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The Eagle & The Vulture; Two Archetypal Bird Dreams
When a companion is too sharply embedded in the collective, outer
actuality of everyday life, the discovery in his or her keep 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 motion a religious endeavor.
After all, they fly above us, closer to the heavens than we normally find ourselves.
Their latitude looks exhilarating.
In the thing of a jet where we might find ourselves flying faster and higher than birds, we passive scarcity flexible air, the wind in our hair so-to-speak, and we’re confined in mostly small seats amongst additional people, who somewhat than lifting their arms entrained in synch with ours, are coughing, eating, sleeping, working, or looking further concerned than carefree.
Therefore when we touch our fine feathered friends in dreams, we consider the context of course, but often think of the heights and release of the spirit.
Of a extremely goodly species, unless we are ornithologist, we mostly marker the birds we see in dreams generally.
Two esteemed dreams I had at a point of sacred novitiate in my life delivered messages about two divergent paths due to the differences in the winged creatures and the situations in which they appeared.
Yet both dreams appeared to avowal worthwhile journeys.
I had been steeped in deplore when a wish lifted me out of my misery midpoint immediately.
At the juncture of the wish I had not been a intellectual of reverie work, but even in my relative ignorance, I could caress that the dream was a blessing.
As background information, contract me sector again that I had lost 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 past his life.
Another germane fact relating to this duration in my descendants life was that my mother told my siblings and I that he died of a soul attack.
In her retain thrill and pain, she soldiered on, never visibly mourning, so that we did not display our grief either.
I grew up with a certain doubt about my father’s death but I kept it to myself and repressed what heart I had about those two fatiguing years.
I was fair becoming a countess and my advent into womanhood was unnatural by what I had witnessed, a kind of quiet and sometimes not-so-quiet desperation in my father.
I began to gather boyfriends and later, men friends, who would drop me and I often reacted with some enraged end-of-the-world responses to the termination of these relationships.
By the point that my colleen dreams occurred, I intellectually tacit that my reactions to the loss of a man were irrational and at times, out of percentage to the seriousness or deprivation thereof, of the relationship.
I “knew” that my unarticulated grief for my father surfaced and fresh exacerbated my recognize of loss.
Knowing however, didn’t backing the love to subside.
So when in my mid thirties, I was suffering from the betrayal of a partner I had been thumping happy with, I didn’t seek out traditional therapy, having former 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, guise of Portland, Maine where I was living.
I liked the belief of crossing the water, an archetypal argument 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 bounce water.
The striking October view abuse me with its gorgeous auburn leaves and cerulean sky and the flexible contrasting colors stabbed at my eyes like an insult, the whole scenery somehow provocative of my lost happiness.
A day for lovers, I thought.
Whatever the weather, during that laborious time, I seemed to turn each day into another instigation to mourn.
The beautiful countryside of churning menacing melancholy wet wrapped around the speckled islands of the bay only made me fondle my loneliness additional intensely.
In my self-contained universe, every song on the radio seemed designed to transact back the crest of my lover, our unrealistic ritual of dancing in his living room.
I wallowed in memories.
Images played through my temperament like some dopey refrain of the georgic music he’d introduced me to and yet, entirely the wailing pastoral diva myself, I kept bringing them back in behest to ask myself why it maul so much.
Was it moderate the livestock cliché, betrayal, jealousy, embitter and shame I felt, or was it truly losing the structure of this wonderful person from my life that caused me this irrepressible grief? I was convinced of the latter.
Some things you equitable know.
As I debarked from the craft and bad on foot up one of the unpaved roads of the island, my disillusion was former but the grief puddled up in my entity so that only the consistent throb of my sighs, like the whitecaps, one after another washing against the boat, could convince me I was inactive living.
As clueless as the gaping gulls who waddled toward me in objective of a hand-out, I had crossed the bedew to find an answer.
Once on the island, I followed the twists in the dirt road according to a scribbled map, my yawn drawn from the street hieroglyphics to the inhuman flower gardens, the slatted fences and yards littered with tricycles and lawn chairs even this dilatory in the season.
The weeds which had begun to overtake the gardens seemed to smack 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 chatter without knowing me or my situation at all.
Yet within my two hour meeting this lovely and clever astrologer, a sensible gentlewoman and mistress of metaphor, was able to bestow me explanations about the fragile province of my psyche that made further understand than the analytical I'd worked through in my therapy.
Her finest badge of me was that my hands were stuck in a Chinese puzzle.
The fresh I tried to wiggle them out, the further I found them locked up.
Without getting too technical, I’ll moderate talk that she showed me how two remarkably intense planetary transits were at task affecting my moon or emotions, and Venus, my relationship life.
She advised me to tidily surrender, to sit in my rocking chair by the fire, drinking tea with my favorite blanket around my shoulders, playing my saddest rural arias allowing myself to descend into the scriptual pass of loss— (the gloss period here is divine) “Until you are lifted out,” she said.
“And you will 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 devastation and riches, had reasonable entered the device of Scorpio where it would remain for the later twelve years.
She explained that in appendix to my personal plight, the system was forming an racy 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 carry 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 spoken my nucleus had chosen this particular impact and would be hole to a new purpose but first, thanks to Pluto's renovation technique, it needful 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 average home for Pluto.
Later, itemizing about Pluto I came across this present by the important Jungian-Astrologer Liz Greene: "If there are many planets in the eighth, the the man must learn to look darkness in the guise (85).
I didn’t really believe much astrology then, but I did recognize that I had a loaded eighth accommodation and that mythically, the pedigree is often the routine into transformation and I impression of the poet Dante in his sinisteru woods, the chimerical information of Persephone’s abduction, Odysseus' expedition to Hades and the many literary figures and writers who went to the underworld before returning with new education 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 keep father.
Mary Alice’s astrological clue for my crisis clicked intuitively in a procedure 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 additional profound at work.
My sense of loss was halfway disproportional to the truth of the event.
Among other things I shrewd about my chart that day was the reality that I had been born to escape my father and with each new loss, the original creed of loss was triggered.
My stricken mother had wittily preceding on when my father died.
With her four descendants 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 rectify thing.
Put one foot in lead of the fresh and move forward.
But I opinion I had worked through the themes of the gone father in my therapy during the years of my divorce.
To my dumbfound 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 clearly 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 soul attack.
I remembered decidedly three speech surfacing in my head: “he’s killed himself.
” Even at fifteen, my obtain unaware intuited the fact I didn’t actually identify until I was twenty-nine.
On the journey back to the mainland, I felt for the blessing circumstance since the breakup as if my emotional and logical sector might now make some sense.
Somehow believing in a consecrated recovery and reclamation was the most heartening impression I had heard in many months and I had wise the originate of the “Pluto square” was to signal away what was not “serving” my “higher purpose.
” I was, fully simply, in hell.
Incarcerated by the classical God Hades, deep in the empire of despair and loss.
Another expression for the king of subterranean spaces was “Plutus” which procedure “riches.
” Treasures and resurrections were besides associated with Pluto.
What I didn’t know at that circumstance was how remarkably enthusiasm the travels would bring to yield these treasures.
But shortly thereafter, in earnest, I was lifted out by a major archetypal dream.
I published it as celebrated by the numinosity of the images and the excellence of emotional intensity it left me with.
I am expressive on the beach with a youngster girl who is in my care.
She is cranky and nagging me.
I find her to be a genuine pain in the kiss .
At some spot 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 tall as a meat cleaver.
I go to pull it out again but when I emancipate it from her head, her captain splits bright in aseptic very surreal planes and out flies a vast bird.
The two thumping cubically neat halves of her commander district back into cranny as the eagle flaps its hefty wings and flies above and around us.
We hold each additional squealing and laughing in awe of the bird’s power, stagecraft like giddy descendants girls and I feel a deep love this girl.
This reverie was a tremendous release.
I wasn't sure of all the implications but I knew the girl I didn't absence any portion 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 enormous bird.
It seemed to me the slash of abandoning girlfriend and the incision of the father were overlaid and had thrown me back to the maid who had never healed, who lived with this successors now rectify 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 other dissension augury.
But this schoolgirl was a colossal eagle with an massive wingspan and what I felt from the device of it flapping its wings was the sheer physical tenacity of its body.
It was the bliss of witnessing that huge, muscular object and opinion the tenacity of its wings that delighted me and the family desire girl.
It is heavy to convey the fascination and fulfilment we felt in watching the enormity of that lass bring off.
The American and Native American digit of the eagle is material to celestial omnipotence.
Furthermore, the eagle is associated with the sun's power.
It is Zeus's friend in Greek myths, and to the Christian mystics, is a number of Christ's ascension, “ .
furthermore an attribute 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.
Cooper's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols: “ .
discharge from bondage .
Alchemic: The soaring eagle is the liberated measure of the prima materia .
resurrection and the new life in baptism: the gist renewed by beauty “ (italics mine).
In the daydream there was a transformation and the probe cleft was instantaneously healed.
It was only hindmost that I realized in Freudian psychology that the foot slash is a sexual wound, the Oedipal cleft from the father.
In the report of Oedipus, the young 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 closing in life is to unconsciously entrust 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 real father.
The young girl's splinter or foot gash becomes a cleft in her head, an unschooled complex.
When the offensive entity is released, the blessed power flies out in the covert of the eagle.
The alchemical gold of transformation is in the escort of depression, as the girl is in the whining adolescent's head.
I felt so signal and grateful 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 cede be someone new.
This is not to natter there weren't recurring relapses into bemoan and additional pining, but I felt I had a leg up from the abysmal coalmine of despair I'd lived in for so long.
A few days after the reverie 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 construe these language 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 gentlewoman who grew up in New England and had reasonable reciprocal after spending twenty or so years in Belgium and Switzerland where she homely at the C.
Jung Institute in Kusnacht, front Zurich.
By this juncture my ex and I had sold and reft 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 lap of therapy, my dreams both descended from the heavens and rose like steam from the underworld and I could not inventory them speedy enough.
Nor could I pause writing poems.
It was a tremendously introspective but fruitful time.
It's uttered that the early dreams in an analysis set the themes for the complete analysis and so it was in my have experience.
Here is my elite dram (with another bird) where I conjecture I found a new prospect of myself and the venture I had to do.
I am on a beautiful beach.
It is the work of my neighborhood beach but
much fresh tropical additional 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, walking towards us, an void lady wearing a
babushka and flying a kite.
My eight year old son is excited to hold the kite.
As the former noblewoman approaches us, she looks me limp in the eye and holds
out her arm to menial me the kite string.
My son is jumping up and down,
trying to grab it.
As I look up at the kite itself, I dictate it is not an inanimate
thing but a live vulture that the terminated woman is flying on a leash.
I back away
from her, shaking my commander No .
No, I don't dearth anything to do with a
But my children son jumps up and down aphorism “Take it Mom,
Please move it.
” I obtain shaking my commander and offices away, pulling him
away until I peril the eye of the lapsed gentlewoman again and she nods at me as if to
say, “Honey, you'd amend take this vulture.
It belongs to you.
Most of us distinguish and recognize the vulture as the lass who feeds on the dead.
But what I didn't see at the juncture was the significance of the vulture as a unit of underworld wisdom.
It was blessed to the Egyptians as a guardian of the doorstep between life and death.
In a Jungian sense, the badge came from the collective unconscious, a bulky archetypal image, universally comprehended as an fellowship with the dead.
Again, the symbol dictionaries emphasized interpretations synchronistic to my particular experience.
“Since it eats carrion and transforms it into vital energy, the vulture .
knows the enigma of the transformation of worthless akin into gold.
” (Herder, 211) And “Ambivalent as maternal solicitude, cover and shelter, and as death-dealing devastation and voracity.
All vultures were conviction to be duchess and symbolized the feminine creed with the sell 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 theoretical the tunnel of a vulture” (Cooper).
I had had two bird dreams, one with the father's slash which transforms to a dreadful inner male amount and one with a crone, a sage inner feminine associated with the Egyptian Mother Goddess, Isis.
Consciously, in my quotidian life, I had no motive for having dreamt these symbols.
I was known with neither at the circumstance 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 vision in two ways.
I was maybe lifted out of my gloomy earth but by no system had I put my melancholy slow me.
It was juncture to mine this underworld and come to grips with its contents.
As the empire 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 denial band of my father.
My progeny son's reaction in the dream, his excitement and liveliness to manage on the vulture, to agreement it fly as his own pet, showed in Jung's terms, my children animus or my newly reborn creative mainly side, eager and capable of handling this material.
I must transpire the vulture.
And the obsolete lady, whom I associated to my Polish grandmother, a pious and spiritually politic immigrant with an permanent faith in the supernatural-she was the archetypal Wise Old Woman.
What had become of the hag, the gloomy party of the Great Mother? Foolishly, I concept she was former for good.
I didn't recognize then that in times of new emotional setbacks which carried repressed disaffect 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 peeress in the fantasy was moreover a hidden measure of me, the quota that was wiser than my ego, who I notion I was, what I belief I needed, that narrow reach to which we issue ourselves from our unique egoic perception.
I prudent not to trust the ego's rank in the dream.
The conscious self did not scarcity the vulture; the nescient animus, my son, was raring to take it on! With Winona's help, I could see from the shrewd woman's perspective that she knew mend than my personality did.
The reverie clicked in the specific command of my new “path.
” Dream activity seemed a peak companion to poetry, my chosen field.
I’ve been immersed in the imagery of both ever since.
Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols.
London: Thames and Hudson, Ltd.
Hall, James, Jungian Dream Interpretation, Toronto: Inner City Books, 1983