Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Circle of Dreamers July 27, 2012

Sometimes my responses to your comments are so packed with new information that I wish I’d saved them for another blog post so readers who don’t subscribe to my comments won’t miss them. This happened when I stayed up very late the other night to reply to Therese’s comments about the dream in my last post, A Solitary Dance. So I’ve decided to share my reply here instead.  She wrote as if this were her dream and these were her symbols, which is how the members of my dream groups respond to each others’ dreams. I’ve writtten this in the form of a dialogue because I want you to see the value of working on your dreams with another person or group.

Therese:  I just want to mention that I was curious about the difference between the feeling in the dream (“comforting, I wonder, I am impressed… grateful…”)  and the emotional pain evoked reflecting and associating while conscious (bone-deep, abiding pain…burden, responsibility, lonely, misunderstandings, critical, bored, solitary.”)

Me: Great insight! I hadn’t noticed the stark contrast between the feelings of my dreaming and waking selves!  A waking life event had left me feeling hurt and misunderstood the day before I had this dream, and when I wrote it down the next day the same feelings arose again.  The fact that my dream ego feels sorry for the gray man’s pain is a hint that I’m feeling sorry for myself (the gray man symbolizes the Scholar/Writer aspect of my animus); however my dream ego also feels curious,  grateful, and comforted by the presence of these inner characters in whom she places complete trust.

This is an example of how dreams compensate for waking life attitudes by presenting other perspectives. This dream was reminding me that beneath my temporary emotional reactions to day-to-day events there is a rock-bottom layer of unswerving support, comfort and trust. This is Dream Mother’s way of pointing me to a healing alternative:  I can choose to release my self-pity and move back into that place of gratitude and trust.

Therese: The setting of my living room seems significant, as does the gray robed man’s extreme stiffness.  Pain has been associated with his condition.  What else could this stiffness and pain be a symptom (symbol) for, in me?

Me: Yes, the living room setting suggests this was where I was living (psychologically) when I had the dream. And you’ve triggered the insight that the gray man’s stiffness speaks to a mental attitude I had adopted toward someone who had caused me distress.

Therese: And the pulling from his robes of a long pen, which he seemingly uses as a brace/reinforcement.  Could it also be an instrument to draw our attention (point) to an area of malaise, kidneys perhaps? something serving the function of filtering? or do I need to stretch? my backbone? structural support?  (Wow, I’ve just noticed MY lower back has begun to ache…)  My dream ego “feels sorry for” while my blonde animus feels “compassion and understanding.”  You dream an understanding of, “He knows.”  What is it that “he knows”?

Me: You’re so good at noticing dream references to the physical body. This rarely occurs to me. I do get lower back pain and stiffness in my neck and shoulders sometimes. My chiropractor says they’re the result of a misalignment of the atlas, the top bone of the spine, which he corrects with gentle pressure on a spot behind my ear.  I wish it were as easy to correct my stiff-necked attitudes!  No kidney problems I know of, but the idea of strengthening my psychological filters resonates. And yes, I sit way too long at my computer and should get up and stretch more often. My dream ego feels sorry for the gray man just as my waking ego sometimes feels sorry for myself. The blonde man knows how the gray man feels without having to ask. He’s deeply intuitive because he’s suffered himself and knows how it looks and feels. This knowing is where his compassion comes from.

Therese: At the end of your associations you mention “he and I are not alone.”  What is it to be “not alone?”

Me: Two things: In the big picture I’m not alone because there’s a rapidly expanding mass of people, including yourself, Therese, whose search for self-knowledge is changing their ideas about religion as it connects them with the “kingdom of God” within. I’m also not alone as an individual because I have the company of a cast of inner archetypal characters I’ve met in my dreams whose energies are very real and present to me. Spending time with them in dreamwork,  active imagination and writing feels like coming home. So when I’m lost in anxiety, sorrow, or loneliness, recognizing these feelings reminds me who they’re coming from and takes me back “home.”

If Therese hadn’t responded to my dream with her associations I would have missed many of its nuances. Thank you, Therese, for carrying this dream around with you all day! Your comments have made me dig deeper and provided promising new areas for exploration.  And now to sleep, perchance to dream!

Photograph: Circle of Dreamers (Olmec Room, Mexico City National Anthropological Museum)

You can purchase my new book and see my video interview at Larson Publications, Inc.

 

Under the Cosmic Big Top October 23, 2010

Despite the warning in my Lone Ranger dream, my child’s image of God as an omnipotent heroic male dominated my spirituality well into adulthood. But after years of conforming to the rules and expectations of my religion I began to question it:

Why does God still feel so remote and impersonal? Why am I still afraid of him? Why, after all these years of trying to please him and do everything right, am I not a better, happier person? Is God really all masculine? Could God have a feminine side? If so, how would God be different? How would I be different if I had been taught to understand and honor both sides? Would I like myself more? Be happier? How would the world be different?

And so, having explored every avenue within my religion, I began to look elsewhere for what was missing in my God-image and myself. With the help of Jungian psychology my eyes were opened to the fact that just as the physical world is governed by the principle of opposites (North Pole/South Pole; night/day; female/male) so is the human psyche (conscious/ unconscious; masculine/feminine; liked qualities/disliked qualities). This led to the realization that honoring one side of any pair of opposites while ignoring or rejecting the other is just plain ignorant, and that all growth, both psychological and spiritual, moves in the direction of integrating opposites.

And so I began a program of inner work to understand and accept both sides of myself. Has this been easy? Well, let me put it this way: sometimes I feel like I’m walking a tightrope under the cosmic Big Top. Over there ladies and gentlemen, we have my left brain; and on the other side ….yes, there it is….my right brain! Now my masculine side; now my feminine. Now speaking an honest-to-goodness gut truth; now remaining silent. Today feeling heroic; tomorrow cowardly. Here, in love with myself; there, despising myself. Sometimes I’ve been the ringmaster, sometimes the clown. Sometimes I’ve felt like the bear tamer and sometimes I’m the bear.

And what have I learned? That the journey to self-knowledge leads to the Kingdom of God, a place where there are no clear boundaries, no opposites, no rules about who is more important, what you have to believe, or which side is right. Moreover, it is infinitely diverse and utterly inclusive. The psyche is a circus, replete with wild beasts, trapeze artists, jugglers, alligator boys, fat ladies, tattooed men, knife throwers, clowns, roustabouts and a whole bunch of bystanders in the bleachers munching on peanuts and cotton candy. And there’s the little ego, all alone up there balancing on the razor’s edge, making its way through the Big Top without a safety net, just trying to stay on the radical middle path to God.

As you read this tonight (on the evening of its publication), I’m attending a very special Under the Big Top costume party at the home of my brother-in-law, Tony, and his partner, Scott in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. With the help of entrepreneur Karl Strahl, owner of Century Costumes, and his brilliant costume designer, Del Reinhart, I’m dressed as…….drum roll, please…….the sexy bear tamer pictured above! (I should look so good!)

And my husband? Tonight he gets to be the bear!

You can find my newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide, at this Amazon link and at Larson Publications, Inc.

 

 
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