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.

I am with a man and a woman. There is a huge bull that is loose. The man hands me the end of the bull’s halter lead, which is very, very long. I wrap the rope around my hand. The bull runs away from me and I think that wrapping the rope around my hand was a bad idea and that I will be dragged. I brace myself and feel the slack in the rope disappear. I think I will be yanked off my feet, but I am surprised that I am strong enough to stop the bull. The bull struggles against the lead and then turns and start running towards us and the man and woman squat down when the bull jumps over them, I am to the side. The bull reaches the end of the rope in the other direction and starts lunging and jumping to break free. When he jumps in the air, I pull back on the rope and he is pulled back and flipped on to his back. The man and woman are still squatting down watching. I tell them that I think the bull is getting tired out. The bull runs back in the other direction and again, he can’t pull me off my feet. I tell them again that he seems to be tiring. I think he will give up and be tamed eventually.
Here it is. My own place of control in the separation. The Animus hands me the rope. I can feel how powerful the Bull is. This bull represents potency, libido. This is my own potency, my own libido. Best to keep it haltered, tethered, tamed. And, my pathology is strong enough to do that! I did not know this. I did not understand that this was going on. But I see all the ways in which I suppress my energy, keep it contained. This goes all the way back to my childhood when I first learned that girls need to act a certain way, like certain things. And when I couldn’t or wouldn’t, there was punishment, sometimes severe. If only I could do things “right”. If I could just figure out what is wrong with me and change that thing so my mother wouldn’t be angry with me. And when I couldn't figure it out, I rebelled. I had to separate from my soul to even know that how I was could be a “bad” thing. This was learned, it was not the truth.

I could not know my mother’s fear, her terror of the potency and libido in me, which was the terror of her own place of potency, long suppressed. I used to think my mother hated me, but I see now that she was simply incapable of loving me, the child that was me. I see now how all her reaction was from her own trauma, her own terror, the anger and resentment masking hurt and grief and fear. I see how, in her terror, she demonized the girl child in me. Best to beat this out of the child or she will be “wrong”. I did not understand. I just wanted the love and it was denied. To deal with this hurt, I had to separate. I became lost from myself, lost from my soul. I constructed a persona to survive in the loveless world I found myself in.

My homework from this dream is to drop the rope. The rope that ties me to the Bull is really what separates me from myself. When I drop the rope, immediately I move from a place of opposition to the Bull, to a place of relationship. The Bull no longer struggles and can turn towards me. The Animus and Anima are there, so, in the terror of the discovery of all this energy, I am not alone.

I want to say also, that I have received so much support from the Anima in the 18 months that I have been doing the dreamwork. I feel so blessed that this has been so. She has come in many ways, in different forms, often as a teacher or healer. Always with eternal love and patience and support. I could not move forward in my work without this support. It has been rare for me to encounter the dark mother. I believe that the Anima is so strong for me because I need this support. I couldn’t move forward in my work without it. I could not begin to have a relationship with the Animus if it wasn’t for the support of the Anima. So much of my work has been with this Divine Archetype, the Divine Mother who is the Mother of us all. She is a real entity who lives in me and with me and I just love Her.

I continue to be amazed by the incredible truth of the dream.

Tethered Bull

1 comment:

  1. It is incredible what power mothers have. Being a mother myself, this is a scary realization. I was never right for my mother either, especially in the way I expressed myself as a child. Now 50 years later, I am still insecure about how is the "right way" to express myself - better stay hidden, not show it, or there won't be love. The truth is there is no way to "be the right way", we are perfect the way we are. It is time to just be ourselves.