opposites.

          Like anyone I’m guessing, I struggle to unravel my own dreams, but can often see a glimpse of a pattern or two in others. What a fantastic journey we’re on!

          1. Yes! One dark-haired man and one light-haired. I noticed that too, and just finished telling Susan about it in the comment below!

            As to unraveling my own dreams, I’ve been doing this almost daily for 31 years and still struggle! I can see and feel the great benefits of the struggle, the daily labor — essentially it’s that the existential angst has been replaced by quiet trust — but sometimes I feel no wiser or knowledgeable of who and what I am than when I began. That feels okay. 🙂

  3. What an extraordinary dream Jeanie thank you for sharing it with us. Deborah’s exploration is wonderful and is ‘food for thought’ and ‘inner cooking’ for sure. I don’t think I can offer much really, I would wonder about that Kodak canister type thing – a container – with film to be developed inside it as per Sophia’s response to it? The scoring request from the Asian reminds me of the scoring on the typology on the Partnership Profile as it has to do with numbers and numericals – all of this inside the classroom, and then outside, as in Nature, there is a dazzling sight – and all the younger people are taking pictures (Kodak canister) while you are trying to get yours switched on, before it disappears. Your analysis of your dream seems sound. The lysis says it all.

    I had an amazing dream the other night, in brief (my dream book is downstairs so not to hand) but at the beach in a car, I see a HUGE wave off on the left, my husband is asleep. The wave gently breaks. The next scene is of my son, a young boy with a missing front tooth. He is saying something to an older woman about something that concerns him to which she says yes you are right to be concerned, and the most joyous smile breaks out over his little face as he looks at her lovingly and she at him as he knows he has been heard – he looks positively beatific. I’m thinking that there is an animus at play here … I’m not sure. I’m still working on it … but I liked the dream very much. And makes me wonder about much at this stage of my life. Love, Susan.

  4. Hmm. Your associations for the canister/container thing ‘with film to be developed’ depending on Sophia’s response is awesome. I never gave that a thought. So Sophia is being extremely kind and compassionate, and saying no to him deeply pains her, but their relationship is just not working for her any more. Blonde-haired men have always been very positive animus images in my dreams (the Greek gods and goddesses all had blonde hair!) and when she told me later that she was interested in this new cool guy, I pictured him with dark hair.

    An interesting omission on my part is that I’ve realized she also said he was extremely rich. That worried me in the dream. I hoped she wasn’t falling for him just for monetary reasons, but I didn’t know him and his character, so it didn’t feel right to warn her against him. I left that out when I wrote the dream here because I limit my posts to no more than 1000 words and thought the other parts of the dream were more important, but I think I may also have left it out unconsciously because it made me uncomfortable! This gives me lots more to think about. Is this weariness I’ve felt lately a regression into the dark womb of the Mother as a result of aging? Or a temporary necessary respite to restore my energy? Both?

    I’ve also just noticed that I said no to three different opportunities (if you count Sophia as a part of me) in this dream: The blonde boy, the Asian boy, and the opportunity to teach Sophia’s class for her. Again, is this a positive example of my ability to know what I can and can do and choose wisely in accordance with what’s right for me? Or is it a saying no to opportunities for further growth, an alternative possibility Deborah suggests? I don’t know. I just know that the lysis of the dream feels like a mystical, spiritual gift. It’s this progression from the magic three motif of fairy tales (3 brothers, 3 sisters, 3 wishes, three opportunities to accomplish one’s goal) to a final beautiful outcome that tells me I’m doing okay and should just trust the process. We’ll see!

    Your dream does seem special and amazing. The HUGE gentle wave on the left: a big new development in my unconscious? The ocean? Interesting. I immediately thought of a tidal wave that could cover the car and carry you away, but it turned out to break gently and cause no damage whatsoever. Your son with a missing tooth: about 5 years old? Something that’s been going on for about 5 years? Or from when you were about five years old? His trusting innocence in sharing something he’s worried about; her deep understanding, compassion and affirmation of him. Two different parts of me that are listening to each other and being heard? My youthful masculine side and my elderly crone developing a loving, trusting relationship with each other?

    Feels like a very positive development indeed! Beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with me. This certainly is an interesting stage of life isn’t it? Love, Jeanie

  5. Dear Jeanie,

    I’m fascinated by two images–the film cannister and the lights which feel like constellations at play. In astrology, the constellations we see shift with the season and make much slower shifts over eons of time. Those lights are so mysterious and archetypal and they feel like an image of what’s being released in you. The film cannister feels like something from the past, something Sophia rejects as inappropriate now.

    Your thoughts about this crone transition resonate strongly with me. Instead of writing a mythological opus I imagined for many years, I’m going with what I love and what brings me joy. Monarchs! I don’t know where my writing is going, but I’m intertwining my life story with the process of collecting, protecting, and photographing them. My animus loves clearly defined goals, but that’s not the way this is unfolding. I argue with the scolding animus voice that the main thing I need now is to have fun and be inspired. He pouts and tells me, “You don’t have that much time.” I recently had two dream images, one the night after the other, where I had to eat a cat and the next night eat a puppy. I couldn’t swallow and the cat, especially, seemed alive and affectionate. How could I eat it? The images were shocking to my dream ego and my waking ego the following morning, but they transformed after talking with my dream therapist. I realized I have to ingest what is playful and feminine. She reminded me of Marie Louise von Franz’s book about ‘The Cat: A Tale of Feminine Redemption.’ The butterflies give me a chance for child-like creative play like sandtray in the past. We’ll see what happens next!

    I appreciate hearing about your process and imagining you taking in the serenity of nature.

  6. Oooo, thank you for your thoughts on the canister, as something Sophia (part of me0 rejects as inappropriate now. That really feels right to me. And the constellation-like lights as something mysterious and archetypal being released in me. That resonates too.

    And you’re going with your monarchs! Good. I find it very Interesting that you chose to mother monarchs and not some other species. Metaphorically, monarchs are sovereigns over their own lives. I see the inner sovereign as a third-force archetype made up of a conscious partnership between the healthy, conscious Mother (species-preservation) and Father (self-preservation) archetypes. And I see you as someone who has activated that archetype. You’re mothering this species of life now because it may be endangered and your feminine side values all species and wants to preserve them. You’re fathering them, yourself, your home and property, all with diligent care to bring order and virtue to your domain, to set things right, to fulfill your responsibility to nurture all that dwells there that it may prosper and thrive.

    I read von Franz’s book about the cat in the early 90’s. Have it on my bookshelf. Cats are my daughter’s favorite animals and symbols, especially the big cats, like panthers. And yes, they’re associated with the feminine. How lucky you are to have an excellent dream therapist! I love that she helped you find meaning in those shocking images. I wonder if she’d work with me? I could use some outside perspectives on my dreams during this in-between time….I’ve never felt old and weary before!!!

    As an aside, I once dreamed I had to eat sh*t on a cracker. I thought about it and ended up staying, “I don’t have to eat that sh*t!” It was at a time when I was being exposed to an intensely emotional religious perspective that I just couldn’t buy. Or eat.

    Nature is being especially nurturing to me right now for sure. It feels so good to be out of the city and immersed in her beauty and magic. Thanks, Elaine

  7. I’m in that difficult, but infinitely fruitful middle mandorla place of dialogue between the old me and an unknown new me that needs to be heard.
    Slow down, you move too fast
    You got to make the morning last
    Just kicking down the cobblestones
    Looking for fun and feeling groovy
    Ba da-da da-da da-da, feeling groovy
    The 59th Street Bridge Song
    Song by Simon & Garfunkel
    Thanks you all mark

  8. Hi Mark, Hahaha. Very appropriate lyrics. Yes, I do seem to spend much of my time on metaphorical bridges. And yes, feeling groovy for most of it!

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