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The Eagle & The Vulture; Two Archetypal Bird Dreams
When a friend is too extremely embedded in the collective, outer
truth 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 creation of archetypal symbolism birds in our dreams often signal a spiritual endeavor. After all, they fly above us, closer to the heavens than we normally find ourselves.
Their leeway looks exhilarating. In the phenomenon of a jet where we might find ourselves flying faster and higher than birds, we inert need perceptive air, the wind in our hair so-to-speak, and we’re confined in mainly trivial seats amongst further people, who fairly than lifting their arms entrained in synch with ours, are coughing, eating, sleeping, working, or looking additional concerned than carefree.
Therefore when we fondle our fine feathered friends in dreams, we consider the context of course, but often think of the heights and deliverance of the spirit.
Of a very large species, unless we are ornithologist, we principally tag the birds we see in dreams generally.
Two noted dreams I had at a situation of blessed apprenticeship 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 vow worthwhile journeys.
I had been steeped in sorrow when a fantasy lifted me out of my hopelessness halfway immediately.
At the time of the daydream I had not been a academic of reverie work, but even in my relative ignorance, I could touch that the vision was a blessing. As background information, charter me sector again that I had mislaid my father in adolescence.
When I was thirteen he suffered a trembling 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 preceding his life.
Another applicable truth relating to this word in my offspring 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 display 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 tiring years.
I was equitable becoming a duchess and my advent into womanhood was posed by what I had witnessed, a cordial of quiet and sometimes not-so-quiet desperation in my father. I began to glean 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 juncture that my lass dreams occurred, I intellectually unmentioned that my reactions to the loss of a comrade were irrational and at times, out of standard to the seriousness or scarcity thereof, of the relationship. I “knew” that my unarticulated grief for my father surfaced and further exacerbated my sense of loss.
Knowing however, didn’t support the emotions to subside.
So when in my mid thirties, I was suffering from the betrayal of a friend I had been uncommonly jocose with, I didn’t seek out traditional therapy, having foregone 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, guise of Portland, Maine where I was living. I liked the conviction of crossing the water, an archetypal thesis 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 skip water. The signal October countryside injure me with its gorgeous auburn leaves and cerulean sky and the receptive contrasting colors stabbed at my eyes like an insult, the entire scene somehow provocative of my lost happiness.
A day for lovers, I thought.
Whatever the weather, during that difficult time, I seemed to turn each day into another ground to mourn.
The beautiful landscape of churning sinisteru blue bedew wrapped around the speckled islands of the bay only made me touch my loneliness more intensely.
In my self-contained universe, every song on the radio seemed designed to transact back the badge of my lover, our unrealistic ritual of dancing in his living room. I wallowed in memories.
Images played through my nature like some dopey refrain of the simple melody he’d introduced me to and yet, fully the wailing simple diva myself, I kept bringing them back in command to ask myself why it misuse so much. Was it fair the beasts cliché, betrayal, jealousy, sour and humiliation I felt, or was it truly losing the framework 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 bottom and tainted on foot up one of the unpaved roads of the island, my embitter was preceding but the grief puddled up in my thing so that only the consistent beat of my sighs, like the whitecaps, one after another washing condemn the boat, could convince me I was idle living. As clueless as the gaping gulls who waddled toward me in hunt of a hand-out, I had crossed the dampen to find an answer. Once on the island, I followed the twists in the dirt road according to a scribbled map, my ogle haggard from the street symbols to the bestial 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 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 speak without knowing me or my point at all. Yet within my two hour meeting this lovely and accomplished astrologer, a intelligent duchess and mistress of metaphor, was able to bestow me explanations about the fragile domain of my psyche that made additional recognize than the thinking I'd worked through in my therapy.
Her prime emblem of me was that my hands were stuck in a Chinese puzzle.
The supplementary I tried to wiggle them out, the further I found them locked up. Without getting too technical, I’ll fair gibber that she showed me how two extremely intense planetary transits were at activity 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 shroud around my shoulders, playing my saddest georgic arias allowing myself to descend into the divine chasm of loss— (the answer spell here is divine) “Until you are lifted out,” she said.
“And you entrust be lifted out.
” She peered at me seriously; “And when you are, you cede become someone entirely new. ”
On the collective level, Pluto, the planet of destruction and riches, had unbiased entered the sign of Scorpio where it would remain for the later twelve years.
She explained that in postscript to my personal plight, the globe was manufacture an energetic shift itself and that as we came closer to the millennium, many humans were tapping into an awakening. Humanity itself was gearing up for a major evolutionary leap, one which would take many years to become apparent.
Oh yeah, the harmonious Age of Aquarius, I thought, remembering the sixties musical Hair. So how come I’m miserable? She spoken my core had chosen this particular collision and would be space 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 character of love, which was unconditional. She explained that I had three planets in the eighth house, the usual home for Pluto. Later, recital about Pluto I came across this propose by the great Jungian-Astrologer Liz Greene: "If there are many planets in the eighth, the the comrade must learn to look darkness in the face (85).
I didn’t really assume much astrology then, but I did comprehend that I had a loaded eighth abode and that mythically, the descent is often the way into transformation and I belief of the poet Dante in his black woods, the legendary message of Persephone’s abduction, Odysseus' voyage 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 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 have father. Mary Alice’s astrological answer for my crisis clicked intuitively in a routine 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 article further profound at work. My comprehend of loss was almost disproportional to the reality of the event.
Among additional things I sage about my chart that day was the truth that I had been born to lose my father and with each new loss, the original opinion of loss was triggered.
My stricken mother had cleverly past 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 means we were already grieving. My mother did what she conviction was the amend thing. Put one foot in cause of the further and gambit forward.
But I belief I had worked through the themes of the missing father in my therapy during the years of my divorce.
To my dismay I found out that Saturn, the Patriarchal Father, was the sovereign 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 house of Scorpio, the most intense and emotional sign.
I remembered clearly the night my father died.
A detective had come to the door with his boater and coat.
My mother stood at the fortification on the stairs and told us our father had had an accident and died of a marrow attack. I remembered distinctly three talking surfacing in my head: “he’s killed himself. ” Even at fifteen, my obtain illiterate intuited the fact I didn’t actually distinguish until I was twenty-nine.
On the travels back to the mainland, I felt for the best occasion since the breakup as if my emotional and cerebral department might now make some sense.
Somehow believing in a spiritual salvage and reclamation was the most heartening thought I had heard in many months and I had wise the originate of the “Pluto square” was to clear away what was not “serving” my “higher purpose.
” I was, quite simply, in hell. Incarcerated by the classical God Hades, deep in the section of melancholy and loss.
Another interval for the ruler of subterranean spaces was “Plutus” which style “riches.
” Treasures and resurrections were furthermore associated with Pluto. What I didn’t know at that case was how uncommonly desire the journey would take to yield these treasures.
But shortly thereafter, in earnest, I was lifted out by a major archetypal dream. I confessed it as revered by the numinosity of the images and the sort of emotional intensity it left me with.
I am moving on the beach with a infant girl who is in my care.
She is cranky and nagging me.
I find her to be a pure pain in the neck . At some point she steps on a twig and gets a splinter in her foot.
I try to attain the splinter out, and as I do, it flies from my hands, boomeranging out and then back into her forehead, hitting her improve between her eyes.
Now I am truly concerned about her because the splinter has become a wedge as gigantic as a meat cleaver. I go to pull it out again but when I free it from her head, her head splits flexible in sterile extraordinary surreal planes and out flies a colossal bird.
The two thumping cubically neat halves of her head commune back into recess as the eagle flaps its heavy wings and flies above and around us.
We squeeze each other squealing and laughing in awe of the bird’s power, theatre like giddy heirs girls and I perceive a deep passion this girl.
This desire was a tremendous release.
I wasn't sure of all the implications but I knew the maiden I didn't absence any slice of was me at thirteen or fourteen, that it spoke of an adolescent wound, most likely my father's death, and that out of this girl's pain had come a immense bird.
It seemed to me the nick of abandoning boyfriend and the gash of the father were overlaid and had thrown me back to the colleen who had never healed, who lived with this heirs now rectify 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 supplementary contradiction augury.
But this girl was a vast eagle with an substantial wingspan and what I felt from the badge of it flapping its wings was the sheer physical strength of its body.
It was the exaltation of witnessing that huge, muscular something and viewpoint the firmness of its wings that delighted me and the family dream girl. It is arduous to convey the fascination and enjoyment we felt in watching the enormity of that maid manage off.
The American and Native American unit of the eagle is relevant to celestial omnipotence.
Furthermore, the eagle is associated with the sun's power. It is Zeus's man in Greek myths, and to the Christian mystics, is a unit 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 more synchronistic meaning in J. C. Cooper's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols: “ . . . release from bondage . . . Alchemic: The soaring eagle is the liberated part of the prima materia . . . resurrection and the new life in baptism: the kernel renewed by loveliness “ (italics mine).
In the desire there was a transformation and the master gash was instantaneously healed.
It was only closing that I realized in Freudian psychology that the foot gash is a sexual wound, the Oedipal cut from the father. In the data of Oedipus, the young man 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 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 TRUE father.
The spawn girl's splinter or foot cleft becomes a wound in her head, an nescient complex. When the hurtful something is released, the blessed tightness flies out in the form of the eagle.
The alchemical gold of transformation is in the lead of depression, as the maid is in the whining adolescent's head.
I felt so recognizeable and relieved 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 cede be someone new. This is not to prattle there weren't recurring relapses into groan and further pining, but I felt I had a leg up from the abysmal coalmine of melancholy 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 study the lines You ask the answer, it is but one word-Again.
As I study these talking I realized I wanted to go back into therapy.
Driving to a insignificant seacoast town an hour away, I began going twice a week for two hour and a half sessions with Winona, a petite female who grew up in New England and had impartial common after spending twenty or so years in Belgium and Switzerland where she domestic at the C. G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht, facade Zurich. By this point my ex and I had sold and reft 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 round of therapy, my dreams both descended from the heavens and rose like steam from the underworld and I could not inventory them fast enough. Nor could I desist writing poems.
It was a tremendously introspective but fruitful time.
It's spoken that the early dreams in an analysis congeal the themes for the absolute analysis and so it was in my own experience.
Here is my best dream (with another bird) where I conjecture I found a new landscape of myself and the job I had to do.
I am on a beautiful beach. It is the press of my neighborhood beach but
much additional tropical more like the beach in New Zealand which I recently
axiom on the postcard I received from a dear friend.
I am mobile with my son
and we see in the distance, moving towards us, an invalid countess wearing a
babushka and flying a kite.
My eight year obsolete son is excited to clutch the kite.
As the old female approaches us, she looks me long in the eye and holds
out her arm to menial me the kite string. My son is jumping up and down,
trying to grasp it.
As I look up at the kite itself, I command it is not an inanimate
body but a live vulture that the void peeress is flying on a leash. I back away
from her, shaking my captain No . . . No, I don't absence anything to do with a
But my descendants son jumps up and down adage “Take it Mom,
Please manage it.
” I own shaking my leader and help away, pulling him
away until I snare the eye of the void countess again and she nods at me as if to
say, “Honey, you'd mend manage this vulture.
It belongs to you. ”
Most of us recognize and name the vulture as the maiden who feeds on the dead.
But what I didn't see at the time was the significance of the vulture as a figure of underworld wisdom. It was holy to the Egyptians as a guardian of the doorstep between life and death. In a Jungian sense, the sign came from the collective unconscious, a massive archetypal image, universally comprehended as an union with the dead.
Again, the unit dictionaries emphasized interpretations synchronistic to my particular experience.
“Since it eats carrion and transforms it into obligatory energy, the vulture . . . knows the secrecy of the transformation of worthless allied 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 doctrine with the tout as mainly (italics mine) . . . As a scavenger the vulture represented purification, a labourer of good.
In Egypt it represented the Mother Goddess, maternity and love, Isis having hypothetical the form of a vulture” (Cooper).
I had had two maiden dreams, one with the father's wound which transforms to a redoubtable inner mainly symbol and one with a crone, a intelligent inner feminine associated with the Egyptian Mother Goddess, Isis.
Consciously, in my quotidian life, I had no basis for having dreamt these symbols.
I was confidential with neither at the juncture of the dreams.
These were “big dreams,” with collective code which came at a circumstance of crisis.
With the aid of my analyst, I took the vulture desire in two ways.
I was feasibly lifted out of my npromising form but by no way had I put my misery late me.
It was case to mine this underworld and come to grips with its contents.
As the empire of the dead, it further constituted the creation of my father. I knew I must go back and look at how I had integrated the contradiction band of my father.
My descendants son's response in the dream, his excitement and enthusiasm to manage on the vulture, to rent it fly as his own pet, showed in Jung's terms, my descendants animus or my newly reborn creative masculine side, eager and capable of handling this material. I must arise the vulture.
And the obsolete lady, whom I associated to my Polish grandmother, a pious and spiritually sage immigrant with an lasting faith in the supernatural-she was the archetypal Wise Old Woman.
What had become of the hag, the black gang of the Great Mother? Foolishly, I concept she was recent for good.
I didn't realize then that in times of new emotional setbacks which carried repressed poison or fear, she would reappear again, often in the haunt of a bag lady.
But for now, I was thrilled to posses an older noblewoman 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 universe of dreams.
But this void female in the daydream was furthermore a dormant allocation of me, the part that was wiser than my ego, who I conviction I was, what I conviction I needed, that narrow range to which we distribute ourselves from our unique egoic perception.
I learned not to trust the ego's rank in the dream. The conscious self did not need the vulture; the unenlightened animus, my son, was raring to bring it on! With Winona's help, I could see from the prudent woman's perspective that she knew ameliorate than my individuality did.
The dram clicked in the specific direction of my new “path. ” Dream work seemed a elite comrade to poetry, my chosen field.
I’ve been immersed in the imagery of both ever since.
Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols.