Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Dreams About the Creative Instinct: Part II May 25, 2012

In my previous post I shared a dream from 22 years ago that dramatized a conflict between my career ambitions and the Self, the central archetype of my psyche that was “encouraging” me to trust my creative instinct. I didn’t understand the meaning of the dream because of my ego’s resistance to change. Like all children, I had been conditioned to conform to my tribe’s standards and God-image, and challenging these supreme authorities was terrifying to my immature ego.

Of course, I was still so psychologically ignorant that I didn’t know this either! About the only thing I did know from my Jungian studies was that if I continued to tolerate the tension of this conflict and if I persisted in working with my dreams, an answer would eventually come when the conditions were right.

So I accepted another teaching position at a nearby university.  That year I dreamed of moving to flimsy, unsuitable houses I hated. Two featured kitchens—rooms of nurturance and transformation—that had rigid rows of old-fashioned school desks nailed to the floors! Gradually I realized I was unhappy with the way I was living and at the end of the academic year I resigned from teaching to write the book that was simmering in my soul.

Three days after the term ended I dreamed another woman and I were escaping from a prison owned by her father. Her father! Patriarchy! That was when I finally understood how captive I had been to a rigid belief system so dominated by the masculine principle that it left little room for satisfying my creativity or feminine side. After a lovely summer in which I gave myself permission to rest, I began my book. Eighteen months later I signed a contract with a wonderful publisher. Never had I felt so fulfilled and happy with myself. The following dream came during the final editing.

Dream #1215: “The Beautiful Black Stallion.” I’m in the backseat of a moving car.  A dark-haired woman I know sits next to me. My wonderful, beautiful black stallion sits next to her and stretches his neck over her lap so his head is on my lap. He looks up at me adoringly and makes little kisses with his lips. I kiss him repeatedly and stroke his massive head, his ears, his nose.  It feels blissful to have him love me so much.

The black stallion, of course, was the same dark horse I had been so afraid of almost 3 years earlier. My dream showed that my ego had released control of my life and taken a backseat to the Self, trusting it to do the driving. As a result, I was enjoying a conscious relationship with my creative instinct (black stallion), who loved me because I had allowed him to manifest my soul’s creativity in ways that were exactly right for me/us. This had happened because I had befriended my ambitious, intense shadow, the dark-haired woman beside me. Accepting her was the key that provided access to my unconscious self. She was the same daughter of patriarchy with whom I had escaped from prison!  Neither of us felt compelled to drive, and we were both enjoying the ride.

When our creativity is free to make its natural contribution to our lives, it becomes a loving inner companion who travels with us wherever we go. Then we know the sacred Mystery is not separate from us, but dwells within. In the words of Brother Paul Quenon, “Creativity, as life iself, is grounded in and shares in the sacred.”

Order Jean’s newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide, at


Three Perspectives on Dream Symbols January 27, 2012

After my last post about the dragon dream, Rob asked if we dream out of both the personal and the collective (archetypal, therefore shared by everyone) unconscious, and if dreams about one’s personal unconscious sometimes use archetypal imagery. Yes. Many dreams seem to be purely personal, a few are purely archetypal, and most, like my dragon dream, are a combination of both. In fact, every dream symbol and theme actually has three possible levels of meaning: personal, cultural, and archetypal, so I always look for associations at all three levels. I’ll demonstrate with the symbol of a house.

Personal Meaning of House: My dragon dream took place in the house in which my husband grew up. When Fred and I were dating I was invited often for meals, and after our marriage it was the setting for numerous family gatherings and fun celebrations. I have many warm associations with this house, all involving Fred and his funny, quirky family. Although my mother visited there a few times, I do not associate this house with her. I find this a curious aspect of the dream. The kitchen in Fred’s house was the core of family activity and most of our gatherings were centered around meals cooked by Fred’s beloved grandmother or stepmother (with whom he had a conflict-filled relationship). My mother never entertained and she cooked only the simplest of meals out of necessity, never passion or even interest, so her presence in this kitchen is an odd detail. The room in the far left corner of the house, streetside, was the bedroom shared by Fred’s brothers George and Tony. I adore them both and imagine them dreaming many beautiful dreams in there. In realilty, of course, the room had no garage door, although there were high windows. The actual garage was on the other end of the house, on the right side next to the kitchen. This was the garage I was heading for at the end of the dream.

Cultural Meaning of House: Houses everywhere represent protection from the elements, family, warmth, and comfort: nurturing qualities all. Kitchens are traditionally the purviews of grandmothers, mothers and other women who prepare food for their families. They are also rooms in which flour, milk, water, yeast, sugar and salt are mixed and baked in ovens, a magical process which transforms them into nourishing bread.  Kitchens also have fresh water available for cooking and cleaning up.

Archetypal Meaning of House: Houses represent the psyche and everything that goes on in our minds. Archetypes are mental pictures of physical instincts. The needs of all five instincts (nurturance, activity, reflection, sex, and creativity) can be met in houses. This dream features three instincts. Nurturance is represented by the house, my mother, and the kitchen. The kitchen contains two especially vital symbols: a  womb-like oven which transforms basic elements into the bread of life, and a source of water, the cleansing, life-giving element associated with humanity’s maternal Source, the Great Mother (she’s also associated with dragons). Activity is shown in the dragon’s banging on the roof and walls, and in my dream ego’s walking, then running away.  Reflection is symbolized by the windows which provide an outlook into the unconscious, the dragon with its fiercely knowing, staring eye, and the keys representing access to secret knowledge and wisdom.

Do you see the wealth of multi-leveled meanings I can glean from these symbols?  All but the dragon are parts of everyone’s personal life, yet most also appear in the myths and fairy tales of every culture. I’m still working on the dream. It could take a long time to understand, if ever.  For now I’m just letting it cook.


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