INTRODUCTION: I've taken some days to record and reflect on this dream. It was very disturbing as the contents of the personal and Collective Unconscious contents can certainly be as they confront our ego- consciousness. At our conscious level we are always trying to 'see' and 'spin' things positively with our most emotionally felt values being kept in tact and highly valued. But the unconscious does often upset this effort, sometimes to present presently strong values in very different, more complete and whole ways. And ,at least at first, it can be disturbing and frightening. So with this dream.
DREAM: I was pastor in a large modern Suburban fundamentalist church. It was shaped like a dome. I was in the round sanctuary. A former friend and Church of Christ elder was there. (I'll call him Carl.)Two snazzily dressed preachers were present. I was standing at the pulpit thinking how unlike these men I was. I really was, at least, theologically. Apparently they and Carl knew that I was agreeing to murder a man in a ritually prescribed way. It was like I then I suddenly 'woke up' to what I was agreeing to do and I was shocked at the horror and immorality of it. I walked down to the floor and looked at a face of Jesus which was at the very center. It was a 'clown like' face of Jesus built into the ceramic floor. Its clown mouth was open with an astonished expression on it's clown face. I said to it. " I can't do this. I won't." The clown Jesus' mouth began to move and Carl's voice came out of it. This was a horrific experience to see Jesus presented this way and so real. It was very disturbing. Carl's voice through Jesus accepted my statement and did not object to my change of heart and intention. An image of Carl then went ahead to say, " I tried to kill him myself(the one I was about to ritually murder) twice after I knew he beat (name of a woman I did not hear)his wife. I tried to slit his throat."
REFLECTION: Clown dreams in general are often scary and other worldly. A clown always gives us the eerie experience that we don't know for sure what its intentions are or who is the real person behind the mask. Bad things can happen when we are 'behind our masks.' Here Jesus is pictured as a clown and takes on that negative other worldly aura. Carl( now deceased), one of my closest Christian men friends through the years and a strong member of my former Clear Lake Church of Christ ministry may represent a possible dark side of Christianity. (People imaged in dreams generally are not being spoken of personally in any way. Their image is simply the way the dream source is getting me to best receive it's theme. This is the case with Carl.) The dream surprises me by using a very sincere Christian as also representing the shadow side of our religion. I have observed and experienced some of the dark side of all parts of Christianity and the conservative branch has displayed its negative to me in real life quite strongly. It is implied that in some church environments Jesus has been reduced to a clown, to one who performs for our pleasure and who's narcissistic interpretation can allow people to do that which is often the opposite of good. This 'Jesus' has a dark and frightening side. I had another Jesus dream 'vision', in the fall of '85 in Florence AL, where a Jesus image turned into a two-horned beast as I came closer to it. The dream is not suggesting at all the real Jesus of Nazareth was actually evil but that the religion that organized around his memory has often clothed its own evil and dark side with the image of the Christ. What better way to conceal evil than to shroud it with a good outer image.
Jesus spoke in powerful symbol of the dark side of humans being like, " A white washed tomb that inside are dead men's bones or a cup we brightly clean only on the outside. " Then he exhorts as he consistently does regarding life, " First clean the inside of the cup."
Positively the Jesus clown face and Carl's voice accepted my argument against the ritualized murder. Yet Carl expresses that there are times he thinks murder is justified, when a man has beaten his wife. This all sounds as if it is unrelated to the way we consciously think of our Judeo-Christian religions. Yet a casual reading of the O.T. shows this kind of willingness to kill and murder, both by the religious heroes and also by the O.T. God Yahweh. Many of the behaviors considered sinful by Yahweh, such as dishonoring parents or committing adultery, especially by a woman, were punished by harsh killings. Such a dream reminds us that religion has a very treacherous and dark element to it, as do many images of God. Perhaps there is nothing new here, I am just being hit between the eyes with the fuller nature of life, God and of the Collective Unconscious. Like my culture I have become desensitized and do not see these negative realities in our Sacred stories in the Bible. Also our nation still more strongly supports capitol punishment than any other industrialized nation. And many 'Christian' Americans will say they are proud of it. That record recently got roaring applause during the presidential debates. There are still situations where people of color, minority and gays/lesbians are at risk of physical and emotion abuse/harm in our society. There is a developing movement of hate against Muslim Americans in parts of our country. Many individuals have strong emotion that violent justice is an important value of our nation. And it appears more and more obvious that under collective blindness we will place our youngest and strongest citizens on the alter of unnecessary wars, to both murder and be murdered and maimed. So it is no wonder that the Collective Unconscious will call attention to our culture's dark side by showing us its own.
|New Life Family Dome Church -Biloxi, Miss.|
I am pleased the dream shows me stating that I will not do such a thing. But a general statement about dreams is that 'everything in the dream is you.' The most that can be said is that my conscious ego would not willingly choose to participate in such a thing but every person has unconscious realities that s/he would be appalled by. Often the words and behaviors that come from a person when they begin to 'lose their normal conscious ego' with age or dementia reveals aspects of ones unconscious that we, and they, would have never imagined. Such is a very common observation of 'good' people and not the exception. Seeing the darker aspect of ones self, or the human ego in general, or one's group; then accepting, facing and integrating it is the meaning of psychologically/spiritually dealing constructively with ones own shadow. It is a significant and necessary step in our movement to greater consciousness and spiritual development.
Such a dream may be suggesting it is up to our conscious involvement with these images that hold the final answer as to the kind of world we will build. That we humans ultimately, by acknowledging and really hearing the voice of the Unconscious, determine what the future of the world will look like. But this can only be done 'successfully' by genuinely hearing, no matter how unpleasant, the voice of the Unconscious which through the ages has been called the 'voice of God.' That voice is not a simple light, clear and glorious voice as this dream fully demonstrates. It has all this but is conditioned also by a very real shadow.
Surely a key concept the dream is teaching me is that all things are more complex than our presently developed 'normal' reasoning thinking ego would ever want to believe; that all things, no matter how 'good', have their shadow that is closely attached. The only way that 'good' can ever really dominate the human situation personally or collectively is for the shadow to be seen, acknowledged and allowed to have it's voice. Repression of all kinds, in the long term, only strengthens the power of the dark side. This whole dream speaks of the 'whole' breadth of reality both in 'this world' and the 'unseen world' to which we each are intricately connected.