These two dreams on successive nights present what I take as view of the present state or emphases of what Jung terms the 'Self.' This is the psychological equivalent of what humans through the ages have referred to as the Sacred or God or Godhead. Going further back than our Western religious traditions it can be seen to refer to The Great Mother or the sources of all that is or can be. So I take these dreams to be a summary of what is most importantly on the agenda of what we can call The Mind Of God. Surely this is something worthy of my serious attention. These dreams came more than 2 1/2 years ago. And the state of our world would indicate that these are still interests and dynamics that are very much active.
DREAM: January 14, 2010
1. This was a very encouraging dream lasting a big part of the night: I was observing first my own young children and then other families of children were added. I watched them as they played and interacted. Some typical problem would arise where one of more child was feeling neglected or ignored or some child was being a problem for the rest of the group. Typically in such I dream I would feel upset and responsible to correct or solve the problem by intervening. But in this dream I marveled at how the children managed time and again to find solutions within themselves to get past these obstacles and continue to play and interact in constructive ways. I felt extreme relief and delight as a parent to see my own children being able to make such adjustments to each other. I had the sense that finally, " I can see that they really are going to be O.K. in the world." That feeling was multiplied when I saw how the same kind of social and moral progress was possible when more children were added to the community.
|Children Cooperating With Each Other|
2. I was a religious teacher working with a family of three. This was in a poor foreign country. The people were dark skinned. I had an outdoor class-like time with the wife and young child while the husband attended a class with some other men. I was comfortable giving practical instructions to the woman and child. We were concerned that the man would not like his teaching situation and would be resentful of efforts to change him in some way. When he came out of his class he appeared to be engaged and paying close attention to his teachers. He came and joined us on the ground. He was quiet and gentle and said thoughtfully, 'this will take some time.' I admired that he was being so thoughtful and careful in how and what he learned. I was also having strong reservations , asking myself if we teachers really knew what we were doing. I wondered if the man's class was just another presentation of 'facts to believe' rather than helping this man to find his own genuine inner truth regarding spiritual and religious matters. I felt rather helpless at being able to protect him from being a victim of religious propaganda aiming to have him take on some group mentality. I knew I would do what I could to respect his own very personal
3. I was with a black performing group. We were doing song numbers on a stage. I did not know what I was doing but they seemed to be glad to have me be a part. I don't recall ever actually singing but it was about preparing for when we would. The group kept moving from the stage back down to the floor . I was told where to stand several different times. Once they were talking about the history of black music. I mentioned a movie I had seen about parts of that history. One man rolled his eyes with approval , indicating that the movie told an important part of the story.
4. The image of a Vagina and an erect Penis side by side. There was nothing pornographic about this. Below the image was the inscription in all caps, 'HIM'. I felt in the dream that once I had known what this stood for but now I had forgotten. I'm so wired by my culture and religious heritage that I too recoil at first at sexual imagery from the Unconscious. Most adults these days are objective enough to know there is nothing alarming about sexual genitalia biologically but we are not so comfortable with the idea that these are also strong spiritual symbols and have been from the misty beginnings of human history. Adults who pay much attention to their nightly dreams usually discover this quite early. We should expect that the two aspects of humanity -male and female- and their being the origin of physical life and survival of the species to never be far from the spiritual messages from the Collective Unconscious. This is especially true of the the psychological/spiritual aspects of human sexuality of which there is yet so much to discover. Recall the Christian story begins with an obvious symbolic sexual encounter between the virgin Mary and the Sacred Holy Spirit. Why do many not see it even there where it is so plainly spoken? This says worlds about our levels of unconsciousness and repression regarding such matters, unfortunately not just our modesty.
REFLECTION: I've come to see these dreams as an expression of the consciousness now achieved by the psychological 'Self' or religiously of the 'Divine Mind'. In review, Jungian thought is that the ultimate Sacred , the source of all that is, presses its own contents , along with its undifferentiated opposites including Good and Evil, Body and Soul, Matter and Spirit; into the human ego consciousness. There, through suffering that the Sacred also experiences, those opposing opposites are gradually perceived and integrated or unified to produce spiritual meaning. This task the ultimate Sacred Ground or God was not able to do within itself. Once done in the human consciousness this also becomes part of the consciousness of the Sacred. This process continues over and over in both the suffering individual and in the human collective suffering. Our culture is replete with the stories of such suffering as are our own human lives.
This dream series seems to me to be sort of a 'state of the Self' ; where the Sacred, the Self or God presently is in its own development. The progress, as can be seen in history, of this process has been much speeded up the past 200 years and even more so in the past 30 years. The conscious experience of Western wars, the persecution and discrimination of women and minorities are parts of recent sufferings that have given quantum like leaps to the consciousness raising process. Each dream image here reflects an area where both human and Sacred consciousness has progressed and gives a view of where the mutual consciousness of the Self and collective humanity is presently.
1.) This dream states that humans have a natural tendency to be able to accept each other and to behave fairly and justly within human societies. It is only the split opposites and one sided spiritual and psychological development that interferes with those natural processes. With some of the opposites more united that long kept humans living out a 'we-them' world and of the 'evil always being seen in the other', these natural processes of living in mutual acceptance and support are beginning to be set more free. The dream in essence is saying that 'God is pleased' to see humanity and God's Self reaching such a new level of awareness and consciousness. It shows God 'delights' to see than more and more of the human family can be learning to cooperate. As long as such a vision was not significantly alive in the Sacred than the energy of the collective unconscious was used to support humans living with a tribe mentality such as is often reflected as the nature of Yahweh in the O. T. for example. The time of God being that way is quickly diminishing as both the Sacred and human consciousness reap the hard won benefits of reconciling many of the kinds of opposites that once were unconsciously unreconciled in the Sacred itself. Jung points to the story of Job as an account of the human beginning to take into itself these unresolved warring opposites and to do the suffering work of reconciliation. The result of such work is then 'seen' and experienced in the Sacred and becomes a part of the raised consciousness of God as well as of the collective human. Jung cites the work and life of Jesus as being a central , if not game changing , example of such human effort and accomplishment. But he would deny that 'Jesus only' and Jesus alone accomplished the present progress or that the project was totally completed by him. It necessarily continues but the dream says that a huge amount of progress has now been made compared to pre Jesus days.
2.) This dream shows the same kind of consciousness raising 'teaching' and learning process happening. Surely formal teaching efforts can be tools for genuine consciousness raising. It may be at times one culture has gifts to teach another that help the process of resolving the opposites to move forward. It is easy for us Westerners to acknowledge that we have gifts of learning to share with the East. The dream acknowledges this also as it shows Westerners sharing their learning with Easterners. I'm confident the collective unconscious is just as ready to show how much learning has already happened and much more needed where it is the West being a student of the East. The past fifty years has shown an eager need of the West for religious sensitivities of the East as the Western dominant religious dogmas have lost more and more of their effective appeal. Jungian thought itself is steeped in Eastern ideas of reality, as were parts of the earliest Christianity. Jung was seeking always paths to heal the opposites involved in the East-West split. The dream highlights that the Eastern male is willing to risk learning from the West, but if the West only gives him orthodox sets of facts to believe the outcome will not be good. It says that God is now determined and conscious of the need to let individuals discover the God within them as contrasted to gods that have placed upon them from without, so typical of Western culture.
|East And West Learning From Each Other.|
3.) This dream is showing the heightened consciousness that is now present in the collective unconscious and thus in the 'mind of the Sacred.' regarding the opposites that are expressed regarding racial and ethnic difference. Color and ethnicity has been the instrument of much suffering in humanity from its very beginning. Until those divisions of 'otherness' are healed in the divine consciousness they cannot possibly be healed in the real human world. The dream encouragingly shows this is one of the important areas where such an increase of consciousness has already occurred in the source of all that is, that is God. The dream pictures a white person becoming more conscious of the contributions of black humans to world culture. It depicts a white person being guided and taught by blacks. It depicts the importance that minority groups receive feedback from the majority that their culture is being truly understood, valued and preserved. This now is what the Sacred expects also of humans in their relationships with each other. These dreams seem to be a picture for our day of the general 'will of God.' The dream implies that the 'mind of God' has only practiced with what the cooperation of ethnic groups might actually become in reality. That means that this area of human evolution and cooperation is only getting started. Our lifetimes have seen much progress in this area but as the daily news shows we still struggle with what it means to not be prejudiced and bigoted. We are learning it can't be legislated nor defined by political correctness what it means to to really 'sing the song' of ethnic equality and cooperation. Here we have a picture of the new Sacred priority regarding such matters.
4.) Other than the opposites of 'good and evil' the opposites of 'male and female' are surely at the heart of reality and their lack of unity is the cause of untold suffering in the human/Sacred connection. It is a cliche in Western culture to acknowledge the pain and unhappiness related to what is even called the 'battle of the sexes'. It should be unfathomable to all by now how long half of humanity has been second class in nearly all human cultures. Can we hardly believe that in our American democracy women have only been voters for less than eighty years? Marriage is a great chance that couples take with the evidence clear that there is a high risk of it failing, not only in the sense of lasting but of yielding a high level of intimate human joy. The importance of this whole theme has been grasped from the dawn of history in the Eastern image of the Yin and Yang--male and female equally integrated and equally dependent on each other. We've yet to see that reality in our outer world. We have much to look forward to.
I will not go deeply again into the problem of how the 'anima' factor in males , to the extent 'she' is not conscious to him, is projected upon the women in his life.* This means that at any time the woman he considers he 'knows' is likely to be as much his projection of her as she is her real self . This same dynamic is equally at work in how well a woman 'knows' her man. Of course all of this is unconscious in early adult life and sadly often remains that way to a high degree even until death. This is what gives rise to the notion , often expressed in comedy, that men know nothing about women. Sadly, it is more true than most imagine.
|Yin And Yang, The Eastern Symbol Of Opposites United.|
This surely is an opposite deeply seated in the source of all that is. The ancient sacred texts often fully support the devaluing of woman when interpreted as historically literal. This reflects the problem that has been alive in the Sacred with respect to man and woman. But the dream presents an image that indicates that the 'equality of the sexes' has become a very conscious reality in the 'mind of God.' The vagina and the penis, the most obvious physical differences of the sexes, are presented side by side. There is nothing to indicate that one should be able to dominate or be of more value than the other. This, the dream says, is the sound and settled will of God in our day. And I think most observers would agree we have moved much in that direction in recent decades. The Collective Unconscious in this dream series, and in uncountable other ways in all our experience, is clearing the path now for humans to incorporate the equality of the sexes with all of its implications. This image is parallel to the Genesis statement that 'God made them in God's image , God made them male and female.' This is actually a strong statement of equality unlike the 'second' Genesis description of man and woman that pictures woman as an after thought for the pleasure of the more cherished male. Human history shows graphically the suffering and injustice such a theology and anthropology creates in real human life.
Again the dream insists on the importance of the erotic aspect of human sexuality. For millennia the erotic aspect of sex has been considered as everything but Godly. It has been considered the curse for both women and men. It is implied in the Adam and Eve story that it was the erotic aspect of sexuality that is the heart of original sin and the most serious of sins since then. It is the erect penis that speaks to this aspect of sexuality. At first, even for the small audience that will read this, I nearly refused to say the penis was erect in the dream. This is a clear indication that I retain a tendency to repress the importance and naturalness of the penis in its erotic expression. That eroticism is more visible in the male but is just as much a part of female sexuality as it is of males. How important for our culture to come to understand that the erotic is not centered in the 'desire to do sex to another' but, as Tillich stressed, it is the longing, the yearning to unite that which has been separated. It's dynamic, when more fully conscious, is actually a deeply spiritual avenue for the highest level of spiritual Sacred encounter between humans. But where that longing is considered an unfortunate mistake at best and something totally ungodly at the worst , what is the chance of Eros being a full participant in a balanced human attitude of life and love?
|Union Of Opposites--Male and Female|
I take the emphasis in the dream on the opposites of sexuality as having to do with how partners of either sex are attracted and couple in experiencing the commitment and joy of sexual erotic love. The typical argument made to not be supportive of LGBT committed relationships is not supported by the higher Genesis statements of equality of 'male and female' or the Jesus Story accounts regarding sexuality and certainly not by dreams like this.
So the dream is saying that the 'male and female' opposite pair is now consciously united in the collective unconscious. The sexes are equally valued and empowered and the Erotic aspects and desires of both sexes are to be made more fully conscious and more honored in daily human life.
DREAM: Jan 15, 2010
5. B. W., a childhood friend, asked me to drive his nice boat down the waters I was familiar with as a teen. As we headed out I began to notice the water was becoming shallow. There was a lot of sludge and garbage. I realized the creek was very polluted and neglected. I was afraid we were stuck and the boat damaged. We managed to get out of the bad area and into deeper water. I was made sick by what I had seen.
|Polluted Water Ways.|
6. I was Cleaning and weeding a garden that belonged to someone else. I pulled a lot of very large weeds and vines out. Then came to an area where a lot of junk had been dumped in the garden. I began pulling out old clothes, garbafe and other kinds of trash.
7. L. G., a former parishioner , asked me for church papers. I told him I had never had them. He said he had for sure given them to me for safe keeping. He was very upset. I did not find the papers but found my clergy hand book which I use for liturgy prayers, readings , weddings etc. It was torn in half on the ground in the dirt. It was destroyed. I could hardly recognize it and felt a great loss.
|The 'Gates of Hell' Will Not Prevail Against Sacred Intent.|
REFLECTION: This seems to be part two of the previous night's dream images. I take these also as reflecting the 'Sate of the Self' or of the Sacred, of the collective consciousness. Jung in numerous ways said that at least three things had been split off from the image of God by present day orthodoxy. In a sense Christianity 'had' to make these separations to serve the spiritual/psychological need of the times. Before opposites can be reunited they must be first clearly separated and seen and experienced as opposites. They will be experienced as such extreme opposites that the human mind will interpret them as having nothing in common with each other. One will be held in highest value and the other will be denigrated and considered as worthy only of extermination. This is the way opposites are viewed when fully differentiated. Such opposites are not differentiated in the Mother of All , the ultimate origin of all that is. The Mother Goddess is the source of the Trinity and other images of God. In the Christian Trinity the opposites are made clear. The Father and Son are opposing opposites there along with many other pairs. The three things that Christianity split off from the sacred that must be included for a present day whole and balanced understanding of reality are matter, the feminine and the demonic or Evil. The opposites of these that have been highly valued are Spirit, Male and Good. These three excluded dimensions have nothing in common except that they have been split off and are greatly undervalued. Because they are split off they have come to often be associated with each other. One result is that woman is considered evil. She is depicted in Eden as the temptress and also as materialistic desiring the forbidden fruit. In popular song she is a 'man eater' to not be trusted. This recent dream series is like a report saying that much progress has been made in bringing the opposites together and in bringing back to honored places the contents of life that have been split off.
5.) This image is declaring the high value now that the Sacred consciousness places on nature. God is fully aware and thus humans are also becoming fully aware of the damage that has already taken place to the water, soil, vegetation, creatures and air of the earth. The time has come for humans to take a very different approach to how they use the resources of the earth. Humans must cooperate with nature in recycling all matter that is used and discarded by humans. Ecosystems supporting the various life forms must be honored and protected. Professor E.O. Williams has made a strong appeal to religious conservatives in behalf of the stewardship of nature. His key book written to religious people is called The Creation. An Appeal To Save Life On Earth . There seems to be a genuine desire presently in the conservative religious movement to be earth's activists.
6.)This image is parallel to the first one. The earth must be valued and nurtured and not used as dumping place for toxins. Things that the earth cannot recycle must be given special attention by humans and not just 'covered up.' Also food need to be grown in truly natural soil and not filled with chemicals that increase harvest but decrease the nutritional value. I am told that 'grain feeding' animals may have resulted in our meats contributing to a highly inflammatory diet for Westerners. I'm also convinced that sugar and Fructose Corn syrup so common in American processed foods is a strong contributor to poor health. Unhealthy ways of growing and processing food must be determined and discontinued the dream image implies.
|Illegal Irresponsible Dumping By Individuals and Corporations|
7.) My Presbyterian church man is counting on me to preserve and perpetuate outdated religious concepts. I find, in the dream, that I have unconsciously already gotten rid of religious materials, ideas and dogmas that no longer serve the real spiritual needs of people. The loss and destruction of my liturgy book further and strongly states that the Sacred has moved on to a higher state of consciousness than these once helpful and partial truths. The image of God and humanity and morality reflected in the orthodox liturgy, hymns and traditionally interpreted sacred writings are no longer able to serve the extended consciousness of God and human. They must also be returned 'to the soil' to be a part of the resource of a new , widened and more sympathetic consciousness. The extended consciousness now emerged sees how essential it is to unite the opposites that have prevailed and to include those parts of reality that have been split off and excluded. It is not like the new consciousness will forget these important stepping stones but will put them into perspective , as being time bound, not eternal. It hurts to let old things go but this is what Jesus means when he says, ' you cannot put new wine into old wine skins.'
|Wineskin.....old or new?|
8.) A statement attributed to Jesus is that 'the gates of hell will not prevail against truth'. The Battle Hymn Of The Republic heralds that the 'truth is marching on.' Both of these statements have been used to create the illusion that present truth is eternal truth. They actually mean the opposite. Truth marches on by being added to, corrected and by reaching new states of Sacred and human consciousness. And the 'gates of hell' which can be thought of as stagnant truth claiming to be eternal 'will not prevail' against the continual demand of the Sacred that new levels of consciousness must be forged. And so no 'gates of hell' or any self defending religious creed or political ism will be able to stop this natural spiritual/psychological force that drives the progression all creation, seen and unseen.
|Gates Of Hell--William Blake|
The dream shows the human at first not seeing any way through such barriers. They seem to him overwhelming. What is needing to pass through this hole is simply not able to fit, it always appears at first. But then comes a higher more enlightened view of the situation and the human ego is able to say(what God has always said), 'Yes, we can. All things are possible with God.' And it becomes true again that the 'gates of hell shall not prevail' against the onward march of the increased consciousness that comes from the mutual creative suffering together of the Sacred and the human.. This turns out to be a pair that , when united, are truly unstoppable. The total picture is truly a glorious one, one worthy of the human being's willingness to worship such a God. And no doubt a God who has often said to the human, ' Thank you. Thank you so much.'