Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dreaming about the Water of Life

I had a dream last night about searching for the water of life

Water of Life
CC Jean Stimmell
In my dream, I am living in a large rambling house of many stories but have no water. For a long time, I have been digging a well deeper and deeper under the foundation through rock and clay; finally I reach soft sand and, then soon thereafter, water begins to bubble up, pure and sparkling, gushing from the golden earth.

An old mechanical pump is lying nearby to pump the water up to the house but I am aware that it is broken and needs to be repaired. I have to act quickly before the soft sand collapses, filling in all my hard work.

As I climb back up into my house, my plumber happens by and I ask him for help. He is amazed at how deep the pump is in the ground. (From the top, looking down into the pit I dug is like looking down an elevator shaft of a skyscraper.)

My plumber says he will try to fix the pump but doesn’t know how to haul it up to the surface. I tell him I have a long coil of strong, old-fashioned manila rope and will gladly haul it up for him.

However, I can’t find the rope!

 I do a frantic search through the many rooms and layers of my house. I encounter other craftspeople working in the house but they are dismissive of me, suggesting without saying it: “What is wrong with you, any idiot could find that rope.”

At last, after I have searched my whole house, the workmen take an interest and help me search the garage which is cavernous and cluttered. Still, no rope is to be found, Finally, in desperation, I search a special room on the main floor adjacent to the pump shaft.

A female poet lives there who we try hard not to disturb. Her room is decorated beautifully in soothing shades of blue. As I feverishly pass through her room looking for the rope, I leave behind messy trail of muddy footprints.

As I leave the poet’s room, I run into a male patient from long ago who had suffered terrible trauma but had been able to turn his life around while in treatment with me. He is all dressed up, successful, self-actualized and overjoyed to see me again.

At that moment, I realize there is no rope to be found. Some one took it to go rock climbing and forgot to bring it back. 

That’s the end of the dream.

Unmanipulated photo of  river current in the Merrimack 6/30/14
CC Jean Stimmell
In terms of Jungian dream work, my house is a symbol of my entire psyche, the space I occupy, while, in the words of Brian Collinson, a Jungian Analyst, “The water of life for which we yearn relates directly to the waters of the unconscious.  Often, only by coming to terms with the meaning of dreams embodied in the unconscious can we find the vitality for which we yearn.*

Thinking back to my dream, I see it was a wild goose chase.

Both my feminine poet and trauma survivor found peace and vitality through direct access to the water of life by coming to terms, emotionally and spiritually, with the meaning of their dreams embodied in the unconscious while I still sweat and strain too much, attempting to haul up the water of life from the depths mechanically through sheer will, books, and my intellect.


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