Sunday, February 28, 2010

Harnessing Your Active Imagination

It seems that dreaming is a passive process; dreams happen to us. In the case of nightmares, this concept may leave us feeling rather disempowered. Enter active imagination, a potent Jungian technique. The gist of it is to use your imagination to engage a dream character—a person, object, or even a feeling—by speaking to it, fantasizing about what it might do or say, or what you might do or say in relation to it. (It's best to work with whatever dream experience has the greatest emotional impact.) This kind of process can be very revealing—and healing.

Here's an example: A woman is left rattled by a dream in which a strange man threatens to attack her. During an active imagination exercise, she screws up her courage and decides to envision confronting the ominous figure. "Hello. What are you doing here?" she asks, with no small amount of trepidation. To her utter surprise, the beastly fellow suddenly transforms—into a weeping boy! The little guy is scared and wants his Mommy; he just needs to be held. Immediately her apprehension disappears. "Oh! I can handle a sad kid!" she exclaims with relief.

With some guidance, she comes to understand the intimidating figure as an expression of her own unrecognized fear, a feeling she didn't want to acknowledge. Why? She unconsciously thought that if she admitted she felt more like a trembling child than an authoritative adult she would no longer feel in control of her life. She did not validate her freaked out inner kid, so he (yes, females can have male inner children) went under cover as a terrifying man. Quite a handy device for getting the dreamer's attention, wouldn't you say? The process of active imagination allowed the woman to see her inner child despite his guise and experience feelings of great tenderness for him. Amazingly, validating her fear and giving herself some TLC turned out to be the key to regaining the sense of control and power she so desired. Who could've imagined that? Well, she could and did.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ditch the Dream Dictionary

It is the unique quality of dream imagery that makes dream symbol books virtually irrelevant to me.  Page 57 may say that dreaming of an apple tree denotes an "abundant future," but page 57 doesn't know anything about your circumstances: You had a nasty fight with your significant other last night, or you just found out your job of 20 years is on the line. If you ponder that apple tree and sit with it for a while, it may bring up wonderful memories of your grandmother who had a big ol' apple tree in her backyard. She had a knack for calming you down when the "crazies" hit you when you were kid. And now, here she is, reminding you to take kind care of yourself, and even make room for pleasure, during tough times. "Have a bite of this red beauty," she says. You won't find that in a dictionary.

Dreams Never Lie

Dreams are a gift if for no other reason than that they are completely trustworthy. A friend's advice may or may not help you, but a message garnered from your own psyche is always one worth listening to. Sometimes this can be rather unpleasant, as dreams can be quite confrontational. You (and your companions) may be trying to hide from the less enjoyable aspects of your personality, but your dreams aren't afraid to tell you the truth about them. By the same token, your nocturnal images may offer you the key to perceiving personal talents that have somehow gone unacknowledged.  But whatever your dreams convey, you can be sure the messages are crafted especially for you by your adoring Unconscious whose greatest wish is that you become more whole. How can you doubt a motive like that? Trust your dreams. Trust yourself.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Divine “Ah-ha!”

Ordinary people were having flashes of profound clarity way before Oprah made the "Ah-ha Moment" a regular celebrity feature in O magazine. Dreamworkers are visited often by such enlightening shifts in perception. You can tell they've arrived by the "Oh!" that spontaneously emerges from their lips. In fact, it's this exclamation—sometimes uttered in surprise, other times thoughtfulness—that is the telltale sign an interpretation is complete. "Mission accomplished!" the Unconscious declares, taking a few moments to sit down and relax before readying the next treasure chest of images for excavation.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Third Voice

Should you pursue your creative dreams or your career? This potential partner or that one? Start a family or stay child-free? Big decisions are rarely simple ones, and it can be frustrating to feel caught between two seemingly opposing options. When this happens to me, I like to remember the Jungian principle of holding the creative tension between the opposites. Rather than use my rational faculties to argue for one choice or another, I give my decision-making process some breathing room. I don't think about the situation for a while, and when I do, I spend some time entertaining both possibilities as equally valid. The point is, I don't force a move. I sit with my embattled mind, and then I listen...for the Third Voice. "What's that?" you say. It's the part of us that is more interested in integrating new awareness than in a knuckle-whitening conclusion. If we wait, it will use the frustration of our conundrum to forge insights about what we truly need. Take for instance, an age-old romantic predicament: a woman finds herself torn between two lovers (violins, please). If she resists the urgency to act and lets herself just be with her dilemma , she may discover that what she really wants is a greater sense of selfhood in her relationships in general. That Ah-ha! Moment (apologies to Oprah) could mean she decides she doesn't want to be with either person, but with her own fine self. By holding the tension between two opposing choices, refusing for just awhile to decide one is absolutely better than the other, we are giving priority to the process of becoming more conscious over trying to be right. The mind might think this is not such a great idea, but, believe me, the soul will be overjoyed.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fear Not the Dark Side

One of the wonderful things about doing dreamwork is that scary dreams don't have to be so frightening anymore. Perhaps you wake up, heart racing, because you dreamed someone was robbing your house. From a Jungian perspective this isn't such a bad thing. It's merely a communication from your shadow, a part of yourself or your experience that you've cut off. If a thief has appeared in your dream, you could ask yourself: Am I robbing myself of energy by putting my needs on hold? Am I letting someone else rob me of my sense of self-worth? Do I feel like I need to steal others' affection in order to feel loved? The answers to these questions could result in a new awareness that actually creates more equanimity in your life. Sometimes your dream world shakes you up so you can come back to center. It scares you to let you know something is out of balance, but simultaneously gives you the keys to calming yourself.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Be Who You Are

"It's easier to try to be better than you are than to be who you are." —Renowned Jungian analyst Marion Woodman, from Coming Home to Myself, by Marion Woodman and Jill Mellick (Conari Press, 1998)

It may be safer and easier to live on automatic, letting the roles we have chosen for ourselves lead the way. But the soul calls us deeper, letting us know through our dreams who we really are, what we really want and need. Are you bent on staying in control, rising to every duty with perfect aplomb? Be prepared for dreams of overflowing toilets, says Woodman. But no worries. All that sewage is just letting you know that you're human: You're pissed you have to go to work. You're too tired to do the laundry. You don't want to smile at the person who's just said hello.
Jungian wisdom says that acknowledging these kinds of less-than-perfect feelings (easier said than done, I know) will most likely keep you from wading your way through an imaginal flooded bathroom. As you grow into greater self-acceptance, you might find your nighttime wanderings take you, instead, to a wide open field, or to a large living room with high ceilings, places your psychic self can stretch out, run around, and just be.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


A message from my psychic self (everyone has one). May it be useful to those who read it.

Trust in the process of your life. There are so many ways we hold ourselves back.
Divine guidance is available to us if we tap into it. Just close your eyes, breath, and allow the truth of your being to emerge. Notice the tension you hold in your body and gradually release it. Notice what you wish you would have said but didn't say, and release that too. Increase the flow of awareness by allowing yourself to dip into gentleness. Honor your potential, and recognize your capacity to grow and learn with experience. Listen.

What I Do

I am a clairvoyant and clairaudient healer who has been a student of psychology (via my own inner work) since 1990. I've been studying Jungian philosophy for nearly a decade, and for 15 years have practiced various forms of energy work. I interpret dreams through a combination of intuition, channeled information, logic, and analytical skill. (Please note that I am not a psychotherapist.) Dream imagery contains potent psychic energy that, when unleashed, can transform the understanding of self and others. Through one-on-one phone consultations, I help dreamers decode the messages of their personal myths and metaphors so that they may live their lives with greater integrity, awareness, and power.

The Night Is Jung is intended to be a chronicle of my explorations of the imaginal world. I will write about how I interpret dreams, with the dreamers' permission, and will share my musings as I explore the works of Carl Jung, founder of contemporary Western dream analysis, and his main protege, Marie-Louise von Franz, as well as other Jungian scholars.

 Call 505.820.0848 or e-mail for more information or to set up an appointment.