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The Eagle & The Vulture; Two Archetypal Bird Dreams
When a person is too keenly embedded in the collective, outer
fact of everyday life, the discovery in his or her posses dreams of
universal, archetypal images . . . can be a freeing experience.
(Jungian Dream Interpretation Hall, 114)
In the totality of archetypal symbolism birds in our dreams often motion a sanctified endeavor. After all, they fly above us, closer to the heavens than we normally find ourselves.
Their freedom looks exhilarating. In the body of a jet where we might find ourselves flying faster and higher than birds, we idle dearth open air, the wind in our hair so-to-speak, and we’re confined in mainly trifling seats amongst more people, who moderately than lifting their arms entrained in synch with ours, are coughing, eating, sleeping, working, or looking more concerned than carefree.
Therefore when we perceive our fine feathered friends in dreams, we consider the context of course, but often suppose of the heights and release of the spirit.
Of a extremely great species, unless we are ornithologist, we principally label the birds we see in dreams generally.
Two noted dreams I had at a instance of hallowed apprenticeship in my life delivered messages about two anomalous 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 grieve when a reverie lifted me out of my dejection nearly immediately.
At the instance of the vision I had not been a savant of wish work, but even in my relative ignorance, I could perceive that the fantasy was a blessing. As background information, charter me state again that I had missing my father in adolescence.
When I was thirteen he suffered a uneasy 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 related fact relating to this interval in my descendants life was that my mother told my siblings and I that he died of a pith attack. In her posses stimulate and pain, she soldiered on, never visibly mourning, so that we did not manifest our grief either.
I grew up with a certain suspicion about my father’s death but I kept it to myself and repressed what emotions I had about those two hard years.
I was moderate becoming a peeress and my advent into womanhood was stagy by what I had witnessed, a balmy of tranquillity and sometimes not-so-quiet desperation in my father. I began to reap boyfriends and later, men friends, who would stop me and I often reacted with some maniacal end-of-the-world responses to the termination of these relationships.
By the case that my colleen dreams occurred, I intellectually unmentioned that my reactions to the loss of a friend were irrational and at times, out of rate to the seriousness or privation thereof, of the relationship. I “knew” that my unarticulated grief for my father surfaced and other exacerbated my recognize of loss.
Knowing however, didn’t assistance the affection to subside.
So when in my mid thirties, I was suffering from the betrayal of a partner I had been uncommonly jolly 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 friend suggested I see her astrologer who lived on an island in Casco Bay, face of Portland, Maine where I was living. I liked the idea 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 mislaid my appetite for meals and I lived on cigarettes and spring water. The pronounced October aspect maltreat me with its gorgeous auburn leaves and cerulean sky and the bright contrasting colors stabbed at my eyes like an insult, the absolute outlook somehow provocative of my mislaid happiness.
A day for lovers, I thought.
Whatever the weather, during that hard time, I seemed to turn each day into another actuation to mourn.
The beautiful aspect of churning sinisteru melancholy humidify wrapped around the speckled islands of the bay only made me observe my loneliness additional intensely.
In my self-contained universe, every song on the radio seemed designed to bear back the emblem of my lover, our quixotic ritual of dancing in his living room. I wallowed in memories.
Images played through my disposition like some dopey refrain of the innocent air he’d introduced me to and yet, entirely the wailing country diva myself, I kept bringing them back in decree to ask myself why it harm so much. Was it logical the bovines cliché, betrayal, jealousy, poison and disrepute I felt, or was it truly losing the textile of this wonderful person from my life that caused me this irrepressible grief? I was convinced of the latter. Some things you logical know.
As I debarked from the ship and turned on foot up one of the unpaved roads of the island, my sour was recent but the grief puddled up in my something so that only the consistent pace of my sighs, like the whitecaps, one after another washing censure 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 irrigate to find an answer. Once on the island, I followed the twists in the dirt road according to a scribbled map, my ogle strained from the street notation to the bestial flower gardens, the slatted fences and yards littered with tricycles and lawn chairs even this unpunctual in the season.
The weeds which had begun to overtake the gardens seemed to taste 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 chat without knowing me or my case at all. Yet within my two hour meeting this lovely and expert astrologer, a prudent countess and mistress of metaphor, was able to apportion me explanations about the fragile department of my psyche that made additional comprehend than the thinking I'd worked through in my therapy.
Her best emblem of me was that my hands were stuck in a Chinese puzzle.
The other I tried to wiggle them out, the further I found them locked up. Without receipt too technical, I’ll logical chat that she showed me how two thumping intense planetary transits were at job 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 overlay around my shoulders, playing my saddest pastoral arias allowing myself to descend into the divine gorge of loss— (the explanation interval here is divine) “Until you are lifted out,” she said.
“And you consign be lifted out.
” She peered at me seriously; “And when you are, you cede become someone totally new. ”
On the collective level, Pluto, the planet of ravaging and riches, had impartial entered the symbol of Scorpio where it would remain for the following twelve years.
She explained that in appendage to my personal plight, the macrocosm was moulding an energetic shift itself and that as we came closer to the millennium, many mortals 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 musical Age of Aquarius, I thought, remembering the sixties melodic Hair. So how come I’m miserable? She said my centre had chosen this particular contact and would be aperture to a new purpose but first, thanks to Pluto's renovation technique, it required to be stripped of emotional dependencies, so that I would learn the true temper of love, which was unconditional. She explained that I had three planets in the eighth house, the typical home for Pluto. Later, recital about Pluto I came across this name by the celebrated Jungian-Astrologer Liz Greene: "If there are many planets in the eighth, the the comrade must learn to look darkness in the outside (85).
I didn’t really understand much astrology then, but I did know that I had a loaded eighth dwelling and that mythically, the pedigree is often the means into transformation and I belief of the poet Dante in his threatening woods, the legendary report of Persephone’s abduction, Odysseus' trip to Hades and the many literary figures and writers who went to the underworld before returning with new knowledge 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 posses father. Mary Alice’s astrological gloss 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 device fresh profound at work. My know of loss was halfway disproportional to the detail of the event.
Among fresh things I judicious about my chart that day was the gospel that I had been born to evade my father and with each new loss, the original feeling of loss was triggered.
My stricken mother had wittily recent on when my father died.
With her four spawn 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 routine we were already grieving. My mother did what she idea was the redress thing. Put one foot in lead of the more and play forward.
But I thought I had worked through the themes of the misplaced father in my therapy during the years of my divorce.
To my amaze I found out that Saturn, the Patriarchal Father, was the tsar 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 accommodation of Scorpio, the most intense and emotional sign.
I remembered remarkably the night my father died.
A detective had come to the door with his trilby and coat.
My mother stood at the wall on the stairs and told us our father had had an accident and died of a core attack. I remembered distinctly three conversation surfacing in my head: “he’s killed himself. ” Even at fifteen, my retain unenlightened intuited the reality I didn’t actually identify until I was twenty-nine.
On the trek back to the mainland, I felt for the elite juncture since the breakup as if my emotional and cerebral domain might now make some sense.
Somehow believing in a sanctified salvage and atonement was the most heartening thought I had heard in many months and I had prudent the generate of the “Pluto square” was to decided away what was not “serving” my “higher purpose.
” I was, completely simply, in hell. Incarcerated by the classical God Hades, deep in the sphere of hopelessness and loss.
Another term for the king of subterranean spaces was “Plutus” which procedure “riches.
” Treasures and resurrections were besides associated with Pluto. What I didn’t understand at that juncture was how extremely inclination the trek would bear to yield these treasures.
But shortly thereafter, in earnest, I was lifted out by a major archetypal dream. I known it as superior by the numinosity of the images and the merit of emotional intensity it left me with.
I am animated on the beach with a youngster schoolgirl who is in my care.
She is cranky and nagging me.
I find her to be a TRUE pain in the snog . At some speck she steps on a twig and gets a splinter in her foot.
I try to achieve 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 big as a meat cleaver. I go to pull it out again but when I unchain it from her head, her master splits sensitive in sterile extraordinary surreal planes and out flies a immense bird.
The two uncommonly cubically neat halves of her master flock back into alcove as the eagle flaps its bulky wings and flies above and around us.
We squeeze each other squealing and laughing in awe of the bird’s power, drama like giddy progeny girls and I touch a deep feelings this girl.
This wish was a tremendous release.
I wasn't sure of all the implications but I knew the miss I didn't dearth any part 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 immense bird.
It seemed to me the incision of abandoning beloved and the incision of the father were overlaid and had thrown me back to the lass who had never healed, who lived with this progeny now improve 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 fresh negative augury.
But this schoolgirl was a huge eagle with an bulky wingspan and what I felt from the figure of it flapping its wings was the sheer physical strength of its body.
It was the elation of witnessing that huge, muscular article and feeling the strength of its wings that delighted me and the young dream girl. It is laborious to convey the fascination and enjoyment we felt in watching the enormity of that maiden move off.
The American and Native American amount of the eagle is allied to celestial omnipotence.
Furthermore, the eagle is associated with the sun's power. It is Zeus's individual in Greek myths, and to the Christian mystics, is a character of Christ's ascension, “ . . . besides 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 more synchronistic meaning in J. C. Cooper's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols: “ . . . emancipate from bondage . . . Alchemic: The soaring eagle is the liberated part of the prima materia . . . resurrection and the new life in baptism: the heart renewed by allure “ (italics mine).
In the daydream there was a transformation and the leader cut was instantaneously healed.
It was only hindmost that I realized in Freudian psychology that the foot slash is a sexual wound, the Oedipal cut from the father. In the news of Oedipus, the child 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 final in life is to unconsciously bequeath incest and beget progeny with his mother/wife.
His father had wounded his foot and after Oedipus escapes and is adopted, he grows up and unknowingly kills his actual father.
The heirs girl's splinter or foot cut becomes a nick in her head, an ignorant complex. When the annoying article is released, the holy tenacity flies out in the den of the eagle.
The alchemical gold of transformation is in the surpass of depression, as the lass is in the whining adolescent's head.
I felt so striking 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 chatter there weren't recurring relapses into bewail and further pining, but I felt I had a leg up from the abysmal abyss of despair I'd lived in for so long.
A few days after the dram I picked up a poem by the Hungarian poet Miraslav Holub and scan the lines You ask the answer, it is but one word-Again.
As I study these speech I realized I wanted to go back into therapy.
Driving to a small 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 logical requited after spending twenty or so years in Belgium and Switzerland where she private at the C. G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht, front 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 monetary 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 rapid enough. Nor could I discontinue 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 finished analysis and so it was in my retain experience.
Here is my best desire (with another bird) where I suppose I found a new view of myself and the business I had to do.
I am on a beautiful beach. It is the form of my neighborhood beach but
much other tropical fresh like the beach in New Zealand which I recently
axiom on the postcard I received from a dear friend.
I am moving with my son
and we see in the distance, mobile towards us, an expired peeress wearing a
babushka and flying a kite.
My eight year expired son is excited to hold the kite.
As the lapsed woman approaches us, she looks me long in the eye and holds
out her arm to drudge me the kite string. My son is jumping up and down,
trying to grab it.
As I look up at the kite itself, I command it is not an inanimate
entity but a live vulture that the former duchess is flying on a leash. I back away
from her, shaking my probe No . . . No, I don't privation anything to do with a
But my offspring son jumps up and down maxim “Take it Mom,
Please bear it.
” I obtain shaking my skipper and aid away, pulling him
away until I peril the eye of the expired noblewoman again and she nods at me as if to
say, “Honey, you'd change move this vulture.
It belongs to you. ”
Most of us distinguish and identify 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 blessed to the Egyptians as a guardian of the doorway between life and death. In a Jungian sense, the symbol came from the collective unconscious, a ponderous archetypal image, universally comprehended as an fellowship with the dead.
Again, the unit dictionaries emphasized interpretations synchronistic to my particular experience.
“Since it eats carrion and transforms it into imperative energy, the vulture . . . knows the riddle of the transformation of worthless related into gold.
” (Herder, 211) And “Ambivalent as maternal solicitude, cover and shelter, and as death-dealing damage and voracity.
All vultures were notion to be peeress and symbolized the feminine principle with the vend as male (italics mine) . . . As a scavenger the vulture represented purification, a drudge of good.
In Egypt it represented the Mother Goddess, maternity and love, Isis having assumed the earth of a vulture” (Cooper).
I had had two bird dreams, one with the father's slash which transforms to a mighty inner masculine numeral and one with a crone, a prudent 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 recognized with neither at the juncture of the dreams.
These were “big dreams,” with collective code which came at a situation of crisis.
With the assistance of my analyst, I took the vulture daydream in two ways.
I was perhaps lifted out of my minatory form but by no method had I put my depression unpunctual me.
It was instance to mine this underworld and come to grips with its contents.
As the domain of the dead, it furthermore constituted the totality of my father. I knew I must go back and look at how I had integrated the opposite band of my father.
My successors son's warmth in the dream, his excitement and enthusiasm to transact on the vulture, to sublet it fly as his keep pet, showed in Jung's terms, my spawn animus or my newly reborn creative masculine side, eager and capable of handling this material. I must transpire the vulture.
And the former lady, whom I associated to my Polish grandmother, a pious and spiritually sage immigrant with an permanent faith in the supernatural-she was the archetypal Wise Old Woman.
What had become of the hag, the npromising bunch of the Great Mother? Foolishly, I opinion she was past for good.
I didn't recall then that in times of new emotional setbacks which carried repressed anger or fear, she would reappear again, often in the earth of a bag lady.
But for now, I was thrilled to retain an older gentlewoman 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 expired lady in the desire was moreover a hidden share of me, the portion that was wiser than my ego, who I concept I was, what I idea I needed, that narrow span to which we converse ourselves from our unique egoic perception.
I sensible not to trust the ego's stratum in the dream. The conscious self did not lack the vulture; the unenlightened animus, my son, was raring to carry it on! With Winona's help, I could see from the shrewd woman's perspective that she knew better than my individuality did.
The wish clicked in the specific directive of my new “path. ” Dream business seemed a elite partner to poetry, my chosen field.
I’ve been immersed in the imagery of both ever since.
Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols.