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The Eagle & The Vulture; Two Archetypal Bird Dreams
When a individual is too extremely 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 gesture a religious endeavor. After all, they fly above us, closer to the heavens than we normally find ourselves.
Their freedom looks exhilarating. In the entity of a jet where we might find ourselves flying faster and higher than birds, we idle deprivation bright air, the wind in our hair so-to-speak, and we’re confined in mostly meagre seats amongst additional people, who tolerably than lifting their arms entrained in synch with ours, are coughing, eating, sleeping, working, or looking further concerned than carefree.
Therefore when we fondle our fine feathered friends in dreams, we consider the context of course, but often assume of the heights and release of the spirit.
Of a thumping immense species, unless we are ornithologist, we mostly classify the birds we see in dreams generally.
Two noted dreams I had at a situation of hallowed training in my life delivered messages about two irregular paths due to the differences in the winged creatures and the situations in which they appeared.
Yet both dreams appeared to pledge worthwhile journeys.
I had been steeped in wail when a fantasy lifted me out of my despair midpoint immediately.
At the juncture of the dram I had not been a savant of dram work, but even in my relative ignorance, I could caress that the dram was a blessing. As background information, hire me sector again that I had missing 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 former his life.
Another related truth relating to this word in my young life was that my mother told my siblings and I that he died of a centre attack. In her retain thrill and pain, she soldiered on, never visibly mourning, so that we did not express our grief either.
I grew up with a certain doubt about my father’s death but I kept it to myself and repressed what love I had about those two difficult years.
I was reasonable becoming a countess 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 vacate me and I often reacted with some mad end-of-the-world responses to the termination of these relationships.
By the circumstance that my schoolgirl dreams occurred, I intellectually understood that my reactions to the loss of a man were irrational and at times, out of percentage to the seriousness or scarcity thereof, of the relationship. I “knew” that my unarticulated grief for my father surfaced and more exacerbated my perceive of loss.
Knowing however, didn’t aid the feelings to subside.
So when in my mid thirties, I was suffering from the betrayal of a man I had been very happy with, I didn’t seek out traditional therapy, having elapsed through five years of that a few years back after a divorce.
One day a partner suggested I see her astrologer who lived on an island in Casco Bay, appearance of Portland, Maine where I was living. I liked the thought of crossing the water, an archetypal subject 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 missing my appetite for meals and I lived on cigarettes and caper water. The recognizeable October view bully me with its gorgeous auburn leaves and cerulean sky and the open contrasting colors stabbed at my eyes like an insult, the absolute view somehow provocative of my lost happiness.
A day for lovers, I thought.
Whatever the weather, during that hard time, I seemed to turn each day into another motive to mourn.
The beautiful prospect of churning gloomy woebegone moisten wrapped around the speckled islands of the bay only made me stroke my loneliness other intensely.
In my self-contained universe, every song on the radio seemed designed to bring back the emblem of my lover, our idealistic ritual of dancing in his living room. I wallowed in memories.
Images played through my humour like some dopey refrain of the pastoral rhythm he’d introduced me to and yet, wholly the wailing georgic diva myself, I kept bringing them back in command to ask myself why it abuse so much. Was it impartial the beasts cliché, betrayal, jealousy, disaffect and humiliation I felt, or was it truly losing the essence of this wonderful person 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 craft and rancid on foot up one of the unpaved roads of the island, my embitter was foregone but the grief puddled up in my entity so that only the consistent measure of my sighs, like the whitecaps, one after another washing against the boat, could convince me I was quiescent living. As clueless as the gaping gulls who waddled toward me in pursuit of a hand-out, I had crossed the irrigate to find an answer. Once on the island, I followed the twists in the dirt road according to a scribbled map, my gape strained from the street symbols to the barbarous flower gardens, the slatted fences and yards littered with tricycles and lawn chairs even this late in the season.
The weeds which had begun to overtake the gardens seemed to smell 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 prate without knowing me or my situation at all. Yet within my two hour meeting this lovely and brilliant astrologer, a prudent lady and mistress of metaphor, was able to donate me explanations about the fragile province of my psyche that made supplementary perceive than the logical I'd worked through in my therapy.
Her prime image of me was that my hands were stuck in a Chinese puzzle.
The supplementary I tried to wiggle them out, the additional I found them locked up. Without taking too technical, I’ll just chat that she showed me how two uncommonly intense planetary transits were at job affecting my moon or emotions, and Venus, my relationship life.
She advised me to aptly surrender, to sit in my rocking chair by the fire, drinking tea with my favorite drape around my shoulders, playing my saddest innocent arias allowing myself to descend into the scriptual gulch of loss— (the guide spell here is divine) “Until you are lifted out,” she said.
“And you leave be lifted out.
” She peered at me seriously; “And when you are, you cede become someone totally new. ”
On the collective level, Pluto, the planet of damage and riches, had reasonable entered the figure of Scorpio where it would remain for the later twelve years.
She explained that in adjunct to my personal plight, the globe was forging an energetic shift itself and that as we came closer to the millennium, many mortals were tapping into an awakening. Humanity itself was gearing up for a major evolutionary leap, one which would bring many years to become apparent.
Oh yeah, the euphonious Age of Aquarius, I thought, remembering the sixties euphonious Hair. So how come I’m miserable? She vocal my kernel had chosen this particular influence and would be aperture to a new purpose but first, thanks to Pluto's renovation technique, it required to be stripped of emotional dependencies, so that I would learn the true temper of love, which was unconditional. She explained that I had three planets in the eighth house, the average home for Pluto. Later, saying about Pluto I came across this advance by the great Jungian-Astrologer Liz Greene: "If there are many planets in the eighth, the the friend must learn to look darkness in the appearance (85).
I didn’t really believe much astrology then, but I did understand that I had a loaded eighth abode and that mythically, the genealogy is often the manner into transformation and I opinion of the poet Dante in his dark woods, the allegorical report of Persephone’s abduction, Odysseus' travels to Hades and the many literary figures and writers who went to the underworld before returning with new erudition to deliver to the upper world.
I was also 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 have father. Mary Alice’s astrological explanation for my crisis clicked intuitively in a method 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 phenomenon other profound at work. My perceive of loss was almost disproportional to the gospel of the event.
Among additional things I prudent about my chart that day was the fact that I had been born to evade my father and with each new loss, the original impression of loss was triggered.
My stricken mother had smartly elapsed on when my father died.
With her four spawn 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 idea was the redress thing. Put one foot in surpass of the other and artifice forward.
But I conviction I had worked through the themes of the missing father in my therapy during the years of my divorce.
To my amaze 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 accommodation of Scorpio, the most intense and emotional sign.
I remembered remarkably the night my father died.
A detective had come to the door with his trilby and coat.
My mother stood at the parapet on the stairs and told us our father had had an accident and died of a pith attack. I remembered remarkably three speech surfacing in my head: “he’s killed himself. ” Even at fifteen, my obtain unconscious intuited the detail I didn’t actually locate until I was twenty-nine.
On the cruise back to the mainland, I felt for the peak circumstance since the breakup as if my emotional and rational sector might now make some sense.
Somehow believing in a sanctified recovery and reclamation was the most heartening opinion I had heard in many months and I had politic the produce of the “Pluto square” was to pronounced away what was not “serving” my “higher purpose.
” I was, absolutely simply, in hell. Incarcerated by the classical God Hades, deep in the sphere of misery and loss.
Another name for the ruler of subterranean spaces was “Plutus” which means “riches.
” Treasures and resurrections were besides associated with Pluto. What I didn’t perceive at that situation was how remarkably desire the voyage would bring to yield these treasures.
But shortly thereafter, in earnest, I was lifted out by a major archetypal dream. I proclaimed it as esteemed by the numinosity of the images and the superiority of emotional intensity it left me with.
I am mobile on the beach with a teenager maid who is in my care.
She is cranky and nagging me.
I find her to be a legitimate pain in the snog . At some dab she steps on a twig and gets a splinter in her foot.
I try to get 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 lofty as a meat cleaver. I go to pull it out again but when I unchain it from her head, her skipper splits receptive in antiseptic thumping surreal planes and out flies a huge bird.
The two remarkably cubically neat halves of her head fold back into vocation as the eagle flaps its substantial wings and flies above and around us.
We clutch each supplementary squealing and laughing in awe of the bird’s power, acting like giddy heirs girls and I perceive a deep passion this girl.
This reverie was a tremendous release.
I wasn't sure of all the implications but I knew the miss I didn't deficiency any slice of was me at thirteen or fourteen, that it spoke of an child wound, most likely my father's death, and that out of this girl's pain had come a giant bird.
It seemed to me the gash of abandoning boyfriend and the incision of the father were overlaid and had thrown me back to the miss who had never healed, who lived with this family now repair between the eyes.
Depending on the genus, birds are often associated with the sanctified world, the heavens, although some like the owl, albatross or raven are associated with more denial augury.
But this maiden was a giant eagle with an bulky wingspan and what I felt from the device of it flapping its wings was the sheer physical strength of its body.
It was the bliss of witnessing that huge, muscular entity and viewpoint the tenacity of its wings that delighted me and the spawn reverie girl. It is hard to convey the fascination and pleasure we felt in watching the enormity of that bird take off.
The American and Native American number of the eagle is applicable to celestial omnipotence.
Furthermore, the eagle is associated with the sun's power. It is Zeus's individual in Greek myths, and to the Christian mystics, is a cipher of Christ's ascension, “ . . . besides an quality of John the Evangelist . . . Jung regards the eagle as a father symbol. ” (Imagine my surprise!!!) (The Herder Symbol Dictionary 63) I found even fresh synchronistic meaning in J. C. Cooper's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols: “ . . . unshackle from bondage . . . Alchemic: The soaring eagle is the liberated ration of the prima materia . . . resurrection and the new life in baptism: the nucleus renewed by allure “ (italics mine).
In the daydream there was a transformation and the captain wound was instantaneously healed.
It was only hindmost that I realized in Freudian psychology that the foot wound is a sexual wound, the Oedipal cleft from the father. In the data of Oedipus, the youngster 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 leave incest and beget young with his mother/wife.
His father had wounded his foot and after Oedipus escapes and is adopted, he grows up and unknowingly kills his real father.
The heirs girl's splinter or foot nick becomes a incision in her head, an illiterate complex. When the annoying body is released, the blessed strength flies out in the haunt of the eagle.
The alchemical gold of transformation is in the model of depression, as the schoolgirl is in the whining adolescent's head.
I felt so noted and appreciative 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 cede be someone new. This is not to talk there weren't recurring relapses into moan and more pining, but I felt I had a leg up from the abysmal excavation of hopelessness I'd lived in for so long.
A few days after the dram I picked up a poem by the Hungarian poet Miraslav Holub and peruse the lines You ask the answer, it is but one word-Again.
As I read these conversation I realized I wanted to go back into therapy.
Driving to a meagre seacoast town an hour away, I began going twice a week for two hour and a half sessions with Winona, a petite duchess who grew up in New England and had logical common after spending twenty or so years in Belgium and Switzerland where she maid at the C. G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht, appearance Zurich. By this point my ex and I had sold and split the proceeds of our house.
I bought the beach condo and used some of the fiscal for analysis.
Due to the intensity of three analytic hours a week, during this orbit of therapy, my dreams both descended from the heavens and rose like steam from the underworld and I could not record them rapid enough. Nor could I desist writing poems.
It was a tremendously introspective but fruitful time.
It's said that the early dreams in an analysis thicken the themes for the full analysis and so it was in my obtain experience.
Here is my boon desire (with another bird) where I reckon I found a new scenery of myself and the afafir I had to do.
I am on a beautiful beach. It is the form of my neighborhood beach but
much more tropical more like the beach in New Zealand which I recently
maxim on the postcard I received from a dear friend.
I am mobile with my son
and we see in the distance, motile towards us, an void countess wearing a
babushka and flying a kite.
My eight year void son is excited to hug the kite.
As the terminated countess approaches us, she looks me limp in the eye and holds
out her arm to navvy me the kite string. My son is jumping up and down,
trying to arrest it.
As I look up at the kite itself, I order it is not an inanimate
item but a live vulture that the old lady is flying on a leash. I back away
from her, shaking my skipper No . . . No, I don't dearth anything to do with a
But my descendants son jumps up and down saw “Take it Mom,
Please manage it.
” I obtain shaking my commander and assistance away, pulling him
away until I danger the eye of the former gentlewoman again and she nods at me as if to
say, “Honey, you'd mend bear this vulture.
It belongs to you. ”
Most of us discern and ascertain the vulture as the lass who feeds on the dead.
But what I didn't see at the situation was the significance of the vulture as a digit of underworld wisdom. It was spiritual to the Egyptians as a guardian of the outset between life and death. In a Jungian sense, the emblem came from the collective unconscious, a bulky archetypal image, universally comprehended as an fellowship with the dead.
Again, the digit 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 material into gold.
” (Herder, 211) And “Ambivalent as maternal solicitude, protection and shelter, and as death-dealing ravaging and voracity.
All vultures were idea to be noblewoman and symbolized the feminine dogma with the doorstep as masculine (italics mine) . . . As a scavenger the vulture represented purification, a navvy of good.
In Egypt it represented the Mother Goddess, maternity and love, Isis having conceptual the burrow of a vulture” (Cooper).
I had had two maiden dreams, one with the father's slash which transforms to a mighty inner virile character and one with a crone, a judicious 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 familiar with neither at the instance of the dreams.
These were “big dreams,” with collective code which came at a time of crisis.
With the aegis of my analyst, I took the vulture daydream in two ways.
I was perhaps lifted out of my npromising cave but by no procedure had I put my hopelessness slow me.
It was instance to mine this underworld and come to grips with its contents.
As the sphere of the dead, it also constituted the cosmos of my father. I knew I must go back and look at how I had integrated the contradiction crew of my father.
My issue son's reaction in the dream, his excitement and liveliness to move on the vulture, to lease it fly as his obtain pet, showed in Jung's terms, my issue animus or my newly reborn creative male side, eager and capable of handling this material. I must transpire the vulture.
And the void lady, whom I associated to my Polish grandmother, a pious and spiritually prudent immigrant with an surviving faith in the supernatural-she was the archetypal Wise Old Woman.
What had become of the hag, the sinisteru squad of the Great Mother? Foolishly, I notion she was gone for good.
I didn't identify then that in times of new emotional setbacks which carried repressed envenom or fear, she would reappear again, often in the covert of a bag lady.
But for now, I was thrilled to hold an older noblewoman as an inner mentor, a crone.
I furthermore had her in Winona, who was far from crone-looking but older and wiser than I in the system of dreams.
But this void duchess in the desire was moreover a potential ration of me, the share that was wiser than my ego, who I opinion I was, what I thought I needed, that narrow range to which we converse ourselves from our unique egoic perception.
I sage not to trust the ego's rank in the dream. The conscious self did not deficiency the vulture; the unconscious animus, my son, was raring to bear it on! With Winona's help, I could see from the wise woman's perspective that she knew amend than my specification did.
The desire clicked in the specific command of my new “path. ” Dream business seemed a peak individual to poetry, my chosen field.
I’ve been immersed in the imagery of both ever since.
Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols.