Concept of Dream Work – Detail of Blake's Inferno painting

Personal and Reflective of the Collective Unconscious

This week we will be starting a 4-week series on dream work and dream tending. Freud and Jung both played a significant role in the depth psychological emphasis on the importance of dreams and dream work. However, their orientation to dream function and analysis are distinctly different. In On Dreams, Freud suggests that dreams are a function of repression and “disguised attempts at wish fulfillment”. Freud believed in a more literal rather than symbolic dream interpretation. He emphasized the relationship with biographical predisposition and the interpretation of the analyst. On the other hand, Jung saw dreams as a function of the universal and biological collective imagery moving towards consciousness. They are an expression of the unconscious engaging the ego and producing opportunity for integration. Dreams are both personal and reflective of the collective unconscious.

 

As Above, So Below

The revelations of dream work are always through image or a sensory revelation of the psyche. We can use ethereal realities to repress or disassociate from the realities of the body, the beauty in our humanity, and the poetry of our dying. For some of us, we’re so busy seeking figures of light that we might be missing the wisdoms of the mineral soils and misty caves of the inner mountain. We need to recognize that transcendence avoids intimacy. We need intimacy if we are to experience soul. Soul is in the sweat, the organs, the tickling recesses of the mysterious other. The stranger within ourselves.  If the Egyptian adage, “as above, so below,” is to be taken into account, then we need to recognize that in our flying heights. So, too, we welcome our own death, our melancholy, our cavernous depths, and the stink of sulfur.

 

Getting to Know the Journey

Enter dream tending.  This process shows us the way in and down, as well as the way up and out. Specifically, it shows us our own unique way. In the mass shifting collective cosmic awakening, dream work conserves unique, enriching, deeply intimate, sometimes uncomfortable, but always beautiful work of the soul. In all our spiritual ascent, we find a kind of guttural human experience longing to be discovered.  The imagination is not something of fiction. In peeling back, reflecting and moving down and into the primordial images, we can see that all our organizing systems are structures of fantasy and experience.  We have to begin our dream work by recognizing that we are already living within fantasies. Tending to our dreams is a process of getting to know and falling in love with this journey.

 

Right Here, Right Now

One more thing I want to say about this journey. When the sailors of the West first came to the new world, the native Americans could not understand why these men were so preoccupied with taking. With tilling, mining, claiming, demanding, and pillaging the free land. Recognize that we are in a growth fantasy in our culture to this day. A belief that we are meant to grow upward, upward, upward, and then die. What if our greatest adventure was not to grow but to get to know the real experience of our being in this time. Not to take but to grow. Not to claim and dominate but to feel and connect purely out of the waking fantasy. It is a movement into the imaginal liberation that comes from this work. Always calling out to us, echoes of our true nature, from ancestor to soul path.