Terminology for Dream Content (active imagination, incubation, etc)

March 11, 2014 in slideshow

In order to have a basic understanding of dreams you will need to know some basic terminology and to hear some examples.  So let’s begin.  The same sex figures images (1)in our dreams are shadows or figures who personify those things about ourselves that do not fit into our ego ideals.  The shadow includes those qualities that could belong to the ego, but do not because we fear them, or they are felt to be wrong for some reason.

Archetypes are the basic building blocks of the personality.  they are patterns of energy which, when released, shape our consciousness, and influence the development and expression of our personality in definite ways….emotions, fantasies, and ideas.  The collective unconscious is the sum total of the archetypes.  These symbols do NOT come from life experience.  It is the basic substratum of our psychic life….a source of wisdom far beyond ourselves.  As long as we live unconsciously we tend to be like everyone else.  But if we adopt our own particular conscious attitude to the unconscious, we become aware of what we are, and the unique element that is within us, an individual development takes place.  Life constantly strives to bring unique and new forms.  In the very heart of the unconscious lies the deep instinct to being a whole, unique personality in us.  The personal unconscious is made up of elements from our personal life.

Now for some examples!  I was co-leading a dream/art group with a Native American Art gallery owner.  Each participant  was taught to record dreams and to bring them to our class.  We began the class with ceremony and ritual to create a sacred space and then shared are most important dream of the week before the group.  The most numinous symbol was then rendered in some chosen art form; be it dance, paint, poetry, music, or more.  One older and very lovely woman shared that her most burgeoning question placed before the unconscious was the reason she could not surrender to her music but remained quite technically proficient yet dispassionate.  This particular week she shared a dream that revealed she had been date raped at the tender age of 16.  I asked her to render the occurrences of that fateful night in paint.  She worked tearfully for the hour and a half designated as creative time before returning to the group to share the inner process that accompanied of her painting.  The men in the group were moved by her story and acted as a witness to her pain and then offered an heartfelt apology for such an act of destruction at the hands of a fellow male.  She then, after a long pause of acceptance and relief, picked up her instrument and began to play in total abandon to eros and the creative voice within.  The room was always filled with instruments and we joined her joyful playing.  One might speculate that some part of her was imprisoned in that childhood event until it was named, exorcised from her body memory, and forgiven.  This then freed her to trust life, herself, and the creative urges within that ultimately serve passion in life…..and; of course, music that moves us.

While in nursing school I heard nothing of the important role that dreaming played in the predecessors to our modern medicine…………even integrative doesn’t encourage patients to listen to their dreams.  AND, it was not until I entered the health care profession that I began such unhealthy practices as drinking coffee to stay awake while studying.  I also remember seeing cardiologists return to the unit to do a post operative check on patients while smoking on the unit and carrying 50 extra pounds as well.  I awakened to discover a strawberry size lump on my left breast.  Fortunately I was far enough along in my own spiritual journey to seek guidance from the unconscious about the lump.  I prayed for the necessary wisdom to re-align myself with the creator’s intention for my life and received the following dream:  ”My Asian wool rug with the mandala of roses had a cup of coffee spilled in its center.”  The mandala is a healing symbol and is always superimposed along with the destructive symbol in a dream…this is one of the few axioms of dream interpretation.  The dream guide suggested I stop drinking the coffee and the lump disappeared in a few days.  Caffeine is now known to irritate the mammary ducts.