Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Puppy Love July 20, 2012

Recently I shared a dream from many years ago (Seeing Through the Mist) of a sacred garden where a puppy playfully grabbed my hand as if inviting me to follow him. Who was this puppy named Prince? What was he doing in my dream? Where did he want to take me? In those days I had only a vague inkling of what this sweet symbol had to do with me. But the sweetness has spread a hundred-fold since then and I thought you might be interested in knowing why.

Animals in dreams usually represent our physical, animal natures. In Jungian psychology dogs are often seen as psychopomps, i.e. spiritual initiators and guides who direct the transformation of souls. For example, in Greek mythology, Cerberus is the three-headed dog who guards the river Styx, the place of transition between physical life and the underworld afterlife.  Psychologically, the upper world represents our conscious selves and the underworld represents the unconscious: our unknown depths. 

So how did this symbol relate to the transformation occurring in my soul? I found a clue in the writing of Thomas Moore. In his book, Care of the Soul, he says that during the Middle Ages, many wise people considered the body to be a physical manifestation of the soulDeepak Chopra addresses the same theme in Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul.  Both write about the loss of soul that comes from neglecting the sacred life in our bodies.

Was I attuned to the sacredness of the life in my physical body?  Did I treat it like a spiritual vessel for my soul? Did I respect the messages it sent me through emotions and physical sensations? Absolutely not. And here’s why. At the age of 11 I learned the most devastating lesson anyone can have:  the reality and inevitability of death.  When my father died, my unconscious response was to escape physical vulnerability and pain by strengthening my mind and spirit.

From then on, I was a stoic little Warrior.  I refused novacaine when the dentist drilled my teeth.  If my eyes filled with tears, I simply wiped them away and pressed on. If I felt physically drained, instead of noticing what was sapping my energy I criticized myself for wimping out. If someone said something cruel or nobody asked me to dance at the Jr. High cotillion, I refused to feel hurt.  So for the grown-up me, the puppy represented an inner soul guide whose appearance signaled my readiness to become better acquainted with my physical, instinctual, emotional self.

What about his name: Prince? Did that mean something too? Of course it did. Everything in our dreams has meaning for us. Consider this association for “prince” from The Herder Symbol Dictionary: “Psychoanalytically he can be understood as the representative of victorious ego powers.” This innocuous little puppy symbolized a profound spiritual truth: The success of our journey is a function of our (our ego’s) willingness to acquire as much reverence for the unconscious life in our bodies as we have for the conscious life of the mind.

That this puppy was a Prince and not a fully adult King suggested I had a lot of growing up to do. But the fact that he was being fed by unconscious aspects of my psyche (the unknown people in the dream who gave him food) was enormously reassuring because it said parts of me were beginning to heed this wisdom so beautifully expressed by Jungian analyst, Dr. Cara Barker: “Take the time to feed what is hungry in your soul, and rest what is weary in your heart.”  Today I realize that receiving Prince’s affirmation from the sacred depths was when I stopped trying to escape my life and started falling back in love with it.

Click here to see a video of my first interview for my new book, Healing the Sacred Divide.

 

Puppy Love May 11, 2010

Recently I wrote about a dream from many years ago of a sacred garden where a puppy playfully grabbed my hand as if inviting me to follow him. Who was this puppy named Prince? What was he doing in my dream? Where did he want to take me? In those days I had only a vague inkling of what this sweet symbol had to do with me. But the sweetness has spread a hundred-fold since then and I thought you might be interested in knowing why.

Animals in dreams usually represent our physical, animal natures. In Jungian psychology dogs are often seen as psychopomps, i.e. spiritual initiators and guides who direct the transformation of souls. For example, in Greek mythology, Cerberus is the three-headed dog who guards the river Styx, the place of transition between the upper- and underworlds. Psychologically, the upper world symbolizes everything we know about ourselves and the underworld represents our unknown and undeveloped depths.

A major issue with spiritually oriented people like me is that we can become so infatuated with the abstract life of the mind that we tend to lose touch with our feelings and bodies. Have you ever been moved to tears by something and not known why? Our bodies send us emotional messages like this all the time, and dismissing them is like failing to open a letter from your most trusted friend. I used to ignore these spontaneous eruptions from the underworld but now I try to figure out what they’re trying to tell me. Are they about a sad loss? A painful betrayal? An unhealed wound? Or do they signify overflowing gratitude for the blessings of my life, like the freedom to be myself, a thoughtful gift from a grandchild, or a loving hug from a dear friend?

Anyway, during the Middle Ages, many wise people considered the body to be a physical manifestation of the soul. This idea is being revived today by people like Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul), and Deepak Chopra (Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul). The common theme in these books is the loss of soul that comes from neglecting the sacred life in our bodies. So for me, the puppy represents an inner soul guide whose appearance signaled my readiness to get better acquainted with my physical, instinctual, emotional truths.

That’s cool enough, but what about his name: Prince? Did that mean something too? Of course it did. Everything in our dreams has meaning for us. Consider this association for “prince” from The Herder Symbol Dictionary: “Psychoanalytically he can be understood as the representative of victorious ego powers.” This innocuous little puppy symbolizes a profound spiritual truth: The success of our journey is a function of our (our ego’s) willingness to acquire as much reverence for the unconscious life in our bodies as we have for the conscious life of the mind.

That this puppy was a Prince and not a fully adult Queen or King suggested I had a lot of growing up to do. But the fact that he was being fed by unconscious aspects of my psyche (the unknown people in the dream who gave him food) was enormously reassuring because it said parts of me were beginning to heed this wisdom so beautifully expressed by Jungian analyst, Dr. Cara Barker: “Take the time to feed what is hungry in your soul, and rest what is weary in your heart.”  Today I realize that receiving Prince’s affirmation from the sacred depths was when I started falling back in love with my life.

 

 
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