Most of us want to grow or improve in some way: to be happier, wiser, kinder, and more loving. To be more creative, find more fulfilling work. To be better parents or partners. To live with more integrity. To lessen our anxiety and ease our suffering. To free ourselves from the emotional pain and habitual behaviors that fling us into the abyss and wound our relationships.To be more understanding and helpful to others. To feel more connected to the Mystery.
As award-winning author and urban shaman Donna Henes says in writing about the Queen archetype, “The holy elixir that we seek is the transformation of the painful, rejected, neglected, wounded, unsatisfied, unsatisfactory parts of our Self, into the unified, organized, energized, golden glory and grace of the fulfilled Queen. It is through our sincere and complete participation in this process that we learn how to recognize, claim and proudly proclaim our own true power. The power of our fully engaged Self.”
But many of us are at a loss about how exactly to participate in this process. Writing and dreamwork have been my most fruitful practices, but when I tell people how important my dreams are to me, I sometimes sense real perplexity along the order of, “Weird! What are you smoking, lady?”
How can dreams possibly be of any practical use? Because they provide insights about unknown aspects of ourselves that validate our worth and help us grow. I know this because I’ve experienced it. The proof is in the vast improvement in my inner climate: fewer hurricanes, heat waves, arctic blasts, volcanic eruptions, and floods; more balmy air, cooling breezes and refreshing rain. But this is not always readily apparent or easily conveyed to others and can be difficult to understand.
Dreams are natural resources of infinite value. They are available to everyone, and in these hard economic times, the good news is that they are absolutely free! But we have to be willing to mine them, and for that we need time, intention, and a bit of help from more experienced miners who can teach us the trade. To that end, in this and the next few posts I’ll share a bit of what I’ve learned about how dreams aid psycho-spiritual transformation.
My starting point is the Self, which is both our core and our circumference. Some think of it as our soul, the totality of who we are and who we have the potential to become. Jung called it the archetype of wholeness and in later years referred to it as our god-image and connection to the Mystery some call God. Composed of the twin drives for self-preservation (i.e. masculine logos, represented in alchemy by the King archetype) and species preservation (feminine mythos/eros symbolized by the Queen), the Self shapes our ideas about God and is the source of our irresistible compulsion to grow into wholeness, consciousness, and enlightenment.
The Self is our inner Beloved, a fresh, never-ending fountain of love, creativity, wholeness and sacred meaning that reveals itself in the symbolic images and soulful dramas of our dreams. Why does it do this? Because it has a natural benevolence that feels like love to us. Like a sleeping princess waiting for the Lover Prince to awaken her with a kiss, the Self rests at the core of our being, calling our heroic egos to their destiny of merging with the indwelling Mystery.
To be continued….