Celebrating my 10th birthday in my childhood home
A few weeks ago my brother Jim and sister-in-law Mary came over for dinner. Jim brought me copies of some old photographs he’d found stashed away in a closet. Among them were two taken in the dining room of our childhood home. As I was preparing to publish last week’s post, The Interior Designer Within, which was about a recent dream, I realized the old photos might make good illustrations so I added them. In the week since then I’ve been flooded with many meaningful connections between the pictures and the dream. In this and the next post I’d like to share them with you.
The spate of insights was triggered by a comment Steven made. In the dream I’m sitting at a white table in the new dining room of my remodeled childhood home. Steven wrote, “I’ve only scanned the article and will return but have to say that photograph with the double-candle gateway is simply beautiful. I like the second one also, very much, but the first one is not only rich and warm but also loaded with symbolism. A child looking into the future…it could be a European film.”
I reviewed the pictures to check out the symbols and what I saw was mind-boggling.
We’re celebrating my tenth birthday. A round birthday cake sits in the center of the table. In Jungian psychology centrality and circles are primary symbols of the Self, the archetype of wholeness and our religious function. So Steven’s association of the double-candle gateway on either side of it struck a very deep chord, indeed. The Self has been the ultimate object of my search since way before I had any idea of what I yearned for: Enlightenment!
Moreover, this child looking into the future is leaning toward her father on the opposite side of the table. Daddy was my hero, and he died only 20 months after this picture was taken. So it’s no surprise that a major impetus for my psycho-spiritual journey has been a powerful desire to connect not only with a masculine God who would never die, but also with my inner opposite, my masculine Animus for whom Daddy is most certainly a symbol.
I’d already noticed the round picture above the center of the buffet and the circular glass bowl (alchemical vessel) beneath it, but now I saw another circular object (Self) on the left (unconscious) side of the buffet. Positioned precisely between the flames of the two candles (conscious and unconscious?), a cup and saucer (chalice and paten) were on display.
In the same photo I saw my shadow on the wall. Then I saw it again in the second photo, this time just over my left (unconscious) shoulder. (I’m pretty sure all that darkness isn’t just my hair.) If you’ve followed my blog for a while you know that befriending my Shadow has been another major impetus for my explorations into the unconscious.
Now here’s where it gets mind-blowing. In the first photo I suddenly noticed the book under the round object on the left side of the buffet. Since I’ve written four books, it’s especially meaningful to see a book in the only two pictures I have of the dining room in my childhood home. But then I saw that in the second picture my right hand is resting on what looks like another book! On the table! What was so wild was that in my recent dream, the white dining room table was where I did my writing!
Then the full force of these coincidences hit me. When my grandparents came for Sunday dinner or special occasions we always read a chapter from the Bible before we ate. On this occasion my father’s deeply religious mother was there. She had traveled from Michigan to help take care of Daddy after his second heart attack. Since his birthday was only 13 days before mine, she had made the cake and arranged this celebration for both of us. The fact that the Bible was beside me meant that I had been invited to read. Whenever this happened I invariably chose the 23rd or 91st Psalm. Here are the verses I loved best:
Psalm 23; Verse 4: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me…” Verse 5: “Thou preparest a table before me…my cup runneth over.” Death. Shadow. Table. Cup. They’re all foreshadowed in the photographs!
Psalm 91; Verse 1: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” There it is again: Shadow.
Two photographs taken sixty years ago. An unremarkable dream from two weeks ago. Two incidents that occurred almost a lifetime apart. Yet, when I put them together into one blog post, an alchemical reaction transformed them into a powerful testament to the interconnectivity of life. The Mystery is everywhere, within and around us. And we can see it when we view our life through mythic eyes. Can you see it?
Ebook versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.