Archetypal Dreamwork and the New Consciousness

Mayan Circular Calendar
Here we are on the threshold, perhaps of a new era. A new time in the Earth’s history...the long awaited “end of the Mayan calendar”. But it is really not about endings, it is about beginnings. The Mayan calendar represents time in a cyclical way, not a linear way. It is not the arrow of time, but the cycle of unfoldment...birth, death, re-birth. One can step in anywhere in this cycle and we would be in the flow, for there is really no beginning or ending.

There is a way, I feel, that it all speaks to a huge mythos that exists in our collective psyche. It is a story of inevitable destruction. It lives in us going all the way back to the great flood and the myriad other stories of the destructive force of nature. Volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, Ice ages, meteorites…the hand of God. The natural world delivers to us our destruction. The mythos unfolds as the place of great destruction; our minds interpret this as annihilation. We will be destroyed and we fear this terribly. And in our fear we become hopeless or we look to the hope of being saved. What if instead of being saved, we could all be like Christ? Be present, willing to go inside, to face our rage at God, to face our trauma, reclaim our feelings and our place in this mystery, descend so that we may rise again changed in some profound way.

In the dreamwork, the destruction can come in the same way: a great storm, a cyclone, tidal wave, earthquake. It comes to tear down the old so that the transformation and emergence of the new thing can unfold.

What if the whole destruction/rising again is co-opted by the collective pathology so that it is made into the reformation of the egoic structure which becomes about an outer world reality which is not soul based? We think we must solve the world’s problems, but what if we really just need to solve our own and in doing so we could change the mythos from beginnings and endings to healing and transformation. There is no ending, as The Girl soul revealed to Jung when she handed him a gold crown upon which the words were inscribed: Love Never Ends.

Descent, Fear & Becoming

There is something so profound about this work. Like many parts of our life journey, there’s a way that we understand that if we knew what we were in for, we might not have chosen this fork in the path. Thank goodness for the bliss of ignorance!

When we embark on the journey, we have expectations about what we will “get” out of it. But then we learn that Archetypal Dreamwork is not about feeling better, it’s not about becoming a better person, and it’s not about becoming successful in the world. It’s about finding out the truth of who we are, why we are here. Some might say that is enlightenment. I wonder. To be enlightened would be good right? But what if enlightenment is neither good nor bad. What if it is just a state of being that is about standing in the truth of who we are?  We try to be good, we want to be good, but Carl Jung says that even the hero must die.

I Am a Battleground

©Isabel Castaño.
As the layers of the onion are peeled away, I see more clearly how the battle lies within me. I am a battleground. The battle is in me. I see how I have fought, but did not know or understand my enemy. I see how I have fought, but I did not understand my allies. And, thinking I was alone in the battle, not trusting anyone or anything, I see how I fell prisoner. How I have lived in the stockade, the gulag, fighting just to survive. Knowing, yet lacking even the rudiments of faith, I have been the bewildered one.

Huge swaths of me have been laid waste. There are war-torn lands whose skies roil with the lightning and thunder of gods and angels. I see the smoking, shadowed places whose bleak and hollow landscapes are filled with restless, irritable and discontented demons.  I hear the rise of many voices, the cries of my own humanity and the whispers of the angels and demons.

If I kill off all my demons, will my gods and angels die too?

Revelatory Power of the Soul

What if the problem with my anger is that it is simply a manifestation of the finite, a psychological defect that is a manifestation of the lie that I am finite? When I am in my anger, it is like my soul is in chains. It is bound in the finite. It cannot be what it truly is because the “I” that is living in the hell of my future as I stare back at the reflection of my past cannot see beyond the reflection of my three dimensional world. So I think this is it.

Only when I am rocketed into the 4th dimension through difficult spiritual work and the alchemy of the dreams, can I even know my own ignorance. My soul lives on the other side of a mirror. It is like a two way mirror, she sees me and yet I do not see her as I am trapped in the deception and illusion that the “I” is real and that she is not.

And yet, I feel her there. There is a way that I know her. I feel the truth of her existence in the attraction that she exerts upon me. Her power is revelatory. She manifests in me as desire.

I believe that there is an attraction that we all feel. We often don’t recognize it as attraction because it manifests as the pain of our separation, which is often projected out into the material world and so we think the longing we feel is about something else outside of ourselves.

It takes a warrior heart to activate the desire sufficiently to allow her to engage us. In the dreamwork, the dreams provide an opening into the 4th dimension where she lives.

As I continue to follow this path, I realize that what she gives to me are revelations, revelations about who she is not and revelations about the possibility of what she is. If I am willing, I am shown what has happened to me, how I became lost, what chains hold me hostage, what feelings I can allow which can lead to the alchemy of true change in the spiritual sense, what is being born in me, what I might become.

The cumulative acceptance of these revelations creates in me a sufficient opening for her to work with the Divine in bringing into being herself.

Thinking vs Feeling - The Serpent

Encapsulated more and more in my dreamwork homework, is the forethinking vs pleasure that Carl talks about in The Red Book. My cut continues to be to notice when I am in the spin of story or thinking I know something and to bring in the feeling part of my homework. This week it is to bring the pain of my wound to the Anima as we tumble and tumble in each others arms in the waves of the ocean, or to bring it to the place of spinning round and round with the 13 year old girl. Both these places carry feelings, such as sensuality, joy, and desire but they also move me into disorientation, which cuts through my mind's powerful re-orienting abilities.
Two Coils, Lorena B. Moore’s Ironwing Tarot

This cut is actually the movement from thinking back to feeling. I have written before about Carl’s serpent, the serpent that moves from black to white and back again.

Noticing when I go to thinking I know something or spinning out a story in my head about something is like trying to live in the blind spot since it seems I am doing this all the time. Someone could walk in the room and I have a whole story about them within moments!

Fracking for the Soul

I am at some kind of retreat center and I am lying on my stomach on the ground with another woman. There is a boy sitting on a chair and Bill (Animus) is sitting on another chair. Some music starts and I think it is from a kid’s movie or show. The boy leaps up and starts to dance and lip synch to the song. He is very high energy and physical. Then it begins to feel sexual too. He is aggressive and suggestive in his movements. Then he takes off his shirt and pulls his pants down. He has on tighty-whiteys. Then Bill jumps up, he has his shirt off and starts dancing too. They both leap in the air and twist and land and then leap again really high. The boy lands in front of me and I reach out and touch his back, running my fingers down his skin. It is very soft. Then suddenly Bill falls on the woman next to me really hard. She struggles to get up. I see that it is B. D. (manipulative, controlling, aggressive). I ask her if she is hurt but I don’t see that she is. But then she reaches for her chest and back and says something inside her got hurt. She looks angry and upset. Bill picks her up and pulls her away from me.
This an example of how the Divine can mitigate the pathology that is shown as separate from me. The not me. When he takes away the pathology, I am left to be the boy. When the boy is dancing with the Animus, there is the just the wild energy which carries the joy and the passion for life. This is how it can work. The thing that is the pathology doesn't actually die, but instead, I now know it for what it is which makes it easier for me to notice it in the moment and withdraw whatever projection I may have around it, resulting in less reactivity and greater access to my Divine connection.

In the willingness to look at all the ways I live from my ego place and not my soul, I have been noticing a hardness in the world, the hardness of my "stuff" and of everyone's “stuff” as it moves through the world. In seeing it in myself, I notice it more and in a different way in my partner and I see it in most of the people around me...a certain hardness, a defended place that is about survival.

In the dreamwork we call it the substrate. The substrate is a good word for it. It implies hard and impenetrable. It is terrifying because it all seems so impossibly the geological strata of the earth. How can we ever truly change?

And, I feel how the Archetypes are "fracking" through this dense substrate to allow the me that is the true me to emerge. The Animus in the dream above is "killing" my demon of control, manipulation, aggression, distrust.

Sensuality of Pain

I am feeling my brokenness in such a new way. I don’t know how to explain it except that it just is. The story behind it all doesn’t matter anymore. And there is a deep feeling of sensuality in my body each time I go to the pain of how broken I am. It is true, I am deeply wounded; many of us are. Many do not want to know or accept this pain. I have not wanted to.

I realize that I am still very angry, that I still have rage. It sits in me as a state of being, but it is not me. I have seen the demon Rage and I know it intimately and it knows me. But it is not me. It is a decapitated head and pile of guts and exists only as this thing that wants to wrap itself around me. Its head is like the head of the Medusa. It writhes. Since it has no body, it has only the tentacles which come from its head (mind) with which to hook me and attack me. It truly is a demon and this is what it looks like. Very scary stuff. It wants me to believe that it has me. The truth is it has never left me, but it is not me. It’s just that now I know It. I see It for what It is. It is the thing that has me say NO! to the Aniums. It is the thing that has me reject Him or project the bad man onto Him.

Death of Pathology

I am young woman. I am walking along a wooded path. It is dark out and there are people walking with me. I am barefooted and wearing some kind of light weight wrap. We come to a clearing and I see a woman (30’s) standing over a fire. There are other people around perhaps in a circle around the clearing. I think some people must be holding torches. I feel fear coming into my body. The woman has some unleavened bread and some kind of thick porridge. I know I am supposed to go to her. I walk over and stand across from her. She gestures to the bread and I take a piece and dip it in the sauce. I am feeling very scared now. The random thought comes into my head, “I will be like the pigs we eat and they will find this food still in my throat after I am dead.” Other people are there, but they don’t matter. I am only with her now. I tell her that I am scared. I feel tears coming to my eyes. She says, “I know”. She takes a small piece of bread and dips it in the sauce. She says, “Take small bites like this.” The random thought comes into my head, “I took too big of a bite before. I am not doing this right.” Then she pulls out a knife, as I knew she would and she pushes it toward my heart. I say, “No”, but stay facing her. I feel like there is no other choice. I feel so scared. She pushes the knife and I feel it pierce my chest. I feel a deep pain in my heart and a heaviness.
Ever since this dream with the Anima, I have been very aware of my heart. I am aware of its physical presence in my body in a way I never have been. I feel the pain of the knife in my heart more than I do not. It is like it is living there right now. I feel the heaviness of it.

In some way it is connected to my mind too, because it is the knowledge of my alignment with the pathology that brings the pain to my heart. The knowledge of how I have turned away so totally from the Father. How I have lived under the tyranny of a closed heart. An open heart can feel this pain. I never wanted it. I never understood how the avoidance of the pain created the suffering I thought I needed to avoid.

My whole life has been built around this total rejection of the Father, the Uranian Father, God. Rejection of men, self will run riot, rebellion, independence, pride, shame. There is no one who will help me, but me! No matter what you do, you can’t hurt me; a pathologically prideful place of turning away, closing my heart. And underneath it all has seethed the rage and hopelessness that fueled the maintenance of these contracts. It was a trick. An awful, horrible trick.

Of course, I couldn’t have known. Because we don’t know until we know.

Ignorance or Bliss?

From the dream:
I am on the farm and see the chicken coop and it is very tall on wheels. There is a tarp over it and I realize that even though it is day time, there are a bunch of chickens huddled inside and on the top under the tarp. I can see them crawling around. It feels creepy to me. When I get closer, one of them sees me and jumps down. I realize that it is the one Vanessa and I call the Pet because she has difficulty walking due to damaged legs. But she jumps down and I think she must be pretty strong to jump down on her legs like that. She starts walking around checking things out. I realize that the chickens are not fenced in and that if they wanted to they could all be out and I wonder why more of them don’t come out.
The thought came into my head today about how nice it would be to go back to the way it was before…before I came into the dreamwork, before I got sober, before I knew my life was unmanageable, before the anger forced me to do something about it…a place where I was ignorant, numb and just “having fun!” It was a visceral feeling in my body. The sun was just right, the day seemed so innocuous and banal, so simply easy and seductive. I could take so much enjoyment out of being successful in my career, partying with my friends, traveling…always looking for a good time and not caring about anything or anybody really, telling stories, being the life of the party…holding court as Vanessa used to tell me, breezing in and out of people’s lives, never getting hurt, and never feeling afraid, and never needing anyone. It felt pretty good, because even though I was under the tarp, I didn’t know it.


The work I bring from the North of Eden summer retreat is a new understanding of the enormity of this spiritual work.

I am in some kind of stone chamber. I sense that it is part of a much larger structure that is part of some huge system. I see some men that look like they are from some kind of ancient tribe of Indians lying and squatting near a stone slab. They are dressed in some kind of orange skirt and neck/headdress. Suddenly the system activates and the men stand up. One of them leaps into an octagon shaped opening in the chamber and extends his arms and legs to touch the top/sides. He is standing in the position of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. Then he blows his breath out and it has the effect of further activating the system. Then I am standing with him and I look out and see that it is a massive structure with many cells just like ours all with someone standing in the opening that looks exactly like the guy in mine. There are sparkling lights everywhere. It is like the scene from the matrix when Neo wakes up in the pod and looks down; only instead of pods I see octagon shaped openings each with a man standing in the Vitruvian Man position. It is dizzying. Then I am floating in the space in between and it is filled with water. I feel myself floating up and I can see that there are millions of people in these cells. I look down and see that way below there seems to be a bottom. I suddenly feel the urge to swim down, though I feel I am going against something. I start swimming very strongly down. I think people are now looking for me to stop me. I move past the lights and cells into a kind of substructure. I feel very scared now because it is getting dark and I don’t know what I am doing or why I am doing this. I see an opening that seems to lead further inside the structure. I swim towards it and feel a powerful vibrating/pulsing. I can hear it and also feel it in my body. It feels ominous and I am scared. I am at the bottom of the structure. I wonder if I can stand and I put my feet below my body and when I touch the structure, I feel the vibration and I think it will kill me, but it doesn’t.
When my teacher, Marc (Bregman) reviewed this dream, he said it was a gift, the man representing a kind of Bodhisattva. I did not know what a Bodhisattva was and so in the moment of the analysis of my dream, I understood it only as the idea that the activation of one can lead to the activation of many.

Learning about Alchemy

I am learning about alchemy in the archetypal dreamwork and what it feels like in my body. Here are some words I can use to describe it: uncomfortable, dizzying, electrical, percolating, burning, withdrawal, vibrating, energetic, sensual, flowing, shaking, pulsing, waves, activated, alive, falling, intense.

I have felted alchemy manifested in my body as a cascade effect. In the dreams it is like being in the crucible. I am literally being worked on by the Archetypes, those emissaries of the Divine, who are bringing me back into my body, into my feelings, the result of which is the inner spiritual growth. As I allow the feelings to enter, the Archetypes are there to support me and help move me through the trauma. They cannot help me if I am not an active participant, choosing to feel my trauma, choosing to go towards that place that my demons would have me avoid. When alchemy happens, it is as if the primordial sediment of my psyche is lifted from the depths and deposited on a new shore. Everything is different.

There is no arrival. I am not “there”, for there is no “there”. There is only more. More intensity, more feeling. This is the soul’s existence. Most of what I have experienced in my life as feeling is simply a projection of a world that doesn’t really exist. It only exists because I chose to engage it. I create the world I live in through my projections. What happens when I withdraw the projections? What happens when I no longer need to live from the place of my trauma? Who do I become? The girl in her devotion? The girl in her joy? What would it be like to live in this world from that place?

Turning it Over

I am in a large hanger. A man, who is a mechanic working on the planes, sees me and shows me a two-seater plane. He asks me if I want to go up in it. It looks pretty flimsy but I figure if he’s the mechanic he must know that it is safe and I feel the thrill of adventure at getting to go up with him. Then we are in the plane and he is working the instruments to take it up.

There is a great deal of fear that comes up for me around the letting go of control, turning it over. I feel it in the cockpit now as I am writing. The terror of giving over control, the terror of surrender. The flip side of it is the thrill of adventure, the excitement of being with Him and ready for anything, the intense feelings allowed. Not having to be in charge. Getting to pick my head up and see all that there is to see when I am just the passenger.

I have been in a feeling of terror relating to what happened to me in my last session with my dreamwork analyst. When Sue asked me to feel what it is like to be in the cockpit with the Animus, the intimacy of that moment, a wave of feeling came into me that was so intense that I felt myself falling into the abyss of it and became terrified that it wouldn’t stop. Which of course snapped me right up and out of it. I did not have that feeling in the dream and so it was completely unexpected. Working this homework is difficult because each time I get close to that feeling, I get scared. It is like when I first started doing the inner work, I was afraid to go into the feelings of pain around trauma because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to stop crying. This idea that I need to get out of the feeling is like a blind spot. It just happens and I don’t know it is happening in the moment.

Staying with the Feelings

I have just returned from a North of Eden Archetypal Dreamwork retreat at Kripalu in Massachusetts. This was probably some of the most intense spiritual work I have done. I have a new understanding of how trauma reaction covers me, how I am taken out by my projections and reactions and how this relates to the trauma. I have a new awareness of how much my body is telling me about where I am in terms of feelings or reactions. I am beginning to really recognize, in a visceral way, when I am going into my trauma reactions, when the truth of what is happening is taken over by my reaction to something that has already happened, usually a long time ago and the LIE that comes in through my mind that wants me to project the trauma reaction onto the world of the present time. This awareness gives me the choice to name it, to ask for help, to withdraw the projection in the moment.

For the past few months, I have been learning about visceral feeling in my body. Specifically sensuality and how this distinct feeling moves in me whether I am feeling pain, grief, desire, or fear. The dreams and my homework around the dreams, which have learned this into me, have carried and held a very specific intention, which is to feel me into my body. I have lived outside my body for most of my life, not feeling and not knowing that I was not feeling, assuming that the emotional responses I was having were feelings. The ecstasy associated with love (or, more to the point, love making), fleeting. Pain was avoided, fear was avoided, joy was manufactured, grief was skin tearing…definitely a feeling to GET OUT OF.

At Kripalu, we worked my “Strings”, which is to say the dream was enacted in group process with group members playing elements of the dream and me, the dreamer, challenged to step into the dream, feel whatever comes up and be rigorously honest about it. No small task, I can assure you.


From the dream:
…Then I see a muscular handsome foreign man who goes up behind one of the NOE women and dances with her, and then he does it to another woman. Then he comes up behind me and presses against me and wraps his arms around me and starts dancing me around. He has his head next to mine with one arm around my waist and the other around my shoulder. I feel uncomfortable at first, but then feel myself relax into him and I close my eyes. He puts his hand over mine and our fingers intertwine and I can feel myself following him and it feels really good. I can feel my desire rising as we dance through several rooms. I know there are other people around but I don’t care. Then I think he will feel my desire and I feel scared. Then he is gone and I realize I have on overalls and probably smell like a farm girl and I am not like those wealthy beautiful girls (that I saw earlier in the dream). But then I think this probably doesn’t matter to him.
This is a completely new feeling for me. To be held. How can I describe it? It is a feeling of utter safety and comfort. There is love and tenderness in being held. The moment is sensual and so the feeling of sensuality rises in me. My desire. What is this desire? It feels sexual, but I have learned that all of my feelings, when felt in the body, lead me back to this feeling of sensuality in my body. The desire that rises is the desire to know more deeply the truth of who I am. It is a desire to know more intimately my God. It is terrifying, because to open up to true need invites in a new level of vulnerability. And you, dear reader, know what I am talking about when I say that being vulnerable is the antithesis of what my ego wants. It will fight with my soul tooth and nail, horn and hoof to keep me from it.

If it's not one thing or another...

I am with Vanessa. I see my mother a ways away. She doesn’t see us, but I see her pacing around like she is waiting impatiently for something. Then she sits down in the grass kind of behind a small shed and starts doing a stretching routine. Then she jumps back up. I feel awed by her power and a little afraid, because I didn’t realize how strong she is. I tell Vanessa, “Wow, she sure is in good shape for 78”.
OK, I want to talk a little bit about this. I sometimes say to my friends, “If it’s not one thing or another, it’s your mother!” I even say this to my mother sometimes. We laugh, but our laughter is tinged with the unspoken tragedy of the abuse, rejection and terror of our relationship when I was a child. There is a place in me that wants to NOT speak of this, to protect my mother somehow, to minimize, lie. This is my shame, my fear, my need, even today, to seek the approval of my mother. But, it is not about blaming my mother, for she did not know and could not ask for help and was lost. In the dreamwork, the “dark mother” can push up out of our psyche. This is the energy of all the ways in which we are a slave to the issues of our mother, all the woundedness that is wrapped up in the loss of our child self. The demon that the mother carries on her back is often passed on to her daughter. It doesn’t mean our mothers are bad people, though it’s true that many forms of abuse occur when the mother is under the thrall of her demons. The dream above is a reminder to me of how the pathology waits, bides its time. It is strong and it is showing me how strong it is.


The dreams below come in the context of a number of dreams recently where I am “witnessed” or seen by the Archetypes in my sensuality. What is it like to truly “see”, not with the eyes, but with the heart? What blocks us from being able to see?

I am at a huge barn with a woman where Vanessa’s and my sheep are being watched by H (another farmer we know). A woman who runs the farm is there. She says there is a problem with a lamb and that is why she called me. I look into the barn and there are a whole bunch of huge animals, moose and horses and possibly others. I ask her what they are doing in there with our sheep and she says that they belong to her husband. I feel afraid that the animals are so big they have harmed the sheep and that is why she is saying there is a problem with a lamb. I tell her that I wish H had told me about this. I go in and work my way through the enormous animals to find the lamb. It is a large white lamb and it is down and rolling its head around. Its mother is no where around. I pick its head up and see that it has a long flap of skin coming off the top of its nose and I think that when it tries to breath, the flap covers its nostrils and that is why it is flailing its head around. It keeps licking its nose and I think I will need to call Vanessa and that we can trim off the flap and it will be OK. But then I realize that it has no eyes and that it has some tentacle like things coming out of its mouth. I think that this lamb is probably deformed and won’t survive.
The lamb can't see because he has no eyes. This lamb represents what it is like for me when I am in the reactive place of my trauma. When I am the lamb, I am flailing, licking my lips because I can't breathe. I am alone in the moment. And even more alone because I can't see. The Archetypes (the moose) are all around the lamb, yet the lamb is blinded because it has no eyes. This is what PTSD is like. At its most intense, PTSD symptoms are a manifestation of a completely irrational place of trauma fear and I am completely isolated in that place. When I am in my trauma reaction, I can no longer "see" Him. In the dream, I am projecting as I believe there to be something bad that has happened. And then, like the lamb, I don't "see" the moose; I have no time for the moose. There is only a fleeting moment of Wow when I first see them, and then I am in the place of trauma needing to find and help the lamb, believing it to be deformed and not likely to survive.

This dream shows me how trauma reaction completely cuts me off from Him. When I am in my trauma, I become blind. I am completely cut off from the love.

Desire and Longing

Desire and longing. This is the place of my work right now, from last week and the week before, my desire presenting in the dreams and also my reaction, which is to keep my desire “private”, to keep it hidden.

I think that desire, when sustained but unmet becomes yearning or longing. The seeker in me has felt longing, a longing for something more, the elusive feeling of spiritual connection, perhaps, or unconditional love as manifested by peace of heart and mind. But I have never sustained this longing and now I see that when sustained it becomes painful, an ache.

I want to separate out the sexual desire present in the dreamwork from the longing or yearning for God, because there is some place in me that believes that the two are mutually exclusive. Sex is of the flesh, the world, and has no place in my relationship with God. But the dreams have shown that this simply isn’t true.


There is nothing quite like the unabashed joy of moving forward. The moment in the dream where we chose to take the leap, where we chose to do the thing that we normally would shy away from. Often there are moments in the dream where we can jump off the cliff, plunge into the water, or enter the cave or tunnel, all moments which indicate our desire to move forward in the journey. Also moments where we chose to leave behind something that we no longer need: caretaking, anger, control, etc. We chose our road less traveled. It is a moment of surrender.

I am with V. We are walking down a smooth rock slope that ends in the water. I have a tooth brush in a travel container that belongs to V. Then she points out that the toothbrush has fallen out of the container. It slides down the rock into the water. I run down the rock and I know I am going to throw myself in the water even though it is ice cold. V is yelling “Sweetie! Sweetie!”, and running after me. I think she is afraid for me. I get to the bottom and I fling myself in the water. I feel huge excitement. I think the water will be freezing but it is not. I swim to the edge of a stony shore which is just beyond where I jumped in and turn and lay my head on the shore with my body in the water. The water feels sensual on my body. Then I look out and see that there are other people in the water. I see a man with a little girl that he is helping to swim along. I swim towards them.

Shift of Change

I am working with a bunch of people on a project. A woman keeps calling and telling me I have to put my dog on a leash or she will report me to some man and I will get in trouble. It seems that every time her little dog sees mine wandering around, she barks which annoys the woman. I think that I should comply, that somehow these are the rules, but I am busy and either forget or ignore her each time. Then I am in the HOWL kitchen with several people. The woman comes to the door with her little dog and says I better put my dog on a leash because the man is already in the house and he is coming. I turn and Oakley is at my feet in the kitchen. It makes no sense to have to leash her. I have the leash and I know I am supposed to leash her, but I don’t want to.
I feel the shift of change. Something is happening. Old patterns are either falling away or I am refusing to take the bait. This shows itself in the dream when I do something different. Here, I don’t leash the dog, even though I think I am supposed to. In the past, I might have leashed the dog out of the projected fear of my trauma. Something bad might happen if I don’t leash the dog. But, pathology is clever. If it can’t get us one way, the demon will suddenly morph into a new idea.

Night Visions: Dreams & Self Expression

I have to write about this. How can I not post something about my first art show?! I could not have imagined this, so unexpected, so really fun. That I could be so in the joy of it and not under attack is a testament to the work I am doing and the support I feel from the folks at North of Eden, especially Sue Scavo who has encouraged me from the beginning to see the truth of who I am, as shown by the dream, not who I thought I was.

I worked on several paintings today. I am trying some new “techniques”. Since I have no training and no outside direction, it is just about me in my work. I get to play. I seem to have no story about what I think I should be doing, what other’s expect or how they might view what I do, or whether it’s good or bad. It is for me and I had so much fun. This is such a new and fragile place for me. I am happy to be here in this moment, today. Perhaps on another day I will have to do battle with the ear whisperers who would like nothing better than to have me put a leash on it, but not today.

OK, back to the art show: Night Visions: Dreams and Self Expression at the Walkover Gallery in Bristol Vermont, running through March 30th. The opening was last weekend and included myself and four other artists working from the dreams. There were also poetry readings by Karla Van Vliet and Sue Scavo and musical performances by a number of folks working their edge of creativity and vulnerability with music. Over 80 people attended including my family and lots of my friends. It was exciting and scary.


I am with a man. He is trying to show me something. We are climbing a tree together. The branches are far apart and he leaps from one to the next. I feel how I can do it because I trust him, so I leap too. At first we are climbing at the same pace, but then I am above him. The branches have gotten smaller and I start to feel insecure. I look back down at him. He points to a rotten branch next to me and I knock it with my foot and we watch it fall to the ground. I feel like I have gotten too far ahead of him and I realize that I am scared. He starts to climb back down and I follow him.
The man, of course, is the Animus and I am the girl filled with trust in Him, but then something happens. What is in this seam? Where I suddenly forget him and become independent? When I get ahead of Him, I am really “out on a limb”, in danger, putting myself or perhaps my emotional serenity at risk. The pride is astounding. It is unconscious, learned, habitual. It is a perfect example of how the dream shows the truth of the ways we stay separated from our souls. The dreams show how I am in the world, allowing me to experience viscerally the difference between the trust in Him and the habit of the pathological way of being. This creates the possibility for change, if I want it. But it is hard to let go of pathology. I am so tied to it. I believe in it so much. There is not a single pathological characteristic that I would let go of that wouldn’t have claw marks on it! The truth is, many of these characteristics have served me well. They were great in a life devoted to the avoidance of feeling. And when they caused me grief, well that is the price of dealing with the devil.

Divine Touch

How can I describe what it is like to receive the love, the healing touch of the Divine? Just writing the words sends the shiver of the touch up my spine.

I am with an old woman. She wants to see the wounds on my back because she wants to heal them. I realize that I have many old scars on my back. I feel scared that it will hurt but I sit down and let her. I feel her pull away the cloth of my shirt. She has some kind of blue paste and she starts putting it on my back.
The surrender to the receiving is a moment of importance to me. The Anima who has been so present in my dreamwork from the very beginning, continues to bring me love and support and healing. I feel afraid, like it might hurt to have my wounds touched. Yet, I allow it, and the feeling of joy is like grief in its intensity. I feel loved and nurtured and cared for. It is humbling to receive. She is beautiful in her patience, her kindness, her knowing.

Sitting in the chair, with my head tilted forward, she pulls a cloth off my back. It is soft, like muslin. I hear it whisper and feel the sensual slide of it across my skin. Cool air shivers me.


I don’t know what to write. I am at a loss. My friend, who subscribes to this blog, tells me that it is some deep shit, that my writings might scare people from this work. I don’t believe her, but I see how the flow of trauma work, which has been going on for months, could seem endless. It does to me. I want to say, I am done with this part. Or, I have dealt with that trauma, done. Period. End of story.

Yet how can I deny the dream. How do I speak of these things?

Since the last retreat, I have had several dreams of blood associated with my period. There is no shame, but there is the blood, and sometimes a lot of it. In the latest, I am with a group of NOE people. I go off to be alone in the bathroom thinking I have to go, but instead there is all this blood. A man comes along whistling nonchalantly and finds me. I think he is waiting for me. I feel no shame in him seeing me there in my blood which covers my legs and hands and is in clots on the floor. I feel no pain. I do not understand what is happening. I step over this. It is messy, a problem to be solved.

Sue, my therapist, and I work the dream from the point of view that there is no shame. Blood is life, passion, primal energy. It is coming from me and He is with me. This all sounds good, right? And I want this. I like that I am feeling no shame. I am OK with my blood.

Phoenix Rising - Form of Girl

I am moving past a scene that I see playing out next to a warehouse-like building. It is like I am on an elevated train. I see a young woman in short shorts. She is getting in a fancy sports car that belongs to some man. I think she must be a prostitute because of the short shorts. I see the man pull a large bag out. There is another man talking on the phone and he says that she should know better than to go with a man who would make her get in a body bag. I see the girl climbing in the bag and realize that she is probably going to be killed by this man. It has a zipper on it and he zips it part way up and then bunches it together so he can carry it. Then I am traveling on the El in the other direction still watching the same scene. The man picks up the bag with the girl in it and throws it down really hard on the ground. Then he quickly peers in through the top to see her reaction. I think he is going to torture her.
My therapist Sue says when we work this dream, “He really wants you to see this”. I feel into the girl who would climb into a body bag, willingly. I recognize this disassociated girl.

I left home when I was 16 and this dream references a period of my life when I was a teenage runaway in Florida. I did not look like a woman. I was what people called a “late bloomer”. I didn’t have hardly any breasts or start my period until I was 16. I was thin and fair with wispy blonde hair. I’m sure I had attitude, the deals had already been made: “no matter what you do you can’t hurt me” and “no one is going to take care of me but me.” Contracts signed years earlier in the virginal blood of a child.


In the Carl & Me class last week, Carl touched on the idea of dualism. He talked about his work in the context of hot and cold, east and west, logos and essence, the dark and the light, the good and the evil, life and death. It was a fascinating class for me because of one of the dreams I had worked with my therapist just before going into the class. I feel this is one of the most important pieces we have learned about so far from the Carl & Me teachings.

I see a woman [the Anima]. She is holding two miniature planets in her hand: Mars and Earth. Mars is hot and earth is cold. They are in opposition to each other. She oscillates them in her hand like you would with Chinese medicine balls and I feel that they are moving back and forth between the two states of hot and cold or light and dark. I see other planets that appeared to be paired in a similar fashion.
I felt as if in the section of the reading (starting at the bottom of page 277 titled First Day), Carl was talking about the hot/cold duality of the logos vs feeling. Where the east and west meet at the horizon between these two places, is a place where one meets and perhaps even seeks the other. If you go too far towards the light of the east then you are oscillated back towards the dark and the west. We cannot leave behind the “poison of science” of what we know in the world because it is too inherent in our nature. For better or worse, we do have a brain that functions in a very specific and well grooved way. I had the idea that perhaps the enlightened person cannot exist solely in her essence and still teach what she knows. She needs the mind. Carl talks about how we need the mind in Primus.

In the Terror

Your work is to be in the terror. You see how easy it is to want to turn away. You know that this is a place in you that you don’t want to face. You are afraid.

From the Dream:
I am sitting on the floor in a circle of NOE people. Sarah L. is sitting next to me...Then something shifts and I can’t see. I hear Annie W’s voice say that she smells filth. She says it is a prevailing filth. Suddenly I smell it too and the minute the smell comes into my nose, I am screaming. It smells like unclean human bodies. I have a sense of some prevalent evil surrounding me. I feel the scream, but it is like I am having someone else’s experience…I feel my arms fling out and know that I am struggling. I can’t make sense of what I feel under my hands, just that it is naked bodies. I am not sure if it is shoulders, arms, legs, necks. I feel as if hands are either holding me or pulling at me. The scream is one of absolute terror.

Post Retreat...

How to express the experience of a NOE Archetypal dreamwork retreat? It is hard to put into words. To see the arc of my work through the week is humbling and I realize more and more how little I really know about how the whole process works as a psychological construct of the teaching and how my not knowing doesn’t matter right now. I don’t know where I am at, stage one, stage two, etc…and I don’t fully understand the alchemical process, but the clarity which came to me this past week as we moved through my particular work and through the work of others is a gift. I witness and am witnessed.

What I am understanding today is the level of gratitude I feel for the healing power that is within us and of the Divine. I have a new understanding of what the real war is. What I also understand is my commitment to the integrity of my work that I feel in my heart. No matter what happens, I don’t have to go it alone. I have the support of the Archetypes, my therapist, my teachers and my comrades in arms. If we make mistakes or miss something, the truth will come through the next dreams. I just have to trust, even when the demon would cast doubts like gossamer, sticky webs that float gentle or wrap fierce to entangle me, engage me, cause me to turn the fight back out into the world. I have a new understanding that somehow this work, this part of my journey, has become paramount.

I am experiencing new sensations in my body. These are feelings I have never felt. They are completely new or perhaps not remembered. How is this possible? How can I have lived half my life without discovering this? If you are reading this and in the work, then you probably already feel the sensual climb up your back. Perhaps you feel it now reading this. The suffusing, encompassing ecstatic feeling that moves you and moves through you. If you are are not in the work, or are in the work and have yet to experience this, then know that this is part of the why. This is why I do the work, to find that part of me that was lost, which is my soul. My soul which knows this feeling, the essence of itself as feeling and experienced in this way. What is the depth and range that is possible? It is scary to contemplate.


In my recent dream, I see a young deer who is disoriented and stunned. A man grabs her and cuts off her horns and also seems to cut around her eyes. It sounds traumatic, but the Animus as the provocateur sometimes wields a heavy hand. In the last Mystery of the Dream class, Marc talked about the how the Animus often shoots people in the dream. Not to kill them, but to push them to feel their pain. Some of us are so blocked that Divine intervention must be radical.

In my therapy session, it is suggested that the man is the Animus and the young deer, of course, is me. The Animus cutting off the horns of the young deer and cutting around her eyes is not about causing harm to the young deer, but it is instead to move me more deeply into feelings of vulnerability that I have been working with these past several weeks. It is to open me, to open my eyes, to help me move deeper into new understandings of myself.

In my homework, which is to be with the man as the defenseless fawn who has had her horns removed, I feel disoriented and confused. I feel a sense of freeness, as in a lightness around my head without those horns, but also absolute terror in my defenselessness. I am terrified at the prospect of being in the world this fragile and defenseless. Why is this being asked of me? I feel I need my defenses or I will be hurt. The truth is I have already been hurt and my reaction to that hurt is to take a defended position. I don’t think I am being asked to be something different than what I am. I think I am being asked to see myself as I truly am. I have no idea how to exist in this state of utter defenselessness. I don’t know what it is like to approach the world in this way, only that it is terrifying.

Why would I want to do this? That is a good question. I can only tell you that I really have no choice. At this point, to deny the dream is to deny my life and my journey. To turn away from this is to turn away from Him. I want to ask, "Why would He do this to a poor little deer (ME)?" It seems like torture. It doesn’t seem right, but who am I to decide what is right or wrong? Each moment of the dream holds something for us, we don’t always know what it is, but if there is a real feeling in the dream, the challenge is always to move into that feeling. This is the journey. There is no end to the journey, only a growing awareness of our true nature and perhaps a call to service in some way. Marc has said that he doesn’t believe the Archetypes would ever traumatize us. To see the deer with its horns cut off could be traumatizing. It is like having the crust scraped from my eyes, the hard bark carved from my skin. Things look different and I am in a place of heightened sensitivity and disorientation. But to be the deer feels terrifying, not because there is pain, but because I feel my true vulnerable nature in a different way. This is archetypal fear, the fear of something completely unknown or perhaps unremembered.

Open Heart = Vulnerability

I am with a man and we go down into an underground bunker. The corridors are narrow and we pass by a room where there is a bloody dead man sprawled on the floor and go into another room. Then I decide to go back up. I have to walk back past the dead man and climb up to a door. I open the door a crack and look out. It seems as if I have climbed up some kind of silo. I see other buildings and a huge parking lot below with lots of cars with black windows. I suddenly become fearful that there is someone out there amongst the cars that will try and get to me. I turn and go back down into the bunker. I pass by the dead man again.
In the dream, I feel as though I pass by the dead man several times, like around each corner, there he is. I even have to step around his legs to pass by. But, I don’t stop. I don’t look at the dead man because I don’t want to see him. In the dream, I feel nothing about this dead man. I do not stop and I don’t look. Yet, he keeps appearing, so there must be something here that I am supposed to feel, to know about. And, I must know it because I choose to go back. Choosing to go back is choosing to go forward.

In our dreamwork session, my therapist Sue says she is curious about the dead man and she takes me to this moment and tells me to stop and asks me what I feel. “Nothing”, I say. “I feel nothing. He is dead. I don’t want to see him.”

Via Negativa

My cousin, the Rev. F. Vernon Wright, upon reading The Desert, a recent blog entry from the blog Carl & Me that I had posted on Facebook, commented that Carl “seems to be encountering some of the wisdom of the Apophatic tradition.”

Naturally, I had to google the word Apophatic since I had no idea what it meant. I found it described as via negativa or “negative theology” as in an attempt to achieve unity with the Divine through discernment, gaining knowledge of what God is NOT, rather than describing what God is.

For me, so far in the dreamwork, much of my work has been about understanding who I am not as opposed to who I am. Jung says God is where we are not. I thought I knew who I was, but it was a construct. I do not know who I am. The dreamwork, if we are willing, helps us to strip away who we are not. And it gives us the opportunity to push down past the outward projections, past the construct of the stories and lies, past the traumas, and into those feelings which seem to surround the core of our being. Feelings like pain, fear, love, vulnerability, ecstatic joy. These are feelings that I had rarely (perhaps never truly) experienced in their raw form, without a story to justify, explain, or attribute them to, before I started the dreamwork. And mostly, I rejected the less desirable feelings outright. It is hard to explain a “true” feeling, since emotional states are most definitely felt. For myself, I notice that my emotions typically manifest as a response to some external stimulus or, just as often, from some mental thought and can often project out from me onto the people around me or the world in general.


I am standing in a line of people. There is a woman who has told us we have to remove our clothing. The man and woman to my left start to take their clothes off. I don’t want to see them naked and I don’t want to take my clothes off. I feel frustrated that I have to be so exposed.
Vulnerability is not a nice word in our society. Dictionaries generally define it as “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded”, “open to attack or damage”, “open to censure, criticism or judgment”. Not a very flattering state. Not one I have ever aspired to.

But in the dreamwork, it is about being with the Archetypes as our true selves without fear of rejection or judgment. In the archetypal realm, there is no judgment or rejection, only the truth. Sometimes, it might seem as if the Animus is judging. Really He is just being provocative, showing us some way we have of being which is not of our soul. But for many of us, in our outer lives we have experienced exactly the kinds of attacks, criticisms, judgments, censuring, etc. for which the word generally derives is meaning. So, if it seems that the Archetypes are judging or rejecting, it is a projection. We respond to the projection by taking a defensive position to protect ourselves. In the dream above, there is no trauma fear that comes up, but still the NO is there, the defensive position still wants to rise up. I feel annoyance, irritation at the idea that I have to be exposed. The pathology is slowly being cornered and outed, and, it doesn’t like it. “NO”, it says, defiant, petulant and perturbed.

Warrior Heart

“Well we all have a face that we hide away forever, then we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone. Some are satin, some are steel, some are silk and some are leather. They’re the faces of The Stranger, but we love to try them on.” ~ The Stranger, by Billy Joel (1977)

The archetypes push us to strip away every last mask that we wear. The façade, the veneer, the well crafted persona that I have constructed to help me live in the world apparently must go! The way I have of being, the trait that everyone attributes to me, the story of who I think I am. The dream challenges all of this. It shows the ways in which we hide our true selves from the world and asks us to consider, are they of God? Are they of our true essence? This is difficult, because many of the ways I have of being in the world are “good”. The environment is important, how we raise our food is important, our children are important. What about democracy in the world and women’s rights? When does a “good” thing become a block in the work? Whether it is being the good daughter, the good friend, the hard worker, the problem solver, or the care taker, it all can become the place to hide. What am I hiding from? Well, the core feelings, of course.