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.


[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.


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"


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."


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."


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."


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.


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?


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...)


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!

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