Something is calling me towards re-engaging more fully with my dreams.
What started as decluttering my house led to a kind of decluttering of the mind: holding on to the valuable, letting go of the things that had been weighing me down. I found long-forgotten treasures like dream journals, some from recent years, and others from many years ago.
I want to follow the staircase down into my dreaming world because I believe the unconscious has new and wonderful offerings there for me. Wonderful, in the sense of revealing both shadow and light. But it seems to me that one cannot feel joy unless there is a willingness to dive into the shadowlands too. After all, that is how we become fully human.
I’ve been researching, as is so easy for us, when we find a subject of interest. There’s a plethora of information out there to be had on everything, and dreams are no exception! I zeroed in on the work of Carl Jung. He’s always fascinated me, especially in the way he fleshed out the idea of archetypes and used visual art extensively to explore dreams.
According to Jung, dreams are revelatory. In other words they present content that we are completely unaware of in the daily chatter of our conscious minds. This may seem obvious at first to those who have dabbled in the practise of dreamwork. However, when you think about it, having an idea or concept presented to us, about us, which is outside of our inner dialogue feels miraculous. We are lifted away from the physical entanglements of our material existence into the unknown of the Divine.
Our dreams have an eternal quality- dreams from long ago can evolve in meaning. Rather than being like deadwood of the past, dreams are more like facets of a diamond ever revealing different aspects from the deep waters of the psyche. This is why it was so serendipitous for me to re-discover old dream journals and the artwork I did around them.
This piece ‘Feather’ was a collage around a dream character from more than 15 years ago, when I was studying counselling. When I found it, I felt compelled to do some more work around this drawing by asking questions and writing intuitive insights down. Not surprisingly, I found these archetypes just as relevant for me now as they were then, and the meaning has deepened and developed.
Interestingly, the owl-like creature represented God for me, which is comforting now as a mother who has lost a child. I see my heart being held in this picture. Not long after he passed, my angel son Jordan sent us many signs in the form of owls. Because of this, it speaks as reassurance that just like the girl in the picture (an aspect of me), his heart is also safe in God’s care. It’s hard to describe the utter wordless wonder I feel in my soul with these deep symbols. They tell a much larger story.
Our lives, all of our lives, are truly a labyrinth of treasure.
I wrote a short poem about this dream character, which illustrates one aspect of the Jungian way of dream analysis. Unlike Freud, who used free association to decode dreams, Jung’s method is a way of bypassing the logical mind by trying to examine the images and archetypes as if you had never seen them before. As if you are trying to explain something to an alien or a small child.
Feathers are light They are lifted by the air They are soft to touch. With feathers, a bird can fly and enter into the heavenly space. They shelter and comfort gently, so quietly. God has wings, too. We gather under, allowing them to enfold us, Like a Mother Hen.