For someone who considers himself “Jungian”, I don’t dream very often. Or rather, I don’t recall my dreams very often. When I do, they usually seem very significant. I woke up yesterday morning from a dream and I stumbled out of bed to find a pen and pad to write down the details.
I dreamed that my wife and I and many other people were under some kind of spell which compelled us to jump out of the back of an airplane without parachutes. As we fell, I fell backwards, fearing to look down. My wife chose to plummet head first, and so she passed me on her way down. I can’t recall how exactly I survived, but I think I fell into a pool or river. Somehow I survived. At first I thought I was the sole survivor and I was so upset at the loss of my wife, I did not want to live any more.
Then I found myself in a shopping mall. A friend of mine was there, who I knew either as a companion from my time as a Mormon missionary or a high school friend that I kept up a friendship with for several years after. (You know how sometimes people in a dream are more than one person.) In my dream, my friend had no other friends and was lonely. But his wife was with him. It turned out that this friend had made a wish and that wish had somehow compelled everyone to jump out of the plane. He was trying to start some kind of organization.
Then people from the plane started showing up. They wandered into the mall and discovered my friend and his organization, which, as it turns out, was a Pagan organization called “Dragon Network”. I left him quite deliberately and abruptly to go find my wife. I looked and looked for my wife. I yelled her name, but I could not find her. Then suddenly she appeared, the last of all the people who had jumped from the plane. I asked her where she had been, and she told me it didn’t matter so long as we were together now. I was so relieved, I woke up almost in tears.
The theme of the dream was dual: (1) my relationship with my wife after I left the Mormon church, our emotional separation and reunion, and (2) my personal development through my departure from my religion of origin and my search for community in Paganism.
The airplane represented my transcendental/metaphysical approach to religion when I was in the Mormon church. Falling from the airplane was a psychological descent to earth, to physicality and groundedness. I was falling backwards, because my descent was involuntarily. This called to mind a statement by Jung:
“If he voluntarily takes the burden of completeness on himself, he need not find it ‘happening’ to him against his will in a negative form. This is as much to say that anyone who is destined to descend into a deep pit had better set about it with all the necessary precautions rather than risk falling into the hole backwards.” — Jung, “Christ, A Symbol of the Self”
My friend probably represent an aspect of myself that I associate with that friend, a kind of a sterile rationality. Interestingly, it was this friend who had no other friends and was trying to create a community. The people who had fallen from the airplane and were gathering in the mall represented the Pagan community that I discovered after leaving the Mormon church. But I had to leave my friend (that part of myself) and the Pagan community to find my wife.
My wife could have represented herself, and our separation represented the sense of drawing apart that we experienced after I left the Mormon church. But I suspect she also represented my soul/anima. I’ve been reading about Jung’s Red Book lately, which describes his own interactions with his personified soul/anima. (Jung’s understanding of the terms soul and anima evolved over time, but he used them interchangeably in the Red Book.) Her more intentional descent from the plane confirms that she was a more intuitive figure. (My friend’s wife also probably represent his/my soul/anima.) Thus, my search for my wife was my search for my own soul. Our reunion reflected the actual course of my relationship with my wife, but it also represents the promise that I will discover my soul, so to speak. However, it seemed to suggest that I will have to leave behind the very Pagan community that I have been seeking after in order to do so.
“When good is near you, when you have life in yourself,—it is not by any known or appointed way; you shall not discern the footprints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name;—the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. It shall exclude all other being. You take the way from man, not to man.” — Emerson, “Self-Reliance”
It’s a portentous dream, I think. And I’m curious and a little apprehensive to see how it plays out in my life.