I’ve conducted dreamwork with some exceptional people and am honored by their trust in me. Recently a woman long committed to Jungian dreamwork (I’ll call her Maia) shared a special dream. As the owner of her own business, she was encountering some worriesome issues. Then one day she realized the problem did not lie with her clients or employees but with herself. She had believed her motivation was to serve their needs, but in truth, she had an unconscious need to impress them with her authority, creativity, and leadership skills. That very day she instigated some important new policies that placed the company’s mission above her personal needs.
That night she dreamed that a lovely woman she’s known for years, (I’ll call her Nan) married her own (Nan’s) husband! Maia’s dream ego had no memory of attending the ceremony, but found herself with the new bride immediately afterwards. Nan was resting peacefully in the modest room of a country inn, still wearing her simple white gown. Maia had a sudden inspiration. Might Nan want to celebrate with champagne? Nan liked the idea and asked for cheese and crackers too. So with the help of her own husband and some obliging women who worked there, Maia arranged for food and champagne to be brought to Nan’s room. The dream ended as Maia was returning to Nan feeling grateful for the help she had received and pleased to have thought of a way to make this occasion more special for her friend.
I think this is a very significant dream. Can you see its connection to Maia’s waking life? As we talked it became clear the dream is about her insight from the previous day and her choice to honor a priority greater than glorifying her ego. Maia is not the bride in this dream. If she were, the dream would be saying her ego still sees itself as the star of her own show. But Maia’s dream ego is not being served. She is serving a bride with sincere enthusiasm because she is more interested in honoring an important relationship than being the center of attention.
What do the bride and groom symbolize? Maia told me she had often dreamed of this couple. She sees them as attractive, balanced, responsible, and successful. They each have work they love, they’ve raised well-adjusted children, made many contributions to their community, and enjoy loving relationships with their family and friends. In short, of all the people Maia knows, this pair most closely fits her image of the ideal couple. Maia and I think that for her they represent the Self, with Nan being the Self’s feminine half, and her husband the masculine. This dream is about the union of Maia’s inner opposites, the internal alchemy of the Sacred Marriage.
Other details corroborate this. For example, the two couples suggest the number four, which Jung associated with wholeness and the Self. Likewise, the bride is not interested in spending a lot of money (energy) on a fancy reception to impress her acquaintances, return favors, or receive expensive gifts. This dream is not about Maia’s social or material aspirations, but about her ego dying to the opinions of the world and acquiring the proper relationship to the Self. It is a commentary on her growth in self-knowledge and consciousness.
Maia will never gain public acclaim for her progress with her magnum opus because it’s strictly a private affair. But her dream celebrates her growth, and this validation from her Sacred Center is the greatest reward she could ever want.