Friday, September 2, 2011

DREAM: SNAKE AND GRADUATION.. february 12, 2011(edited september 2, 2011)

1. I am holding up a six foot long rattle snake by the tail. It appears to be dead. 

2.I am in a large graduating class.  I am on the top row second from the right on bleachers. We are in black robes. We are waiting to move to another area for the ceremony. I am called away to clean up some kind of mess. As soon as I leave for this task the whole group is instructed to begin moving to the new location. I realize I may not be able to catch up with them and still have my place but I know I have to take care of the 'mess' regardless.
Adam and Eve and Female Serpent at Notre Dame in Paris. 13th Century

1. One of the first 'visions' at Park Point in NW Houston in August 1985, was of an Adam and Eve figure. They were together holding the living serpent in their hands. I was captivated at the sight and noted how different this is to the Genesis version of Eden. They seem to have the snake under control. I thought of the snake as female more than male.(I've just this moment  noticed that this 13th century image at Notre Dame in Paris shows the serpent as female. This no doubt was consciously done by males seeking to further implicate the 'female' in the 'original sin'. They may not have anticipated that instead it can strongly support  the importance of 'female wisdom'. ) Snakes have been an ongoing appearance in my dreams throughout these years. Sometimes very threatening and nearly always frightening. Most often the snakes have actually been harmless in the dream. The more ancient religious myths suggested the serpent as a symbol of Wisdom and that is what it claims, however negatively interpreted, to be in the Genesis  Story. 'She' pointed the couple toward a higher 'wisdom' which could only be had through the dangerous adventure of becoming more fully conscious and thus more fully human. The Eden story stresses Adam and Eve separating themselves from an arbitrary command of God but fails to show clearly how necessary this courageous step was to become more fully the humans that God placed in them to potentially be. This is the great paradox of the Eden story that has unfortunately usually been interpreted only half way.  Orthodoxy  has totally demonized the serpent along with the woman in the Eden story and our cultures have been the poorer for both directions of thought. I realize that this process of initial demonizing was politically necessary  for patriarchal male interpreters. But it is way past time that we revised that kind of effort to exclude such  'feminine wisdom' and certainly to fully accept Woman as Man's mutual partner as well as an essential half of the image of God.

This water snake reminded me of Eden while fishing  recently. 
 As a child I recall a 10 foot rattlesnake skin that was mounted on the old Florence. AL courthouse wall. I was reminded of this recently on the Remembering Florence Facebook page. A picture of it was posted. I once watched my uncle kill with a shovel a large five foot timber rattler at Bailey Springs , our lake place when I was a teenager. Ironically I heard the cry 'snake , snake' from the hill top where my uncle was challenging the rattler while I was intentionally looking for a water snake I had seen earlier that day. I was stunned by this 'coincidence.' This was a strong example of  what Carl Jung  termed as 'synchronicity.'

 All of this to suggest that the Serpent is a very living image in me and likely all of us at a very deep level. It is one that startles but it is also one that needs to be included and embraced. It needs to be carefully handled and enticed to give up its secret Wisdom. No doubt the story of Moses' rod turning into a snake indicated that the Egyptians would take this as a man who had access to Sacred Wisdom. The dream description says the snake 'appears to be dead.' I doubt that it is. As part of Sacred myth and psychological life the snake never dies. It will always be resurrected. An ancient image is that of the circular snake eating its own tail. The serpent has to do with that which is ageless and even suggests eternal life. In this dream I felt very comfortable holding the snake and was not joyful at the thought of it being dead. This shows I know at a conscious level that the Serpent and what it represents is very important to psychological/spiritual wholeness. My Houston image was indicating that it requires both man and woman to harness Wisdom. This can mean the external wholeness of mutual biological man and woman. It can also mean individuated personal wholeness that includes man or woman finding and making conscious their interior counter sexual aspect....'anima and animus' in Jungian terms.

2. I'm pictured as one who has met the requirements for graduating along with many of my peers. Here is yet another dream speaking of my being at the 'end' of a process or stage of development. I am 68 years old and have survived three heart attacks. So I would expect to be nearly my final psychosocial/spiritual state of mind. But I am held back from the ceremony that recognizes the achievement. This is because there is a 'call' for something that is more important for me to do. I've never been big on graduation ceremony. I did not attend either of my Master Degree graduations. I guess I felt there was something else I preferred to do which I considered more important. But ceremony has its important place . It helps individuals and their communities  have a sense of 'mission accomplished.' There are times when we need to pause and 'see' from where we have come and to appreciate all the forces and persons-human, psychological and Sacred, that have made the project possible. I do presently feel somewhat 'up in the air' in my outer  life. I'm not sure what the 'mess' is that needs to now have my attention. I have a basement 'mess'* still going on which is highly symbolic for what has been the activity of much of my adult life at the inner/spiritual/psychological level. But outwardly and inwardly things for me seem quite settled. Such dream images like this have little challenging effect on my inner Spirit,  until I give them reflective attention and 'spend time' with them. I could panic now for fear that I am missing the 'ceremony' of completion that my peers are headed to without me. But the dream cautions me to simply do what is in front of me to do. Today that likely means to " cut some studs out of the basement wall so the men can have room to grind the floor to place the I Beams and dewatering system", do a 'thorough house cleaning' , go to 'fitclub for exercise', Complete my order of a refurbished High Def. TV for my bedroom. These are the external 'messes' for me to attend to regardless of what others may be doing or may expect me to do.

Another 'snake dream' on this blog named 'Snakes Not All Bad' is found here:

*Note: Since this dream I have managed to fully take care of the mess in the basement. It is now structurally sound and little chance of water ever seeping in again as it has for 35 years before. I wonder if putting so much of my inner life material on the blog is also a part of the 'mess' I needed to clarify and take care of. I notice I have nearly 90 posts now. Together these give a good overview of the spiritual/psychological development I have experienced over the past three decades. September 2, 2011 Jim

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