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The Eagle & The Vulture; Two Archetypal Bird Dreams
When a individual is too intensely 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 indicate a holy endeavor. After all, they fly above us, closer to the heavens than we normally find ourselves.
Their latitude looks exhilarating. In the article of a jet where we might find ourselves flying faster and higher than birds, we passive privation flexible air, the wind in our hair so-to-speak, and we’re confined in mainly small seats amongst additional people, who quite than lifting their arms entrained in synch with ours, are coughing, eating, sleeping, working, or looking fresh concerned than carefree.
Therefore when we observe our fine feathered friends in dreams, we consider the context of course, but often conjecture of the heights and ransom of the spirit.
Of a remarkably substantial species, unless we are ornithologist, we mostly label the birds we see in dreams generally.
Two esteemed dreams I had at a circumstance of consecrated apprenticeship in my life delivered messages about two aberrant paths due to the differences in the winged creatures and the situations in which they appeared.
Yet both dreams appeared to promise worthwhile journeys.
I had been steeped in sorrow when a dram lifted me out of my despair partly immediately.
At the time of the daydream I had not been a savant of daydream work, but even in my relative ignorance, I could caress that the wish was a blessing. As background information, sublet me area again that I had gone 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 bygone his life.
Another relevant reality relating to this interval in my progeny life was that my mother told my siblings and I that he died of a nucleus attack. In her retain startle and pain, she soldiered on, never visibly mourning, so that we did not evince our grief either.
I grew up with a certain query about my father’s death but I kept it to myself and repressed what heart I had about those two tiring years.
I was unbiased becoming a duchess and my advent into womanhood was theatrical by what I had witnessed, a amiable of tranquillity and sometimes not-so-quiet desperation in my father. I began to collect boyfriends and later, men friends, who would quit me and I often reacted with some hysterical end-of-the-world responses to the termination of these relationships.
By the circumstance that my girl dreams occurred, I intellectually implied that my reactions to the loss of a individual were irrational and at times, out of percentage to the seriousness or want thereof, of the relationship. I “knew” that my unarticulated grief for my father surfaced and fresh exacerbated my notice of loss.
Knowing however, didn’t offices the affection to subside.
So when in my mid thirties, I was suffering from the betrayal of a man I had been extremely jovial with, I didn’t seek out traditional therapy, having bygone through five years of that a few years back after a divorce.
One day a companion suggested I see her astrologer who lived on an island in Casco Bay, appearance of Portland, Maine where I was living. I liked the impression of crossing the water, an archetypal keynote 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 absent my appetite for meals and I lived on cigarettes and bounce water. The decided October vista abuse me with its gorgeous auburn leaves and cerulean sky and the receptive contrasting colors stabbed at my eyes like an insult, the flawless prospect somehow provocative of my absent happiness.
A day for lovers, I thought.
Whatever the weather, during that tiring time, I seemed to turn each day into another basis to mourn.
The beautiful view of churning gloomy melancholy moisten wrapped around the speckled islands of the bay only made me feel my loneliness fresh intensely.
In my self-contained universe, every song on the radio seemed designed to move back the token of my lover, our idealistic ritual of dancing in his living room. I wallowed in memories.
Images played through my temper like some dopey refrain of the rural music he’d introduced me to and yet, fairly the wailing georgic diva myself, I kept bringing them back in order to ask myself why it hurt so much. Was it unbiased the cows cliché, betrayal, jealousy, sour and disfavour I felt, or was it truly losing the essence of this wonderful individual from my life that caused me this irrepressible grief? I was convinced of the latter. Some things you unbiased know.
As I debarked from the bottom and turned on foot up one of the unpaved roads of the island, my embitter was foregone but the grief puddled up in my body so that only the consistent tempo of my sighs, like the whitecaps, one after another washing castigate the boat, could convince me I was passive living. As clueless as the gaping gulls who waddled toward me in seeking of a hand-out, I had crossed the moisten to find an answer. Once on the island, I followed the twists in the dirt road according to a scribbled map, my stare drawn from the street symbols to the inhuman 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 relish 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 occasion at all. Yet within my two hour meeting this lovely and clever astrologer, a judicious gentlewoman and mistress of metaphor, was able to consign me explanations about the fragile domain of my psyche that made more notice than the reasoning I'd worked through in my therapy.
Her top image 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 receiving too technical, I’ll reasonable prate 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 aptly surrender, to sit in my rocking chair by the fire, drinking tea with my favorite shroud around my shoulders, playing my saddest rural arias allowing myself to descend into the ecclesiastical gully of loss— (the guide interval here is divine) “Until you are lifted out,” she said.
“And you bequeath be lifted out.
” She peered at me seriously; “And when you are, you entrust become someone completely new. ”
On the collective level, Pluto, the planet of devastation and riches, had impartial entered the sign of Scorpio where it would remain for the later twelve years.
She explained that in appendage to my personal plight, the universe was production an animated shift itself and that as we came closer to the millennium, many people were tapping into an awakening. Humanity itself was gearing up for a major evolutionary leap, one which would transact many years to become apparent.
Oh yeah, the melodic Age of Aquarius, I thought, remembering the sixties dulcet Hair. So how come I’m miserable? She verbal my centre had chosen this particular collision and would be gap to a new purpose but first, thanks to Pluto's renovation technique, it needed to be stripped of emotional dependencies, so that I would learn the true mind of love, which was unconditional. She explained that I had three planets in the eighth house, the typical home for Pluto. Later, saying about Pluto I came across this instance by the great Jungian-Astrologer Liz Greene: "If there are many planets in the eighth, the the individual must learn to look darkness in the face (85).
I didn’t really presume much astrology then, but I did sense that I had a loaded eighth domicile and that mythically, the pedigree is often the way into transformation and I thought of the poet Dante in his ominous woods, the imaginary announcement of Persephone’s abduction, Odysseus' expedition 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 besides 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 obtain father. Mary Alice’s astrological gloss for my crisis clicked intuitively in a manner 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 object further profound at work. My understand of loss was nearly disproportional to the actuality of the event.
Among fresh things I wise about my chart that day was the gospel that I had been born to dodge my father and with each new loss, the original belief of loss was triggered.
My stricken mother had aptly recent on when my father died.
With her four successors 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 impression was the fix thing. Put one foot in front of the more and stratagem forward.
But I notion I had worked through the themes of the absent father in my therapy during the years of my divorce.
To my surprise 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 habitat of Scorpio, the most intense and emotional sign.
I remembered markedly the night my father died.
A detective had come to the door with his hat and coat.
My mother stood at the barrier on the stairs and told us our father had had an accident and died of a gist attack. I remembered decidedly three conversation surfacing in my head: “he’s killed himself. ” Even at fifteen, my obtain unaware intuited the fact I didn’t actually distinguish until I was twenty-nine.
On the excursion back to the mainland, I felt for the top occasion since the breakup as if my emotional and thinking province might now make some sense.
Somehow believing in a blessed reclamation and compensation was the most heartening belief I had heard in many months and I had shrewd the produce of the “Pluto square” was to noted away what was not “serving” my “higher purpose.
” I was, entirely simply, in hell. Incarcerated by the classical God Hades, deep in the domain of misery and loss.
Another duration for the ruler of subterranean spaces was “Plutus” which manner “riches.
” Treasures and resurrections were further associated with Pluto. What I didn’t recognize at that point was how extremely long the trek would carry to yield these treasures.
But shortly thereafter, in earnest, I was lifted out by a major archetypal dream. I proclaimed it as famous by the numinosity of the images and the sort of emotional intensity it left me with.
I am motile on the beach with a youngster maid who is in my care.
She is cranky and nagging me.
I find her to be a real pain in the glance . At some iota she steps on a twig and gets a splinter in her foot.
I try to earn 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 gigantic as a meat cleaver. I go to pull it out again but when I free it from her head, her skipper splits open in hygienic remarkably surreal planes and out flies a immense bird.
The two extraordinary cubically neat halves of her leader district back into nook as the eagle flaps its enormous wings and flies above and around us.
We clutch each more squealing and laughing in awe of the bird’s power, theatre like giddy heirs girls and I caress a deep feelings this girl.
This daydream was a tremendous release.
I wasn't sure of all the implications but I knew the miss I didn't scarcity any part of was me at thirteen or fourteen, that it spoke of an kid wound, most likely my father's death, and that out of this girl's pain had come a colossal bird.
It seemed to me the gash of abandoning fiancee and the slash of the father were overlaid and had thrown me back to the lass who had never healed, who lived with this spawn now amend between the eyes.
Depending on the genus, birds are often associated with the blessed world, the heavens, although some like the owl, albatross or raven are associated with additional opposite augury.
But this miss was a vast eagle with an hefty wingspan and what I felt from the symbol of it flapping its wings was the sheer physical power of its body.
It was the ecstasy of witnessing that huge, muscular device and teaching the firmness of its wings that delighted me and the family reverie girl. It is laborious to convey the fascination and enjoyment we felt in watching the enormity of that miss move off.
The American and Native American unit of the eagle is allied to celestial omnipotence.
Furthermore, the eagle is associated with the sun's power. It is Zeus's person in Greek myths, and to the Christian mystics, is a number 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 additional synchronistic meaning in J. C. Cooper's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols: “ . . . liberate from bondage . . . Alchemic: The soaring eagle is the liberated quota of the prima materia . . . resurrection and the new life in baptism: the marrow renewed by allure “ (italics mine).
In the vision there was a transformation and the skipper gash was instantaneously healed.
It was only later that I realized in Freudian psychology that the foot incision is a sexual wound, the Oedipal gash from the father. In the facts of Oedipus, the youngster guy 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 consign 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 authentic father.
The descendants girl's splinter or foot cut becomes a wound in her head, an unenlightened complex. When the offensive entity is released, the sacred tightness flies out in the sett of the eagle.
The alchemical gold of transformation is in the sway of depression, as the maiden is in the whining adolescent's head.
I felt so signal and thankful that I actually belief my trauma was now over. I felt I had arrived on the new level. Was this the “lifting out” Mary Alice had predicted? You commit be someone new. This is not to talk there weren't recurring relapses into deplore and more 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 reverie 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 study these talking 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 fair shared after spending twenty or so years in Belgium and Switzerland where she pet at the C. G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht, front Zurich. By this case 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 round of therapy, my dreams both descended from the heavens and rose like steam from the underworld and I could not catalogue them speedy enough. Nor could I delay writing poems.
It was a tremendously introspective but fruitful time.
It's oral that the early dreams in an analysis thicken the themes for the complete analysis and so it was in my posses experience.
Here is my best fantasy (with another bird) where I believe I found a new scene of myself and the activity I had to do.
I am on a beautiful beach. It is the manipulate of my neighborhood beach but
much supplementary tropical more like the beach in New Zealand which I recently
proverb on the postcard I received from a dear friend.
I am expressive with my son
and we see in the distance, animated towards us, an void lady wearing a
babushka and flying a kite.
My eight year void son is excited to hold the kite.
As the former countess approaches us, she looks me straight in the eye and holds
out her arm to labourer me the kite string. My son is jumping up and down,
trying to clutch it.
As I look up at the kite itself, I ordinance it is not an inanimate
something but a live vulture that the former peeress is flying on a leash. I back away
from her, shaking my captain No . . . No, I don't privation anything to do with a
But my successors son jumps up and down epigram “Take it Mom,
Please carry it.
” I own shaking my commander and support away, pulling him
away until I snare the eye of the expired woman again and she nods at me as if to
say, “Honey, you'd revise transact this vulture.
It belongs to you. ”
Most of us discern and ascertain the vulture as the schoolgirl who feeds on the dead.
But what I didn't see at the case was the significance of the vulture as a character of underworld wisdom. It was religious to the Egyptians as a guardian of the entry between life and death. In a Jungian sense, the badge came from the collective unconscious, a enormous archetypal image, universally comprehended as an alliance with the dead.
Again, the symbol dictionaries emphasized interpretations synchronistic to my particular experience.
“Since it eats carrion and transforms it into necessary energy, the vulture . . . knows the riddle of the transformation of worthless allied into gold.
” (Herder, 211) And “Ambivalent as maternal solicitude, cover and shelter, and as death-dealing damage and voracity.
All vultures were thought to be lady and symbolized the feminine credo with the vend as masculine (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 notional the den of a vulture” (Cooper).
I had had two girl dreams, one with the father's slash which transforms to a redoubtable inner mainly cipher and one with a crone, a prudent 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 occasion of the dreams.
These were “big dreams,” with collective code which came at a case of crisis.
With the aid of my analyst, I took the vulture fantasy in two ways.
I was feasibly lifted out of my npromising den but by no style had I put my despair slow me.
It was point to mine this underworld and come to grips with its contents.
As the empire of the dead, it furthermore constituted the system of my father. I knew I must go back and look at how I had integrated the dissension team of my father.
My spawn son's sentiment in the dream, his excitement and zest to bring on the vulture, to sublet it fly as his hold pet, showed in Jung's terms, my heirs animus or my newly reborn creative male side, eager and capable of handling this material. I must follow the vulture.
And the void lady, whom I associated to my Polish grandmother, a pious and spiritually prudent immigrant with an permanent faith in the supernatural-she was the archetypal Wise Old Woman.
What had become of the hag, the black side of the Great Mother? Foolishly, I concept she was recent for good.
I didn't place then that in times of new emotional setbacks which carried repressed embitter or fear, she would reappear again, often in the sett of a bag lady.
But for now, I was thrilled to hold an older duchess as an inner mentor, a crone.
I also had her in Winona, who was far from crone-looking but older and wiser than I in the world of dreams.
But this obsolete duchess in the vision was also a potential ration of me, the portion that was wiser than my ego, who I notion I was, what I conviction I needed, that narrow reach to which we control ourselves from our unique egoic perception.
I judicious not to trust the ego's stratum in the dream. The conscious self did not scarcity the vulture; the unconscious animus, my son, was raring to bring it on! With Winona's help, I could see from the wise woman's perspective that she knew better than my identity did.
The reverie clicked in the specific command of my new “path. ” Dream task seemed a blessing man to poetry, my chosen field.
I’ve been immersed in the imagery of both ever since.
Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols.