Sunday, August 21, 2011


I have shared some very personal material on this blog which makes me somewhat uncomfortable. This is because I am trying to build a public report of the progression of  a Spiritual journey over three decades.  Beverly, My wife of 35 years and a  best friend after that, was an extremely important part of that journey. She frequently appears in my dream life and I always welcome her. So here, I'm confident with her approval,  I share some of her personal delights and struggles, which were mine also, and of   her amazing journey toward greater wholeness and spiritual well being.

1. This persisting dream was all about visualizing a basement ceiling by 'looking up'. The idea was to consider putting up a finished ceiling over the open rafters. But there were all kinds of pipes, switches and boxes mounted it in. Many of them protruded down so holes would have to be cut in the new ceiling. It just kept showing this complicated ceiling. Finally I thought it would be best to paint it all black. Then at least the stuff would not be as noticeable and it would have the appearance of being solid black. I knew that would take a long time to paint, between the rafters and all the sides of the stuff attached. I visualized it but I don't think ever actually painted it in the dream.
Old European Church

2. Bev and I were out driving to a place in a very run down country village. It seemed we were in Europe. Suddenly the path-like road was blocked.  We were near the destination. She got out to wait while I drove around and came back to where she was. As I drove I finally was back near where Beverly waited. I was winding around right next to a large high church many centuries old. It was very run down but still had signs of life. It appeared to have been turned into a place where many people were living instead of being used as a church. It was taking me a long time to get back to Beverly and I started getting the awful feeling that  She would be getting very upset that she even came. I feared she was getting afraid and angry and panicky. (I recall having that happen periodically in our  married life.) I was even afraid that she may be being bothered or frightened by some stranger. I finally got to where I could see her. She was all smiles and not upset at all. I asked if she could make it through the fences and she smiled beautifully saying she could. She crawled under one fence and then was very strongly pushing two metal poles of another gate apart and squeezing through. She was wearing a crisp white blouse and light blue slacks and white tennis shoes She was very interested in the old church and other buildings and seemed very happy and excited  to be alive.

REFLECTION: I've been reflecting on this dream all day. As with others recently the theme of the dreams was slow coming. But I think it again is a very unexpected way of affirming some of my religious/psychological perspectives. An ancient philosophical idea that was used also by early Christian writers is that of the harmony of 'macrocosm and microcosm'. This idea is found as early as 5 BCE and was a theme of Goethe's famous Faust in the early 19th century. This means that what is true of the universe is also found and true in  each person. Jung often referred to such thinking and embraced it. This is why 'turning inward' is the the ultimate place to find the highest most noble truth. This is why the church father was able to say, ' know yourself and you will know God.' I think this dream is reflecting to me how my experience of Beverly helped me experience the dynamics and the source of suffering and hope that are at the heart of universal reality and of the Sacred. So this to me is a very big and important dream. I will attempt to elaborate.

1.The dream says as we now 'look up' we see a very complicated picture. This is partly due to scientific discovery and to the technology that follows; thus the 'pipes, switches and boxes' that now interfere with our once ' more simple sensible' view and idea of God. So the dream says we attempt to 'cover up the problems' for our post modern consciousness by 'painting it black.' This would represent our repressions of the new facts of the past 300 years. For example,  many people still insist on a 'theistic God'(outside powerful human-like being), deny the progress in medicine  all enjoy as result of biological evolutionary thinking, the present problems of global climate change and what has been learned about the once believed to be 'infallible' sacred texts that contain the complete 'voice of God.' To be confronted with the implications of the post modern realities creates much anxiety. A similar anxiety exists among non religious people as they see that our Western political, educational, health-care and economic institutions seem to become less able and efficient in recent decades. To accept all these changing realities  would seem that all we would now see when we 'look up' is the nothingness of 'blackness'.

By the dream making this a 'basement' scene, it signals that everything in the dream has to do with the 'Collective Unconscious' coming to be significantly more integrated in Human and Sacred consciousness in our present time. The dream focuses on 'looking up'. This is symbolic of how our culture has been taught to look for God 'up there'. Even if we know that universal 'up and down' are now totally relative, the idea still implies that we think of God as 'a being'  who is 'out there.' The atheistic Russian cosmonauts made the argument that God was not seen in outer space, implying that is where we are programed to look for Him. They were right to say that the 'God of orthodox theism' is not to be found alive anymore.  The same can be said of German  19th genius Friedrich  Nietzsche who announced that, 'God Is Dead.'    To the ancients who first believed in a theistic god who  resided just above the clouds, this was easy and natural to accept, but with the influence of science we post moderns know that beyond us yawns an eternal opening with no end place for 'God as  super being' to be.

So I(as microcosm) and the wider world  and  Human culture(as macrocosm) are now more conscious that this situation cannot be resolved by covering it up with paint ( repressing or suppressing sound new but threatening knowledge). This symbolically describes what some have called the 'existential anxiety' of our era. Theologian Paul Tillich's little book, The Gift Of Courage in mid twentieth century  was directed at describing and offering a possible Christian view for resolving that anxiety. This is a painful anxiety felt in general by humans. The dream is saying that I personally experience it but it is also a 'macro' symptom of humanity and probably even of the Sacred, or Godhead, itself. It is of interest that I wrote church bulletin weekly articles for several years at Clear Lake COC under the title of 'Looking Up'. Those would have been during a period where at first I still maintained, no doubt with growing conscious anxiety, a 'theistic' view of God and ultimate reality.

God has been thought of often in history in 'non theistic' ways but our culture is so beholden to a theistic god that to not be 'theistic' is for us to be 'a- theistic' or completely godless and non-religious. This is completely not the case for me. Our culture has simply left no generally acceptable and intelligence based avenue for any view of the Sacred that brings it closer to the presence of the natural inner world of the human, of the human psyche. There are numerous theologians and philosophers past and present who have tried to help us beyond this dilemma but they have mostly been ignored until recent decades. Jung is one of those people whose work is very centered on this problem and possible solutions.
Beverly Hibbett and Jordan

2.This dream presents some of my experience of Beverly symbolically, and the troubling anxiety experienced by us both. This, the dream would say, is a microcosm experience of what is happening on a macrocosm level both for humanity and God. This dream speaks of the strongest and most emotional personal experience of a suffering nature that I have ever had. But it also shows this to be a collective problem by having the scene be in the presence of an ancient European Christian Church. The church is no longer effectively serving as a church to help people to be effectively connected to the Collective Unconscious which is the source of the knowledge of the Sacred, of God. Instead, it is being lived in as a secular dwelling. This may imply that people still look to the religious interpretations of the past but more and more those interpretations become meaningless and the power of the original symbols lost. This would be a description of the same 'black heavens' of the first dream.

So many times Beverly, in ways beyond her control, would become  momentarily anxious and fearful. I became very frustratingly sensitive to when this was happening. This in turn stirred my anger and fear. For Beverly this would turn into strong physical symptoms of flushing, racing heart, sweating. Often she would have to leave the setting where this was occurring. It happened in church more than any where else. There was nothing rational about this(which made it so much more painful.) and it was totally at odds with her natural way of being. Before this started in her late twenties she was very favorable toward the church and harbored nothing but positive expectations of it, its teachings and the fellowship it extended. But another force from places at first totally unconscious were speaking a very different voice through her suffering. Something was saying through her that all is not well with the modern day church and some of its emphasis.  It would be easy for some  religious persons to explain this by a personalized devil opposing her. It certainly is appropriate to call it an experience of evil against her well being. And an experience of intense suffering. But it was totally out of harmony with her natural state of being.  So in the dream I became uncomfortable that she may be experiencing this anxiety as time passed and  becoming  frustrated and fearful in her waiting.

The dream instead shows Beverly with none of that dreaded anxiety. She is calm, relaxed and fully at home with life. She is 'smiling beautifully'. She is , instead of being anxious at the large church, very interested in understanding its deeper and ancient meaning. It no longer had the power to create the paralyzing anxiety that she and I were so familiar with.
 She is pictured as having become conscious of the true shadow of the church and thus no longer under the influence of that shadow. She could now appreciate the church for what it more actually is, shadow  and all. Any obstacles now that she faced in the environment were ones she felt quite able to navigate by 'crawling under a fence' and 'strongly pushing apart ' the restricting 'poles' that restrained her freedom. The image of the 'poles' symbolizes the 'opposite poles' of the opposites in the Sacred that need to be united in human consciousness. It is those ontological opposites that in our era have become so painfully experienced as separate  and scream to be reunited in human consciousness and in turn in the Sacred consciousness. These are opposites that Christian symbol has brought into full accepted human consciousness but that have not yet been interpreted in such a way as to reunite them. Some of these opposites that both Tillich , Jung and all of us, even if unconsciously, wrestle with are: 'Conscious and The Unconscious', 'Good and Evil', 'Christ and Satan', 'Male and Female'.' Body and Soul', 'Sexuality and Spiritually', 'Power and Meaning', 'Agape and Eros' , 'Microcosm and Macrocosm' and 'God and Human.' I saw Beverly on a  steady and courageous  path throughout her adult life that determinedly led her to a place of less and less anxiety. A place that more and more freed her natural attracting self. A place that less and less was able to 'fence in' her love for self, others and life in general. I think the dream is very accurate to my experience of her. In the last years of her life I reached a point or realizing, 'I no longer have to dread the awful presence of that paralyzing anxiety that used to afflict Beverly, and me with her.' The dream's hope is not just to see how anxiety was lived through and transcended personally by Beverly but that our Western cultures hopefully will also by the same kind of natural process transcend the anxiety that is suffered at the collective(macrocosm) level. The prerequisites for such a 'mass transcendence of fear and anxiety' are the same as those that Beverly maintained. They are honesty about the individual and collective suffering being experienced and the consistently strong good will and sincerity to yield to our deepest inner callings of the Sacred forces. Forces that are beyond our Ego's direct control

An obvious symbol in the dream is the shape of the poles that Beverly is strongly spreading apart. It is that of an opening vagina. This would be clearly showing a collective meaning of the dream. It shows the importance of the more honored feminine presence in inner and outer life as a key in transcending the ruts and anxiety that present religious and secular  interpretations, including an all male theistic god, have bequeathed  us. Her walking through this opening is a spin of the worldwide acknowledged  myth and archetype of  'new birth.' The feminine aspects of the Sacred and humanity are here shown to be more than open and willing to bring their freedom and Erotic joy to humanity. In Beverly's life beyond her marriage with me she was attracted to the symbol of the fairy, a female image of peace and love. A large image of this type with a water fountain was central in her massage therapy setting. She obviously drew something very positive and strong from that ancient symbol of the feminine. It was  clearly a religious symbol for her.  Jim Hibbett

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