The Secret to Dreamwork.

I was visiting my girlfriend’s mother for the first time. She was a bad tempered old bat and the evening got even frostier over dinner. I was sat at the head of a long narrow table, the women either side of me facing one another. At the end of a torturously slow meal full of arkward silences mother leant forward and asked her daughter in a loud whisper, ‘does he want anymore?’

I’m right here.

Ask me.

Its laughable, but we do the same with the figures of our inner worlds when we ask what they mean or try to interpret. Perhaps mother could have saved her voice by just prodding me in the gut to see if it was sufficiently distended to clear the dishes.

As soon as we ask someone else,’what does it mean?, we do two things. Firstly we give away our inner authority to respond to such a question. Jung noticed the consistency with which persons would defer an insight into the significance of a dream but when asked what they thought he, Carl Jung, thought of the dream they would be full of ideas.

More importantly we alienate ourselves still further from the dream itself by treating it as though it were a specimin in a petri dish to be intellectually dissected, rather than an ‘inner’ other with whom to have a living relationship.

There is an Irish joke about the tourist in his car who stops a farmer on a remote country lane and asks him the way to Ballygowan. The farmer replies,

‘it depends on where you start from.’

Mostly we feel that whatever meaning there might be in dreams has to be extracted by an expert. From the Psyche’s point of veiw this is like bussing in assistance on your wedding night…

and this is not even the bold cry of ‘own your own authority, your interpretation is the best’, because all you’ve done is snatch the scalpel yourself.

Put the scalpel down.

play nicely.


maybe just nod politely.

from a safe distance.

The main aspect of the Goddess is relatedness, between one another, self and world, and the crazy gang in your neo-cortex all wanting air time and talking at once.

With Her demise not only do we disconnect from one another and the world, we dissociate internally, both in terms of our capacity for critical reflection and in ego’s relation to the Unconscious as a being-in-itself.

Something Unknown is doing I don’t know what.

And it is not inside me.

I am inside it.

The idea that aspects of a dream are all mere parts of oneself is a pleasing fancy promulgated by folk who regard the Unconscious as as the dustbin of the mind rather than the source of Consciousness itself.

Dream figures may not be part of you at all.

I had a client with a livid rash down neck and chest…….

But that was not the issue, there were more important things to talk about.

Nevertheless, she was a power driven woman with a hunger for magic and gaining the upper hand.

She dreamt of a dragon that scorched her with retributive flame, burning her in the precise pattern of her rash..

When she could face that it was her inflation that drove her to seek help in the first place, with the suffering that inflation brings,things improved..  These avatars of the Deep were not there for her utilage or plunder..

they have there own purpose and push for expression…

nascent potentialities..

birthing awareness…

stuff you were born with, inherited from ancient time, springing whole from the Psyche like Athena, fully armed, from Zeus’ thigh.

The problem with this is that it can make you feel very small. And whatever dream brings is going to be, by its compensatory intent, something difficult to swallow down. By its very nature it presents contrary perspectives that insist on us adjusting our world veiw.

We resist the deflating encounter before the Emissary of the Deep, not so much by a shooting of the messenger but by failing to bring Her in from the cold and wet.

Our ‘wanting to know the meaning’ can be a kind of defence against experience. We want it to be an object of consciousness rather than something else in the room we have to reckon with.

So there’s a meta-level at back of all the creative ideas you can bring to bear on dreamwork, its one of simply allowing yourself to be awed by the fact that there is Another..

not Self

that knows self..

and tends self…



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Psychotherapist/writer/artist/ author of, 'Going Mad to Stay Sane', a psychology of self-destructiveness, about to come into its third edition. Soon to be printed for the first time, 'Abundant Delicious.. the Secret and the Mystery', described by activist Satish Kumar as, ' A Tao of the Soul'. This book documents the archetypal country through which the process of individuation occurs and looks at the trials and tribulations we might expect on the way. In the meantime..... Narcissisim is the issue of our age. This blog looks at how it operates, how it can damage and how we may still fruit despite it.

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