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The Eagle & The Vulture; Two Archetypal Bird Dreams
When a friend is too markedly embedded in the collective, outer
reality of everyday life, the discovery in his or her have dreams of
universal, archetypal images . . . can be a freeing experience.
(Jungian Dream Interpretation Hall, 114)
In the world of archetypal symbolism birds in our dreams often indicate a consecrated endeavor. After all, they fly above us, closer to the heavens than we normally find ourselves.
Their scope looks exhilarating. In the item of a jet where we might find ourselves flying faster and higher than birds, we still deficiency alert air, the wind in our hair so-to-speak, and we’re confined in mostly trivial seats amongst fresh people, who somewhat than lifting their arms entrained in synch with ours, are coughing, eating, sleeping, working, or looking other concerned than carefree.
Therefore when we perceive our fine feathered friends in dreams, we consider the context of course, but often conjecture of the heights and payment of the spirit.
Of a remarkably large species, unless we are ornithologist, we largely categorize the birds we see in dreams generally.
Two eminent dreams I had at a case of blessed novitiate in my life delivered messages about two deviant paths due to the differences in the winged creatures and the situations in which they appeared.
Yet both dreams appeared to affirmation worthwhile journeys.
I had been steeped in wail when a reverie lifted me out of my misery halfway immediately.
At the instance of the fantasy I had not been a intellectual of vision work, but even in my relative ignorance, I could stroke that the vision was a blessing. As background information, sublet me sector again that I had absent my father in adolescence.
When I was thirteen he suffered a jittery breakdown and when I was fifteen he died of a self-administered overdose of drugs.
He was a doctor, so I often wondered if he had intentionally gone his life.
Another pertinent fact relating to this interval in my family life was that my mother told my siblings and I that he died of a marrow attack. In her keep shock and pain, she soldiered on, never visibly mourning, so that we did not declare our grief either.
I grew up with a certain query about my father’s death but I kept it to myself and repressed what emotions I had about those two difficult years.
I was fair becoming a lady and my advent into womanhood was stilted by what I had witnessed, a amiable of stillness and sometimes not-so-quiet desperation in my father. I began to gather boyfriends and later, men friends, who would abandon me and I often reacted with some berserk end-of-the-world responses to the termination of these relationships.
By the point that my colleen dreams occurred, I intellectually unstated that my reactions to the loss of a fellow were irrational and at times, out of standard to the seriousness or absence thereof, of the relationship. I “knew” that my unarticulated grief for my father surfaced and further exacerbated my recognize of loss.
Knowing however, didn’t aid the emotions to subside.
So when in my mid thirties, I was suffering from the betrayal of a man I had been extraordinary happy with, I didn’t seek out traditional therapy, having recent through five years of that a few years back after a divorce.
One day a fellow suggested I see her astrologer who lived on an island in Casco Bay, front of Portland, Maine where I was living. I liked the belief of crossing the water, an archetypal keynote in itself, to find some answers as to why my grief was inconsolable.
I sat on the ferry at ten in the morning, smoking a cigarette.
In those days I’d mislaid my appetite for meals and I lived on cigarettes and bounce water. The striking October vista misuse me with its gorgeous auburn leaves and cerulean sky and the receptive contrasting colors stabbed at my eyes like an insult, the absolute outlook somehow provocative of my absent happiness.
A day for lovers, I thought.
Whatever the weather, during that laborious time, I seemed to turn each day into another motive to mourn.
The beautiful scene of churning threatening miserable dampen wrapped around the speckled islands of the bay only made me observe my loneliness further intensely.
In my self-contained universe, every song on the radio seemed designed to carry back the figure of my lover, our quixotic ritual of dancing in his living room. I wallowed in memories.
Images played through my disposition like some dopey refrain of the rural tune he’d introduced me to and yet, fairly the wailing pastoral diva myself, I kept bringing them back in edict to ask myself why it bully so much. Was it just the cattle cliché, betrayal, jealousy, anger and shame I felt, or was it truly losing the material of this wonderful comrade from my life that caused me this irrepressible grief? I was convinced of the latter. Some things you equitable know.
As I debarked from the craft and overripe on foot up one of the unpaved roads of the island, my disaffect was recent but the grief puddled up in my something so that only the consistent pace of my sighs, like the whitecaps, one after another washing castigate the boat, could convince me I was dormant living. As clueless as the gaping gulls who waddled toward me in objective of a hand-out, I had crossed the humidify to find an answer. Once on the island, I followed the twists in the dirt road according to a scribbled map, my yawn strained from the street symbols to the inhuman flower gardens, the slatted fences and yards littered with tricycles and lawn chairs even this tardy in the season.
The weeds which had begun to overtake the gardens seemed to tang of decay.
I entered Mary Alice’s screened-in porch and rang the bell. Though I doubted I would find any solace in the reading, I was curious as to what she could speak without knowing me or my instance at all. Yet within my two hour meeting this lovely and skilful astrologer, a wise duchess and mistress of metaphor, was able to grant me explanations about the fragile province of my psyche that made other sense than the logical I'd worked through in my therapy.
Her elite emblem of me was that my hands were stuck in a Chinese puzzle.
The more I tried to wiggle them out, the further I found them locked up. Without receiving too technical, I’ll logical talk that she showed me how two extraordinary intense planetary transits were at activity affecting my moon or emotions, and Venus, my relationship life.
She advised me to cleverly surrender, to sit in my rocking chair by the fire, drinking tea with my favorite swathe around my shoulders, playing my saddest innocent arias allowing myself to descend into the theological ravine of loss— (the guide word here is divine) “Until you are lifted out,” she said.
“And you consign be lifted out.
” She peered at me seriously; “And when you are, you leave become someone totally new. ”
On the collective level, Pluto, the planet of ravaging and riches, had just entered the badge of Scorpio where it would remain for the next twelve years.
She explained that in appendix to my personal plight, the macrocosm was production an lively shift itself and that as we came closer to the millennium, many persons were tapping into an awakening. Humanity itself was gearing up for a major evolutionary leap, one which would move many years to become apparent.
Oh yeah, the lyrical Age of Aquarius, I thought, remembering the sixties mellifluous Hair. So how come I’m miserable? She oral my nucleus had chosen this particular collision and would be orifice to a new purpose but first, thanks to Pluto's renovation technique, it requisite to be stripped of emotional dependencies, so that I would learn the true disposition of love, which was unconditional. She explained that I had three planets in the eighth house, the standard home for Pluto. Later, itemizing about Pluto I came across this mention by the superior Jungian-Astrologer Liz Greene: "If there are many planets in the eighth, the the comrade must learn to look darkness in the guise (85).
I didn’t really surmise much astrology then, but I did recognize that I had a loaded eighth abode and that mythically, the parentage is often the manner into transformation and I concept of the poet Dante in his sinisteru woods, the fabled facts of Persephone’s abduction, Odysseus' trip to Hades and the many literary figures and writers who went to the underworld before returning with new scholarship to deliver to the upper world.
I was moreover aware of the many poets who never rose from their descent: Plath, Sexton, Berryman, Crane, and so many of the French writers I’d studied in college, as well as my hold father. Mary Alice’s astrological guide for my crisis clicked intuitively in a fashion I couldn’t explain.
As psycho-babbly as these astrological terms (“Pluto square, Saturn transit”) sounded to me at the time, I sensed there was body further profound at work. My comprehend of loss was nearly disproportional to the truth of the event.
Among other things I wise about my chart that day was the detail that I had been born to flee my father and with each new loss, the original opinion of loss was triggered.
My stricken mother had neatly past on when my father died.
With her four children in tow, she never allowed herself or us to collectively grieve.
It was a different era back in 1963. President Kennedy death preceded by father’s by three weeks and in a means we were already grieving. My mother did what she notion was the repair thing. Put one foot in model of the more and ruse forward.
But I belief I had worked through the themes of the mislaid father in my therapy during the years of my divorce.
To my stun I found out that Saturn, the Patriarchal Father, was the emperor of my particular astrological chart and both my Pluto and my Saturn, as well as Mars, the planet of war and will, were located in the eighth house, the native abode of Scorpio, the most intense and emotional sign.
I remembered distinctly the night my father died.
A detective had come to the door with his trilby and coat.
My mother stood at the handrail on the stairs and told us our father had had an accident and died of a heart attack. I remembered plainly three words surfacing in my head: “he’s killed himself. ” Even at fifteen, my retain illiterate intuited the reality I didn’t actually discover until I was twenty-nine.
On the journey back to the mainland, I felt for the peak occasion since the breakup as if my emotional and logical province might now make some sense.
Somehow believing in a consecrated save and atonement was the most heartening impression I had heard in many months and I had shrewd the originate of the “Pluto square” was to marked away what was not “serving” my “higher purpose.
” I was, totally simply, in hell. Incarcerated by the classical God Hades, deep in the kingdom of misery and loss.
Another spell for the tsar of subterranean spaces was “Plutus” which procedure “riches.
” Treasures and resurrections were furthermore associated with Pluto. What I didn’t recognize at that point was how extremely wanting the excursion would manage to yield these treasures.
But shortly thereafter, in earnest, I was lifted out by a major archetypal dream. I avowed it as great by the numinosity of the images and the sort of emotional intensity it left me with.
I am motile on the beach with a youngster miss who is in my care.
She is cranky and nagging me.
I find her to be a TRUE pain in the snog . At some dab she steps on a twig and gets a splinter in her foot.
I try to earn the splinter out, and as I do, it flies from my hands, boomeranging out and then back into her forehead, hitting her right between her eyes.
Now I am truly concerned about her because the splinter has become a wedge as gangling as a meat cleaver. I go to pull it out again but when I free it from her head, her skipper splits flexible in clean extremely surreal planes and out flies a gigantic bird.
The two very cubically neat halves of her master canton back into cranny as the eagle flaps its weighty wings and flies above and around us.
We hug each additional squealing and laughing in awe of the bird’s power, theatre like giddy spawn girls and I touch a deep passion this girl.
This daydream was a tremendous release.
I wasn't sure of all the implications but I knew the girl I didn't want any portion of was me at thirteen or fourteen, that it spoke of an young wound, most likely my father's death, and that out of this girl's pain had come a gigantic bird.
It seemed to me the wound of abandoning beloved and the slash of the father were overlaid and had thrown me back to the miss who had never healed, who lived with this spawn now correct between the eyes.
Depending on the genus, birds are often associated with the blessed world, the heavens, although some like the owl, albatross or raven are associated with fresh denial augury.
But this schoolgirl was a immense eagle with an hefty wingspan and what I felt from the emblem of it flapping its wings was the sheer physical tightness of its body.
It was the bliss of witnessing that huge, muscular device and impression the force of its wings that delighted me and the issue reverie girl. It is arduous to convey the fascination and satisfaction we felt in watching the enormity of that girl bring off.
The American and Native American symbol of the eagle is applicable to celestial omnipotence.
Furthermore, the eagle is associated with the sun's power. It is Zeus's person in Greek myths, and to the Christian mystics, is a figure of Christ's ascension, “ . . . also an feature of John the Evangelist . . . Jung regards the eagle as a father symbol. ” (Imagine my surprise!!!) (The Herder Symbol Dictionary 63) I found even further synchronistic meaning in J. C. Cooper's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols: “ . . . release from bondage . . . Alchemic: The soaring eagle is the liberated ration of the prima materia . . . resurrection and the new life in baptism: the centre renewed by attractiveness “ (italics mine).
In the wish there was a transformation and the captain wound was instantaneously healed.
It was only later that I realized in Freudian psychology that the foot gash is a sexual wound, the Oedipal slash from the father. In the message of Oedipus, the teenager lad is shackled to a rock with a pin through his foot, left to die from exposure.
Freud associated Oedipus' foot with the phallus, as his crime later in life is to unconsciously commit incest and beget descendants with his mother/wife.
His father had wounded his foot and after Oedipus escapes and is adopted, he grows up and unknowingly kills his authentic father.
The family girl's splinter or foot nick becomes a nick in her head, an unaware complex. When the wounding device is released, the sanctified strength flies out in the den of the eagle.
The alchemical gold of transformation is in the model of depression, as the maid is in the whining adolescent's head.
I felt so pronounced and relieved that I actually impression my trauma was now over. I felt I had arrived on the new level. Was this the “lifting out” Mary Alice had predicted? You will be someone new. This is not to gibber there weren't recurring relapses into groan and fresh pining, but I felt I had a leg up from the abysmal pit of depression I'd lived in for so long.
A few days after the daydream I picked up a poem by the Hungarian poet Miraslav Holub and scrutinize the lines You ask the answer, it is but one word-Again.
As I construe these utterance I realized I wanted to go back into therapy.
Driving to a derisory seacoast town an hour away, I began going twice a week for two hour and a half sessions with Winona, a petite peeress who grew up in New England and had fair requited after spending twenty or so years in Belgium and Switzerland where she pet at the C. G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht, facade Zurich. By this occasion my ex and I had sold and reft the proceeds of our house.
I bought the beach condo and used some of the monetary for analysis.
Due to the intensity of three analytic hours a week, during this round of therapy, my dreams both descended from the heavens and rose like steam from the underworld and I could not list them fast enough. Nor could I break writing poems.
It was a tremendously introspective but fruitful time.
It's uttered that the early dreams in an analysis thicken the themes for the full analysis and so it was in my keep experience.
Here is my peak dream (with another bird) where I reckon I found a new vista of myself and the undertaking I had to do.
I am on a beautiful beach. It is the massage of my neighborhood beach but
much other tropical further like the beach in New Zealand which I recently
saying on the postcard I received from a dear friend.
I am mobile with my son
and we see in the distance, animated towards us, an void lady wearing a
babushka and flying a kite.
My eight year expired son is excited to clutch the kite.
As the terminated countess approaches us, she looks me straight in the eye and holds
out her arm to drudge me the kite string. My son is jumping up and down,
trying to arrest it.
As I look up at the kite itself, I command it is not an inanimate
object but a live vulture that the expired peeress is flying on a leash. I back away
from her, shaking my captain No . . . No, I don't scarcity anything to do with a
But my issue son jumps up and down proverb “Take it Mom,
Please move it.
” I keep shaking my captain and aid away, pulling him
away until I danger the eye of the void gentlewoman again and she nods at me as if to
say, “Honey, you'd better move this vulture.
It belongs to you. ”
Most of us identify and ascertain the vulture as the maiden who feeds on the dead.
But what I didn't see at the situation was the significance of the vulture as a character of underworld wisdom. It was sanctified to the Egyptians as a guardian of the commencement between life and death. In a Jungian sense, the sign came from the collective unconscious, a weighty archetypal image, universally comprehended as an association with the dead.
Again, the symbol dictionaries emphasized interpretations synchronistic to my particular experience.
“Since it eats carrion and transforms it into requisite energy, the vulture . . . knows the puzzle of the transformation of worthless relevant into gold.
” (Herder, 211) And “Ambivalent as maternal solicitude, refuge and shelter, and as death-dealing ravaging and voracity.
All vultures were idea to be noblewoman and symbolized the feminine doctrine with the market as male (italics mine) . . . As a scavenger the vulture represented purification, a workman of good.
In Egypt it represented the Mother Goddess, maternity and love, Isis having conceptual the earth of a vulture” (Cooper).
I had had two colleen dreams, one with the father's incision which transforms to a awful inner manlike figure and one with a crone, a intelligent inner feminine associated with the Egyptian Mother Goddess, Isis.
Consciously, in my quotidian life, I had no cause for having dreamt these symbols.
I was known with neither at the time of the dreams.
These were “big dreams,” with collective notation which came at a situation of crisis.
With the backing of my analyst, I took the vulture dram in two ways.
I was perhaps lifted out of my menacing earth but by no style had I put my melancholy slow me.
It was occasion to mine this underworld and come to grips with its contents.
As the discipline of the dead, it moreover constituted the totality of my father. I knew I must go back and look at how I had integrated the opposite company of my father.
My successors son's warmth in the dream, his excitement and zeal to transact on the vulture, to hire it fly as his have pet, showed in Jung's terms, my young animus or my newly reborn creative masculine side, eager and capable of handling this material. I must occure the vulture.
And the lapsed lady, whom I associated to my Polish grandmother, a pious and spiritually judicious immigrant with an permanent faith in the supernatural-she was the archetypal Wise Old Woman.
What had become of the hag, the dark gang of the Great Mother? Foolishly, I conviction she was preceding for good.
I didn't realize then that in times of new emotional setbacks which carried repressed sour or fear, she would reappear again, often in the earth of a bag lady.
But for now, I was thrilled to own an older countess as an inner mentor, a crone.
I besides had her in Winona, who was far from crone-looking but older and wiser than I in the macrocosm of dreams.
But this terminated lady in the dream was also a latent part of me, the ration that was wiser than my ego, who I notion I was, what I idea I needed, that narrow scale to which we issue ourselves from our unique egoic perception.
I prudent not to trust the ego's status in the dream. The conscious self did not dearth the vulture; the unaware animus, my son, was raring to carry it on! With Winona's help, I could see from the intelligent woman's perspective that she knew revise than my ego did.
The wish clicked in the specific rule of my new “path. ” Dream task seemed a boon individual to poetry, my chosen field.
I’ve been immersed in the imagery of both ever since.
Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols.