The Archetypal Dream Visitor

 

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Adoration of the Sheperds by Gerard van Honthorst

 

At this time of year most* Christians celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, the light of the world, the inner counselor.

Children show up a lot in our dreams and most reflect our own ambitions, or feelings of dependence and/or vulnerability.

But some children take on the aura of the Holy Child or the Christ that often symbolizes spiritual truth or transition– self-fulfillment through love. To have a visit from this child may suggest an important transition regarding some aspect of your being or your life.

As the Christ Child he represents a new beginning so in this way almost any child or baby in a dream can represent new beginnings–something new developing, or a fresh start or the need for one.

The child within is often the cosmic mystery that we all are. He is also anything that is having a powerful influence on the dreamer. Including the need for togetherness, forgiveness, peace, generosity and celebration.

When the Christ child shows up as the trickster in a dream he’s there to shake up your understanding of the world– this will no doubt create some havoc– go with it and see where he takes you.

The Christ Child can also represent the Hero archetype. To dream that you or that someone else is a hero might signify your inner strengths and weaknesses. The dream may refer to your abilities, determination and confidence that you have the power to face the secrets of your unconscious mind and confront life’s challenges.

 

Merry Christmas to all!

 

 

“Rejoice and be merry,
set sorrow aside,
Christ Jesus our Savior,
was born at this tide:

In Bethlehem City,
in Jury it was,
For Joseph and Mary
together did pass:

And therefore be merry,
set sorrow aside,
Christ Jesus our Savior,
was born at this Tide.”

–First verse of In Bethlehem City (1661)

 

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*

  • Eastern Orthodox Christians (Russian) celebrate on Jan 7
  • The Coptic Church in Egypt follows the old calendar and celebrates Jesus’ birth on January 6
  • There is no evidence of when he was born but Christians took on the celebration of the sun in winter from earlier so-called Pagan religions.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you hear what I hear?

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So what is this inner voice of which I speak? Well, it really isn’t a voice at all–more something experienced, felt if you will. But once “heard” its truth is known. It’s not of you, but it is in you–a part of your inner firmament–the mother to all the arts.

In the Archipelago of Dreams Robert follows a mysterious star that shines where a star shouldn’t be and finds at the end of the story where the star actually lives. In scripture, Mathew says “ye are the lights of the world.” (Mathew 5:14, NIV)

The star seems to live within mankind. It’s what Paracelsus called the “lumen nature” or just astrum–the star within. According to Carl Jung it is this star that drives man toward great wisdom. He goes on to say that we are endowed at birth with this light of nature and it is through our dreams, meditations and prayers that we are able to give it a form.

“Said the nightwind to the little lamb…Do you hear what I hear?…A star, a star, dancing in the night… he will bring us goodness and light” 

                                                                           –Noel Regney, 1962

Though the song seems to refer to an external light, I contend that it is when this inner light, what some call the Christ light, is allowed the freedom to shine forth in the conscious world that it dresses itself in our creative projections. It ‘s when we are able to tap into this firmament that we allow the world-soul, the Anima Mundi that Jung referred to, to speak through us. Without going into too much detail this Anima Mundi may be the “multiple consciousness” that Jung transforms into what he called the “collective conscious” or the Hindu Purusha, or Cosmic Man. It is from this that introspective visions, or intuitions, arise. Together with the archetypal patterns of the unconscious and the conscious, the psyche is expressed and interpreted.

To Jung, the psyche, our inner self, is a conscious and unconscious whole–both personal and non-personal. It is my contention that mankind is ever more cutting himself off from the unconscious aspects by rejecting any access to them. By doing so we leave ourselves vulnerable to the instinctual sphere and without the means of regulating it.

The collectively shared images of the unconscious often act as regulators and the conscious patterns that show up in our conscious creations are mediated, or shaped, in many respects by our unconscious. I have noted that when these shared archetypal images appear through dream or artistic creativity, there is a numinous, or spiritual, some might even say magical quality that shows up as well. These may be the stimulators of creative fantasy and imagination.

It has often fallen to the poet, artist and storyteller to maintain the balance of the psychic wholeness.

Often it is the artist’s vision that captures the light of the collective and then reflects the ongoing instinctual projections of the psyche. A perfect example of this for me was Pablo Picasso’s 1937 painting Guernica where he was able to capture the horror of the Spanish Civil War and bring it to the consciousness of the rest of the world. Another example is the photo of Trang Bang the naked girl who tore off her burning clothes after the South Vietnamese Air force napalmed a suspected village where Viet Cong were hiding. More than anything this image brought home what was happening within the world’s soul and arguably helped to bring about the end of U.S. involvement.

Images of reality are often amended by the conscious psyche so as to protect the ego-self either as individual or collective. I think that when we strive to only present a singular view that the balance of what is expressed as the whole of the world’s psyche, the Psyche Mundi as it were, tips toward something that is not in humanity’s health and well-being.

But we live in an age where the exterior life has gained greater importance than the inner, where the extrovert commands much greater attention than the introvert–where the quiet cannot be heard over the loud, where extremes are more alluring than the quiet center. In the center we have experience. As we move outward from experience we have metaphor, or a representation of that experience. But in our society we interpret yet again the metaphor until we have a metaphor of a metaphor and the experience is lost.

When we desert the center, all we have are the extremes and the balance of the world’s psyche tips toward chaos.

In this age the most common of beings are those who, as Jung suggested, “live without a shadow” that is that they think of themselves as only being what they care to imagine themselves as being. In this state, mankind cannot take responsibility for much of anything, and thus exercise any free will, because it’s always the anonymous “them” who’s responsible for the way things are. Until our unconscious shadow selves have been recognized and then assimilated they often run our conscious lives. This development process is known as “Individuation.”

A poorly developed consciousness has only its huge unconscious projections to inform itself and is highly vulnerable to concretisms in its politics, religion, and day-to-day living. This being doesn’t, or can’t, look inwardly to discover who’s really responsible.

How to overcome this? Simply by getting in touch with your inner wisdom and sharing it with others. Be the center, be the light that Jesus spoke of on the Sermon on the Mount. The light isn’t someone else’s, it is yours, you are the Astrum, the star. It’s your shining light that needs to happen on a day-to-day basis that will bring about the balance. But alas, although I use the word, “simply” it is not all that simple until of course it is. By that I mean we can struggle mightily to look within to find our real nature, but it’s not in the struggle that the discovery is made, it is in the intention that the struggle represents that cracks open the cosmic egg and allows the psyche to become whole once again. It is only at that moment of transformation that it appears so simple. I wish I knew how to do it easier, but it was not on the easy path that I found it, so I can’t guide you down it.

As Harry said to Robert as they parted company at the end of The Archipelago of Dreams,

“Up to now you have been following a star, where a star shouldn’t be, a star from a world outside yourself, but now you can follow a star, a star that shines from within, where a star should be.”

This speaks to a world-wide awakening where the consciousness of man becomes aligned with nature and aligned with his unconscious i.e. when there is a conscious awareness of the archetypal effects on conscious content. To be successful in this might very well propel the species to the next level of its evolution, or in failing, doom it to its inevitable extinction.

12 dreams of Christmas

 

Yesterday I posted a little information about the top ten symbols of Christmas. But do Christmas symbols have different meanings in the dream world?

FullSizeRender-2.jpgSanta Claus

To see Santa Claus in your dream might suggest that you need to be more giving, forgiving, and/or accepting. You may need to acknowledge, or attend to some aspect of yourself. Are you reflecting on the good and bad things that you have done?

To dream that you or someone is dressed as Santa Claus may suggest that you need to treat others as you would like to be treated.

A picture with Santa Claus might symbolize your personal memories of the holidays.

The Santa Claus image might also be archetypal as a Great Father image, the Wise Old Man, or represent the Great Wizard. He might be bringing more than toys, but deep wisdom–listen well. He can also be a surrogate for the Christ image, or for God.

Christmas

To dream of Christmas may suggest family togetherness, reunion, or celebration. It can also represent new beginnings and fresh starts. It can also symbolize stress or a loss of innocence. Consider also your own associations.

Christmas Card

To see or send a Christmas Card in your dream might indicate that you are reaching out to someone and reconnecting with some old times, or ideas. It is also symbolic of forgiveness. Do you need to swallow your pride and let go of the past?

Christmas Tree

To see a Christmas Tree in your dream may symbolize family celebrations, relationships, and gatherings. Are you experiencing some anxieties and stress in your domestic life? This tree may also signify a passage of time, self-development, or spirituality. Consider also the feelings you experience during Christmas to assist you in deciphering this symbol.

Christ

To see Christ in your dream represents perfection of the self and spiritual truth. You may need to work on self-fulfillment through love. As an archetypal image the Christ is a powerful spiritual symbol affecting and influencing you. He represents the very best of your self. Of course this symbol may have many personal associations for you, depending on your beliefs.

Ornament

To see or hang an ornament in your dream may refer to the things in your life that you do to make yourself feel good, look good, or that add color to your life. It is also symbolic of a spiritual gift.

Light

Light in your dream may represent, clarity, guidance, understanding, and/or insight. Light may be being shed on a once cloudy, or foggy, situation or problem. Have you found the truth/answer to a situation, or problem? Also consider the color of the light for additional meaning.

If the light is bright, then it might indicate that you need to move toward a higher level of awareness. Bright light dreams have been reported for those who are near death.

A soft or shadowy light in your dreams might suggest feelings or thoughts coming from the more primal aspects, or less developed parts, of your subconscious.

If you cannot turn the light on might indicate a lack of insight and perspective on a situation, or that something is frustrating your ability to discover an answer.

Present, or Gift

To see a present in a dream may be a pun on being “present” and here. Perhaps you need to live for the moment and not dwell in the past?

If you are giving a gift it may signify your generosity.. If you are showering someone with gifts, you might be overly pushy with your advice, or perhaps you are trying too hard to be accepted?  f you are buying or giving someone expensive gifts, then it may symbolize the sacrifices you are making for someone.

If you receive a gift it may indicate that you are being rewarded and recognized for your generosity and giving nature. If you receive an inappropriate gift, then it might suggest that you are the subject of unwelcome attention from someone. If you give an inappropriate gift, then it might suggest that your true nature will eventually be exposed. The gift itself will provide you more information.

To open a gift and find something disgusting inside might symbolize a disappointment or an unexpected failure.

Gift Wrap

Gift-wrap in your dream may suggest that there is something you are trying to cover up or hide. Maybe you’re trying to present something unpleasant in a more cheerful way?Consider what you are wrapping for more meaning.

Candle

A burning candle may signify good luck or hope is coming your way. Maybe you are experiencing spiritual enlightenment? Candles are also symbolic of intellect, awareness, or the search for truth.

An unlit candle might symbolize feelings of rejection, or disappointments, or that you are not utilizing your potential. If you try to light the candle and it won’t light, then it may represent grief, or denial about something, or as with being unable to turn on a light bulb, it may mean that you are feeling powerless.

To see a candle blow out in your dream indicates that you are giving up, or letting go of, an aspect of yourself, or something that used to be important to you. To watch the candle burn down to nothing may represent your fears of aging and dying, or alternatively, a fear of sexual impotence. Two see a candle with a burning wick at both ends may suggest that you are trying to take on too much.

Red colored candles can sometimes symbolize some intimate or romantic relationship, though they can also represent danger and anger. Black candles can represent the death, or end to something while white can represent purity and new beginnings.

Candy

To see or eat candy may symbolize the joys and the special treats in life. It can also represent indulgence, sensuality and/or forbidden pleasure. Are you devoting too much time to unimportant issues? A candy cane for some people can represent the Shepard’s crook and thus have something to say about humility or spiritual surprise.

Poinsettia

May represent the blood of Christ, or the Christ himself. As with all flowers it can also be a symbol of the giving of love.

 

 

Top 10 Christmas symbols

 

IMG_2770.JPGOver the next five days  I plan to publish a number of articles that highlight the Christian celebration of the birth of the Christ child. The symbolism comes from the deep unconscious. But symbolic imagery is not limited to the unconscious and its visits through ones dreams. It is spread all through the waking world that has given rise to the significance of the images in the dream world.

Though there are many traditions celebrated around the time of Christmas throughout the Christian world I have narrowed them to 10 that we in North America are the most familiar with.

Holly was a Druid symbol for the promise of new life to come at winters end and of strength and protection, goodwill and everlasting life. Druids brought holly boughs into their homes to shelter elves and faeries that joined mortals during Yuletide.

It was also the sacred plant of the Roman god Saturn, the father of Jupiter. During the festival of Saturnalia celebrated since the 2nd century BCE. Between December 17th through the 23rd , the Romans used to give each other sprigs of Holly. Christians have since co-opted it as a reminder that Jesus wore a crown of thorns at his crucifixion, though this would make more sense during the time of Easter, than Christmas.

A star atop the tree: This may have originated as a protection symbol against fire and lightning. Druids may have used the six-pointed star as a protection symbol against evil spirits. Early Alchemists used it as a symbol for a chemical interaction before it became a symbol Judaism. The Star of Bethlehem allegedly guided the three wise men and announced the birth of Jesus.

Christmas tree: When choosing the date of Jesus the early church chose a time already celebrated by much of what was known as the modern world and is now derisively called the pagan world. The people of the time celebrated the tree of life, the symbol for life in the known universe. During the 17th century the Germans brought the trees indoors and decorated them with candles. The Germans also saw the evergreen tree as the “Paradise Tree” from which the apple featured in the Adam and Eve story was picked.

The Poinsettia: In Mexico there is the legend of the Poinsettia that tells of a poor girl, IMG_2779.JPGMaria and her little brother Pablo, who were disappointed they had no money to buy a present for baby Jesus at the annual Mexican Christmas festival. On Christmas eve Maria and Pablo stopped to pick some weeds, for baby Jesus. As they placed the weeds around the Manger, the green leaves miraculously turned into bright red petals. Soon the Manger was surrounded by beautiful star-shaped flowers.

The ringing of bells is to ward off evil. Ancient priests used to wear them on their robes. Bells also used to ring in the medieval towers of churches to warn (threaten?) the devil of Jesus’ coming.

Santa Claus: Originally St. Nicholas born in 4th century Turkey and known for his generosity and love of children and later became known as the patron saint of both children and sailors. By the 16th century Dutch children would place their wooden shoes by the hearth in hopes that they would be filled with treats by their Sinter Klass. In Great Britain the image of Father Christmas may have been first depicted by Dickens’ portrayal of the Ghost of Christmas present in his novel, “The Christmas Carol.” By 1822 Clement C. Moore wrote a poem , “A visit from St Nicholas, which was later published as “The night before Christmas.” This poem wasn’t originally for publication, but was a gift for his children. Some of the ideas for this poem came from the old Dutch colony in the Americas. Originally the “jolly old elf’ was dressed in dark clothing, the colorful Santa Claus that we see today was popularized by Haddon Sunblom drawing for the Coca Cola company advertising in the 1930’s.

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Scrooge’s third visitor from Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol Illustrations by John Leech. London: Chapman and Hall, 1843

Yule log burning: The Yule celebration was originally a winter festival for the Wild Hunt where a spectral group of huntsman racing across the frozen winter landscape.

Originally the log was an entire tree. Known in Germany as the Christ Log and in England originally as the Yule Clog. The burning of the log may be a holdover from the ancient fire-festival of the winter solstice when it was considered a magical protective amulet. In Serbian tradition the log burns all night with the belief that its warmth and light symbolize the coming of Christ as well as providing a warm welcome to the Virgin Mary and the family’s ancestors who may be guests at the table

Mistletoe: In old Saxon (part of modern day Germany) mistletoe was known as Mist Tang, or Dung on a twig.

“The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases.”

Washington Irving (1820)

Ancient Celts thought that it was a remedy for barrenness in cattle.

Candles: Ancient Romans thought that they warded off evil spirits and may have been used to convince the sun to shine again. Candles in the window were to announce that the house would welcome passerby to shelter and warmth. The Christians use them during Advent to remind of the coming of “the light of the world,” Jesus. Of the five candles affixed to a wreath four represent each week of advent with the fifth in the center representing the Christ Candle that is lit on Christmas Eve.

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Ornaments on the tree: Once only wafers signifying the body of Christ and then later uniquely shaped cookies were hung on the tree in Germany. Sugar ornaments were later hung along with apples, nuts, dates and paper flowers as part of the Yule celebration.