Printer Friendly

Dream journey: a new heart-centered therapies modality.

Abstract: Our nightly descent into dreaming is an initiation that can enhance our expansion, create new possibilities, open the mind and the heart, and reintroduce us to our soul. There are layers of meaning, personal and collective, to our dreams, both Little Dreams and Big Dreams. Dreams can provide a map of possibilities, with which we learn about the future that we are evolving to. They are a portal into the underworld, the land of soul. We dissolve and release our attachments through dreams. We review three primary levels of interpretation for our dreams: Freudian, Jungian, and shamanic. We examine several paths to working with and understanding dreams: analytical psychology (Carl Jung and James Hillman); neuroscience (Andrew Newberg and Eugene D'Aquili); lucid dreaming (Stephen LaBerge and Jayne Gackenbach); anthropology (Barbara Tedlock); and cognitive psychology (Harry Hunt), as well as indigenous technologies: Tibetan Dream Yoga, Senoi dream psychology, Mayan dream traditions and Kabbalistic dream practices. We utilize Viktor Frankl's concept of the "spiritual unconscious," and Roberto Assagioli's conception of the Lower Unconscious, Middle Unconscious, and the Higher Unconscious. We review ego development based on the work of Susanne R. Cook-Greuter, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Robert Kegan, Jane Loevinger, Abraham Maslow, and William Torbert. We map out the relationships between the ego and the other intrapsychic components: the persona, shadow, anima/animus, mana personalities, and Self as described by Jung. We explain the Dream Journey process as preparing to dream, preparing to share, and preparing to receive a dream-teller's dream as a midwife receives a baby.

"If you want to find your way, first close your eyes and walk in the dark" (St. John of the Cross, pp. 85-86).

The Dream Journey

Martin Prechtel: If this world were a tree, then the other world would be the roots the part of the plant we can't see, but that puts the sap into the tree's veins....

The Mayans say that the other world sings us into being. We are its song. We're made of sound, and as the sound passes through the sieve between this world and the other world, it takes the shape of birds, grass, tables--all these things are made of sound. Human beings, with our own sounds, can feed the other world in return, to fatten those in the other world up, so they can continue to sing....

Derrick Jensen: There's an old Aztec saying I read years ago: "That we come to this earth to live is untrue. We come to sleep and to dream." I wonder if you can help me understand it.

Martin Prechtel: When you dream, you remember the other world, just as you did when you were a newborn baby. When you're awake, you're part of the dream of the other world. In the "waking" state, I am supposed to dedicate a certain amount of time to feeding the world I've come from. Similarly, when I die and leave this world and go on to the next, I'm supposed to feed this present dream with what I do in that one.

Dreaming is not about healing the person who's sleeping: it's about the person feeding the whole, remembering the other world, so that it can continue. The New Age falls pretty flat with the Mayans, because, to them, self-discovery is good only if it helps you to feed the whole....

A new culture will have to develop, in which neither humans and their inventions nor God is at the center of the universe. What should be at the center is a hollow place, an empty place where both God and humans can sing and weep together (Jensen, 2001).

Dreams allow access to that hollow place, and technologies exist for exploring it and growing closer to the empty place where both God and humans can sing and weep together. We will examine several paths to working with and understanding dreams: analytical psychology (Carl Jung and James Hillman); neuroscience (Andrew Newberg and Eugene D'Aquili); lucid dreaming (Stephen LaBerge and Jayne Gackenbach); anthropology (Barbara Tedlock); and cognitive psychology (Harry Hunt). Many indigenous cultures and esoteric systems teach us how to use those technologies: Tibetan Dream Yoga, Senoi dream psychology, Mayan dream traditions and Kabbalistic dream practices, and many more. We also find useful the Heart-Centered technologies of hypnotherapy, age regression, and Kundalini meditation. What conditions allow access, and once accessed how do we best honor our discoveries? What do our dreams want from us, what do they mean, and what are we to do with them? That is the investigation we are about to undertake.

Our primary interest in this article is dreamwork. However, to understand dreams sufficiently, we must study the general states of consciousness within which dreams fall. The category of these states might be called purposeful dissociation or directed dissociation, indicating a purposeful tuning out of external sensory stimuli and a focus on internal experience. In these states there is also a simultaneous balanced activation of sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system usage. Examples of such states are flow described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990), those of a mystical nature described by Stan Grof (1985), and that of the transcendent function described by Carl Jung (1958). And, of course, the dreams that occupy our sleep every night.

Dissociation, Detachment, and 'Softening of the Boundaries of the Self'

When people thoroughly enjoy themselves, when they experience the best moments in their lives, they tend to describe the experience as including concentration, absorption, deep involvement, joy, a sense of accomplishment. Csikszentmihalyi (1993) has compiled a list of eight distinct dimensions of experience common to most people. "These same aspects are reported by Hindu yogis and Japanese teenagers who race motorcycles, by American surgeons and basketball players, by Australian sailors and Navajo shepherds, by champion figure skaters and by chess masters" (p. 178). Those eight dimensions of experience are:

1. Clear goals--an objective is distinctly defined--and immediate feedback--one knows instantly how well one is doing.

2. The opportunities for acting decisively are high, and they are matched by one's perceived ability to act, i.e., personal skills.

3. Action and awareness merge: one-pointedness of mind.

4. Concentration on the task at hand; irrelevant worries and concerns temporarily disappear from consciousness.

5. A sense of potential control.

6. Loss of self-consciousness, transcendence of ego boundaries, a sense of growth and of being part of some greater entity.

7. Altered sense of time, which usually seems to pass faster.

8. Experience becomes autotelic, i.e., worth doing for its own sake.

A central key to achieving the state that Csikszentmihalyi calls flow seems to be transcendence of ego boundaries, an expansion of one's sense of self that is at the same time not self-conscious. It is, in a very real sense, not conscious but rather unconscious.

Other descriptions of such transcendent states of consciousness which allow a person to transcend everyday, ordinary reality are: transcendence beyond mundane thoughts and concerns of the day; the perception of the universe as a unified whole; a humble appreciation of everything as an interdependent aspect of that unity; a sense of profound meaning and purpose; the ability to dissolve the usual boundaries of time and space; a feeling of awe about life; a noetic quality to the experiences in which knowledge, insight and revelation are accepted as beyond the grasp of the intellect.

These are, in fact, the distinguishing attributes of transcending self-actualizing individuals that were described by Abraham Maslow (1994/1970). Maslow's term "unitive perception," or the "fusion of the eternal with the temporal, the sacred with the profane" (p. 79), captures the essence of the state. There are also what Maslow (1971) called nontranscending self-actualizers. He described such people as "more essentially practical, realistic, mundane, capable, and secular people, living more in the here and now world ... 'doers' rather than meditators or contemplators, effective and pragmatic rather than aesthetic, reality-testing and cognitive rather than emotional and experiencing" (p. 281).

In fact, Maslow noticed that there was a relationship between a person's needs level on his Hierarchy of Needs (Physiological, Safety and Security, Love and Belongingness, Self Esteem, Growth Needs, Self-Actualization) and the kinds of dreams he had. "Unconscious needs commonly express themselves in dreams ..." (1970, p. 141), and thus a person's current experienced position on the hierarchy could be assessed from his/her dreams.

These transcendent states are what Carl Jung called numinous experiences which, whether interpreted as pathological or as divine inspirations, derive from an overwhelming breakthrough into consciousness of unconscious material from the 'psychoid' realm where the archetypes reside (Capobianco, 1993). This provides access to the imaginal world, the realm of the soul. For this reason, with Jungian psychology "many of its philosophical and spiritual roots are planted firmly in the soil of the 'wisdom path' of the Western mystery tradition (May, 1991; Charet, 1993), a tradition which emphasizes a sustained regression into the unconscious for the purposes of individual and collective spiritual transformation" (Young-Eisendrath & Miller, 2000, p. 77).

However, consciousness is not capable of preserving opposites in their original unity, since the "essence of consciousness is discrimination, distinguishing ego from non-ego, subject from object, positive from negative, and so forth" (Jung, 1953, vol. 6, para. 179). "We must," he argues, "appeal to another authority, where the opposites are not yet clearly separated, but still preserve their original unity." This 'authority' is the unconscious: "Where purely unconscious instinctive life prevails, there is no [conscious] reflection, no pro et contra, no disunion, nothing but simple happening, ... where everything that is divided and antagonistic in consciousness flows together into groupings and configurations" (paras. 179, 181). And the process for accessing the unconscious he termed the "transcendent function", which, through a dialectical synthesis, brings together opposites in a reconciling attempt to regulate the psyche, or the self. Jung held that if a person can hold the tension between the conflicting opposites, then eventually something will happen in the psyche to resolve the conflict. Jung calls this the transcendent function, because what happens transcends the conflicting opposites.

An example of the conflicting opposites is Sun and Moon, solar and lunar perspective. Solar thinking is intended to shed as much light as possible on what lies in the dark.
      Lunar focus is diffuse, attentive but without a goal, makes us
   aware of what knowledge is absent, what we don't know, what we
   aren't capable of knowing through the solar light of the waking
   world. This is the consciousness of contemplation, and its answers
   are felt as inklings, images that ebb and flow in waves of feeling
   rather than discreet particles or facts.

      Lunar attention is playful as well as serious. We feel the
   answers to our questions in our body rather than in the mental space
   of our head Lunar consciousness is what we need to unfold the
   meaning of a dream (Gordon, 2007, p. 93).

An example of the transcendent function, the dialectical synthesis of opposites, is the Chinese concept of ming. The sun's light and the moon's light are generally mutually exclusive, since direct sunlight renders the moon invisible, so that we see the sun's light during the day and the moon's at night. Combining the light from both solar and lunar orbs results in a word that expresses a luminous totality; 'ming' conveys a brilliance whose qualities are both diurnal and nocturnal, conscious and unconscious. It is an ideogram that combines two polar opposites into a union whose new symbolic power transcends the sum of its parts. Illumination from both sun and moon, conscious and unconscious, is brilliant, bright, and enlightened.



[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] brilliant, bright, enlightened

Bridging the yawning gulf between the two, which occurs in dreams and visions and other numinous experiences, allows one to become conscious of the unconscious, to recognize the vast influences on beliefs and behavior in ordinary rational reality. It is what we call enlightenment. Most people "can hardly conceive how much his inclination, moods, and decisions are influenced by the dark forces of his psyche" (Jung, 1969, p. 254). The longer they are ignored, the darker they become. And "those people who are least aware of their unconscious side are the most influenced by it" (Jung, 1960, p. 79).
   The process of coming to terms with the unconscious is a true
   labor, a work which involves both action and suffering. It has been
   named the "transcendent function" because it represents a function
   based on real and "imaginary," or irrational and rational, data,
   thus bridging the yawning gulf between conscious and unconscious.
   It is a natural process, a manifestation of the energy that springs
   from the tension of opposites, and it consists in a series of
   fantasy-occurrences which appear spontaneously in dreams and
   visions (Jung, 1966, p.100).

What are the practices aside from dreaming that produce, or allow access to, these states? Physical relaxation accompanied by mental alertness, such as meditation, prayer, ritual, sensory deprivation, visualization, mantra repetition, employing the breath, music, chanting, or drumming; surrendering to absorption in an unfolding process; shamanic journeying. One element shared by all of these practices is the employment of deliberate intention. Another is a significant diminution in awareness of the mind-body unit, tuning out external sensory stimuli and focus on internal experience; thus, these practices all fall within the definition of a dissociated state, yet one that has been deliberately created and focuses awareness purposefully. This is purposeful or directed dissociation as distinguished from either pathological dissociation or nonpathological spontaneous dissociation (Edge, 2001, 2004).

The state depends on the willingness and capacity to detach from the external world and one's self in it (Bartocci & Dein, 2005). These authors suggest that the peek-a-boo game in which the baby covers his or her face to make the external world disappear and then uncovers the eyes to make it reappear, and similar 'being gone' fantasies of children, represent a primitive way to detach from perception of external reality. Trance states represent the capacity to voluntarily make use of detachment as a technique to gain a 'suspended state of consciousness' rooted in a momentary dissociation. "To bring about this sense of self-loss we need to consider the existence of dual physiological mechanisms for neutralizing the external world and one's self. The first is achieved by thickening the 'wall' between the self and the external world; the second mechanism enhances an illusory lack of barriers between the self and the external world, through the creation of a fictitious mystical undifferentiation between the self and an external world that becomes being and nothingness, death and love at the very same time" (p. 552).

The dual physiological mechanisms can be conceptualized as the two directions in which consciousness can be altered: the ergotropic pathway of increasing arousal through sympathetic nervous system activation, culminating in the extreme of mystical ecstasy, and the trophotropic pathway of decreasing arousal through parasympathetic nervous system activation, culminating in deep trance (Fischer, 1971). Newberg and D'Aquili (2000, pp. 255-256) note:
   During certain types of meditation ... We have proposed that as the
   hypertrophotropic state creates a state of oceanic bliss, the
   ergotropic eruption results in the experience of a sense of a
   tremendous release of energy ... activity is so extreme that
   'spillover' occurs ... This may be associated with the experience
   of an orgasmic, rapturous or ecstatic rush, arising from a
   generalised sense of flow and resulting in a trance-like state.

Newberg, D'Aquili and Rouse (2001) used SPECT (single positron emission computerized tomography) scanning to show that, during meditation and prayer, there is a marked decrease in activity of the posterior superior parietal lobe and marked increase in the activity of the pre-frontal cortex predominantly on the right side of the brain. They attributed the sensation of absorption of the self into 'something larger' to decreased activity of the posterior superior parietal lobe, the brain's 'orientation' area responsible for defining the boundaries of the self. A lack of stimulation of the left lobe results in an individual's loss of sense of self. A lack of stimulation of the right lobe enhances the individual's feeling of unity with the world, as the brain no longer creates the perception of physical space. As a result of hyperactivation of the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus inhibits the flow of signals between neurons in the orientation areas which become 'deprived' of neuronal activity and can no longer function to maintain a sense of self. This results in what Newberg calls a 'softening of the boundaries of the self'.

Some of these practices are amenable to group participation; most are individual experiences. Those that can be shared by a group tend to incorporate universal stimuli and symbols. An example is accessing the collective unconscious and its inhabitants, the archetypes. I suggest that dream-telling, and in particular the group ceremonial activity referred to here as dream journeying, is a highly productive practice that incorporates the foregoing qualities in a group context. The Dream Journey process will be described later in this article.

Big Dreams and Little Dreams--Layers of meaning

Dreams can be personal, and they can be collective. At some point, our personal Shadow becomes so large it is more accurate to call it a Collective Shadow. Many of our dreams already begin at that level of expansion beyond the personal. These dreams Jung classified as 'collective dreams', and he noted that primitive people instinctively recognize the difference between these two kinds of dreams, personal and collective, and describe them as little and big dreams, prizing the latter because they often tap sources of knowledge which would otherwise be unavailable.

One way to conceptualize this difference is to classify dreams into types. After examining the full spectrum of different types of dreams, the common and the rare, Harry Hunt (1989) offers the following classification:

* Personal-mnemonic dreams: relating to ordinary, daily matters in the dreamer's personal life.

* Medical-somatic dreams: relating to physiological processes of the dreamer's body; these dreams occur frequently during an illness or following an accident.

* Prophetic dreams: presenting omens or images of the future that may come true.

* Archetypal-spiritual dreams: involving vivid, powerful encounters with seemingly transcendent forces; these dreams often also include extremely strong physical or "titanic" sensations.

* Nightmares: involving terrifying, deeply upsetting images, themes, and emotions.

* Lucid dreams: involving a consciousness within the dream that the individual is dreaming.

Personal dreams. The content of some dreams is mundane, rehashing events of the day. Those events as portrayed in the dream are only thinly disguised, if at all. Such a dream may reveal one's uncensored feelings about those events or people, but they are clearly relating a personal narrative. "One doesn't always have big dreams or visions, one must dream the small ones, too" (Wolf, 1994, p. 151).

Somatic dreams. These dreams provide a means of expression for what may be otherwise inexpressible. The body speaks to the ego through symptoms, and also through dreams. Louise Hay (1988) has famously catalogued the messages from our bodies expressed as symptoms and sensations: knee trouble represents pride and ego; back trouble signifies feeling unsupported; we may have a "pain in the neck" irritating us in our life. We can look for similar messages, expressed in the same language, in our dreams.

Prophetic dreams. Dream consciousness exists outside of time. Events in a dream may be a reflection of past events portrayed in the timeless now of dreamtime, or they may be a reflection of future events. Dreams certainly offer opportunities to research the consequences of potential courses of action, like a chess player mentally playing out all the possible moves each time before he selects one move as the best one. And since the cosmic forces that influence us silently, unconsciously, energetically exist in that very timeless now of dreamtime, they may be sending us messages about the future, from the future. Indeed, "your dreams are the school ground where you learn about the future that you are evolving to" (Wolf, 1994, p. 183).

Archetypal dreams. We will be studying the source of these dreams at depth. Suffice it to say here that "What walks through my dreams is not actual, other persons or even their soul traits mirrored in me (ikons or simulacra of them), but the deep, subjective psyche in its personified guises. A dream presents 'me,' subjected to 'my' subjectivity. I am merely one subject among several in a dream" (Hillman, 1979, p. 98).

Nightmares. These dreams could be any of the other types of dreams in Hunt's schema, but with a negative emotional intensity that sets it apart.

Lucid dreams. These dreams are special in that they offer a unique interface combining conscious and unconscious mentation. The lucid dreamer is aware of being in a dissociated state, and may be actively or passively participating in the dream, but in either case is aware of the capacity to choose.

Research by Don Kuiken and associates (2006) differentiates between mundane dreams and impactful dreams, revealing three types of impactful dreams: nightmares, existential dreams, and transcendent dreams. Impactful dreams can be either relatively "little" dreams (moderately impactful) Or "big" dreams (exceptionally impactful). Their classification is as follows:

* Nightmares ("anxiety dreams") involve features such as intense fear, harm avoidance, vivid olfactory and auditory phenomena, and physical metamorphoses.

* Existential dreams involve features such as intense sadness, separation and loss, the emergence of strong and clear bodily feelings, and spontaneous feeling change.

* Transcendent dreams (comparable to archetypal dreams) involve features such as feelings of awe, magical accomplishment, extraordinary sources of light, and shifts in visual-spatial orientation.

Nightmares, existential dreams, and transcendent dreams all include visual discontinuities (i.e., explicit "looking," visual anomalies, and sudden shifts in location); all three types involve relatively intense affect, especially during dream endings; and the imagery of all three types seem "real" to their dreamers even after awakening.

These types of impactful dreams have very different effects on the dreamer's subsequent waking thoughts and feelings, however. The tendency is for (1) nightmares to be followed by lingering environmental vigilance (e.g., apprehension about invisible dangers); (2) existential dreams to be followed by reflection on feelings that the dreamer was previously reluctant to acknowledge (e.g., distress related to loss); and (3) transcendent dreams to be followed by consideration of previously ignored spiritual possibilities (e.g., attunement to preternatural phenomena).

Existential dreams seem to precipitate a form of questioning that addresses matters of "ultimate" concern, including spiritual conviction (or its lack), religious belief (or disbelief), life's meaning (or emptiness), life's value (or insignificance), and so forth. The form of this questioning is colored by the intense distress, especially the disturbing sadness, that emerges toward the end of existential dreams. Transcendent dreams are more likely to be followed by reports of spiritual release, a sense of self-renewal, liberation from daily entanglements, and ineffable awe.

Existential dreams apparently are followed by a combination of self-perceptual depth, existential disquietude, and a spatially and temporally unbounded sense of life in all things. Transcendent dreams, in contrast, are followed by ecstatic spiritual release within a spatially and temporally unbounded sense of life in all things.

"Like art, impactful dreams gesture toward, without capturing, something 'more'; they move the dreamer, with enlivened feeling, toward understanding" (Kuiken et al., 2006, p. 276).

Another perspective of the big dream/ little dream distinction is the work of James Hall (1983), who identifies three levels of Jungian association to a dream image: personal, cultural, and archetypal.

The Personal Level. The personal level is what you feel and think about the image. Do you like it? Does it make you feel joyful, sad, frightened, angry? Was it an object from your past? Are you familiar with it? What was the mood of the dream? Sometimes this is referred to as directed association, or circular or thematic association, as it circles around the image and our relationship to it.

The Social/Cultural Level. These are the associations that anyone might give to the image--president as leader, red light as stop, white as a bridal color, etc. While this can be a literal approach, it creates a very poetic layer when multiple associations are allowed to exist.

The Archetypal Level. Jung recognized that "elements often occur in the dream that are not individual and that cannot be derived from the dream's personal experience.... mental forms whose presence cannot be explained by anything in the individual's own life and which seem to be aboriginal, innate, and inherited shapes of the human mind" (1964, p. 67). These archetypes are primordial centers of organization that transcend the psyche but are experienced by individuals. Jung felt that we can learn, though dreams and other modes, to cooperate with archetypes in a way that contributes to our wholeness.

While we may be able to distinguish big dreams from little dreams, most dreams offer the dreamer, and his community, useful information on all of the levels. An example is dreams that relate to needs, since unconscious needs commonly express themselves in dreams. When the need alluded to in the dream is for physical sustenance or safety, a personal and somatic dream, it clearly relates to the personal level of meaning. And yet, that same dream may also be operating as a prophetic dream, alluding to the need for a reconnection to one's deeper self, what we call soul retrieval. Our dreams of need can tell us which parts of ourselves may be missing, or indicate that a part of us has remained separated and stuck. This dream is also touching on the archetypal level because the messages come to us as expressions of archaic forces, from the deep, subjective psyche, perhaps from a divine source. "Jung (1964) believed that dreams were linked to the spiritual life, even proposing the possibility that dreams are inspired by transcendental forces outside the dreamer, somnia a Deo missa (dreams sent by God)" (Davis, 2004, p. 151).

Three approaches to interpreting dreams

James Hillman (1979) offers a concise and very clear discussion of levels of interpretation, or meaning, for our dreams. He equates the first with Freud, treating the dream on the personal-mnemonic level, and the medical-somatic level. Hillman's second level of interpretation he equates with Jung, treating dreams as prophetic. And the third level of interpretation is shamanic, archetypal, primordial, mythical.
   We may compare three approaches to dream persons. The first, let us
   call it Freudian, takes them back to the actuality of the day by
   means of association or by means of the objective level of
   interpretation. Other people are essential [or understanding dream
   persons. The second, which we may call Jungian, takes them back to
   the subject as an expression of a person's complexes. My
   personality is essential for understanding dream persons. The
   third, archetypal method, takes them back to the underworld of
   psychic images. They become mythic beings, not mainly by amplifying
   their mythic parallels but by seeing through to the imaginative
   persons within the personal masks. Only the persons of the dream
   are essential for understanding the persons in the dream (pp.

The first two levels of interpretation are attempts to translate the messages from a foreign realm into the language of this familiar world of substance and reason, the world that the ego controls. Freud and Jung both deliver the dream to the ego's dayworld, but in different ways. The Freudian approach is to equate the dream images with the ego's waking experiences, be they from childhood or yesterday. Freud considered dream interpretation as "translation into the language of waking life" (Freud, 1924-1950, 5, p. 150). The ego that dreams is the same one that lives in waking reality, and scrambles the images in the dream to better hide the true meaning of what has been repressed into unconsciousness. The mother image in our dream represents our uncensored image of the mother in our life. My dream-sister and dream-enemy is my daytime sister and enemy. And the content of the dream shows what we actually but secretly feel about them, fear from them, want to do to them. Understanding our dreams involves discovering the latent meaning, deciphering the code that the dreaming ego has used to keep threatening material repressed. Freud appreciated, certainly, the immense challenge of that deciphering: "we become aware during the work of interpretation that ... there is a tangle of dream-thoughts which cannot be unraveled.... This is the dream's navel, the spot where it reaches down to the unknown" (Freud, 1954, p. 525).

Jung moved the interpretation inside, seeing my dream-mother and dream-enemy as representing aspects of myself, expressions of my psychic traits. And the dream content reflects the drama between the various aspects of myself, what I secretly feel about them, fear from them, want to do to them. The Gestalt technique of empathic identification with all the figures in a dream lays bare these secrets. My dream-enemy represents the self-sabotaging aspect of myself, a reflection of just how I am "my own worst enemy." My dream-mother is a representation of the qualities I have introjected from not only my mother in life, but from all the encounters I have had with mothers, maternal relationships, and mother images. The house in my dream is a reflection of the containment in my life.

However, a Jungian and Gestalt approach to dreams "finally returns the dream to the waking ego, who romantically absorbs the dream through his feelings. This engorges the ego, who swallows his own dream by becoming its images, instead of working on his reactions within them" (Hillman, 1979, p. 94). Such an approach to understanding dreams leads to insight and growth, "but what grows is the ego, whose personality enlarges at the expense of the dream persons that it has become. In this subtle way, Gestalt dream-work, following from Jung's subjective level of interpretation, can expand my person to take in the persons of the dream and eventually the Gods, who are in those dream persons" (Hillman, 1979, p. 98).
   So, if our therapeutic job is to walk the ego back over the bridge
   of the dream ... We must reverse our usual procedure of translating
   the dream into ego-language and instead translate the ego into
   dream-language. This means doing a dream-work on the ego, making a
   metaphor of it, seeing through its "reality." Let us then suspend
   an entire series of ego-operations; the ego-work, the modes by
   means of which the ego has been approaching the dream and
   performing its translations. These are causalism (seeing dream
   sequences in causal connections); naturalism (assuming dream events
   should accord with the upperworld of nature; moralism (seeing moral

   positions in the underworld and the dream as compensatory
   expression of self-regulatory conscience); personalism (believing
   the realm of the soul to be concerned mainly with personal life);
   temporalism (connecting dream events with the past or the future,
   either as recapitulations of what happened or foretellings of what
   is to come); voluntarism (seeing the dream in terms of action which
   requires a response in actions--"dreams tell us what to do");
   humanism (that the dream is primarily a reflection of and message
   for human affairs); positivism (reading the dream as a positing, a
   positional statement, to which positive and negative judgments can
   be applied); literalism (taking any dream or aspect of any dream
   with singleness of meaning, thus forgetting that every bit of the
   dream, including the dream-T, is a metaphorical image) (Hillman,
   1979, p. 95).

Imagine that you are presented with an unread book. This book is quite unique looking, it may appear dramatic, whimsical, portentious, fanciful. It certainly is intriguing, and draws you into opening its cover to explore inside. There is no title page, no copyright data, no table of contents. It begins on page one with acknowledgements. You discover that your name is highlighted as the most significant influence on the book's author, and the author goes on and on profusely about you and your profound qualities. You are flattered, of course, at being suddenly and unexpectedly the center of attention. In fact, you become so engrossed in the author's acknowledgement of you that you lose sight of the fact that you have not really begun reading the book's story yet. The seduction of admiring yourself in the mirror in the entry anteroom to the ballroom has distracted you from proceeding into the function for which you came. But to proceed requires pulling yourself away from that oh-so-familiar mirror image. As colorful and dramatic as the book's cover, the actual tale to be told inside is vastly more so. But to proceed requires taking the risks inherent in "falling down the rabbit hole," the dream's navel, and immersing in an unknown and unknowable underworld. Hillman's third level of dream interpretation is to move beyond the acknowledgements and enter into the archetypal, primordial story.

When we are successful in allowing the dream to have its own existence, and in translating the ego into dream-language, then the images and content of the dream stand boldly, independent of the dayworld ego. The dream-mother and dream-enemy and menacing neighbor and woman in the revealing dress become Mother, Enemy, Menacing Neighbor and Woman in the Revealing Dress. They are seen for what they are: archetypal images, collective memories, the lexicon of ancient myth and species' instinct. The dream images do not belong to the dayworld ego, and they cannot be domesticated for the ego's amusement. They live and thrive in the dark underbelly of the world, the haunts of non-physical beings, the realm of the soul. The archaic hero lives above ground, valiantly battling and occasionally teaming up with the many denizens of the deep, those who populate our dreams. But the hero can only encounter them, communicate with and understand them, by descending underground and entering their world. The hero, i.e., the ego, must walk back over the bridge of the dream as a student, attentive, eager to learn about this awesome and awful realm, aware that the natural laws here are very different from those above in the dayworld.

Figure 1 presents an illustration of the human being: an observable person above ground, in ordinary reality, and a foundational root system below ground, in the imaginal underworld, the unconscious and unseen. The Self encompasses both realms.


Preparing the Dream Container

Our nightly descent into dreaming is initiation. Every hero's journey portends transition from the known and familiar, through the threshold that intimidates, to the unknown and unknowable. Taking that journey is an initiation that opens the mind to worlds hitherto unknown, and opens the heart to connections hitherto undreamed of. Here the masters who initiate are the companions of the soul, living in the unseen underworld of the collective unconscious. These guides who initiate may be unknown to us, to the dayworld ego, but they are truly companions of the soul. And so taking that journey is an initiation that opens the mind, the heart, and also reintroduces us to our soul.
   To a shaman, a dream is not a creation of the mind, psyche, or
   soul. It is the remembered fragment of the experience of one's
   natural spirit in the twin world, the dreamworld. The twin world of
   dreams, like this world, never ceases living, forming as it does a
   parallel continuum to the waking world.... Like the two opposing
   wings of a butterfly, the dreamworld is one wing and the awake
   world is the other wing. The butterfly must have both wings
   connected at the Heart in order to fly and function.... [the] heart
   that all ritual seeks to feed and keep alive" (Prechtel, 1998, pp.

Once initiated, "a shaman's bundle is essentially a bundle of dreams" (Prechtel, 1998, p. 170).
      That which keeps you alive in an initiation is not your reasoning
   powers, or how much information you've gathered. It has to do with
   that spirit power that admires you. This relationship with your
   spirit power is not kept up by that power, but it is maintained by
   you. You must feed that very power, just like a magic horse, if you
   want to get back home only your natural spirit knows how to proceed
   in the spirit world. You feed the horse, your power, and it'll find
   a way to get you home.... This keeps your spirit strong and
   inspired to meet the challenge of initiation" (Prechtel, 1998, p.

Taking that journey to the dreamworld, to the land of the soul and spirit power, brings us into connection with past and future, too. The twin world of dreams is not a linear world like the waking world is. It is expansive in all directions. We revisit our personal past and also the great ancestral collective past. Our dreams can foretell our future as well, bringing us messages of what the consequences will be of various courses of action. Jung believed that dreams were not just suppressions and projections of unacceptable desires, but were necessary for creativity. Dreams produce new information, new insights for the conscious mind. "Jung felt that dreams dealt with origins, points where new ideas were created, and were not causes that explained our behavior in the past. Instead dreams were to be used to tell us something about our behavior in the future" (Wolf, 1994, pp. 44-45).

Because dreams produce new information, a "dream is also a map of possibility. In the dream state the observer is not localized to one region of the brain. The observer is distributed throughout the brain and is picking up information from several memory locations simultaneously. The quantum wave in the brain is dependent on all of the possible locations of the observer so that memory recall in one location is instantly correlated with other locations, giving rise to surprising and meaningful overlaps of what are usually separated memories" (Wolf, 1994, p. 64).

And the initiate brings back to this world a great treasure: he has learned how to relive dreamtime through certain procedures, call them ceremonies. Now the bridge between this world and the underworld of dream and archetype and soul has become a two-way bridge. Before initiation it was one-way only: the inhabitants of that realm have full access to this world, to all that occurs here. In fact their substance and nourishment must come from those in this world. Prechtel says that dreaming is "about the person feeding the whole, remembering the other world, so that it can continue" (Jensen, 2001). "The imagination at night takes events out of life, and ... scavenges and forages for day residues, removing more and more empirical trash of the personal world out of life and into psyche ... stripping the world for spare parts" (Hillman, 1979, p. 128).

That perspective lends support for the reverse learning theory of dreaming offered by Francis Crick and Graeme Mitchison (1983). They "hypothesized that rapid eye movements (REM) observed during sleep served to erase spurious associations that arose from vast amounts of information coming into the memory regions of the brain. Thus dreams were a running record of erasures. As Crick and Mitchison (1983) put it, 'we dream to forget'." They later (1986) reformulated that statement to 'We dream to reduce fantasy,' or, 'We dream to reduce obsession', since it is the oversupply of particular thought patterns that require erasing.

Another application of dreams as erasure is the idea that in our dreams we are releasing aspects of existing relationships, freeing ourselves to become open to changes in those relationships, and perhaps even freeing the other at the same time. "Perhaps there is a work going on in the dreams, a prolonged cooking of obdurate residues that dissolve the all-too-solid flesh of remembered persons into their simulacra, shades of themselves, so that they may depart, freed of our attachments, and we may live in their presence without being oppressed by their life. These figures are more than complexes to be resolved; they are also emotional substances going through the work of soul-making" (Hillman, 1979, p. 97).

The Kabbalah instructs us that virtually the same process occurs at our physical death. The ego too is soul, the lowest level of soul, the body-soul or nefesh. It must stay with the corpse until it decomposes and disintegrates, while the higher level of soul, the neshamah, is allowed to return to its source immediately. The purpose of requiring the nefesh to remain with the departed body, to participate in its destruction, is to insure that it severs its attachment to earthly life, to leave behind this impermanent, illusory reality. Only then is the nefesh sufficiently freed of its attachment to the limited beliefs about itself that it can open to the vast new possibilities available. These levels of soul, as different as they are, meet in council in times of deep remorse, overpowering temptation, profound physical intimacy, but "the dream is that most near and regular place where we can experience the subtle play between kinds of soul" (Hillman, 1979, p. 107).

Now we are circling around to a clear understanding of why we dream in cryptic images and hidden disguises. There is something incredibly valuable to gain from detaching from the literal, rational, left-brained, earthbound perspective of ego, and that is reconnection with soul.
      In dreams we are visited by the daimones, nymphs, heroes and
   Gods, shaped like our friends of last evening. How can we now more
   precisely formulate the relation between the archetypal persons
   (1), coming through the figures of my friends (2), and my own
   personality traits and potentials (3)? To take the friends only on
   the subjective level, as personal potentialities, loses the
   underworld. But then, why don't the shades and Gods come in their
   own shapes; why do they bother with the dream-incarnations, my
   family and friends and odd strangers? These dream-persons must
   somehow be necessary.

      They are necessary for soul-making. They are necessary for the
   work of seeing through, of de-literalizing. Without my friends of
   last evening, a dream would be a direct communication with spirits
   in a numinous vision. A dream is not a vision, however, as the
   psyche is not the spirit (Hillman, 1979, p. 99).

So the journey we speak of, before the initiation can develop, before the return with ceremonies can occur, begins with crossing over the threshold "in order to pursue the dream into its home territory.... There thinking moves in images, resemblances, correspondences. To go in this direction, we must sever the link with the dayworld, forgoing all ideas that originate there--translation, reclamation, compensation. We must go over the bridge and let it fall behind us, and if it will not fall, then let it burn" (Hillman, 1979, p. 13). Crossing successfully is possible only with a willingness to enter an alien land alone, unaccompanied by our familiar accoutrements of causalism, naturalism, moralism, personalism, temporalism, voluntarism, humanism, positivism, literalism.

Across that bridge lies the underworld, and there a different breed of sovereign rules. The powers born of Night, who govern our darkness, are apathetic, heavy, sleepy, forgetting, lethal, lethargic: Hypnos, Nyx, Hecate, Thanatos. They include Old Age, Envy, Strife, Doom, Lamentation, Destiny, Deceit, and Dreams. "And there stands the fearful house of gloomy Night, shrouded in clouds of blackness. Next to that the son of Iapetos [Atlas] stands holding the broad heaven firmly upon his head and untiring hands, where Night and Day approach and greet each other as they cross the great threshold of bronze. One goes in, one comes out, and the house never holds them both inside, but always there is one of them outside the house ranging the earth, while the other waits inside the house until the time comes for her to go. One carries far-seeing light for those on earth, but the other, baleful Night, shrouded in clouds of mist, cradles Sleep, the brother of Death" (Hesiod, 1999, p. 25). The two worlds come close and greet each other on terms dictated by Night, the gloomy house of Night.

Before anything was, before the beginning of everything, according to Greek mythology, there was the Void, the pregnant open emptiness: Chaos. From this Void issued Gaia, physical existence and the living spirit of the created world; Tartarus, the underworld; Nyx and Erebus, female and male personifications of primordial darkness; and Eros, the spiritual medium connecting Chaos and Gala, the creative impulse of love, desire, and enchantment. From Nyx and Erebus issued Charon, the ferryman who would transport the souls of the dead across the River Styx to the entrance of the underworld; Hypnos, the god of sleep, a gentle and benevolent force who brings the restorative gift of sleep to mortals and gods alike; and Thanatos, god of death who reverently carries the dead body away when it has been discarded by the departing soul. And from Hypnos issued Morpheus, who rules the realm of dreams. Refer to the article "Trauma, Transitions, and Thriving" in issue 8(1) of this Journal for a more detailed discussion of the mythology referenced here.

Now the bridge of which we speak might better be envisioned as a flowing body of water, a river to be crossed. And transport across that divide is provided by Charon, direct descendant of primordial darkness. "Charon the Ferryman, of course, shuttles back and forth, so one might be tempted to imagine the interpreter's role as a translation between two banks of the river. Charon, however, never leaves the underworld, and his traffic goes one way only--deeper still, to the farther shore" (Hillman, 1979, p. 220). And that is why in order to cross over the bridge we must let it fall behind us, and if it will not fall, then burn it. This injunction applies, however, to the uninitiated. There is a means of return, but not over the bridge that lead us into the underworld, not on Charon's ferry that carried us there. No, the return must take a circuitous route, one that acknowledges the reign of the powers born of Night. "We move from a dream to this ... world not directly, dream to world, but indirectly, dream to archetype to world" (Hillman, 1979, p. 132).

Another description of the need for such a return is found in an understanding of the intricate functioning of the human brain regarding the dream state and remembering dreams upon awakening. Theta frequency brain waves are dominant with unconscious mental processing, and the source of these theta rhythms is the hippocampus (Winson, 1990). The theta is especially pronounced during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, in other words during dreaming (J. Alan Hobson, quoted in Wolf, 1994, p. 358). Now a person can emerge into conscious thinking (beta brain waves) from unconsciousness (theta) either rapidly or more gradually. When the transition occurs abruptly, little of the experience can be brought back to be accessible to the conscious mind. However, when that same transition occurs more leisurely, more of the theta-level experience can be accessed consciously. And the difference within the brain is that gradual transition allows alpha brain wave patterns to participate in the crossover. Alpha waves are associated with right brain processing, aesthetics, intuition, sensuality. So the initiated dreamworker knows how to listen with a theta rhythm, and meanders back across the bridge (or river) with an alpha rhythm. "The dead speak differently: they whisper ... We must lean in close to hear this kind of speech" (Hillman, 1979, p. 51). Theta rhythms originating in the hippocampus (important for "time-stamping" memories) explains why "memories occur--are recorded only if they dance in step with theta" (Hillman, 1979, p. 110).

And so we return to the dayworld "dream to archetype to world," paying homage to the powers born of Night, the primordial darkness, by allowing the transitional in-between space of hazy focus and mythical context. Instead of paying homage to the hero-ego by forcing the dream into rationality, we translate the ego into dream-language. Yet we must diligently avoid the temptation to believe we can "bring back" the essence of the dream, its meaning and message. "What we take out of dreams, what we get to use from dreams, what we bring up from dreams, is all to the surface. Depth is in the invisible connection; and it is working with our hands on the invisible connections where we cannot see, deep in the body of the night, penetrating, assembling and differentiating, debriding, stirring, churning, kneading--this constitutes the work on dreams" (Hillman, 1979, p. 140). But that work deep in the night can enhance our expansion, create new possibilities, open the mind and the heart, and reintroduces us to our soul.
      The belief that the soul wanders away from the body in sleep is
   another way of stating that dreams leave the body-soul's
   literalistic and naturalistic perspective. If so, then to grasp at
   dreams with body techniques and apply their images directly to the
   relation of bodies is to miss their wandering. Therapies that go at
   dreams in terms of body-language, body-ego, and physical life are
   attempting to force the free soul into perspectives that sleep
   allows it to leave. The key here is indirection: if the soul
   wanders from the body in sleep, then our way of letting the soul
   return to concrete life must follow the same wandering course, an
   indirect meandering, a reflective puzzling, a method that never
   translates the madness but speaks with it in its dream language
   (Hillman, 1979, p. 109).

The Dream Landscape--Spiritual Unconscious

"... were we to know 'where' dreams belong, then we would know better what they want, what they mean, and what we are to do with them" (Hillman, 1979, p. 2).

Gaining clarity about "where dreams belong" is our next focus. The realms of conscious and unconscious are intricately interrelated, and creating a geographical map to represent those relationships becomes highly challenging, perhaps folly. That is my intent, however, and we begin with the concept of the spiritual unconscious.

Trauma, Shock and the Spiritual Unconscious

The defense against the terrible pain of traumatic violation is more important than healthy or nourishing experience, more important than anything. The person's true spirit, true self, soul "is banished to an unfelt realm. It becomes a Spirit in Exile" (Eisman, 1989, p. 13). Where is the hiding place deep within the unconscious, the place of "internal exile" (Metzner, 1985, p. 44), the "self-enclosing psychic 'womb'" to which an essential part of oneself has been protectively withdrawn (Mathew, 2005, p. 387)? I suggest that a very useful conceptualization is Viktor Frankl's "spiritual unconscious."

That is to say, the person's spirit--her spontaneity, will, passion, integrity, life force--gets repressed into unconsciousness, into the "spiritual unconscious." "Freud saw only unconscious instinctuality, as represented in what he called the id; to him the unconscious was first and foremost a reservoir of repressed instinctuality. However, the spiritual may also be unconscious" (Frankl, 1997, p. 31).

Depending on the degree of trauma, the spirit may be only a little in exile or it may have withdrawn into a full-fledged witness protection program. In the former case, the repressive coping is primarily dealing with threat on the instinctual level, through repression to the instinctual unconscious. In the latter case, the repressive coping is primarily dealing with threat on the spiritual level, through repression to the spiritual unconscious, ultimately requiring soul retrieval.

The self defends against threat and intrusion first by banding together with supportive others. When such others are not available, the self defends by withdrawing from others, developing the capacity to be alone without fear, without feeling unprotected and empty. As a last resort in facing intrusive threat, when one's own resources are inadequate to protect and defend, the self withdraws finally from its own essence (soul). First collaboration with others, then abandonment of others, and finally abandonment of self. The psyche here has been rejected and exiled not by a healthy protective authority, but by a false self ashamed of the real self, a pretender to the throne.

When the threats and intrusions lead ultimately to self-abandonment, experienced as annihilation, the child's only remaining defenses are disintegration, failure of indwelling, and depersonalization: a psyche-soma split we call shock. The split stands in defiance of a sense of continuity of being, a sense of existing, a sense of self. Healing, resolving the trauma, requires the individual to "build a bridge to herself" (Schwartz, 2000, p. 426).

The bridge to the location of exile, the spiritual unconscious, is provided through experiences that transcend ego and shadow and everyday, ordinary reality, experiences of purposeful dissociation that touch the transcendent function: dreams and peak or mystical experiences.
   There are four aspects of the spiritual unconscious (Frankl):
   ethical, erotic, aesthetic and religious. They have their
   manifestations in our lives as conscience, love, artistic
   inspiration and religious experience, respectively. We can neither
   get closer to them by thinking about them obsessively nor get rid
   of them by ignoring them (Skodlar, 2002).

Frankl equated the spiritual unconscious with the conscience, "the wisdom of the heart," "more sensitive than reason can ever be sensible" (1975, p. 39). Frankl discusses three broad approaches to finding meaning, each a function of the spiritual unconscious. The first is through experiential values, that is, by experiencing something, or someone, we value. This can include Maslow's peak experiences and esthetic experiences such as viewing great art or natural wonders. The most important example of experiential values is the love we feel towards another. Love, he says, "is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire" (1963, pp. 58-59). A second means of discovering meaning is through creative values, by "doing a deed," as he puts it. This is the traditional existential idea of providing oneself with meaning by becoming involved in projects, or, better, in the project of one's own life. It includes the creativity involved in art, music, writing, invention, and so on. The third means of finding meaning is attitudinal values, which include such virtues as compassion, bravery, a good sense of humor, and even facing suffering and death with dignity. Frankl found real wisdom in the words of Nietzche: "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how."
   This unconscious religiousness, revealed by our phenomenological
   analysis, is to be understood as a latent relation to transcendence
   inherent in man. If one prefers, he might conceive of this relation
   in terms of a relationship between the immanent self and a
   transcendent thou. However one wishes to formulate it, we are
   confronted with what I should like to term 'the transcendent
   unconscious.' This concept means no more or less than that man has
   always stood in an intentional relation to transcendence, even if
   only on an unconscious level (Frankl, 1975, pp. 61-62).


Figure 2 represents the continuum of the spiritual unconscious in a human being's life, ranging from the deep underworld realm of soul to the transcendent heights of spirit, all beyond conscious awareness. Just as any fire's flame always burns upward, reaching for the heights, and water always flows downward into the depths, so these two aspects of the self function as the two opposing wings of a butterfly, connected at the Heart.

And it is upon that same bridge to the location of exile that our adult development manifests, our growth beyond normal, average maturity toward the more refined levels of optimum human potential. Before proceeding to elaborate a map of the intrapsychic terrain, we will review the development of the ego itself. This is necessary because exploring the psychic terrain is limited by the stage of development of the one who must explore, namely the ego.

So people work toward and achieve personal growth by exploring the Lower and the Higher Unconscious. Roberto Assagioli (1971) recognized the unconscious as divided into domains: the Lower Unconscious, Middle Unconscious, and the Higher Unconscious. The Lower Unconscious is intimately connected with the Collective Unconscious, that vast storehouse of historical and potential experience. The Higher Unconscious, or Superconscious, is intimately connected with the realm of the Transpersonal Self. In both Lower and Higher Unconscious, Assagioli sees a "paradoxical union or integration and coexistence of the individual and of the universal" (1971, p. 260). The Middle Unconscious is personal and individual, domain of the ego and easily retrievable into conscious awareness.

First the exploring individual must overcome the barriers to the repressed Lower Unconscious, the guardians to the underworld (shame, fear, addictions, unworthiness), integrate aspects of it, and develop personal power. They are what Maslow (1971) called nontranscending self-actualizers, and it is the work that Assagioli called personal psychosynthesis, the increasing ability to express a sense of unique, well-articulated individuality. A further step in that growth process is achieved by overcoming the barriers to the repressed Higher Unconscious--fear of letting go and ego surrender, or "spiritual agoraphobia" as Larry Dossey (1989, p. 9) calls it--and embracing it. This is Assagioli's transpersonal psychosynthesis and Maslow's transcending self-actualization. This represents an increasing experience of higher, mystical, and spiritual states of consciousness. Expanding into the lower but not the higher leads one to become psychologically healthy but not spiritually fulfilled, and expanding into the higher but not the lower leads one to become a psychologically unhealthy spiritual seeker (the spiritual by-pass).

We will observe and discover the ways in which the Self is created from, and longs to return to, both realms. And both realms hold a gravitational pull on the ego complex as well. We have seen that ancient wisdom holds creation to be a two-fold process involving explosive emergence outward from the packed density of darkest chaos, the Big-Bang, and an expansiveness out toward the vast openness of endless possibilities. The optimal development of human potential is the exploration and incorporation of both realms, which requires an ego flexible enough to allow it. The soul becomes free of the ego's identity with it, able to wander the Lower Unconscious, the dense dark Collective underworld, and to soar into unlimited and infinite interconnection with all that is, the vast open expanses of consciousness. Dreams and other transcendent experiences contribute to that freeing of ego identity.
   Dreams are important to the soul--not for the messages the ego
   takes from them, not for the recovered memories or the revelations;
   what does seem to matter to the soul is the nightly encounter with
   a plurality of shades in an underworld, as if dreams prepared for
   death, the treeing of the soul from its identity with the ego and
   the waking state. It has often been said that in dreams the soul
   "wanders," which means not literal walking through the world, but
   leaving the confines of the ego's concerns (Hillman, 1975, p. 33).

The following detailed discussion of ego development is based on the work of Susanne R. Cook-Greuter, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Robert Kegan, Jane Loevinger, Abraham Maslow, and William Torbert.

The Span of Human Development

According to most developmental stage theories (Cook-Greuter, 2000), mental growth follows a predictable path, a hierarchical sequence of increasingly complex and coherent stages from birth to adulthood. Each higher stage follows the one before, but also transcends and integrates the content of the lower into a more complex mental model of reality. Each higher stage can understand the stage below it while the lower stage tends to reduce whatever it gleans from above to its own level. Ken Wilber summarizes this development of integration as "going from subconscious to selfconscious to superconscious, or prepersonal to personal to transpersonal" (1990, p. 119).

Miller & Cook-Greuter (1994) subdivide the span of human development into four tiers, summarized in Table 1. The first two--preconventional and conventional development--cover mental growth from infancy to adulthood. About 85% of the general adult population function within these first two tiers of development (Cook-Greuter, 1990; Kegan, 1994). In contrast, the higher two tiers, the postconventional and the transcendent, describe rarer and more complex ways of how adults make meaning of their .experience. The third tier is called postformal or postconventional because it goes beyond the modern, linear-scientific Western conventions of society by starting to question the unconsciously held beliefs, norms and assumptions about reality acquired during socialization. The sense of self begins to expand to accommodate more territory on the spiritual unconscious continuum.

Loevinger (1976) formulated an influential lifespan self theory that delineates stages of meaning making from infancy into mature adulthood. Her ego stages move from coarse to subtle, from earlier more local and egocentric forms of meaning making towards more complex, integrated and global views. Ego development theory (Cook-Greuter, 1990; Loevinger, 1976; Torbert, 1995, 2002) describes the growth of the self from undifferentiated early infancy to self-actualized mature adulthood in ten distinct mental models of reality. She postulates four of those ten levels to be postconventional, beginning when people begin to see reality as well as themselves as an interconnected whole or system rather than an aggregate of separate, well-defined elements, moving toward a holistic view of reality. The path of ego development during the first two tiers of development is one of overall separation and individuation from the undifferentiated, unconscious fusion of the newborn with the mother, followed by reintegration during the latter two tiers toward the most differentiated, complex, and integrated view of realty and ego-transcendence.

The first tier stages (Preconventional). The Impulsive and Self-protective stages represent a child's normal maturation from birth to about age 12, as well as stages of arrested development in adults. The prenate and newborn infant begin this earthly development in a Presocial stage, experiencing their self as undifferentiated from everything else.

Impulsive. This stage describes individuals who show signs of the beginning use of language simultaneously with the emerging ego and ownership as reflected in statements like "I want", "no" and "mine". They are concerned with safety and the gratification of basic needs. Children at this stage are governed by their impulses; hence this is called the impulsive stage. Magical ideas prevail and a sense of unlimited power exists only curbed by punishment from various sources. Other people are seen as primarily a source of need gratification or supply. Good people give to me, mean ones don't.

Self-protective. For toddlers (and some adults) everything becomes a test of wills. Tantrums are the result of a thwarted will as well as a reaction to conflicting needs and desires. They are generally wary of others' intentions and assume the worst. Life is a zero-sum game: either "I win, you lose" or "I lose, you win." Others are likely to experience Self-protective people as selfish, manipulative and exploitative because of their self-serving attitude as well as for their uncanny ability to recognize opportunities (the stage is called Opportunist by Torbert). They are as yet incapable of insight into themselves or others in a psychological sense. The only way one can get what one wants is by controlling others and protecting oneself. Self-protective people need to resist the will of others, to test limits and to assert their own control. They feel isolated, but do not know how to relate to others differently, reinforcing the need for mistrust and hypervigilance. Thinking is concrete; things are black or white. Cook-Greuter suggests the Archie Bunker character is an example of an adult living predominantly at the self-protective level.

The second tier stages (Conventional). The Conformist, Self-conscious and Conscientious stages cover the ego stages of most people after about the age of 12. Cook-Greuter (2000) reports that roughly 80% of adults populate these three stages.

Conformist. The Conformist stage describes people with an early adolescent frame of mind. Their self-identity is defined by their relationship to a group. Being part of this larger entity allows one to be protected and share in its power. The price for inclusion is confused boundaries, loyalty and obedience. Conformist adults thrive on dependency and are apt to feel responsible in situations where they are not. The more status the group has, the more I feel worthy as one of its members. There is total acceptance of the in-group and blind rejection of deviance and outgroups. It is "us" against "them" now instead of the Self-protective person's lonely stance of "me" against "them." Ambiguity and ambivalence cannot be acknowledged as they threaten the very being of a Conformist.

It is important to be nice, pleasant, to look good. The self is defined by and generated by the expectations of those others to whom one "belongs." Conformists tend to accept norms without questioning; their cognitive world is divided into simple categories, and types of people, mostly based on external distinctions, outward appearance. Conformists are identified with and bound to those with the same tastes and beliefs, and are confused or threatened by differing perspectives, diversity, and complexity. The values and opinions of one's own group are swallowed without questioning (introjected) as strong "shoulds," while the values of those who are different are denigrated. Anger and other disagreeable feelings are suppressed, rarely reaching awareness. Because self-other boundaries are blurry and not yet differentiated, relationships have a "sticky, I need you" codependent quality. Rules are obeyed without question, and enforced through shame. Cook-Greuter suggests the Edith Bunker character is an example of an adult living predominantly at the conformist level, illustrating the aptness of Torbert's name for the stage: Diplomat.

Self-conscious. The Self-conscious stage characterizes people who are now able to step back and see themselves as object, and thus start to reflect upon the self. A conceptual watershed is crossed when one can take the third person perspective: it allows introspection and self-reflection and working with abstract concepts. It also means they need to differentiate themselves from the in-group context and assert and express their newly discovered personhood, including sharing more of one's inner nature.

The Self-conscious level individual wants to be better than others, to stand out from the crowd, and to be accepted by others because of their differences. They often feel they have it "all figured out" and know all the answers, making others wrong by belittling them. No one can tell a Self-conscious person anything they don't know already or know better. Self-conscious individuals will discredit material that does not fit into their mental scheme. They have high moral standards and a strong sense of what should be, and are concerned with fulfilling their responsibilities and duties. Having a sense of superiority, they often display compulsive and perfectionist tendencies. In interpersonal situations, they tend to be argumentative and opinionated. The "yes, but" syndrome is very common, listening to the other and then adding one's own opinion to remain one-up. On the plus side, Self-conscious people are very adept at finding new and different solutions, better ideas, more perfect procedures, multiple possibilities. However, people at this stage cannot yet prioritize among options or synthesize several possibilities. They don't know when good is good enough.

While Conformists try to suppress aggression for the sake of acceptance, it now reemerges. Rather than being followers or bystanders--the preferred roles of the Conformist--Self-conscious persons may relish being movers and initiators. Having just recently discovered their own separate personhood, Self-conscious people fear losing this sense of uniqueness. They fear being reabsorbed and getting drawn back into the fold, into the mass of others. They also fear that if they should open themselves to others' views, they might lose their current certainty and strong sense of self. Torbert calls this stage the Technician, or Expert.

Conscientious. This stage expands the meaningful social context to others within the same society and others with similar ideologies and aspirations. Conscientious people are more likely than Conformists and Self-conscious adults to belong to diverse groups at the same time with different agendas and characteristics without feeling torn among them or getting confused regarding competing loyalties. They are less likely to believe that they do not need others to achieve their goals. Persons at this stage are interested in goals and consequences, and are curious about what makes themselves and others "tick". Conscientious people are more open to feedback and introspection, and are learning to understand themselves as a function of their past experience and future goals, although their emphasis is likely more future-oriented. Abstract rationality is at its peak use.

Conscientious individuals generally have positive self-regard based on their successes, ability to be master of their lives, the sense of independence that they have gained. Torbert's name for this stage is Achiever because they tend to be highly productive. Conscientious persons are willing to take risks and to fail to a degree people at earlier stages cannot. Because they are aware of how they are still in the process of growing, self-criticism can be severe. They fall prey to hypercritical, neurotic self-criticism especially easily because their plans and intentions are so single-minded and high-aiming. They have a genuine interest in who others are and the need to share their own experience; their interpersonal relationships become intense and meaningful. Conscientious persons are preoccupied with getting things done responsibly and expediently. They may have a driven quality to accomplish something in this world or to improve the world versus the need of later stages to develop oneself. Their self-esteem depends on achieving their own set goals and less on external approval. The drive to succeed and achieve can readily lead to over-extension and exhaustion. Limits are difficult to acknowledge for the Conscientious person. Preoccupied with attaining goals and ideals, they hardly slow down to look at the present moment, to reflect upon life as a whole.

People reach the conventional "adult" worldview at the Conscientious stage, which is the highest of the conventional stages in ego development theory. Because it represents the culturally well-educated norm, it acts as a kind of ceiling barrier. Moving beyond it is difficult because it represents the frame of mind that is most attached to rationality and ordinary reality and most defended against the non-rational. The major limitation of the conventional mind set is its acceptance of appearance as fact and the external world as real, and its blindness to the arbitrary nature of beliefs, especially the grand myth of conventional science as infallible.

The third tier stages (Postconventional). At the first postconventional level adults come to realize that the meaning of things depends on one's relative position in regard to them, that is, on one's personal perspective and interpretation of them. Although objects themselves are seen as permanent, their meaning is seen as constructed. "Variables are now seen as interdependent, causality experienced as cyclical, and boundaries of objects as open and flexible" (Koplowitz, 1984). This view of reality is called the systems perspective because it allows individuals to see the interdependence of seemingly separate yet invisibly related things. A main concern of postconventional adults is to lay bare underlying assumptions and frameworks, and people at that stage are now able to integrate different frameworks of the self into a new coherent, complex self-identity.

Individualist. At the Individualist stage people now realize that things are not necessarily what they seemed at earlier stages. Individualists learn to consciously scrutinize their beliefs in order to test their assumptions or to relish the novel mental freedom such a maneuver allows. Individuals become interested in watching themselves trying to make sense of themselves, and the process becomes as intriguing as the outcome. Since one's old identities are no longer accepted without questioning, Individualists are preoccupied with a desire for unique personal accomplishments independent of any socially approved roles or tasks. They often withdraw to some degree from external affairs or the daily workings of their workplace or household, instead, they turn inward in search of their unique gifts or pursuing their own burning questions. Individualists may come to enjoy paradoxes, and no longer try to explain away the apparent contradictions.

Rather than trying to analyze everything, Individualists want to enjoy the subjective experience. Thus, there is a major shift from the Conscientious person's preference for "doing" to focusing on "being and feeling." Instead of marching into the future, individualists become now-oriented. They begin to notice how feelings affect the body and vice versa, and how feelings are diffused throughout the body. There is a new sense of body/mind connection. Therefore, the shift from conventional to postconventional stages also reflects a shift from a more intellectual to a more organic or embodied awareness. Individual differences are celebrated, and paid attention to in a way that Achievers cannot understand.

Individualists often replace the focus on causality (past) and goals (future) of the Conscientious person with a fascination with the immediate present. They need to understand and watch how things unfold. There is an existential sense of how each moment differs from the next and therefore the present is newly infused with salience and poignancy. Because Individualists explore their feelings and motivations, they also begin to become aware of how easily one can fool oneself. The possibility of defensive self-deception and culturally-biased distortion are now starting to be experienced as ever-present traps.

Individualistic people are often admired by others for their unconcerned, energetic self-expression, their spontaneity, and their ability to live a life according to their own unique style free from restrictive conventions. But they may also be feared as unpredictable or dismissed as dreamers and non-doers.

Autonomous/Integrated. The Autonomous stage represents an enlarged perspective which places the individual's experience into the context of particular worldviews and within the totality of a person's lifetime. Thus, Autonomous persons can comprehend multiple interconnected systems of relationships or long-term trends, and are often valued for that "strategic" capacity, and are called Strategists by Torbert. Unlike Individualists, who may despair about ever knowing who they really are, Autonomous persons are capable of "owning" and integrating many disparate parts of themselves.

Autonomous persons consciously commit to actively create a meaningful life for themselves and for others through self-determination and self-actualization within constantly shifting contexts. They possess a relatively strong, autonomous self that is both differentiated and well integrated. This includes the capacity to see and accept paradox and tolerate ambiguity.

Autonomous persons are now capable of rediscovering and owning parts of the self which have previously been disowned. The shadow side of the self can be acknowledged to a greater degree and therefore a new integration and wholeness is possible. One needs the caring presence of others to become the most one can be. Thus, others are vital to one's well-being because only through a dynamic and intimate exchange with them can one gain deeper self-knowledge and wisdom. Mutual interdependence with other human beings is inevitable and experienced with awe and an awareness of one's responsibility toward them. The greatest fear of Autonomous persons is to feel that they have not fulfilled their potential, or have failed to observe those universal principles they value deeply (justice, tolerance, dignity of all people). Wanting to help others grow to become all they can be is one of the strongest motivators for Autonomous persons. When this need to have others "become the most they can be" encounters resistance, Autonomous persons may feel impatient with others' slow development and frustrated with their "unwillingness" to grow despite their efforts. This is likely the central flaw of this stage.

Authenticity is therefore an important value in the Autonomous value repertoire, and is assessed by how well one "walks the talk". Autonomous persons are responsible for their own self-fulfillment. Unlike people at the conventional stages, seeking therapy, advice, or consulting from others, is not seen as a weakness, but seen as a necessity. The greater awareness of their inner depth also allows Autonomous persons to use dreams, fantasy, and imagination much more freely than persons at earlier stages.

Only a tiny percentage of people develop a reality perspective that goes beyond the full-bodied systems view or Autonomous/ Integrated stage.

Construct-aware. In the Construct-aware ego stage people first become aware of how reality is both perceived and constructed through the filter of patterned thought and language. People at earlier postconventional stages do not exhibit any awareness that the concept of "ego" is itself a construction, a term for an immaterial, subjectively felt experience. They are becoming aware of how we categorize and label the field of awareness by reifying (making into things) and objectifying (making into objects) not only phenomena with physical properties available to the senses, but abstract concepts that have no correlates in the outer world.

Unlike earlier stages, Construct-aware individuals consciously experience the ego's clever manipulations to preserve its self-appointed status. It is the first time in development that the ego is fully aware of its own defensive maneuvers, that is, the ego has become transparent to itself. Construct-aware persons become concerned with uncovering and facing their own habits of mind and heart--those automatic behaviors that are based on memory and life-long cultural habituation. Realizing the extent to which one has operated on autopilot in their life can be profoundly distressing, but also offer the promise of new access to intuition, bodily states, feelings, dreams, archetypal and imaginal material. As these individuals move closer to the Ego-transcendent stage, they welcome insights from these transpersonal experiences rather than defending against them.

The regular practice of turning inward and observing one's own mental processes can also lead to experiencing the knower and known momentarily merge, and the personal self-sense disappear. Such peak experiences (Maslow, 1971) or flow states (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) give a glimpse of the possibilities, but Construct-aware individuals are extending peak experiences into a plateau experience (Maslow, 1971), making the extraordinary ordinary, making a transitory altered state into an enduring altered trait (Goleman, 1993, p. 20). Torbert's name for this stage is Magician.

"Our egos are naturally reluctant to relinquish the familiar mode of functioning. We do not want to give up the illusion of our enduring separate selfhood, which we so laboriously learned to define, cultivate, and rely on for most of our conscious lives. Even if we understand that letting go of our attachment to the known will bring freedom from suffering, attempts at doing so deliberately and on one's own are mostly ineffective and always lead to intractable paradoxes. The more one becomes attached to the idea of non-attachment, the more firmly one remains fettered. The more one is conscious and proud of one's psychic powers and ego-transcending quest, the more clearly one's ego is still enthroned" (Cook-Greuter, 2000, p. 235). However, the frequent conscious experience of nonordinary states of consciousness in peak experiences, where one loses track of self and time, helps to put in perspective the self's temptation for an exaggerated sense of power and responsibility, for grandiosity.

Unitive. The Unitive stage presents an entirely new way of perceiving human existence and consciousness. The new paradigm has a universal or cosmic perspective. At this level of integration, adults can take multiple points of view and shift focus effortlessly among many states of awareness. They feel embedded in nature, and experience nature (birth, growth and death, joy and pain) as natural occurrences, patterns of change in the flux of time.

The Unitive stage in ego development can be conceptualized as a threshold stage. Like each stage before it, but perhaps to a more stark extent, it is an ending as well as a new beginning. People at the Unitive stage no longer give the impression of trying to escape the inevitable contradictions and limitations of the rational, representational domain. They can embrace polar opposites on an affective level and not just cognitively. Good and evil, joy and regret, closeness and separateness are valued as natural and meaningful aspects in the dance of life, or as part of the eternal cycle of creation, destruction and recreation. Such an openness to ongoing experience combined with empathy for beings at all stages of development distinguishes the Unitive from the previous stage. Moreover, people at this stage are more at ease with a fluid, open-ended self-identity, "not-knowing" who they are, whereas those at all earlier ego stages show stage-specific anxieties when their present self-sense becomes threatened or unclear.

At the Unitive stage, individuals can integrate their transcendent experiences more often. They tend to witness rather than to label and judge experience. They often express a simplicity and joy, living without the need to measure up to any expectations of self or others. They are awake to their changing states of consciousness and express the pure wonder of being in life. It may be that "the Unitive stage represents what Maslow (1971) described as self-actualized individuals, men and women who--by all criteria of conventional evaluation--have reached a kind of summit of personal growth and cognitive insight. Such persons are in tune with body and mind, intuition, and rational thought, self and Umwelt. Their perspective on reality is dynamic, global, and inclusive. They know the power of unconditionality, and, in the witnessing state, they experience self-transcendence. Peak experiences, in turn, deepen their sense of embeddedness and belonging" (Cook-Greuter, 2000, p. 237).

Individuals at the Unitive stage are also aware of how easy it is to fool oneself regarding one's achievement of ego-transcendence; therefore they trust that long-term regular spiritual practice, under expert guidance, can deliver one from one's illusions. "Whatever wisdom individuals achieve on their own, through ego development and self-actualization in the personal realm, is different from the transformations in consciousness and enlightenment that are possible at the fourth tier of development" (Cook-Greuter, 2000, p. 239).

Persons at the Unitive stage can see a world in a grain of sand, that is, they can perceive the concrete, limited, and temporal aspects of an entity simultaneously with its eternal and symbolic meaning. Because of this unitive ability (Maslow, 1971, p. 111) they can cherish the human dignity in all beings, no matter the level of ego development, and feel at one with them. No matter how great their achievements may be, they are aware that these are only a drop in the pool of ongoing human endeavors.

Unitive individuals seem to transcend narrow ego-boundaries. They have open boundaries and are attuned to, rather than preoccupied with, whatever enters awareness. The term witnessing can be used to describe the capacity of people at this stage to metabolize experience without conscious preoccupations.

Ego-Transcendent. The ego-transcendent stage is characterized by a high acceptance for life-as-it-is. They express their appreciation for the preciousness of existence and show a mental flexibility and openness that derives from being able to let go of the judgment habit. Ego transcendence means the disidentification with the representational or personality self, not the logistical functioning of the ego, which necessarily continues. Given the rarity of its occurrence and the challenge of generalizing the "uncategorizable" nature of this stage of development, Cook-Greuter can only propose probable descriptions. "Conscious, ego-transcendent experiences tend to become more frequent with increasing ego development at the postconventional tier because ego boundaries need less defending, and the person is more open to non-rational sources of input" (2000, p. 37).

Figure 3 illustrates the dimension of ego development in relation to the individual's conscious/ unconscious continuum. The higher the ego development, the more softening of boundaries of the self, the closer to ego-transcendence, and the more far-reaching the perspective of being capable of discerning and incorporating one's unconscious.

The Dream Landscape--Stages of Individuation

Now clearly, the stage of ego development of a given individual will allow, or limit, the extent of access to intrapsychic contents. We have seen that self-reflection and introspection begin at the Self-conscious stage, and that the transparency of the ego only becomes fully actualized in the Construct-aware stage. Moving beyond the Conscientious stage, which is the highest of the conventional stages, is difficult because it represents the frame of mind that is most attached to rationality and ordinary reality and most defended against the non-rational. And yet that is the mindset required for the exploration we are about to map.


The ego, as we have seen, experiences itself as a real entity, powerful and controlling, through all the stages of development until the Construct-aware stage, when we first become aware that the concept of "ego" is itself a construction, a term for an immaterial, subjectively felt experience. In order to work through the sequence of growth and maturation outlined by Carl Jung as individuation, the ego must be sufficiently humble to allow other means of experiencing and of knowing than the rational and verbal. Only the intuitive self is capable of exploring the underworld of collective unconscious, the realm of archetype and soul, the source of our dreams.

Figure 4 illustrates the relationships between the ego and the other intrapsychic components described by Jung: the persona, shadow, anima/ animus, mana personalities, and Self.


The ego creates two colleagues along the way of its development. One is the persona, a projection of all the acceptable qualities to be displayed to others, a mask to hide behind and an autopilot to allow effortless social intercourse. The other is the shadow, a repression of all the qualities to be hidden from others (and oneself), either because they are shamefully unacceptable or they are unattainably out-of-reach. The shadow also provides a convenient actor to "do the dirty work" for the ego, who can then maintain the hero's blameless self-image: "the shadow made me do it."

In order to deal successfully with the shadow, and reach the second stage of individuation, we must face and resolve two seductive options. First, because it is considered either unacceptable or unattainable, we may want to disown our shadow by projecting it onto other people. Creating a scapegoat to carry the blame for our own self-sabotaging aspects only delays our confronting the clear messages about what we need to change in ourselves to grow and heal. The second temptation to be resisted is that of suppressing the shadow, which means putting it back into the cellars of the unconscious and locking the doors on it. Jung said, "Mere suppression of the Shadow is as little a remedy as beheading would be for a headache." Acknowledging the existence of the shadow is a good beginning, but only the beginning. "If the encounter with the shadow is the 'apprentice-piece' in the individual's development, then that with the anima is the masterpiece'" (Jung, 1953, vol. 9/1, para. 61).

An elaborate dynamic exists between the ego, persona, and shadow. The ego believes itself to be master of the others, and that is the grand illusion. To be sure, the ego has fashioned the persona as a social mask, a convenience behind which to hide. And the ego also creates shadows through judgment, shame and repression. But shadow is an active player with a mind of its own, and a proclivity toward the depths, darkness, the lure of the netherworld. "Shadow, then, in psychology is not only that which the ego casts behind, made by the ego out of its light, a moral or repressed or evil reflection to be integrated. Shadow is the very stuff of the soul, the interior darkness that pulls downward out of life and keeps one in relentless connection with the underworld" (Hillman, 1979, pp. 55-56). Shadow provides the link between worlds, the seedy part of town that we must traverse in order to reach the outskirts on the way to leaving town altogether. Shadow, the active player, directs itself also toward uptown, toward the ego/persona collaboration, "literalizing an ego in front of it and behind which it can remain hidden" (Hillman, 1979, p. 59). Just as the ego creates and uses the persona as a shield against the world, so the shadow creates and uses the ego as a shield behind which to hide.

And that is the ego's grand illusion. Far from being master of the others, ego is propped up by them, pulled in different directions by them, and the foil behind which both persona and shadow hide. Dreams tell the truth about the dynamics here in the middle realm, they reveal the true expansiveness of our energetic, collective universe.

The second stage of the individuation process means encountering what Jung calls the 'soul-image', the archetypal images of the contrasex. For a man this is the 'anima', the feminine aspects of a male psyche; for example, gentleness, tenderness, patience, receptivity, closeness to nature, readiness to forgive, but also moodiness, possessiveness, vanity. For a woman, the 'soul-image' is the 'animus', the male side of a female psyche; assertiveness, the will to control and take charge, to build, to lead, a fighting spirit, but also aggression, self-absorption, manipulation.

"If the image of the shadow instills fear and dread, the image of the anima/us usually brings excitement and stimulates desire for union. It engenders attraction. Where there is anima/us, we want to go, we want to be a part of it, we want to join it, if we are not too timid or afraid of adventure. The charismatic charge that electrifies an audience when a great orator casts his spell enlists the anima/us and constellates its presence" (Stein, 1998, p. 142).

When the anima or animus has not yet been distinguished from the shadow, the same two seductions lure us away from integration: projection and suppression. In this case, the male may be tempted, through fear and neglect of his own femininity, to repress the feminine in himself, but also to project his idealized or pathological conceptions of femininity onto the females in his life. If his unconscious conception is fearful, castrating, or engulfing, the man may suppress those females in his life, keeping them subordinate and powerless. If the unconscious conception he projects is idealized as sexy (femme fatale) or chaste (mother), he may create unrealistic demands on the females in his life. If, instead of projecting his own soul-image onto members of the opposite sex, the man acknowledges and becomes acquainted with it, he expands into a balanced expression of his total human potential.

The female, too, can project or suppress her own soul-image. She may suppress her own masculine and express the figure of the damsel in distress, or the seductive nymph. And surely she will attract a man whose anima leads him to rescue every damsel in distress, or a man whose anima compels him to succumb to the nymph's guile and lose himself to her powers. Jacoby (1985) suggests that "in using the term animus Jung tried to give an appropriate name to an autonomous Logos principle operating out of a woman's unconscious. This autonomous, unconscious Logos may manifest itself in a creative spiritual or intellectual quality, or in bold initiative and energy. But it may also show itself in an overly critical attitude toward one's surroundings and a compulsive need to indulge in destructive self-criticism" (p. 88).

When the anima or animus structure has been denied or projected, it is undeveloped and inadequate to do its job when called upon. Men will then typically look for a woman to help them manage their emotions, and women will typically find a man who can receive their inspired thoughts and do something with them, manifest them into the world.

"The natural function of the animus (as well as of the anima) is to remain in place between individual consciousness and the collective unconscious; exactly as the persona is a sort of stratum between the ego-consciousness and the objects of the external world. The animus and the anima should function as a bridge, or a door, leading to the images of the collective unconscious, as the persona should be a sort of bridge into the world" (Jung, 1963, p. 392).

The soul-image is a mediator, a go-between who establishes communication between the conscious persona and ego and the unconscious soma and self. When allowed to, the soul-image reconciles the two realms.
      So it is with the engagement between ego and anima/us. This is
   the work of raising consciousness, of becoming aware of projections,
   of challenging our most romantic and carefully guarded illusions. To
   have an Auseinandersetzung (German word that means literally
   "taking something to pieces") with the anima/us is to dismember the
   illusory world of unconscious fantasy. It is also to allow oneself
   to experience most profoundly the heights and depths of one's own
   mental universe, the unconscious assumptions that keep us
   salivating for more when we are already overfed, that keep us
   lusting although we should have long since been satisfied, that
   drive us to repeat endlessly the emotionally engorged patterns in
   our iron chain of stimulus-response sequences (Stein, 1998, p.

"What we can discover about them [anima and animus] from the conscious side is so slight as to be almost imperceptible. It is only when we throw light into the dark depths of the psyche and explore the strange and tortuous paths of human fate that it gradually becomes clear to us how immense is the influence wielded by these two factors that complement our conscious life" (Jung, 1953, vol. 9/2, para. 41).

Mario Jacoby (1985) warns that it is self-delusion to believe that "one need only plunge into the mythic depths and existence would be transfigured into a kind of Paradise--psychic deep-sea diving, as it were" (p. 205). But the bridge across which communication between the conscious and the unconscious occurs is a two-way bridge. To reconcile the two realms, they must first be intermingled, which is as difficult as mixing oil and water.
      So let us not imagine anima bridging and mediating inward only as
   a sibylline benefactrice, teaching us about all the things we did not
   know, the girl guide whose hand we hold. This is a one-way trip,
   and there is another direction to her movement. She would also
   'unleash forces' of the collective unconscious, for across her
   bridge roll fantasies, projections, emotions that make a person's
   consciousness unconscious and collective.... As mediatrix to the
   eternally unknowable she is the bridge both over the river into the
   trees and into the sludge and quicksand, making the known ever more
   unknown.... She mystifies, produces sphinxlike riddles, prefers the
   cryptic and occult where she can remain hidden: she insists upon
   uncertainty. By leading whatever is known from off its solid
   footing, she carries every question into deeper waters, which is
   also a way of soul-making.

      Anima consciousness clings to unconsciousness, as the nymphs
   adhere to their dense wooden trees and the echoes cannot leave their
   caves (Hillman, 1989, pp. 88-89).

Stage three of individuation is the fruition of the reconciliation between conscious and unconscious, in which one's journey through the underworld has succeeded. The treasures of intuitive powers and wisdom that reside in the depths of our psyche are brought back to conscious, everyday life. This is recognized and honored as wisdom that is not directly accessible to intellect, but can only come from the unconscious. Man meets the Wise Old Man and woman meets the Great Mother. Jung calls them 'mana personalities', because in primitive communities anyone with extraordinary power or wisdom was said to be filled with 'mana' (a Polynesian word meaning 'holiness' or 'the divine'). If the ego over-identifies and becomes 'possessed' by these 'mana' personalities, it can result in ego inflation and arrogance. If the ego disowns and projects these mana personalities onto someone else, it can lead to idolizing that person and following blindly. When properly integrated the conscious and unconscious complement each other and unfolding of the wise self arises harmoniously with healthy ego transcendence. After all, individuation is the attainment of a personality at midpoint between the ego consciousness and the unconscious (Jung, 1953, vol. 7, paras. 212-226).

Jung speaks of stage three as the second liberation from the mother (the first liberation from mother being stage two, when anima or animus is integrated into conscious life). This second and fuller liberation means achieving a genuine sense of one's true individuality.

The fourth stage of individuation deals with the Self, which is both "guide" of the process of individuation, the unconscious regulating center of the personality, and "goal" of the process of individuation, the symbol derived from the deepest levels of the collective unconscious of realization of all potential. Because of its unconscious, transpersonal nature, the Self can never be truly integrated by the ego. Instead, the ego must learn to surrender its need to always be in control by recognizing the value of the Self's guidance and deferring to its superior wisdom, without either projecting it onto others (idolizing), over-identifying with it (arrogance), or becoming overpowered by it (annihilation).

The ego, Jung says, is the center of the conscious, and if it tries to add unconscious contents to itself (i.e. collective contents, not the personal unconscious or shadow which does belong to the ego) it is in danger of destruction, like an overloaded vessel which sinks under the strain (Fordham, 1953). The self, however, is the function which unites all the opposing elements within, and thus can include both the conscious and the unconscious, good and bad, male and female, and a unity of all four functions of thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition. The self appears to act as something like a magnet to the disparate elements of the personality and the processes of the unconscious, requiring the anima/ animus, the soul-image, as a mediator and go-between since the ego cannot do so.

"So the realization of what Jung is speaking of ... is reserved for the few individuals with the kind of subtle psychological discernment that pertains to Kundalini masters and others like them. For the rest, the anima/us is Maya, the creator of illusions, the mystifier, the trickster, the ever-receding mirage of the eternal beloved" (Stein, 1998, p. 145). There is always a part of our selves that will forever elude us and be outside our will. So powerful is the anima/animus that it has the ability to completely enchant us and make us believe what the ego believes (positive or negative). Or the anima/animus can become our guides to the unknown, the mediators of the deep unconscious. Since they lurk around our undeveloped parts, they are our guides to what we don't know about ourselves and lead us along the path of wholeness. Since they are connected to deeper layers of the unconscious, they can also be the mediators of our journey towards the Self. The anima and animus are each unique influences, however, that manifest differently in our lives.

Specifically regarding dreams, "by paying careful attention to the motifs of archetypal appearances within their dreams, individuals should be able to estimate which stage in the process of individuation they have reached" (Huskinson, 2004, pp. 44-45).


Figure 5 illustrates the ever-deepening level of experience that we come into contact with as we work on our issues. These levels apply to what we incorporate into our sense of self, what we access in therapeutic growth and healing, and what we encounter in our dreams.

The reverie of Anima, the active dreams of Animus

The anima "withdraws toward meditative isolation--the retreat of the soul" (Hillman, 1985, p. 21). The anima force expresses in soulful reverie, and so is always in indirect relation to another. Anima reflects the object of its reverie, as the moon reflects the active light of the sun. It is found in relationship with another, "in the mother-daughter mystery, in the masculine-feminine pairings, or in compensation with the persona, in collusion with the shadow, or as guide to the self.... the fascination plus danger, the awe plus desire, the submission to her as fate plus suspicion, the intense awareness that this way lie both my life and my death" (Hillman, 1985, p. 23). And the anima is the reflective partner, echoing the other, yet inseparable from it.

The animus actively explores the liminal threshold between underworld and dayworld. Animus is light-seeking, yearning for rationality and expression. The animus force expresses in dreams, dreams full of pathos, significance, big dreams, archetypal and prophetic dreams, dreams populated by characters.

Often vertical movement in reveries or dreams, a climb or descent, reflects connection with anima/ animus. The rise may reflect dynamic sublimation or efforts toward assertive creativity, while descent can bring encounters with disturbing images, deeply embedded collective elements, and root angst of the soul.

Reactions to the Soul-image

These archetypal influences reach out to us from the depths below, the underworld, the expansive collective unconscious. Many archetypes populate that realm and speak to us through our dreams; the anima and animus, the 'soul-image', are two of the most powerful and influential. We can conceptualize our encounters with anima/ animus characters in our dreams on three levels of depth: Projection/Desire, Identity/Acting out, and Inflation/Enchantment (Wilkerson, 2001). The same conceptualization can be applied to our encounters with other archetypes and dream characters as well.

Projection/Desire. The first level is an accumulation of our personal and cultural opinions of the opposite sex, but also an accumulation of what we don't know, but need to in order to move toward wholeness. In our dreams they may appear as our lovers or unknown others we are attracted to, who carry or embody what we most desire, what we would sacrifice ourselves for. The call of this other can be very strong: it calls the child away from the parents to be an adult; it calls us away from our secure routines to journey to the Land of the Unknown; it calls us from partial participation and resistance in life to risking passionate embrace of the world. There seem to be three main tasks associated with this: (1) the development of parts of our self we hardly understand, (2) finding in ourselves what we seek in others, and (3) learning to recognize when the desires and attractions are larger and more powerful than we are. The dark side of this relationship, as in any love relationship, can devolve into intense hatred, jealousy, or possessiveness. "Projections occur between parts of the psyche, not only outside into the world" (Hillman, 1989, p. 89).

Identity/Acting out. This is the level of anima/ animus relationship in which we become possessed and act compulsively, subject to brooding withdrawals or fits of passion. Instead of devotion to creating a real relationship with the anima/ animus, we become dogmatic, argumentative and try to just grab what we most desire and imitate it, pretending to be it by possessing it instead of really coming to terms with it and incorporating it.

Inflation/Imagination. At the deepest levels of anima/ animus we must let go of the idea that they are something or someone we can control. There is always a part of our selves that will forever elude us and be outside our will. So powerful is the anima/ animus that it has the ability to completely enchant us and make us believe we are far more wonderful and great than we are: ego inflation, grandiosity. 'Actual' and 'potential' become confused in a person whose ego is inflated by the anima/ animus. And conversely, we may believe that we are much worse than we really are: unworthy, inadequate. A powerful inner negative anima/ animus may continually whisper exaggerated and false truths to us, self-sabotaging our legitimate confidence.

To the degree that we can avoid projection, identification, and inflation, the anima/ animus becomes our guide to the unknown, the mediator of the deep unconscious. They lurk around our undeveloped parts, and so present a great challenge to enter unfamiliar and uncomfortable areas of our lives. Yet precisely for that reason they are our guides to what we don't know about ourselves and lead us along the path toward wholeness. Since they are connected to deeper layers of the unconscious, they can also be the mediators of our journey toward the Self.

Levels of Self-awareness in the Dream
   ... what we call a self has a structure dependent on levels of
   awareness and that in dreams we have the opportunity to study this
   structure in a manner similar to how a physicist looks at atomic
   structure in a study of matter. The dream is the experimental
   landscape of the movement of the mind just as 'out there' wake
   reality is the experimental landscape of the movement of the body.

      Thus just as one's physical growth from infancy is matched by a
   growth in one's self-awareness, a similar sequence of mental
   growth, self-structuring, and greater self-awareness may be
   occurring while we are sleeping. The dream becomes an opportunity
   for the evolution of consciousness. As such, the dream is nature's
   experimental honing of the edge of consciousness, allowing it to
   come to grips with reality in its fullest expression through the
   development of the self-concept (Wolf, 1994, p. 319).

A Self-Reflectedness Scale has been developed to measure self-awareness present in dreams (Moffitt et al., 1988) and has been incorporated by Gackenbach (1991) in her review of research on lucid dreaming. Fred Alan Wolfe (1994) has suggested a correlation between the levels of the Scale and the stages of personality development of an awake individual.

At the ground level the dreamer is not aware of being present in the dream, similar to the waking awareness of an infant or perhaps even fetal awareness. At this level we have pure awareness with little sense of identification of self and other.

At a second level the dreamer becomes involved in the dream. This may be akin to early waking childhood experiences when the child begins to differentiate herself or himself from the rest of the world, experienced as playful and innocent.

At a third level the dreamer is able to think about an idea, and thus we have the beginnings of self-awareness. Perhaps this would equate to preteen or prepubescent years.

At a fourth level the dreamer is aware of the previous levels of participation and is able to observe the dream, able to reflect on himself and his effect on others. Thus a sense of self more fully emerges. This period would equate with puberty and growth to adulthood.

At the fifth and highest level the dreamer consciously reflects on the fact that she/he is dreaming. This would be the lucid state and, in comparison to personality growth, would correspond to spiritual or mystical awakening. The ability to wake up in a dream is remarkably similar to the development of self-awareness in meditative traditions. During meditation and lucid dreaming a detached but receptive awareness develops usually accompanied by a sense of great well-being, positive outlook, and joy.

For Gackenbach (1991) lucidity is not the final point in the evolution of awareness. It is the starting point for an even higher level called "witnessing," in which one passes through five additional stages. During lucid dreams one is aware that one is dreaming, and one is still very much contained within a dream boundary of skin and body. "There is a dream ego, as it were" (Wolf, 1994, p. 321).

During witnessing, a new state of self-awareness is present. The dreamer becomes aware of greater detachment from the drama of the lucid dream. Emotional content withers; one is separate from the dream, and does not really care what happens in the dream content. Choice remains, however, to enter into the dreaming persona, i.e., the dream ego, or to step back and simply witness. A further state exists which Gackenbach (1997) calls Witnessing Deep Sleep, described as "dreamless sleep, very likely a non-REM condition, in which you experience a quiet, peaceful inner state of awareness or wakefulness--a feeling of infinite expansion and bliss, and nothing else" (p. 107).

The Dalai Lama (1997) suggests that the Witnessing Deep Sleep state is the same as what is called in Tibetan Dream Yoga the clear light of sleep, and that it is a facsimile of the clear light of death. This clear light is the very subtle mind which alone remains continuous through all transitions, such as dying, the bardo, and conception. "These are junctures, if you like. The subtlest clear light manifests at the time of death, which is one of these junctures. These three occasions of death, bardo, and conception are analogous to the states of falling asleep, the dream state, and then waking" (pp. 109-110).

Research by Alexander and colleagues (1991) have verified that witnessing can occur not only in lucid dreams but also during deep sleep or in any other state of consciousness, and is therefore legitimately considered a fourth state of consciousness with sleep, dreaming, and awake. In Buddhist psychology it is called foundation consciousness, the subjective awareness of the clear light (Dalai Lama, 1997).

Wolf further postulates a correlation between the levels of self-awareness and a hierarchy of self-reflective images, increasingly expansive based on integration of self-image derived from self-inquiry and self-reference. At the ground level, images are non-self-reflective, diffuse. At the next level images are derived from defined, bounded, emotional personal memories. Next, these memory-images are integrated into thought forms, generalized social conventions. At the fourth level, these thought forms are integrated into archetypes, expanded beyond the personal to collective memory-images. And at the final level, the archetypal images are integrated into divine, mystical or cosmic images.

Wolf summarizes that "the tendency would be to descend levels more readily than to ascend them. Descent results in less self-awareness and therefore more automatic, mechanical behavior. Ascent results in greater choices, becoming aware of existence in other 'worlds,' and more complex imagery with a higher number of paradoxical features simultaneously knowable" (1994, p. 336).

These levels of self-awareness and self-reflective images in dreams appear to parallel the levels of ego development outlined by Cook-Greuter. I have found to date no research to verify that higher levels of ego development correlate with higher self-awareness or self-reflective images in dreams. Cook-Greuter does assert that Autonomous persons use dreams, fantasy, and imagination much more freely than persons at earlier stages. If the same correlation is maintained at higher levels as well, dream content and dream self-awareness (lucidity and/or witnessing) could be expected to increase, too.


Dreams can be personal, and they can be interpersonal. For example, in Native American cultures the dream is both a personal entity and an interactive social process (Tedlock, 1999). Within this tradition, dreams exist in a magical space that is created during the process of dialoguing with the imaginal world, the world of spiritual beings, in the presence of elders. In such a setting, through the mechanism of telling the dream to trusted others, a power dream changes from a personal experience into something much more (Tedlock, 2004).

Utilizing a similar tradition of dialoguing with the imaginal world in the presence of elders, the Senoi people of Malaysia share their dreams openly and daily with each other. According to Senoi Dream Theory, dreams can be shared and shaped in groups in a positive and supportive fashion for the benefit of everyone, not just specific individuals (Domhoff, 2003). Sharing their dreams creates an opportunity for feedback from others who may have more or different knowledge to illuminate the meaning of the dream. Yet there is another, more subtle but more far-reaching implication in the Senoi paradigm: open sharing of dreams on a daily basis actually begins to shape the dreamer's pattern of dreaming.
   When we identify ourselves with our ego's views, as most of us do
   most of the time, we see the unconscious only as it directly
   affects us. We forget that we also affect the unconscious. It can
   change at any time as a result of our conscious interaction with
   it. We not only sublimate the unconscious but participate in its
   transformation. Anima and animus provide some of the best examples
   of this blessed process (Ulanov & Ulanov, 1994, pp. 338-339).

The Senoi believe, Domhoff reports, that we all have two "souls" that are linked in a complex and interactive fashion, one localized behind the center of the forehead, the other focused in the pupil of the eye. These souls are able to leave the body when a person is asleep or in a trance. Dreams are the experiences that one or the other of these "souls" has when it encounters other souls belonging to animals, trees, waterfalls, people, or supernaturals. Ruwaay, the soul at the center of the forehead, is by far the more important of the two when it comes to dreaming and is sometimes referred to as the "dream soul". This aspect of the individual tends to be meek and timid, and therefore tends to be easily intimidated by other souls it encounters. Sharing their dreams helps to reduce the power of these other souls over the individual in waking experience, and also to embolden the dreamer's Ruwaay in its nighttime adventures. The Senoi do discriminate between "little" dreams and "big" dreams, dreams that are insignificant and dreams that are important.

Sandor Ferenczi (1913, p. 349) suggests that the dreamer's unconscious purpose may be to influence the listener; that is, a dream might be dreamt, remembered and told in order to change a relationship. Telling a dream may induce in the listeners special emotions like love, sympathy, guilt, caution, fear, pity, mercy, compassion, etc. Another purpose of telling one's dream may be to gain additional perspectives and objective elaboration. Dream-telling may relate the primordial level of meaning, offering to the group collective symbols and universal themes that can enhance everyone's growth and understanding.

The Zohar, book of ancient Hebrew wisdom, says, "When a man has had a dream, he should unburden himself of it before men who are his friends so that they should express to him their good wishes and give utterance to words of good omen" (Zohar II:200a, 259, quoted in Frankiel & Greenfeld, 2000, p. 131).

Human beings, with our own voices and stories, myths and dreams, can feed those beings who live in the other world so they can continue to nurture us (Prechtel, 1998). We are telling our dreams to our family and our community, and also to all those who inhabit the many layers of reality beyond the consentual world of ordinary reality: the Upper Worlds and the Lower Worlds.

Prepare to dream, then prepare to share. Sleep is an opportunity for the soul to journey, and our dreams are the record of those journeys (Frankiel & Greenfeld, 2000). The transition from daytime, or sun consciousness, to nighttime, or moon consciousness may present a challenge to the ever-vigilant ego. It must be willing to surrender to a higher authority, one beyond its control. So there is a preparation required to dream, and to bring the dream back and tell it, just as there is for any journey of initiation. How do we prepare to dream? How do we prepare to tell our dream?

In personal transformation, we challenge and release the conditioned behavior patterns and ego identifications that our consciousness becomes trapped by from the earliest experiences in life. We loosen limited beliefs about who we really are, opening up to the vast openness of unstructured being. In this regard, the psychoanalyst Winnicott (1965) discussed the adult experience of letting go of the usual need for control, of losing oneself without feeling lost, of being momentarily undefended and at peace. The experience has a curious openness to what is arising, as if it is happening for the first time. He suggested that this "mystical" experience is outside the continuum of ego integration on the one hand and ego disintegration on the other, calling it instead ego unintegration (p. 61). Winnicott considered this special kind of aloneness to be the foundation of all creativity.
      For Winnicott, it is important for the personality to be able to
   rest in unintegration, to float or drift between organizations, to
   dip into formlessness or chaos or nothingness. At this Sabbath
   point of personality, one takes time off from self. It is important
   to have time between choices, time simply to be. What a relief not
   to have to be this or that, not to have to force oneself into a
   particular shape ("shape up") (Eigen, 1992, p. 272).

And so preparation for sleep and dreaming, in a spiritual sense, is like preparation for the Sabbath experience in which we withdraw from our everyday "work week" in order to enter the sacredness of a time outside of time, set aside and dedicated to the purpose of inspiration and rejuvenation. And we also recognize, with an eye on the "big picture", the truth observed by Alice Walker: "Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week." Frieda Fordham puts it this way specifically in terms of bringing the treasure back to waking life from dream work:

"It is not enough, however, simply to have remarkable dreams or strange experiences; there are those who have a luxuriant fantasy life without any positive results--quite the opposite, in fact. Anyone can experience the archetype in dreams, even those of the self, without a corresponding development of personality; it is as if something flowered in the night and withered by day without producing any seed. Whereas the person who has started willingly, or unwillingly, on the way must cherish and cultivate whatever strange, grotesque, or beautiful growths appear. He must work on his material, describing, painting, or modeling it, striving by every means to bring it into a form where it can be contemplated and studied, and its hidden meaning discerned" (1953).

Prepare to bring the dream back to waking life. Create an emotional, sensual bridge from your dream experience to your everyday waking life. We know that the transition between encounters with the deep, internal, transcendent unconscious (theta brain wave patterns) and everyday waking life (beta brain wave patterns) requires alpha. So as discussed earlier, the initiated dreamer knows how to listen with a theta rhythm, and meanders back across the bridge to beta with an alpha rhythm.

Prepare to Receive a dream-teller's dream as a midwife receives a baby. Spontaneous group responses to dream-telling can often be judgmental, defensive and rejecting. Group participants often evade linking the related dream to their own emotions and life, defensively projecting their identifications onto the dreamer (Steiner, 1995). Therefore, it is necessary to prepare the group (the 'container') for dream-telling, helping them to establish a setting that enables the group members to 'receive' it as a midwife receives a baby (Friedman, 2004). Creating a healthy processing partnership in the group requires a non-interpretative approach to dreams. Preventing participants from 'interpreting' the dream told, as much as possible, is an important first step in avoiding harm to the dream-teller (Moss, 2002). At the same time, we want to encourage members to share their authentic emotional resonance to the dream, their 'echoes' of the dreamer's experience (Friedman, 2004), as long as they are freely generated primordial associations and not projective or transferential ones.

We prefer to avoid the technique of group members prefacing their comments with "If it were my dream" as used in the cognitive-experiential model of dream work of C. E. Hill (1996) to reinforce the notion that the comment is not personal but rather archetypal. Not only is it not my dream, it is not even the dreamer's dream.


Figure 6 illustrates the deep interdependence of all human beings, underground, down in the primordial collective. Our souls, and our distant ancestral roots, and our shared archetypal images meet and mingle in the underworld. When we meet above ground, forming a sacred circle in the day world, it is possible to connect to our deeper connections. Then we can truly nurture and encourage each other, and heal and grow together.

Necessity of Sharing in the Group

Containment. There are several important aspects of utilizing these practices within a group setting. One is the effective containment of the experience for each individual. Wilfred Bion placed great value in such containment of experience, and saw the container/contained relationship as both externally provided and as an internal mechanism (self-containment). A primary area in which he ascribed to an external source the ability to assist the internal containment process was the therapeutic relationship, including specifically dream-work (Bion, 1992, p. 40). Because Bion thought dreaming was the transitional space in which unbearable beta emotions are first transformed into more mature alpha material (Bion, 1963), he considered such an external containment to often be necessary for a sense of safety. Thus, a person may utilize a two-step dream process. During sleep, dreamers try to process the excessive threat and excitement in a first--autonomous--step, using intrapsychic containment capabilities. If processing during dreaming does not prove satisfying or successful the dreamer might engage in a second, relational, developmental step, requesting external containment and elaboration of the related dream (Grotstein, 2002). Here, a group's emotional echoes and acceptance of a shared dream "names and contains" for the dreamer his or her conflicted pattern of excitement and anxiety (Britton, 1998).

The group can provide containment for the dream-teller, however, only if the group members are capable of receiving the dream like a midwife receives a baby, i.e., freely generating archetypal associations and not projecting or interpreting. And they can achieve that only by entering a state of unintegration, letting go of the usual need for control, losing oneself without feeling lost, being undefended and at peace. Such a state must be deliberately created and maintained, and our Dream Journey ceremony is crafted to accomplish just that.

Interpersonal dream-carrier. One may dream a dream as an interpersonal dream-carrier (Ka"es, 2002), the group's container for a difficult emotion, expanding the function beyond the individual's expression of intrapsychic or interpersonal conflict. Telling this dream relates its primordial level of meaning for the benefit of all.

Absorption of the self into 'something larger'. Just as the intrapsychic experience of mystical or shamanic transcendence involves absorption of the self into 'something larger', so too does the interpersonal gateway into mystical or shamanic transcendence cross the threshold of social absorption of the self into 'something larger'. We meet in the dream space with other traveling souls, ones we know in waking life, ones we don't, and ones who may have no physical earthly body at all (Frankiel & Greenfeld, 2000, p. 140-141). We meet to share, to plan, to work together, to create mutual understanding. And it is fitting that we also meet likeminded souls (embodied and otherwise) in the dream-telling circle to create 'something larger' capable of containing the 'big dreams'.

The Dream Journey Ceremony

Opening the sacred circle. In all the Heart-Centered transformational modalities we acknowledge the presence and contribution of the Divine. Within the shamanic setting it is no less important to do so, and the form that tradition brings to us is the sacred circle. We open that gathering by acknowledging the four directions, Father Sky and Mother Earth. We honor those group members who sit in each of the four directions for protecting the circle, and for welcoming the spirits to enter.

The Mask makes the invisible visible. Each person in the circle has a mask to hold up in front of their face when telling their dream, or when sharing an intuitive association to another's dream. The mask serves several purposes. One is to remind the speaker that he/she is speaking not from a personal, individual outlook, but rather from a collective, archaic perspective. It is not the triumvirate of my ego, persona, and shadow that speaks to the others; this protects everyone from likely judgments, projections, or analytic interpretations. It is the deeper voice within me, the anima/animus who speaks for the invisible and voiceless archetypes. The mask also, of course reminds the listeners in the group of the same thing. The mask helps to make the invisible visible.
      In the simplest terms, what a mask does is make the invisible
   visible. It shares with ritual and spiritual practice an interest
   in a normally invisible reality. Unlike many spiritual practices,
   which seek to touch this reality inwardly, mask, theatre and often
   ritual are concerned with making this invisible reality visible on
   this planel. This invisible inner reality could be a realm of
   spirits, the eternal archetypes, the imagination of a playwright or
   the psychological world of a character. The important thing is that
   some facet of this unmanifest world is made manifest through the
   body, voice and speech of the performer or shaman. The use of a
   particular mask determines, of course, what invisible thing or
   being will come through. We can begin to see the affinity between
   mask and Campbell's vision of myth when he suggests that 'the basic
   theme of all mythology--that there is an invisible plane supporting
   the visible one' (Campbell, 1988, p. 71). There's a roughly
   equivalent duality in Stan Grof's work in which he distinguishes
   'holotropic' and 'hylotropic' states or realities (Grof, 1985, p.
   38). The actor's transformation into the mask character could be
   seen as the holotropic reality emerging into the hylotropic.

      If masks reveal the invisible, one approach to understanding a
   mask is to ask, 'What of the invisible world does it make visible?'
   Because the neutral mask has no past, it lives outside time, in a
   world that is 'prior' to culture, in which everything is done 'for
   the first time.' It is a world of essences, of elemental
   beginnings. It is always interestingly, an outdoor world,
   intimately connected to nature" (Wain, p. 39).

At night, in the dark, outdoors. To enter the state of consciousness that grants access to the underworld, it is auspicious to gather at night, in the dark, outdoors in nature, just as we dream at night, in the dark. We gather in our sacred circle in a special ceremonial site, bundled up against the cold, sitting with raingear to keep the rain from soaking through, burning citronella candles to warn away the mosquitoes when necessary. We avoid lights, unless the moon is serendipitously overhead.

Closing the sacred circle. Every ceremony that invokes sacred presence must acknowledge that presence and bring its summoning to completion. When you invite a guest for dinner, the time comes to end the visit and bid them safe journey home.

And so one final purpose becomes clear for exploring the dreamworld and pursuing a synthesis between the conscious and unconscious, the ego and anima. A group of like-minded conscious people, using the dream journey ceremony, can not only shape their patterns of dreaming and otherwise affect their own unconscious, but also affect the unconscious-at-large, the collective.
      A stormy relationship has existed between the visible world and
   the invisible world ever since the late Middle Ages, when these
   worlds existed in relative harmony under a church-state liaison.
   Since then, Western Europe and later the United States have lived
   through periods when the two worlds scarcely took note of one
   another, and through episodes of outspoken strife and overt
   rebellion. In our own times, there are once again signs of movement
   toward the possibility of a new rapprochement. This will be
   strengthened when large numbers of people rediscover and develop
   their capacities to see through the first world, the visible world,
   and into the second [the invisible world] (Singer, 1990, p. 3).


Alexander, C. (1991). A conceptual and phenomenological analysis of pure consciousness during sleep. Lucidity, 10(l&2), 129.

Bartocci, G., & Dein, S. (2005). Detachment: Gateway to the world of spirituality. Transcultural Psychiatry, 42(4), 545-569.

Bion, W. (1963) Elements of Psycho-Analysis. New York: Aronson.

Bion, W. (1992) Cogitations. London: Karnac.

Britton, R. (1998) Belief and Imagination. London, New York: Routledge.

Campbell, J. (1988). The Power of Myth. New York: Doubleday.

Capobianco, R. M. (1993). Heidegger and Jung: Dwelling near the source. Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, 21(1-3), 50-59.

Charet, F. X. (1993) Spiritualism and the Foundations of C. G. Jung's Psychology. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Cook-Greuter, S. (1990). Maps for living: Ego-development stages from symbiosis to conscious universal embeddedness. In M. L. Commons, C. Armon, L. Kohlberg, F. A. Richards, T. A. Grotzer, & J. D. Sinnott (Eds.), Adult Development vol. 2, Models and Methods in the Study of Adolescent and Adult Thought, 79-104. New York: Praeger.

Cook-Greuter, S. R. (2000). Mature ego development: A gateway to ego transcendence? Journal of Adult Development, 7(4), 227-240.

Crick, F., & Mitchison, G. (1983). The functions of dream sleep. Nature, 304, 111-114.

Crick, F., & Mitchison, G. (1986). REM sleep and neural nets. The Journal of Mind and Behavior, 7(2&3), 229[99]-250[120].

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper & Row.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1993). The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third Millennium. New York: HarperCollins.

Dalai Lama. (1997). In F. J. Varela (Ed.), Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying: An Exploration of Consciousness with the Dalai Lama. Boston, MA: Wisdom Publications.

Davis, T. L. (2004). Incorporating spirituality into dream work. In C. E. Hill, (Ed.), Dream Work in Therapy: Facilitating Exploration, Insight, and Action, 149-168. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Domhoff, G. W. (2003). Senoi Dream Theory: Myth, Scientific Method, and the Dreamwork Movement. Retrieved from the World Wide Web:

Edge, L. W. (2001). The spectrum of dissociation: From pathology to self-realization. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 33(1), 53-63.

Edge, L. W. (Spring 2004). A phenomenological study of directed dissociation. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 44(2), 155-181.

Eigen, M. (Sum 1992). The fire that never goes out. Psychoanalytic Review, 79(2), 271-287.

Eisman, J. (Winter 1989). The child state of consciousness and the formation of the self. Hakomi Forum, Issue 7.

Ferenczi, S. (1913) To Whom Does One Relate One's Dreams? Further Contributions to the Theory and Techniques of Psychoanalysis. New York: Bruner/Mazel.

Fischer, R. (1971). A cartography of ecstatic and mystical states. Science, 174, 897-904.

Fordham, F. (1953). An Introduction to Jung's Psychology. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books.

Frankiel, T., & Greenfeld, J. (2000). Entering the Temple of Dreams. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing.

Frankl, V. E. (1963). Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy (I. Lasch, Trans.). New York: Washington Square Press. (Earlier title, 1959: From Death-Camp to Existentialism.)

Frankl, V. E. (1975). The Unconscious God: Psychotherapy and Theology. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Frankl, V. E. (1997). Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books.

Freud, S. (1924-1950). Collected Papers, 5 vols., trans. Various. London: Hogarth Press.

Freud, S. (1954). The Interpretation of Dreams, trans. J. Strachey, one vol. reprint of vols. 4-5 of the Standard Edition. London: Allen and Unwin.

Friedman, R. (2004). Dream-telling as a request for containment--Reconsidering the group-analytic approach to the work with dreams. Group Analysis, 37(4), 508-524.

Gackenbach, J. (1991). Frameworks for understanding lucid dreaming: A review. Dreaming, 1(2), 109.

Gackenbach, J. (1997). In F. J. Varela (Ed.), Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying: An Exploration of Consciousness with the Dalai Lama. Boston, MA: Wisdom Publications.

Goleman, D. (1993). Psychology, reality, and consciousness. In R. Walsh & F. Vaughan (Eds.), Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision, 18-21. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam.

Gordon, D. (2007). Mindful Dreaming. Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page Books.

Grof, S. (1985). Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. New York: The State University of New York Press.

Grotstein, J. S. (2002). We are such stuff as dreams are made of: Annotations on dreams and dreaming in Bion's works. In C. Neri, M. Pines, & R. Friedman (Eds.), Dreams in Group Psychotherapy, 110-146. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Hall, J. A. (1983). Jungian Dream Interpretation: A handbook of Theory and Practice. Toronto, Canada: Inner City Books.

Hay, L. L. (1988). Heal Your Body. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House.

Hesiod (1999). Theogony, Works and Days (Oxford World's Classics), M. L. West (Translator, Introduction). Oxford University Press, USA.

Hill, C. E. (1996). Working with Dreams in Psychotherapy. New York: Guilford Press.

Hillman, J. (1975). Re-Visioning Psychology. New York: Harper & Row.

Hillman, J. (1979). The Dream and the Underworld. New York: HarperPerennial.

Hillman, J. (1985). Anima: An Anatomy of a Personified Notion. Dallas, TX: Spring Publications.

Hillman, J. (1989). A Blue Fire: Selected Writings by James Hillman. New York: Harper & Row.

Hunt, H. (1989). Multiplicity of Dreams: Memory, Imagination, and Consciousness. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Huskinson, L. (2004). Nietzsche and Jung: The Whole Self in the Union of Opposites. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Jacoby, M. A. (1985). Longing for Paradise: Psychological Perspectives on an Archetype. Boston, MA: Sigo Press.

Jensen, D. (April 2001). Saving the indigenous soul: An interview with Martin Prechtel. The Sun Magazine, 381.

Jung, C. G. (1953 ff.). Collected Works, trans. R.F.C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX, vols. 1-20. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Jung, C. G. 'Visions Seminar', quoted in Memories. Dreams, Reflections.

Jung, C. G. (1958). The transcendent function. In The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 8. Bollingen Series XX. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Jung, C. G. (1960). On the nature of the psyche. In The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 8. Bollingen Series XX. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Jung, C. G. (1963). Memories, Dreams, Reflections. New York: Pantheon Books.

Jung, C. G. (1964). The archetype in dream symbolism. In Man and His Symbols, 67-82. New York: Doubleday.

Jung, C. G. (1966). Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. 2nd ed. trans R.F.C. Hull. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Jung, C. G. (1969). The Symbolic Life. 2nd ed. trans. R.F.C. Hull. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Kaes, R. (2002). The polyphonic texture of intersubjectivity in the dream. In C. Neri, M. Pines, & R. Friedman (Eds.), Dreams in Group Psychotherapy, 67-70. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Kegan, R. (1994). In over our Heads: The Demands of Modern Life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Koplowitz, H. (1984). A projection beyond Piaget's formal operations stage: A general system stage and a unitary stage. In M. L. Commons, F. A. Richards, & C. Armon (Eds.), Beyond Formal Operations, 279-295. New York: Praeger.

Kuiken, D., Lee, M., Eng, T., & Singh, T. (2006). The influence of impactful dreams on self-perceptual depth and spiritual transformation. Dreaming, 16(4), 258-279.

Loevinger, J. (1976). Ego Development: Conceptions and Theories. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper & Row.

Maslow, A. H. (1971). The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York: Viking.

Maslow, A. H. (1994). Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences. New York: Penguin Books (originally published in 1970).

Mathew, M. (2005). Reverie: Between thought and prayer. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 50, 383-393.

May, R. M. (1991) Cosmic Consciousness Revisited: The Modern Origins of a Western Spiritual Psychology. Rockport, MA: John Knox Press.

Metzner, R. (1985). On getting to know one's inner enemy: Transformational perspectives on the conflict of good and evil. REVISION, 8(1), 41-51.

Miller, M., & Cook-Greuter, S. (1994). From postconventional development to transcendence: Visions and theories. In M. Miller & S. Cook-Greuter (Eds.), Transcendence and Mature Thought in Adulthood: The Further Reaches of Adult Development, xv-xxxiv. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Moffitt, A., Purcell, S., Hoffman, R., & Wells, R. (1988). Dream psychology: Operating in the dark. in J. I. Gackenbach, & S L. LaBerge (Eds.), Conscious Mind, Sleeping Brain: Perspectives on Lucid Dreaming. New York: Plenum.

Moss, E. (2002). Working with dreams in a bereavement therapy group. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 52(2), 151-171.

Newberg, A., & D'Aquili, E. (2000). The neuropsychology of religious and spiritual experience. In J. Andersen & R. Forman (Eds.), Cognitive Models and Spiritual Maps: Interdisciplinary Explorations of Religious Experience. Exeter: Imprint Academic.

Newberg, A., D'Aquili, E., & Rouse, V. (2001). Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief New York: Ballantine.

Prechtel, M. (1998). Secrets of the Talking Jaguar: A Mayan Shaman's Journey to the Heart of the Indigenous Soul. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher.

Schwartz, H. L. (2000). Dialogues with Forgotten Voices: Relational Perspectives on Child Abuse Trauma and Treatment of Dissociative Disorders. New York: Basic Books.

Singer, J. (1990). Seeing Through the Visible World: Jung. Gnosis, and Chaos. New York: Harper & Row.

Skodlar, B. (2002). The Soul and the Psyche: Religious Experience and Psychopathology. Retrieved from the World Wide Web

St. John of the Cross. (2003). Dark Night of the Soul. Mineola, NY: Courier Dover Publications.

Stein, M. (1998). Jung's Map of the Soul. Chicago, IL: Open Court Publishing.

Steiner, C. Medici de (1995). Analyzing children's dreams. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 76, 45-49.

Tedlock, B. (2004). The poetics and spirituality of dreaming: A Native American enactive theory. Dreaming, 14(2-3), 183-189.

Tedlock, B. (1999). Sharing and interpreting dreams in Amerindian nations. In D. Shulman & G. Stroumsa (Eds.), Dream Cultures: Explorations in the Comparative History of Dreaming, 87-103. New York: Oxford University Press.

Torbert, W. R. (1995). In Fisher, D., & Torbert, W. R. Personal and Organizational Transformation: The True Challenge of Continual Quality Improvement. London: McGraw-Hill.

Torbert, W. R. (2002). In Fisher, D., Rooke, D., & Torbert, W. R. Personal and Organizational Transformations: Through Action Inquiry. Edge/Work Press.

Ulanov, A., & Ulanov, B. (1994). Transforming Sexuality: The Archetypal World of Anima and Animus. Boston, MA: Shambhala.

Wain, A. (2005). Myth, archetype and the neutral mask: Actor training and transformation in light of the work of Joseph Campbell and Stanislav Grof. The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 24, 37-47.

Wilber, K. (1990). Two patterns of transcendence: A reply to Washburn. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 30(3), 113-136.

Wilkerson, R. C. (March 2001). Jung, the desired, and dreamwork: Working with the Anima/Animus. Electric Dreams, 8(3).

Winnicott, D. W. (1965). The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment. New York: International Universities Press.

Winson, J. (Nov 1990). The meaning of dreams. Scientific American.

Wolf, F. A. (1994). The Dreaming Universe: A Mind-expanding Journey into the Realm where Psyche and Physics Meet. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Young-Eisendrath, P., & Miller, M. E. (Eds.) (2000). The Psychology of Mature Spirituality: Integrity, Wisdom, Transcendence. New York: Routledge.

David Hartman, MSW and Diane Zimberoff, M.A. *

* The Wellness Institute, 3716--274th Avenue SE, Issaquah, WA 98029 USA 425-391-9716
Table 1. Four-Tier Model of Human Development
Correspondence of Ego Stages

4 tiers of development     Stages of       Ego-development
(Miller & Cook-Greuter;    Development     stages (Loevinger;
Wilber)                    (Torbert)       Cook-Greuter)

IV. Postpostconventional                   Ego-Transcendent

III. Postconventional      Ironist         Unitive
                           Alchemist       Construct-aware
                           Strategist      Autonomous/Integrated
                           Individualist   Individualist

II. Conventional           Achiever        Conscientious
                           Technician      Self-conscious
                           Diplomat        Conformist

I. Preconventional         Opportunist     Self-protective
                           Impulsive       Impulsive
                                           Undifferentiated self

4 tiers of development     Stages of       Distribution
(Miller & Cook-Greuter;    Development     of adult
Wilber)                    (Torbert)       population

IV. Postpostconventional

III. Postconventional      Ironist         .5%
                           Strategist       5%
                           Individualist   10%

II. Conventional           Achiever        30%
                           Technician      36%
                           Diplomat        11%

I. Preconventional         Opportunist      4%
                           Impulsive        2%
COPYRIGHT 2008 Wellness Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Hartman, David; Zimberoff, Diane
Publication:Journal of Heart Centered Therapies
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2008
Previous Article:The clarity process: using heart-centered regression techniques in couple therapy--an object relations and systems theory approach.
Next Article:Breathwork and couple relationships: a qualitative investigation.

Related Articles
Editor's Note.
Dreams, Jung and Hypnotherapy.
Editor's Note.
Editor's note.
Editor's note.
Editor's note.
Editor's note.
Familiar healing techniques for every age: instinctually grab that throbbing muscle? Curl up with Buster when feeling blue? These familiar acts can...

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters