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The Eagle & The Vulture; Two Archetypal Bird Dreams
When a fellow is too intensely embedded in the collective, outer
actuality of everyday life, the discovery in his or her own dreams of
universal, archetypal images . . . can be a freeing experience.
(Jungian Dream Interpretation Hall, 114)
In the universe of archetypal symbolism birds in our dreams often gesticulate a holy endeavor. After all, they fly above us, closer to the heavens than we normally find ourselves.
Their meridian looks exhilarating. In the object of a jet where we might find ourselves flying faster and higher than birds, we dormant privation flexible air, the wind in our hair so-to-speak, and we’re confined in chiefly paltry seats amongst additional people, who reasonably than lifting their arms entrained in synch with ours, are coughing, eating, sleeping, working, or looking further concerned than carefree.
Therefore when we observe our fine feathered friends in dreams, we consider the context of course, but often reckon of the heights and payment of the spirit.
Of a extraordinary vast species, unless we are ornithologist, we mostly sticker the birds we see in dreams generally.
Two celebrated dreams I had at a instance of hallowed apprenticeship in my life delivered messages about two abnormal 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 grieve when a vision lifted me out of my despair nearly immediately.
At the situation of the fantasy I had not been a pundit of desire work, but even in my relative ignorance, I could touch that the wish was a blessing. As background information, sublet me field again that I had mislaid my father in adolescence.
When I was thirteen he suffered a agitated 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 ended his life.
Another applicable truth relating to this title in my children life was that my mother told my siblings and I that he died of a spirit attack. In her hold excite and pain, she soldiered on, never visibly mourning, so that we did not present our grief either.
I grew up with a certain question about my father’s death but I kept it to myself and repressed what affection I had about those two arduous years.
I was equitable becoming a female and my advent into womanhood was artificial by what I had witnessed, a kindly of stillness and sometimes not-so-quiet desperation in my father. I began to harvest boyfriends and later, men friends, who would stop me and I often reacted with some hysterical end-of-the-world responses to the termination of these relationships.
By the situation that my maiden dreams occurred, I intellectually unstated that my reactions to the loss of a person were irrational and at times, out of standard to the seriousness or lack thereof, of the relationship. I “knew” that my unarticulated grief for my father surfaced and other exacerbated my comprehend of loss.
Knowing however, didn’t support the passion to subside.
So when in my mid thirties, I was suffering from the betrayal of a individual I had been very mirthful 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 man suggested I see her astrologer who lived on an island in Casco Bay, frontage of Portland, Maine where I was living. I liked the thought of crossing the water, an archetypal burden 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 gone my appetite for meals and I lived on cigarettes and bounce water. The striking October scenery maltreat me with its gorgeous auburn leaves and cerulean sky and the receptive contrasting colors stabbed at my eyes like an insult, the perfect countryside somehow provocative of my absent happiness.
A day for lovers, I thought.
Whatever the weather, during that arduous time, I seemed to turn each day into another actuation to mourn.
The beautiful landscape of churning npromising unhappy bedew 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 take back the symbol of my lover, our perfectionist ritual of dancing in his living room. I wallowed in memories.
Images played through my attitude like some dopey refrain of the country air he’d introduced me to and yet, totally the wailing country diva myself, I kept bringing them back in edict to ask myself why it maul so much. Was it reasonable the cattle cliché, betrayal, jealousy, disaffect and humiliation I felt, or was it truly losing the fabric of this wonderful comrade from my life that caused me this irrepressible grief? I was convinced of the latter. Some things you fair know.
As I debarked from the vessel and gamy on foot up one of the unpaved roads of the island, my anger was past but the grief puddled up in my something so that only the consistent pace 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 aim 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 goggle drawn from the street notation to the savage 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 circumstance at all. Yet within my two hour meeting this lovely and expert astrologer, a judicious countess and mistress of metaphor, was able to bestow me explanations about the fragile sector of my psyche that made fresh recognize than the logical I'd worked through in my therapy.
Her boon image 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 receiving too technical, I’ll impartial chatter that she showed me how two thumping intense planetary transits were at business affecting my moon or emotions, and Venus, my relationship life.
She advised me to plainly surrender, to sit in my rocking chair by the fire, drinking tea with my favorite blanket around my shoulders, playing my saddest idyllic arias allowing myself to descend into the divine gulf of loss— (the solution period 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 leave become someone absolutely new. ”
On the collective level, Pluto, the planet of destruction and riches, had equitable entered the token of Scorpio where it would remain for the succeeding twelve years.
She explained that in codicil to my personal plight, the globe was creation 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 manage many years to become apparent.
Oh yeah, the mellifluous Age of Aquarius, I thought, remembering the sixties melodic Hair. So how come I’m miserable? She said my kernel had chosen this particular contact and would be opening to a new purpose but first, thanks to Pluto's renovation technique, it necessary to be stripped of emotional dependencies, so that I would learn the true mood of love, which was unconditional. She explained that I had three planets in the eighth house, the normal home for Pluto. Later, reading about Pluto I came across this mention by the revered Jungian-Astrologer Liz Greene: "If there are many planets in the eighth, the the individual must learn to look darkness in the exterior (85).
I didn’t really accept much astrology then, but I did understand that I had a loaded eighth abode and that mythically, the descent is often the method into transformation and I concept of the poet Dante in his minatory woods, the allegorical data of Persephone’s abduction, Odysseus' trip 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 posses father. Mary Alice’s astrological interpretation for my crisis clicked intuitively in a means 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 thing other profound at work. My recognize of loss was nearly disproportional to the actuality of the event.
Among additional things I sensible about my chart that day was the truth that I had been born to elude my father and with each new loss, the original opinion of loss was triggered.
My stricken mother had cleverly former 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 system we were already grieving. My mother did what she opinion was the correct thing. Put one foot in front of the other and machination forward.
But I impression 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 ruler 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 distinctly the night my father died.
A detective had come to the door with his beret 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 strikingly three language surfacing in my head: “he’s killed himself. ” Even at fifteen, my keep unaware intuited the gospel I didn’t actually pinpoint until I was twenty-nine.
On the trek back to the mainland, I felt for the best time since the breakup as if my emotional and mental sector might now make some sense.
Somehow believing in a consecrated salvation and redemption was the most heartening impression I had heard in many months and I had intelligent the engender of the “Pluto square” was to blatant away what was not “serving” my “higher purpose.
” I was, fully simply, in hell. Incarcerated by the classical God Hades, deep in the sphere of despair and loss.
Another title for the sovereign of subterranean spaces was “Plutus” which way “riches.
” Treasures and resurrections were besides associated with Pluto. What I didn’t sense at that time was how remarkably want the expedition would take to yield these treasures.
But shortly thereafter, in earnest, I was lifted out by a major archetypal dream. I recognized it as noted by the numinosity of the images and the merit of emotional intensity it left me with.
I am ambulatory on the beach with a kid maid who is in my care.
She is cranky and nagging me.
I find her to be a pure pain in the glance . 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 redress between her eyes.
Now I am truly concerned about her because the splinter has become a wedge as lanky as a meat cleaver. I go to pull it out again but when I free it from her head, her head splits flexible in healthy very surreal planes and out flies a enormous bird.
The two thumping cubically neat halves of her master commune back into cranny as the eagle flaps its bulky wings and flies above and around us.
We nuzzle each more squealing and laughing in awe of the bird’s power, stagecraft like giddy offspring girls and I endure a deep love this girl.
This vision was a tremendous release.
I wasn't sure of all the implications but I knew the bird I didn't privation any quota 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 huge bird.
It seemed to me the incision of abandoning beloved and the cut of the father were overlaid and had thrown me back to the schoolgirl who had never healed, who lived with this children now right between the eyes.
Depending on the genus, birds are often associated with the holy world, the heavens, although some like the owl, albatross or raven are associated with more contradiction augury.
But this maiden was a giant eagle with an substantial wingspan and what I felt from the sign of it flapping its wings was the sheer physical fastness of its body.
It was the exaltation of witnessing that huge, muscular object and doctrine the force of its wings that delighted me and the family dream girl. It is strenuous to convey the fascination and enjoyment we felt in watching the enormity of that maid take off.
The American and Native American figure of the eagle is akin 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 amount of Christ's ascension, “ . . . further an facet 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 slice of the prima materia . . . resurrection and the new life in baptism: the core renewed by grace “ (italics mine).
In the dream there was a transformation and the probe nick was instantaneously healed.
It was only latter that I realized in Freudian psychology that the foot cut is a sexual wound, the Oedipal incision from the father. In the news of Oedipus, the infant boy 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 modern in life is to unconsciously cede 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 pure father.
The offspring girl's splinter or foot slash becomes a gash in her head, an nescient complex. When the abusive phenomenon is released, the religious tightness flies out in the cave of the eagle.
The alchemical gold of transformation is in the bob of depression, as the maiden is in the whining adolescent's head.
I felt so striking and thankful that I actually conviction 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 chat there weren't recurring relapses into lament and supplementary 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 desire I picked up a poem by the Hungarian poet Miraslav Holub and read the lines You ask the answer, it is but one word-Again.
As I peruse these talking I realized I wanted to go back into therapy.
Driving to a paltry 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 reciprocal after spending twenty or so years in Belgium and Switzerland where she trained at the C. G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht, exterior Zurich. By this situation my ex and I had sold and separation the proceeds of our house.
I bought the beach condo and used some of the financial for analysis.
Due to the intensity of three analytic hours a week, during this lap of therapy, my dreams both descended from the heavens and rose like steam from the underworld and I could not guide them swift enough. Nor could I desist writing poems.
It was a tremendously introspective but fruitful time.
It's uttered that the early dreams in an analysis congeal the themes for the full analysis and so it was in my hold experience.
Here is my first wish (with another bird) where I reckon I found a new view of myself and the work I had to do.
I am on a beautiful beach. It is the knead of my neighborhood beach but
much fresh tropical other like the beach in New Zealand which I recently
saw on the postcard I received from a dear friend.
I am mobile with my son
and we see in the distance, walking towards us, an old noblewoman wearing a
babushka and flying a kite.
My eight year lapsed son is excited to hold the kite.
As the lapsed gentlewoman approaches us, she looks me straggling in the eye and holds
out her arm to workman me the kite string. My son is jumping up and down,
trying to take it.
As I look up at the kite itself, I command it is not an inanimate
something but a live vulture that the invalid woman is flying on a leash. I back away
from her, shaking my leader No . . . No, I don't privation anything to do with a
But my progeny son jumps up and down adage “Take it Mom,
Please transact it.
” I obtain shaking my captain and assistance away, pulling him
away until I snare the eye of the obsolete noblewoman again and she nods at me as if to
say, “Honey, you'd reform bring this vulture.
It belongs to you. ”
Most of us name and recognize the vulture as the girl who feeds on the dead.
But what I didn't see at the instance was the significance of the vulture as a quantity of underworld wisdom. It was spiritual to the Egyptians as a guardian of the entry 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 digit dictionaries emphasized interpretations synchronistic to my particular experience.
“Since it eats carrion and transforms it into required energy, the vulture . . . knows the secrecy of the transformation of worthless germane into gold.
” (Herder, 211) And “Ambivalent as maternal solicitude, refuge and shelter, and as death-dealing havoc and voracity.
All vultures were thought to be gentlewoman and symbolized the feminine principle with the market as manlike (italics mine) . . . As a scavenger the vulture represented purification, a hand of good.
In Egypt it represented the Mother Goddess, maternity and love, Isis having abstract the lair of a vulture” (Cooper).
I had had two miss dreams, one with the father's gash which transforms to a mighty inner male amount and one with a crone, a shrewd 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 recognized with neither at the time of the dreams.
These were “big dreams,” with collective symbols which came at a occasion of crisis.
With the backing of my analyst, I took the vulture vision in two ways.
I was feasibly lifted out of my gloomy lair but by no manner had I put my dejection delayed me.
It was occasion to mine this underworld and come to grips with its contents.
As the kingdom of the dead, it besides constituted the creation of my father. I knew I must go back and look at how I had integrated the refusal side of my father.
My descendants son's sentiment in the dream, his excitement and easgerness to transact on the vulture, to rent it fly as his posses pet, showed in Jung's terms, my offspring animus or my newly reborn creative male side, eager and capable of handling this material. I must ensue the vulture.
And the void lady, whom I associated to my Polish grandmother, a pious and spiritually intelligent immigrant with an surviving faith in the supernatural-she was the archetypal Wise Old Woman.
What had become of the hag, the sinisteru group of the Great Mother? Foolishly, I concept she was recent for good.
I didn't recognize then that in times of new emotional setbacks which carried repressed envenom or fear, she would reappear again, often in the tunnel of a bag lady.
But for now, I was thrilled to own an older countess as an inner mentor, a crone.
I further had her in Winona, who was far from crone-looking but older and wiser than I in the world of dreams.
But this old noblewoman in the dream was furthermore a inactive allocation of me, the ration that was wiser than my ego, who I belief I was, what I idea I needed, that narrow scale to which we budget ourselves from our unique egoic perception.
I sensible not to trust the ego's stratum in the dream. The conscious self did not scarcity the vulture; the unschooled animus, my son, was raring to bear it on! With Winona's help, I could see from the judicious woman's perspective that she knew amend than my name did.
The vision clicked in the specific rule of my new “path. ” Dream afafir seemed a first fellow to poetry, my chosen field.
I’ve been immersed in the imagery of both ever since.
Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols.