© 2006, 2008 Jonathan Zap
Edited by Austin Iredale
Dreams reported to me by young women in the last few years seem to indicate the feminine seeking a metamorphosis after thousands of years of patriarchal condition.
A young woman I know sent me a dream with themes that resonate with the dreams of other young women I have interpreted, and now I wish I had written down more of them, because so many of their dreams were powerful and illuminating of the state of the feminine after six thousand years of patriarchal history. In this essay I will discuss what I have learned from these dreams and from other cultural observations. I will conclude with analysis of two dreams, including the one from this young woman.
The most consistent theme these dreams expose is the toxicity of promiscuous patriarchal sexuality. Jung often used the word enantiodromia, a term he got from the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus. Enantiodromia is the tendency for systems in nature to fluctuate between extremes, like a swinging pendulum, with a net result of zero.
( See The Psyche as and Oscillating Entity in Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure )
A familiar example of this concept is that if a romantic relationship is begun in a state of infatuation where one idealizes the love object, that idealization will tend to turn into the equal and opposite disillusionment. Not all that long ago, peaking during the Victorian era and continuing into the Edwardian—and in some places still continuing—was the patriarchal model for femininity called “the White Madonna.” Young women were expected to be virgins before marriage, to be without impure thoughts, and to be prim, proper, passive, and on a pedestal. In our time, the pendulum of enantiodromia has swung, and now in popular culture young women are expected to be the other side of the patriarchal coin, the “Black Madonna,” which is something like a professionally trained young harlot. In Britain, where not too long ago they were putting pantaloons on piano legs so as not to give young people lascivious notions, magazines for adolescent girls —conditioning manuals— are now incredibly raunchy and advertise how to improve your oral sex techniques, how to cheat on your boyfriend without him knowing, and, of course, how to lose weight. A couple of years ago I was in a mall here in Colorado, just outside of Boulder, and walked past a shop that sold clothes, accessories, and cosmetics targeted for adolescent girls. I saw a couple of mothers in this shop with their adolescent daughters. The shop had one and only one huge poster that was obviously meant to suggest the theme of the whole establishment. Depicted on the poster was a barely pubescent girl in a black, seductive Victoria’s Secret type negligee, sitting on a bed with her legs spread apart. She wore a desolate and licentious look on her face reminiscent of the character Brook Shields played in the 1978 film, Pretty Baby, where she is the youngest harlot in a New Orleans whorehouse, circa 1917. The caption of the poster reads “Femme Fatale.” In other words, here is the place to purchase all the accoutrements you need to suit up as a pubescent Black Madonna. I haven’t read the book, but the following linked excerpt of a book entitled Feminist Pigs, is extremely relevant to the Black Madonna: http://www.ariellevy.net/books.php?article=2
If you open a magazine marketed for adult women, you might see an extremely thin woman in a pin-stripped power suit, with an attaché case in one hand, a smart phone in the other, and a corporate executive jet plane waiting for her in the background. This is the image of an empowered adult woman—a patriarchal man. In the deluded form of feminism, women rebel from repression by asserting their right to be and act like patriarchal men. It has been said that the oppressed is always in the act of becoming the oppressor. Young women are now conditioned to think that empowerment means the ability to act like a promiscuous male adolescent, manipulating sexual conquests, etc.
A major recurrent theme I have seen crop up in the dreams of young women is the lunar cycle/menstruation revealed as powerful and magical. Menstruation has also undergone a patriarchal enantiodromia. Not too long ago, the patriarchal view was that menstruation was dangerous, unclean, and taboo, but at least it was seen as powerful! There was a kind of backwards recognition that menstruation is something very potent, so watch out! Now the patriarchal coin has flipped over to a far more degraded view of menstruation, which is: hygienic inconvenience. Based on how it is treated in advertisements, etc. it would appear to be a minor, if chronic, health annoyance on par with constipation and heartburn. All women need to know is that if they use the right products and pills brought to them by the friendly multi-national pharmaceutical company, they can minimize PMS and continue to be the well-adapted worker who keeps up her busy schedule as if nothing had happened.
But in dreams, menstruation is connected with powerful magic and is viewed as a key to a woman’s destiny. Another theme of these dreams is that women are seen as powerful, and that power is completely removed from their attractiveness in the eyes of men. In the classic book about modern female adolescents, Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher, it is pointed out that before girls enter middle school they are rather tomboyish; they are androgynous and self-initiating, and have higher self-esteem than boys. However, by the time they get through middle school, where they learn that their value is reducible to their attractiveness to males, they become passive, depressed, obsessed with their weight and body image, and their self-esteem is roughly 30-40% lower than boys.
In dreams, though, we see compensating images. For example, in one young woman’s dream there is a woman in her eighties who seems to be a powerful priestess and is dancing naked, doing some sort of fire magic. Her power does not derive from being young and skinny. I have researched body image disorders and found a lot of truth to the conclusions of feminist historians and psychologists, that the recent obsession with thin women may have been a collective compensation for their metaphorically gaining size with the wave of feminism beginning in the 1960s. To redisempower them, women were assigned the nearly impossible task of trying to downsize themselves to the proportions of a male adolescent. I think there is a still deeper level to the body image problem than what these feminist thinkers have correctly recognized, and I have written about it in The Glorified Body—-Metamorphosis of the Body and the Crisis Phase of Human Evolution .
Sexuality, and eros in general, has undergone a patriarchal enantiodromia or pendulum swing. Not too long ago in Western culture, and continuing to this day in many subcultures, sexuality was highly repressed and was supposed to occur only in marriage and for the purpose of reproduction. This form of patriarchal sexuality then flipped over, especially in the 1960s, and the new norm became promiscuity. As the lyrics of the classic 1970 song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young put it: “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you with.” What both sides of this extreme oscillation have in common is the patriarchal destruction of eros. “Eros” is being used here to refer to a person’s capacity for deep communion or even oceanic merger with another. Eros does not necessarily have to involve physical intimacy and it is quite common for sexual transactions to involve no eros at all. Pornographic sex on the level of the genitalia, sex as a metaphor for power, and many other popular versions of sex may be entirely unerotic.
The more recent patriarchal norm for sexuality, the anything goes approach, is in some ways even more male-dominated than the older version that emphasized repression. Male sexuality has biological underpinnings predisposing it toward promiscuity. The reproductive advantage for males is to deposit their sperm in as many places as possible, but for females it is to have a single stable partnership that will help during pregnancy, nursing and bringing up a child (though some feminist writers dispute that). Before AIDS, certain sectors of the male gay community, witnessed some of the more extreme forms of impersonal promiscuity in gay bathhouses, etc. With no females around to moderate sexual behaviour, they defaulted to the male biological tendency toward promiscuity.
Very much like the enantiodromia of menstruation, sexuality was once seen as powerful, dark, dangerous, and in need of taboo and intense restriction. In the degraded patriarchal counterview, it is no more significant than a mutual back rub. An absurd by-product of this counterview was one of the most oxymoronic phrases invented, “casual sex.” What is forgotten is the erotic, and that when you have sex with someone you are merging your essence with them, energetic fields are colliding, and neither person will ever be quite the same again. But to the modern patriarchal materialist, sex was described —especially pre-AIDS— as no different than any other form of cardio exercise like running or bouncing on a trampoline. (See George Leonard’s excellent book The End of Sex: Erotic Love after the Sexual Revolution). The publication of Alex Gray’s book Sacred Mirrors, was a huge cultural milestone, because a vision was revealed of sex and eros as a profoundly transformative experience of energetic merger, as well as of anatomical penetration.
From my multi-part Alex Grey series, A Spiraling Eye Encrusted Overview of the Art of Alex Grey
The sophisticated person is supposed to have thoroughly demystified sex into a series of hydraulic transactions that high art should view cynically, emphasizing the lurid and grotesque aspects. Alex, in paintings like Kissing, Copulating, Embracing, and Tantra, violates this taboo by revealing the as above, so below interconnection of sexuality and spirituality. Promiscuity, the current patriarchal norm, is often just as toxic as the old patriarchal norm of harsh taboos. Contemporary promiscuity and harsh taboos are opposite sides of the same patriarchal and unerotic coin. (Eros is defined in many different ways in psychology, philosophy and popular culture. Here it is used to refer to the capacity for oceanic merger with other beings.) What are sometimes called erotic images are often depictions of unerotic sex on the level of the genitalia. Alex’s erotic images transcend both sides of the patriarchal view of sex. In a way, his images are more explicit than pornography, which exposes the topography of naked bodies. Alex’s images make the skin transparent so we see the internal organs. At the same time he reveals the interpenetration and merger of bioenergetic and spiritual energy fields. Professor Emeritus of Physiological Science at UCLA, Valerie V. Hunt, has done experiments that demonstrate that in many cases strangers sitting near each other (in laboratory conditions where they can’t hear, see, or smell if another person is nearby) will have potent effects on each other’s bioenergetic fields, which will tend to become mutually entrained. Imagine how much greater these effects are if, instead of proximal strangers that can’t be detected by ordinary senses, we have two people having sex. This is why there can be no such thing as “casual sex.” Sex is not casual on the microbiological plane—it can begin a new life and it can sometimes end a life through STDs like AIDS. As below, so above. It is also not casual on the bioenergetic and spiritual energetic planes. Many of the people who admire Alex’s artwork (Burning Man folk, etc.) don’t seem to get this aspect of what it reveals, and are still naively promiscuous, or even fall for the pre/trans fallacy and believe that sexual antics are daring, avant-garde and transcendent of the conventional. (see Incendiary Person in the Desert Carnival Realm for a critique of Burning Man eros) If you’ve looked at Alex’s paintings and you still believe in “casual sex,” you have not really seen them.
Ken Wilber, and others who are influenced by the “Spiral Dynamics” model of human evolution, talk about the “ pre/trans” fallacy. People seek to rebel from the conventional by regressing to the preconventional, while falsely believing that they have transcended the conventional. People rebel from the earlier form of conventional sexuality—uptight, fundamentalist repression— by embracing the new norm—promiscuity—and yet they convince themselves they are being daring and avant-garde and so forth, when they are actually just conforming to an enantiodromia that is reverting to the preconventional—a primitive and unerotic form of sexuality.
The new patriarchal norm for sexuality, exploitive promiscuity, is particularly toxic for women, as it is, like the body type they are expected to emulate, based on adolescent masculinity. Romantic relationships are generally expected to involve sexual exchange very early in their development; and this, I believe, is a major reason why they tend to fail so quickly. However compatible two people might be, by engaging such an ultimate state of intimacy, when there is no foundation of emotional intimacy nor recognition of the complexity of the other person, when one is still dealing mostly with projections and counter-projections, may result in a short-circuiting of the gradual development of an intimate relationship. Beginning a relationship with ultimate intimacy can often create an inherently unstable structure, bound to topple, especially as idealizing projections revert to disillusionments. However, I don’t want to fall into the patriarchal tendency of “one size fits all” pronouncements on sexuality, because if there is anything that should be obvious about sexuality and eros it is the fantastic individual variability of every part of it, so there should never be a standardized template set out for everyone to follow in every circumstance.
(See On Human Sexuality )
Dreams of a Metamorphosing Feminine
The first dream came to me through what might seem a very random encounter. A few years ago I caught a ride on a Greyhound bus from Boulder and ended up sitting next to a young woman about nineteen or twenty who came from a trailer park sort of background. I don’t remember anything else about the conversation, except the dream, and have no idea what led up to her telling me about it.
In the dream she is walking down a city street holding a baby girl in her arms, and she hears a voice, which sounds to her like the voice of God, say of the baby girl: “She was born under a blood red moon on October 30th.” She continues down the street and sees that a wolf is stalking her and the baby, and although it has a weird, loping, almost cartoonish gait, she recognizes it as an extreme danger to her and the baby. To escape the threat, she goes into her mother’s house. Finally, as a gesture of magical protection, she ties a knot with string around the doorknob.
The young woman is holding a female infant in her hands, and although it has become something of a New Age cliché to talk about your “inner child,” this is a real psychic function, and if in a dream you are holding or caring for a baby of your gender, this is usually a representation of your unformed essence. The voice of God tells her that the baby was born under “a blood red moon,” and this scarcely needs interpretation. Obviously, it suggests that menstruation is more than an hygienic inconvenience, but rather it is a key to a woman’s destiny. When I heard the dream on the bus, my only association with the date October 30th was that it was right on the cusp of Halloween, a Saturnalian holiday associated with spirits and pre-Christian paganism. Presently, there is a resurgence of fascination with this era and with paganism, as well as all things Celtic and Druidic. This may be part of what Terence McKenna called “The Archaic Revival” a resurgence of interest in cultural forms that date back to times when the feminine was allowed to thrive. I consider The Mists of Avalon, a great fantasy novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley set in Arthurian times, to be the most contemporary of novels about the metamorphosis of the feminine. The story takes place at the turning point where patriarchal Christianity is about to replace a Druidic culture, which recognizes the magic of the lunar cycle, etc. This book reflects emergent archetypes that also surfaces in these dreams.
Long after the bus ride, when I shared this dream with a woman who had a parallel dream, I was told that in Wiccan mythology October 30th is the date the goddess is born, so any female born on that date is incarnating the goddess. The dreamer was obviously no more aware of this at the time than I was, but it makes the voice of God statement all the more archetypal. Being born under the blood red moon also means that a woman is born with a destined connection to the Goddess, or sacred femininity.
That a baby girl represents her essence shows her femininity as unformed. Given the culture this young woman was growing up in, this was actually a healthy sign about the sate of her feminine essence. When I have done dream interpretation for business women in their late-twenties and thirties, they will sometimes have in their dreams a woman exactly their age, floating dead and face down in a stream or lake.
The danger to her unformed feminine essence is the wolf, and from her associations with the wolf she and I realized that it was a representation of male predatory sexuality, a very active presence in the subculture she was growing up in. “Wolf” is also a slang term for a male sexual predator that was in common usage during World War II, and although it has since fallen out of favor, it is not completely archaic either. The dream wolf is no exemplary predator; there is a buffoonery aspect to its awkward gait. In other words, it is not a fully realized masculinity but the degraded, culturally conditioned pseudo machismo of, for example, the adolescent wannabe gangster type.
To protect herself and the baby she goes into her mother’s house, which can be seen archetypally as a return to the ancestress and to an earlier form of femininity. As a magical gesture of protection she ties a knot with string around the doorknob, and there are two meanings I derive from this gesture. The first is that she is tying together the inner masculine and feminine within herself, the inner alchemical marriage. The second is that “tying the knot” colloquially refers to marriage, and suggests protecting her unformed feminine essence by holding out for a deeply committed relationship, and thereby not succumbing to predatory promiscuous sexuality.
One of the most daunting challenges for women seeking to discover what femininity might be, removed from six thousand years of patriarchal history, is that there are so few female elders embodying sacred femininity. Dreams, fantasy works, and active imagination are legitimate places to gain access to a force so rarely personified. Exploring the life of any woman that does seem to personify this force, perhaps Eleanor Roosevelt—though she both transcends and reflects many of the limitations of her day— would be another way to compensate for a lack of local role models. One way to gain entrance to the mind of a great feminine, androgynous spirit is to read a novel by the late-Victorian novelist George Elliot—the pseudonym of Mary Ann Cross—original surname, Evans. I particularly recommend her supreme masterpiece, Middlemarch, in which a young female protagonist struggles with succumbing to patriarchal notions of romance. The access granted in this amazing novel is not to be found merely in the plot, but in the penetrating—yet compassionate vision of the novelist, a vision that in itself is an alchemical melding of masculine and feminine.
The next dream comes from a highly intelligent, attractive young woman in her early twenties who is a computer professional. She entitled her dream “What an Alarm.” My interpretation was also written as an email.
“What an Alarm” (email, January 17, 2006)
“What a way to wake up. I had these crazy dreams and then I get up (before my alarm amazingly, and early) and get a really bad bloody nose. I hate winter. So here’s my dream: I was dreaming that it was lunchtime at work and I decided I wanted a milk shake so I left. I was working in Boulder and the way it looked was most of the city was all smooshed together and in a little valley with lots of trees around. That may already sound like Boulder, but it was a lot smaller of a valley.
In any case, for some reason I ended up going all the way to Golden to get the shake. That or I started out in Golden and went to Boulder. Oh, and I was riding my bike. So there I go, and I keep getting turned the wrong direction and I have to keep flipping bitches on this road that resembles 80th Ave in Arvada. I finally get where I’m going somehow and end up taking this secret entrance into some random boy’s dorm room. His name is Matt and he gives me a big smile, as I carefully sneak out of his room, which is the size of a house and his mom is there too. She pretends not to notice me. There’s a gap here but then for some reason I’ve had to come back to Matt’s room and ask how to get to the city behind Boulder, or Nederland. For some reason he says I need to go through this military part of the school to best get there. All this time I have to be very sneaky, and I’m not sure why.
I had apparently left work at like 9:30 am after getting in really early. But I thought I’d left at 2:30, and it is still not even 3 yet. So for some reason he leads me into this military practice area inside this building. We walk by taped off areas, areas where people are practicing hand to hand combat (but with lots of padding), and finally we wander into an ‘open’ part where there are lots of men and women.
This part of the dream disturbed me quite a bit. All of the women were either topless or naked, and many of them were bloody and shaking. We walked through this large area where there was also a few pools, and there were all these sort of demonstrations going on, but they were torturing the women. I just remember thinking, so this is what they don’t tell you about the army, and this is what they do to women.
For some reason, by the time I got to the end of the room (and realized I would have to exit another way), I was no longer wearing a shirt either. An officer came up to me and asked if I wanted to be executed. At first I said sure, and he said, ok, come lie on this stone slab. Then I had to ask what he meant. And he said, do you want to lie down and be killed right here.(!) I said hell no, and he said then that I’d have to leave, this is a restricted area. I said, I’m sorry, I was able to walk right in. So I left. Then I found all of these clothes all over the floor outside, so I threw some on.
Then I took off and managed to find another open access route directly to what seemed like the officer’s dorm room. There was a bed and a TV, and I went and laid in bed and watched some TV for a while. Then I decided it was time to leave, so I managed to find this window to his bedroom to be open, and it led right outside to where I wanted to go. When I opened the window and climbed out, a small container of (pink) yogurt that was sitting half eaten by the window, fell out into the grass.
I took off and about 50 yards away was disguised by trees. There was a metal pole fence surrounding the area, but I managed to get through it. There was a guy out there doing yard work (mowing or something). So I followed this fence and managed to get into Golden or Nederland, wherever it was that I was going now. I no longer had my cell phone or bike or wallet, so I was a bit concerned. But I managed to get into the food area of this school, and order a shake. What I ended up getting was a cup full of whipped cream and a ‘tab key’ to a ‘tab key machine’ where you insert this tab and it gives you a can of soda, a slab of meat, whatever is in the machine (meat and soda were in the one I found). It also had cherry soda (my favorite) displayed, but there was no selection number next to it, so I figured I couldn’t have it and I just got a Pepsi instead.
Now, with no phone and no bike, I don’t know how I managed to get back to work. It was almost like I was already nearby. I then had to take off and ran up and down this whole series of stairs, passing some turntables with a note from a DJ saying he would be late, all the way until I got back to what I guess was work. Still with no clue how I would get home or recover my stuff. I thought about calling to let the credit card companies know my card was stolen, but then realized I had no phone. This is about where I woke up, sometime before getting to work and having to explain what happened. Pretty crazy and fucked up, eh? Good morning.”
Jonathan (email January 17, 2006)
“The quest begins with an urge for a milk shake which is one of two dairy products in the dream, the other being the pink yogurt, and in the convention of baby clothes, at least, pink is the color assigned to females. Milk is the life-giving product of female mammals. Of course, what is good for baby cows is not good for adult humans, and milk shakes are associated with adolescents, and there could even be an association with the male mammalian liquid product—-semen. You are riding a bike, instead of driving the car that you would in real life, and that brings in an adolescent context as well, the driver’s license being the secular initiation into adulthood.
Much of the world you encounter on your quest seems toxic and lacking in the feminine. You escape work and find yourself in a truncated squished-together version of Boulder. You are ‘flipping bitches’—driving in circles. That certainly sounds like a phrase invented by a misogynist male adolescent! You ‘get where you are going,’ and this turns out to be a ‘ secret entrance ’ —think about that phrase for a moment by itself and the obvious association of vaginal penetration—which leads to a ‘ random boy’s dorm room’ — we’ve talked about the anti-feminine aspect of promiscuous sexuality where females believe they are rebelling from repression by acting unconsciously like promiscuous male adolescents. That the room is as big as a house suggests that the male adolescent complex is big enough to become a whole personality and enclose you. That his mother is present, suggests that you are not encountering mature masculinity, but instead a ‘mother-bound boy,’ which reminds me of your recent statement that the male you were involved with was ‘just a boy.’
You ask the adolescent boy how to get to a town you know very well yourself, and he directs you into a military area where you will get to the heart of the destructive patriarchy. Passively, you follow this very dubious and immature guide, and he leads you past areas where guys are fighting—the testosterone zone of male adolescence—to where there are topless women who are bleeding and shaking as if they have just been raped. The women are being tortured, and you realize this is what they don’t tell you about the army, the patriarchal collective—it’s not a job—nor an adventure, but a place to abuse the feminine, at least in the context of this dream.
An officer asks if you would like to lie down and be executed—fucked, with sex as a metaphor for power caught in death energy. You actually say yes, but then a part of you wakes up to realize what this means, and for the first time in the dream an immunological response is stirred—the purpose of the dream—and you begin to have a healthy fight back response.
However, this healthy urge to leave such a dangerous, evil place fades to passivity very quickly, and you get sucked back into the male adolescent world. You put on random clothing, which suggests a random, generic social persona, and you go into yet another random male’s dorm room, lie on his bed, and watch TV like a passive male adolescent.
From there you go to still another patriarchal adolescent zone, a school. You have lost your tools of empowerment in the dream—cell phone, bike, wallet—but are still trying to get the milkshake. Instead of getting a shake—perhaps the whole dream is meant to be a shake or a shock to your feminine side—you are given a cup of whipped cream—the food product with the closest association with semen; and since it is ‘whipped,’ there is a tortured feminine aspect as well— and then you have to follow some dumb mechanical process to try to get the missing feminine part; you want a ‘cherry’ soda, which has an association with virginity and vagina, but the machine only gives you yang items: meat and Pepsi.
In a paradoxical homeopathic way, the dream is trying to condition you through forced exposure to the toxicity of the male, patriarchal, promiscuous, adolescent world, which is torture to the feminine, to have an immunological response to it—like Alex, the psychopathic protagonist of A Clockwork Orange, who is de-conditioned from his violent nature by being given a drug that makes him horribly nauseous while being shown films of violence. To drive the point home, you even wake up shaking, with a bloody nose, so that your whole body will register that you are the female being tortured by this world. A spontaneous eruption of blood is associated with menstruation and the dawning of feminine sexuality, and the nose is associated with a preconditioned intuitive ability to distinguish between what is toxic and what is nourishing. The “shaking” tortured women and the ‘milkshake’ suggest that the dream happens to shake your feminine side into life.
This dream is a real classic, with much in common with dreams reported to me by other young women that reflect a waking up and rebellion from the last six thousand years of patriarchy. You were absolutely correct to title the dream, ‘What an Alarm.’ Yes, the dream is an immunological alert from your soul, an alarm meant to shake you awake, and an example of my experience that nightmares are usually the dreams most capable of creating healing. A healing force within you is trying to shake you awake from the male adolescent world that’s been pulled over your eyes.”
Metamorphosis of the Moon
The following dream was sent to me by a talented and unconventional young woman of sixteen (who had not read the essay above before having the dream).
(Dreamer’s email, February 4, 2006)
“I was in this place looking at the sky and I noticed that there were more moons. I think it started out with two moons. And then there were lights in the sky, and then I think one moon divided into another moon or something. Also, one moon sort of lit up like a Christmas tree and then wasn’t lit any more. Then I was in a classroom, I think, and an announcement came on that another moon had been spotted in the solar system or something like that. I said that I saw it and tried to point it out to other people, but nobody else could see it for some reason. Anyway, I guess I went outside again and then I climbed over a hill because I heard friends calling, and I saw them in this big grassy field (I think it was still night in my dream) and there was sort of a big park on top of the hill. The whole dream was very strange and unlike all my other dreams so it seemed significant somehow.”
Jonathan (my emailed response, February 5, 2006)
“In the dream you are a witness to an astronomical anomaly, something really significant and cosmic is going on, but you have trouble getting other people to see it. The archetypal view would have to consider the possibility that the dream envisions a metamorphosis of the feminine principle. The moon is the archetypal feminine, yin, the receptive; it reflects the energy of the sun, the solar, yang, archetypal masculine principle. Suddenly there are new moons, or additional moons, and the solar system is reconfigured, which suggests that your psyche recognizes that there is more than one way to be in touch with the feminine principle. In the past there was only one moon, only one way to be female, but now things have mutated and there may be many new ways, new moons. My interpretive bias would be to see this dream as another young woman dreaming of the metamorphosis of the feminine. Also, the friends in the grassy field/park at the top of the hill suggest that with metamorphosis and novelty with the feminine, the social world is both elevated and put in a more natural setting.”
Here is another multiple moon dream sent to me by a twenty-one year old male college student. He may have been a few years younger when he had the dream. In the same email that included the dream he told me that he keeps getting the “Rebirth of the Feminine” card from the Zap Oracle.
(Dreamer’s email, March 1st, 2006)
“I’m rolling with two fairly unconscious friends in their car, intent on scoring some herb, but things become complicated, middle-men logistics, and other bullshit I don’t want to deal with, and so I get out of the car and bid them good evening. It is night, and now I will be without a bag. I walk over to Plaid Pantry (the nearby mini-mart), and in the dark night sky I see the clouds part, and the moon appears. But there are several crescents now, one larger waxing crescent on the right, and two smaller waning crescents on the left, and they’re arranged I think in what you might call concentrically, each tracing the edges of the same circle, circling outward away from each other expanding, but suspended in the same place when I look directly. When I look peripherally at the image, and the crescents separate enough, between them appears the figure of a multi-armed dancing female whose limbs are the curves of the crescents.
I made the image into a stained glass piece, which I’ve never shown you. I should some time though.”
What’s interesting here is that the rebirth of the feminine is appearing to a male psyche, and also that what is required for the vision is that he break with the mundane agenda of contemporary males to experience it. The feminine appears in a cosmic context, not a personal/romantic one. The form of the feminine also appears to be the Hindu Goddess, Kali, who represents the dark side of the feminine. Hindus believe that we are living in the age of Kali, which they call the “Kali Yuga.”
The following dream was sent to me by another highly intelligent, attractive woman in her twenties. She works as a multi-media professional. I will refer to the dreamer by the pseudonym, “Emily,” and the pseudonym for her partner will be “Mike.”
Emily (email, 2/23/06)
Ok so here we go…weird dreams
Dream not sure how it starts but the fragments I remember are as follows.
My little brother and I are in this house – being held captive. A man in his late twenties is bringing dead to half-dead people back to this house and cutting them up – serial killer of both men and women. My brother and I are trying to clean up the blood on the tile floors of the kitchen (I only ever see the kitchen room of this house). The house is 1 million plus worth of a house with Spanish tiles and tall ceilings. The killer does not live here – he is squatting. I fear mostly for my brother’s safety-and less for myself. The killer eventually starts having my brother take the bodies one at a time as the killer comes in from outside. He is making my brother cut them up now – the killer is tired of the job. So he hands my brother one body after another. My brother is shaking terribly from this experience – but he goes through with it and I cans ee him dying inside from having to see such terrible massacres. I am mopping up the floor from another bloody mess – there is always about a 1/2 inch of blood on the floor in the kitchen. The killer is out of the house. And my brother comes out of the bathroom (I might have seen the bathroom because I know it was blue ) (the bathroom is where he has to cut the bodies up) and he says that
this girl is still alive and he can’t kill her, because he is not a killer. He asks what he should do. We know the killer will kill him or me or both of us if we do not follow his rules and abide by his every whim. If he comes back and this girl is alive we are all dead and will be tortured in the process. I then decide this is our chance to get out, and we would save her in the process. We calm the girl and tell her who we are and I remember coming up with a great plan for all of us to escape (if I would have written this dream down sooner – I could have told you the details of the plan). Then I remember attacking the killer when he returns to the house and somehow I get my thighs around his neck and snap his neck. And he is dead and we are free to leave. But I don’t remember ever seeing any other part of the house other then that kitchen even now at the end, but the bathroom – I remember was blue with a claw foot tub…I woke up.
Strange thing is – Mike had a dream that same night…on a river bank. He said my brother and I were chasing a woman who was half dead along the banks. She was about to run by Mike and my brother and I started screaming frantically for him to catch her, not to let her get away – to kill her! He felt confused but felt he had no time to think – he caught her- he sensed that if she got away ‘evil would happen’ (his words exactly as he described it) so he drowned her…He remembers watching her body float down the river and thinking ‘I am cold as shit, this sucks – I’m freezing my ass off’ and then his main objective was to get warm.
So I thought it was strange that he had a dream about killing a woman while in my dream I was saving one. His woman was a blonde and the one in my dream was a brunette. —strange dreams”
Jonathan (my emailed response, 2/23/06)
“Fascinating dreams. First, a huge disclaimer: dream interpretation, like life interpretation, is inherently speculative, and I am inevitably going to see a dream like this from my perspective on the feminine, patriarchy, and so forth, so there is always that danger of connecting dots to fit an a priori theory and so forth. The best test of dream interpretation validity is whether it satisfies the dreamer’s sense of inner truth, but even that test isn’t 100% reliable.
The opening situation of the dream, where you and your brother are held captive by a male serial killer is a metaphorical illustration of the captivity of patriarchy, which oppresses not only women, but also more sensitive males, like your little brother, who follows orders but is horrified by what he is being asked to do. The serial killer is a very reasonable metaphorical analogue for the patriarchy which is, as the long skull shadows of history testify, the ultimate serial killer. It is also well documented that the classic serial killer phenomenon is almost exclusively male. The female serial killer case recently dramatized in the 2003 movie Monster, is not a classic serial killer model at all, because the female killer had been abused—most serial killers have not been, contrary to popular misconception— and her killings were motivated by revenge. Serial killings are usually defined as “unmotivated.” The killings in the dream seem to be of this classically male kind, unmotivated, mechanical, an assembly line of death, and this is highly suggestive of the patriarchy and a male mode of behavior. By contrast, the house seems grand and aesthetically beautiful, as if it were the architectural metaphor for what human civilization could be, with high ceilings and so forth. The killer is only squatting there; his domination of the structure is temporary and illegitimate. You only get to experience the bathroom and kitchen, the rooms most associated with body function, suggesting that when the patriarch usurps the structure everything is reduced to the lowest common denominator factors. The patriarch extends his power by conditioning and exploiting younger males to do the dirty work. The older males start a military adventure, and adolescent-age males are mostly the ones who get sent to the battlefield.
Your brother objects to hacking up a girl who is still half- alive. This girl seems to be the metaphor for the present state of the feminine—-half-dead, half-alive, assigned for dismemberment, but arousing the conscience of those not fully conditioned. The desire to refuse participation conflicts with the awareness that the patriarchy destroys those who don’t obey its rules. This impossible dilemma leaves only one moral choice: rescue of the half dead feminine and yourselves from the kill or be killed bondage to the patriarchy. The rescue takes the form of slaying the serial killer, and specifically the method of killing is that you wrap your legs around his head and snap his neck. This strongly suggests that you use your sexuality as a weapon to kill the oppressor. The method of killing is castration, as the loss of head or eyes—as in the case of Oedipus—have long been equated with castration. The head and eyes are associated with solar phallic archetypal male power, male genitals, and a burly, studly body with the chthonic/lower phallic male power. You would seem to use your sexuality to attack the head to bring down the patriarchal power principle. This might be construed as corresponding to the complaint of some men that modern feminist women figuratively castrate them with head games. The oppressed is always in the act of becoming the oppressor. On the other hand, maybe there is legitimacy in the method used—there have been some female protests against war that encouraged women to withhold sexual congress with men while they made war. As an attractive young woman, you are in the situation of being a woman who has access to the power of attraction which has certainly been used quite often by both sexes as a weapon.
However, this method of fighting back, excites archetypal fears in men of the deadly, devouring vagina and men have tended to fear women sexually, since women are more powerful sexually in a few senses—male sexual energy is quickly expended by orgasms, but this is not the case for women; also, all fetuses begin as females, only females give birth, etc. But this way of overthrowing the patriarchy seems to have unintended consequences and massive collateral damage producing greater destruction of the feminine, and this seems to be illustrated by the response in a male psyche.
In this remarkable case of mutual dreaming, Mike seems to illustrate how this method of overthrowing the patriarchy can have a disastrous result. As far as I know, Mike is not a patriarchal male, but like your little brother he is a male who rebels from patriarchal conditioning. In the dream he clearly describes symptoms of solar phallic castration: ‘He felt confused but felt he had no time to think . . . ‘ With the archetypal fear of the deadly vagina aroused in the male psyche, a dangerous archetypal projection happens where a half-alive, victimized, fugitive femininity is viewed as dark, primeval, chaotic, dangerous—he believes that evil will happen if she gets away—evil will happen if the feminine is not brought under control, which means killing it. The woman he kills is blonde, the hair color most often identified with the Hottie. He drowns her, submerges her back into the unconscious, but in destroying the feminine he has lost half of his own energy source and becomes caught in sexual frigidity: ‘I’m freezing my ass off.’ He is cold in the genital area, and his main objective is to find another source of warmth. Female sexuality can be used as a very effective weapon against the patriarchy, but using such a weapon leads to mutual assured destruction because it excites primeval male fears that help to perpetuate the cycle of projection and violence.”
Here’s a recent dialogue I had with the same dreamer about another dream. The dreamer is a very attractive, talented, charismatic woman in her twenties. We discussed the dream as an email dialogue, and while I can certainly be accused of leading the witness a bit, I think this dream has much to contribute to the discussion of the feminine in women’s dreams, as well as the metamorphosis of eros. The theme of violence and bloodshed between masculine and feminine continues in this dream.
Emily (entire email exchange dated 2/24/06)
“Hey there Jonathan,
I just remembered a dream I had – years ago back in 2000-2001 it has always been an interesting one to me. Starts with going to the grocery store back in ______ (a town out West) (where I grew up) with my mom, brother and my boyfriend at the time. Store is not as I remembered it – it is a combo of a few different stores. Regardless, we finish shopping and are carrying the groceries outside. I am carrying a tube like net-like bag that has kiwis in it and they are stacked in there one by one about two feet long. As we are walking out of the store there is a noticeable crowd – but we keep walking to our car as a group – just as we walked in. As we get to the car my boyfriend starts playing around – pushing and poking like a 20 year old might do . . . so my little brother and I start pushing and playing back. As we are all rough housing around my bag of kiwis splits open and they start rolling everywhere. My brother grabs the ones that roll by him. I start chasing a few that are rolling toward the front of the store. As I finally catch up with it – it has rolled right into the crowd that I mentioned earlier. As I grab the kiwi and look up there is a man with a gun swirling about pointing it at people telling them to shut up. The crowd is making fun of him – saying that he is not serious, doesn’t have the guts, that he is a wimp and so on in that degrading sense. I make eye contact with him, and he grabs me and puts me underneath him pointing the gun at me and tells me not to move. He begins grabbing others too and doing the same, before you know it he has half the crowd at his feet cowering. The crowd is making fun of him still. He hands me the shotgun and gives me this look of hold onto this for me – you are the only one I can trust here. I feel bad for him because I know he is not a bad person. I feel like I can trust him. And that he trusts and identifies with me. One of the crowd finally says something that enrages the man and he swings around for the gun and grabs it back from me. And as if he decides to prove his seriousness, points the gun at my head – right between my eyes. I have enough time to look at him and ask telepathically why he is doing this, asking him not to do this to me, because I don’t hate him I understand him, please don’t. BANG! I felt this dull but sharp pain run deep through my head – right between my eyes. My world is immediately black. The first thing that I hear is me at the sound of the bang ‘Keep breathing, don’t stop breathing, you can’t die if you refuse to stop breathing, even if your lungs fail keep breathing, you need to keep breathing, this is how you push over to the other side. Keep breathing.’ As I do this I begin to hear the faint and fragmented voices of the crowd – crying, ‘Oh my god look at her face,’ ‘She was such a beautiful girl,’ ‘What has he done.’ I knew that I was disfigured. I knew I was dying. The black faded – I kept breathing and the voices faded away completely. As the black faded into light I began to feel like I had done it I had pushed through to somewhere – either death or to the hospital – I was convinced I would wake up in one of the two places . . . the next consciousness or a hospital. I was nervous and scared to open my eyes and I finally got the courage – as I opened them I opened my eyes to my eastern facing window with the sunlight beaming through lighting up my bedroom at my parents house. And that is how I came out of the dream. It was so real that I really believed I was shot in the face. I felt that pain right between my eyes for some time after that during the day.”
Jonathan (emailed response)
“That’s a bit of a puzzler, so I decided to sleep on it. I felt I understood the last part of the dream last night, but not the first part, about which I now have a highly speculative theory. In the dream, you are carrying a very specific and rather organic seeming structure not found in ordinary life, a tube-like, net-like bag with kiwis stacked one on top of the other. I am wondering if this could be a dream metaphor for female reproductive anatomy, esp. the fallopian tubes that deliver eggs one by one? Your boyfriend starts ‘playing around—pushing and poking like a 20 year old might do . . .’ (sounds like adolescent intercourse) and this causes the bag to split open and the kiwis/eggs to spill out of control, leading you to danger. A sexual mischance with a single egg could have life-changing consequences. Sometimes dreams reveal specific medical conditions—were there any female anatomy health issues occurring or developing at that time? The image could also be a warning about the shocks that can come from being careless with one’s sexuality. Or this theory may be completely off base.
Typically, when a dream delivers such a powerful shock that it translates into a bodily sensation, and very especially if the dream causes one to wake with lingering sensation, it is trying to deliver a powerfully deconditioning shock, and usually what it is trying to decondition is indicated in the dream. Nowadays, the most common element leading to a nightmarish deconditioning shock in people’s dreams is sexual transgression, which is presently considered the norm in many subcultures, but which the unconscious red flags as much as it did
sexual repression in earlier times. That one of the women in the chorus—so to speak—laments your facial disfigurement and says that you have lost your beauty, puts the shock in the context of eros. A shotgun blast to the face, if survived, can be so horribly disfiguring that survival can be much more traumatic than death. Pursuing a stray egg/kiwi, you end up under the power of inferior masculinity, a male whose eros is caught in death energy—sex as a metaphor for power. He is acting out because of weakness, and empathically you realize this and sympathize, but your empathy for his weakness actually endangers you further. He is trying to prove his machismo to a collective that taunts him, labeling him as emasculated and a wimp and so forth, so he ‘grabs you and puts you underneath him.’ Here we have the brand of sex as a metaphor for power characteristic of rapists and immature masculinity—which is the norm—and the shotgun is a phallus of death. Maybe you were having a prophetic vision of Dick Cheney, who was either running for office or recently elected around the time of the dream!
The dream then performs a function that may be valid even if the above theory is not. It takes you through a kind of near-death or death experience, and I have seen many dreams perform this function. At the time of the dream, you were closer to the age of initiation, and since our culture does not usually provide initiations—in tribal cultures these involve a confrontation with death—the unconscious may have supplied one and allowed you to see that by holding your center as you pass through the Big Bang singularity/event horizon of death, you emerge and find a sunny morning; that the self is not extinguished by death, but instead it is shocked by it. You felt pain right between your eyes, which suggests that the dream delivered an intentional shock to your third eye.
I would be very interested in hearing which, if any parts, of the above interpretation resonate with your inner truth sense, and if you can access that from a dream that happened several years ago.”
Emily: “Well the most intriguing part was the getting shot and being told by something to keep breathing. That was the focus of the dream. It felt like the people that were there were just to move the story along . . .”
“Well, that would point more towards what I felt last night, that everything was just a precursor to the Big Bang, a simulated death experience. But some sort of soul guide tells you to keep breathing, which is classic advice to a living person undergoing a huge shock from an hallucinogen, for example. On another level, the message is about keeping your center during the most apocalyptic shocks, because death itself is survivable if one doesn’t completely fragment. Still, I can’t help feeling that dreams tend to be highly efficient and make symbolic use of precursor material too. Does the theory about the earlier parts diverge from your intuitive sense of the dream, or is it more that you don’t have a feeling one way or another because the shotgun blast was so much more powerful? Can you remember what you felt when the kiwi bag burst? Kiwis look more egg-like than most fruits, and have a furry exterior and brilliant green within. They also possess a kind of radial structure that looks a bit like a cell.”
“Well at the time I had just discovered kiwis as one of my new favorite fruits. I thought that is why they were in the dream. I did find it strange how they were packaged though. When the bag burst I was pissed because like I said I love this new fruit and they were expensive so I didn’t want to lose any of them. It was hard to get my mom to buy things that were expensive.”
“Well that’s pretty interesting, because they are almost like forbidden fruit! They seem like pearls of great price. They are living objects that, if planted in the right environment, grow into fruit-bearing trees. Also, they are highly nourishing, and a new exotic pleasure your mom is reluctant to approve. Was there anything in your life at the time of the dream, or the time you lived in _____, that would correspond—something alive that you had newly discovered but which your mom might have disapproved of as too expensive, exotic, or, for some other reason, forbidden? How they are packaged is strange: netting and nets are related to the feminine sometimes—the web of life. The kiwis are something forbidden and hard to contain, but available or packed in a one-at-a-time manner in a tube. This strangeness means there is some secret there to be decoded, since the dream could easily have conjured a weak paper grocery bag whose bottom gave out.
Keep that structure in your active imagination and see what you get. What does it feel like to hold a leaky net tube of kiwis? It seems pregnant with meaning . . .”
“Well at the time – I was about to break up with that boy and was about to embark on my own idea of what I wanted my life to be. I was quitting the bicycle racing thing and getting into art and film for the first time . . . I was going after the forbidden fruit — my dreams, and no one else was influencing me for once.”
“So, at the very least, you were creating your own initiation and a massive change was taking place on multiple levels. The unconscious may have assisted you by giving you a perfectly safe brush with death, which strengthened you to withstand shocks. When we seek to leave a smaller world for a larger one, there are threshold guardians that block the way, and we have to be tested before we can be allowed to cross the threshold; we have to undergo the dark night of the soul, the underworld journey… I still sense something biological and sexual about the whole kiwi scene.”
“Well I think that sexuality can be read into any 20 year old girl’s dreams. I mean, I always feared getting pregnant, because that is the last thing I ever want to happen, ever. So maybe that is what you are reading there. That fear is ever-present in me since the day it became something that ‘could’ happen. So that is what I have to offer up today.
I do enjoy the email discussions with you. It is a great way to get my mind through the day.”
“Aha. Well that makes sense. It goes with the egg and fallopian tube thing, and it seems to work with some slang phrases like: getting ‘banged’ resulting in a ‘shotgun wedding.’ The dream might also be strengthening your anxiety about having a cylindrical sack like object burst—condom—and that is associated with the danger of immature masculinity, which is both the pushing and poking of the soon-to-be-left boyfriend, and the chip-on-his-shoulder shotgun guy proving his masculinity in a way that is a shock to you. The dream therefore heightens the immunological alertness to a very genuine, highly probable risk: accidental pregnancy—and also, I wonder, the disastrous bio-energetic merging with an unworthy partner. You were about to take a highly developmental step that involved your continuing to play an androgynous role where being ambitious, very actively engaging in the world on self-invented paths charged by the highly unconventional, having encounters with other mutants, and exploring technical and artistic creativity, would have been largely disrupted by such an accidental disaster. You can see the archetypal masculinity in choosing such an active and ambitious path, and therefore your soul may have been recognizing how disastrously an unwanted pregnancy could derail that, and it sought to create the most powerful of shocks to condition you toward a heightened wariness.
This wariness would need to be carried by bodily intelligence and the unconscious, as well as by the conscious mind. The conscious mind already knew this danger as all too real, but the dream delivers the shock to the unconscious and the body to deepen the wariness. I think the kiwis are also representative of your eros in a looser metaphor—as compared to the literal allegory of kiwi to egg—as something precious, a recently discovered exotic pleasure usually shared with one person at a time, a finite element, something invaluable and yet only very reluctantly allowed by your mother. So the stray kiwi could be seen as representing the random one night stand: a merging that got away from conscious attention and control, and happens accidentally. This type of accident tends to be under the frequently fatal power of immature masculinity. So, the nightmare acts the way many nightmares do, a way that has some parallels to homeopathic medicine; a virtual poison is introduced, and this catalyzes a healthy immunological response, and the immunological response is about avoiding accidents with your eros—the biological accident of unwanted pregnancy, and the emotional and spiritual accident of an unworthy encounter with immature, transgressive masculinity.”