Dreamtime

Someone beside me kept asking about oiling some machinery. Milk was suggested as the best lubricant. Apparently I thought that oozy slime was preferable. Then, a pond was drained and amid the slime there were two extinct animals. One was a minute mastodon. I forgot what the other one was.

According to Bernie Siegel, writing in Love, Medicine and Miracles, Jung based his diagnosis "on the facts that the Latin work for phlegm, one kind of bodily "slime," is pituita, and that "mastodon" derives from two Greek words meaning "breast" and "teeth." [Jung] deduced that the mastodon image referred to the mammillary bodies, breast-shaped structures lying at the bottom of the third ventricle, a pond of cerebrospinal fluid at the base of the brain."

Jung's interpretation is examined more thoroughly by UCLA research psychologist Russell Lockhart in his article, "Cancer in Myth and Dream." Jung himself, however, when asked how he arrived at the conclusion, had only this to say: " . . . why I must take that dream as an organic symptom would start such an argument that you would accuse me of the most terrible obscurantism . . . . When I speak of archetypal patterns those of you who are aware of these things understand, but if you are not you think, 'This fellow is crazy because he talks of mastodons and their differences from snakes and horses.' I should have to give you a course of about four semesters about symbology first so that you could appreciate what I said."

I'm not quite ready for four semesters of symbology, although I'd love to delve into it someday. But for now, I'm willing to settle for a slow awakening of my own intuitive knowledge of dreams and their meanings for myself, my family, my life. I'm going to invite dreams at night when I slip under the covers, and I'm going to jot them down each morning, even sketching a quick visual of these sleep journeys before they slip away with the last remnants of early-morning gray. I hope to do this every night and day this fall and winter, into the spring, and forever after that, as another step toward tuning out the incessant choruses of what life is supposed to be about, and staying wide awake and fully conscious in this, the one real life I'm living.

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