Vexations and Conundrum – August 2023

I’m Listening

These exceedingly hot days of summer have immobilized me. My energy is drained and even a walk outside (feels like 97 degrees in the morning!) is currently not an option. I had to think of a constructive use of my time for self-development. I recalled that I had purchased online courses, and then forgotten all about them. They remained on a “platform” for viewing at my convenience.

I went to my account on the Jung Center website and a course immediately grabbed my attention. The course was taught by a certified Jungian Analyst and licensed social worker, Lisa Marchiano. She lives in Philadelphia, PA. The course was titled “Introduction to Jungian Dreamwork.”

My husband immediately expressed skepticism. Dreams! Unseen, smoke-like. “I never remember my dreams!” he expressed dismissively. I was not discouraged. I recall dreams which I had as a child, still vivid in my memory.

Lisa Marchiano explained what we would cover in the first session: (1) Why work with dreams? (2) Recalling our dreams, and (3) incorporating dreams in our lives.

Our course leader then introduced the link of our conscious and subconscious. The ego is conscious and “on top” of the subconscious. Egos relate to external stimuli and internal factors like moods, fantasies or dreams. Our ego responds to things like facial cues from people around us.

Below the personal is the “collective unconscious.” According to Dr. Carl Jung there is a psychic inheritance. Images throughout time are archetypes of the collective unconscious. For example, the image of a benevolent mother (like the Virgin Mary) appears throughout time in art.

We all came to “become,” having a purpose. Our unconscious leads us. We need to pay attention to the unconscious as it provides nudges to our unfolding and gives us wisdom.

Our egos tend to be more rigid. We sometimes lie to ourselves to be more comfortable with situations. The unconscious may hold a different view.

Dr. Jung expressed that dreams may seem nonsensical to us, but we need to meet the things that are the strangest to us as they are telling us something we didn’t know. Dreams are our inner companion. Even if they are unpleasant, they may be helpful.

The ritual of keeping a dream journal with focused intention can facilitate recalling our dreams. Then we can think about them, about what they might mean in the context of our current lives. Every dream is a gift that should be honored.

We need to record the feelings associated with dreams. Sometimes we may feel joy, other times fear or terror. We need to take the emotional ride.

There are three ways to go deeper in understanding our dreams: association, explanation, and amplification. Association involves thinking about our relationship to objects in our dreams. Is the object something we think about often or have dealt with lately? Is it something that we like or dislike? Explanation lets us explore an image and define it. We can know nothing about it or have a strong relationship with it. For example, if we dream of a house, at what point in our life were we? If there is an animal in the dream, we record it to understand what it means as an image. Amplification is the deepest meaning of the dream. We can go into archetypal images. We will research what something in our dream symbolizes in ancient mythology or religion. A simple internet search will yield options for our consideration. A horse, for example, can mean different things to different people. We think about our own personal association first, then consider explanations and amplification. Sometimes an image can relate to large life themes or anticipate a future development.

In the seminar we were told to obtain a notebook with aesthetic value in which to record our dreams. Also, we were to have an internal dialogue with our subconscious that we intend to recall our dreams. I did this immediately. I have had three straight nights of dream recollection. I have dutifully recorded the dreams in the morning. Right now, I am not sure what they mean, but I have opened a door to my subconscious. I am paying close attention to an area of my psyche that I have previously ignored. I am intrigued.

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Katina Pontikes
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