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.
From the dream:
…M. [the Animus] comes out of a room. I pretend I don’t see him, but he comes over to me and starts talking to me. I have some kind of contraption on my face. I take it off and he gives me a piece of paper and asks me about it. It is something I think I either wrote or know about but I can’t seem to figure out what is written on it. I keep turning it around and I can’t decipher it. I tell him I don’t know what I am doing. I am worried he will become impatient and leave, but he doesn’t…When the Animus comes into the room, I am shy and I want him to notice me. It is a moment of vulnerability, so to avoid the vulnerability, I pretend I don’t see him. This is a familiar feeling for me. When I feel vulnerable in situations, I pretend to not care. I go into the place of, no matter what happens, I won’t be hurt. The persona of confidence or aloofness or bravado comes up. Or, perhaps it is the joker, the story teller who rises up to take care of the discomfort I feel at being vulnerable. I shut down the feeling of vulnerability to avoid being hurt. But the Animus comes right over to me. When I remove the mask, I can be more fully in myself. Everything I think I know, is gone, and the truth is I have no idea what I am doing! And, crazily, I can admit it.
The more I learn, the more aware I become of how little I really know.
Jung states that God is where we are not. This seems paradoxical. I can never be where God is, because as soon as I am, God is gone…in fact it is not possible that I even achieved being where God is if the axiom is correct. This is a “bad” thing only if one assumes that we must strive to be where God is. What if we only need be our true self because God is always there, present in our true self, and what Jung is really saying is simply that we are not our true selves therefore we are not where God is. Is it then the repeated attempts to “be where God is” that takes us further from Him? Is this true because we have an “idea” of what God is? An idea based on our upbringing, our faith, our beliefs? Repent and ye shall be saved. Do good deeds and expect nothing in return. Bad things happen to good people. I have tried prayer and meditation and found it wanting.
The searching itself becomes the place to hide. I can see how the dreamwork could become this too. Be the girl! Be the boy! Breath the water... Jump off the cliff.. Secretly hoping that each new dream will be The One.
Sue, my therapist once said to me that I have a warrior heart. I am not sure what it means to be a warrior in the dreamwork. But I think it has to do with honesty and willingness. It seems that awareness comes out of the dreams in the form of a certain clarity about the “truth” of a moment which teaches us something about who we are (or, just as often, who we are NOT). It is not about interpretation or opinions or facts, which are of the mind, but it is about the truth, which comes from the essence of who we are as shown by the dream. The warrior heart in me is brave enough to accept the truth and pushes on despite the fierce opposition of the pathology which uses my mind and my past traumas against me.
Where I am at currently is about the vulnerability of the girl. Instead of trying to “do the right thing”, I simply need to be the vulnerable girl. The girl who has taken off the mask, who feels exposed and who doesn’t know what the hell she is doing. Accepting the vulnerability is extremely uncomfortable because it opens me up to both the love and the pain. But these feelings can change into others, like desire. Desire to be my true self as is shown to me in the dreams more and more when I choose to be with Him, instead of running or projecting something bad onto Him.
From the dream:
I am standing on some ledge on the shore in front of a salt water pool. The pool is filled with carp and I have to spear them because there are too many. I start spearing them and pulling them out. At first I can’t see them down in the water, but if I put the spear in, I get a carp. Then I can see them. I spear one that seems to be a baby and it makes mewling noises as I pull it out of the water. I have to carry the speared fish over to a bucket. When I turn to go back, the carp have come out of the water only now they are chickens milling about. In frustration, I throw the spear at them and it misses and lands on the ground. Then there are lots of old plastic containers on the shore and I am supposed to clean them up to help the people who live in this area.I heard a snippet this morning on Vermont Public Radio’s The Writer’s Almanac. It is from a poem by Mark Strand called Harmony in the Boudoir (Published 2012). Perhaps this is what Carl Jung or the Animus or the Anima might say to us about alchemy:
Then I see a man leading a bunch of people down towards the water. I want to go with them. I throw down the containers and I follow them down some stairs in the rock and then across some fields towards the beach. They somehow stay ahead of me just out of sight. Then they pass through a line of trees and I can see a bright sun on the other side. I can see the ocean sparkling in the sun. I pass through the line of trees too.
“I find that just thinking of you having so many selves receding into nothingness is very exciting. That you barely exist as you are couldn’t please me more.”