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The Eagle & The Vulture; Two Archetypal Bird Dreams
When a man is too painfully 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 globe of archetypal symbolism birds in our dreams often indicate a consecrated endeavor. After all, they fly above us, closer to the heavens than we normally find ourselves.
Their leeway looks exhilarating. In the item of a jet where we might find ourselves flying faster and higher than birds, we still absence willing air, the wind in our hair so-to-speak, and we’re confined in chiefly trifling seats amongst supplementary people, who somewhat than lifting their arms entrained in synch with ours, are coughing, eating, sleeping, working, or looking more concerned than carefree.
Therefore when we caress our fine feathered friends in dreams, we consider the context of course, but often think of the heights and price of the spirit.
Of a uncommonly immense species, unless we are ornithologist, we mostly ticket the birds we see in dreams generally.
Two revered dreams I had at a point of holy novitiate in my life delivered messages about two digressive paths due to the differences in the winged creatures and the situations in which they appeared.
Yet both dreams appeared to attestation worthwhile journeys.
I had been steeped in grieve when a dream lifted me out of my depression almost immediately.
At the occasion of the dream I had not been a egghead of vision work, but even in my relative ignorance, I could fondle that the reverie was a blessing. As background information, contract me state again that I had gone my father in adolescence.
When I was thirteen he suffered a trembling 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 elapsed his life.
Another related reality relating to this duration in my heirs life was that my mother told my siblings and I that he died of a kernel attack. In her keep stimulate and pain, she soldiered on, never visibly mourning, so that we did not manifest our grief either.
I grew up with a certain doubt about my father’s death but I kept it to myself and repressed what affection I had about those two strenuous years.
I was unbiased becoming a gentlewoman and my advent into womanhood was affected by what I had witnessed, a kindly of calm and sometimes not-so-quiet desperation in my father. I began to gather boyfriends and later, men friends, who would leave me and I often reacted with some insane end-of-the-world responses to the termination of these relationships.
By the point that my schoolgirl dreams occurred, I intellectually unmentioned that my reactions to the loss of a friend 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 other exacerbated my sense of loss.
Knowing however, didn’t offices the feelings to subside.
So when in my mid thirties, I was suffering from the betrayal of a friend I had been very jocular 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 comrade suggested I see her astrologer who lived on an island in Casco Bay, appearance of Portland, Maine where I was living. I liked the belief of crossing the water, an archetypal topic 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 spring water. The clear October landscape harm me with its gorgeous auburn leaves and cerulean sky and the open contrasting colors stabbed at my eyes like an insult, the flawless outlook somehow provocative of my mislaid happiness.
A day for lovers, I thought.
Whatever the weather, during that difficult time, I seemed to turn each day into another impetus to mourn.
The beautiful scene of churning npromising blue wet wrapped around the speckled islands of the bay only made me perceive my loneliness additional intensely.
In my self-contained universe, every song on the radio seemed designed to move back the token of my lover, our visionary ritual of dancing in his living room. I wallowed in memories.
Images played through my temperament like some dopey refrain of the simple orchestration he’d introduced me to and yet, totally the wailing pastoral diva myself, I kept bringing them back in direction to ask myself why it bully so much. Was it fair the beasts cliché, betrayal, jealousy, embitter and shame I felt, or was it truly losing the essence of this wonderful fellow 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 boat and overripe on foot up one of the unpaved roads of the island, my disillusion was recent but the grief puddled up in my item so that only the consistent pulse of my sighs, like the whitecaps, one after another washing against the boat, could convince me I was inert 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 gawk drawn from the street cipher 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 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 chatter without knowing me or my case at all. Yet within my two hour meeting this lovely and accomplished astrologer, a learned lady and mistress of metaphor, was able to bestow me explanations about the fragile department of my psyche that made supplementary perceive than the thinking I'd worked through in my therapy.
Her boon image of me was that my hands were stuck in a Chinese puzzle.
The additional I tried to wiggle them out, the fresh I found them locked up. Without obtaining too technical, I’ll equitable prate that she showed me how two extremely intense planetary transits were at business affecting my moon or emotions, and Venus, my relationship life.
She advised me to neatly surrender, to sit in my rocking chair by the fire, drinking tea with my favorite cloak around my shoulders, playing my saddest simple arias allowing myself to descend into the scriptual gap of loss— (the gloss duration 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 commit become someone quite new. ”
On the collective level, Pluto, the planet of devastation and riches, had reasonable entered the symbol of Scorpio where it would remain for the sequential twelve years.
She explained that in postscript to my personal plight, the creation was creation an racy shift itself and that as we came closer to the millennium, many persons 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 harmonious Age of Aquarius, I thought, remembering the sixties musical Hair. So how come I’m miserable? She said my marrow had chosen this particular impression and would be fracture to a new purpose but first, thanks to Pluto's renovation technique, it obligatory to be stripped of emotional dependencies, so that I would learn the true humour of love, which was unconditional. She explained that I had three planets in the eighth house, the normal home for Pluto. Later, recital about Pluto I came across this advance by the famous Jungian-Astrologer Liz Greene: "If there are many planets in the eighth, the the partner must learn to look darkness in the facade (85).
I didn’t really credit much astrology then, but I did notice that I had a loaded eighth domicile and that mythically, the ancestry is often the procedure into transformation and I concept of the poet Dante in his menacing woods, the mythical news of Persephone’s abduction, Odysseus' voyage to Hades and the many literary figures and writers who went to the underworld before returning with new learning 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 answer for my crisis clicked intuitively in a fashion 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 further profound at work. My understand of loss was midpoint disproportional to the truth of the event.
Among more things I sensible about my chart that day was the actuality that I had been born to elude my father and with each new loss, the original impression of loss was triggered.
My stricken mother had simply 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 fashion we were already grieving. My mother did what she impression was the improve thing. Put one foot in sway of the further and machination forward.
But I impression I had worked through the themes of the absent father in my therapy during the years of my divorce.
To my astonish 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 domicile 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 boater and coat.
My mother stood at the parapet on the stairs and told us our father had had an accident and died of a core attack. I remembered markedly three words surfacing in my head: “he’s killed himself. ” Even at fifteen, my keep unschooled intuited the gospel I didn’t actually identify until I was twenty-nine.
On the cruise back to the mainland, I felt for the elite occasion since the breakup as if my emotional and mental domain might now make some sense.
Somehow believing in a hallowed reclamation and reclamation was the most heartening notion I had heard in many months and I had shrewd the generate of the “Pluto square” was to marked away what was not “serving” my “higher purpose.
” I was, totally simply, in hell. Incarcerated by the classical God Hades, deep in the empire of depression and loss.
Another interval for the tsar of subterranean spaces was “Plutus” which practice “riches.
” Treasures and resurrections were also associated with Pluto. What I didn’t know at that situation was how extremely enthusiasm the excursion would bring 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 superiority of emotional intensity it left me with.
I am walking on the beach with a adolescent lass who is in my care.
She is cranky and nagging me.
I find her to be a legitimate pain in the smooch . At some dot 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 rectify between her eyes.
Now I am truly concerned about her because the splinter has become a wedge as colossal as a meat cleaver. I go to pull it out again but when I discharge it from her head, her leader splits flexible in sanitary remarkably surreal planes and out flies a immense bird.
The two remarkably cubically neat halves of her leader district back into calling as the eagle flaps its ponderous wings and flies above and around us.
We embrace each further squealing and laughing in awe of the bird’s power, drama like giddy young girls and I stroke a deep love this girl.
This dram was a tremendous release.
I wasn't sure of all the implications but I knew the bird I didn't privation any share of was me at thirteen or fourteen, that it spoke of an teenager wound, most likely my father's death, and that out of this girl's pain had come a vast bird.
It seemed to me the slash of abandoning boyfriend and the cut of the father were overlaid and had thrown me back to the girl who had never healed, who lived with this spawn now remedy 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 additional rejection augury.
But this lass was a colossal eagle with an ponderous wingspan and what I felt from the emblem of it flapping its wings was the sheer physical tightness of its body.
It was the rhapsody of witnessing that huge, muscular phenomenon and opinion the strength of its wings that delighted me and the children fantasy girl. It is heavy to convey the fascination and enjoyment we felt in watching the enormity of that lass bring off.
The American and Native American figure of the eagle is material to celestial omnipotence.
Furthermore, the eagle is associated with the sun's power. It is Zeus's partner in Greek myths, and to the Christian mystics, is a number of Christ's ascension, “ . . . moreover an characteristic of John the Evangelist . . . Jung regards the eagle as a father symbol. ” (Imagine my surprise!!!) (The Herder Symbol Dictionary 63) I found even further synchronistic meaning in J. C. Cooper's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols: “ . . . release 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 symmetry “ (italics mine).
In the reverie there was a transformation and the leader nick was instantaneously healed.
It was only final that I realized in Freudian psychology that the foot gash is a sexual wound, the Oedipal wound from the father. In the information of Oedipus, the child lad 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 bequeath incest and beget family 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 spawn girl's splinter or foot incision becomes a nick in her head, an nescient complex. When the vexing entity is released, the spiritual strength flies out in the burrow of the eagle.
The alchemical gold of transformation is in the sway of depression, as the lass is in the whining adolescent's head.
I felt so blatant and appreciative that I actually idea 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 gossip there weren't recurring relapses into deplore and additional pining, but I felt I had a leg up from the abysmal chasm of dejection 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 scrutinize the lines You ask the answer, it is but one word-Again.
As I construe these utterance 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 lady who grew up in New England and had moderate mutual after spending twenty or so years in Belgium and Switzerland where she homely at the C. G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht, appearance Zurich. By this situation my ex and I had sold and split the proceeds of our house.
I bought the beach condo and used some of the budgetary 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 catalogue them express enough. Nor could I break writing poems.
It was a tremendously introspective but fruitful time.
It's vocal that the early dreams in an analysis coagulate the themes for the entire analysis and so it was in my obtain experience.
Here is my prime dram (with another bird) where I think I found a new vista of myself and the work 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
aphorism on the postcard I received from a dear friend.
I am motile with my son
and we see in the distance, walking towards us, an invalid countess wearing a
babushka and flying a kite.
My eight year lapsed son is excited to embrace the kite.
As the expired woman approaches us, she looks me straight in the eye and holds
out her arm to navvy me the kite string. My son is jumping up and down,
trying to snatch it.
As I look up at the kite itself, I edict it is not an inanimate
body but a live vulture that the expired duchess is flying on a leash. I back away
from her, shaking my probe No . . . No, I don't deficiency anything to do with a
But my heirs son jumps up and down adage “Take it Mom,
Please manage it.
” I hold shaking my captain and aegis away, pulling him
away until I snare the eye of the invalid countess again and she nods at me as if to
say, “Honey, you'd better move this vulture.
It belongs to you. ”
Most of us recognize and ascertain the vulture as the girl who feeds on the dead.
But what I didn't see at the juncture was the significance of the vulture as a quantity of underworld wisdom. It was sacred to the Egyptians as a guardian of the entry between life and death. In a Jungian sense, the symbol came from the collective unconscious, a ponderous archetypal image, universally comprehended as an cooperation with the dead.
Again, the unit dictionaries emphasized interpretations synchronistic to my particular experience.
“Since it eats carrion and transforms it into needful energy, the vulture . . . knows the mystery of the transformation of worthless akin into gold.
” (Herder, 211) And “Ambivalent as maternal solicitude, lee and shelter, and as death-dealing ravaging and voracity.
All vultures were belief to be peeress and symbolized the feminine tenet with the market as manlike (italics mine) . . . As a scavenger the vulture represented purification, a menial of good.
In Egypt it represented the Mother Goddess, maternity and love, Isis having hypothetical the hole of a vulture” (Cooper).
I had had two maid dreams, one with the father's cut which transforms to a mighty inner mainly digit and one with a crone, a shrewd inner feminine associated with the Egyptian Mother Goddess, Isis.
Consciously, in my quotidian life, I had no ground for having dreamt these symbols.
I was confidential with neither at the occasion of the dreams.
These were “big dreams,” with collective signs which came at a case of crisis.
With the backing of my analyst, I took the vulture reverie in two ways.
I was conceivably lifted out of my dark sett but by no manner had I put my depression behind me.
It was instance to mine this underworld and come to grips with its contents.
As the dominion of the dead, it moreover constituted the cosmos of my father. I knew I must go back and look at how I had integrated the rejection crew of my father.
My heirs son's feeling in the dream, his excitement and zest to move on the vulture, to rent it fly as his own pet, showed in Jung's terms, my issue animus or my newly reborn creative masculine side, eager and capable of handling this material. I must transpire the vulture.
And the expired lady, whom I associated to my Polish grandmother, a pious and spiritually learned immigrant with an durable faith in the supernatural-she was the archetypal Wise Old Woman.
What had become of the hag, the menacing side of the Great Mother? Foolishly, I notion she was gone for good.
I didn't identify then that in times of new emotional setbacks which carried repressed envenom or fear, she would reappear again, often in the earth of a bag lady.
But for now, I was thrilled to have an older duchess as an inner mentor, a crone.
I moreover had her in Winona, who was far from crone-looking but older and wiser than I in the universe of dreams.
But this expired woman in the fantasy was moreover a dormant part of me, the part that was wiser than my ego, who I belief I was, what I belief I needed, that narrow compass to which we converse ourselves from our unique egoic perception.
I prudent not to trust the ego's position in the dream. The conscious self did not scarcity the vulture; the unenlightened animus, my son, was raring to move it on! With Winona's help, I could see from the sage woman's perspective that she knew renovate than my identity did.
The desire clicked in the specific rule of my new “path. ” Dream afafir seemed a blessing fellow to poetry, my chosen field.
I’ve been immersed in the imagery of both ever since.
Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols.