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August 31, 2011

Dreams, Archetypes, and Synchronicities



I recently attended a Wisdom University course intensive in Oakland, California with dream workers Jeremy Taylor and Bruce Silverman titled “Many Paths Into The Heart of Dreaming: Solar & Lunar Perspectives on the Archetypal World.” There were so many surprises that I and others in the class encountered, such rich layers of meaning between Jeremy’s morning projective dreamwork and Bruce’s afternoon rituals and dream enactments that it’s taken me many days to “come down” enough to write about the experiences at all. Since it would take several pages to describe the multiple synchronicities we – individually and as a group - encountered, I will keep the focus on the remarkable coincidences having to do with two dreamers in the group. But before I do, I want to add that I can’t say enough good things about Wisdom University and the work of Jeremy Taylor and Bruce Silverman - individually and as a team. They are both brilliant masters of dream work. If you ever get an opportunity to do a workshop with both or either one of them, I suggest you jump at the chance!


During our group's first full day of dreamwork (we had met the night before for a two-hour orientation), we assembled in the morning for 30 minutes of Lunar heart and body work with Bruce - drumming, song, dance, poetry. Afterward, we joined Jeremy in a smaller room for the more Solar interpretive dreamwork that lasted until lunchtime. Those who wanted to share a dream and have it worked on by the group were instructed to write their name on a slip of paper, fold it lengthwise for security, and place it in a bowl that was passed around the circle for Jeremy to chose one at random. The dreamer who was chosen that first morning - I will call her Dawn (not her real name) - shared with the group a fascinating and what some considered to be a precognitive dream of inner transformation that required the whole morning session. By the time we took a break for lunch, we had learned many things about Dawn's life as this information related to the dream, including her strength of character. We also learned a lot about each other through our projections onto her dream. In working with Dawn's dream, the group practiced the type of group work that Jeremy writes about in his book “Where People Fly and Water Runs Up Hill.” Following Jeremy's "Tool Kit" for dream groups, deep intimacy between members is nurtured in a safe environment. Our own group space quickly began to feel – as in the morning’s ritual with Bruce - like “Holy Ground.”


After lunch, we met with Bruce on the Lunar side again for drumming, music, and grounding before actual dream sharing with him this time. In Bruce’s group work, those who feel led to share a dream stand up in the middle of the circle. If more than one person is standing, then, those who are led to sit back down do so until only one is standing. Out of four people who initially stood up, John (not his real name), a man in his early thirties, was left to tell his dream when the process was complete. And what a dream it was! He proceeded to share an amazing dream of mythic proportion; a personal and collective dream of initiation and redemption. As John recounted his dream to Bruce's soft drumming , he stood in the center of the room surrounded by the group.


Standing in for John, here, I recall that his dream went like this:

In the beginning of the dream, I am facing a tall woman with a light, like a torch, in her right hand. This image changes into a wall with the woman and light contained within it. Behind the wall is a white knight. The wall, then, becomes the white wall of a castle where I am the King. I am going through many, many receipts and getting frustrated because my young daughter is playing with two cats on the floor. I ask her to stop playing and help, but she will not. This scene changes into the King (me) going through a doorway into another reality where I become an ordinary man whose house is being built. Two artists of grunge-like persuasion are there working on the house. One, a man, is painting white flowers on the outside walls and the other, a woman, is hanging a wreath on the door. I call these two the Seattle Lights. Dawn (from the group) is there. She is giving me instructions on the building and use of the house.


Without going fully into the extraordinary work that John, Bruce, and the rest of the group did on this dream (I could write a book!), I will merely recount what relates to the synchronicities that unfolded. The first thing, of course, is that the two dreamers of the day, both chosen by random selection, were Dawn and John. They were strangers before meeting at the group and separated in age by many years. Not only had John dreamed about Dawn the night before we worked on her dream, but also the group had a chance to get acquainted with her as person during the morning session before hearing his dream! Ah, but there is more to be revealed about the Dawn/John connection as you read on. In the meantime, we will explore the next meaningful coincidence that happened as John chose people to represent and act out the symbols in his dream. Without thinking too much about it, John picked a woman from the group, whose name was later discovered to mean Angel of Light, to represent - you guessed it! - the Divine Woman of Light symbol in the dream. Little did we know at that time how much light this angel in disguise would bring to the group over the next few days.


There were other interesting matches between people and symbols, but what really made the hairs on our arms stand on end was when John chose Dawn to represent herself in the dream, and she confessed that she had also dreamed of him the night before - perhaps, at the same time he was dreaming of her! In Dawn’s dream she saw a billboard with John’s face on it that resembled that of Alfred E. Newman of Mad Magazine fame. It wasn’t a stretch from that famous jester's image to making the connection between the Court Jester (positive Shadow figure) and the King (the dreamer’s Ego) to associating the jester with the Divine Trickster archetype. In my projection on the dream, it is the Trickster who tells the King and his subjects (sub-personalities) the truth through the back door of humor. He lessens the king's load by showing him the lighter side of life.


I will leave you, the reader, to tie up the dream associations and meanings for yourself. I am a merely a messenger, bringing word that the universe is indeed alive with meaning, mystery, and humor. And I know a group of dream workers who resemble the truth of that statement!

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