Archive for the ‘Communications from the Dream Time’ category

Piercing Encapsulated Trauma: Three Crones Receive the Knife

August 14, 2019

I want to offer this dream in support of recognizing the issue of how to access encapsulated trauma complexes. Healing requires the dismantling of the defenses which were our survival; one must first cure the partial cure.

11-29-12 Thursday 4:56: Very vivid, short dream with three of us, all women. I’m one of the them, and I am also myself, observing my woman-self as if standing behind and looking over my crone self’s shoulder. We are standing together in a kitchen and we understand we are dead, or have died, and its not a problem for us. The focus turns to the idea, the recognition of the timing being right, for giving and receiving the knife. This is a ritual process we are in charge of doing periodically. It is somehow vitally important we attend to this for the sake of the community. The woman opposite me pulls out several ancient, long curved bladed knives and with great intention brings one forward towards the belly of the woman on my left, making contact and slowly plunging it into her; the movement is a bit downward; I/we can all feel it going in deeply. Then, slowly withdrawing the blade, she turns to see me, signaling now it will be my turn to receive the knife. I seem to ready myself for this by involuntarily shuddering and leaning first forward, leading with my head/chin pulling up and back, offering my belly, and then, intensely anticipating the knife finding my belly, I can’t help flinching and pulling slightly back. I am struck by how deeply I can feel this wounding, penetrating me to my core, opening me up completely; there is a moment of tremendous surrender and release of pitiful grief as I fully experience receiving the knife. Coming out of this deep practicing of having been pierced, I am silently, through my tears, attentive to what will happen immediately, my turn… I am thinking, yes, this is what we do; this is what it is like, it happens like this to all of us. It is painful. This is the way it is.”

At the time I had this dream, my sense was it was a compensatory dream pointing to my ongoing vulnerability to inflation; this offered a radical image of deflation. The intensity and directness of the action suggested I was/am experienced in the giving and receiving of this primary wound. The ritual, anchored by ritual elders, crones in this instance, seemed to be in the service of supporting the community/collective to be continuously aware of the reality of ongoing sacrifices, both conscious, in this case, but also unconscious. A contemporary example of this would be government actions which seem completely removed from the profound impact on the children separated from their parents, without notice.

My analyst offered what seemed to me to be a very helpful interpretation. He suggested the crone on my left represented the opening of encapsulated trauma. While I have been able to grasp the conceptual meaning of this dynamic in this regard, the dream provided a direct experience of the relationship between role of the encapsulation in defending against previously unbearable trauma, in contrast to gaining direct access in the service healing: this piercing of the encapsulation is necessary for one to access the original wound directly.

From this perspective, this sequence signals progress on the continuum of my personal work to “cure the cure”.

In order to access our wounds directly for purposes of healing the split one must both suffer and bear witness to an immersion into the original affects. As Donald Kalsched has observed, for this to occur, a deconstruction of the partial cure defenses is required.

One more comment for now: We clearly have problems with inflation at the collective level. At this level, it seems the three crones are keeping the vigil for all who may not be able to choose deflation. At the human, personal and couple work level, how often do we put our partner in the position of delivering a necessarily deflating message? What might be going on here for you?

From the Dream Time: An Eye Fetish

January 18, 2019

During an hour this past week, in reflecting on an apparent mismatch in enthusiasm between two family members, and the amount of suffering this produced, consciously, for one of the party, the issue of archaic human longing came up. The dream below is one of several which moved me towards a deeply felt experience of this. I will be looking through my archives for a couple more in series as part of bringing this forward. As a stand alone dream, this one is pretty fun in terms of the sheer intensity of the energy. I had the dream the second night into a week long gathering of men with Robert Bly, Robert Moore, Malidoma Some and others, in the primitive Mendocino Woodlands Camp.

July 24, 1991: I woke up at 4:30 AM with a long dream in mind; details fuzzy/sharp and excessive. Doing men’s work here at Mendocino Camp; On and on and on; making shit, talking shit, doing shit; singing and dancing and drumming and imagining.

After all this stuff, what a mess of bodies and stuff happening everywhere, all over, all the time. Robert Bly picks up a little piece of wood I had painted to look like a green snake(?) eye; blue eye, mottled green and white serpents shape; fashioned from a stick with a knot in the center, or maybe plywood, jigged out, and painted. Pretty crude representation at that.

I’m delighted at his interest in something I made. “Why do you want that thing Robert? What is so special about it to you?” He just laughs that big grin and says: “I just like the feel of it, you know…” and caresses it in his fingers and moves on.

EyeFetishDream1.22.14I woke up somewhat disoriented, having gone to sleep with one ear plug in (snoring in the cabin) and decided to go outside with my journal to write it down. The moon was overhead, moving powerfully through the sky channel created by the creek running through the very tall old growth forest. After writing it down and spending some time with it, I went in to the Lodge and painted the image. Just when I was finishing doing so, I heard the voice of an elder coming down the path, quietly singing, who, coming into the lodge to get a cup of tea, walked up to me, took a long look at me, my painting, and then back at me, and said: “Something’s happened! When you are ready, we must talk!” Later that week, we did.

Luminous Wolf, Shared Piercing Dream

January 18, 2019

January 26, 2009 Dream: “My friends are giving me a medal, to be ‘pinned’ on my left flank, belly. I’m apprehensive, say ‘are you going to use rubbing alcohol on that large pin?’

Just then, a luminous wolf crosses from left to right in front of me. Hard to say how far, how close, her actual size, as she seems to be arriving from another dimension. Very healthy with a full silvery black coat, and surrounded by an incredible aura. She stops, turns her head over her right shoulder, to gaze at me. I notice, as part of her energetic aura, from her left flank, extending above her back, is a large arrow shaft, with feathers, suggesting she has an embedded arrow point in her left side, about where I am to be pierced. Her aura incorporates the arrow, as if she is living with it in vibrant health…”


Waking Reflections: What struck me was how healthy she was, while still carrying the evidence of a likely mortal wound. Still, energetically, this arrow wasn’t limiting her presence and power.

In the dream it seems I am about to receive a blessing from the Spirit Brothers, a medal of some kind, in recognition of my relationship to my wound. (Unpublished back story) The pinning itself will be a flesh offering. At this moment the Wolf appears, affirming our work from the dream time. YES, she shows us, one’s wound need not be the death of one’s vitality. Something like that. Associations to the pelican piercing her own breast, the piercing of Jesus’ side on the cross, and the Sun Dance ceremony all come to mind.

And, we might ask, who is she, showing up with such vibrancy and generating such an incredible aura? An image of the Self? A transrational presence/being?

Image and Force: Jung’s Supreme Meaning

March 23, 2016

RockLight DreamImage1NoMargin3.23.16


After recording the Rite of Passage Rock-Light Being dream, I decided to represent the image in pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor. My method for illustrating dreams is to begin by trying to establish the starting point of the dream sequence in the place most likely to allow me to work through and capture all the action, step by step, on one page. I opened this dream with the stone path at the bottom center of the page. I began penciling in the details with no conscious awareness of the greater reveal (Image 1.) As I finished the initial sketch, I couldn’t help but think, “Behold the ancient being with his bright flash of light for consciousness, crocodile brain stem extending into the olfactory region, and stunning child like silhouette! How striking, how primordial!”


After completing this scene, I turned my attention to capturing a close up of our approach along the rock face. My intention was to create an image-as-threshold to assist me in my ritually re-entering the startling moment. (See Image 2.)

I was challenged at this time in my work to understand what this powerful dream was really offering me. It was one of a number of dreams in a series which seemed to move out into the world, connecting me in important ways to mysterious meanings which defied rational explanation.

Twenty years later, deepening in my Jungian orientation through a seminar series with the analysts of the Santa Fe group, I came across Jung’s description of the serf’s predicament: “I am the serf who brings it and does not know what he carries in his hand. It would burn his hands if he did not place it where his master orders him to lay it” (Jung, Red Book, 2009, p. 230).

In the Red Book collection, we get to look in on Jung’s initiatory process. In his dialogues with the spirit of the times and the spirit of the depths, Jung describes how he came to understand the existence of an ancient consciousness enlivening us all, and how this guidance, this “supreme meaning” comes to us. The spirit of the depths comes in and places understanding and knowledge at the service of the inexplicable and the paradoxical, sense and nonsense. The melting together of sense and nonsense is what produces the supreme meaning. In Jung’s words (2009), supreme meaning is “the path, the way and the bridge to what is to come… image and force in one, magnificence and force together … the beginning and the end … the bridge of going across and fulfillment…

Furthermore, from this perspective, Jung observed “To understand a thing is a bridge and a possibility of returning to the path. But to explain a thing is arbitrary and even murder…” (Jung, Red Book 2009, p. 229-230).

While I was enjoying a newfound sense of freedom from my compulsion to explain and contemplating on magnificence and force together, this 1994 dream and these illustrations came to mind: might they be an example of image and force in one, magnificence and force together?

RockLight DreamImage1NoMargin3.23.16EncounteringRLBeingImage2.3.23.16

A Dream Time Case Study: Identifying a “Terrestrial Canalization” Complex

February 16, 2016

This is an interesting dream in that it was so vivid, and introduces a very specific complex, at least in terms of its name! I will offer my personal reflections at some point. At this point, I am posting dreams which stand out in one way of another. My hope is to encourage your interest in dreams as communications from the Guiding Self.

March 27, 2010 Dream: “Seminar setting with an analyst teaching via a case. I was orienting to a screen with images, which I then realized was a modern overhead projector, showing diagrams from a text book. The analyst seemed older, but with dark hair and was prominent, but not known to me. His name was something like Bonaventuri, Italian sounding; with his shade style glasses, black tops and and clear bottom rims, he looked a bit like Marcello Mastroianni, from a 1960’s movie. The conversation, didactic at that point, got a little quiet and hard for me to hear; the analyst was surprisingly relaxed, in fact reclining on the green grass next to the podium. He had his head propped up on one hand and elbow. I asked if he could talk a little louder for me. He did so while standing up and began in earnest to orient me to the case at hand, a man with a complex demonstrating what he called a ‘terrestrial canalization.’

Next he pointed to the screen, which was now more of a blueprint or architectural drawing depicting the first floor of a house. It was a schematic, showing traffic flow, ie: kid’s play movements, as if observed and recorded over time, each signified by a stylized curved arrow symbol. These arrows showed the repeated movements, typically as if a child would duck behind a chair, moving from right to left. These multiple movements, all in the same direction, he explained, were the traces which were the indication the children had grown up in a house where the father suffered with an activated terrestrial canalization complex. The picture revealed a dozen or so arrows, all as if capturing the data from a time lapse study, and pointing to the evidence that an unseen power was guiding the movements of the family in a particular way. He observed this patterning was the basis for recognizing the presence of a terrestrial canalization complex.”

Waking reflections: The dream time naming of the complex seemed familiar, and marvelous.Could it actually exist? I have dreams about the origins, function (teleos) and healing of complexes quite regularly. Upon waking, I was excited to Google terrestrial canalization and gratified to find a number of hits. Psyche can be so playful! The particular one which caught my eye was a research discussion of primate evolution and scapula differentiation. Plains dwellers vs jungle dwellers show critical distinctions; in short, primates evolving on the plains tend to be dedicated quadrupeds. In contrast, jungle dwelling evolutionary process pulls for a greater range of motion and differentiation of forelimb function; the scapula canalization here is what enable reaching up and overhead movements, necessary for climbing and bipedal walking. I played with the idea the dream might be showing me my upbringing was ruled by a dedicated quadruped, a plains dweller who was not evolved enough to move through the world upright? Funny, if not true!

And what about the analyst? Was he a little too relaxed, chill? A grasshopper slacker not an ant fable image? He was pretty cool, carried a deep understanding of psyche, and was teaching with the help of schematics, which is definitely a core part of my work. I thought about the detail of needing to ask him to speak up for me, and how this worked in the dream to increase our engagement in the work at hand. Back to the analyst presence, I also associated to my first pair of black rim glasses in the 1950s; Buddy Holly died ten miles from my home town about that time. I will share more at some point but the idea is play and reflection, trying on the scenes, images, and affects; opening to seeing what sticks, or not.

I recognized canalization as a real word, but didn’t remember Jung’s discussion of the canalization of libido (which was familiar to me) until my analyst referenced it the next week. Jung used the phrase canalization of libido to “characterize the process of energic transformation or conversion.” He discusses it in the context of analogues, such as a water wheel on a stream, which enables one to convert the stream/libido into a more differentiated, directable, power resource. How do we develop/evolve a healthy relationship with our full blessing of libido? (CGJ, CW Vol. 8, p. 41.)



My First Remembered Dream (1955)

January 24, 2016

In Memories, Dreams, and Reflections, Carl Jung talks about his first dream and his decades long discovery process, with a key piece coming to him 50 years later. This got me thinking about my first remembered dream and my own unanticipated opening in understanding 50 years later. The shift in my appreciation of its energy and meaning stems from the idea dreams offer both a look backwards, bringing forward the earlier conditions, a reductive function, as well as glimpses into our anticipated future developments, the prospective function; reductive and prospective. I believe I was four or five at the time.

The dream (1955): “I was very happy and excited about my first day on as a fireman. After dinner it was time to get some sleep before our first call. We all processed upstairs to get into our beds. They were neatly organized in two rows, opposite each other. My assigned bed was on the far end of the bunk house. Each fireman’s gear, overalls with boots attached, was positioned at the end of his bed, just right for jumping into them and sliding down the fire pole at the far end of the room. I stood next to my bed, taking in the order and the importance of what we were doing. It was a wonderful moment. As we all sat down on our beds, it seemed everyone was looking at me. I was very happy. Then, as if choreographed, each fireman reached under his chin and in one movement, all pulled off their human masks, revealing their true identities: they were actually vibrant wolves, grinning with exceptionally long snouts full of big sharp teeth! In that instant, I thought they were going to make a meal of me! Terrified, I woke myself up screaming. Both of my parents, startled awake by my screams, came running into the room. They tried to comfort me, reassuring me it was only a nightmare.

I don’t remember ever talking about the dream with them again.

In my 20’s and 30’s, working with psychiatric inpatients and psychiatrists’ inclined to interpret dreams from a Freudian bent, I revisited this dream from the perspective of age appropriate unconscious rivalries with my father and mysterious imaginings of my mother (See: castration anxieties and vagina dentata). This psychoanalytic perspective reflects the reductive aspects of the dream.

50 years later, I received a lovely gift: The Wolf Ritual of the Northwest Coast, an ethnography published in 1952.  As I reflected on the role and meaning of the Wolf Ritual for these peoples, from my own now direct knowledge of rites of passage, I was struck with the profound notion that what I had experienced as a nightmare at the time could also be seen as a dream time encounter with the Wolf Clan elders. Surprised and delighted, I pictured them coming to welcome me into the powers! This interpretation is an example of the dream’s prospective function. From this perspective, my young witnessing ego, terrified by the hiddenness of their true natures revealed(?), their toothy wildness(?), assumed the worst. Surely they were now going to eat me. However, in the manifest dream they didn’t make a move to threaten me. They did reveal their true natures. They were relaxed and smiling. They were full of power. Had a wise elder presence been available to guide me in accessing my imagination, might I have been able to see past my initial terror and begin to see them as allies in Nature? What if in dreaming the dream onward, I had been able to identify with my wolf nature?

What if, as Carl Sandburg proclaims in opening of Wildnerness:

“THERE is a wolf in me … fangs pointed for tearing gashes … a red tongue for raw meat … and the hot lapping of blood-I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me and the wilderness will not let it go….”

Sandburg goes on to claim a whole menagerie of wild creatures, because “the wilderness gave it to me and the wilderness will not let it go…”

For a beautiful shapeshifting image variation on this theme, see the the Inuit poem Magic Words:

“In the very earliest time,
when both people and animals lived on earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to and an animal
could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language…(continues)”

It is interesting to consider this dream from these very different, both and more perspectives.

From the prospective function perspective, the dream foreshadows my relationship with nature, alerting me to the Wolf Clan. For a macro level perspective on opening to this transrational world, see Jerome Bernstein’s formulation on Borderland consciousness.

Ernst, Alice Henson, The Wolf Ritual of the Northwest Coast, University Press, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, 1952.

Dream: The Butterfly Meadow

January 13, 2016

I had this dream in February of 2012. I want to try just offering it without much comment, and let the dream speak for itself. This is a big dream in the sense that it evokes a direct experience of archetypal energies. The setting in nature, the simple ritual preparation of making and offering butterfly houses to the four directions, and the arrival of the ancient one(s)… kind of a “if you build it, he will come” moment.

2.1.12: “I had been busy making houses for butterfly habitat, and finished the project by installing one in each of the four directions in our small meadow. Then, on this beautiful sunny and warm day, thousands of butterflies appeared overhead, large, yellow and golden, with deep brown markings. They seemed to be heading towards the meadow. I hurried down the path through the woods where I saw them come flying in, descending from the sky, onto the apple trees and everywhere. Then looking down, I saw millions of small blue butterflies, who, seemingly preferring the ground, lay like a thick lively carpet, trail like; my gaze followed them westward. I started carefully walking along side them and then, looking slowly up, a very strange prehistoric creature dropped in, down, into the southwest corner below the west gate.

He seemed ancient, and was hairless with a deep brown toned, wrinkly skin. His large head with large eyes and ears was dog like, bat like, with a prominent snout; he was sitting up on his back, rather butterfly like, with his facing upwards, in greeting. It seemed he had legs, the top two more arm like, but also prominent wing like appendages protruding out of his top/rear shoulder/scapula area. They were long but folded in several sections, and not covered with much (perhaps vestigial?) Sensing this was a miraculous encounter, I approached slowly, trying on making eye contact, and we gazed into each others’ eyes. I reached forward and with my fingers gently stroked his torso, as one might with a congenial creature in the wild; in this way I seemed to get a sense, wordlessly, of his history. He was a very old being, with a life span in centuries, not years, and he came from the old country, Europe, or the Far East; he was a mythological creature who had chosen to show up and show himself to me. He was traveling with the butterflies, and was in some way royalty, their king or benefactor, intimately involved with their creation and the life cycle of the Butterfly clan. Karyl (my wife) walked into the meadow and sat next to us, amazed.”

I think it might be very interesting to share dreams, without an expectation for  them to be interpreted. I plan on commenting on this one at some point. If you find this curious, feel free to share a comment. If you would like to offer a dream of your own, send me your post and I will get back to you about sharing it here.