Thursday, April 26, 2012


There was a red barn. To the left was a police car, to the right was a hearse. On the ground in front of the barn was a white round porcelain plate. The ground to the left of the plate began to move and wriggle as if alive. From that ground came the voice of a 'dark one' who was praying repeatedly the  same words, the words were the central meaning of prayer, like 'thy will be done'. As this was happening some dirt was pushed onto the left side of the plate. Then some dirt to the right of the plate also moved up and onto the plate's right side, leaving the plate uniformly filled with a circle of black dirt.

 I was then inside a house and a dark haired woman came into the house appearing as if she had been busy. She was dressed in black sports slacks with a black vest covering a long sleeve red blouse. I stood in front of her and slowed her down by reaching out to hold her arm. I said, 'I know you are the one who placed the dirt on the right side of the circular plate.' She declined to acknowledge me or respond but pushed on past me. I had the feeling she was irritatingly saying, 'mind your own business.'  

 REFLECTION This dream is full of overt symbolism. Everything in dream is symbolic and some things do not allow our typical attempt to interpret them literally. It strikes me that the human mind can only receive information from the unconscious by accepting  that symbolism is the only kind of message that comes from there. The Unconscious spoke in dreams and visions long before there was human language. That means that all religious ideas and belief are initially received as symbolic communication as are also the contents of dreams, visions and  the most profound Sacred text, such as the Christian gospels.  A great mistake is made when humans fail to remember that the nearest they can approach  the Sacred and the Unconscious is to receive all such information in the form and language of symbol. This is in direct opposition to thinking one has or does receive reliable, complete  religious or Sacred message in the form of logical propositions or eternal 'beliefs' as written words. All such reasoned information and belief comes by  the  collective ego consciousness working, usually over many generations, with the original symbols.  Such material then becomes the collective conventional  wisdom in any culture or religion. Such collective conclusions, in the form of creed, rules and texts  are very important  and add to the beauty of the original symbol and stability of collective life; but become the death of the message when it is forgotten that the original religious communication is always and only symbolic. These are areas of irritation to our modern Western psyche which resists symbolic communications and insists that the only legitimate and dependable religious information is the conventional   written and spoken human Word.

The dream's total picture is a  rather all inclusive picture of human collective life. A barn is symbolic of life, of earth, the biological, the instinctual part of life. The police car on the left is symbolic of order and justice. The hearse a reminder that death is a constant reality of the life process. The circular plate at the center of the whole dream image is the recognized  symbol of wholeness, completeness, unity, the goal of Human/Sacred life together. The circular plate comprises not just the biological/material(dirt) but the non biological/ spiritual(white plate)  realities of life as well. At first the plate is empty and separate from the dirt. It is waiting and needing to be filled, to be filled out with the real basic stuff and the uniting of  both biological and spiritual life. In the West for 400 years we have purposely separated the biological/material from the spiritual. We now stand in need of the reuniting of these opposites. I think this is at the heart of the chaos and the unfruitful polarities  we have been experiencing in America  the past fifty years.

Then a 'mysterious', 'magical' 'numinous' process begins. The startling movement of the earth reflects the force of life, of creation. It represents 'lifeless' appearing matter becoming animated and living. And from this living earth comes the voice of creativity, a voice of God. But it shows itself to be an aspect of God that orthodoxy  has not well preserved.  This pictures an aspect of  God quite different than  God as all light and no darkness. God  here is dark and closely related  to the earth, to the soil. God  is shown as thus fully a part of His creation and of matter.  And , surprisingly, God is experiencing a deep need within himself and so 'God is praying for God's own will to be done.' Even God cannot alone bring God's will to realization.  It pictures God as very powerful but not 'all powerful' , not 'perfect' in the sense of having no need(s) yet  to be met. Rather, God is pictured with deep need for help in accomplishing God's ultimate will. God is able to bring a good half of what is needed to fill the circular plate but that does not bring the fullness, balance, completeness or wholeness which the dream is seeking.

Then the dirt becomes animated on the right side and dirt moves to finish filling the plate creating wholeness, completion,  symbolic salvation. What was the force or reality that was able to bring to the plate that God alone was unable to bring? It was , in the dream, left to 'woman' or the 'feminine'  to somehow be involved in completing the fulness of the plate. This was not an earthly human woman, even though here she fully appears to be. This would be again, as in many of my and others' dreams, the  inner spiritual experience of woman within a man. This is the 'soul' of man, what Jung calls the anima.
The anima is a  recurring psychological/spiritual image of woman that both men and women initially misinterpret as the real women in their lives.....mother, sister, lover, wife etc. The anima, when not understood and accepted as an autonomous inner reality, causes the real women in one's life to be viewed not as themselves but as mixtures of themselves and the characteristics of one's inner anima(These characteristics can range from heavenly goddess and inspiratrist to the continuous mother or even witch, prostitute and many more.) This of course makes full human relationship of a man  with a  real woman impossible. A solution to this problem can be approached by our being open to a spiritual and psychological understanding of the living anima. Such projections onto real women  can never be totally solved for no one can ever fully embrace the reality of any inner archetype. (The excellent writer Robert A. Johnson's work could  help the average Western person  get some feel and grasp of the reality of the anima. Two small books that are excellent for this purpose are:  The Invisible Partners and We. I have just reread We and see how it can support the Western mind greatly in these directions. He invites the Westerner to think symbolically and to more consciously live out those symbols of woman instead of projecting them on to real women.) All of this involves the same problem of women relating to men without projecting her inner 'animus' on to him.
No Non-Sense Anima Image

Anima is a bridge between the Collective Unconscious and the Ego Consciousness of a man. For a woman it may be such a female image but is more likely the image of man or a group of men(thus animus) that serves the same purpose as the anima does to a man's psychology and spirituality. The dream depicts me having become conscious that 'She' is  the 'one' through whom humanity is able to offer to God the missing part of the puzzle of completion and wholeness.  I would suspect  there is a growing number of Western people, not just people who do much reflection on such things,  who are becoming  more aware that  the image of God we carry must contain the feminine along with the masculine. Hopefully this is becoming a part of a new 'common sense', with a typical  reaction being, 'How could we have ever thought it otherwise?'  This is a huge change compared to even several decades ago. Without this inner connection to the Sacred through the anima(or animus) the task toward Human/Sacred wholeness cannot be moved forward by us humans. I will mention  that it also requires the mutual suffering of God and Humans for such wholeness and completion and combining of opposites to evolve. This I believe  is the highest of spiritual challenges for humankind.

In my confronting her, getting in her path and especially by physically seeking to hold her arm, I exemplify the continuous mistake that human men , and perhaps women, make regarding these 'soul' figures. We try to make her human by expecting other human women to be her or like her. The anima is a spiritual and psychological reality that must be shown far more respect than what I was showing here. I can be grateful that  I have come in some measure to 'see' and 'understand' her as real but I must back off , give her free berth and not for a moment think I have or ever could contain  or fully understand her ways. In this way she is a part of the Sacred, an aspect of God. I am totally dependent on her reality, her guidance, her knowing of the things of  God as revealed from  the Collective Unconscious. I consider myself  honored by grace to have had some direct encounter  with  this inner figure.

But the dream's end is a stark reminder that to in any way possess, own or claim her can destroy the life and well being of any human or culture. The social order symbolized by the police car, can just as quickly become the hearse in Her world, the world of the Collective Unconscious. The dream leaves me showing the mistake of trying to relate to her as if she were human. I conclude though that it is 'my business' to take what I have learned about and from the anima and  seek improved relating to real human women and men. That seems to be a primary purpose of her appearing in us  in the first place. Notice how 'earthy' the whole dream image is, showing that the spiritual realities of life are found when the most down to earth, common, ordinary realities of creation are given deepest respect and attention. In this respect it  is so typical for the Collective Unconscious to say that The Christ child was born in a lowly earthy stable with nature all around. The spiritual and the material are different but are most assuredly one. This is one meaning of the filled out circle of dark dirt on the circular white porcelain plate. Jim Hibbett

*Note:  It would be a far more appropriate view of the archetypal Virgin Mary, to be understood as an image of the anima rather than any mortal  human woman. Literalizing and humanizing the  Symbolic Virgin  Mary is an example of trying to make physical and outer that which is spiritual and inner.  The Catholic Church's teaching, beginning with the gospels, through the centuries has attempted   described  her as a miraculous  virgin mother with perpetual virginity and finally as being 'Assumed to Heaven' in 1957.  But unfortunately the Church has also implied that this  Symbolic Mary is the ideal model  for  mortal woman. If applied to mortal women sexual virginity should not be implied as a standard or mark of  purity of life and heart  but the older idea of virgin meaning 'woman who is her own' and not an appendage of father or husband would  be very correct. This failure to separate the  Virgin Mary Symbol  from a  real woman Mary  happened in the West and has obviously  not been overall good or realistic for real  human women. A woman today could likely do well to see the real  human mother of Jesus as a model of courageous, loving  and virginal  in  her inner  experience of being  whole within herself , symbolically as if she were an unwed, without any man, as a mother of life and creativity.

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