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The Housesitting Company
The Eagle & The Vulture; Two Archetypal Bird Dreams
When a companion is too markedly embedded in the collective, outer
actuality of everyday life, the discovery in his or her obtain dreams of
universal, archetypal images . . . can be a freeing experience.
(Jungian Dream Interpretation Hall, 114)
In the macrocosm 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 parallel looks exhilarating. In the object of a jet where we might find ourselves flying faster and higher than birds, we inactive privation open air, the wind in our hair so-to-speak, and we’re confined in mostly trivial seats amongst supplementary people, who moderately than lifting their arms entrained in synch with ours, are coughing, eating, sleeping, working, or looking supplementary concerned than carefree.
Therefore when we stroke our fine feathered friends in dreams, we consider the context of course, but often reckon of the heights and price of the spirit.
Of a uncommonly immense species, unless we are ornithologist, we chiefly categorize the birds we see in dreams generally.
Two esteemed dreams I had at a circumstance of hallowed traineeship in my life delivered messages about two digressive paths due to the differences in the winged creatures and the situations in which they appeared.
Yet both dreams appeared to bond worthwhile journeys.
I had been steeped in deplore when a dram lifted me out of my misery halfway immediately.
At the juncture of the vision I had not been a egghead of reverie work, but even in my relative ignorance, I could observe that the dream was a blessing. As background information, sublet me field again that I had gone my father in adolescence.
When I was thirteen he suffered a nervy 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 elapsed his life.
Another akin actuality relating to this word in my family life was that my mother told my siblings and I that he died of a heart attack. In her have startle and pain, she soldiered on, never visibly mourning, so that we did not present our grief either.
I grew up with a certain suspicion about my father’s death but I kept it to myself and repressed what love I had about those two hard years.
I was moderate becoming a countess and my advent into womanhood was artificial by what I had witnessed, a kind of peace and sometimes not-so-quiet desperation in my father. I began to harvest 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 occasion that my schoolgirl dreams occurred, I intellectually implied that my reactions to the loss of a comrade were irrational and at times, out of scale to the seriousness or absence thereof, of the relationship. I “knew” that my unarticulated grief for my father surfaced and additional exacerbated my perceive of loss.
Knowing however, didn’t offices the heart to subside.
So when in my mid thirties, I was suffering from the betrayal of a person I had been very jocose 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 individual suggested I see her astrologer who lived on an island in Casco Bay, facade 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 lost my appetite for meals and I lived on cigarettes and leap water. The blatant October scene bully me with its gorgeous auburn leaves and cerulean sky and the alert contrasting colors stabbed at my eyes like an insult, the entire outlook somehow provocative of my gone happiness.
A day for lovers, I thought.
Whatever the weather, during that strenuous time, I seemed to turn each day into another ground to mourn.
The beautiful vista of churning black melancholy wet wrapped around the speckled islands of the bay only made me perceive my loneliness further intensely.
In my self-contained universe, every song on the radio seemed designed to carry back the image of my lover, our quixotic ritual of dancing in his living room. I wallowed in memories.
Images played through my mind like some dopey refrain of the innocent music he’d introduced me to and yet, fairly the wailing idyllic diva myself, I kept bringing them back in direction to ask myself why it bully so much. Was it logical the livestock cliché, betrayal, jealousy, sour and disfavour I felt, or was it truly losing the structure of this wonderful partner from my life that caused me this irrepressible grief? I was convinced of the latter. Some things you reasonable know.
As I debarked from the keel and gamy on foot up one of the unpaved roads of the island, my sour was bygone but the grief puddled up in my phenomenon so that only the consistent pulsation of my sighs, like the whitecaps, one after another washing inveigh the boat, could convince me I was dormant living. As clueless as the gaping gulls who waddled toward me in chase 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 taut from the street hieroglyphics to the beastly 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 flavour 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 occasion at all. Yet within my two hour meeting this lovely and adept astrologer, a shrewd countess and mistress of metaphor, was able to donate me explanations about the fragile sector of my psyche that made fresh understand than the rational I'd worked through in my therapy.
Her elite badge of me was that my hands were stuck in a Chinese puzzle.
The further I tried to wiggle them out, the other I found them locked up. Without taking too technical, I’ll moderate talk that she showed me how two extraordinary intense planetary transits were at undertaking affecting my moon or emotions, and Venus, my relationship life.
She advised me to smartly surrender, to sit in my rocking chair by the fire, drinking tea with my favorite envelop around my shoulders, playing my saddest simple arias allowing myself to descend into the theological abyss of loss— (the solution expression here is divine) “Until you are lifted out,” she said.
“And you commit be lifted out.
” She peered at me seriously; “And when you are, you bequeath become someone completely 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 next twelve years.
She explained that in adjunct to my personal plight, the globe was production an spirited shift itself and that as we came closer to the millennium, many tribe were tapping into an awakening. Humanity itself was gearing up for a major evolutionary leap, one which would bear many years to become apparent.
Oh yeah, the lyrical Age of Aquarius, I thought, remembering the sixties euphonious Hair. So how come I’m miserable? She oral my spirit had chosen this particular collision and would be opening to a new purpose but first, thanks to Pluto's renovation technique, it imperative 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 regular home for Pluto. Later, enumeration about Pluto I came across this quote 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 exterior (85).
I didn’t really assume much astrology then, but I did perceive that I had a loaded eighth accommodation and that mythically, the parentage is often the fashion into transformation and I notion of the poet Dante in his minatory woods, the mythological information of Persephone’s abduction, Odysseus' travels to Hades and the many literary figures and writers who went to the underworld before returning with new learning to deliver to the upper world.
I was further 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 keep father. Mary Alice’s astrological gloss 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 something other profound at work. My notice of loss was midpoint disproportional to the truth of the event.
Among supplementary things I shrewd about my chart that day was the gospel that I had been born to dodge my father and with each new loss, the original dogma of loss was triggered.
My stricken mother had smartly ended on when my father died.
With her four offspring 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 style we were already grieving. My mother did what she conviction was the correct thing. Put one foot in govern of the additional and manoeuvre forward.
But I idea I had worked through the themes of the gone father in my therapy during the years of my divorce.
To my amaze 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 habitat of Scorpio, the most intense and emotional sign.
I remembered decidedly the night my father died.
A detective had come to the door with his cap and coat.
My mother stood at the railing on the stairs and told us our father had had an accident and died of a spirit attack. I remembered strikingly three conversation surfacing in my head: “he’s killed himself. ” Even at fifteen, my have unaware intuited the detail I didn’t actually pinpoint until I was twenty-nine.
On the trip back to the mainland, I felt for the finest occasion since the breakup as if my emotional and logical sector might now make some sense.
Somehow believing in a consecrated salvage and recovery was the most heartening conviction I had heard in many months and I had sage the cause of the “Pluto square” was to pronounced away what was not “serving” my “higher purpose.
” I was, totally simply, in hell. Incarcerated by the classical God Hades, deep in the domain of misery and loss.
Another term for the sovereign of subterranean spaces was “Plutus” which method “riches.
” Treasures and resurrections were also associated with Pluto. What I didn’t perceive at that point was how very long the expedition would carry to yield these treasures.
But shortly thereafter, in earnest, I was lifted out by a major archetypal dream. I recognized 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 child maiden who is in my care.
She is cranky and nagging me.
I find her to be a real pain in the neck . At some speck she steps on a twig and gets a splinter in her foot.
I try to obtain 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 lofty as a meat cleaver. I go to pull it out again but when I free it from her head, her commander splits bright in sterile extremely surreal planes and out flies a vast bird.
The two thumping cubically neat halves of her captain commune back into cubby-hole as the eagle flaps its enormous wings and flies above and around us.
We hold each additional squealing and laughing in awe of the bird’s power, theatre like giddy heirs girls and I fondle a deep passion this girl.
This wish was a tremendous release.
I wasn't sure of all the implications but I knew the miss I didn't want any part 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 vast bird.
It seemed to me the nick of abandoning betrothed and the slash of the father were overlaid and had thrown me back to the schoolgirl who had never healed, who lived with this children now remedy between the eyes.
Depending on the genus, birds are often associated with the spiritual world, the heavens, although some like the owl, albatross or raven are associated with more refusal augury.
But this miss was a gargantuan eagle with an heavy wingspan and what I felt from the image of it flapping its wings was the sheer physical force of its body.
It was the rhapsody of witnessing that huge, muscular thing and teaching the tightness of its wings that delighted me and the issue dram girl. It is laborious to convey the fascination and gratification we felt in watching the enormity of that bird bring off.
The American and Native American number of the eagle is allied to celestial omnipotence.
Furthermore, the eagle is associated with the sun's power. It is Zeus's partner in Greek myths, and to the Christian mystics, is a amount of Christ's ascension, “ . . . further 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 fresh synchronistic meaning in J. C. Cooper's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols: “ . . . liberate from bondage . . . Alchemic: The soaring eagle is the liberated ration of the prima materia . . . resurrection and the new life in baptism: the core renewed by charm “ (italics mine).
In the desire there was a transformation and the probe cleft was instantaneously healed.
It was only modern that I realized in Freudian psychology that the foot cut is a sexual wound, the Oedipal cleft from the father. In the story of Oedipus, the baby schoolboy 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 end in life is to unconsciously will incest and beget offspring with his mother/wife.
His father had wounded his foot and after Oedipus escapes and is adopted, he grows up and unknowingly kills his pure father.
The young girl's splinter or foot nick becomes a nick in her head, an unconscious complex. When the annoying entity is released, the sanctified power flies out in the earth of the eagle.
The alchemical gold of transformation is in the surpass of depression, as the girl is in the whining adolescent's head.
I felt so clear and thankful that I actually thought 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 talk there weren't recurring relapses into sorrow and further pining, but I felt I had a leg up from the abysmal quarry of depression I'd lived in for so long.
A few days after the vision 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 peruse these utterance I realized I wanted to go back into therapy.
Driving to a minor seacoast town an hour away, I began going twice a week for two hour and a half sessions with Winona, a petite countess who grew up in New England and had unbiased retaliated after spending twenty or so years in Belgium and Switzerland where she homely at the C. G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht, face Zurich. By this occasion my ex and I had sold and division the proceeds of our house.
I bought the beach condo and used some of the capital for analysis.
Due to the intensity of three analytic hours a week, during this circle of therapy, my dreams both descended from the heavens and rose like steam from the underworld and I could not list them fleet enough. Nor could I stop writing poems.
It was a tremendously introspective but fruitful time.
It's verbal that the early dreams in an analysis coagulate the themes for the absolute analysis and so it was in my retain experience.
Here is my best fantasy (with another bird) where I reckon I found a new vista of myself and the activity 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 expressive with my son
and we see in the distance, ambulatory towards us, an old peeress wearing a
babushka and flying a kite.
My eight year old son is excited to hug the kite.
As the former woman approaches us, she looks me straggling in the eye and holds
out her arm to drudge 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 lapsed female is flying on a leash. I back away
from her, shaking my commander No . . . No, I don't deficiency anything to do with a
But my descendants son jumps up and down adage “Take it Mom,
Please transact it.
” I keep shaking my captain and aegis away, pulling him
away until I difficulty the eye of the lapsed peeress again and she nods at me as if to
say, “Honey, you'd amend take this vulture.
It belongs to you. ”
Most of us identify and identify the vulture as the miss who feeds on the dead.
But what I didn't see at the time was the significance of the vulture as a numeral of underworld wisdom. It was religious to the Egyptians as a guardian of the entrance between life and death. In a Jungian sense, the sign came from the collective unconscious, a hefty archetypal image, universally comprehended as an alliance with the dead.
Again, the amount dictionaries emphasized interpretations synchronistic to my particular experience.
“Since it eats carrion and transforms it into needed energy, the vulture . . . knows the riddle of the transformation of worthless material into gold.
” (Herder, 211) And “Ambivalent as maternal solicitude, shelter and shelter, and as death-dealing devastation and voracity.
All vultures were conviction to be female and symbolized the feminine creed with the doorstep as virile (italics mine) . . . As a scavenger the vulture represented purification, a worker of good.
In Egypt it represented the Mother Goddess, maternity and love, Isis having theoretical the burrow of a vulture” (Cooper).
I had had two bird dreams, one with the father's nick which transforms to a mighty inner mainly character and one with a crone, a shrewd 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 intimate with neither at the time of the dreams.
These were “big dreams,” with collective code which came at a case of crisis.
With the aegis of my analyst, I took the vulture desire in two ways.
I was maybe lifted out of my ominous covert but by no method had I put my depression unpunctual me.
It was occasion to mine this underworld and come to grips with its contents.
As the sphere 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 contradiction side of my father.
My young son's feeling in the dream, his excitement and gusto to carry on the vulture, to hire it fly as his retain pet, showed in Jung's terms, my successors animus or my newly reborn creative manlike side, eager and capable of handling this material. I must chance the vulture.
And the obsolete lady, whom I associated to my Polish grandmother, a pious and spiritually prudent immigrant with an abiding faith in the supernatural-she was the archetypal Wise Old Woman.
What had become of the hag, the threatening gang of the Great Mother? Foolishly, I concept she was bygone for good.
I didn't realize then that in times of new emotional setbacks which carried repressed disillusion or fear, she would reappear again, often in the cave of a bag lady.
But for now, I was thrilled to keep an older gentlewoman 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 universe of dreams.
But this terminated female in the daydream was moreover a quiescent allocation of me, the part that was wiser than my ego, who I notion I was, what I opinion I needed, that narrow scope to which we restrict ourselves from our unique egoic perception.
I sensible not to trust the ego's stratum in the dream. The conscious self did not want the vulture; the unschooled animus, my son, was raring to bring it on! With Winona's help, I could see from the judicious woman's perspective that she knew amend than my name did.
The wish clicked in the specific directive of my new “path. ” Dream activity seemed a top comrade to poetry, my chosen field.
I’ve been immersed in the imagery of both ever since.
Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols.