The keys to our freedom are in our hands. Yet so often we ignore them, brush them off, put them to the side or outright deny them. The keys to our freedom rest in our willingness to walk into and sit with the paradox of our dilemmas. We have been taught to avoid our own shadows, our fears, the things that go bump in the night and wake us up. Yet it is in the darkness that we have the potential for growth. Seeds sprout and take root in the dark. Our creativity is also borne out of our willingness to take a walk on our own dark sides.
So for how long will you suffer your fears? Carrying them around on your back, on your chest, weighing you down and keeping you from your greatness?
It is through walking into the pain that releases it and allows us to grow into something greater. The release is in the surrender; in the trust that we will survive our emotions, our inner conflicts and paradoxes.
One of the great cosmic jokes is that in embracing our pain, we are finally able to be free of it.
This is Part IV of a 4 part series about dream analysis based on the book Inner Work: Using Dreams & Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson.
In this fourth and final step of dream analysis we take action on our interpretation of the dream. Johnson refers to this as a ritual. At first I had mixed feelings when I began to read this chapter as I found I was triggered by the word ritual. Johnson spends quite a bit of time explaining how rituals are ceremonies of change. Weddings, funerals, graduation celebrations and other rites of passage anchor the changes and growth that occur with life’s transitions.
In this step, we are charged with moving the dream from the mind – from the cerebral cortex – and here we activate our muscles and do something. The actions we take are symbolic and help us to anchor the change or new acceptance into our lives. Something as simple as lighting a candle with the intention of living in the message of the dream can be the ritual that is needed. Johnson gives examples in the book that may help to spark other ideas. Next I will share with you several things that I did to anchor in my new essence.
Accepting the Change
First, even before I fully interpreted the dream, I knew on some level that I was needing to become decisive on a relationship that I knew was not headed in the direction I wanted. So I changed the nature of the relationship. He later thanked me, as he was feeling the same way.
Then I wrote him a letter, pouring out many of my grievances as well as my gratitude. Then I burned the letter. I also smudged myself and my home by burning Palo Santo wood, and added frankincense and mhyrr to a charcoal round.
Later that day, I took a 6-mile hike alone feeling my power and fire grow in my belly. I would focus on my solar plexus as often as possible. When I felt the need to stretch, I stepped onto a side trail and did several of my favorite power inducing Yoga poses: Warrior I, Warrior II & Triangle. I chose a spot where the sun was shining through the trees. I felt the fire of Kali move through me as I anchored these changes. It also didn’t matter to me that others were walking by: I was standing out.
This week, I added the lighting of a yellow candle in the morning while getting ready for work. As I light the candle, I say to myself, “today and every day I live fully in my power.”
I share these different things I’ve done to help give you ideas that may spark creativity in your own expression of your dreams. Hopefully you have found this process helpful in seeing how important your dreams can be in your own personal growth, and how to understand the messages your unconscious is sending to you every night to guide the way.
Be patient with yourself as you go through this process. It took me nearly 2 months on this, my first dream, to pull all of the pieces together. In between there were times where I just put the dream aside. Sweet dreams of growth to you!
This is Part III of a 4 part series about dream analysis based on the book Inner Work: Using Dreams & Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson.
In part I we made associations to the elements of our dreams & in part II we connected these associations with our inner dynamics. In this part of dream interpretation the questions become: “What is the central, most important message that this dream is trying to communicate with me? What is it advising me to do? What is the overall meaning of the dream for my life?”
The first two parts (see links above) are important to perform prior to this step, as they help us to decode the language of our inner selves. Without these prior steps, we may miss the meaning of the dream altogether.
To begin, ask, “What is the single most important insight that the dream is trying to get across to me?” You may find that you have several alternative interpretations. Be sure to write them out, as this can help you to weed out what does not fit and also to find the interpretation that truly fits or clicks.
The higher the intensity of the energy behind the interpretation, the closer that interpretation is to your truth. The small clues can lead to your breakthrough, so be sure to keep them in mind.
Playing Devil’s Advocate and arguing from your inner masculine and feminine aspects can also be helpful in finding the right interpretation. Johnson states that your final result may be a synthesis of both sides.
Wake up to your inner power. Shed your fears, come out of your bubble. See through the smoke (and mirrors); the illusions that keep you small and threaten to suffocate you. Continue to burn down the secrets, the shame, the lies. Stay in your power, even when others, and when even you, fear the changes you bring. Your strength is in your ability to change and to see what holds others – and yourself – back. Embrace your Kali nature.
People fear change, as do you, but this is what you must do. You must burn down the lies to the ground. See the forest through burning down the trees. This is about knowing you, accepting that to break down is to remove the obstacles to new growth. Fire transforms and for too long you’ve blocked your fires. Rise up and transform!
“Indecision clouds your vision” these are your fears. Part of you can see the truth, yet you are still controlled by your fears. Expand your faith that all will be just as it is to be. There is no need to fret or worry. Things unfold as they need.
The sweet urgency of now!
My wish for you
I hope you have found this process helpful in understanding your own dreams.
This is Part II of a 4 part series about dream analysis based on the book Inner Work: Using Dreams & Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson.
In Part I, we made associations to the symbolic elements of our dreams. Here we will connect these associations with ourselves as each element represents an inner aspect of ourselves; whether we want to admit it or not. According to Johnson, the more we deny an attitude or belief, the greater that element will be portrayed or exaggerated in a dream.
For this next step we will handle each dream element separately, and look closely at how that element represents an inner aspect of ourselves. To help spark the connections ask yourself and write down the deepest & most specific examples within your life to the following questions for each element:
What part of me is that?
Where have I seen it functioning in my life lately?
Where do I see that same trait in my personality?
Who is it, inside me, who feels like that or behaves like that?
Elements of the dream & their inner associations:
Grandma B – Moderation in life is a challenge for me. I can move erratically through life, swinging along with the highs and lows of the pendulum. I can be protective of myself and yet also flirt with danger. I can be stubborn and sometimes will spite myself just to prove a point. I fear being seen as crazy. I fear standing fully in my power as to do so means I will stand out and draw attention to myself. In the house of the mother, I hide. This is also the part of me that wants to prove my strength. “I can handle this. I don’t need help.” Yet she also represents where I’m stuck in the womb and don’t want to leave.
Kali – the part of me that wants to destroy myself, to break myself down so that I may be reborn. The inner goddess who desires to live to her fullest potential.
Grandma’s House – Where I am outside of the house of the Mother. I am hesitant to fully embrace myself as a person, as a woman, as a healer, as part of the Divine Feminine. There are also ways in which I do not take the best care of myself; my being was threatened by wildfires; my unbridled passions. Though in the dream the house remained untouched and was in pristine shape. The house also seems to represent The True Heart; the home of The Mother.
Woods – Where I hide my secrets, with the woods being on fire it denoted it was time to change.
Wildfire – The passion within my soul to burn down boundaries, to disintegrate and breakdown secrets. Also, there was a very strong sexual wildfire within me at this time, almost to the point of my being completely reckless and throwing any caution “to the wind.” My sexual energy threatened to consume me; I literally felt like it was a wildfire coursing through me. I wanted to stay and I wanted to go. Deep down I knew it would be best for me to go. Yet the stubborn side of me insisted on staying (though soon after this, I left). Several weeks after this dream, when my sexual fires died down, and as I reclaimed my personal power, I saw that this wildfire represented the anger that I was suppressing within. It was consuming me and I could not see it.
Smoke – Where I am wanting to hide within confusion/illusion which is suffocating and blinding me. The things around me that I don’t want to see, nor to be seen by others. Represents my indecision, where I wanted to stay and where I wanted to go. Yet, staying put me at risk of suffocation and loss of sight/life.
Bubble – Where I do feel protected and clear, able to see around me and able to breathe in my own space. I am calm and protected when I allow myself to be. In some ways I do live within my own reality, separate from others. Living in a bubble.
The more deeply we can use the dreams to reflect our unconscious dynamics, the more we will get out of the dream. “It is at the inner level that you can change life-patterns more profoundly,” which is where our dreams are usually aimed.
“…the transcendent function [of self] combines the opposites, [and] draws the fragments of our totality into unity.” Dreams show us the aspects of ourselves we have not seen. As they are symbolic, spoken in the language of our unconscious selves, each dream element has a unique message for us. With the path of growth, it is up to us to understand it.
As we grow up, we often look to others for behaviors we would like to emulate. This can be helpful in our development when we then adopt these positive traits as our own. However, hero projection can stall our growth when we refuse to see these golden characteristics in ourselves and, instead, only see them in others as this keeps us from shining our own lights. Thus we disempower ourselves when we don’t accept our own greatness and instead project it onto our heroes.
Martin Luther King, Jr was instrumental in changing the tide for race relations in America. We can look to his peaceful actions and speeches while thinking to ourselves that we would not be able to be a fraction of the human that he was. On the other hand, if we were to use the peaceful activism work as an example, we could find ways in each of our days to be more kind and compassionate to people in our lives – irregardless of race – just because we want to be the change we wish to see.
Yet so many of us hide behind our heroes. We choose to remain small while we pile our greatness onto others. This helps no one. Instead, the hero is placed on a pedestal and set up for a fall. After all, heroes (and even superheroes) have shadows. Furthermore, we give away our power when we fail to accept our own greatness.
I encourage you to look at your heroes today. What traits do they have that you most admire? How can you begin to share those traits (which are within you) with others and the world today? Think baby steps. Then take them, we each need ourselves – and the entire world needs us – to be our own heroes!
It is said that Kali is the most misunderstood of the Hindu Deities as she is often mistakenly seen as the Goddess of Death. While she is the “dark” aspect of the Primordial Mother Goddess Parvati, Kali’s domains are creation, destruction, rebirth, time & Shakti, or Divine Feminine Energy. She rides and is associated with the Lion, a symbol of courage. Other associations include the fire of transformation and blood. Kali’s association with blood – which is a carrier of energy and life sustaining oxygen – connects her to the mysteries of Life & Death.
Kali is the slayer of demons and the Ego, but not men (despite the depiction in the main image). She is associated with cremation, which itself is a firey transformation. Though she carries the spirits of fallen warriors and slain animals, she does not kill them. Instead, She is the compassionate mother who loves Her children by slaying their demons and egos, or illusory selves. In this way, She brings freedom through the removal of Karma. Our station in life can cause us to have different perspectives of this Deity: Bringer of Death or Bringer of Freedom and Rebirth.
Her sword of knowledge separates the lies from the truth. For this reason, she can be seen as a bringer of Death to the parts of us that need to die. This can be intimidating and feel like a true death to those who do not wish for change. Kali can also be seen as incredibly compassionate for those whose Karma and ego are cleared by Her grace. By separating the lies from the truth, She grants us a new freedom that we did not have before. Through this freedom and release of Karma, we feel Her motherly compassion.
Additionally, “She consumes all things and denotes the act of tasting or enjoying what society regards as forbidden (i.e. Her indiscriminate enjoyment of all the world’s “flavors”).” This is why she is often depicted with her tongue sticking out. I love this aspect because I enjoy exploring many things that “society regards as forbidden.”
After being introduced to Kali through a recent Jungian dream analysis, I must say that I have fallen in love with Her. Her energy is very much a part of my own. With each post, I allow a part of myself to be brought to the altar to be altered. Writing and sharing my experiences frees me while helping others in seeing paths to greater levels of freedom. This is my passion and I’m seeing more clearly that this is also my purpose.
It’s fascinating to me to look back today and see how much Kali’s presence has been quietly infused into my life over the years. I smile to think back at the resistance I felt when Lord Shiva‘s influence first came into my conscious awareness. While Pavarti naturally came up at that time, I did not identify with her the way I do now with Kali. Her name alone now brings a smile to my face, for I can better see the strength and courage within myself through Kali. I see now how frequently I write from her view, even with this last post where I describe breaking open to become more free in The Allowance of Grace.
It’s interesting to note that I have attempted several times to connect to and write about the archetype that most represented my nurturing and mothering side. Now I see the Deity that I sought all along was in Kali, and now so many pieces have fallen easily into place.
Additional qualities and characteristics of Kali
She is the feminine energy or Shakti for Lord Shiva, creator and destroyer
Her mantra is “I am that I am. I am Spirit.” Parallels well with my own, “I am that I am Love.”
Kali lives in the Anahata (true heart) Chakra.
The Kali Yantra has within it the fires of transformation
She is the “tough love” aspect of The Primordial Mother, guiding us into our greater potentials
This following meditation very much has the energy of Kali; healing through letting go of what no longer serves, creating a new level of freedom through transformation. I hope you find the time and space to listen and follow this loving guided meditation.
Over the past few months some things have come up in my life that show me how judgmental I am against myself. Friends and enemies can commit far worse “crimes” and I can pardon them. Yet the slightest mistake on my part and I’m flaying myself with mental barbs and hooks…for much longer than would ever be necessary for anyone else. This has been a painful lesson for me to see and it’s time to change another element of how I treat myself. Compassion is the answer to judgment, and will be my theme for 2017.
Within judgment I feel there are elements of sadness and anger. Anger sears through my inner being when I throw hot coals at myself for my behaviors or thoughts. Then the sadness is seen in my belief that I am not a better person. There is also the grief that comes from the way I direct so much anger at myself.
This self-treatment just holds me back from greater achievements. Beating myself down, there is no way to rise back up. There is also no escaping self-deprecating thoughts, so I have sought out reprieve in external addictive behaviors like texting, eating and watching TV. So while I’ve had more free-time the past few months I’ve been writing less. Writing is my release and I’ve been more challenged to write because of the creativity block that judgment created. I can stand it no longer.
Finally, I am gifting to myself the salvation of compassion. Hell’s fires are now just smoldering lava trails in the calm, soothing waters of understanding. The murkiness & the confusion that past judgments wrought have begun to clear in the clean air of compassion.
If anyone else in the world had done what I have done, they’d have been nurtured and set free of judgment by me. It’s now time to give these very gifts to myself, for the less I hold judgment against myself, frees others to love themselves a little bit more. A planet of people who have open hearts to themselves helps the world to be a greater place. So please join me in finding a new way to gift ourselves more grace.
The Vesica Pisces is a common visual presence across many world religions. In Italian it is called a mandalora (almond), similar to the Indian Mandala. Within the center of each of these religious symbols balance is achieved. Most importantly, one reaches this center through the synthesis of the two edges of Duality. It is in this space that a new consciousness is born.
This concept is so simple that it may just be unbelievable and thus easily dismissed. At the same time, the work required is not always so easy as it may initially sound. For how does one merge two opposites?
Yet the key to our release from suffering is found by allowing without judgment the simultaneous existence of two opposites. It is in the center of these two overlapping circles that we can transcend Duality. This is not a compromise. Instead it is a synthesis and if permitted to fully unfold, it is transcendent. I call this moment of synthesis The God Moment.
The journey to the God moment can be a most painful process when we walk through the valleys of the shadows of death. Yet at other times such as during sex, the joining of two opposites can be incredibly erotic…and hopefully pleasurable.
It now makes so much sense as to why many of us seek these edges. In seeking the highs, and often unintentially the lows, we are seeking something greater than ourselves. Yet it is often during these times that we turn to distractions and addictions that prevent us from fully experiencing and marrying the edges of Duality. Thus we miss the God moment and we miss the opportunity to become transcendent.
Allowing the dual existence of two opposites is the key to our release from our suffering, yet this surrender can seem to tear us apart and is why so many of us stop the process just prior to its full fruition. It is our faith and our ability to breathe through the process that allows us to pass through the valley – and transcend it. We must believe that our thoughts, beliefs and emotions cannot kill us. Yet we have been taught to fear our shadow and the baggage that it brings, so it can be challenging to walk with these aspects and this prevents us from being able to transcend them. Walking with our shadows means we must acknowledge them; things we were taught to avoid at all costs.
On a very basic level, transcendence is sexual. The merging of two opposite energies is how new life can be created. For with each aspect of Duality that we transcend, we are born again and see life in a new way. Are you excited yet?!
Furthermore it is in these moments of synthesis that we touch and are touched by something greater than ourselves: God. The more we can merge these edges, the more we merge heaven and earth.
Sadly, just as with sex, eventually we also return to our experience of Duality. With each action of life we produce both light and shadow. Thus the shadow emerges to give us repeated opportunities to heal and transcend through another synthesis and another rebirth. No wonder the Vesica Pisces has such a vulvar look to it, or maybe it’s just me?
Now I plan to investigate the use of Sex as a means of transcendence. I have a strong sense that this use of sexual energies requires foundational work that goes beyond casual sex. I’ve read some about tantra and have a feeling I’ll find more answers there…if you’ve read anything along these lines, feel free to share sources in the comments section or gmail me at tiffanybeingfree. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with various images of the Vesica Pisces or mandalora.
The Vesica Pisces is also the basic pattern for the seed -, tree – and flower of life.
While I’ve written about this synthesis of duality within the Owning Your Own Shadow series, based on readings from the book by Robert A. Johnson, today brings an entirely new level of understanding. Healing is about sex: the merging of two opposites.