“My deep interior is a volcano, that pushes out the fiery-molten mass of the unformed and undifferentiated. Thus my interior gives birth to the children of chaos, of the primordial mother. He who enters the crater also becomes chaotic matter, he melts.” Carl Jung, The Red Book (pg 247).

As I descend in the dreamwork, I notice a movement towards a certain internal chaos. It manifests in the dreams as my world tilting. Sandwiched in between the projected trauma and the subtle and not so subtle stories of how I am in the world, are the feelings of pain, vulnerability, grief, loss, love and need. Then, suddenly, I am made disoriented or off balance in some terrifying way. It often seems magical and always chaotic or, as Carl would say, absurd. In the quote above, Carl refers to the descent into himself as entering the interior of a volcano. I see the movement in myself from the cool, solid, known surface of my “thinking” outer life into the chaotic fire of my “feeling” inner world. It is my journey, full of bifurcations and terrifying in its unknown possibilities.

I notice places in my dream where I am suddenly challenged with the possibility of a whole new reality or perspective, a new order out of the children of chaos.

Working the Cut

I notice my feelings of shy awkwardness in NOE class tonight when someone asks me how I am doing. “Good”, I say and immediately feel the discomfort of vulnerability. After all, she had just shared with me her very deeply personal place of where she is in her work. I can’t go into “chatty” Laura here, not with these people. I might get away with it, but it would be a conversation killer in this crowd. So, I tell her. I am working with my vulnerability and even just saying it out loud makes me uncomfortable. I feel my face getting red and realize that perhaps it is not because I am ashamed, which would always be where I would go if I felt my face turn red. Maybe I am not ashamed, I am just shy. I tell her that I am noticing how uncomfortable it is for me to be vulnerable.

I tell her that my homework has changed recently from “feel this” and “notice that”, which is to say, feel into the place from the dream where I touch upon a true feeling, (pain, vulnerability, fear, love) and notice when I jump away from these feeling through all manner of distractions (anger, blame, chattiness, compulsiveness, shame), to “working my cut”. Working my cut is a shift from “feel this” and “notice that” to: notice when I am in the spin, which in my current work is chattiness or aloofness, and bring the feeling of the shy vulnerable girl into my outer world reality. It may seem a small shift, but it is a huge difference. I can remember to do my homework at any given time, once an hour, 6 times a day or whatever, but when I am in the spin it is hard to bring it in. So, the end result is I do the homework less. Crazy, right? But what I have realized is that I do often notice the spin, but there is a real place of NO in me, a refusal to let go of the emotion I am attached to in the moment. I don’t want to stop being angry or chatty or down or ashamed. Somebody really did do me wrong. I am justified in my anger or hurt. Bravado has kept me safe. What happens when I let go? Then what? It is hard to let go of ME, the ME that I have built up over a life time. The ME that copes, deals and gets by. It is the fear that I must cut through, the fear of the vulnerability of standing naked, of being exposed.

It is hard to admit that it is a choice. It doesn’t “feel” like a choice when I am in the middle of an upset. Working the cut for me is a different way of doing the work and much harder in my opinion because it requires rigorous honesty, absolute commitment and a willingness to be in God’s will not mine. It requires a choice right in my most difficult moments.

Vulnerability, Where I am Not

What is vulnerability? What does it mean to be shy? I ask these questions of my therapist as we work through my most recent dreams because I don’t know how to be these things. I don’t know how to be where I am not. She continues to point out the “chatty”, aloof or bravado places that keep coming up in the dreams; how I jump out of my feelings of shyness or vulnerability by going into story. She asks me what that is about, what would happen if I didn’t do that. I tell her I don’t know. I ask her what would I DO? What would happen to ME? I don’t know how to BE in those moments.

I have an association between shyness and shame that is difficult to break. The type of shyness that comes from vulnerability can turn to shame if in our moment of vulnerability we are hurt, and especially if our vulnerability itself is shamed. To feel shy is very uncomfortable for me because it triggers a feeling of shame that causes me to jump away from the feeling. It doesn’t matter that the shame may not be real in the moment today, because my reaction is deeply grooved. Changing my most deeply grooved “instincts” is no small task. But each time I experience the psychic shift, where one set of values or ideas is uprooted and replaced with another, my faith grows. One could call these shifts spiritual awakenings. The dreams continue to show the splits in me; the places where the truth and the lie are at odds. The places where the real me is and where the persona or ego self, in its defensiveness, covers the real me. The dream carries the information which can lead us to the truth, if we are honest, open and willing to be where we are not.

The idea of being where we are not is discussed in the teachings from The Red Book in the Carl & Me class taught at the Center for Archetypal Dreamwork. Where God is, is where I am not. All of the ways I have lived and coped, all of the story of who I think I am is not who I am and therefore not where God is for me. I must go beyond where I am to where I am not. This is a difficult thing to do. I can’t will it to happen, nor can I wish it and make it so. I cannot demand it. I can only do my work and when it comes allow it and accept it.

The Hope

What does it feel like to not struggle? What comes after surrender? In my previous posting, as the boy, I fall to the ground feeling lost and hurt because I have lost Him. He wants me to feel into how I am lost without him. This is an unfamiliar, uncomfortable feeling for me to allow in. I have a lifetime built upon a persona of self reliance, independence, and control. In the dream, I feel the surrender but not the relief of the surrender. My instinct, instead of feeling into my loss, is to be frustrated, angry, upset. This is a familiar pattern for me. To be able to stay with the loss is the challenge.

I am with a man and we are standing up to our waists in the water trying to pull a boat off the shore. The boat is tethered by a rope. Every time we go to pull the boat out, the tether gets stuck or we somehow pull against each other. Then I am swimming under the water. I don’t see the man, but I feel his presence.

In the dream work, to be in the water, swimming under the water, breathing the water is to be in the human essence, in feeling. When I am no longer fighting against Him, I can be in the water. In the water everything is free. In this dream, there is limited visibility, no distractions. Everywhere is pale green and white, the color of sunlight deeply diffused in salty sea water. I don’t have to see Him to know he is there. I feel His presence all around me. It is comforting, a feeling to be captured and carried out into my outer world.

My homework from these recent dreams is to notice the “Cut”; to notice when I am thrashing around overwhelmed and lost and then be in the water feeling His presence.

This idea of the “Cut”, as far as I understand it, is a way of aligning the outer world with the inner world place of connection with the Divine, which comes from the dream work.

I see a girl holding a flame in her hand.

The hope. I see her, small and ethereal, showing me in a delicate outstretched hand. It is a tiny, yellow flame, beautiful and fragile yet illuminating the darkness with light. Not hidden, but held out, an offering. Puella Aeterna. The Eternal Girl.

I am that I am

From the dream:
I am a boy. My penis has been cut. A girl who is older than me checks out the wound. We both look at it and she takes it in her hand to move the bandage so we can see how bad it is. When she moves it, I feel pain and I tell her it hurts. She asks me if I understand that it won’t work right when I get older. I think she is wrong and I will be OK.

Reading this, you might think of this as a trauma dream. Certainly it is about trauma, but for me, this dream is a gift. I have had several dreams where I see the boy and I see his wound even when he does not (see my very first post in which the Anima pulls a huge creature from the boy’s backside and a recent post from my work in Bermuda where the boy has thorns embedded in his back but isn’t aware of them until I point it out). The difference here is that I am the boy. This means that I not only know the wound is there, but I see my wound on my own body and I feel it in a visceral way. This pain is not the pain of trauma, but the pain of knowing the wound. It is real. It hurts in a physical way. Being the boy with my wound also allows me the real gift of the inner knowing that the wound can be healed and that I will be OK. The boy knows this and as the boy, I know it too. To be the child in the dream is the goal, because when we are the child we are in our true self, our soul self. The soul self that cares nothing for things of this world and knows its own true need.

The fact that my boy has been attacked and had his penis cut speaks to the way that I experienced reactions to my boy energy as a young person. I am that I am. Despite the fact that it was the 60’s and early 70’s, my parents were of a different generation. Girls weren’t supposed to act the way I did. I was the tomboy girl who was daring and fast, funny and exuberant. I hated dresses, I didn’t like girly things, and I wanted to be like the boys. My father told me girls don’t play the drums. He scoffed at the idea of me being an archeologist. My mother, terrified of my passion, libido and expressiveness, sought to crush it out of me, break my spirit, put me in my place.
Did you ever feel like something was taken from you; something beautiful and free, some part of yourself that inexplicably went missing. How many of us, as children, have had bits and pieces stolen from us, pieces stripped from the bone of our souls? We turn to the human “God” animal, for love and support and we experience judgment, criticism, disinterest, or sometimes violence. Our true self slowly or abruptly sinks away, goes underground, into hiding and we don’t even know it. Occasionally we might experience the aching feeling of loss which we try to avoid at all costs, with booze, drugs, relationships, pursuit of wealth, shopping, work, causes, and all manner of other distractions. In the dreamwork, as I have begun to experience feelings of pain and loss, my instinctive inclination is to jump away. I think to go to the feelings of loss and the accompanying grief, I might disappear in it. I will suffer; it will hurt. I never saw that the real suffering was in the avoidance.

Shifting Perspecitives

In my recent dream, I am in His embrace and I feel an intense desire. This desire is for something more. I want something more because, in this moment, I know there is something more. The niggling, aching feeling that has tagged me throughout my life: there is something more, something more than all of this crazy life that I have lived. I see and, more importantly, I feel how there is nothing outside of me that can fill the God-sized hole in my being. In this moment, there is nothing to prove, no thing to be attained, no person to find, that will make it all better. But, there is something more. I do not know what it is, but I know in this moment that I want it. Desire can hurt. It can turn into pain. The pain of loss and the pain of love remembered.

My world is tilting, my perspective is changing, the ground is shifting and heaving under my feet. I feel uprooted, unstable, off balance, disoriented. It is terrifying. I am having a hard time speaking. I feel easily confused. But even still, my desire to know more pulls me forward, down.

I am sitting in a dimly lit theater. There is a man up on the stage in a black robe. There are several children on stage too. The man throws something off the stage with a sweeping motion of his hand. I feel a jolt of fear. I don’t see the children any more. Then I realize there is another level to the stage that I didn’t see before and that there is a set of stairs that is hidden behind a bamboo fence that curves down from the top level to the lower level. The children are creeping down the stairs towards the lower level.
My perspective changes. I see another whole world. The shift is terrifying. It is like a sudden drop in altitude on the peaceful flight at thirty thousand feet where I have been sitting lulled by the drone of the engines of my life. I am one of the children creeping down the stairs. I can’t see around the curve of the bamboo fence, but I see a faint orange glow, the glow of mystery. My mates and I jostle and creep, not scared but curious. We are in it together, we are not afraid because something in us knows these depths. It is a relational feeling, the comfort of comrades, the exuberance of youthful adventure, the knowing of the child. My work is to feel the desire of wanting more and to bring it to this place with the children descending the stairs.

In my outer world, all hell breaks loose.


"Crossroads" ~ Laura Smith
In my recent dream, I am on the train platform. It is a remote way station. We have left most everyone else behind. These tracks lead to wilderness. This is a place of choice, a crossroads, liminality, a place between worlds. To go forward is to leave all that was before, behind; to be a "rogue", to go into the wild.

I walk to an archway opening on the other side of the platform. We have time before the train comes. There is a wild pond, the water's edge laps the platform. I squat down and put my hand in the water. It is warm. For this moment I am the girl with my face turned to the sun feeling the simple joy of wanting to go swimming. But it is fleeting because I am scared. The water is dark and wild, the train tracks disappear into thicket and dark forests. I turn. The Father is there. I am not alone, yet still I am afraid.

The other choice from the dream is to go back. In this choice, I am no longer the girl, but instead the woman who wants to go back. Back to the "safety" of her old ways of being. I want a nice hotel, a pristine pool, a nice lounge chair so I can just lie in the sun. I can get a nice tan, look good, pretend I don't have a care in the world. Maybe read a book, sip a cold drink, be waited on by some cute waiter or waitress who would just love to get me something from the bar. I've got a story or two I could tell to entertain my pool mates. Maybe get a massage later, after all, I deserve one. Disappear in the forgetfulness of life. Dis-remember. Forget about traumas and feelings and tracks that disappear into dark woods or stairs that descend into pitch black.

One slight hitch, the other dream in this sequence: the one with the Animus, enormous, black, powerful, standing before me naked on the boat. But, if I can make him into a bad guy, a rapist or a torturer, I am outta here. I can go nuclear, blow shit up. Who cares if my flesh sizzles when I can't feel a thing? But the hitch is that I feel my desire, the desire for conjunctio. Direct and personal connection to divine love is, for me, a terrifying prospect. Why this is so, I do not know, or perhaps I can just as easily say, why shouldn't it be?

I realize I can no longer distinguish between my fear and my desire. In my body, now, it feels the same. These feelings, felt in the body, are so unfamiliar that they are difficult to stay with. But I am noticing that they come more easily and can stay longer. And, I am realizing I am feeling the weight of 48, the knowledge that I have never truly felt my own passion, nor explored the true depths of me. This knowledge hurts.

My homework is to find the place of my fear on the train platform with the Father and to bring that fear to the place of attraction to the powerful, huge Animus on the boat. This I will do, for the truth is I don't want to go back. The dreams will bring my own truth, my own essence forward. The choice is simply to feel or not to feel and, meanwhile, there is the moment on the platform, the liminal place in between.


Attack. When pathology attacks, it can be subtle or it can be head on. I am under attack. The attack comes, violent, relentless. It is not subtle. It takes me out through my mind. Something is wrong. I can feel myself in reaction. I know it is the dreams that keep coming and also the homework I am in. The descent that started in Bermuda now has me standing on the stairs looking down into pitch black. The Anima is there, the girl is there, but they are not enough. In the dream, I don’t feel the terror; instead I simply turn away in a patronizingly prideful fashion and go back up. Only “up” is where my real demons await. “Up” is of the mind, the outer world, the oh-so-familiar. “Down” is the unknown, the terrifying unknown. I have explored the glittering halls of my mechanical mind. I know its grinding corridors, the hitching, stutter of obsessive thinking. The trauma drama stories reeling out in stop-action clarity. The oppression of nihilism lurks here. This is the place where shame wants to cover all parts of me until I can no longer feel anything. The shivering desire is gone and I am numb. I hold on to the only feeling left: dis-ease; the crawling discomfort of my own skin. Something has gone terribly wrong. I am no good. I see how I have been twisted and scarred, broken and corrupted and I see no way out, only pitch black and terror. The coil of anger draws me, the thorn of self pity woos me, nihilism presses on me. I want to take the battle up and out to the world. But I see that the real battle is happening inside me and I am fighting now only because I can’t go back. And yet, I see no light ahead. No hope for me. It cannot be redeemed, all is lost. Things have gone too far. I have given so much of myself away that I have nothing to surrender even. How can I find love in this hopeless place?

In the writing now, perhaps I feel a glimmer of hope. It comes in the form of the feeling of deep pain. I hurt somewhere deep inside. This is the simple truth. I hurt in the root of me, the core, a place so far away that I can hardly fathom it. But I can feel it welling up in the writhing dis-ease of my body. I am like the freshly hooked worm descending to its watery, toothy fate and the belly of the beast.

Deeper into the Trauma

The sudden descent. Terrifying. In Bermuda, at the Archetypal Dreamwork retreat, the dreams take me deeper into the horror of my trauma. It is shocking, unexpected. I want to back out. I can’t be strung with these dreams! I will have to reveal. It is too much vulnerability for me. Yet I watch others in their work. Marc and Christa are masterful. The dreams unfold in each person, all the stages of work represented. I see the amazing way in which the string work reveals the mystery of the dream for each dreamer. I witness newcomers, never exposed to archetypal dreamwork before, step into the strings. I see how brave they are. I see my own place here and I know the only way is through.

How can I explain what it is like to see my soul so tortured? How can I explain my hurt boy who carries the wound for my savaged girl?

From the dream:
I see some picker bush stems on [the boy’s] shoulder. I start to pick it off and he says ‘No!” and I think it is because he is scared it will hurt. He gets up and moves away from me. But I have already pulled a couple off. I show him and say “see, I pulled off a couple already.” He is not convinced. He turns away from me and I see he has them all over his back. It is a huge cluster of green thorny stems stuck to him. I tell him that he has a few more. He goes to a mirror and I follow him. He bends forward to see. Then he grabs his tee shirt and slowly rips it over his head. Most of the stems are on the shirt, but now I see that he has them embedded under his skin.


I am sitting in the airport in Newark, NJ on my way to the NOE retreat in Bermuda. I have a four hour layover and so have a moment to write.

From my recent dream:
…I cry out. I know the man will hear me and come because He is my caretaker. Even though He is very far away, I hear Him say my name softly… I realize that He is right beside me.

He is right beside me, head pressed to mine, his presence like a hot ocean around my body.My world tilts. And so, I find the place of desire. It comes to me in a rush of sensuality in my body, a shivering that catches my breath. It is unexpected, shocking, a feeling I did not notice in the dream, but experience in the place of my homework, working with my dreams. I am driving in my car on Monday to a Vermont business who is awaiting my presence for an audit. The incongruence is jarring, but I do not jump away. God is anywhere I seek Him, in any moment. For about an hour, I am in this ecstatic state of knowing my desire for the Divine. How do we feel desire in the context of a spiritual experience? It is hard to describe, but it is not base. In our human bodies, we can experience it as sensuality, nerve endings tingling, skin shivering, heart beating slightly faster, exhilaration. There is everything here to desire in this moment including my own inner love, my own connection to spirit, my own breath, my own desire, my own innocent girl soul, the shared world soul.

The feeling stays with me as I greet the business owners in their home. They have the appearance of old Vermont hippies. The office manager has her 3 or 4 year old daughter with her. The business owner reads to her. Slowly the ecstatic feeling dissipates as I review financial documents, tax filings, ledgers, insurance policies; the mundane financial trappings of a small business that teaches children around the country the craft of writing. I listen first in fascination, then horror as the owner moves into her outrage at “No Child Left Behind” (which she says should be called “No Corporation Left Behind”) and what it is doing to our children’s education. I climb up into the mechanical mind. The gears grind, gnashing out the future possibilities in a world where text book corporations dictate what is taught to our children. The revisionists, busily re-writing our history and getting our children “work place ready”. I do not have children and yet I still feel the gut wrenching anxiety and anger at the Borg-like assimilation our young people. Resistance, seemingly, is futile.

Later in the afternoon, I am in full-fledged reaction, projecting fear and anger onto my partner, caught in the numbing, twitching stagger of the zombie that lurches forward knowing only the need to seek out and devour the flesh of the innocent. The desire is terrifying and any “cause” will do to take me right out, up and into the mechanical mind. The world of outrage at injustice. The place where I want to Occupy Wall Street, take action, protest, be angry.

What is so terrifying about the desire? Why do I jump away? Perhaps I am afraid I will become lost in it. A terror similar to what I have experienced going into grief, pain or facing into my traumas. What will become of ME? What am I, if I am nothing without Him?

Worlds Tilting

Who am I? For my whole life I have lived with two names. I have a name given to me at birth by my birth mother which was sealed away when I was given up for adoption in 1963. I have a name given to me by my adoptive family and that I have been known by. Should it be strange to me that I might have other names? The mechanical mind wants to know. The mechanical mind needs to compartmentalize, categorize, label, name. It needs a linear track, a beginning, middle and end. The simple mind has no need to understand what it already knows, the knowing that lives in the soul. I have fallen into the crack in the worlds. I am like the traveler who has landed and does not know where she is. The longer I live in unfamiliar places, the less I know of my old self: the thin woman with the accusing eyes, impoverished, hungry, angry, lonely and tired.

I am sitting in front of the huge windows overlooking Frost Fish Cove in Harpswell, Maine at the home of my birth mother’s husband with whom I have remained close friends since her death. There is an unseasonal snow storm, a nor’easter blowing outside. The trees are still fully leafed and yet the wind rages and thick wet snow blows in from the sea. The ducks have sought shelter along the seaweed covered rocky outcroppings and ledge that make the Maine coast so beautiful and wild. The tide has just turned and is running out. We are now without power, though I can feel the faint humming of the generator.

I have come to be with my birth family as the great patriarch dies. The decision to come when I got the call that he was dying was made from the simple mind. There was no thinking or worrying or planning. I would wait until the weekend and I would go. After the decision was made, I had several difficult moments as I realized I was to stand at the death bed of the man who forced my adoption, against the will of his 18 year old daughter and his wife. A man larger than life always, he has reigned as the patriarch in this enormous, fraught family which I somehow stumbled into, the lost traveler, the child found. My aunts and uncles have gathered at Uncle Frank's to make the simple pine box that he will be buried in, a tradition which began with the death of my birth mother. I touch into the deep grief of the many losses. That I can feel these things now and sit with these feelings is a relatively new and momentous thing, a product of my willingness and my work. I stand at his bedside, he knows he is dying. He is 94.

Trauma work.

The dreams are like the cairns on the cloud covered tops of the White Mountains. I stumble through the fast moving mist, disoriented, pushing into the wind, terrified as the last marker, the pathway back, fades behind me. Now there is only forward. I cannot go back. I see that somehow, in the last year, this option has come off the table. To turn back is to embrace the numbness, to accept the flat, two dimensional world I had been living in. To move forward is to be rocketed into the fourth dimension.

Moving forward means moving through my places of trauma. It feels like going back, but it is really moving forward. If I had known when I first saw the partially covered North of Eden poster on the bulletin board outside of Climb High in Burlington that I would be doing trauma work, I am not sure I would have approached them. The words that jumped out at me from the colorful poster were “Archetypal Dreamwork”. Though I only had a vague understanding of what Archetypal meant, I immediately made a connection to the symbols and characters that appeared in my dreams. I was drawn to write down the web address out of a desire to understand what I knew to be something quite profound happening in my psyche and playing out in my dreams. I did not come to do trauma work. But, I knew there was something. In my very first session, I was confronted with trauma. I was shown pathology as something separate from me that could be removed. Through the Anima, I was shown the idea of a deeper healing. When I left that session, I knew what I have always known: that my demons must be confronted.


Yesterday, the headline read "Tibetan Nun Self Immolates in China". I read in horror about this young 20 year old woman who died by self immolating in protest of Chinese rule. She had called for religious freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama. In my session with Sue last week, as we discussed the place of burning in the dream, I told her that I remembered a monk who had set himself on fire many years ago and that I could not understand how anyone’s devotion could be so great as to participate in self immolation. The image of this man seated in his Tibetan robes on a gritty paved street was burned into my mind. He seemed so calm, so unaffected by the fire and clearly so sure of his actions.

I am not so sure. Being in the place of burning is very difficult. In the dream, I disassociate and here now I feel the disassociation. I sense the terrible grief, but it is difficult to feel. I have short, sharp, shocking moments of it. It is not sustainable. And yet, I see fire everywhere. Outside my studio window, I see the fire of autumn on the Vermont mountains. There is fire on my canvas and fire in my Leo heart. But I am terrified of the fire. I see the small, mean chamber of the dream. Its walls are blackened with the soot of many. I see the burnt and crushed bone fragments. Layers and layers as if many people have died in this horrible place. He is there, so there must be a spiritual connection. Even in this claustrophobic place, this oven, He is there. His visage is frightening. He is restless and I imagine I can hear His crisped flesh rustle as He moves. He has been persecuted, as have the many that have burned. But He is not dead. I see the place where a body once was. Was this vague outline once the wet of me? The flesh and blood and water that wrapped my soul? I see three white round lights glowing in the depths of the blackness. And I notice that I am somehow seeing through the charred table to galaxies beyond. It is like an optical illusion. Do I really see infinity? Do I see a place where time is stretched to its quantum limit? Tempus Incognito. Something is hidden here, something not revealed, something incomprehensible. Is this where the girl, who cannot be destroyed, lives?


There is a natural human tendency towards valence. In psychology, this is a reference to what we believe the intrinsic attractiveness or aversion is to a specific idea, event or situation; the notion of good vs bad. There are many ideas and concepts which we, as humans, carry in our collective conscious as good or bad. One need only look to the 7 deadly sins or the prayer of St. Francis, or a list of virtues to see examples. We believe that these ideas come from God, but perhaps they are simply man-made constructs created out of our need for order and our aversion to pain and suffering.

Marc stated in the Mystery of the Dream Revealed class recently that if we are to progress in the work, then we must drop the notion of good and bad, right or wrong. But it seemed he spoke specifically to good vs bad as it relates to what we feel in the dreams. Marc talked about the idea of the Antihero embodying emotions that are generally considered less desirable such as anger (bad) vs feelings of love and joy (good). My understanding of what he said is that, sometimes, the feelings of the Antihero are necessary in that we must experience them to move through some particular trauma or suffering. What a tricky thing to understand the fine line between where process anger turns self righteous or pathological or, finally, nihilistic, and anger necessary to move in the work.
Dear God,

Must I suffer? Must I die for You? I go into the tunnel and this is where you bring me? To this place of horror and pain? Where has the garden gone? But, I see that you have suffered too. And yet, you live. Your flesh is burnt. You are not recognizable. What is this grisly countenance, burnt and desiccated flesh, blackened bones? And yet, you carry the crown of thorns so that I might know you still. Why are you restless? Why do you stir and rustle? What is this dark chamber with its blackened walls and seething stone? Have I died here? Did this thing happen to me? What more do You have to show me?

The fire is gone and in the cooling embers I see galaxies. I see my place on the table, my place in our bed. But I am gone, destroyed but not dead. I see three white stars glowing in the depths of the ash. I think they are teeth, gnashed out in the anguish of the fire, unrooted by the collapse of my body into burnt ash. But, even teeth burn. These are no teeth. I look down upon this seething alter and I see through time. I see young, hot galaxies; a place of chaos, a place of creation; the formation of stars and galaxies expanding through time. If I am seeing it, then the explosion must have occurred long ago. The fire has already happened. Where am I in this vastness?

How does this bring me to being the girl in the water? I feel my young girl body, no breasts, thin arms and legs, coasting through brackish waters. Dark, hot, amorphous water flows across my flesh. The chaos is here too, in the fluidity, in the possibility of the water.
How does my pathology take me out? There are many ways that I am taken out of the work, away from the conscious contact with the Divine. My mind is a feral one, filled with ear whisperers who tell me lies. The lies are convincing because they are told in my own voice and because they play on the heartstrings of past trauma.

My current homework: Be in the tunnel and feel the fear in the vastness and quiet of the tunnel. Notice when I am feeling guilt and judging myself or when the voice of pathology is loud and trying to confuse me.

How am I taken out? The constant undercurrent of fear wants to move me into reaction. I have no patience for the unpredictability of the world or the reactions of others. My partner complains and interrupts. I react by throwing something across the room and storming out of our house, tearing down the driveway stones flying off my tires. I am out of control.


Fear. In the dream work, fear is considered a most important feeling to experience. It has the power to transform. But it has taken me a long time to understand what was meant by fear. I had done many fearless things in my life to prove to you that I wasn’t afraid. I pushed my bravdo to the forefront to hide my fears so you wouldn’t see them. I pretended I didn’t care when I did. I pretended and hid behind a persona constructed bit by bit, layer upon layer; a creation of masks and mirrors and sleights of hand. I worked so hard to deceive you that I deceived myself. In the dreamwork, we speak of fear as the way through, as a portal. Marc describes fear as “essence in disguise” with essence defined as “feeling God’s love in a direct and personal way”.

When I first started the dreamwork, I had no understanding of this (my visceral understanding is still quite limited...). I was incapable of feeling this type of fear. For me, fear was really only about losing something I already had or not getting something that I wanted. I fueled these fears by playing movies in my head. Horror movies starring me as the victim (trauma fear) or epic fantasies in which I played the hero. This type of fear activated all manner of projections and reactions to people, places and things in the world, and provided a justification for it all.


We often think of pain as the great motivator. We won’t change unless we are in enough pain. Many people come into the dreamwork because they are in pain. But what if it is not pain that propels us forward, but attraction which draws us? The inexorable attraction for the Divine which exists in us all, but which we forget or turn from in pride and fear. Perhaps pain is not a motivator at all. Perhaps it is simply something we experience that reminds us of the attraction. The attraction is forever there, an immutable law of our soul. Our soul yearns to be connected to God.
In the NOE writing class, I learned to start my writing with a reminder of what my homework is.

My current homework is to feel the support and love and teachings of the Anima in the place where I am retching out my trauma and to bring her presence to the place of fear as I approach the scene of the accident.

I close my eyes and I am in the car, both feet double stomped on the brake pedal. The car won't stop. I feel it's rate of speed diminishing as if in slow motion. All things happening in slow motion. The siren is screaming. Something bad has happened.

I remember the trip down from Boothbay Harbor the night my birth mother was killed in the car crash. I was consumed with guilt. I had left the restaurant where we were supposed to meet. I was impatient, I was angry. Under the anger was the terror of something known. But a big loud NO! sat on top of that. It was a big loud spinning NO. A cacophony in my head; a ceaseless rant of denial. The terror of the girl who refused to believe that her worst nightmare might be true and in fact was.
My homework: To feel the support and love and teachings of the Anima in the place where I am retching out my trauma and to bring her presence to the place of fear as I approach the scene of the accident.

I am driving in my car and I hear sirens. I start to slow down, but my brakes seem to not be working well. I wonder if the cops are after me because I can’t tell where the sirens are coming from. Then I see a red car with a yellow flashing light on top coming towards me. I have both feet on the brake pedal trying to stop, but the car is slowing down very slowly. Then I see another red car spinning down the road towards me in slow motion. I see that there is some kind of huge accident ahead.
I have just returned from the NOE class "Carl & Me"...Marc Bregman teachings through an exploration and excavation of the The Red Book, by Carl Jung. It is a terrifying, fascinating piece of work. As always, truth resonates for me.

The teachings tonight brought up many things for me. But it reinforced the place where I am at in my homework right now which is to feel the support and love and teachings of the Anima in the place where I am retching out my trauma and to bring her presence to the place of fear as I approach the scene of the accident.

What I am learning in this work, as I learned in the difficult work of my recovery from addiction, is that the divine will not give me more than I can handle. If it is coming up in the dreams, then I am ready to feel it and know it. And, that I am not alone. The Archetypes continue to show me over and over in the dreams, that I am not alone. I don't have to figure it out, I don't even need to understand it. I do need to have faith: faith in the dream and faith in my dreamwork therapist. As in all spiritual work, we do not go it alone. Another aspect of the teaching that was mentioned tonight. The pathology of my ego is so strong that I could never, of my own will, best intention, or intellectual prowess unravel the mystery of the dream on my own.

Into the Flames

Tonight, I feel into the place of my homework:

To bring my discomfort, grief and sadness to the man in the flames. To be in the sensuality of the flames and let myself wretch out the trauma that has delivered me to this place.

I have felt for a long time something in my body that needed to be expelled. It manifests as dis-ease, a writhing discomfort that, if I stay with it, brings me to the wailing wall. The place where there is nothing but prayer-filled grief. It is a painful place to kneel and wretch. It has been painful to make the pilgrimage to this place, to bring my grainy eyes, callused soles, and my broken heart. Even as He is there, and His flames reach out to greet me, it is not enough to burn away my tears. I want to clutch my rib cage and tear it open, climb out of this body and step over it into the flames.

I see the flames of my own passion, my own desire, my wanting to turn this life over. To feel the relief of Knowing, the terror of not knowing but trusting anyway.

Thoughts on Creativity

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. ~ Carl Jung

Last March, out of the dreams, I picked up a paint brush and started painting for the first time. I had no idea that I had anything to paint or even knew how. It was suggested to me through the dream work and the encouragement of my therapist, that I might try this as a way of processing some of the feelings that were coming up for me in the work.

It started like this:

1/7/11 DREAM: I am working on a painting.


Do you love me? If you do, then why can't you accept the way I am? Maybe I am a little crazy at times, but, aren't we all? I mean, I have a right to be angry. Doesn't everyone have panic attacks now and then? I mean, everyone screams and freaks out on occasion, right? Doesn't everyone need to run away, to escape now and then? What's wrong with my silent scorn, when you act like that? So don't get up on your high horse and judge me. I am human. I do have feelings, you know. Why are you getting mad at me, just because I am having a moment? It's really all your fault anyway. If you could just leave me alone when I need to be left alone and comfort me when I need to be comforted. Can't you just take care of me? Is that so much to ask? Look at everything I do for you. Why can't you see what I need? I shouldn't have to ask to be comforted by my own partner. It's the least I should be able to expect. It doesn't matter anyway. You can't hurt me because I don't care. I'm leaving. I am out of here! Why are you asking so many questions, anyway? I don't know what is wrong. Don't you think, if I knew, I would do something about it? Seriously, do you think I enjoy this? Do you really think I LIKE this?? I hate this! I hate feeling this way. And you are making me so damn angry!


The simple fact is, that I've never wanted to suffer. I wanted the highs, never the lows. All pain was placed in the box labeled "BAD" and pushed into the farthest reaches. Fear of pain said "this is too horrible" and pride said "you do not need to endure this". And so, over time, all pain became torture. I experienced it as torture and I turned away in horror. But, in the turning away, I lost sight of my soul.

The NO! in me

I have been avoiding writing for weeks; since I got back from England to face the rage of Hurricane Irene here in Vermont.

The night after my return, I had a dream. In this dream, I was part of the NOE staff working with Marc and Christa and Sue and Bill and others. Then, everyone was killed, assassinated. I could hear myself saying over and over and over, "Oh my God; Oh my God"...


From Cy Tombly's Bacchus Series

I have been very aware of my homework while on vacation here in London, to be the girl tied up in the burning building and to know that He is there with me. Most notably when I walked into the gallery at the Tate Modern where Cy Twombly’s paintings from the Bacchus series were and experienced a visceral assault. It was like I had stepped into the burning room of my dream. These paintings are extremely large scale and the vibrancy of the red causes the whole room to glow a luminous red. The loops of color are like dancing flames. I became overwhelmed with the feelings of pain and grief I have been experiencing in the homework that seem to be so close to the surface at times. In that moment of feeling, I was able to bring the presence of the Animus into my awareness and I felt a sense also of peace and acceptance in this place. My bondage falls away in the acceptance. I cannot avoid the pain, though every fiber of being has thought that I must. This is bondage of my own making...a bondage delivered of the ego who strives to deny the oneness that exists within the duality of my being by forcing me to choose, to cling to one or the other, keeping me always out of balance, in the eddy, projecting, reacting, distracted from the truth by all the noise of the world.

Right now, I am holding myself in the place of my homework with tenderness and love and acceptance.

In the Flames

In this moment, I am feeling the grainy-eyed anxiety that sometimes follows the intensity of feeling into the places in the dreams that bring me the most pain or grief. In this moment, I am willing to do this homework, to be the girl tied up in the burning building. I see her. She is the terrified, trapped girl who sees no escape. The flames are burning her and she is filled with rage and grief. She does not know that, in this moment, she is not alone. Her champion coming to remove her bondage and lift her up and carry her down from the burning building, if she can just stop raging long enough to see him. In this moment, this girl hurts. She feels lost, scared, abandoned. In this moment, her world has narrowed to rough-hewn bondage and tongues of fire. Her eyes have sizzled from her skull. She cannot see. She did not know how.

An army of young men, filled with youthful vigor standing toe to toe, forehead to forehead, breast to breast with me. In this moment, I notice that I do not feel threatened. In this moment, I feel uncomfortably safe and calm. In this moment, I notice that I do not run. I do not fix. I do not fight or control. I do not care take or judge. I do not take. I am just in this moment, eyes closed, pressing foreheads together, the weight of their bodies supports me, holds me up. I need no muscles, no skeletal structure, no eyes or ears, no hands or feet. There is only my awareness of being literally supported. Safety in numbers, a pause before the swirl of fire engulfs...

Deeper Healing is Possible

Deeper healing is possible for all of us. This was shown to me in the very first dream I worked with my North of Eden dreamwork therapist when I entered into this work.

11/1/2010 – DREAM: I am standing in a doorway and I see the Yellow Spinner working on a boy. The Yellow Spinner is some kind of healer lady, but I don’t know why she is called the Yellow Spinner or how I know what she is called. She is examining him and he appears to be in pain. She looks at his butt and sees a contusion on his left butt cheek with something white sticking out of it. She starts to pull on it. He starts to scream in pain. Suddenly she pulls out a long white thing that looks like the shape of the spine and it has several branches and a dark vein running through it. It seems to be about 5 feet long and part of a nervous system or something. It is scary and I think she didn’t mean to do this. She turns around and holds it up to show me. I run....

In my session, it was suggested to me that she is the Archetypal figure known as the Anima, a female representation of the divine. She tells me that I am very intuitive and that this woman is a healer. She is working on the boy who represents the masculine aspect of my soul. The Yellow Spinner is healing my soul. In the dream, I run. To witness the awesome power of the divine is terrifying. She isshowing me directly that a deeper healing is possible for me. I believe this deeper healing is available to us all if we are willing to take the difficult journey back to our soul.

My homework from that session was to go back to the place in the dream where the yellow spinner has pulled the thing out of me and to feel into what it would be like to experience greater healing.I felt the truth of this in my heart and in my bones. I had no idea what I was in for, but I was curious and my desire was strong and I returned the following week for another session.

Yellow Spinner heals:
The boy starts to scream in pain,
As the demon leaves.