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Aussie House Sitting
The Eagle & The Vulture; Two Archetypal Bird Dreams
When a comrade is too extremely embedded in the collective, outer
truth 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 indicate a hallowed endeavor. After all, they fly above us, closer to the heavens than we normally find ourselves.
Their latitude looks exhilarating. In the item of a jet where we might find ourselves flying faster and higher than birds, we inert want sensitive air, the wind in our hair so-to-speak, and we’re confined in mainly insignificant seats amongst fresh people, who rather than lifting their arms entrained in synch with ours, are coughing, eating, sleeping, working, or looking fresh concerned than carefree.
Therefore when we perceive our fine feathered friends in dreams, we consider the context of course, but often imagine of the heights and freedom of the spirit.
Of a extremely substantial species, unless we are ornithologist, we mainly tab the birds we see in dreams generally.
Two important dreams I had at a situation of hallowed probation 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 vow worthwhile journeys.
I had been steeped in moan when a reverie lifted me out of my misery halfway immediately.
At the circumstance of the dream I had not been a scholar of reverie work, but even in my relative ignorance, I could feel that the reverie was a blessing. As background information, hire me province again that I had misplaced my father in adolescence.
When I was thirteen he suffered a nervy 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 former his life.
Another allied actuality relating to this spell in my descendants life was that my mother told my siblings and I that he died of a heart attack. In her keep rouse 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 passion I had about those two tiring years.
I was equitable becoming a duchess and my advent into womanhood was mannered by what I had witnessed, a generous of still and sometimes not-so-quiet desperation in my father. I began to gather boyfriends and later, men friends, who would vacate me and I often reacted with some hysterical end-of-the-world responses to the termination of these relationships.
By the case that my bird dreams occurred, I intellectually tacit that my reactions to the loss of a companion were irrational and at times, out of degree 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 offices the heart to subside.
So when in my mid thirties, I was suffering from the betrayal of a person I had been uncommonly jovial with, I didn’t seek out traditional therapy, having gone 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, guise of Portland, Maine where I was living. I liked the belief of crossing the water, an archetypal subject 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 misplaced my appetite for meals and I lived on cigarettes and skip water. The striking October view molest me with its gorgeous auburn leaves and cerulean sky and the bright contrasting colors stabbed at my eyes like an insult, the absolute 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 cause to mourn.
The beautiful scenery of churning minatory gloomy soak wrapped around the speckled islands of the bay only made me feel my loneliness further intensely.
In my self-contained universe, every song on the radio seemed designed to transact back the emblem of my lover, our utopian ritual of dancing in his living room. I wallowed in memories.
Images played through my temperament like some dopey refrain of the innocent music he’d introduced me to and yet, quite the wailing innocent diva myself, I kept bringing them back in behest to ask myself why it misuse so much. Was it logical the stock cliché, betrayal, jealousy, sour and discredit I felt, or was it truly losing the material of this wonderful individual from my life that caused me this irrepressible grief? I was convinced of the latter. Some things you moderate know.
As I debarked from the boat and turned on foot up one of the unpaved roads of the island, my disaffect was former but the grief puddled up in my entity so that only the consistent speed of my sighs, like the whitecaps, one after another washing censure 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 irrigate to find an answer. Once on the island, I followed the twists in the dirt road according to a scribbled map, my gape pinched from the street cipher to the bestial 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 smell 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 say without knowing me or my occasion at all. Yet within my two hour meeting this lovely and skilful astrologer, a learned duchess and mistress of metaphor, was able to allot me explanations about the fragile domain of my psyche that made further sense than the logical I'd worked through in my therapy.
Her boon token of me was that my hands were stuck in a Chinese puzzle.
The other I tried to wiggle them out, the additional I found them locked up. Without acceptance too technical, I’ll impartial chatter that she showed me how two extraordinary intense planetary transits were at task affecting my moon or emotions, and Venus, my relationship life.
She advised me to smartly surrender, to sit in my rocking chair by the fire, drinking tea with my favorite overlay around my shoulders, playing my saddest idyllic arias allowing myself to descend into the doctrinal gorge of loss— (the guide title here is divine) “Until you are lifted out,” she said.
“And you cede be lifted out.
” She peered at me seriously; “And when you are, you will become someone totally new. ”
On the collective level, Pluto, the planet of destruction and riches, had impartial entered the badge of Scorpio where it would remain for the succeeding twelve years.
She explained that in codicil to my personal plight, the macrocosm was making an vigorous 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 bring many years to become apparent.
Oh yeah, the melodic Age of Aquarius, I thought, remembering the sixties lyrical Hair. So how come I’m miserable? She uttered my marrow had chosen this particular collision and would be hole to a new purpose but first, thanks to Pluto's renovation technique, it requisite 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 normal home for Pluto. Later, declaiming about Pluto I came across this present by the superior Jungian-Astrologer Liz Greene: "If there are many planets in the eighth, the the fellow must learn to look darkness in the face (85).
I didn’t really surmise much astrology then, but I did know that I had a loaded eighth house and that mythically, the genealogy is often the procedure into transformation and I opinion of the poet Dante in his gloomy woods, the mythological report of Persephone’s abduction, Odysseus' expedition to Hades and the many literary figures and writers who went to the underworld before returning with new letters to deliver to the upper world.
I was further 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 key for my crisis clicked intuitively in a method 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 something further profound at work. My know of loss was partly disproportional to the gospel of the event.
Among fresh things I judicious about my chart that day was the reality that I had been born to lose my father and with each new loss, the original doctrine of loss was triggered.
My stricken mother had wittily preceding on when my father died.
With her four issue 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 opinion was the repair thing. Put one foot in escort of the other and play forward.
But I concept 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 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 habitat 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 handrail on the stairs and told us our father had had an accident and died of a spirit attack. I remembered strikingly three language surfacing in my head: “he’s killed himself. ” Even at fifteen, my have unenlightened intuited the actuality I didn’t actually identify until I was twenty-nine.
On the cruise back to the mainland, I felt for the peak occasion since the breakup as if my emotional and rational department might now make some sense.
Somehow believing in a sacred reclamation and retrieval was the most heartening belief I had heard in many months and I had wise the generate of the “Pluto square” was to marked away what was not “serving” my “higher purpose.
” I was, wholly simply, in hell. Incarcerated by the classical God Hades, deep in the sphere of misery and loss.
Another word for the sovereign of subterranean spaces was “Plutus” which procedure “riches.
” Treasures and resurrections were besides associated with Pluto. What I didn’t sense at that circumstance was how thumping want the expedition would bring to yield these treasures.
But shortly thereafter, in earnest, I was lifted out by a major archetypal dream. I declared it as esteemed by the numinosity of the images and the sort of emotional intensity it left me with.
I am motile on the beach with a kid maiden who is in my care.
She is cranky and nagging me.
I find her to be a real pain in the neck . At some spot 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 correct 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 liberate it from her head, her head splits open in sanitary extraordinary surreal planes and out flies a huge bird.
The two uncommonly cubically neat halves of her probe fold back into cubby-hole as the eagle flaps its weighty wings and flies above and around us.
We hug each further squealing and laughing in awe of the bird’s power, show like giddy family girls and I observe a deep passion this girl.
This dram was a tremendous release.
I wasn't sure of all the implications but I knew the girl I didn't privation 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 cleft of abandoning sweetheart and the cut of the father were overlaid and had thrown me back to the bird who had never healed, who lived with this successors now amend between the eyes.
Depending on the genus, birds are often associated with the spiritual world, the heavens, although some like the owl, albatross or raven are associated with fresh dissension augury.
But this miss was a colossal eagle with an bulky wingspan and what I felt from the emblem of it flapping its wings was the sheer physical tightness of its body.
It was the bliss of witnessing that huge, muscular phenomenon and belief the tightness of its wings that delighted me and the heirs fantasy girl. It is tiring to convey the fascination and gratification we felt in watching the enormity of that colleen manage 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 fellow in Greek myths, and to the Christian mystics, is a quantity of Christ's ascension, “ . . . also 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 supplementary synchronistic meaning in J. C. Cooper's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols: “ . . . emancipate from bondage . . . Alchemic: The soaring eagle is the liberated slice of the prima materia . . . resurrection and the new life in baptism: the heart renewed by loveliness “ (italics mine).
In the daydream there was a transformation and the skipper slash was instantaneously healed.
It was only latter that I realized in Freudian psychology that the foot nick is a sexual wound, the Oedipal wound from the father. In the facts of Oedipus, the adolescent bloke 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 hindmost in life is to unconsciously consign incest and beget spawn with his mother/wife.
His father had wounded his foot and after Oedipus escapes and is adopted, he grows up and unknowingly kills his legitimate father.
The young girl's splinter or foot slash becomes a slash in her head, an unschooled complex. When the annoying body is released, the sacred firmness flies out in the sett of the eagle.
The alchemical gold of transformation is in the vanguard of depression, as the maid is in the whining adolescent's head.
I felt so pronounced and appreciative 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 talk there weren't recurring relapses into lament and other pining, but I felt I had a leg up from the abysmal crater of melancholy I'd lived in for so long.
A few days after the dream 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 scan these conversation I realized I wanted to go back into therapy.
Driving to a trivial seacoast town an hour away, I began going twice a week for two hour and a half sessions with Winona, a petite noblewoman who grew up in New England and had reasonable common after spending twenty or so years in Belgium and Switzerland where she tame at the C. G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht, guise Zurich. By this situation my ex and I had sold and break the proceeds of our house.
I bought the beach condo and used some of the money for analysis.
Due to the intensity of three analytic hours a week, during this ambit of therapy, my dreams both descended from the heavens and rose like steam from the underworld and I could not guide them hasty enough. Nor could I stop writing poems.
It was a tremendously introspective but fruitful time.
It's vocal that the early dreams in an analysis crystallize the themes for the full analysis and so it was in my hold experience.
Here is my top dram (with another bird) where I surmise I found a new outlook of myself and the activity I had to do.
I am on a beautiful beach. It is the work of my neighborhood beach but
much supplementary tropical additional like the beach in New Zealand which I recently
saying on the postcard I received from a dear friend.
I am motile with my son
and we see in the distance, motile towards us, an lapsed lady wearing a
babushka and flying a kite.
My eight year expired son is excited to hug the kite.
As the expired peeress approaches us, she looks me straight in the eye and holds
out her arm to worker me the kite string. My son is jumping up and down,
trying to catch it.
As I look up at the kite itself, I order it is not an inanimate
phenomenon but a live vulture that the void duchess is flying on a leash. I back away
from her, shaking my commander No . . . No, I don't need anything to do with a
But my young son jumps up and down proverb “Take it Mom,
Please move it.
” I obtain shaking my leader and aegis away, pulling him
away until I trap the eye of the obsolete gentlewoman again and she nods at me as if to
say, “Honey, you'd amend bear this vulture.
It belongs to you. ”
Most of us recognize and name the vulture as the bird who feeds on the dead.
But what I didn't see at the juncture was the significance of the vulture as a number of underworld wisdom. It was holy to the Egyptians as a guardian of the threshold between life and death. In a Jungian sense, the device came from the collective unconscious, a heavy archetypal image, universally comprehended as an association with the dead.
Again, the figure dictionaries emphasized interpretations synchronistic to my particular experience.
“Since it eats carrion and transforms it into requisite energy, the vulture . . . knows the secret of the transformation of worthless material into gold.
” (Herder, 211) And “Ambivalent as maternal solicitude, shelter and shelter, and as death-dealing havoc and voracity.
All vultures were belief to be female and symbolized the feminine dogma with the sell as virile (italics mine) . . . As a scavenger the vulture represented purification, a workman of good.
In Egypt it represented the Mother Goddess, maternity and love, Isis having theoretical the den of a vulture” (Cooper).
I had had two bird dreams, one with the father's nick which transforms to a awful inner mainly unit and one with a crone, a wise 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 confidential with neither at the case of the dreams.
These were “big dreams,” with collective symbols which came at a time of crisis.
With the aid of my analyst, I took the vulture vision in two ways.
I was perhaps lifted out of my menacing cave but by no practice had I put my depression tardy me.
It was juncture to mine this underworld and come to grips with its contents.
As the sphere of the dead, it also constituted the world of my father. I knew I must go back and look at how I had integrated the denial gang of my father.
My spawn son's emotion in the dream, his excitement and enthusiasm to bring on the vulture, to agreement it fly as his own pet, showed in Jung's terms, my descendants animus or my newly reborn creative male side, eager and capable of handling this material. I must chance the vulture.
And the old lady, whom I associated to my Polish grandmother, a pious and spiritually sensible immigrant with an durable faith in the supernatural-she was the archetypal Wise Old Woman.
What had become of the hag, the black band of the Great Mother? Foolishly, I impression she was foregone for good.
I didn't spot then that in times of new emotional setbacks which carried repressed embitter or fear, she would reappear again, often in the den of a bag lady.
But for now, I was thrilled to obtain an older duchess 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 expired peeress in the vision was also a passive slice of me, the allowance that was wiser than my ego, who I impression I was, what I concept I needed, that narrow range to which we converse ourselves from our unique egoic perception.
I sage not to trust the ego's status in the dream. The conscious self did not need the vulture; the unconscious animus, my son, was raring to carry it on! With Winona's help, I could see from the learned woman's perspective that she knew ameliorate than my singularity did.
The dram clicked in the specific behest of my new “path. ” Dream work seemed a best partner to poetry, my chosen field.
I’ve been immersed in the imagery of both ever since.
Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols.