Posts Tagged ‘dream interpretation’

Inception on the couch — interpreting collective dreams

July 28, 2010

Whatever brought you to these words today, please consider taking a moment to dedicate reading them to whatever it is that you want (health, wealth, success, love, happiness, your child or children’s well-being).  Setting an intention is a step toward elevating the mundane, which may be the lion’s share of what it takes to get more spirit into, and out of, our lives (not to mention the collective situation that we all share).

Meanwhile, what I wish for you is for you to want what already is.  In this way I wish my version of true happiness for you.  And your happiness, I believe, will benefit everyone you care about (i.e. happy parents are a gift to their children).

While there is no shortage of opinions about the new movie, Inception, (and I’m not here to add another one to the mix) as a zeitgeist phenomenon, films that question reality are coming at us with increasing bigness, frequency and would-be importance.  So, what might this be reflecting back to us myriad members of the zeitgeist?

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Full Circle Solstice

June 21, 2010

Well, happy summer solstice, again.

Hello, again.  Good-bye, again.

Go. Dog. Go, again.

How can I begin to say what I really mean?

How can I convey the love I feel for you, and for us and for our world?

I may have failed to tame my ego, heal my narcissism and more fully place my self in proper service to the Self and our collective SELF (although I like to think I’ve made a little progress this year), I have certainly failed to become any sort of perfect parent (not that this was ever the goal).

But I have treasured a year; and in working hard, I have made a difference—to myself.  I do know that I have also made a difference to some others, and I choose to not be coy and pretend I am unaware of this and the many kind and encouraging comments I have deeply appreciated along the way.

I have sought to give, but I have received much in the bargain—age-old wisdom proving true personally and viscerally that it is good to give, that it is through what we give that we find connection, relationship and happiness (and that “giving” can be attention, presence, affection, patience, even just thoughts).

I have apportioned time to blogging, time disconnected from Andy and Nate and Will (thanks to you guys for weathering my self-imposed year of blogging mindfully, too often at your expense).  So, now it is time to follow Kristen’s example and “buffer.”

Only connect.  This is what I have learned from Forster via Andy, and what I have striven to write and live (the challenge about connecting proves to be:  how much and with who?).  Moving forward I hope to continue to only connect, but in balance, connecting virtually, actually and internally with the spirits and the muses.

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Sardonic Kiss

May 25, 2010

I have always carried the sense that the world is a mystical place in which strange visions, dreams and coincidences carry meanings that interweave us all together at levels beyond our conscious understanding.  As it happens, I’ve recently become blogging buddies with Terry Castle… and only when I noticed her career interest in producing horror films, combined with the venerable Castle name, did I realize that her very father directed one of my favorite films of all time:  Mr. Sardonicus.

As readers of this blog know, I’m a great fan of cinema.  My first career, blocked and battered as it might have been, all grew from that magical transporting that can happen in a darkened theater, be it a play or a film, or even in the space between our screens and ourselves.  Only in films did I see anything that resembled the world that I lived in, the one where insects were communing with you from the trees and the spirit of Native Americans were as “real” as the milkman and the mad men in suits driving to offices.

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Call and Response—What’s up with The Red Book?

April 29, 2010

“Soul is made in the veil of the world”—Keats

Last Tuesday evening Andy and I attended a talk between Helen Hunt and James Hillman on The Red Book of Carl Jung at the Hammer Museum.  While the evening abounded in synchronicities too labyrinthine to extrapolate, Andy, who may be less prone to marinate in the verbiage of depth psychology while being arguably all the more “deep” for her willingness to pursue both direct experience of the world and to inhabit her life not only as a keen mind, but as a gardener, parent, film curator, friend and kindred spirit of animals amongst other Anima-like qualities, simply listened, chatted with the dear friend who had invited us, and then went to sleep where she dreamed the following:

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Big Red Book Dreams

April 28, 2010

Back in September of last year, in the build-up to publication of The Red Book of Carl Jung, there was an article by Sara Corbett in the New York Times in which she wrote about traveling to Zurich and reporting on the rather top-secret preparations for publication.

Now in April of 2010, The Red Book sits in a case at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, a copy of that big beast sprawls enormously on my nightstand, and a dream that Sara Corbett shared in her article comes back into my mind:

“One night during the week of the scanning in Zurich, I had a big dream. A big dream, the Jungians tell me, is a departure from all your regular dreams, which in my case meant this dream was not about falling off a cliff or missing an exam. This dream was about an elephant — a dead elephant with its head cut off. The head was on a grill at a suburban-style barbecue, and I was holding the spatula. Everybody milled around with cocktails; the head sizzled over the flames. I was angry at my daughter’s kindergarten teacher because she was supposed to be grilling the elephant head at the barbecue, but she hadn’t bothered to show up. And so the job fell to me. Then I woke up.”

Sara ran her dream by a couple of the Jungians she was hanging with as part of her reportage, but their responses seemed generic (mostly that elephants were maternal, one said, and related to Ganesha added the other). It seemed to me that Sara dropped this big dream right in these Jungian laps, but they were too busy revering the Master (Jung) to notice that the collective was erupting right before their eyes.

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April 18, 2010

When I was a young boy nothing interested me more than roaming the yards and alleys of my block, net in hand, searching for the exotic butterflies I read about in my insect book.  While I would find Monarchs, Mourning Cloaks and Tiger Swallowtails, I was ever on the hunt for exotic purple, blue and other magical specimens that I believed just might drift up from the deep jungles of South America or mystically get swept up in a trade wind from Africa.

I dreamed of being an entomologist and once literally dreamed of a vast underground archive of every butterfly that ever was—level after level going down and spreading out in all directions in a treasure trove of all the colors and patterns from nature’s palette (far exceeding anything I could ever express of my own palate).

Much later, as I ventured into my studies in psychology, it pleased me to learn that the word “psyche” means both soul and butterfly in Greek.  So, in a way, my path as psychologist was foretold in my almost magnetic enchantment with butterflies, as well as representing my intuitive quest for the Anima (with the butterfly an apt symbol of the luminescent soul that we all tend to project out and pursue in the world until we realize, as my early dream also foretold, that it is to be found deep within us, as symbolized as residing within the depths of the earth).

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Scorsese: The Wisest Guy in the Room

February 24, 2010

Readers of this blog are probably aware that I’m not a big horror film fan, while my son is; in the service of striving to be my best Self as a parent I’ve cringed, shuddered and jumped out of my seat through I am Legend, Zombie Land, The Book of Eli, Paranormal Activity and this week… Shutter Island.

From the first glimpse of the terrifying trailer months ago, my kid had gotten me to promise to take him to Shutter Island, and I went with a measure of trepidation.  Not only is Scorsese a brilliant filmmaker, arguably our best living and working American master, but if he wants to scare, he knows how to scare.  In fact Cape Fear has to be one of the scariest films I’ve seen.

However, if you were thinking to skip Shutter Island because you don’t care for horror films, my vote is to strongly consider checking it out as a work of haunting art.

When it comes to intelligence there is knowledge and there is wisdom.  Scorsese has both:  he has the knowledge of cinema history (and is one of the champions of film preservation, understanding the importance of our cultural legacy), but he also has wisdom, intuitive knowing and seeing that gives him a touch of magic with actors, with mood and atmosphere, with themes and emotional tones—with how and when to move the camera, a gift for mise en scene… in a time of big iconic franchises based on comic books where the word “auteur” is laughable, Scorsese is an auteur.

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Titanic Avatars: movies, myth and the collective SELF

December 28, 2009

If the self is like a bowl (see, it is also like a ship.  Thus it seems fitting that in a culture gripped by collective narcissism (i.e. lack of cohesive selves) Titanic, a movie about a grandiose ship that gets a gapping hole and sinks back into the ocean of the unconscious would be a perfect metaphor for the close of the last century.

Likewise, Avatar, a movie about the awakening of consciousness, is a hopeful harbinger of a century that is just getting its footing and forming its nascent millennial identity.  The fact that these impossibly giant and expensive movies were made by the same man behind the curtain offers a curious window into both the collective consciousness and also child development—writ XX Large. 

“Kids” who are developmentally forming an identity inflate around ages three and four into super heroes and fantastic princesses; if all goes well and they are fully seen, they calm back down and end up with a cohesive bowl of a self.  In a culture where this process has gone off the rails, we have had legions of collectively mal-mommied so-called grown-ups behaving like entitled enfants terribles.

While people sometimes speak disparagingly about artists “selling out,” I’ll be the first to admit that I tried to sell out and no one would buy.  Hollywood is an enigma, and when someone succeeds they are as much beneficiaries of luck as they are of talent and hard work.  When luck happens (because many movies that fail, even if they are bad, still took a lot of work and often represent the misfiring of authentic talent) this kismet may offer a glimpse about what the zeitgeist truly has to say at any given moment be it Hitler’s Germany, W’s America or James Cameron’s “King of the world” bravado; king of which world?

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November 12, 2009

alligators bdA recent article in the New York Times discusses new research by Dr. J. Allan Hobson, a sleep researcher at Harvard, which argues that the main function of REM sleep (when most dreaming occurs) is physiological and not psychological.  The brain is likened to a machine that uses what we might experience as dreams to warm up its circuits and get ready for the sensory and emotional inputs of waking life.  (For the NY Times article see:

Hobson says that, “dreams are tuning the mind for conscious awareness.”  In my admittedly less scientific view, it would be the mind that is tuning the brain for conscious awareness.

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What might J.K. Rowling be offering in the way of parenting advice?

July 20, 2009

Abbey at duskMy favorite line in the new Harry Potter movie comes when Dumbledore, having just teleported himself and Harry to the scene of a wrecked house in some remote village supposes that Harry is wondering what’s going on, to which Harry replies that after six years he’s learned to “just go with it.”

The zeitgeist (or spirit of the time) is an interesting beast; many try to guess where it’s heading (not to mention try endlessly to cash in on it) but it has a way of surprising us.  My kids have grown up with Harry Potter, it has become tradition to listen to the audio version of the newest book on our summer driving trips and so we all went on the journey together, but each used our own minds and imaginations to conjure up what it looked like to us.

One reason that Harry Potter may be so popular is that, in all its fantastical scenarios, it somehow manages to express some sort of authentic truth.  Of course Harry as Orphan is a tried and true archetype from Moses to Oliver Twist, one that gives kids a chance to unconsciously face their worst fears and have vicariously arrive at an empowered and successful outcome.  Yet Harry is only a beloved avatar who guides us into the magical realm—to Hogwarts and the wizarding world as a place where, in the midst of fantasy, we might find something real.

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