I know I’ve left it late in the session – but I’ve got to start working on this dream with you …
Patient: … it’s definitely part of the sequence.
Therapist: We can always make a start. It’s important to capture the energy while it’s fresher; we can come back to it then.
[The therapist’s eyes close to listen.]
P: I walk into this huge organic building. It’s like it’s made of pushed-up earth but it towers above me – not like a skyscraper – although it’s tall. I get this strange essence that it is alive. It has a heavy ring towards the top – like some form of viewing platform or an escape route. Before I enter the building I’m in a clearing. I don’t know if it’s some sort of jungle that I’ve walked through? Tall, overpowering grasses sway in the perfect temperature.
T: Perfect temperature?
P: Yeah, sunny but not hot; cool, not cold. Like those wonderful spring days when the world hints at what summer will bring. That first day when you slip off your winter clothes. You feel the world on your skin after all that insulation.
T: Le Sacre du printemps?
P: Sacred spring?
P: There’s an air of real danger outside. I can hear an old woman’s voice that carries across the clearing. She is singing a song I know. I can’t sing it though; I know that I mustn’t sing the words.
T: What might happen if you did?
P: I don’t know … but, as always, there’s something very dangerous about stepping into the building. I can see the vestibule is open. It’s not very big. I’m a bit concerned I could get stuck if I start to walk in. It’s like that claustrophobic feeling I had when I went caving as a teenager. Then I realise something bad will only happen if I step in knowing the words. I try not to hear the song; I cover my ears. I try not to sing the words in my head. I know the song foretells the future and the future that waits in the building could change my life in big ways. My heart’s beating really heavily; I feel drenched in sweat. I’m just about to turn back as a group of young women flock around me and push me through the entranceway. The instant I’m inside the building, the women fall to the floor.
[There is a long silence. The therapist doesn’t move. The sound of water being gulped and swallowed invades the space.]
T: Are the women dressed or naked this time?
P: Bound in cheesecloth. Full-length dresses. Like they’re in some sort of shroud. I run my hand over one of them expecting warmth, a subtle smoothness beneath the material, but I realise she’s made of sand or perhaps salt. I can’t swallow.
[A glass chinks just before the gulping sound enters the room again.]
P: I look round the white inner space. All the people have divided into two separate groups.
T: Are they doing anything? Saying anything?
P: They form up a procession that leads out of the space. They pass some sort of holy metal object or relic along the line and I’m forced to follow it right out of the building.
P: It’s incredibly powerful … spiritual. I’m laid to the ground by the procession. I feel very free. When I look up there is a sage woman looking at me. She rests her hands on my head and then, with an opening of hands, I’m thrown high into the air, floating on a passage of energy.
T: Any other signs or symbols from the dream series?
P: Just those obvious recurring ones …
[The patient pauses.]
P: When I look down the young women have begun to draw circles on the ground. I can see one particular fire-haired woman. She gets lost in the action and is suddenly abandoned in the main circle.
T: Do you know what’s about to happen at that point when you’re in the dream?
P: I do. I know exactly what’s going to happen next. But I wake up before she starts to dance.
T: You want to see it?
P: No, I don’t want to see her die this time.
T: Not even for the elements – the soil, the flame, the drops of water or the breeze?
P: No, not to appease the gods. It’s changing. For once, in the dream, I realise I want my life. I don’t want to be reborn a young woman, no renaissance life. I want to be anima rising. To use my life.
[Her eyes move towards the clock. He smiles at her warmly.]
T: Well, the outline’s told. I think we can pick up on it next session. Perhaps we can reflect on the sand/salt women and the change to the sacrificial dance?
Duncan suggests …
Reading Man and His Symbols by C G Jung, since knowing when things are a sign and when they are a symbol of something else is one of the most important things we can learn.
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