The Reality of the Autonomous Psyche Perhaps the most decisive moment in the history of Jung's work with Psyche, and dreams occurred during his journey into the unconscious. Chronicling his experiences in this inner world, Jung writes in the Red Book that he was frightened by the power and effects of these inner images on his life. In an effort to diminish their influence, he turned to the prophet Elijah, one of the most powerful figures he encountered, saying that since he had created him from his own imagination, that he was not real. Here Elijah informs Jung, that he and all of the other figures in the unconscious were as real as anything else living in the world.
Jung had come face to face with the reality and autonomy of the psyche. While initially believing that he created these inner figures, he now understood that instead, he had found a way to access the contents of the Psyche. As these inner figures were vital and energetic entities, carrying their own innate and intrinsic meaning, he had to develop an ongoing relationship to them, and to enter the specific domain-field of the image to understand its unique and particular mythology, meaning, and what they were asking of the dreamer.
As presented in the Red Book, it was Jung's encounters with Salome, Siegfried, Elijah, the assassin and the anchorite which shows the necessity of engaging and understanding the messages of these figures. Jung realized that each figure represents an aspect of Psyche, carrying a spiritual and archetypal message for the dreamer. From that moment on, he dedicated his life to finding ways of engaging this world of the creative unconscious, and to learn the nature and ways of each figure encountered in the unconscious. Here, he left us with a richly textured inheritance consisting of this profound approach to psyche and the unconscious, which the Jungian Analyst Elizabeth Osterman realized was Jung’s greatest discovery-the existence of the objective psyche and the presence of autonomous formative tendencies at work within the unconscious. (pg14)
A Transcendent Wisdom in the Dream For Jung and the first generation of Jungians, the contents of the unconscious contained a wisdom transcending that of our conscious perception, and was approached with awe and respect. In distinction to this pioneering work of Jung, von Franz, Ester Harding, Barbara Hannah, Hillman and Marion Woodman, each of whom recognized the transformative power, beauty, wisdom and autonomy of the dream, much of contemporary dream work overlooks the innate meaning of images. Instead their focus is now on the conscious feelings and attitudes about the dream, rather than engaging the specific, archetypal meaning of the image itself. Here the dream is approached through the lens of the personal unconscious and the dreamer’s emotional reaction to it. In focusing on the emotions and reactions triggered in us by the dream, we are not so much acknowledging the dreams implicit archetypal meaning, but rather the workings of our complexes. Jung (1914) makes this distinction between complex and dream image when writing:
"Free association means that you open yourself to any amount and kind of association and they naturally lead to your complexes. ...That is uninteresting to me. I want to know what the dreams have to say about the complexes, not what the complexes are. I want to know what a mans (and womans) unconscious is doing with the complex. This is what I read in dreams. If I wanted to apply the method of free association I would not need dreams."
While the dream will often activate a personal the dream nevertheless will present a unique, archetypal meaning independent of our conscious attitudes and complexes. Here is the place where we do well to follow in the footsteps of Jung and the early Jungian's in bringing an attitude of reverence to the dream image, and in doing so, begin the process of midwifing Psyche's messages about life, love and spirituality into our life.
This dream seminar honors Jung's approach to psyche and his working with the archetypal domain of dreams. While looking at the archetypal and objective nature of dream symbolism, this seminar will also look at the role of personal complexes in our understanding of dreams.
In many respects this course is an homage to the brilliance of Jung and those Jungians whose work captures the necessity of working with those numinous and transpersonal contents of the unconscious and in finding ways to incorporate these messages from the Self into our life.
The Beginning Dream Patterning seminar is divided into four teaching modules
I The presence of the Objective Psyche and archetypes in dreams II The presence and workings of Complexes in Dreams III Discerning the relationship between complexes and archetypes in dreams IV Working with the dreams archetypal message
Jung reminded us that the dream is an expression of Self and Soul. In it, we find messages about life, destiny and transcendence which go far beyond our conscious understanding of both the life process and the images and meaning contained within the dream.
We long for and are terrified to hear the voice of God.This voice provides such a clear reflection on how we are living, and an intimation of a destiny waiting in potentia. So too is there an all too human need to silence this voice. It is in Gods warning to not make “graven images...” and Rabbi Heschels frustration with our attempts to build a religion out of our personal preferences and needs which both speak to the archetypal tendency to look away from God and the Self and in its place ,overvalue the personal meaning we give to dream images rather than acknowledging their innate, archetypal and spiritual meaning.
The Dream Reveals a Truth About Life Our collective, modern approach to dreams captures this eternal struggle to clearly listen to and act in accordance to the wisdom of the Psyche, and our fear of these messages. As we learn from Jung, von Franz, and the early Jungians, the dream reveals a truth about life, and an inherent meaning not to be muted by individual perception and consciousness. Often the dreams a-prior archetypal meaning is eclipsed by our personal reactions and complexes to it, thus rending what is sacred and eternal, to the secular and profane.
The Language of the Dream is a Timeless One The dream presents us with eternal motifs and archetypes which have shaped humanity since the beginning of time. While our tendency is to imagine and project our own meaning and bias onto a dream image, Jung's understanding of the primacy of the archetype and the images of the Collective Unconscious shows us that while these eternal motifs are shaped by conscious experience, they are created by the Self, and express deeply held truths about life and spirit.
This certificate program will speak to the relationship between the archetypal and personal meaning of dream images, and the symbolic representation of archetypal and personal complexes in dreams and our associations to them. Dreams from clinical practice, the Bible and from historical figures will be presented to illustrate this theme.
The curriculum for this course includes the following themes;
*Each session will include the actual working with a
· An Archetypal perspective on Dreams and Symbolism · The Relationship between subjective and objective meaning of images · The Initial Dream
· The Four Stages of a Dream; Threshold, Development, Crisis,and
Lysis · The Relationship between the Dreams Threshold and Archetypal Fields · The Dual Nature of the Dream Lysis- Expression of the Habitual and the Creative · M.L. von Franz's Approach to Dream Symbolism · Sexual Images in Dreams · Animals in Dreams · Recurring Dreams · Redemptive Dreams · Expressions of An Individuals Destiny and Spiritual calling in a Dream
* If participants are unable to make one of these two residencies, there is an opportunity to make up the session.
**As dreams reveal so much about an individual's life, they require a safe container and temenos within which the dreams meaning can be discussed. For this reason, we will not be working with personal dreams from group members.