Storytelling Roots

Storytelling Roots


Written by Corey Dressel

              What if the panoply of various art forms, from visual iconography to ancient texts, was born out of the chaotic pandemonium of each artist’s psyche? What if this chaotic psychic pandemonium was the same cosmic movement constellated in the psyche of all humans, infinitely connecting us through thought-patterns conceived from the same movement of time as that of our physical anatomy?  There are those who agree to a theory of psychic life energy and influence, and those who either deny its existence or have never really thought too hard on the matter.  It is the job of the psychologist to examine the depths, contents, and movement of the human psyche and, if you are Carl G. Jung, warn of the detrimental outcomes should one willingly or unknowingly prescribe to the common misoneistic tendency.  Jung believed that the contents of our dreams reveal these mystic psychic elements to us in a language that is current, dynamic, involved, and anticipant of an antiphon.  This describes a deliberate and willful awareness that supersedes our extroverted view and sense, which is only possible by being cognizant of our inner condition and thus experiencing our inner journey as well as our physical journey; there is not one without the other.  There is no sunset without a subsequent sunrise.
Though inland far we be, / Our souls have sight of that immortal sea / Which brought us hither
-William Wordsworth, “Ode on Intimations of immortality”
We are all driven to feel, think, and do what we do for a reason.  Some may argue that we are striving to find the meaning of life.  I believe we are all looking for an experience of life, which in itself is meaningful because we are there to be a part of it.  As the world spins, so we spin too, around our own axis, the axis of our psyche, which includes the totality of our personality, our body, our soul, and our spirit. Only when your life experiences imputatively touch these root elements do the experiences of life actually resonate with meaning. It is in this penetrating type of meaning that we feel the rapture of life.  In The Power of Myth Joseph Campbell supported this very notion when he said:
People say that what we are seeking is a meaning of life; I don’t think that is what we are really seeking.  I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.  (4-5)
Campbell is specifically describing an outer experience which resonates deep into the center of our being; thus, shaping us and literally becoming a part of who we are.  This rapture that Campbell spoke about is the source of our purpose, our inspiration for the art forms we create, and the emotional connection we feel upon seeing, reading, or hearing various art forms.  This rapture keeps us alive and hopeful, spiritual and seeking, and hungry in spite of plentiful sustenance, while satiated in spite of non-consumption.  Jung says, “The flux and fire of life are not to be underrated and are absolutely necessary for the achievement of wholeness” (TPJ “Dream Symbolism” 378).  This rapture propels us into the arts, both to create and to absorb.  These art forms spawn a familiarity that resonates deep inside our being without a known reason or cause.  Most of us have experienced a scenario where we glance at a painting and have a sense of loneliness so powerful we are moved to tears; a time when we have read a book that we feel hit an emotion at the center of our heart or changed the course of our lives; or a moment of listening to music that vibrated our bones and seemed to have been written just for us.  Psychologically speaking, this is the same emotional connection or spark that occurs when any of our senses are triggered, re-energizing subliminal material into consciousness and/or calling to an aspect of ourselves ignored or unknown.  Perhaps you have smelled a sent that immediately returned you to a moment in time long since passed, yet seemingly right before you once again.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live, / Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears, / To me the meanest flower that blows can give / Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
-William Wordsworth, “Ode on Intimations of immortality”
So, what is it that dwells in the arts and contains so much power over our supposedly logical emotions, thoughts, and actions?  The causal connection between the psyche and the arts explains the phenomenon that gravitationally pulls at our own psychic response to consuming the arts.  Jung tells us that great art “has always derived its fruitfulness from myth, from the unconscious process of symbolization which continues through the ages and, as the primordial manifestation of the human spirit, will continue to be the root of all creation in the future” (TUS 59).   The contents of our psyche are in dynamic movement and elucidate this query through images depicted in symbolic form hidden within the details of not only the arts, but also our dreams.  Our dreams play out like the verses of ancient fairytales and modern movies.  We bear witness to a reoccurring myth-quest as it reveals itself through these stories from times long gone and places we’ve never been nor known to exist.  Without awareness, our psyche travels along the same analogous path, constantly circumambulating or circumventing, depending on our psychic condition. 
Upon the exploration of our dreams, we find ourselves to be the wounded healer of our own condition, and finally our own mediator between unconscious thought and conscious existence.   The “wound” that is revealed in the story-line (myth-quest) of characters within literary works is the same wound that we all must overcome in the journey of our psyche toward the goal of individuation. 
We will grieve not, rather find / Strength in what remains behind; / In the primal sympathy / Which having been must ever be; / In the soothing thoughts that spring / Out of human suffering; / In the faith that looks through death, / In years that bring the philosophic mind.
-William Wordsworth, “Ode on Intimations of immortality”
Paul Levy, the creator of the on-line magazine Reality Sandwich, explains, “Our wound is not a static entity, but rather a continually unfolding dynamic process that manifests, reveals and incarnates itself through us, which is to say that our wound is teaching us something about ourselves” (RS).  Therefore, in order to become engaged in our inner condition, the healing process involved in recovering from wounds, and move toward a place of enlightenment, spiritual awakening, or individuation, we need to cast our gaze inward and begin to assess a deeper level of our being.  Jung supports this by saying, “The very fact that through self-knowledge, that is, by exploring our own souls, we come upon the instincts and their world of imagery should  throw some light on the powers slumbering in the psyche, of which we are seldom aware so long as all goes well” (TUS 58).  The numina presented in dreams are one way of exposing our unconscious condition.  In “Ode on Intimations of Immortality” Wordsworth poetically sings, “The winds come to me from the fields of sleep” (l. 28).  This is our eyelet through which we can only begin to grasp a psychological perspective of our existence. 
Jung never posited a theory regarding dream interpretation that he intended to be a cookie cutter form in which all dreams were to be shaped for a universally imposed translation.  He cautions psychologists and laymen dream analysts against the use of such universally applied ideologies and practices.  Though Jung and Freud agree that the contents of dreams are comprised of unconscious material, Freud was the first to suggest that associations derived from conscious experience comprise the contents within dreams. This means that unconscious material is manifest conscious experience versus internally forged material (with the exception that Freud acknowledges the existence of archaic remnants).  This creates a clearly defined singular psychic self, which is the self witnessed and expressed on the exterior (ego and super ego), which is influenced by our libido (Id), versus the concept of an innate dichotomous human psyche and existence grounded in an unconscious interior comprised of collective and personal unconscious material, and separate from our outer conscious.  Jung does not reject the idea of associative influence, but rather elaborates upon it, considering Freud’s theory incomplete.  Though the unconscious may be influenced, or contain, associations derived from our conscious experience, it is false to conclude that associations are primarily the totality of the unconscious minutia present in dreams.  Rather, Jung asks us to focus on the manifest dream-statement, circumambulating this language searching for an interpretation conditional to its owner.  
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; / The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, / Hath had elsewhere its setting / And cometh from afar; / Not in entire forgetfulness, / And not in utter nakedness, / But trailing clouds of glory do we come
–William Wordsworth, “Ode on Intimations of immortality”
Conscious associations shift to the unconscious when they become deplete of energy or the person has repressed them due to their traumatic nature.   Contrary to Freud’s notion of the psyche’s nature being tabula rasa, completely empty at birth, Jung describes a psychic heritage that precedes even the creation, or beginning, of our reflective consciousness.  Reflective consciousness, ingrained with dramatic emotional experiences followed by negative consequences, creates a universally predicable outcome in any number of circumstances, impulsively triggered within the inner depths of the human psyche. The moments in life when our amygdala (the brain structure responsible for emotional associations) is triggered results in an unconscious emotional psychic game-play.  Damasio, a neuroscientist, claims that his studies provide compelling evidence that “rationality is dependent upon emotion” (Atkinson EICT 24).  Therefore, in other words, our brain is a formation of ruts which have been carved out by emotional experiences.  We easily slide or fall into these grooves in the same way that Pavlov’s dog instinctively had an emotional reaction regardless as to whether the initial stimulus was present or not; this is referred to as conditioning or association.  In his book Emotion Intelligence, Atkinson says that triggers are like or similarly perceived situations to those of emotional distress or the extreme opposite, wherein our amygdala sends out warning signals that speed through the structures of the brain, in turn “triggering a cascade of physiological responses, from a speeded-up heart rate to rising blood pressure to mobilized muscles to the release of the fight-flight hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline” (30).  The results can be witnessed consciously on the physical plane, or witnessed in numinous material, coming from our unconscious, in our dreams.  According to Neumann, “The term ‘numinous’ applies to the action of beings and forces that the consciousness of primitive man experienced as fascinating, terrible, overpowering, and that it therefore attributed to an indefinite transpersonal and divine source” (TGM 5).  Thus, dream material is formed after a pattern imprinted on our unconscious psyche dating back to the origin of consciousness and continuing to be impressed upon. 
Numina are relayed to the conscious through a language riddled with symbolic images.  The symbolic image speaks with dynamism and purposive effusion.  This symbolic representation of potentiality, referred to as archetypes, is in itself only possible due to their dynamic nature (active and current), which influence the human psyche such as an instinct does.  Jung posits the theory that archetypal impulses are “based on a preformed and ever-ready instinctive system with its own characteristic and universally understandable thought-forms, reflexes, attitudes, and gestures” (TPJ “ADS” 115-116).  Jung offers proof of these impulses in the spontaneous and absurd dreams, visions, or thoughts that come to us and seem utterly unexplainable, obscure, and without origin.  Neumann adds:
The dynamic action of the archetype extends beyond unconscious instinct and continues to operate as an unconscious will that determines the personality, exerting a decisive influence on the mood, inclinations, and tendencies of the personality, and ultimately on its conceptions, intentions, interests, on consciousness and the specific direction of the mind.  (TGM. 4-5)
The dynamic nature of archetypes, and how archetypes manifest in our lives through the numina in our dreams, can only be discovered through careful investigation or with the passing of time.  Only upon discovering its origin of inspiration or cause can there be any understanding of a dream, vision, or thought.  First, one must pay attention to numinous material.  Then, when attempting to interpret one’s dreams, the dreamer will become aware of problematic issues or wounds that may have been repressed, a path toward healing their wounds, an awakening to nuances unconsciously influencing their actions, emotions, and thoughts, as well as, the awareness of their journey towards individuation, also considered enlightenment and spiritual awakening. 
            Due to the dichotomic contents of the unconscious, that which is revealed in a dream is not clearly definable.  This means that the interaction between dreamer and analyst will be personal, meaning intimate, and individual, meaning unique to that particular dreamer.  There are a variety of potential problems with dream interpretation.  The dreamer, him or herself, might have an unconscious prerogative or prejudice coming from an exterior influence or repressed wound, which could lead the dreamer to exclude pertinent information regarding their dream or their relative associations.  They may have a theory that they are unwilling to let go of or a traumatic experience that they are unwilling to divulge to the analyst.  Unless the analyst is aware of the dreamer’s emotions, circumstances, personality, and has some idea regarding the dreamer’s psychic condition, they will not be able to interpret the dreamer’s dream accurately.  To complicate matters more, both dreamer and analyst must consider the implications of countertransference, whereby the wounds, or issues, within the analyst’s own life become projected onto the dreamer, if not ingested by the dreamer.  In addition, the dreamer must never identify him or herself as “the wounded” while labeling the analyst “healer.”  Both the dreamer and/or the analyst can make this mistake of projection.  It is imperative that the dreamer remain at the center of his or her interpretation, understanding that the critical information revealed is only done so by opening the door to introversion and acceptance of what is not initially understandable. 
In addition, because our unconscious contains associative material, we sometimes have dreams which reflect a message regarding this particular material, or we may have dreams which speak in spontaneous primordial archetypal symbols.  The naked truth, brought to us through our dreams, may reveal how we truly feel about someone or something in our life; or we may see the path we are on toward individuation, reflecting our own self-perception, which unmistakably can be concealed from our conscious awareness.  To complicate matters, it will generally be a combination of both.  Deciphering which associative conscious details to exclude or include as relevant and which ones to recognize as représentations collective, is difficult at best, and impossible without a great knowledge of the dreamer, mythology, and psychology.  Ultimately, it is the comprehension of the connection between dream, mythology, psychology, and the dreamer, which enable the analyst to attempt a translation of unconscious language.
            Unconscious language comes in the form of sign and symbol, differentiated by the latter’s limitless meaning contained within a familiar but otherwise unimportant or unrelated image.  More specifically, this image is of a transcendent nature, forcing our mental grasp on reason to capitulate.  Though incomprehensible due to the nature of certain ideas and concepts being beyond the realm of human understanding, we use these symbols to communicate and to translate our emotion, thought, and impulse into a language which is universal to all humans.  We constantly communicate, not only from human to human, but also between unconscious and conscious thought through the use of symbols.  Regardless of understanding a symbol’s logical connection to its apparent meaning, and regardless as to whether symbols may seem to have their roots in specific activities or locations (such as symbols within religion), one must understand that symbols are rooted in an archaic history precedent to our conscious awareness.  Freud considers these symbols to be “archaic remnants;” whereas Jung refers to them as archetypes.  An archetype, as defined by Jung, is “an inherited tendency of the human mind to form representations of mythological motifs –representations that vary a great deal without losing their basic pattern” (TUS “SID” 108).  The importance lies in the distinction between Freud’s archaic remnants and Jung’s archetypes.  According to Freud, a symbol conceived in a dream is an inherited idea, moreover, a concrete thing.  Jung has altered this concept by claiming archaic symbols, more accurately primordial symbols, are tendencies, moreover, impulses. 
 Knowing that archetypal symbols are instinctual helps in understanding the significance of their occurrence in a dream.  The recognition of symbols is imperative when attempting to interpret dreams.  To further complicate matters, these symbols may be hidden in what we would otherwise assume to be associative material.  A child raised without a defined religion may dream of crosses, angels in hell, crows nailed to a wall, resurrection through the power of forgiveness, and so forth.  These seemingly bazaar images may be adumbratio in nature, casting an anticipatory message to the dreamer through representations collective. The number 3 may present itself as the 3rd floor of a building, three characters, three magical powers, or an object with three points.  The number though may not translate to the object associated with it, but rather it may represent something symbolic, something archetypal, such as the relationship connected with the holy trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; Jesus, church, and man (humanity); mother, father, and child; or, the Hindu Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna.  Making the distinction between image’s that are symbolic of an archetype and images that represent an association within the dreamer’s life is difficult to determine.  This is the challenge that the analyst faces. 
This difficult distinction is presented in a dream of a thirty-one year old woman whose dream bears witness to the dreamer accidentally emasculating her husband through castration.  In her dream, her husband is calm and keeps telling her he will go to the doctor in the morning.  All the while she is in an absolute panic.  Some Jungian interpretations might claim that her husband is a representation of her animus, her masculine self, and that she has just deprived herself of this masculine part by castrating him in the dream.  If this dream is compensatory, we will find archetypal symbolism, which is shaped by the personality of the dreamer as well as her conscious situation.  Often compensatory dreams act as counter-weights to imbalances within the dreamer’s life.  Jung says, “As consciousness is exposed to all sorts of external attractions and distractions, it is easily led astray and seduced into following ways that are unsuited to its individuality.”   Therefore, Jung continues, “The general function of dreams is to balance such disturbances in the mental equilibrium by producing contents of a complementary or compensatory kind” (TUS 87).  Thusly, this dream could be a reflection or warning that she is living an unbalanced life and she needs to become aware and attempt to compensate by maintaining a more balanced self through the acceptance and integration of her animus and anima, her feminine and masculine. The dream may be a premonition of what is to come. 
Whether the dream is a warning to ‘wake up’ and realize how she is living her life, or whether it is anticipatory, is only determinable by looking at the aspects that comprise her life.  Upon doing so, one would find that she is the main income source within her three-member family, she is the greater participant in the house maintenance, as well as the vehicle maintenance, and she is the primary care provider of their child.   She has been struggling to maintain her support of her husband’s perpetually unsuccessful business while juggling all her responsibilities.  Therefore, an alternative interpretation based off a personal knowledge of her conscious situation and her emotional condition might narrow in on a more associative driven message.  Such an interpretation would bring awareness to the dreamer that she sees her husband as non-masculine. Regardless of the obvious nature of this situation (he is castrated), her husband does not seem to care enough about this fact to do anything about it or change his ways to improve or regain his masculine aspects, in the dream and in real life.  However, she is not okay with having a husband who is seemingly less masculine than he should be or needs to be; thus her panic and his calm.  Her capabilities and perpetual compensation for his masculine short-comings is potentially a source of guilt for her; thus, she is the one who castrates him.  This posits the notion that she is enabling the situation.  
The interpretation of this dream is rooted in a primordial concept of origin beginning with a unified universe that, through the birth of consciousness, is split, which can be amplified on the human plane through the biblical account of Adam and Eve.  This is relevant to this dream through the divided, yet entwining relationship of male and female, extended to the concepts of good and bad, right and wrong, heaven and earth, introversion and extroversion.  Upon eating from the tree of knowledge, Adam and Eve become conscious of their difference, thus their nakedness.  It is the universal goal of each psychic life to reintegrate the two separate aspects, of which neither can exist without the other.  In Tantric Hinduism, the male and female aspects are represented as Shiva and Shakti.   Shakti is the feminine, referred to as Kundalini in the human body.  Upon awakening either through meditation or through wounding, Shakti will coil around the body, rising through chakras, and rejoin with Shiva at the crown of the head where there will be a realization of pure consciousness, wherein there is a “resolution of duality into unity again, a fusion with the Absolute” (TK).  Those who have testified as having reached this point of enlightenment recall a bright light accompanied by a loss of original self-perception.  Gopi Krishna, Hindu mystic and author of Living with Kundalini, an autobiography on his experience achieving a state of enlightenment through the reunification of his two poles brought about through meditative practices, explains:
I was no longer myself, or to be more accurate, no longer as I knew myself to be, a small point of awareness confined in a body, but instead was a vast circle of consciousness in which the body was but a point, bathed in light and in a state of exaltation and happiness impossible to describe.  (K 13)
The energy, which moves upward in the body during this Hindu ritual, leads the two entwining poles to the third eye of pure consciousness, which produces pure light.  This is total liberation from duality, such as portrayed in the crucifixion of Jesus whereby the Holy Ghost unites the Father and the Son once again.  As well, it could be said that Adam and Eve are once again embracing in original purity, a return to the Garden of Eden, only this time in consciousness.  Often the representation of these two separate but dependent aspects can be found in the image of coiled or winding snakes.  This symbolic image is found on the bishop of London’s crosier, the Indian and Russian Orthodox Catholic church staff, statues of Mithras, statues of Hermanubis (Greco-Egyptian syncretic deity), and many other locations regardless of era, location, culture, or theology.
Taoist Alchemy also offers a ritual of energetic movement of the split self which culminates as a fire that moves upward toward the brain and produces waves of bright light between the eyes; once again, conjuring up the image of a third eye.  This triad aspect of psychic movement has symbolic forms in religion, culture, and tradition, but it also has a biological base as well.  All descriptions on the location of this third eye or the source of light correspond to the anatomically positioned pineal gland.  Similar to the dualistic nature of the psyche, the structure of the brain comprises organs of dual nature, meaning for every left side there is a corresponding right side.  The only exception is the pineal gland, which is located right between the right and left hemispheres and right between the two cerebrums.  Jana Dixon, who wrote The Biology of Kundalini: A Science and Protocol of Spiritual Alchemy, claims, “It’s said that when the pineal gland is activated it becomes illuminated like a thousands suns” (qtd in EES).   Thus, we find many images depicted in mythology, religion, culture, and tradition bearing the form of entwining snakes and a third eye.  This inner movement, deliberately channeling the energy within to elevate oneself out of a differentiated condition of suffering to an individualized state, is ultimately the psychic goal of each person; which brings with it an understanding of earthly suffering resulting from an inner wounding/division of one’s self.  The primordial origin of the Thirty-one year old female dreamer’s unconscious leads her to sensing an issue within her life, which represents itself through the images known to be male and female.  Whether we are talking about her relationship with her husband or her inner condition, she needs to work to repair this division and bring it back from a lopsided state to a state of wholeness.
A fifty-six year old woman has a dream wherein she brought home two fireplaces. One is elaborately detailed, quite exquisite, while the other is cheaply made and rather ugly.  She carefully places the fireplaces outside her home in deliberately chosen locations; whereupon, her three daughters and their nine collective children gather around to adamantly express their disapproval at the outside locations.  She decides to return the cheap fireplace, keep the nice one, and maintains her belief that it, though expensive and beautiful, belongs outside of the home.  This seemingly unimportant dream bears a very important issue contained in the dreamer’s unconscious and brought to her attention through the dream.  First, you must know some of her personal information, information that may seem unconnected, irrelevant, or unimportant concerning this dream.  If I did not have a pre-established intimate relationship with the dreamer, she may never have shared the details within her conscious existence that reveal the intended compensation of her dream.  She has recently lost over fifty pounds, dropping her weight below her daughters who normally weigh less than she does.  She has been walking around feeling like a new person, or a person who finally reflects on the outside the quality she believes to potentially be on the inside.  The day prior to the dream, one of the dreamer’s daughters had just said that she had decided to be content with her weight and that she would derive her happiness from her inner qualities and not her outer appearance. 
Through a compilation of collective motifs and personal associative material, the dreamer’s dream is attempting to come to peace with an inner conflict she has yet to bring to consciousness; however, as Jung says, her dream has betrayed her secret.  Her home is a collective symbol of her center, her true self.  It is common to find square enclosures, or enclosures of any shape, as the archetypal motif of one’s psychic center. The fireplace, fire being a motif of death and rebirth, is the necessary object to place at the center of this debate due to her reaction to having lost weight.  She is choosing to place this beautiful item of death and rebirth (her rebirth) on the outside of her home (the outside of her self – her extroverted self).  Being of a non-abundant nature, her inner conflict involves the focus she has placed on her outer beauty.  She has struggled with non-abundant issues for so much of her adult life, which is essentially a fear of being without enough of whatever it might be one needs, i.e. food, love, companionship, support, warmth, and the like.  Non-abundance crosses the path between material needs (outer) and emotional needs (inner).    Her home has always reflected a beauty unparalleled by most homes, and now she is claiming that she should be at liberty to extend this beauty to the outside of her home. 
[…] Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie / Thy soul’s immensity; / Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep / They heritage, thou eye among the blind, / That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep, / Haunted for ever by the eternal Mind, -- / Mighty Prophet! Seer blest! / On whom those truths rest / Which we are toiling all our lives to find, / In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave […]
-William Wordsworth, “Ode on Intimations of immortality”
The issue at hand regards the abundance or non-abundance of confidence represented in the archetypal images of her home and a fireplace.  Does she have enough confidence to reflect this on the inside as well as the outside?  Her daughter’s comment has subliminally cast a shadow of doubt in her.  Regardless, the dream depicts the dreamer upholding her decision to place this object outside, as well as returning the lesser fireplace and keeping the better one.  This would indicate that she is worthy of the better more substantial and lasting fireplace; her rebirth or transformation is abundant, grand, and sustaining.  Alchemically speaking, she is the prima materia, separated in body and soul and then reunited as ultima material.  Something that doubt, created by a projected social ideal focused specifically on body weight, has kept her from feeling is within her reach
We arrive at this interpretation through a thorough knowledge of the primordial origins of archetypes and their influence and effect on the psyche.  Though archetypes can manifest spontaneously, they also can be manifestations of a compensatory nature based on personal conscious conditions as disclosed by this last dream.  Nuemann elaborates, “The appearance of archetypal images and symbols is in part determined by a man’s [or woman’s] individual typological structure, by the situation of the individual, his [or her] conscious attitude, his [or her] age, and so on” (TGM 11).   Knowing the feminine nature of the dreamer, deduces the primordial content of her dreams as reflections of primordial creation found in the archetype of the Great Mother.  The archetype of the Great Mother, or Great Round, is the elementary character of the feminine, the personification of earthly and metaphysical elements.  The Great Round encompasses creation of the universe and all that is contained within the universe, from the material to the spiritual, the upper realms, or heavenly, to the lower realms, hell, good and bad, birth and death, and then rebirth.  From the darkness of our unconscious condition, the Nocturnal Mother births the elements contained within our consciousness.  The Feminine, then, is the source of archetypes concerning preservation, formation, nourishment, and transformation.
In the Great Round’s existential connection between the metaphysical and the symbolic, lies the development of human culture.  Feminine is at the center of one’s dwelling, as women are the creators of the dwelling.  Women not only were responsible for the dwelling, but also for nourishment, of which the fertilizing, growth, collection, preserving, and preparing were a feminine function; all this in an effort to protect and ensure survival.  Most significant within this female group’s center is the maintenance of fire.   Neumann says, “Female domination is symbolized in its center, the fireplace, the seat of warmth and food preparation, the ‘hearth,’ which is also the original altar.”  Further, Neumann explains that fire has become the “symbol and instrument of transformation […] Thus the Feminine becomes the repository of transformation and in the primordial mysteries lays the foundations of human culture, which is transformed nature” (TGM 284).  Specifically significant to women, fire represents the transformative nature of woman; it is the sacral vessel as in the uterus.  Likewise, in the alchemical stage of putrefactio, fire is the location of transformation.  Through fire, within our inner being, material universalis is purified, regenerated, and perfected.  The process of “cooking” frees the imprisoned anima mundi, soul of the world.  Fire is the life force of growth and fertilization, as well as human psychic energy.  Through this stage of cooking, as in fire, there is an expansion of consciousness.
The innate nature of a woman is rooted in the primordial origin of existence, unconsciousness, followed by the birth of consciousness –humanity.  Nuemann writes, “the primordial mysteries project a psychic symbolism upon the real world and so transform it” (TGM 282).  Therefore, as the feminine transformed early human culture, the feminine instinct transforms a woman’s real world experiences.  This feminine origin is embedded in the cosmos, and according to Tantra philosophy, human beings contain the totality of the universe within their being: “All that is found in the cosmos can be found within each individual, and the same principles that apply to the universe apply in the case of the individual being” (TK).  The dreamer, accompanied by her daughters, represents the uroboric elements from primordial origins.  Her numinous material portrays a debate regarding her sense of transformation, thusly symbolized as a fireplace.  Thus, a compilation of physical plane material, personally attributed to this dreamer, constructs the language of the primordial symbolic material presented in her dream from her unconscious. 
[…] Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight, / And custom lie upon thee with a weight / Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life! / O joy! that in our embers / Is something that doth live, / That Nature yet remembers / What was so fugitive! […]
-William Wordsworth, “Ode on Intimations of immortality”

This dream is a great example of how collective material meets with personal associative material; they combine, and then deliver a message from the unconscious to the conscious in a personalized language.  Whether we are prepared to listen is the question.  In the previous dreams, the dreamers are working through wounds directly related to the details of their current life experience.  One must not forget that our interior wounds are affecting our ability to respond and react to the experiences within our outer life; this changes the source, or cause, of issue from an exterior factor into an interior factor. Wounds can only be hidden from one’s consciousness, not obliterated; they cannot simply be put in the trash bin and leave the next morning with the garbage man.  This is analogous to the rationality that lies behind the cookie that ceases to exist once behind the back of the parent and out of the child’s sight.  We quickly chalk this type of mentality up as childish and reserved for the ignorant youth; yet, even as adults when incapable of dealing with an issue or source of anguish, we unwittingly repress the issue into our unconscious and truly believe it to be gone.  We say childish things like, “see, I don’t have a problem with that.” Or, “no one and nothing is gunna control me!” Or, “I haven’t been angry about that in years; haven’t even thought about it. So, see, it isn’t affecting me!”  All defensive and all unproductive, because the truth is, inside we are that little child crying, raging, running, hiding, responding inside just as we did in our childhood and playing the fool on the outside, carrying on as if a traumatic or emotional event could not have control over our wellbeing.  Pema Chodron said, “Suffering begins to dissolve when we can question the belief or the hope that there’s anywhere to hide” (Offerings 17 May). 
I knew a woman tormented by the failing and emotionally abusive relationship she had with her husband.  She said after some of their worst fights, she would walk away and instantly not be able to remember what they were fighting about.  She said this not in a figurative sense, but claimed that literally moments after feeling defenseless, beaten down emotionally, heartbroken, her hopes depleted and happiness bankrupt, she would have no recollection of subject, trigger, or conversation regarding the fight.  She said that as the years went on in this destructive and unhealthy way, her memory got perpetually worse.     
The condition of our conscious and unconscious thoughts depends upon the condition of the center of our personality, the self, the totality of our psyche.  Often people will assume the unconscious to be inconsequential or inessential, or perhaps, even unreal.  Joseph LeDoux, a prominent neuroscientist, proclaims, “Consciousness and its sidekick, natural language, are the new kids on the evolutionary block –unconscious processing is the rule rather than the exception throughout evolution” (qtd in Atkinson EICT 20).  The psyche is not intended to be understood, but rather recognized as a real, but autonomous, a mostly unconscious aspect of our self, reflected through our personality.  Upon introspection, questions arise that the laymen may never have thought to consider: Am I connected to my spiritual center?  Is there a proper balance between my anima and animus?  Do I have a healthy connection and awareness of my unconscious condition?  Do I understand the repercussions of a split or divided self?  Am I projecting or being projected upon?  Am I unconsciously or consciously listening to the advice of the wise old man or an evil influence in disguise?  Am I aware of my role and place in the psychic myth quest?  These are questions in which we are not required to ask or to be aware of in order to exist; however, upon asking and then investigating we find our sources of issue or nuances that may have been interfering with, or influencing, our happiness, our relationships, our contentment, our confidence.  Jung says, “all our social goals commit the error of overlooking the psychology of the person for whom they are intended and –very often—of promoting only his [or her] illusions” (TUS 60-61).  In other words, our outward view of what is important to our wellbeing leads us astray.
There is not a person alive who is not aware of their current level of happiness, or what he or she presumes to be their level of happiness.  Why we are or aren’t happy might be of surprise.  We may be walking around believing our sources of anxiety lie in one thing while our sources of happiness lie in another; when, upon an introverted investigation, we may discover that we have been entirely wrong.  We owe it to ourselves to have a thorough understanding of our psychic self, if for nothing else but the sake of healing.  We routinely rely on our medical doctors to diagnose and cure our anatomical wounds and, likewise, we rely on psychiatrists or therapists to diagnose our emotional and spiritual wounds, and then we expect them to ‘fix’ our wounds, “fix us.”  Conversely, it is only by our own introspection that we are able to become aware of our psychic condition and then begin to heal.  In other words, we must all think of ourselves as the analyst and analysand; we are the wounded and the healer in one.  VerDarLuz writes, “When ploughing the depths for the causes of our suffering, we must gallop, like the centaurs, straight into the heart of the Dark Forest.” Thus we willingly face our wound no matter how frightening this may be.  VerDarLuz continues, “We weave through our labyrinth arriving back in the traumas of childhood or other lifetimes, or in unresolved relationships, and notice there a pattern of the sacred wound, etched into our souls” (RWH).   
The concept of the wounded healer predates our modern psychology and is evident throughout mythology.  Chiron, a wise Greek centaur, symbolizes the healing power of the wounded healer as he is thrice wounded, and ultimately forfeits his own life for the liberation of humanity; hence, through compassion ends his own suffering.  Similar to this sentiment is the root of the Tibetan Buddhist mani mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum.  Through the recitation of the mantra, the Great Vehicle, Mahayana, of transformation and enlightenment will be realized.  This is done through the sentiment contained within these six syllables, which comprise the totality of all eighty-four thousand teachings of Buddha.  Though the mantra cannot be directly translated, its essential message relays the path away from suffering through compassion; often summarized in the statement: Behold! The Jewel in the Lotus!   This jewel is symbolic of a treasure realized within oneself through the tradition of looking inward for the source of suffering and then rising above the chaos through a method of compassion.  Recitation transforms confusion (earthly chaos) into wisdom.  Like Chiron, the goal is to recognize one’s wound as a necessary teacher, verses a source of suffering.  Both examples result in a potential community of compassion verses the alternate self-absorbed extroverted person resulting from an unending fear of suffering.
Recognizing our wounds reveals our interconnectedness with all of humanity as all of humanity suffers from these very same wounds; consequently, our self-perception is expanded removing us from a personal identity that separates us into an all-embracing identity (similar to the innate nature of compassion).  The mythical fight between Jacob and the angel demonstrates the necessity of our wounds as a process of our formation.  Without the fight against a force much stronger and adept, Jacob would have been killed illuminating our unavoidable fate: fight, or die, which psychologically we all must submit.  This fight changed Jacob, who is subsequently named Israel.  “The wounded healer only becomes able to heal and help others,” Levy posits, “when instead of being resentful, bitter and feeling victimized by their wound, he or she recognizes their wound as a numinous event, an archetypal moment that seeks to make them participants in a divine, eternal happening.”    This sentiment parallels Jung’s notion of suffering as an archetypal and collective aspect of humanity.  Therefore, we need to find a way to “be at home in the darkness of suffering,” wherein we find our way toward recovery and a release from the death grip of our earthly oppressors, the ideals founded in conscious goals and aspirations. 
The first step in becoming our own wounded healer lies within the dream(s) of our childhood.  Jung believes that analysts should give special attention and priority to childhood dreams, far-seeing dreams, which were so impactful as to stay with the person into their adulthood, or were reoccurring.  Without understanding the significance of a dream from childhood, it, nonetheless, remains in our conscious thoughts or repeatedly returns to our conscious thoughts without a traceable or logical reason.  These youthful dreams, in particular, cast an adumbration shadow over the life of the dreamer. The precognition function of dreams in children elucidate the ingredients of the unconscious that comprise the totality of the person yet to be formed; thus casting this shadow of what is to be or become of the child through numinous dream images.  In Jungian terms, a far-seeing dream reveals a person’s life myth, or myth quest. This is because children’s ego conscious is less developed than that of adults, meaning children are in closer contact with their unconscious.  It is, therefore, susceptible to oneiric blasts into consciousness; thus, exposing a vibrant message from the collective unconscious.  Because the unconscious precedes the conscious in the development of the human psyche, dreams of a child unveil the numinous symbols of primordial archetypes, due in part to the lack of repressed physical-plane experiences resulting in a clear unscathed image, and thus message, ringing with the immense energy and impact of the collective unconscious.  It is of no surprise that these far-seeing dreams tend to be nightmares.  The power of such symbols resonates deep within the child without an understanding as to meaning or purpose, imposing fear rather than a recognizable message.  
An example of such a dream comes from a woman who is still haunted by the effects of her childhood dream.  She said that when she was eight years old she dreamed that there was a creek in the front of her country home.  She happened upon the creek in time to see her three-year-old sister pinned under the water by a large bolder.  Her reaction, upon waking from this dream, was to take it upon herself to watch over her sister very carefully for fear that at any time her sister would die or be killed.  The once three-year-old, who is now thirty-one years old, has never been able to shake her horror and fear.  This emotion defies our logical human thinking, proving that we are in fact impacted by forces beyond our comprehension due to their ambiguity, and irresolvable due to their transcendent nature.  Upon a second glace through Jungian spectacles, an analyst would find many primordial archetypes contained in this woman’s dream.  A winding river is the archetype for both a search and a concatenation of changes to come.  The river contains the water of life, which is everywhere and available to everyone; however, commonly the value of the life force of water is missed.  Water, as a life force, is another way of referring to the living and dynamic power of the psyche. The life of the growing, changing body of the child, whose self-perception will be continually changing through her physical-plane experiences and her journey towards inner equanimity, personifies this living power, as well as the living, moving path of the river.  Water signifies anima mundi, the soul of the world, imprisoned in matter; whereby transmutation is possible only with the washing in divine water.  This small child represents birth and death, beginning and end, the Alpha and Omega.  Alchemically speaking, the image of a child is initially the prima materia, or the crossroads to enlightenment in the physical realities of intellectual doubt or metaphysical problems. Neumann describes Net, the Egyptian mythological personification of the female principle, as “the ocean of life with its life –and death—bringing seasons, and life is her child, a fish eternally swimming inside her, like the stars in the celestial ocean” (TGM 222).  This image brings an entirely different effect than the original renderings of the eight-year-old, whose limited imagination feared the numinous material due to lost translation. 
Speaking, once again, in alchemical terms, these numina signify the alchemical wedding or living death, which precedes a rebirth or change in self-image.  The prima materia is the coagula of chaos found madly dancing in the conscious realms of human psyche.  Separating the soul (the active principle) from the body (the passive principle) and then reuniting them will produce the filius philosophorum, the magical child and reborn self, also known as the ultima materia.    The initial prima materia, manifest as this girl-child in the dream, is the seed to individuation, to wholeness.  In order to create the philosopher’s stone, we must initially dissolve in this chaos and then re-emerge with a reborn self; it is upon the reunion of the body, soul, and spirit that the stone, or panacea, is produced.  It can, therefore, be concluded that the large stone, interpreted by the eight-year-old as a boulder, which holds this child in the water, is the universal solution of cosmic consciousness.  This symbolism emerges from the theory, as VonFranz states, that “the stone symbolizes mere existence at the farthest remove from the emotions, feelings, fantasies, and discursive thinking of ego-consciousness.” She continues, “In this sense the stone symbolizes what is perhaps the simplest and deepest experience –the experience of something eternal that man can have in those moments when he feels immortal and unalterable.”  The stone symbolizes the potentialities of liberation form earthly projections, chaos, and thusly a move toward wisdom.  The philosopher’s stone weeps the water contained in the winding river, in which the girl-child is emerged.  The circular nature of the bolder is the symbol of the world wheel, which contains the dorje at its center. 
The girl-child is the mediatrix between the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. The child in the water, pinned by the stone, may foretell of the miraculous ‘washing’ that animates inert matter and propels psychic birth through death; thus, continuing the prerogative of the psyche of birth and rebirth.  The boulder, the little girl, and the water together create the alchemical process of individuation.  Hence, this woman may go through a death and rebirth experience in her life.  What seemed like a nightmare that inexplicitly continued to haunt this woman into adulthood, was really a powerful proprioception foretelling her myth quest journey and all the primordial components that she should be aware of in order to be an active and conscious participant.  This is such an impactful and conscious-stretching moment; regardless, often we carelessly and ignorantly place it in the childhood fear and fantasy pile, infinitely neglected, and never seen for its antidotal principals.
The childhood dream of a fifty-six year old woman could have warned her of an inner complication that would influence her personality, consequently, her physical-plane experiences throughout her life, if only she had understood its meaning.  She dreamt that she was inside her home and looking out a big window at her dad who was bowling on the grass by himself.  While watching, the police came and took him away.  She objected, claiming that they should not take him because he had not done anything wrong.  They took him anyways, and she never saw him again.  This dream is also a great example of the seemingly ridiculous nature of dreams.  Though it is abnormal to bowl in one’s own yard, the collective symbolism is loudly evident through this very image.  The bowling ball, itself, is at the center of the theme of this dream.  The bowling ball, symbolizing the world wheel, roles repeatedly down the hill of her yard.  The circular shape of the ball represents unity, and contains the three world-principles: the clock of cyclic and eternal time, containing sensuous longing; the serpent of chaos, containing hatred or envy; and the pig of unconsciousness, representing ignorance.  In the center of this ternary concatenation, lies the dorje, the combination of all divine/spiritual forces together.  The union of all factors presents the symbolic form of the self as revealed in the circular mass.  As in the previous dreams interpretation of the stone, this ball signifies a distancing from ego-conscious thinking; experience that is had in the innermost realms of one’s being, the nucleus of the self.  Von Fronz says, “The alchemical stone (the lapis) symbolizes something that can never be lost or dissolved, something eternal that some alchemists compared to the mystical experience of God within one’s own soul” (M&S “TPI” 226)  Without comprehension, this woman was dreaming about her inner sacred psyche.  However, her animus was rolling it downhill, indicating a burying of her awareness of, or control of, her innermost self into the dark space of her unconscious.
The imprisonment of her animus, personified as a wise old man, is archetypally symbolic of losing a guiding aspect of oneself necessary to progress through the stages of psychic life naturally.  The wise old man plays many roles in women.  This figure is an imperative aspect, not only on the path one must take to mature psychologically, but also in maintaining a balanced and whole self throughout adulthood.   The wise old man is functional as a guide in the unscrupulous chaos of psychic pandemonium and exterior affect.  He is the personification of wisdom, courage, truthfulness, gumption, perspicacity, and spiritual sagacity.  The loss of this profoundly helpful animus has consequential repercussions.  He is taken away by male figures in uniform suggesting an outward idea of authority; thus, suggesting she has replaced the authority of her helpful wise old man with outer world projections of judgment.  These male figures differ from the positive attributes of a wise guide by providing destructive influence and inner voices of doubt and criticism. 
This child’s psyche dealt her a life of insecurity and self-berating.   On the outside, she compensated for the loss of her positive animus (personified as her loving father) by following the inner misguidings of the dark men (personified as authoritatively adored figures).  She grew to embrace externally contrived notions of masculinity, from working on her own vehicles to building her own house. She never valued herself within these activities, nor found peace within her apparent outer abilities.  In the process of carrying out a life lived in such a fashion, all things feminine became buried.  She neglected her inner condition in leu of her physical-plane duties, which fill the requirements of a life created from an unbalanced inner constitution, signified by wrongful shadow impersonations of helpful aspects.
Our childhood renders more than proprioception messages spoken through the language of dreams.  Jung explains, “The swift passage of the years and the overwhelming inrush of the newly discovered world leave a mass of material behind that is never dealt with” (TPJ “Dream Symbolism” 339).  As adults, we hold the unprocessed material from the passing years of our youth as repressed unconscious material.  This repressed material, we commonly refer to as baggage, not only confronts us as numina, but also affects our lives through unconscious influence, guiding our outer actions and relationships in ways we are not aware of and therefore not in control of.  Without processing childhood material, a person is perpetually drawn back to infantile tendencies, which always include the child’s connection to the mother and father.  As a child is closer to a place of non-ego, the mother and father replace the external value and judgment the child, now adult, sees in the mirror.  This is not something that will change with the changing body, but is independent of the aging physical being.  In other words, we can retain our infantile tendencies well into our adult life.  Not until we consciously face this material, and willingly re-experience our wounds, will they be corrected and integrated into a healthy psyche.  
The dreams of a sixty year old man depict the complexity of a psyche that recedes into adolescent perceptions of self and world.  One of his dreams is as follows. The dreamer is staying in a hotel in an unfamiliar town.  He has to get a special antique from an antique store.  The address of the store is 231 (unknown street name).  He takes with him a large cart, knowing his item is going to be big.  He is by himself as he starts going down the street, which is a descending hill. He walks past many stores that have all gone out of business.  He finds himself at a very dumpy store in the 1100 block, so he knows he has gone too far.  He goes into the store anyways.  The store is really dark and dingy, filled with junk and many people.  Every time he stops to talk with someone, he drops red cubes, which he is attempting to hold in his hands. A young girl tells him that her dad is buying her a couch; however, it too is dumpy. The proprietor looks like Charles Winchester from the MASH 4077 Television show.  He says to the dreamer, “Remember, anything is possible.  I can make you a deal on anything.” The dreamer responded with, “that’s what all the proprietors say,” all the while juggling the cubes.  One of the cubes falls to the floor and roles to the far back of a huge dirty freezer.  He had to crawl inside to get his cube back.  He finally thinks to put the cubes in his pocket.  He now dreads pushing the cart back up the hill, but does so even though it remains empty.  He calls his daughter to ask for her help in calling his wife to let her know that he will be late.  She refuses, saying, “Do it yourself!” He calls his wife with this information and the dream ends.   
This dream is not about dusty dirty antique stores, or a failure to find an item to put on a cart; this is a far-reaching story about the childhood experience of the dreamer.  It is about something he lost of value and needs to retrieve from his youth; an item his conscious associations translate to be big enough to need a cart.  He has to retrieve this item on his own.  The quest of finding this special item of antiquity, leads the dreamer on a descending journey into the depths of his personal psychic history.  He is under the impression that somewhere on this journey he will find this important item, which he does, but as a twist, he has had it with him the whole time.  The numbers 2-3-1 may indicate the levels of history, in sequential order, that he will find himself.  The number 1 indicates a unified whole self; and conversely, the number 3 indicates the degree of separation from this integrated self. The stores that are out of business are inconsequential times in his life; they serve no purpose: historical experiences best put back on the library shelf of one’s personal life history. 
The concept of looking for an item in an antique store may stem from the dreamer’s outer world experience of having parents who owned and ran an antique shop in a wealthy suburb outside of Chicago.  The dingy store he arrives at in his dream contains a proprietor resembling the ostentatious attitudes of his parents, extended family, and community.  The other customers in the store represent all those who bought into the belief that the store had value as represented by the snooty character of the store owner.  Regardless, the dreamer sees it for what it was: worthless, soulless, empty. This store is on the second (2nd) level of his decent into unconscious material: his childhood, most likely at the point of transition between high school, childhood dependent consciousness: interconnectedness to mother and father, and college, separation from the connection to mother and father.  The proprietor tries to feed him propaganda of promised investment and return, which he now understands is nothing more than dogma stated by all whom this man represents.  The dreamer had grown up in a community of achievers and moneymakers, the rich and the powerful.  Upon graduating from high school with great academic standing and extracurricular involvement, appearing to be the quintessential product that all the prudence in the world could hope for, his parents put him on a plane and shipped him off to Harvard.  At Harvard, he discovered the valueless façade that coated all within his outer life’s existence up to that point.  Psychologically, a discovery of this kind has the effect of leaving a person empty and directionless –wounded.  As such, he never truly had a grasp or vision of his psychic center.
Subsequently, he finds himself suddenly aware of the red cubes, which he juggles in his hands, but continuously drops.  Red is an important color as it represents a vibrant energy, such as experienced in fire (the final aspect of alchemy); additionally, it is the color of the male aspect of the nadis referred to as Shiva.   Jung says, “The flux and fire of life are not to be underrated and are absolutely necessary for the achievement for wholeness” (TPJ “Dream Symbolism” 378).  The cubes represent the aspects of the self, to include the four elements.  This includes the dreamer’s innermost being, as well as the collective and personal connection to the quad-elements, all of which have a physical and symbolic effect.  This dream is a vision of the history of his soul, which takes the dreamer into childhood in an effort to acquire a value yet defined. However, the dreamer’s journey is not yet complete.  He has to go back even farther to acquire this object of value he has been searching for, which turns out to be his dropped cube, his inner true self. 
The dreamer’s cube has rolled into a large, dirty, moldy freezer, a freezer, as the dreamer points out, is no longer in service or available for use. He climbs in to the farthest corner to retrieve this symbol of his true self.  This has taken the dreamer to level –3 of his journey back in time.  This is the oldest, most degenerate place, located inside of the dingy store, far down the declining street of closed shops.  He is at adolescence, reclaiming his nucleus.  He realizes he has to own the cubes, so he puts them on his person for secure containment.  He then proceeds to return from whence he came, traveling back up the hill.  He is aware of how hard this path is to traverse and so calls on his anima to let her know he is coming, but will be late.  He is sixty years old and just getting the message from his unconscious directing him to look inward and find the innate qualities and aspects that are contained within the center of the man he sees in the mirror, pushing him to no longer willingly see himself through the ego-consciousness of his parents. 
[…] Behold the Child among his new-born blisses, / A six years’ darling of a pigmy size! / See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies, / Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses, / With light upon him from his father’s eyes! / See, at his feet, some little plan or chart, […] As if his whole vocation / Were endless imitation. […]
-William Wordsworth, “Ode on Intimations of Immortality”
A short time after this dream, the man has another dream whereby he sees a vision of his father with a cleft pallet or harelip.  His father says to him, “I’m marrying a Hmong woman.”  The dreamer points to a small Aztec-looking woman standing beside his father and says, “Is this her?”  The dreamer’s father says, “No, that is her shaman.  She is here to check you out.” Then the dreamer’s wife says to the dreamer, “look,” and pulls up their son’s t-shirt sleeve to reveal cuts all over his arm in patterns resembling hieroglyphics.  The cuts are actually cuts on top of cuts creating layers of intricate scar patterns. They cover his upper arms and his chest.  The dreamer’s wife says, “It’s because of them! It’s because they are getting married.  It’s their fault!”  At this point, it is apparent to the dreamer that they (his father and the shaman) are testing them (the dreamer and his corresponding wife and son). Then the father pronounces this very sentiment, saying that they are checking to see if the dreamer and his wife are good enough for them.  The dreamer says that throughout the dream he has an overwhelming feeling he will not be strong enough to fight this unknown evil force.    
This dream follows the same pattern as a traditional fairy tale, involving an evil step-mother, or witch, and an unloving father, sinister father imago.  Jung says that our psyche has a double face whereby one looks forward while the other looks back.  This man’s psyche is completely facing backwards.  The psychological problem lies in the dynamic position this puts the dreamer in.  He is still living through his parents; thus, putting his fate in the hands of these negative archetypal figures, who control the dreamer’s ego-consciousness through their malevolent guidance and judgmental ways.  In this psychic condition the implied authority is not the self, but continues to be the parents.  Fairytales remind us of the tenuous journey one must go on in an effort to conquer over the evil forces that steel away the good aspects required for integration.  Recognizing the evil in the figures is not enough.  There is a path that is hard, too hard to travel down it seems; but one must be persistent in acquiring the happily-ever-after, which is represented as a grand wedding of the anima and animus.  This wedding is also the synchronicity of psyche and matter, an awareness of one’s psychic condition, a withdrawal of projections and the condition of being projected upon, and conclusively, the psychic state of individuation. 
In this dream, the evil step-mother is the figure of a magical woman personified by the dreamer as a shaman.  Von Franz claims that this negative anima can “inhibit a man from getting into direct touch with life and its real decisions” (M&S “TPI” 191).  This is specifically Hercules’ poisonous arrow, which has struck and wounded this man, completely affecting the totality of his adult life.  This is metaphysically handicapping to the individual who attempts to live a happy life, but ponders at this seemingly out-of-reach goal.  As I said earlier, we are attempting to find our bliss and it is impossible to intellectualize your wounds away in order to achieve a condition of pure rapture.  So long as your self-judgment is coming from the parents, such as read about in fairytales and witnessed in this man’s dreams, you can be assured that you will continue on the path of devolution of one’s self to the dark shadows.  It is important to attempt to figure out whether the images sent in dreams as shadows are there to guide us toward individuation or lead us astray.  This man unwittingly admits to not knowing if he possesses the strength and conviction in his own instinctual crusade as to overcome his existential dilemma, which is rooted in his center and emulates into his outer world existence.  Thus this man has battled chronic depression, insecurity, and issues of subordination. 
According to Jung, “the unconscious lets its creatures go only at the cost of sacrifice” (P&S “PTS” 98).  This may explain the strange scaring on his son’s upper arms and chest.  His son is the object of the painful sacrifice, indicating the degree of horror that is to come.  Jung continues, “The conquest of the soul is in reality a work of patience, self-sacrifice, and devotion.”  This all relates to the commitment to resurface past wounds and travel the dangerous myth-quest path toward a reborn self.  George Gurdjieff once said, “A man will renounce any pleasures you like but he will not give up his suffering,” indicating the level of comfort found in suffering versus the fear bound in facing one’s wounds (unknown source).  In her book, Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self¸ Sarah Ban Breathnach sums-up this transpersonal process of traveling back through our wound in a narrative between a human and an angel at the Celestial Gates.  The human has just been told that she must “repeat and return” because she didn’t get rid of her baggage during her lifetime.  The woman responds by saying, “I know, but I could never kick the misery habit.  ... Besides, if you’d been born into my family, and married the four carbon-based life-forms I did…”  The angel gives the following as an analogy of the alchemical process of death and rebirth through the wound, which we must all embrace in order to heal:
Every time you go back, life keeps getting harder and harder.  At some point your core gets shattered, and you hit rock bottom.  Finally you look up, asking for help.  Maybe even being grateful.  You’re grateful you’re still alive to work through whatever spiritual assignment you brought with you into the world.  Being grateful.  That’s the first step to the path of joy. (11)
Through the analogous language of our collective unconscious, we translate the religious connotations of this narrative through a sun lit crystal, which illuminates the story into psychic light and meaning, which resonates through our being.        
It is the choir of the psychic collective, which hums the verses of our journey though familiar language whispered in our ears and echoing deep within our being.  They sing of our metaphysical pain and suffering, and remind us we are nothing more than a reflective mirror of a greater transpersonal field of human experience.  This knowledge brings us comfort as we dare to switch our gaze inward, reminding us we are not alone.  We hear this sentiment resounding in George Eliot’s poem “The Choir Invisible:”  “O May I join the choir invisible / Of those immortal dead who live again / … / Whose music is the gladness of the world” (ll. 1-2, 44).  Proof, once again, that the language of archetypes transcends space and time and resonates with meaning springing from an unknown source. 
Through collective symbols, our dreams emulate a disassociated self as we rise towards or away from awareness, consequently resulting in destruction or construction dependent upon the dreamer’s psychic condition. One female dreamer describes a dream in which she is swinging on a rope suspended from Heaven.  She grabs ahold of the rope and runs in an outward arc until her feet lift off the ground.  She says she is having fun and feels like a child.  She is circling clockwise.  Soon, though, her fun turns scary as she swings faster and faster, lifting higher and higher.  She is certain that she will tire, let go, and plummet to her death.  There are people below her, but they are oblivious to her peril.  Clearly, the circumambulating in the clockwise direction indicates a move towards consciousness.  In this movement, though, she becomes fearful, somehow knowing this shift towards awareness will lead her down a path fraught with dangers and suffering.  The fact that there are many people present yet not one notices her indicates that this journey is her own.  The rope suspended from Heaven is her connection to the cosmic psyche, which leads specifically to her and spins around her personal center. 
In Nietzsche’s book, On The Genealogy of Morals, he says, “we are necessarily strangers to ourselves, we do not comprehend ourselves, we have  to misunderstand ourselves, for us the law ‘Each is furthest from himself’ applies to all eternity –we are not ‘men of knowledge’ with respect to ourselves” (3).  Based on our tendencies toward misoneism, fear and hesitation are ego-centered human reactions to the unknown.  There is a period of interregnum wherein we release our hold on the ideology chaining us to our physical existence, thereby impeaching the external authority that has our self-image projected upon us.  The tyrannical ruler is dismissed, but we are yet hesitant to commit ourselves to an inward journey that appears far more painful than the ignorance granted by the external oppressor.  Whether it be the era of tyranny or the freedom got from an inner spiritual leadership, we will yet discover both times in our life were moments of decisions formed by our unconscious instincts and/or wounds, or our extroverted responses and reactions to these inner inclinations.
We owe it to ourselves to push on, for out of the dark abyss of suffering and pain, grows the lapis ready to reveal our reborn self.  In The Undiscovered Self, Jung writes:
The very fact that through self-knowledge, that is, by exploring our own souls, we come upon the instincts and their world of imagery should throw some light on the powers slumbering in the psyche, of which we are seldom aware so long as all goes well.  They are potentialities of the greatest dynamism, and it depends entirely on the preparedness and attitude of the conscious mind whether the irruption of these forces, and the images and ideas associated with them, will tend towards construction or catastrophe. (58)
It is in the hopes of avoiding catastrophe that we plummet straight into chaos as a means to re-experience that which we presume to have experienced but did so with prejudice and projection rendering the experience useless. 
            This same woman came back to me with a dream that followed her first by only a few short weeks.  Her dream resembles the first in its theme of self and unconscious awareness, only this time with more detail than the first.  She says in her dream she looks out her front window from a house and neighborhood that are unfamiliar to her.  The house is located on the crossroads of a t-shaped road, whereby the main street stretched out in front of her without ending.  She sees a helicopter pulling a man who is sitting in a blue chair which is facing backwards.  This is some kind of thrill ride, or so it seems.  However, the helicopter descends too low to the ground and she watches the man’s face as the back of his chair scrapes the street.  The dreamer says that even though the image is traveling away from her, her focus remains close up as in a movie.  The man on the chair holds an expression of dreadful fear, knowing that if his chair flips over his head will first smash into the street and then he will continue to be dragged along the pavement as the helicopter obliviously continues to pull him.  The dreamer immediately turns away and pretends she hasn’t seen him.  Later, her husband points out that there is an accident in the middle of the street.  The dreamer runs out into the street in a panic, fueled by guilt and remorse.  She feels so bad for turning away from the man’s peril.  When she gets to the street she realizes that the accident is a simple fender bender involving people she has never seen before.  However, upon looking to the left side of the street, which is flanked by a hill, she sees pieces of blue plastic scattered all along the road and up the hill.  She instantly knows this is the broken remains of the man’s chair.  She runs up the hill scared to death of what she might find.  She sees more broken pieces of plastic and then she sees two feet in faded black socks, shoeless.  She walks up slowly and sees the white swollen, bloody and bruised face of the man.  Her hands immediately cover her mouth and she lets out a blood curtailing scream for help.  She feels like she had something to do with this man’s death because she had turned away earlier when she knew he was in trouble.  Just then his eyes shoot open and he looks right into her eyes. Her dream vision goes completely black and the words to a song sounded: “Don’t speak; I know what you’re thinking.” She immediately wakes up. 
            The dreamer had this dream some time ago, yet the impression, though incomprehensible to her, has left her feeling on the edge of something inexplicable yet bursting with energy.  She repeatedly says to me, “I feel something. I don’t know what it is; but it is a very strong feeling.  I feel like I should be doing something, but I don’t know what. I’m not at ease, but I don’t know why.” The feeling was cosmic movement within her psyche; her unconscious spoke to her in a language known to her inner being, but foreign to the outward-dialect of her conscious ears.  What she needs to begin to understand is the value dreams have in exposing the elements of the self through collective symbols, the numinous material, as offered in this dream.  Her dream speaks in a language not weighed down by distractions and attractions inherent in an extroverted conversation, but instead revealing a colorful, dynamic, and 3D message she should have been able to ingest and process.  Jung tells us that collective symbols concealed in dreams, “[appeal] directly to feeling and emotion.”  Jung continues, “Such a language is needed to translate certain truths from their ‘cultural’ form (where they are utterly ineffectual) into a form that hits the nail on the head” (TUS “S&I” 86-87).  Thus, this dream, manifest of her psychic condition, leaves her deeply moved and paralyzed to her prior naïve conscious condition. 
            The location of the dream is on a T-shaped road, which equates to the symbolic representation of the cross.  She is at a spiritual crossroads, personified in the doctrine of Jesus’s crucifixion, whereby the triad is attained through the process of birth, death, and then rebirth.  Jesus, a man who represents her animus, sits facing backwards inferring an unconscious direction of focus.  This man sits in a blue chair.  Blue symbolizes both height and depth (sky and water); however, the helicopter lowers the man to the street level once again indicating a movement towards unconsciousness by a decent in the vertical.  A loss of blue can be the equivalent to the loss of the blue vertical circle within the center of the golden mandala, which would render an abstract, two-dimensional existence.  Blue also has a feminine nature.   The blue chair (feminine) hosts the man; thus, the animus sits with the anima, indicating a relationship between the two. Connecting these symbols, Jung says, “What is Heaven without Mother Earth. …She adds the missing blue to gold, red, and green, and thus completes the harmonious whole” (TPJ “Dream Symbolism” 448). 
Continuing with the same dream-text, there is an accident, wherein the chair is smashed and the man is nearly destroyed.  This vital aspect of the dream exposes the separation within the dreamer’s psyche: a broken and divided self/center.  The location of this detrimental divorce of synergetic wholeness of the self is to the left, which again represents the unconscious aspect of this inner degradation.   The dreamer has feelings of remorse and guilt for turning away from her view of the man in the blue chair, admitting that she sensed a devastating accident was imminent. This is a refusal to look at one’s own wounds, being unable to cope with the reality of the inner psychic condition.
Coming upon the accident and assessing the evidential debris, the dreamer then stands before the wounded man who looks right into her eyes, once again, indicating the intimate connection between the man and the dreamer.  The dream visualizes complete unconsciousness when it goes black.  And when the dreamer hears the words: “Don’t speak; I know what you’re thinking,” this indicates the connected relationship of all the symbolic images to the thinking aspect, which indicates an inner conversation –introversion –versus an extroverted conversation that would require her to communicate verbally in response.  This resounds while encompassed by the blackness of unconsciousness.  This woman admitted to living and breathing by her emotions.  She said she was suffering immensely from her outer world experiences; and through the glasses of naivety, she was simultaneously pretending her inner psychic condition did not exist and was not in need of attention/help.  When she turned away from the picture window in the dream, she was turning away from her inner wounded self.  As we now know, it is only with her own volition that she will ever be able to heal her wounded self.  She, therefore, needs to understand the psychic numina in her dreams in order to understand the outer world suffering she will continue to endure unless she turns towards the contents of her psychic self, broken and split though she may be.
The insults she derived from exterior sources were introjected upon her psyche producing an image of self-perception reflecting the qualities of the original insult.  She mirrored her insults.  She took on their fragrance as her own.  Introjections are the essence of the principle flaw of extroversion.  Jung refers to this process of incorporating another person or object into one’s own psyche as projection.  As discussed earlier, we are capable of projecting outward to another, or being projected upon.  Harboring such poisonous introjections or projections as this woman did, harms/wounds the true self and equates to an intolerable life of suffering.  Our earthly suffering conceptualizes the miasmatic suffocating brought forth by our wounds as the poisonous effluvia tickle our noses and choke our lungs.  Our life seems weighed down by intellectualized earthly experiences, which unsurprisingly materialize only on the open field of outward perception. 
So, how is it that Jung’s concepts of archetypes and a collective unconscious manifests into an obtainable resource of self knowledge and guidance?  Jungian theory suggests that there is a way to translate the language of the cultures into a language that speaks to a deeper aspect of the human experience, one that recalls the names of deities and places them in reach of our own personal meaning.  Jung has repeatedly emphasized that archetypes are not inherited ideas, rather they are “inherited tendencys of the human mind to form representations of mythological motifs” (TUS “Symbols” 108).  This means the collective unconscious lays down the grid within which we dance a personal routine comprised of individual experiences mixed with our innate personality; thus, eradiating our theological and philosophical belief systems through our dreams and visions.  The ontological view of human existence morphs into universal symbols, which pierce our moral fiber singing with a personal directive. This is the summative concept of the collective choir singing a melismatic tune.  When we hear this collective tune, we are rescued from the miasmatic suffocating we naively suffer in the extroverted life of the lonely, and are lifted into an apotheosis of human experience, connecting our physical energy with spiritual realms.
The grid pattern of spiritual biology can be found within religious, cultural, and mythological traditions, as well as our dreams.  Our basic spiritual anatomy satisfies a narcissistic need to believe in something grander than ourselves yet somehow a part of our physiological makeup.  What Aristotle referred to as the entelechy of living beings, not only surfaces in our dreams, but is also found in ancient and modern doctrines.  According to Jung, it isn’t phenomenologic chance or irony that has destined similar symbols and the necessity of specific God(s) into the lives of humans across time and space, but rather an archetype an sich.  Neumann says, not only does the archetype an sich “act as a magnetic field, directing the unconscious behavior of the personality through the pattern of behavior set up by the instincts; it also operates as a pattern of vision in the consciousness, ordering the psychic material into symbolic images” (TGM 6).  This explains why we unconsciously follow indefinable instincts that create cravings for fulfillment through spiritual doctrines.  Therefore, the concept of an archetype is not limited to a potential aspect of the human experience; rather it is an actual part of our inner and outer experience.  Humans continue to relate to and require the symbols found within cultural, religious, and mythological traditions due to their dynamic and energetic origin in our psyche.  We do not exist without the collective aspect within our psyche whether we are consciously aware of it or not.   The names change, but the concept and its corresponding emotion remains consistent.  This is perceived in the different images contained within each dreamer’s dream, which speak only to that dreamer in a secret language sparked to life by the very life force energy chaotically spinning in the dreamer’s unique psyche.  In addition, this individuated language and consequent imagery is sought through cultural and religious practices. We seek that which resonates with meaning regardless of logical or literal comprehension. 
Neumann suggests, “Nearly all the early and primitive documents trace the origin of the world and of man to the darkness, the Great Round, the goddess” (TGM 212).  In other words, in the beginning there was primordial night, which is symbolic of the unconscious, which is symbolized as and by the Great Mother. The origin of existence in the Babylonian beginning makes a connection between the upper and lower realms and this connection is bestowed a feminine persona named Tiamat.  Neumann writes, “The upper vault of heaven and the lower vault of the underworld are fashioned from [Tiamat’s] body. … She remains the all-containing Great Round” (TGM 213).  She is the totality of all the elements. All things outside of darkness are the “offspring of the Nocturnal Mother” (TGM 212). The book of Genesis reads: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (NIV Genesis 1.1-2).  The Hebrew rendering of the primal origin being that of darkness exemplifies Jung’s notion, which ascribes cultural minutiae as the robe that covers the life-rendering energy of the etheric body.  When our dreams indicate a move toward darkness or reveal areas of darkness, we need to perceive this as a move back to our primordial beginning, thus, a move toward unconsciousness, which could mean a spiritual digression, or possibly an aide memoire of one’s innate nature differentiated from one’s outer persona. 
In this state of darkness the heavens and earth combine to form a unified “Round,” or source, in which life is realized. Upon the conception of light, consciousness is born and with it, so are all the opposites: male and female, good and bad, upper and lower realms, and so forth; the totality of which is called “uroboric,” representing our “original psychic situation” (TGM 212-213). The book of Genesis continues:
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  God saw that that light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” … And God said, “let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights –the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. (NIV Genesis 1.3-5, 1.14-18)
The primordial archetype represented by light is paramount in the traditions of man, in the processes of individuation, and in the alchemical unio mentalis.  Hallaj, the mystic poetically wrote, “The Sun of the One I love has risen in the night, / Resplendent, and there will be no more sunset… / I saw my Lord with the eye of the heart, and I said / ‘Who are you?’ and he said, ‘Your Self.’” (qtd in “Unio Mentalis: Solificatio”).  As poetically as that is written, its far-reaching sentiment can be traced from the book of Genesis to Tantric Hinduism and Taoist alchemy.  Within us lies the origin of our spiritual center.  The pole of the universe is contained within.  We are the culmination of existence from beginning to eternity.  We are a part of a greater whole, not limited by what is contained within our physical bodies. The sun, the light, the source of energy and life, are available to our psychic perception; if only we would look within than we would no longer be without.                               
So resounding, in fact, is the essence of the primordial uroboric structure within our psychic constellation, that resulting symbols are found across the great expanse of time and space, from ancient times to modern times.  The prominent pattern portrayed in The Old Testament regards the conception of Adam and Eve, male and female, unified in the Garden of Eden, and then cast out upon eating from the tree of knowledge after the enticing of a serpent.  Therefore, the apple from the tree of knowledge and the temptation of Adam and Eve gives birth to consciousness.  The first knowledge brought before them through their conscious perception is the awareness of their own nakedness.  This is not a literal nakedness, but a personification of separation, of difference; thus follows the separation of good and evil, spiritual enlightenment and suffering, hence heaven and hell.  The serpent often referred to as Lucifer, or the devil, in the broader picture is the element responsible for bringing this awareness to consciousness.   The existence of consciousness begins the eternal process of threatening to pull us away from our primordial origin –yet, as previously stated, this process is one we cannot be without.  Thus, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden could be perceived as our unified and true selves, before the wounding at the tree sunders our grasp on this innate nature of our innate self. Conclusively, the serpent is death and yet through this death of a fused and whole self, one begins the process of reuniting the division.  Therefore, the wound is necessary to ignite the process of healing, reunification, and/or individuation.  Often in fairytales, this is depicted as the marriage of the prince and princess whereby after a long prelude of misery and misfortune, adversity and suffering, they live happily ever after –unified once again.  Alternatively, all one has to do is exam his or her own dreams through the eyes of introversion to find therein lies the very same wedding party, preparing your own version of a ‘happy-ever-after’ wedding ceremony. 
Wrestling the wound through counseling focused on extroverted perspectives is what Jung considered shallow sophistry at best.   Any therapy that disregards a person’s innate nature and their innate natural ability to heal is a waste of time for both parties, but particularly debilitating for the wounded.  This is a very insulting position to take, as this type of traditional therapy is the most popularly sought after counseling method in Western culture.  Regardless, in his closing statement in “Dream Symbolism in Relation to Alchemy,” Jung proclaims “Let us take the wisdom of the old alchemists to heart: ‘Naturalissimum et perfectissimim opus est generare tale quale ipsum est*’ (*‘The most natural and perfect work is to generate its like’)” (455).  Though confoundingly complex in description, the sentiment of Jung places the key of healing in the palm of the wounded, empowering us to take the chance and turn our glace inward and dare to begin our personal myth-quest.  The map we need for this journey is cosmically outlined in the numina secretly held in our dreams.  With the belief in an innate hero within and our ability to conquer against our greatest fears and weaknesses, we simultaneously step on the path of purpose, individuation, and find that which we are seeking: the rapture of life.   

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