Progressive Politics Research and Commentary by Janette Rainwater
 
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     Minus Button which collapses the expandable menu The Return: A Book for Frances about Life and Death
           Minus Button which collapses the expandable menu  Preface
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  Minus Button which collapses the expandable menu You're in Charge: A Guide to Becoming Your Own Therapist
           Minus Button which collapses the expandable menu Introduction: The Art of Self Observation
           Minus Button which collapses the expandable menu  On Dreaming
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You're in Charge: A Guide to Becoming Your Own Therapist
Chapter 6 (an excerpt)                    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9      p.8

On Dreaming

instance, a woman came to the first meeting of one of my dream classes with a dream in which there was a teacher named Minerva. The student disclaimed any knowledge of mythology, yet further work on the dream demonstrated that she expected me to be very wise!

Jungian analysts believe that some people (especially people in the second half of their lives) have dreams that demonstrate this process of individuation. The beginning will be heralded by dreams containing floods, earthquakes, giant fires, or similar symbols of psychic transformation.

Next will come dreams about the shadow or the dark side of humanity and himself that the dreamer has rejected, condemned, or ignored. In dreams, these rejected characteristics are projected onto another person, frequently a "black man". Jung felt that it is essential for all of us to re-own this universal shadow. According to his biographer, Laurens van der Post (Jung and the Story of Our Time, he believed: The individual who withdraws his shadow from his neighbor and finds it in himself and is reconciled to it as to an estranged brother is doing a task of great universal importance.

The persecution of the Jews by the Nazis and of Blacks by Whites are two hideous examples of the shadow unchecked and permitted expression on a national level.

The concept of the shadow is not a Twentieth Century or even a Nineteenth Century discovery. Plato wrote in The Republic: "Even in the most respectable of us there is a terribly bestial and immoral type of desire, which manifests itself particularly in dreams."

To work on your own shadow, be sure to identify, gestalt-style, with every sinister person in your dreams. (You created this person in your dream. And every evil that he performs there is of your invention.) If you don't own this evil as part of your psyche, but continue to self-righteously condemn it in others, a sad and strange transformation occurs. We tend to become what we condemn and oppose. I suspect this is the real meaning behind the New Testament injunction to "resist not evil." One of the tragedies of our history is that so often groups who wish to promote social justice conceptualize the group in power as the enemy and evil. By the time they have succeeded in overthrowing the "enemy" they have acquired all of his characteristics.

The shadow can also be a friend whom you secretly despise or envy. And it will be your flip side. If you are sexually liberated, your shadow may be someone whom you perceive as "prudish." If you are a jet-setter, expect a prosaic stay-at-home clerk-typist. Or if you voluntarily maintain a 60-hour work week, your shadow may present itself as a "bum" waiting in line for his unemployment check!

Men can expect to have dreams of their anima and women of their animus, which according to Jung are the archetypes of their unconscious and unexpressed feminine and masculine parts. Anima examples are the mysterious unknown woman, Dante's Beatrice or Liv Ullmann or Barbra Streisand. Animus examples are the dashing Arab, the mysterious stranger, the knight in shining armor, Robert Redford, or frequently a group of men.

See what your anima or animus is doing in your dream. Imagine doing that activity yourself. We cannot be whole until we have reclaimed the opposite-sex side of ourselves. The man needs to reown his gentle, nurturing, artistic side, rather than projecting it onto his anima (whom he may pursue relentlessly in his waking life.) The woman needs to reown her aggressive, logical, thinking abilities, rather than always casting these onto her animus and onto the men in her life.

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This site was last changed November 28, 2001. It was created on March 20, 1997.

© Janette Rainwater 1997-2001

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