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The Eagle & The Vulture; Two Archetypal Bird Dreams
When a man is too deeply embedded in the collective, outer
detail of everyday life, the discovery in his or her posses dreams of
universal, archetypal images . . . can be a freeing experience.
(Jungian Dream Interpretation Hall, 114)
In the creation of archetypal symbolism birds in our dreams often motion a religious endeavor. After all, they fly above us, closer to the heavens than we normally find ourselves.
Their freedom looks exhilarating. In the object of a jet where we might find ourselves flying faster and higher than birds, we torpid privation open air, the wind in our hair so-to-speak, and we’re confined in chiefly small seats amongst supplementary people, who fairly than lifting their arms entrained in synch with ours, are coughing, eating, sleeping, working, or looking supplementary concerned than carefree.
Therefore when we fondle our fine feathered friends in dreams, we consider the context of course, but often reckon of the heights and release of the spirit.
Of a very mammoth species, unless we are ornithologist, we chiefly docket the birds we see in dreams generally.
Two celebrated dreams I had at a time of sacred traineeship 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 promise worthwhile journeys.
I had been steeped in wail when a fantasy lifted me out of my hopelessness halfway immediately.
At the situation of the dram I had not been a intellectual of daydream work, but even in my relative ignorance, I could caress that the wish was a blessing. As background information, rent me domain again that I had absent my father in adolescence.
When I was thirteen he suffered a anxious 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 reality relating to this phrase in my descendants life was that my mother told my siblings and I that he died of a nucleus attack. In her obtain excite and pain, she soldiered on, never visibly mourning, so that we did not show our grief either.
I grew up with a certain question about my father’s death but I kept it to myself and repressed what feelings I had about those two hard years.
I was reasonable becoming a female and my advent into womanhood was posed by what I had witnessed, a kind of tranquillity and sometimes not-so-quiet desperation in my father. I began to reap boyfriends and later, men friends, who would cease me and I often reacted with some insane end-of-the-world responses to the termination of these relationships.
By the case that my miss dreams occurred, I intellectually unstated that my reactions to the loss of a friend were irrational and at times, out of degree to the seriousness or scarcity thereof, of the relationship. I “knew” that my unarticulated grief for my father surfaced and more exacerbated my understand of loss.
Knowing however, didn’t offices the affection to subside.
So when in my mid thirties, I was suffering from the betrayal of a individual I had been remarkably 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 companion suggested I see her astrologer who lived on an island in Casco Bay, exterior of Portland, Maine where I was living. I liked the idea of crossing the water, an archetypal theme 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 misplaced my appetite for meals and I lived on cigarettes and bounce water. The blatant October prospect misuse me with its gorgeous auburn leaves and cerulean sky and the flexible contrasting colors stabbed at my eyes like an insult, the whole aspect somehow provocative of my misplaced happiness.
A day for lovers, I thought.
Whatever the weather, during that tiring time, I seemed to turn each day into another basis to mourn.
The beautiful outlook of churning npromising melancholy soak wrapped around the speckled islands of the bay only made me touch my loneliness supplementary intensely.
In my self-contained universe, every song on the radio seemed designed to move back the token of my lover, our utopian ritual of dancing in his living room. I wallowed in memories.
Images played through my temper like some dopey refrain of the simple rhythm he’d introduced me to and yet, totally the wailing rural diva myself, I kept bringing them back in edict to ask myself why it bully so much. Was it unbiased the bovines cliché, betrayal, jealousy, embitter and ignomity I felt, or was it truly losing the structure of this wonderful man from my life that caused me this irrepressible grief? I was convinced of the latter. Some things you impartial know.
As I debarked from the boat and rancid on foot up one of the unpaved roads of the island, my anger was former but the grief puddled up in my item so that only the consistent cadence of my sighs, like the whitecaps, one after another washing inveigh the boat, could convince me I was inactive living. As clueless as the gaping gulls who waddled toward me in hunt of a hand-out, I had crossed the wet to find an answer. Once on the island, I followed the twists in the dirt road according to a scribbled map, my stare strained from the street code to the heathen flower gardens, the slatted fences and yards littered with tricycles and lawn chairs even this delayed in the season.
The weeds which had begun to overtake the gardens seemed to aroma 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 gossip without knowing me or my circumstance at all. Yet within my two hour meeting this lovely and clever astrologer, a politic noblewoman and mistress of metaphor, was able to give me explanations about the fragile state of my psyche that made other perceive than the cognitive I'd worked through in my therapy.
Her boon emblem of me was that my hands were stuck in a Chinese puzzle.
The fresh I tried to wiggle them out, the fresh I found them locked up. Without obtaining too technical, I’ll logical talk that she showed me how two remarkably intense planetary transits were at afafir affecting my moon or emotions, and Venus, my relationship life.
She advised me to wittily surrender, to sit in my rocking chair by the fire, drinking tea with my favorite overlay around my shoulders, playing my saddest georgic arias allowing myself to descend into the dogmatic abyss of loss— (the solution duration here is divine) “Until you are lifted out,” she said.
“And you cede be lifted out.
” She peered at me seriously; “And when you are, you bequeath become someone fairly new. ”
On the collective level, Pluto, the planet of devastation and riches, had moderate entered the badge of Scorpio where it would remain for the subsequent twelve years.
She explained that in adjunct to my personal plight, the creation was forming an energetic shift itself and that as we came closer to the millennium, many nation were tapping into an awakening. Humanity itself was gearing up for a major evolutionary leap, one which would carry many years to become apparent.
Oh yeah, the harmonious Age of Aquarius, I thought, remembering the sixties dulcet Hair. So how come I’m miserable? She said my soul had chosen this particular results and would be breach to a new purpose but first, thanks to Pluto's renovation technique, it essential to be stripped of emotional dependencies, so that I would learn the true nature of love, which was unconditional. She explained that I had three planets in the eighth house, the usual home for Pluto. Later, enumeration about Pluto I came across this adduce by the revered Jungian-Astrologer Liz Greene: "If there are many planets in the eighth, the the friend must learn to look darkness in the face (85).
I didn’t really accept much astrology then, but I did comprehend that I had a loaded eighth accommodation and that mythically, the genealogy is often the manner into transformation and I notion of the poet Dante in his dark woods, the fabled message of Persephone’s abduction, Odysseus' trek to Hades and the many literary figures and writers who went to the underworld before returning with new enlightenment to deliver to the upper world.
I was furthermore 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 obtain father. Mary Alice’s astrological solution for my crisis clicked intuitively in a way 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 something additional profound at work. My sense of loss was almost disproportional to the truth of the event.
Among additional things I wise about my chart that day was the actuality that I had been born to avoid my father and with each new loss, the original doctrine of loss was triggered.
My stricken mother had cleverly recent on when my father died.
With her four successors 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 manner we were already grieving. My mother did what she impression was the correct thing. Put one foot in prompt of the additional and artifice forward.
But I thought I had worked through the themes of the lost father in my therapy during the years of my divorce.
To my stun I found out that Saturn, the Patriarchal Father, was the mikadokaiser 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 quarters of Scorpio, the most intense and emotional sign.
I remembered markedly the night my father died.
A detective had come to the door with his hat and coat.
My mother stood at the fence on the stairs and told us our father had had an accident and died of a centre attack. I remembered clearly three words surfacing in my head: “he’s killed himself. ” Even at fifteen, my own nescient intuited the detail I didn’t actually spot until I was twenty-nine.
On the cruise back to the mainland, I felt for the peak time since the breakup as if my emotional and cognitive field might now make some sense.
Somehow believing in a holy reclamation and recovery was the most heartening idea I had heard in many months and I had politic the produce of the “Pluto square” was to signal away what was not “serving” my “higher purpose.
” I was, completely simply, in hell. Incarcerated by the classical God Hades, deep in the domain of despair and loss.
Another period for the tsar of subterranean spaces was “Plutus” which means “riches.
” Treasures and resurrections were moreover associated with Pluto. What I didn’t perceive at that point was how uncommonly enthusiasm the excursion would manage to yield these treasures.
But shortly thereafter, in earnest, I was lifted out by a major archetypal dream. I published it as superior by the numinosity of the images and the sort of emotional intensity it left me with.
I am expressive on the beach with a young maid who is in my care.
She is cranky and nagging me.
I find her to be a pure pain in the neck . At some speck she steps on a twig and gets a splinter in her foot.
I try to gain the splinter out, and as I do, it flies from my hands, boomeranging out and then back into her forehead, hitting her amend 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 discharge it from her head, her head splits alert in healthy uncommonly surreal planes and out flies a vast bird.
The two uncommonly cubically neat halves of her commander parish back into calling as the eagle flaps its substantial wings and flies above and around us.
We squeeze each fresh squealing and laughing in awe of the bird’s power, theatre like giddy heirs girls and I touch a deep emotions this girl.
This dream was a tremendous release.
I wasn't sure of all the implications but I knew the schoolgirl I didn't dearth any measure 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 gargantuan bird.
It seemed to me the slash of abandoning fiancee and the cleft of the father were overlaid and had thrown me back to the maiden who had never healed, who lived with this progeny now amend between the eyes.
Depending on the genus, birds are often associated with the religious world, the heavens, although some like the owl, albatross or raven are associated with fresh negative augury.
But this schoolgirl was a immense eagle with an hefty wingspan and what I felt from the token of it flapping its wings was the sheer physical power of its body.
It was the rhapsody of witnessing that huge, muscular phenomenon and creed the strength of its wings that delighted me and the heirs dram girl. It is difficult to convey the fascination and enjoyment we felt in watching the enormity of that maid transact off.
The American and Native American digit of the eagle is germane to celestial omnipotence.
Furthermore, the eagle is associated with the sun's power. It is Zeus's companion in Greek myths, and to the Christian mystics, is a numeral of Christ's ascension, “ . . . moreover an aspect of John the Evangelist . . . Jung regards the eagle as a father symbol. ” (Imagine my surprise!!!) (The Herder Symbol Dictionary 63) I found even other synchronistic meaning in J. C. Cooper's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols: “ . . . free from bondage . . . Alchemic: The soaring eagle is the liberated measure of the prima materia . . . resurrection and the new life in baptism: the marrow renewed by loveliness “ (italics mine).
In the daydream there was a transformation and the skipper incision was instantaneously healed.
It was only final that I realized in Freudian psychology that the foot cut is a sexual wound, the Oedipal wound from the father. In the facts of Oedipus, the adolescent bloke 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 second in life is to unconsciously bequeath incest and beget family with his mother/wife.
His father had wounded his foot and after Oedipus escapes and is adopted, he grows up and unknowingly kills his legitimate father.
The issue girl's splinter or foot incision becomes a nick in her head, an unenlightened complex. When the annoying object is released, the sanctified power flies out in the covert of the eagle.
The alchemical gold of transformation is in the sway of depression, as the schoolgirl is in the whining adolescent's head.
I felt so glaring and thankful that I actually notion my trauma was now over. I felt I had arrived on the new level. Was this the “lifting out” Mary Alice had predicted? You bequeath be someone new. This is not to prate there weren't recurring relapses into moan and supplementary pining, but I felt I had a leg up from the abysmal cavity of misery I'd lived in for so long.
A few days after the desire I picked up a poem by the Hungarian poet Miraslav Holub and scan the lines You ask the answer, it is but one word-Again.
As I peruse these conversation I realized I wanted to go back into therapy.
Driving to a trivial seacoast town an hour away, I began going twice a week for two hour and a half sessions with Winona, a petite woman who grew up in New England and had reasonable common after spending twenty or so years in Belgium and Switzerland where she homely at the C. G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht, front Zurich. By this juncture my ex and I had sold and disunion the proceeds of our house.
I bought the beach condo and used some of the budgetary for analysis.
Due to the intensity of three analytic hours a week, during this loop of therapy, my dreams both descended from the heavens and rose like steam from the underworld and I could not register them quick enough. Nor could I break writing poems.
It was a tremendously introspective but fruitful time.
It's said that the early dreams in an analysis set the themes for the perfect analysis and so it was in my hold experience.
Here is my first dram (with another bird) where I suppose I found a new scenery of myself and the work I had to do.
I am on a beautiful beach. It is the rub of my neighborhood beach but
much fresh tropical further like the beach in New Zealand which I recently
saw on the postcard I received from a dear friend.
I am moving with my son
and we see in the distance, ambulatory towards us, an terminated countess wearing a
babushka and flying a kite.
My eight year obsolete son is excited to squeeze the kite.
As the expired lady approaches us, she looks me lustreless in the eye and holds
out her arm to worker me the kite string. My son is jumping up and down,
trying to catch it.
As I look up at the kite itself, I edict it is not an inanimate
article but a live vulture that the expired female is flying on a leash. I back away
from her, shaking my leader No . . . No, I don't dearth anything to do with a
But my spawn son jumps up and down epigram “Take it Mom,
Please take it.
” I have shaking my captain and backing away, pulling him
away until I hazard the eye of the terminated peeress again and she nods at me as if to
say, “Honey, you'd improve carry this vulture.
It belongs to you. ”
Most of us spot and discern the vulture as the maid who feeds on the dead.
But what I didn't see at the point was the significance of the vulture as a figure of underworld wisdom. It was religious to the Egyptians as a guardian of the outset between life and death. In a Jungian sense, the symbol came from the collective unconscious, a bulky archetypal image, universally comprehended as an partnership with the dead.
Again, the figure dictionaries emphasized interpretations synchronistic to my particular experience.
“Since it eats carrion and transforms it into vital energy, the vulture . . . knows the puzzle of the transformation of worthless allied into gold.
” (Herder, 211) And “Ambivalent as maternal solicitude, cover and shelter, and as death-dealing devastation and voracity.
All vultures were concept to be countess and symbolized the feminine creed with the hawk as mainly (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 assumed the lair of a vulture” (Cooper).
I had had two miss dreams, one with the father's slash which transforms to a mighty inner male character and one with a crone, a sensible inner feminine associated with the Egyptian Mother Goddess, Isis.
Consciously, in my quotidian life, I had no impetus for having dreamt these symbols.
I was intimate with neither at the juncture of the dreams.
These were “big dreams,” with collective code which came at a situation of crisis.
With the offices of my analyst, I took the vulture vision in two ways.
I was perhaps lifted out of my dark covert but by no practice had I put my hopelessness late me.
It was circumstance to mine this underworld and come to grips with its contents.
As the realm of the dead, it moreover constituted the creation of my father. I knew I must go back and look at how I had integrated the dissension troupe of my father.
My heirs son's sentiment in the dream, his excitement and vigour to move on the vulture, to let it fly as his hold pet, showed in Jung's terms, my descendants animus or my newly reborn creative male side, eager and capable of handling this material. I must transpire the vulture.
And the former lady, whom I associated to my Polish grandmother, a pious and spiritually prudent immigrant with an lifelong faith in the supernatural-she was the archetypal Wise Old Woman.
What had become of the hag, the threatening group of the Great Mother? Foolishly, I opinion she was recent for good.
I didn't spot then that in times of new emotional setbacks which carried repressed envenom or fear, she would reappear again, often in the lair of a bag lady.
But for now, I was thrilled to own an older lady 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 world of dreams.
But this former gentlewoman in the desire was besides a latent allowance of me, the quota that was wiser than my ego, who I concept I was, what I thought I needed, that narrow scope to which we limit ourselves from our unique egoic perception.
I judicious not to trust the ego's grade in the dream. The conscious self did not privation the vulture; the illiterate animus, my son, was raring to bring it on! With Winona's help, I could see from the learned woman's perspective that she knew ameliorate than my individuality did.
The daydream clicked in the specific decree of my new “path. ” Dream afafir seemed a boon friend to poetry, my chosen field.
I’ve been immersed in the imagery of both ever since.
Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols.