Friday, March 30, 2012

The "traditional spirit"

I was reading Jung's "Individual Dream Symbolism in Relation to Alchemy" and came across the following passage - it drew my attention to it over and over, feeling like there was something important that I needed to absorb. As I re-read it I remembered my small animal dream and the young feminine:

A childish consciousness is always tied to father and mother, and is never by itself. Return to childhood is always the return to father and mother, to the whole burden of the psychic non-egos represented by the parents, with its long and momentous history...

It is of course impossible to free oneself from one's childhood without devoting a great deal of work to it, as Freud's researches have long since shown. Nor can it be achieved through intellectual knowledge only; what is alone effective is a remembering that is also a re-experiencing. The swift passage of the years and the overwhelming inrush of the newly discovered world leave a mass of material behind that is never dealt with. We do not shake this off; we merely remove ourselves from it. So that when, in later years, we return to the memories of childhood we find bits of our personality still alive, which cling round us and suffuse us with the feeling of earlier times. Being still in their childhood state, these fragments are very powerful in their effect. They can lose their infantile aspect and be corrected only when they are reunited with adult consciousness. This "personal unconscious" must always be dealt with first, that is, made conscious, otherwise the gateway to the collective unconscious cannot be opened. The journey with father and mother up and down many ladders represents the making conscious of infantile contents that have not yet been integrated.


(Jung, Dreams, 1974, p. 136, para 79 & 81.)


There's some relationship with the father, as well - he keeps showing up in my dreams (including the most recent dream dancing to funk). I keep wondering what for - is it my actual father? Or the archetype of the father? Or both? And not just my father but G's "father" has been referred to. Earlier in the same lecture Jung talks about the archetype of the father:

The father, the embodiment of the traditional spirit as expressed in religion or a general philosophy of life, is standing in the way. He imprisons the dreamer in the world of the conscious mind and its values. The traditional masculine world with its intellectualism and rationalism is felt to be an impediment, from which we must conclude that the unconscious, now approaching him, stands in direct opposition to the tendencies of the conscious mind and that the dreamer, despite this opposition, is already favourably disposed towards the unconscious. For this reason, the latter should not be subordinated to the rationalistic judgments of consciousness; it ought rather to be an experience sui generis. (124, para 59)



This passage brought to mind the dream I had where my father was literally giving me "spirits" (alcohol) - in it he drank whiskey, but I wanted absinthe, a spirit that I associated with wildness, specialness. It's also a drink I associate with Marissa - we first drank it together (it's "our drink") - another association with the "wild, free feminine."

I spent the last 10 years, more or less, being extremely "rationalistic." This seems to have differentiated and sharpened what had previously been a mushing together of my thinking and intuitive functions; I had always thought intuitively, but the last 10 years I trained myself to be very clear, logical and rational in my thinking. Although I went too far in that direction, and certainly benefitted from moving back to a more balanced way of thinking, this process allowed me to separate out and differentiate the two. Now I can think rationally and intuitively, depending on what the situation calls for.


Dream sequence

I went back and looked at how the "father" changed in my dreams - he's been appearing a lot lately, in particular. As I was doing it I felt more and more of my childhood crowding in on me... and the "child" being born in me.


Heads, use different heads for different views of same story.
Old man is being annoying - it's Hades' father. Hades is taking care of him.

The ego finds Hades' father annoying but Hades is taking care of him. I need different heads in order to have different views of the same story; different heads means different ways of thinking. Hades here is an archetype, not a person; he's the archetype of the demon lover. Also, G is a Hades; is he part of the dream? The old man is the grandfather; before father, ancient way of looking, older than the father. Is this related to a different way of thinking? The animus has taken care of older way of thinking - I need a different way.

9/22/11

[G and I] sit down on the ground, amongst a bunch of gangster type black youths. He pulls out a gun. He puts it down on his bag while we talk. I eventually get too freaked out by it and put it away in his bag. I ask him why on earth he has it and he says he got it from his father.

The gun is male power... potent, directed, point and shoot, the male member (which "shoots" sperm). It's also related to death, which can indicate rebirth (this is related to later dreams about pregnancy and birth.) The group of black men is group of men is undifferentiated masculinity, dissolving into a multiplicity (or maybe coming together?) In the last dream Hades took care of his father. In this one, G, a Hades, has directed power which he got from the father.

12/24/11

A woman is showing me how to take care of someone who's pregnant. she takes some small towels, puts them on another towel (that's on a bed?) and sprays them with alcohol to disinfect them. Then she tells me I'm pregnant. I want to get an abortion but she disapproves...

Amanda's had her child. It (he?) is in the other room, sleeping on his stomach. I have the urge to rub the child's back. The Dad is nowhere to be seen but Donald is there, talking witht he child. I think to myself the child is going to imprint on Don as the father figure.

I'm pregnant - something is being born from me. In the second part of the dream I want to take care of the child. Don is like G; he, too, has both Hades and Poseidon in his personality (although his primary and secondary types are reversed from G's.) Don's also like the Father - he's my father's brother - they're of the same generation - and, in addition, he was my surrogate father for a while. The third part is my connection with G; our relationship has impregnated me with the "child"

1/2/12

There's an open house of an apartment that's opened. I don't think I can buy it because I already have one and my money is in that - it's not as nice and it's smaller. This one is huge and has all sorts of great features built in. One is a red hood over the stove. The other is a dish cabinet that has a bench and chairs built in - when you have company you pull down the chairs. If you have a lot of company you can pull the whole bench down. I go exploring around the apartment. There are book cases - they make a small, windowed alcove in the corner for a tiny study "for the father to sit in."

"New apartment" means a new home, a new self (i.e. ego.) A new self has opened up - huge, with great features. I have a lot invested in my old self. The "built in features" of this new self are the red hood, the dish cabinet and the table and chairs - all have to do with cooking and eating, with food and nourishment. There's also a built in alcove "for the father," the mind. It's like the dream is saying, "Don't worry, there's a place for the intellect here, too."

3/1/12

With family in an old house (Victorian). There's a drink machine. The father pushes a button and gets a bunch of liquor. When he puts it out he tells me to be careful, it's strong. It's in a big green bottle - I can tell it's port. Then I ask for absinthe, which I drink.

The Victorian house is the traditional self, a traditional idea of the self. The father is there - it's the family house. It's a traditional idea of the collective unconscious. The drink machine is to "quench thirst" but with an element of something mechanical; push a button and out it comes. Is this because the traditional idea of spirit and religion is like that? The father, the traditional spirit, drinks traditional spirit (whiskey) but I drink absinthe, something young, wild, unusual and special. Something I associate with Marissa, the "young spirit."

3/11/12

I'm in a car with my Dad and a black woman - she's the one who's driving. I'm giving her directions, trying to get us out to the main road, where I assume she'll be able to figure out how to go from (we're at my Grandparent's neighborhood wehre I grew up.) We end up driving over our property and onto our driveawy. I think this is true because we can get out from there, and we do. As we drive down the road which will take us to the main road, I see they've put up barbed wire fencing. They turned that part (which used to be a wilderness) into a golf course. I feel bad. They tell me they did this at another place, too.

The black woman is the black anima, the natural woman. She's the anima of my animus... or at least the traditional spirit part of my animus. Does this mean that part of me is stuck in animal desire and/or power games? She's the one who's driving us on this trip. We're at my grandparents' place; the place of my past (before my father) but also of my own childhood. The wilderness is changed to a golf course - "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot." The golf course is tame, civilized. It's where old people go. The wild place was destroyed to make a place for the "traditional spirit."

3/20/12

A man (and his son?) are looking for a phone. They ask me and we all (I guess I'm with others) go all around with the two. We go all around but we can't find a single public phone. We go into my food coop to look for one. While we're looking, he picks up some food (some meat). We find a guard. Before he can accuse us I go over to him and ask him where there's a phone. He accuses us anyway, pointing to the food. I say that we paid for those (which we had) and get my membership card to slap down on the table in front of him. Then he's a tiny dog (or has a tiny dog head, or something like that.)

The father and son want to communicate (like the previous letter?) The food coop and food - the Father gets the meat. The guard (the Inner Cop) tries to stop it - dogs are servile, companions. They're also associated with police dogs. He has a small head - he can't think. The cop is just following what he was told, not thinking. The son is the child, the child who was born previously. He's the new project. The traditional spirit is with the new project, trying to communicate. The inner policeman is in the way but we get past the "tiny dog" - he's smaller and weaker than he first might appear.

3/27/12

Some people have been forcibly kept there by my father. I go find out from them what they need and gather the things up to take to their ship. They ask if my father won't try to stop me. As I try to go to their ship, my father stands in my way and starts talking, quite reasonably. He falls or lays down in front of me. I start yelling at him, that he's trying to stop them from leaving, and that if it was him who was taken prisoner I'd die to set him free. I'm banging bottles on the metal scaffolding as I talk. I finally just walk over him, twisting my foot in his wound while I walk over him.

The traditional spirit/intellect is keeping other parts of my personality from going where they need to, but I'm trying to help them. They're travelling on a ship - travel is a common theme in my dreams. A ship is a vessel that goes over water, over the unconscious. The "father" tries to stop me by being "reasonable," a typical move for the negative animus. It tries to convince you that you're wrong and crazy. I get past him by walking over him (although he himself lays down first.) But am I hurting him while doing this?

3/28/12

My father is out with his co-workers in the water - they're in fake boats (like robots) working while their real boats are inside. He notices bad guys (the bad guy?) They're amused - they take our ship. Whey they go back in they see that all the rest of the people are scared - the bad guys took over while they were in the water. The bad guy robot beats up the robot of my father. He's hurting him - at that point, my father's face becomes square, like a lego man.

From here on out the dreams become difficult for me to understand; I've noticed that if I wait a few days, or even longer, they becomes much more intelligible. Going back and looking over my dreams today, I noticed that many of the them were amazingly clear - I guess I've progressed enough that what was my "backside" then has become my front side.

Earlier in this dream it mentioned that I was "studying Japanese" (which feels like Jungianism to me - a different language, different country, a desired "place," the place of dreams, the past, of the ancestors.) In this part of the dream, the intellect/traditional spirit is with other parts of my personality which work together with it. They're in "fake boats" - this reminds me of the boat the other parts of my personality were trying to get on which the "father" was trying to keep them from. These boats are robots; they're mechanical, not alive - robots look like people but they're not. The real boats are inside - why didn't they take the real boats? Is it because the intellect here, or the traditional spirit, is incapable of getting the real boats? That it's too mechanical in it's approach? The "bad guys" (whoever they are) took over while the "father" was out in the water in the fake boats. The bad guy's robot beats up the intellect/spirit (I'm really unsure about this whole dream...)

3/29/12

I'm thinking of things to do on the trip. I want to get out and do things, like G did on his trip. There's a tiny house. Two young girls are playing in the front. I go in to see how they fixed it up. I hear a voice telling me that they put the twins' bunkbeds in the old fireplace to save space. I look at it but it just looks like a bricked in old fireplace. Two doors swing out - I can see two beds fitted into the alcove behind it in the tiny, closet like space. When you swing the doors closed there's a narrow gap left between them - this way you can open it easily but the doors still provide a visual barrier to the beds. I look around for the parents' bed. I go around to an alcove but but there's nothing there. When I look back at the main room again, I see the bed right there out in the open. The father's lounging on it.

The two young girls are the twins; the two sides of me, the conscious me and the soft side of me. The fireplace is the hearth, the "heart" of a home. I'm again on my journey, and again in a new home, a new self. The Father is there again - he's in the bed, the personal space, the inner space, the space where dreams are made (not quite sure of this dream either...)



The sequence is from distance to closeness, varying between helpful, obstructive and ineffective. One things that's interesting is his association with the child - the new project that's being born in me. He's often with him, or helping him or the child needs him. And there's definitely a place for him in my new life. Another interesting thing are the two couples: the animus and me, and the father and his anima. Both of us seem to be struggling with the "natural man/woman" - the anima(us) that is born with us, which needs to be transformed into a subtle form.

There's fertility; sex, birth, death. There's spirituality; "spirits" and the water. There's childhood and the mind. All of these things are bound up with the archetype of the "father" in my head.


... I feel like I'm not ending this post properly. I'm going to have to let this concept cook a little more - I'm sure there will be an edit in the future!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

The son of chaos

In a primeval forest. An elephant looms up menacingly. Then a large ape-man, bear, or cave-man threatens to attack the dreamer with a club. Suddenly the "man with the pointed beard" appears and stares at the aggressor so that he is spellbound. But the dreamer is terrified. The voice says, "Everything must be ruled by the light."


This is another post about the role of "satan" in the psyche. Earlier, I'd explored his role as the instigator; the problem that breaks the false peace and opens the door to further growth. Here he shows another face, that of the double natured intellect which can both possess us and cut us off from living, but can also be the most powerful weapon we have in facing and illuminating the chaotic contents of the unconscious.

In an earlier dream we meet the "man with a pointed beard," the demonic Mephistopheles who guided Faust in his journeys. As long as we identify the conscious intellect as the supreme, or even the only, aspect worth anything we are possessed. In the following dream (which occurred before the dream about the ape man), the Mercurian intellect is separated out as an independent identity, which allows us to begin to understand it.


The dreamer is in America looking for an employee with a pointed beard. They say that everybody has such an employee.

America is the land of practical, straightforward thinking, uncontaminated by our European sophistication. The intellect would there be kept, quite sensibly, as an employee. This naturally sounds like lese majeste and might therefore be a serious matter. So it is consoling to know that everyone (as is always the case in America) does the same. The "man with a pointed beard" is our time-honored Mephisto whom Faust "employed" and who was not permitted to triumph over him in the end, despite the fact that Faust had dared to descend into the dark chaos of the historical psyche and steep himself in the ever-changing, seamy side of life that rose up out of that bubbling cauldron.

From subsequent questions it was discovered that the dreamer himself had recognized the figure of Mephistopheles in the "man with the pointed beard." Versatility of mind as well as the inventive gift and scientific leanings are attributes of the astrological Mercurius. Hence the man with the pointed beard represents the intellect, which is introduced by the dream as a real familiaris, an obliging if somewhat dangerous spirit. The intellect is thus degraded from the supreme position it once occupied and is put in the second rank, and at the same time is branded as daemonic. Not that it had ever been anything but daemonic - only the dreamer had not noticed before how possessed he was by the intellect as the tacitly recognized supreme power. Now he has a chance to view this function, which till then had been the uncontested dominant of his psychic life, at somewhat closer quarters. Well might he exclaim with Faust: "So that's what was inside the poodle!" Mephistopheles is the diabolical aspect of every psychic function that has broken loose from the hierarchy of the total psyche and now enjoys independence and absolute power. But this aspect can be perceived only when the function becomes a separate entity and is objectivated or personified, as in this dream.
(p. 141)


As with all the different parts of the psyche, Mephisto/Mercurius/the intellect has a helpful side as well as a dangerous one. After we realize that he's just one of many parts of us, he can help us to understand the parts of us that are in the darkness.

At the last moment, friend "Pointed Beard" appears on the scene as an obliging deus ex machina and exorcises the annihilation threatened by the formidable ape-man. Who knows how much Faust owed his imperturable curiosity, as he gazed on the spooks and bogeys of the classical Walpurgisnacht, to the helpful presence of Mephisto and his matter-of-fact point of view! Would that more people could remember the scientific or philosophical reflections of the much-abused intellect at the right moment! Those who abuse it lay themselves open to the suspicion of never having experienced anything that might have taught them its value and shown them why mankind has forged this weapon with such unprecedented effort. One has to be singularly out of touch with life not to notice such things. The intellect may be the devil, but the devil is the "strange son of chaos" who can most readily be trusted to deal effectively with his mother...

The voice finally declares, "Everything must be ruled by the light," which presumably means the light of the discerning conscious mind, a genuine illuminatio honestly acquired. The dark depths of the unconscious are no longer to be denied by ignorance and sophistry - at best a poor disguise for common fear - nor are they to be explained away with pseudo-scientific rationalizations. On the contrary it must now be admitted that things exist in the psyche about which we know little or nothing at all, but which nevertheless affect our bodies in the most obstinate way, and that they possess at least as much reality as the things of the physical world which ultimately we do not understand either. No line of research which asserts that its subject was unreal or a "nothing but" has ever made any contribution to knowledge.


(p. 165)


The helpful Mephisto is thus necessary for an honest exploration of the depths - in fact, without his help, we would be overwhelmed. The differentiated conscious is a powerful tool in the individuation process - just as the Self needs the ego for the process, the unconscious needs consciousness. We may have gone too far as a society (and individually) in an unbalanced direction but a strong, healthy intellect is one of the best tools we have in our toolkit for furthering the process.

  1. Jung, Carl G., Dreams.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rescuing Hades

Had a brainwave on the train today, I was thinking about G and I realized something. He's living (or needs to live) the myth of Hades and Sisyphus:
Zeus was enamored with the daughter of a river god and was romancing her in a wooded valley when her father started looking for her and ran into King Sisyphus who told him that Zeus had fallen in love with his daughter and was in the process of abducting her. The enraged father found them walking in the woods and, brandishing a large club, raced toward the unarmed Zeus (who had hung his thunderbolts in a nearby tree while he courted). The startled Zeus quickly turned himself into a rock, confusing the father, and this allowed Zeus time to retrieve his weapons and "shoot" him in the leg with a thunderbolt.

Even though he’d escaped, Zeus felt humiliated and was furious with the king and his big mouth! Zeus ordered Hades to capture and imprison the king and to administer the severest of punishments possible.

So Hades went to fetch Sisyphus. The king not only refused to go quietly but also tricked Hades into handcuffing himself, then kept Hades in captivity for over a month, walking him around the palace on a leash and making fun of him. Needless to say, the somber and dignified Hades was not at all amused!

Ares, the god of war, currently bored with the endless petty wars of the Greeks decided to rescue Hades and came to his assistance, threatening to decapitate Sisyphus if he didn’t release him and turn himself in as Hades’ prisoner.

The rescue was successful, but the wily Sisyphus had another trick up his sleeve. Once they had arrived in the Underworld, Sisyphus pleaded his case in front of the Queen, arguing that he could not be retain in the Underworld because he was not yet dead, nor had he ever paid the ferryman. Persephone allowed him to leave, but with instructions to return the next day, suitably dead and with a coin under his tongue to start his sentence.

Sisyphus laughed all the way home, thinking that there was no way that he would go back . . . but the next day Hermes showed up on his doorstep announcing that Fates had decreed that it was his time to die….and Hermes escorted him into the Underworld to face his fate.

Once they reached the Underworld, Hades’ Judges of the Dead pronounced his sentence -to push a heavy rock over the top of the mountain in Tartarus and each time the rocks rolls back (which it always did, of course) to start all over again. Hades added an extra touch and had the rock shaped just like the one Zeus had transformed himself into, just in case Sisyphus missed the point!

He's so stuck in his isolated world, only doing what he can do "perfectly," which means that he never does anything at all! But, even though this Capricorn/Saturn/Hades is an important part of him - and has, I'm sure, done a lot to help him - he's completely unbalanced. I know he also has an Ares/Aries side, which his Hades side keeps pushed down. One of the signs of this is the kind of women he's attracted to, like derby girl Suzy Hotrod - tough, passionate, lives loud and takes no prisoners. She's basically a female version of Ares, the part of himself that he runs away from (and whenver I try to talk to him about this he literally runs away.)

Ares part of the myth goes like this:
Ares, rarely went out of his way to come to the aid of his fellow Olympians. But once, bored with the endless petty wars of the Greeks, he decided to rescue Hades who was being held captive by King Sisyphus. Ares came to his assistance, threatening to decapitate Sisyphus if he didn’t release him and turn himself in as Hades’ prisoner. Trembling with fear, Sisyphus surrendered to Hades.

His Ares side has to rescue his Hades side. Maybe because it's bored? I don't know, but I do know that he's living this myth out.


Yesterday I read about Marie-Louise von Franz's relationship with physicist Wolfgang Pauli. She tried so hard to help him live the life his soul was directing him to but he ran away, too. In the end, he died that way. As she put it, "If you want me to sum up the relationship: I tried to pull him out and didn't succeed." It's sobering to see that it's possible to love someone and desperately try to help them and fail - it's possible to be as brilliant and strong as von Franz and fail - if the person you care for is too scared to go down the road that's calling him.

In the documentary The Way of the Dream von Franz talks about how women will sometimes try to protect themselves from the pain of relationships by not letting themselves fall in love. Well, that's what I'm getting to experience right now. It's hard enough to have to suffer for your own sake, but the grinding frustration of caring for someone but being completely helpless is almost intolerable! But we have to remember, as she said in the interview about Pauli, that to really love someone is the most healing thing you can do for them:
In a love relationship... you risk everything. You put yourself on a table, you stop the power game and the trying to dominate or conquer the other person. If you succeed in really loving the other person, if you really relate, then all sorts of miracles happen.


Hopefully, by staying with this, a miracle might happen.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Nausicaa and the young, wild, free feminine

It just occurred to me what the dream about the tiny animal is about; my femininity!

I was re-reading it again, trying to figure it out - words like wild, free, young, innocent, gentle, playful, perfect, feminine, fertile kept coming up. The young girl I'm with, the field of violets, the little girl's room, the big jackelope and the tiny animal, all are my wild, free, young feminine self. I've kept it caged because I was afraid it would get hurt, but all that did was to hurt it more than being free and risking pain would have.

I'm on my journey, the independent girl who knows what she wants and goes for it with me. I feel like I don't belong here but, like in Snow White or many other fairy tales, I've stumbled upon a magical little house in a magical, flower covered field. Whose house is it? In the dream, I worry that the owners will come back, just like Snow White. How do I know they won't welcome us? Or even that this is my own house, that I forgot about?

The girl reminds me of M showing up in my dreams as a guide - she's probably the same figure; independent, able to express her feelings and say "no." This is a part of me that I don't see in myself, that I've supressed. This figure reminds me of Nausicaa; what initially made me think of her was the little creature. I was trying to imagine what the little creature was like and kept imaging small, playful, energetic little deermouse like creature when I thought of Teto. And then I thought of Nausicaa, and she's the perfect image: she has the King of Cups in her, as well as travelling with the little wild creature on her shoulder. She's natural and expresses her feelings fully. The only thing is, she doesn't relate to others on a one to one level - she's still a prepubescent girl and too young to think about boys. But the young, Artemis/Kore like girl is in me. Does she need to be expressed?

And it seems like my animus is in the process of changing. Yes, the "you can't do that!" cop is still there, but he's changing; he wants to be supportive now. And, at the end, he's the one I follow - is that a good idea?? I think it might be - I suppose the zombies might be a part of myself that I need to get in touch with but he is there, guiding me when I'm in danger (possibly). Perhaps the zombies are this part of myself that I've kept locked away - perhaps the animus is guiding me through this experience (?) The reading I did about the dreams suggests so; when I asked about this dream, it told me about my animus. Is it that there's some relationship between healing my relationship with my animus and freeing the little animal?

My animus was both a way for me to protect my inner Persephone/Kore (the fragile, wild, innocent feminine) and the cage that was killing it. In healing my relationship with the animus, the Kore can be freed; it wasn't until the cops came and the young girl stood up to them - and the other cop helped us - that the house appeared. Does this mean that the inner young, wilful girl has to stand up to the inner cop to find my inner home?

More to think on...


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Meet Mr. Helathy Animus

I had an amazing reading - although I did it about my dream about the little creature it ended up saying some amazing things about my animus. When I was doing the reading, and thinking about the King of Cups, it suddenly came to me, ZAP, this is my animus! Or, at least my animus as it could be.

All my life I've been attracted to men like the King of Cups - calm, confident, king, with a great sense of humor, a natural leader but not pushy or egocentric. Just the opposite in fact. One of my early realizations was that we project our bright shadow onto our objects of desire was looking at the kind of men I was attracted to, and how they carried the very qualities I keenly felt the lack of. I saw this in others; G for instance, and his attraction to fiery, passionate, confident women... women who carry his suppressed Ariean shadow. Well, now I know... Our anima(us), when healthy, is our bright shadow. This is the beloved that we constantly search for outside ourselves, that, if we don't realize we carry them within us, we can never find. Ironically, it was only when I stopped clinging to the animus that he was able to start to become his best self.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Au revoir, demon lover... and good riddance!

I search
but the desert is everywhere;
I gasp
but there is no water to quench;
I cry
but there are no arms to enfold;
I yearn
but there is no breast to suck;
I long
but there is no milk to nourish;
I need
but there is no phallus to embrace;
I feel
only the exploitation of my friends;
I fear
that death may be the same.


I've been going through a rather earth shattering experience lately, the kind that completely changes the way you look at everything: I've come face to face with the demon lover side of my animus. Or, more appropriately, I've come to realize that's who's been acting in my life lately... And not just lately, but really my entire life.

I kept having dreams that seemed to be pointing to a change in my relationship with G (another lover, color project, shelf house), dreams where another lover makes an appearance, but I still have feelings for G and can't decide. I finally did a reading asking what I should do, if I was doing something wrong, or not doing enough. For a while before this I had decided that it would be best for both me and for G if I waited until he had the courage - or just wanted me enough (if ever) - to make a move himself. After all, he knew damn well how I felt, and he was the one who had rejected me.

Well, the reading was pretty unambiguous (or as unambiguous as a tarot reading can be). Basically, it said that I had a possible future of love and fulfillment in all areas (the 9 of cups  "wish card" for the possible future and the 2 of cups for the probable future). It also said that I had had an opportunity in front of me but I had failed myself in some way. But the card that really got me to thinking was the Queen of Swords, which was in the position of the outer self.

... She never shows her emotional side, but her judgment can sometimes be swayed by her heart... The negative side of the Queen of Swords stems in part from her honesty and desire for the truth. Once she has a view of the situation she lets everyone involved know her opinion, and heaven help them if they disagree! Her mind is as sharp as a razor and when it is not occupied slicing away lies, it will start to cut the perceived liars. This type of person often has very few friends, and they are often depressed and unsatisfied with themselves because they cannot live up to their own high standards. The Queen of Swords often uses her dry and vicious humor to keep others from seeing her bitterness and her dissatisfaction.
And then I got the cosmic 2x4 over the head - another one of those groan-out-loud moments - when I read the chapter titled "The Tyrant" in Fraser Boa's Conversations on Jungian Dream Interpretation with Marie-Louise von Franz. The book is based on a documentary series (this post begins with a poem from the book). The chapter starts:
In its negative form a woman's inner man, the animus, is a power of evil destructive to human life. He separates a woman from her own femininity. He cuts her off from human warmth and kindness, and leaves her isolated in a meaningless world, martyred by unseen hands. She experiences herself as a victim, a captive, trapped either by external circumstance or by a cruel fate.
... And that was just the first 2x4. The whole chapter was basically the universe beating me over the head with a large stick, trying to get me see what was going on.


Self-hate

Then, in the dream, the chief of police declares that the woman is crazy. That's the secret voice in her that says, whenever she follows her own feeling, "No, that's crazy! Don't do that. You are crazy if you do that."

(p. 157)

That's the negative animus. Those collective opinions rape the woman of her own individual thoughts or feeling reactions.

For instance, when I have indulged in destructive thoughts about myself or my work, I have often dreamt of being pursued by hostile men. The dream is saying, "Those negative thoughts are not you. They are the hostile animi in you. You should run away from those destructive thoughts. They will destroy you if you stay with them."
(p. 163)

There's a voice inside women's head. We think it's us, just our "rational", "level-headed" selves but it's not. It belongs to the demon that sets up camp in us when our relationship to our inner man is crooked. An animus in his positive role is an energizing source of power and a guide to the spirit, but when he's demonic he drives others away from us... and drives us away from the love we long for. And, ironically, his rigid pronouncements are nothing more than bland, meaningless platitudes, not the truth that he declares them to be.

As with a man's relationship with his mother, our relationship with our father sets the template for our relationship with our animus:
If the relationship to the father constellates itself negatively, the girl will react negatively toward the father... later on she generally has dificulties with men, and difficulties in finding her own masculine side. In the extreme case she might not be able to approach men at all... If it is not such an extreme case, she would be what one would call a very difficult woman. She would argue with men, challenge them, criticize them, and try to pull them down. She would expect negativity from them, and this expectation would naturally put difficulties on her partner.

In other words, the animus, her own masculinity, would be a problem to her. Such a woman would tend to behave toward herself as her father behaved toward her. If her father was tyrannical, even after his death, the woman would still tyrannize herself with ideas and opinions which came from the father image. And so a girl's relationship to her father and her detachment from the father always play a big role in her development as a woman.

(p. 156)

Not only does a negative relationship with her father create an image inside the woman that continually spills it's poison inside her, it also spills it's poison onto others. And it makes her expect other men to to act the same, putting her on the defensive, even when there's no need for defense.
[T]he worst thing is that she experiences it as if she thinks it herself... That's one of the great difficulties in analytical work: to make women distinguish between what they really think themselves and what it thinks in them.

The problem is that they think animus thoughts are their own. Even after working for years on that, I sometimes still have negative thoughts against myself, and if you asked me at that moment, I would say, "Yes, that's what I think about myself." Later, I would have a dream of a man raping me, and realize, "No, that was an evil animus in me who thought that." And then I could disidentify and wonder, "Why on earth did I ever think that about myself? Naturally, I don't think that." But you see, that is the essence of what one calls possession. When a woman is possessed by the animus, she thinks that the animus is herself. Only when, or if, she wakes up does she come to realize, "No, that's not me."

(p. 159)

Looking back at my life, I can see - so clearly now - how this negative animus held me under it's spell. It was an incredible experience reading this chapter - it was my life she was describing! From my youth, where I couldn't even let a man touch me, to getting past that but always crashing on the rocks of my own insanity when I was in a relationship.

The incredible thing is that I've been proud of my negative animus. Being in my animus made me feel strong, and tough, like I wouldn't take any bullshit from anyone... And then I'd freak out when I damaged a relationship and had to face the consequences of my actions. Von Franz describes the negative animus as a gangster; he attacks and uses the woman as his shield. When a man strikes back at the animus, he ends up hitting the woman. That's been me, too.

My whole life I've been paralyzed by the negative talk from my animus - I'm always convinced I did something stupid, that people despise me, that I can never do anything right. THIS IS MY BLUEBEARD ANIMUS!! It isn't me - it isn't me at all!!! This revelation about who is really the source of all of these negative self thoughts by itself has made a huge difference in my life; when they start coming up, I can say "No, that's not me. Calm down, animus. Take your rightful place - not this stupid, self-destructive crap. You're better than this!"


Jealous Lover

The negative animus behaves here like a jealous lover. He wants to keep the woman for himself by cutting her off from all men. When she has some loving feelings toward any man, then up comes this "You should not do that" animus. Or it's projected.

(p. 158)

He doesn't just cut us off from romantic love - he'll try to interfere with any relationship - but love lights a jet under his butt so he's hopping around your head, making you think you're a complete idiot. And the more you like someone, the more vicious he gets. Which was why I never let myself like anyone... or if I did I'd squash those feelings right away. After all, I was an idiot and a jerk and too crazy to have a relationship with anybody, right?
That is the greatest tragedy arising from the negative animus. It flares up with its power whenever a woman loves. It tries to cut women off from any kind of relationship by belittling it or calling it crazy. The negative animus mainly manifests itself as an opinionated resistance to any feelings of love. If a woman has a tendency to fall in love or even to be interested in a man, her negative animus comes up and makes her ruin the relationship.

Subjectively, she doesn't know what is happening. She thinks she is under a curse. Just when she wants to talk to the man she loves, something in her makes a tearful scene. And then she goes home and cries. She may project and say, "He was so nasty to me," but if she's a bit more honest she will say, "I wanted to have a good love relationship with him, and just because I wanted the relationship I made a scene." And she doesn't know what devil's mechanism made her do it. If a woman hits you as a man, you can be sure she's interested in you. She would really like to love you, but she doesn't know how.

(p. 158)

But it doesn't matter if you don't have a real relationship with an actual man... Demon Lover will be the perfect lover; reliable, well muscled, sensitive when you need it, and great in bed to boot! (Too bad he only exists in your fevered imagination.)
What Marilyn Monroe was to men, Valentino was to women. He represented the ideal demon lover, who would carry the woman away into a romantic ecstasy where she could create fantasies about the Sheik. Of course, being carried away by the demon lover into a romantic us-two-aloneness goes on in modern films as well. Generally if women are unhappy in their relationships with their husbands or their lovers, they dream and fantasize about being carried away and having a secret, nocturnal love affair with their animus.

The demon lover figure exerts a kind of demonic or divine fascination on the woman and makes her incapable of relating to an ordinary human being. He is personified as Heathcliff in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. In the novel, Bronte shows the power of the identification by having her heroine say, "I don't love Heathcliff... I am Heathcliff." It's interesting that Emily Bronte herself even had the idea that her genius, her great gift as a writer, had made her into a lonely, tragic figure. Generally, having such a demon lover ends tragically. People become incapable of living and relating to others; they are sucked away into the dream world and into the unconscious.
(p. 165)

One of the dreams that made me start questioning things was when a "new lover" showed up, one that was going to be more reliable than G. And the animus is reliable... and reliable at cutting you off from real relationships. Or being the person you're supposed to be. Or growing, which means relating to others, not running away from them to live a perfect life with the perfect lover in your imagination.

He's also made his appearance in previous dreams - for example, I went back to this one by accident and read it in a completely different way this time (the edit where I change my interpretation is all the way at the bottom.)


Wisdom

There is a great psychological danger in the figures which Jung called animus and anima. These contrasexual elements can estrange a human being completely from reality and society. The animus, like the anima, is a very ambiguous, very dangerous inner figure which must be approached with great wisdom.

(p. 165)

So what do we do? Let's not let the negative animus make any of it's blanket pronouncements. Sometimes you have to run away. In my case, I was informed (in my dream) that I needed to talk with him. My first impulse was to fight him, but I guess talking is the best way for me right now. Below, von Franz talks about one way of dealing with the destructive animus:
The classical example of the destructive animus, which the women has at all costs to escape, is illustrated in the famous fairy tale of Bluebeard, in which the heroine gets into a castle where she secretly discovers that the owner has cut up and slaughtered all his former wives. After discovering this terrible secret she, with the help of her brothers, barely manages to escape. Bluebeard is the classical image of the destructive animus. If a woman cannot escape the self-destructive and self-annihilating thoughts of the negative animus, it may lead to a severe psychological disturbance. Women who can't escape their Bluebeard generally become isolated, bitter women whom men cannot love, who find no partners, and how live in bitter isolation, if not in an even worse situation.
(p. 164)

This is just one way of dealing with the animus but, as in all relationships, there are no rules in our relationship with our inner man. Sometimes we have to do run away from him, sometimes the complete opposite. All we can do, as with any relationship, is to try to be present and do what comes up naturally, from the depths of our being.

The consequences of having a bad relationship with our animus can range from a lack of energy and drive, being a doormat, to being a shrill, angry shrew. But on the other side, a healthy relationship with our animus gives a woman strength and drive, the ability to think clearly, but with tolerance. Last night I did another reading - it was about a dream I'd had but the answer that came up was about the animus. I was trying to figure out what the reading was about, wondering if the King of Cups card was about G again, when I realized it was about my animus.
Usually a man of art or religion, the King of Cups appears as a wise advisor and a noble healer. He listens to the suggestions of others, even when they are in conflict with his own carefully formed opinions. He never judges, never blames others for their faults, and is always a sympathetic supporter.

The appearance of the King is often a sign that you should employ peace and tolerance to solve your problems. Use diplomacy rather than force, and accept different points of view. Do not blame others for their failures, but help them see how they can succeed again.
When I read this I was so moved by the vision of what he could be. And I remembered that when I was projecting my "bright shadow*" onto love interests, this was exactly the kind of man I was attracted to. I knew G wasn't a mere projection of my desired but unavailable traits because... well, because he's not that kind of man at all. And I no longer feel drawn to those kind of men, probably because I'd withdrawn those projections. But now, after this experience with the negative animus, and seeing what he can be, I realize that what I was drawn to wasn't just the things I felt I didn't have. It was the things I do have, as my animus. Now I have to work at freeing him from the role of the Demon Lover so that he can finally be who he's meant to be; the calm and powerful King of Cups.


* A bright shadow is the opposite of a dark shadow. Where the dark shadow is made up of the undesirable parts of yourself that you project onto the people you find repulsive, your bright shadow is made up of the desired parts of yourself that are equally invisible to you that you project onto the people you are attracted to.


Note: All quotes come from Fraser Boa's Conversations on Jungian Dream Interpretation with Marie-Louise von Franz, including the poem that starts the post.



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