Family Therapy & Case Studies
FAMILY THERAPY & CRP
by Graywolf Swinney
Individuals and family systems do not readily conform to the predictable mechanistic laws of Newtonian science and Cartesian philosophy which have provided the basic paradigm underlying contemporary medical and psychological sciences; instead, they are complex systems that seem to be as much ruled by chaos as by order. It is most often the compulsive and rigid structures and behaviors displayed in the individual, group, or family’s interactions that define dysfunction and evoke pain. To better understand and help change these complex systems requires understanding of and comfort with chaos and the dynamics of complex systems.
Chaos was an integral aspect of the change model proposed by Virginia Satir in her work with groups and families in crisis and change. In her presentations, Satir proposed that a family or group operates in a structured manner until the intrusion of a foreign agent or influence throws it into a process of dissolution that eventually leads to chaos as the structure disintegrates. Eventually evolving out of the discomfort and chaos, a new structure appears that after an integrative and adjustment process becomes the new order for the system. The therapist’s role is to help the family through this process to adopt a more healthy, viable new structure.
But Satir did not have the opportunity of living to see the advent and establishment of chaos theory and complex dynamics in the life sciences. So while recognizing the importance of chaos in the change process, she did not see its scientific and philosophical implications, fit, and integration with her therapeutic model.
The Consciousness Restructuring Process (CRP) therapy described in this paper does make that integration. It provides scientific substantiation for the basic change models proposed by Satir. Consciousness Restructuring Process therapy was developed independently, but influenced by Satir’s early work. When the author presented the CRP model at two recent IHLRN conferences, the confluence of the two models was immediately apparent.
Consciousness Restructuring Process is a practice and philosophy of therapy that reflects the paradigm shift in the scientific base of healing to the models of the new sciences. The therapy and philosophy are best understood in the context of chaos theory, quantum physics and relativity theory and the new views of natural process implied by them. At the same time it is consistent with a broader range of spiritual philosophies and healing practices. Further, it provides a far more accurate model of the human condition and interactions than is possible with psychologies based in classical science alone, and as noted in many aspects parallels Satir’s model of change.
Most therapists realize that we are not the orderly and predictable beings that we would like to believe we are. We seldom structure our personal lives and relationships through cause and effect chains of logic. Instead our lives seem constantly beset and affected by random events outside of our plans. Indeed, the sole reason for the existence of the insurance industry is to protect us from loses due to some of these “accidents.”
More often than not, we are ruled by complex interplays of emotions, thoughts, values, and beliefs, personal myths, physical-biological condition, all shaped and driven by energies hidden deep within the psyche and beyond our understanding. We are seldom ruled solely by intellect and rational decision.
Freud called these deep and hidden aspects of consciousness the id, and saw therein our drives and instincts. These and subconsciously stored primal memory experiences along with our responses and reactions to them gave rise to the behaviors and defense mechanisms which by and large define personality, behavior, sense of self and our ego.
He saw the id as a chaotic and confusing aspect of our organism, barely controlled by the super ego. Acting out, it would defy the constraints of acceptable social behavior. He attempted to understand and to shed light and reason into this chaotic morass of seething primal energies and instinctual drives. He employed such indirect psychoanalytic techniques as: free association, dream interpretation and transference management.
He believed that exposed to the light of awareness, these basic forces that drive people, can and would change. Since then, aside from the staunch behavioristic psychologies, most therapies and therapists have operated with the essential aspects of this concept as axiomatic, and developed increasingly more precise, sophisticated, and apt ways and practices of finding, understanding, and/or attempting to release these trapped energy systems and memories.
Consciousness Restructuring Process Therapy
Consciousness Restructuring Process as a technique involves consciousness journeys in which the therapist guides the client’s full awareness into direct rather tha indirect experiences of the chaotic self scape of the id in the pre subconscious. The journey is a multisensory imagery process that involves the therapist entering co-consciousness (intuitive) states and interactions with the client. The Mentor guides him or her (following the lead of the Journeyer’s process) to the basic trapped energy patterns or consciousness states that underlie the manifested disease symptoms, and then beyond.
In one sense, it is like the healing journeys of shamanism, where the shaman journeys into his client’s unconscious to return from this underworld with the lost soul which is seen as the basis of illness. At the same time it equally reflects aspects of Erickson’s concept and process of co-consciousness work, a shared consciousness state that gives the therapist intuitive insights about the client that manifests as images or stories, which when offered to the client, enhance the healing imagery and process immensely.
To begin the journeys, these underlying energy patterns or states are initially identified at superficial levels through their form as encountered in a number of reiterative or nested ways. For example, in the symptoms presented; from dreams or from images incubated by such techniques as drumming, chanting, or meditation; or by noticing and observing the behavioral and/or emotional patterns displayed in the opening portion of the session.
The essence of this disease energy pattern is then followed through progressively deeper levels of consciousness into its more primal imagery manifestations until the client is guided to experience the existential, multisensory image or consciousness state which contains the pattern in its most basic form. This is called the ‘primal existential self-image” since it defines the client’s sense of self and his world in a primal sensory form.
The journey then continues beyond this bound or trapped consciousness energy pattern into the unstructured, undifferentiated, or unbound consciousness which existed prior to its formation. From within this chaotic or undifferentiated consciousness a new primal image spontaneously appears, a state of ease rather than disease which provides a new foundation for the self. More complete and detailed descriptions of the consciousness states, imagery, and the process itself may be found in DREAMHEALING: CHAOS AND THE CREATIVE CONSCIOUSNESS PROCESS, (Swinney and Miller, 1992), [CCP is now known as CRP].
The Mentor or therapist helps the client to do this using the journeyer’s own imaginative process and the multisensory imagery flowing from it. It is a death and rebirth process--the diseased aspects of the bound consciousness dying to be reborn from chaos, as the Sphinx arises from the flames. The new image, in subtle and/or overt ways, restructures not only the client’s personality, from personal mythological levels and belief systems to behaviors, emotional and intellectual responses, but also seems to affect physical structures. Example changes include body chemistry, muscle tension, immune system function, food preference, and the function of various organs (liver and pancreas) have all been reported.
At an internal level, this is the process described by Satir in her family systems change model. The client usually just notices the changes in behavior and physiology as the basic change in self-image begins to affect surface manifestations physically and mentally. Clients have reported feeling effects, changes, and having significant insights pop up several months following a Journey.
In terms of therapeutic technique or practice, it is a process of becoming, or yielding to the various images suggested by the imagination--of temporarily identifying with them. It is superficially much like Gestalt technique, but differs in that it takes the client into the deeper experiences and consciousness states of an image, rather than working at ego levels of awareness and exploring the relationships of images within the ego as in Gestalt Therapy. It also involves using a broader range of senses in the imagery than is normally done in Gestalt therapy, including what often appear to be extrasensory experiences, that is senses that cannot be described with simple sensory terms. A case study later in this paper gives illustration of the technique.
Consciousness Restructuring Process and Chaos Theory
The journey, and the underlying consciousness states which are eventually reached conform in all essentials to the dynamics of chaotic systems as described by chaos theory. The journey itself resembles nested fractal images on a computer screen. We amplify a small part of it to find the essence of its form repeated at deeper and deeper levels. It also reflects the dynamics of chaotic systems in that bifurcations or unexpected trajectories occur during the unfolding journey, the flow of imaginal imagery shifting and taking unanticipated new twists in unpredictable ways.
The healing or unstructured transformative consciousness energy beyond the bound consciousness also reflects these dynamics. New structures, experiences, and images arise from within it to replace the painful and diseased images. The butterfly effect, whereby small changes in the initial conditions may have large impact on the system’s development, is also descriptive of the process and its effects.
The new structures or primal existential self images that manifest during these journeys are profoundly healing. They provide balance and deeply felt sensory repatterning: an internally, deeply sensed freedom for one who was trapped, peace for one who was agitated, wholeness for one who was scattered. The new state reflects the nature of the journey experience itself and the guide’s influence in the forming of the new self image.
In this sense, the Mentor or therapist is in part the strange attractor that influences this new existential self-image that self-organizes and emerges. Over a period of time this new image reshapes the personality and behavioral patterns to reflect the balance and creative process that evoked it. Just a small perturbation boot-straps itself into macro changes.
The imagery forms encountered on the edge of this primal undifferentiated consciousness or “chaotic consciousness” are primal archetypal energy patterns. They seem very basic and in one sense suggest archetypal images and themes from the collective unconscious as described by Jung. However, the primal archetypal images emerge deeper than the mythological material. They are sensory based, not mythical, in nature.
In another sense, they reflect basic patterns of matter and energy forms encountered and repeated in nature from atomic to cosmic levels: spirals and vortices; black holes in black space; felt senses of great antiquity and accumulated wisdom’ simultaneous experience of the polarity and unity of the masculine and feminine or yin/yang; a sense of total interconnectedness with every atom in the universe.
The journey phenomenology includes a “place,” usually a gray fog, where both everything and nothing exist simultaneously, the perfect union of black and white, absence of any color combined with all color. These and many more states and sensory images have been described and identified during these journeys. They are also remarkably similar to experiences reported by mystics in their ecstatic experiences; to the feelings, sensations and images reported by those undergoing spiritual healing experiences; and to the transformative and religious consciousness states described by early LSD experimenters.
What’s in a Name?
We have used several names to describe this therapy: Over the years we have called it Dreamhealing, “Fractal Therapy,” Creative Consciousness Process. “Dream Journeys” is another name that derives from the observation that journey occurs in the awakened side of dream or REM consciousness. However, not all journeys begin with dream recall; we also use symptoms or feelings to enter the stream of consciousness. Often during journeys intense REM is observed and subjects report intense physical sensations. REM seems to be a crucial ingredient in the repatterning process.
Often dreams are used as gateways to the process so that the journey is into the depth of the dream. Another model we have used is the “Shaman/Therapist” and Mentoring models, which reflect the fact that it embraces a synthesis of scientific and mystic approaches to therapy and healing in both technique and philosophy, and that the journey itself involves both participants entering into altered consciousness states.
There are several philosophical differences that distinguish this process from previous therapies. For the most part, psychology follows the medical model which in turn is based in classical Newtonian science and Cartesian philosophy with its mind/body split. In brief, this systems posits cause-effect chains of events that follow certain laws and define the shape of reality.
In this conventional model, disease and healing are both caused by outside interventions: disease from such causes as a viral or bacterial invasion, carcinogenic contamination, emotional trauma. Healing or cures are brought about by eliminating these agents and/or correcting the damage they have done chemically, surgically or through catharsis. Symptoms are treated by suppression or elimination, and the illness or diseased component of the organism is isolated for treatment. Dissolution, chaos and death are to be avoided at all costs and healing or cure is seen as an end point.
The philosophical base of Consciousness Restructuring Process of natural healing differs from this in many ways. In this revolutionary model, reality is a twilight zone between structure and chaos, form and formlessness, neither one nor the other, yet both. Structure evolves from chaos in an environment of complex interacting systems, and is responsive to and shaped by the environment.
Eventually structures set and grow rigid and in doing so become less responsive to the environment which is constantly evolving and changing. The rigidity and inability to respond to the evolving environment ensures the fracturing and disintegration of the structure back into chaos. At the personal level this is what we experience as a life crisis or a disease. But eventually new form or structure emerges from the chaos. It is this dance of evolution and change that is real, not the temporary forms and structures that exist only momentarily in our perceptions.
This is how the universe appears to work from cosmic to subatomic levels, and we are no exception. We dance with death and dissolution daily, indeed momentarily: at the cellular level whose collectivity is our physical being; at the level of ideas, thoughts, concepts, emotions, beliefs and values that define our mental being. All are born and die only to come back in new form again and again, each time evolving, each time similar but different, and each time real only in the moment. It is the futile clinging to them that creates the discomfort, pain, and disease.
Healing and health are present when we live this flow of self evolution. They are not an end state, but rather a constantly evolving and self-creative state of being. Disease is when we are lost in, trapped by, or hanging on too tightly to either the chaos or the form, and living outside of the flow of creative evolution. The soul itself, as in the shamanic model, seems lost or trapped.
Symptoms and diseases are the organism’s way of calling attention to our stuck states and actually provide the opportunity for us to evolve past our current form. In other words, the disease or crisis is an opportunity to transcend the old and become a new more-evolved being.
Symptoms are surface manifestations of more deeply rooted splinters of disease and are an attempt on the part of the organism to resolve the problem. A splinter buried in the toe can become infected and fester causing a myriad of symptoms, from fever and internal chemical imbalances, to spinal misalignment. With a cold, the fever, sneezing, pain, lack of energy, and other symptoms have their purpose to move fluids more rapidly through the body to flush out the viruses and force to restrengthen the immune system. The heart and force of the symptom is a healing drive.
Pain and discomfort indicate that something is wrong and emanate from that aspect of the organism that is damaged. To heal we must go to the source of the pain. Thus, the dream journey is to embrace the fear and discomforts with which we surround and protect our wounds, to pass through them, not to avoid them.
It is only at the site of the wound itself that we can tend it, and the healing comes from within, a natural self-organizing internal process and an integral part of the being needing healing. The therapist is at most a mentor or guide to the inner healing states of consciousness. Healing and disease are as much, perhaps more a matter of the form our consciousness assumes than any other factor.
Since healing’s a matter of mind over matter,
And matter’s a matter of mind,
In matters that matter, when healing’s what matters,
Then flow is the right state of mind.
Using the Consciousness Restructuring Process in Family Systems
Although the process of Consciousness Restructuring Process therapies was not developed exclusively in the arena of family therapy, it did evolve in a practice in which often entire families became active in the therapy. So, although our experience is limited to a few instances, we can show some ways in which this process has been used in family therapy situations, and suggest other ways that it could be used.
The immediate family consists of Gary, Mary, and Brad. Gary and Mary, the adults are both professionals, have independent careers and are in mid age. Both have had previous marriages and had subsequent relationships which proved disastrous. Shortly after Gary and Mary committed to a “life” relationship, Brad (Gary’s teenage son) who was being both emotionally and physically abused by his biological mother, decided to stay with them after his summer visitation with Gray. Mary has one grown daughter living independently.
An overstrict and competitive father and a physically and emotionally abusive passive aggressive mother, both emotionally unavailable, had helped Gary shape his attitudes to life, women and authority figures. He was having trouble with all three and lived it our in a series of relationships in which he was abused, betrayed and eventually abandoned by women.
In his previous marriage he had been repeatedly physically and emotionally abused by his wife. His way of coping with life was as to be a rebel, hard to pin down and not trusting of anyone. People were constantly taking advantage of him, using him and then casting him aside. He had built a powerful body pumping iron, but seldom lifted his fist against anyone in his adult life.
Mary’s background was similar in many ways except her coping mechanism was that the unpredictability and uncertainty of life was best handled by bringing order, neatness and control into all situations. In this she was compulsive.
The two coping mechanisms had come into conflict. Gary’s rejection of authority and material things, his unwillingness to plan ahead or be pinned down, and his often sloppy and messy ways were in direct conflict with Mary’s penchant for order, organization, neatness, and planning ahead. This brought them into couple’s therapy soon after they had begun cohabitation.
In the initial couple’s session, (before Brad entered their lives), the background and history were explored, and the patterns of interactions identified. Bandaid measures were suggested: a process of “time out” to soothe their escalating angers and fears, back off from the confrontations where violence was becoming a possibility, look inside to indentify the part being threatened or hurt, and find a way to take responsibility for it before coming back together. They further agreed to come in for some individual sessions to work individually on this internal stuff.
In her individual session, Mary noted that the time outs were working well and they were getting along much better. Her compulsive cleaning and neatness, she admitted, was a predominant aspect of her life in all areas and sometimes too much even for her. She physically experienced it as a tightening and deadness-pain in her chest.
I invited her to forget the intellectual content and focus entirely on that pain. The image that came to her was of a black metal sheath surrounding her heart. I invited her to go inside the sheath which she soon experienced as a confining and suffocating rigid airless void. Her eyes now closed and eyelids fluttering in REM, she entered deeper into the void and imagined letting go of breathing. She began sliding rapidly down a frictionless chute at ever-increasing acceleration, out of control and was terrified, the physical sensations now affecting her solar plexus as well.
“Stay with it; I’m with you,” I said and did experience it with her. We catapulted into the blackness of the void and she reported falling into nothingness but soon a white net appeared to catch her and settled over her. Wherever it touched her it brought a deep sense of security, peacefulness and connectedness. It mostly concentrated on her chest and solar plexus. She stayed in that consciousness state for some time letting it act on her.
Returning from the journey she soon realized that most of the journey experiences were actually sensory memories of her experiences of childhood including an intellectual tie in of it being how she felt hiding in a closet to escape her father’s wrath. The memory was no longer as “charged;” the peaceful consciousness state was now more her sense of being, and seemed more real than the memories.
The next session she reported noticing that she was getting less compulsive about things, and more tolerant. We continued with journeys over the next several weeks; all amplified and re-enforced her first one. With the inner growing security her improvements continued and the relationship improved. She shared her Journeys with Gary who had been working with me and taking his own journeys prior to meeting Mary.
When Brad showed up for his summer visitation, appointments ceased and a ‘honeymoon’ period was enjoyed. When Brad decided to remain with Gary and Mary, they brought him for a session because he was up tight about calling his mother to let her know he was staying. He accurately predicted that she would guilt trip him, perhaps as far as threatening suicide, which it turned out she did. Using his feeling of helplessness in being responsible for his mother’s well being to initiate a journeys, his imaginative process took him to a very powerful state in which he experienced himself as a crystal like being who had the power to transform any energy touching him into rainbows. He used that sense of self in his call and handled it very well.
With Brad’s entry into the family scene, the situation soon worsened after the initial honeymoon. Brad, much like Gary in his ways, and Mary soon began to clash. She was getting little help from Gary whose profession often took him away on extended trips and left Mary to supervise Brad. When she got tough, he got resistant. The family structure was evolving into Mary being the ‘over-compulsive bitch’ who no one could please. Gary and Brad were the ‘sloppy incompetents who could nothing right.’ All were trapped in their own internal structures by which they perpetrated this reality.
In the late fall we received a panic call from Mary. The honeymoon was over, things had deteriorated to a critical state where she was now considering asking Gary and Brad to find their own place. After an individual session with Mary to let her vent, Gary and Mary returned for another joint session. Brad resisted joining them. The result was another coping strategy to deal with the ‘tit for tat’ arguments and developing roles as ‘Bitch’ or ‘incompetents.’ This time Gary followed up with an individual session.
The “band aid” strategy from the joint session was working and he felt that Mary’s previous sessions had resulted in considerable changes for her. But his concerns about the damage to Brad from his years with his alcoholic and abusive mother, and his basic paranoia and distrust in others and, more deeply himself, had him depressed and feeling helpless.
We used a dream in which the content and symbols reflected his depression, fear, and helplessness to initiate a Journey in which Gary ended up experiencing himself as a powerfully flowing river. In this state of his being, he is now dealing with his problems without trying to run uphill. [His personal mythology that had emerged in earlier sessions was with Sisyphus who kept pushing a rock up a hill only to have it roll back down on him each time he got near the top].
Gary and Mary, in sharing their journey experiences with each other, have revealed much about their deeper selves and they are now perceiving each other far past the coping mechanisms each had developed and finding deeper levels of understanding and connection. Confrontations have become less frequent and more rapidly and easily terminated. That is where the situation now stands. Future sessions are scheduled to get Brad more involved, and because Gary and Mary want to delve even further into freeing their creative energies and self empowerment.
In brief, we used joint sessions to explore family dynamics and help each see the context in which they play out their personal parts in the drama. Individual sessions and journeys brought about individual changes which helped shape a new process of interactions which, since the journeys are based in imaginative and creative processes of imagery, are also imaginative and creative in helping diffuse old explosive possibilities.
The above outlines one use of Consciousness Restructuring Process in Family Therapy. There seem countless possibilities for using it. Two, one of which has been used and one contemplated and waiting trial are outlined below:
Using the CRP journey technique in whole family session in which one member’s journey is shared by the whole family has had very interesting effect, bringing new levels of insight and understanding to all. It facilitates rapport and family identification.
It has been our experience in families and indeed in groups of all types from workshops to lecture demonstrations, that those observing a journey most often find it carries them along and triggers much inside themselves. Just as certain dreams, by touching universal or shared themes, transcend the personal and belong to a more expanded group, so too do journeys, particularly among family members who share similar consciousness patterns.
The following method is one which we have considered but not yet had opportunity to use. In this approach, we propose using an improvisational psychodrama format in which a family could be asked to begin by acting out a typical dysfunctional pattern of theirs. Then, as with the individual journey, focus in on some aspect of this pattern, and in that focus have the drama become what is happening within that aspect.
An example might be becombing what is happening within one of the actors. This process is repeated again so that the family drama becomes like an individual’s journey, going deeper and deeper, more primal and less rational, into the pattern. The actors may find themselves being an emotion, color, odor, sound, some other sense, or perhaps an image such as a vortex.
The family could be guided in this way on a collective journey through the dissolution of the old pattern into the chaos and subsequent self-organizing emergence of a new existential collective consciousness pattern. We suspect that done as a family group, this dramatic journey would have profound impact on improving the dysfunctional system.
Individuals and family systems are in reality complex systems and conform more to the reality and dynamics outlined in Chaos Theory than to the classical science that provides the current paradigm for most psychotherapies. Virginia Satir’s philosophy and therapeutic models of change reflect her intuitive understanding of this. The Consciousness Restructuring Process is a therapeutic technique and philosophy that is consistent with Satir’s work and with complex dynamics and its implications, and it provides a robust model for guiding individuals, families, and groups through crisis and change.
What's New with My Subject?
Light Sleepers: Working in Wakened REM Consciousness;
A Collection of Anecdotal Self-Reports from CRP Journeys
"The creative leap occurs when observed facts are correlated; that is, when by perceiving a heretofore unsuspected identity, a conjunctive path or a new order is discovered."
ABSTRACT: Sojourners into the CRP are quite literally Light Sleepers, consciousness travellers working in wakened REM consciousness. These waking dreams present endless and fascinating varieties of inner experiences and carry deep meaning for both the mentor and mentored, since they co-create the process in co-consciousness.
This paper attempts to capture the color and range of the journeys through a variety of tales told by those who participated in them. These self-reports are often candid and personalistic, but certain generic themes are reiterated within each journey, each series of journeys, and among different participants. The theory and practice of this self-organizing, unfolding process is the subject of DREAMHEALING: Chaos, Creativity, and Consciousness by Graywolf Swinney and Iona Miller.
The Consciousness Restructuring Process (CRP) facilitates journeys in REM into the healing heart of our dreams, into the depths where even Self turns into No-Self, or the Unbound Self, where separation dissolves into unification, where natural healing and creative emergence spring forth. The following are self-reports of such Journeys by the participants themselves, exploring what they have found to be continuing benefits of listening to their dreams and moving beyond limitations into the Unbound Self.
* * *
"The dreamwork I did with you is always with me. It moved me then and it moves me still as a beautiful unveiling of Life the Healer, love of the body, hiding long and deep in the chaos of the human mystery."
"I have had many different counselings and therapies. None went as deep as this process; none went deep enough for the healing I desired. The CRP Dream Process did."
"As we began to work within my dreams, I found that I had come home. I had begun a remarkable journey into the inner reality of myself, where I came to know a profound strength grounded in a deep personal trust."
The Currents of "Crucifiction"
2/2001, Graywolf Swinney: I was feeling overwhelmed and depressed. I was not sleeping more than two or three hours a night and feeling hopeless and somewhat helpless about my life and situation. I was also needing to pass through my grieving process over the death of a very close and intimate friend about two months previously. The first anniversary of my own life-threatening challenge, the "triple AAA" (a burst Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm) that had turned around my own life was coming up soon. It had been quite some time since my last journey. I had very little energy for anything and was beginning to feel frozen by fears and inabilities.
I don't even remember the dream that opened my journey, but by exploring the beingness of one of its symbols, I found myself catapulted into an earlier dream from about twelve or more years previously during a similar experience of life. In this earlier dream I had hung, suspended from the ceiling of a concrete tunnel, and indoor pistol firing range, by meat hooks piercing my neck, shoulders and arms.
When I was invited to become the suspended figure and experience the pain and discomfort of the hooks I became intensely aware of the sensation of falling or tumbling backwards, sliding backwards down the rail or track in the roof of this black tunnel and into the dimly lighten target area. My imaginal body configuration was of being suspended on the cross of "crucifiction."
The wall at the end of the tunnel was covered by a grid made of steel cables and, as I watched and experienced myself sliding into it, I realized that it was highly charged with current of electric power. I slid helplessly into it. I was electrocuted by a vast discharge of electricity accompanied by a brilliant flash of light; a light as bright as that of a nuclear explosion. I heard the sounds of high energy electric current discharge and was magnetized and held to the wall by the current. I was vaguely aware of my body twitching and jerking in real time.
This sequence was an internal drama or enactment of how I was externally experiencing life at the time of the original dream, and also in my present circumstances. I was helplessly falling blindly backwards into a deep, infinite, black void that would somehow engulf and destroy me. These sensations also reminded me of what I had experienced as I was being wheeled on the gurney into the operating room in my medical emergency of the previous year. It was what my life felt like currently, (pun intended).
It was the experience of a deep and primal archetypal self and reminded me of Jesus Christ suspended from his cross and sliding into his own crucifixion and destruction. It was a moment filled with all the despair and helplessness for me that He must have been feeling when he cried out nearing the end of his ordeal, "Father! Why has thou forsaken me?" It was this personal archetypal primal image that was embodying my fears and shaping my life's perceptions and experience right then, and perhaps had through much of my life. It was very disempowering to me.
My CRP mentor invited me to yield into this process and as I did, I was immediately drawn into the flash of the brilliant electrical discharge upon impacting the grid. I could feel the current coursing through my body, magnetizing and holding me stuck to the grid. I experienced my death and despair to be very real in that moment, and foremost in my awareness.
When the flash of light began to subside, I found myself floating and tumbling in a vast dark void which began to fill with stars, except each star became the node in an infinite three dimensional cubic grid. Each node was joined by a pipe-like rod creating a vast complexity of interconnected cubes, each cube connected to six other cubes which were connected in turn to other cubes, and this grid extended out to infinity.
I was the smallest mote in this three dimensional grid, and at the same time I also sensed being the whole of it. I could be anywhere or everywhere in it. Location didn't matter because in being any part of it I was also all of it. It was a sensory and very real experience of being a holographic interference pattern (negative) and having my self or my image dispersed throughout all of it, yet entirely present in even the tiniest microscopic part of it. It was also a very spiritual and transcendent experience. I felt a definite shift in my sense of who and what I was, and what I was capable of doing. I was in and of this power-filled grid of infinity.
I remained in this expanded state for some time, and eventually returned to this reality when my eyes opened. I felt that a fundamental change or shift had occurred. We went through our re-entry process but the miracle that had happened inside me began to unfold in my life.
I went the next day to visit a close and intimate friend and she immediately sensed the shift in me, and has continued to point out persistent differences over the weeks that followed.
I felt brighter and lighter, and over the next few days found myself once again returned to enthusiastically and fully joining into life. I experienced energy and being filled with purpose and power. There was a spring to my step and my depression and helplessness no longer seemed to be present. I began to more fully accept the death of my friend and had both energy and confidence to live my life. I was no longer depressed. There has been much more positive fall out and many realizations that continue to flow from the journey, including moving past a 'writer's block.' But most important, I am once again back on track, (pun intended).
Trusting the Dream & the Dreamer
John Mackenzie is a dreamworker whose avocations include gardening and building stringed instruments; he studied with Graywolf and offers sessions in the Portland area.
After a period of several years, I came to a place in my life where I didn't know what was meaningful anymore. I didn't know what purpose my marriage served, or how my work served me and anyone else. Increasingly, what I had believed to be trustworthy was no longer reliable.
I wandered through the forest of my psyche in search of meaning and purpose that would connect me to myself and the world. My search led me to a dreamworker in the woods of Southern Oregon, who asked me what I wanted. Like a prince in a story with one eye on the golden treasure, I answered, "Nothing less than fundamental transformation." He laughed and said, "That would be a good chapter heading for my book, [and you're book of life as well]."
As we began to work within my dreams, I found that I had come home. I discovered that I also plugged directly into my body's own consciousness. I had begun a remarkable journey into the inner reality of myself, where I came to know a profound strenth grounded in a deep personal trust. In constrast to other types of dreamwork, I was going inside the frozen depths of my fear and also riding the crest of my joy, exploring trust-anchored body sensations.
Focusing on, connecting to and recrystallizing my body's consciousness made the difference for me between living the fullness of life and being generally miserable. I found that this kind of dreamwork connected me to my authentic self, as one on the path of a spiritual warrior, choosing the way to a deeper self-acceptance.
I discovered that effective dreamwork builds trust within the dreamer and guide. By feeling the essence of not controlling, I eventually recognized that what I called "being in control" was actually fear. Personal discovery in a safe trust filled environment, which I experienced with a dreamworker, also became for me a new model for community, freer and more satisfying than I had normally experienced in everyday life.
Transformation dream process effectively moves energy, shifts consciousness and produces a new psychic glue that holds together a greater self. These dream regeneration experiences form the basis of new patterns of inner and outer behavior, radiating a deeper level of congruence, makking vivid the connection personal and self-trust.
The CRP Journey Process and What It Has Meant In My Life
John Penkert RN, BSN
I became interested in CRP in 1993 when I heard Graywolf speak at a lecture given to nurses. I work for the Veterans' Administration as a psychiatric nurse and certified addictions counselor. I sought him out and asked if I could learn more. He was more than receptive and was developing his mentorship program at that time. I eventually asked to be part of the program. I was an active participant and helped develop the training regime. I feel I fully graduated in 1996. I was then a certified CRP Mentor. Since that time I have used CRP in my practice when I feel it is appropriate and firmly believe that it is a very workable therapy option.
This missive is not about my work but about my journeys. I first came to Graywolf for therapy. I am a recovered Heroin Addict wih a centuries old dysfunction in my familial history. I am a Gypsy and a first generation American. I have been physically and sexually abused as a child. In my 20's I was arrested 7 times in 5 years for drug related and traffic offenses. I spent much time in various therapies after I became clean in 1979. I was at a dead end, feeling that I had used up conventional psychotherapy, when I met Graywolf. What follows is a description of my journey process over the last 8 years.
My first journey was as a guinea pig at a workshop Graywolf was hosting in late 1993 or early 1994. I was unable to commit fully to the process at that time. I have such abuse issues that I have tremendous resistance to therapy. However, I was intrigued and sought out more therapy. Since that time I have taken probably 30 Journeys and all have proved beneficial. I am going to attempt to depict two.
The first I will try to characterize occurred after approximately two years of working with Graywolf on my own therapy and hosting the mentorship program. By this time I had derived some noticeable benefits from therapy and was able to fall into the journey process easily. I had a dream concerning a car trip with many strange attractors (read about the process for definition) including cars going backward, monster in the back seat, cars changing from one make to another and a snow storm. I ended up on a log landing with some unusual logging equipment among which there were two huge cables sheathed in a segmented tunnel.
As I described the dream during a journey, Graywolf (my Mentor at the time) invited me to explore the tunnel (an archetypal image). As I went inside it became a fast flowing river where I was tosed about, narrowly missing rocks and being plunged under the water while traversing rapids. Then I had a vision of one of my favorite spots on the Columbia River where I grew up and at the same time began to go deeper in the water. Finally I came to rest at the bottom of the Columbia River at a depth which felt like many fathoms. It was warm and peaceful in this spot and Graywolf invited me to stay there for a while. When I finally opened my eyes I felt very relaxed and peaceful. As the weeks passed, I noticed a marked change in the way I dealth with my clients, and how I was able to just feel love for people.
The second Journey I will describe happened approximately six months ago. I am able to go into the CRP easily now and this journey happened in about 15 minutes where often they last 1-1 1/2 hours. In most journeys I take, if I am aware of physical symptoms, it usually migrates to my lower back and feels like a steel ball in my back about the size of a softball at 12 vertebrae.
During the journey I was describing a change in a reoccurring dream about my ex-wife when I felt the ball very strongly as a great physical pain. My mentor asked me to concentrate on the ball and see if I could become it. As I did so it seemed to dissipate and I found myself floating in the sky. It was over quickly. The results I have reaped from this are that I am able to understand the futility of anger and I am motivated to work our and enjoy physical exercise.
There has not been a journey that I have taken that I have not felt benefits from and when I am able to take my clients on journeys, it is invariably beneficial. I hope this provides some insight into the advantages of CRP.
An Experiential Non-Interpretive Way into Your Dreams
Patrick Welch wrote about spiritual healers and healing for many years; he is co-author of Between Sky and Earth: Spritiual Healers of North America with Dr. Stanley Krippner by Dodd Mead & Co., NYC. He often interviewed Graywolf in the 1980s. He emphasized that Graywolf's model of Dream Healing centered around going into and then past the experience of the symbols so that we can contact the formative and limitless energies underneath the symbols.
The guided dream journey that I took had Graywolf as a guide or mentor, and my dream as the territory to be explored. My intention for the journey was that I wanted to heal a tension in my heart and chest area. Like a guide leading a person through the mountains, he suggested directions for me to take within the dream after I had recalled the dream and gone back into the experience of it.
The particular symbol that felt the most drawing to his inner guide, a long wooden rafter shaped like a snake, prompted a journey through various, linked inner spaces that ended up in a place very different from our starting point; first, I explored a feeling of crawling on the ground in the earth, then, I became a particle of dirt; next, I saw a vision of the atomic level of this particle; then I took a leap into the center of the atom, where I had the experience of watching a host of miniature men laboring; and finally, I ended by finding an orange key which I saw floating in a red mist!
Upon discovering the orange key, Graywolf suggested that I could use it if I wanted. He asked where the lock was and I said, "Around my heart." I deliberated about opening the lock hastily, and at last did. My experience was that the opened lock let loose a surge of feeling and tingling sensations in my chest which then travelled out through my arms and torso and down to my legs.
Quite literally, they key had opened the lock to a blocked part of me. I felt relieved to have the block away and stayed with this experience for a while, soaking in the feeling of release and my newfound peace. Finally, Graywolf reminded me to thank my dream self and the god Asklepios for sending me this healing dream. All of which I did very gratefully.
I learned from this experience that when someone outside you manipulates you by professing to heal your mind and/or body, that the power of your own inner healer gets handed over to that person. To be empowered, the person seeking healing needs to take an active part in the healing process.
With this awareness, Graywolf's approach to my dream journey evolved in the moment to keep pace with where I went inside with the dream symbol. Consequently, I had an active part in the healing process and basically directed the healing experience, as it was my progression of experiences that provided the pathway to my healing. The experience of finding an inner healing state is invaluable as it teaches that the healer is within, that outer healers are only representations of what's already inside.
Graywolf's practice of dream mentoring incorporates but travels beyond the work of Gestalt Therapy founder Fritz Perls. Gestalt Therapy centered on bringing wholeness to the person and actually stayed within the structure of the ego to gain a better understanding of the waking ego's concerns and patterns. Taking a journey into a dream extends the Gestalt idea of becoming the symbol by going past the symbols into the energies that are there beneath it like to the orange key that I found in my journey.
This idea of trusting and staying with the experience of the dream rather than interpreting and decoding the symbols actually began in ancient Greece. The Greeks were staunch believers in dreams as powerful healing forces of nature. The apex of their healing model was centered on the dream experience as a direct form of healing. At the Asklepian Temples, the god Asklepios himself would enter your dreams to bring you the healing that you sought.
At these temples, a Dream priest/priestess oversaw the purification rites and ceremonies to prepare you for this direct contact with the god Asklepios, through the process of dream incubation at the sanctuary. The dream priest would look within your dreams for a sign of the god. They did not interpret, as that was considered interfering with the divine work of the god. Asklepios often took the form of a snake, wolf or dog when visiting in dreams; the caduceus, the staff wrapped with two snakes, is still the symbol for the modern medical profession.
Most of us who have paid any attention to our dreams have usually begun by first interpreting the symbols. However, interpreting and analyzing a symbol can only give you a rationalized, detailed description and removed experience of the symbol, like looking at the map rather than entering a territory. Even free-associations are still another form of interpretation or amplification, leading you through the labyrinth of the ego. Interpreting limits your unconditioned experience of the expanded realms beyond.
Understandably, we do not always have healing dreams about snakes, dogs, or wolfs, but every dream offers access to a source of primal, fundamental energy, whether it be a healing space or another deep level of experience. Trusting yourself to let go of the interpretations and associations and to stay with your experience of the dream will allow you to expolore the expanded states offered by the dream will keep you in touch with your inner strength and power, which no one can take from you. Being receptive to the experiences that your dreams offer will maintain your relationship with your inner ally and healer.
Dreams give you inner doorways to energies that, when accepted and explored, give you tools for your personal transformation and healing. They can also open you to a deeper knowing of your true abilities and powers as a spiritual being. They can help you find the healer you've always been seeking, YOU!
Sharry Teague, M.A., Counselor: Over a period of a year I did several dream healing journeys that I believe have been a significant part of my spiritual path. Although these experiences took place over ten years ago I still remember one vividly. I dreamed of a woman with a bloodied face. Through the journeying process this frightening vision transformed within my body/mind. I came to a place of being in a boat holding a pole that went down through the water and into the mud below. This image was not just in my visual field. It was in my total experience of myself, and introduced me to profound depth and balance accessible to me.
Another CRP participant, a fine arts graduate, reports a Dream of Passage:
I recall only a short segment of this dream and what I recall is mostly in the form of words.
There was a Judge. He was dressed in black robes and sitting in a position, high above me. The Judge was talking about Sentencing. The Judge said, "Death is not the ultimate sentence. In this realm we all die. It's the end we all face. Life is the most difficult sentence -- learning how to be; being with other people; working through your problems and learning how to get along. That, is the hard sentence."
I awoke with a start.
A CRP trainee who is a graduate psychologist and Hypnotherapist had the following experiences to report, providing a good internal description of integrating the process work with personal reflection and inner work:
Oct. 16, 1990: I THINK THAT I MIGHT HAVE A HANDLE ON A BIT OF MY CORE PROBLEMS. It has something to do with my parents telling me that I was worthy, and could do anything, and should have anything within reason. Others believing that I was terribly spoiled and a big BRAT...worthy vs. not worthy, deserving vs. nondeserving and spoiled; that I could do anything vs. my mother taking over and doing things for me when I wasn't perfect...
Oct. 18, 1990: Had a very good session with GW. He and I both feel that a great deal of healing (I don't know how or what) took place and that now I am in the stage of spiritual growth and emergence. It is still very easy for me to slip back into old habits, patterns, responces, etc. However, it seems to be a little easier to catch myself and rebalance. The new point of balance is still strange and I'm not used to the feeling. I like it, and it feels good, but it is not as familiar as the past imbalance. I feel that I have a lot to learn emotionally, mentally, and even physically.
We worked on the CRYSTAL DREAM. I found the place in my body where the crystal belonged. It belong in my heart chakras (both), yellow end on the thymus and rose end on my heart chakra. The colors at first seemed to fade into the center, but in fact where they met seemed to cause a brilliant glow that surpassed the colors of either end. It created MY SUN...I believe that the ends represent my feminine and masculine parts and the pointt where they merge is My Sacred Marriage. I don't if that has occured yet, but, I know it will be soon if it has not already happened. I know that there still needs to be some healing of both.
Last night I did some inner work, and what I learned was some of my own internal mapping. The split between front and back is: front, feminine/soul; back, masculine/spirit; both share the throat. Palms of my hands (f)...Back of my hands (m), strange pattern around my feet, but basically the same.
Oct. 29, 1990: Tuesday I had a session and we worked on the dream about the trailers, etc. The first symbol that was highlighted was the plywood barrier (just had a flash how it might be linked to my Dad, his strength, leadership, energy, stability, fun and positive masculine qualities I remember from my youth). The barrier was a comfortable thing to be. I didn't mind not being a standing tree anymore. I went deeper into the veneer and liked that aspect even better. I was flexible, moist, and most of all wonderfully fragrant. In fact, I liked being peeled. That process allowed my essence in the form of water and essential oils to be released into the ethers. At first I was more concentrated around the mill, then I could drift anywhere at all. THANK YOU DADDY; I LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH!!! I really needed to remember that aspect of you that was very much a wonderful, positive role model, who was in touch with his own feminine side.
The next thing that was highlighted was the metal bolt(s) that supported the plywood. Dark bluish grey material, kind of short and thick, cold and manipulated. First mined from the ground, taken to a mill, melted and then POURED INTO A MOLD, AND COOLED. I didn't like that part very much. It seemed kind of OK being a bolt but it's cold, rigid but/and it helped support the plywood or even other things and that has value. The ORE aspect of the mineral was then explored, being a part of the earth. Not just one place, but all through the Earth, right to her very core. The hot molten core and then to the essence or spirit core with and throughout the earth and beyond. Feeling life and experiencing Her/our breath, moving and being moved by it and in it, with!
At our Friday training session I volunteered to work with my TRAILER DREAM. The orange milk crate was the next to be explored. The color Orange seemed to belong to my stomach or around my 2nd and 3rd chakras...The orange color wants to come to the crate and melt the plastic, it needs to come up in a spiral movement, not linear. It melts the sides easily but it takes more time to melt the top/bottom. As soon as that happens there is rush of JOY and energy, almost immediately to be quenched by a nagging, nasty voice that says, "Just how long do you think that's going to last! Your old habits are so strong that you'll just rebuild that trap/crate!" When the crate melted I became aware of some relationship between it and the tingling in my legs. In fact, I could feel that connection. I want to explore that aspect of the dream more in the future. . .Fear of energy and its movement -- that's where I go next!
[Several sessions followed where she explored feeling unloved and unloveable and her ways of protecting herself from those feelings, visited learning centers within, and explored her caesarean birth experience, a sense of her masculinity through a shadow self, and returns to the theme of her father--Ed.]
NOV. 18, 1990:
. . .I look over at the side of the pool where everyone has gathered, and I think that I see my father standing there, very strong and healthy and smiling. I stop what I'm doing and go over to the side of the pool and look up. It is him! I hear someone off to my right saying, "That's her father. He died a couple of years ago." Then they are all very quiet. I look up at my Dad, he's kneeling at the side of the pool now, and then climb out of the pool and kneel beside him and put my arms around him and just hug him. I know that he has something to tell me but the dogs start to bark and I start to loose it. The impression is that he's saying or whispering something like "Stand tall in yourself, or BE TRUE TO YOURSELF!"
Rob Kuehn is a Certified CRP Mentor, practicing in the greater Seattle Area.
He reports the following journey:
Diane has used the CRP for about the last three years to overcome such illnesses as Bipolar and Fibromyalgia, neither diease has been present for well over a year. The only medication she uses is for her high blood pressure and she is currently seeing a chiropractor and massage therapist for an injury to her neck caused by an automobile accident. Her doctors have advised her to consider a spinal fusion to repair her neck injury, but this is not an option she wants to consider. Diane continues to use the CRP to learn more about her subconscious and its self-healing powers.
Diane had been abused by her father as a young person. Until our previous session we had not discussed much about this issue. During our meeting she shared her feelings about her father and how she was bothered by his lack of remorse or responsibility for his actions. (Using the CRP it is up to the mentored to determine the areas of healing.) Towards the end of her last Dream Journey she imagined a yellow and orange flower. Through her imagination she imaged becoming the flower. What she noticed was she became pollen and floated away. The further she floated away the more at ease and emotional she became. She felt a sense of flushing or cleansing.
This sequence of events appeared to be the symbiotic connection between father and daughter, a sense of "breaking free from..." Even though it was too soon to tell, I sensed that this journey was not over just yet. For the next three weeks or so Diane found many emotions that only brought on more questions about her life. She began to see others differently. She noticed games and scripts that others used to survive or manipulate their daily lives. She began to see her own scripts and how annoyed she became with herself for using them. She recognized the part of her as the game player and the other as seeing the truth; most of all she felt the depression.
Diane returned to continue her process. She was ready to dream journey into her subconscious as she has so many times before to release that which she must set free and to find her truth.
Her dream began with a large blackness and in the center a purple spot. I encouraged her to just notice the color in the center and to focus on her out breath. She noticed that the color configuration appeared to be that of the Mandelbrot set fractal. She imaged herself in the center of the purple and that the purple was all around her. I asked if the purple had any substance? She noticed the substance was warm flowing purple water. "Can you flow with the water?"
"Yes, I am the water, and as I flow I feel as if I am being reshaped, pulled and stretched."
After a while, I asked again, "what do you notice?"
"I am spinning back and forth as if I was in a washing machine; I still feel as if I am being pulled and stretched in different directions and I'm getting quite warm, even hot. I also notice other shapes around me but I'm not drawn to them." After the oscillation had stopped she reported she was in a place where everything was still, but noticed something was watching her.
"How does that make you feel?"
"Fine; it's not threatening." I told her to trust her out breath here and just notice. "It's an owl and it's just watching; I'm being pulled into darkness...very fast. I'm spinning like I am being pulled into a big funnel. The faster I spin, I notice other objects going in the opposite direction."
The way she described these events, it was as if she was traveling through a Black Hole and/or a vortex in space. This also is the description of a fractal set called a "Predator-Prey Interaction." Could this be the blue print of her dis-ease?
During this experience she continued to report a sensation of being stretched or pulled in different directions. This really seemed to be a reflection of the conflict of her daily life buried in her subconscious. She also reported she felt she must go in the opposite direction of the other objects because it felt like the right thing to do. This too was a reflection of what she was feeling toward other people in her life, no longer wanting to use her scripts to determine her reality. Another thing that I noticed was each time she would change from one place or motion, her eyes would roll back in her head and there appeared to be some sort of intense physical experience happening.
After she finished her spinning through the "funnel," she found herself in a place of emptiness. The place way dry and warm. She told me she felt like this was a place to "give up." I was confused by her desire to give up, never had she reached this level of her being and wanted to quit.
"What do you notice about this desire to give up? Does it have a sense of emptiness to it?"
"Yes, it is deep within me and I don't care about anything, most of all about myself." Because of our co-consciousness I asked if there was a sense of despair.
"Yes...really deep sense of despair." I encouraged her to trust her our breath and give into this sense of despair to "become it." Some time had passed and I noticed her face began to change; there appeared to be a struggle. "What do you notice?" I inquired.
"There is a thick heavy green blanket being wrapped around me. I feel the heaviness around my shoulders and through my chest. It feels like I am being wrapped in despair." I encouraged her to trust her out breath and to just notice her process.
She began to notice that the blanket was beginning to become a hard shell. I sensed that this was an old shell and after a few minutes she replied, "older than I am." She began to notice a conflict. She found herself trying to free herself by breaking out of this shell, but it didn't feel natural and she believed this was the source of her conflict. I asked her where it did feel natural. Was it to just stay inside the shell?
"Yes." I asked if she could stay there. Quietly she replied, "Yes." She continued to relax and let things happen and soon reported that the shell was falling apart. After a few more minutes her face began to relax, color returned to her face and she said it was time to leave the shell that had fallen all around her in the form of ash. "When you leave do you think you should pay homage to it?" With a wide smile she said that would be important to her. A slight giggle and she said it was time to move on...time to move forward. Diane began to notice warmth and sense of weight being removed. She felt a newness flow through her.
When Diane opened her eyes, she said she was incredibly dizzy and felt like she was still spinning through the top of her head. She (without thinking) turned her head from side to side and moved her head back and forth from shoulder to shoulder. "I haven't been able to do that since the car accident."
We both thought this dream was an extension of the last. An unhealthy bond between her and her father, a passing of his heart disease and depression on to her. As this goes to print, it is not yet known what gift this dream has for her. She is sleeping long periods of time, which may indicate that the physical body is in a process of transformation...healing. One interesting thing is, she has noticed there is an Owl living in her backyard that was not there before her journey. Do you think this owl is just keeping an eye on things?
Tatyana's Dream of Passage
by Graywolf Swinney, c2000
Tatyana has been my assistant, companion, secretary, and many other compliments to me for many years. She passed away Saturday, November 18th, from an aggressive brain tumor. In the final weeks her deterioration was rapid. She was unable to find the simplest words to communicate her thoughts and desires, and the pain in her head was intense and crippling. But we were still very close and she was still able to dream and share them with me.
In the mornings she usually awoke with some energy and being hungry would head down to the kitchen to eat. Her appetite remained good, and it was a hopeful sign. We were working for a spontaneous remission through Dream Journeys and the Consciousness Restructuring Process and other natural treatments.
Tatyana was, after a lifetime of emotional and physical pain, finally at ease and happy with her life and wanted very much to live it. She had prepared for death through the previous three years while fighting this cancer as a rectal tumor. At the last minute of that battle, she decided that at any cost she wanted to live and finally agreed to a surgery that removed the tumor. She was, we all hoped, given a new lease on life.
It was unfortunately a short lease. Three months after the surgery she experienced a seizure and was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, which had apparently spread from the original cancer and lodged in her brain. It was a blow to all of us, but she (we) remained hopeful and she was more than ever determined to survive. In fact, on the whole her spirits were excellent. She told me that the land and her life were incredibly beautiful and at last she had found her home, and peace. She wasn't ready to give it up!
In many of the healing traditions I have studied, including Shamanic work and the ancient Asklepian Dream Healing, death is also seen as a means of healing. According to this latter traditions, the healing God-mortal Asklepios carried two vials. When the contents of the vial in the right hand were used, it would bring about remission of the symptoms. The vial in his left brought healing through death. One of a Shaman's most sacred duties is to face death and accompany one on the journey through the valley of the shadow of death. So we prepared for whatever outcome occurred.
On a twenty-four hour medical watch, I arose each morning when I heard her up and foraging in the kitchen, and met her there. It was the place where we met every morning for many years to check in with each other and share whatever dreams we remembered.
Three weeks before her passing, in our morning check in, she shared with me a very meaningful dream.
In her dream she is walking through the forest and comes to a circular clearing. In the clearing are six women all robed in shining white gowns and dancing in a circle. She hangs back, but soon is seen by the women and is invited to participate in the dance. She is embraced by each of them and feels welcomed and warm as she joins the circle of women in their dance.
This was not a dream for interpretation or analysis, although many suggested themselves. The dream itself provided a wealth of valuable experience for her. I didn't even consider a Dream Journey. It was a dream that in and of itself a complete and whole experience. I merely reminded her that she was all parts of the dream and invited her to explore the sensations and experience of becoming the circle of women in the white robes.
As she did so, a look of calmness and peace came over her. Throughout her body and mind she reported sensations of lightness, purity and cleanliness in the whiteness of the robes, and a sense of balance, and completeness as she joined in the circle of the dance. There was a flow and the rhythms and movements came naturally and brought a great sense of harmony and fulfillment. She had a smile on her face as she recounted these experiences for me and we were both uplifted by the experience.
From which vial had she drunk with this dream? Was it the release of death and the passing; or was it the experience that would nourish her body, cells and nervous system to give them the experience and means to shrink the tumor? I did not know nor could I guess. It was not a matter of mind but of her Spirit.
During the next three weeks her condition began to rapidly deteriorate. This did not discourage us because spontaneous remissions usually occur at the eleventh hour, often when all seems hopeless. We still did not give up our prayers and hope, but the dream had prepared us for either outcome.
On the Saturday morning she died, she did not ever fully wake up. She became aware enough for a brief period to indicate that she was willing to go into the emergency room to get a reading on what was happening, and then she appeared to go to sleep again. She remained asleep for the entire day. We learned at the emergency room that it was a coma, and that she could remain in it for days or weeks, or she could pass at any moment.
I whispered several things into her ear in my last communication and kept her dream in my heart as I was doing so. We were in co-consciousness in that moment, and I know she felt the dream too. I may even have told her to remember it. I think I did, but it doesn't matter because the dream was hers and it was there to guide her to whatever outcome was best for her. It was her dream; it was a gift from her spirit.
Three hours later she passed on. Her face was relaxed and unlined. She just sighed and stopped breathing. There were no pain wrinkles on her face and her mouth was slightly opened. Her passing had been mercifully free and easy for her. She got to stay on the land she had dearly loved as her sanctuary for as long as possible. She deserved the ease of this passing. I can't help but think that the dream carried her with it. Was her "dream" now her reality? Was the outer experience the "dream" from which she woke into the reality of the everlasting dance of evolution?
Her consciousness patterns live on and we will see each other in our dreams. She lives on in my dreams and those of many others; even if they did not know her in life. That is the way of dreams. Watch for her! You'll sense her archetypal presence as a gentle spirit full of love and support.
Dreams are so much more than just a story line or symbols. They are a completely altered state of dynamic consciousness in which all is possible. They are another perception of our lives, ourselves and our deaths. They serve us in many ways, not the least of which is to guide us through our important life transitions. They transcend time and space.
They help us to prepare for death. They can show us the passage and also help in the last days with their wisdom and experiences. They can connect us even after death. Tatyana's dream helped me to accept and come to peace with her passing. It provided a myth or archetype that helps me to flow through my personal grief to the celebration of her release from her pains in this life. I know that she's okay because I experienced with her the vision of her passage, and her welcome into the dance of the elders creating with everlasting and ongoing evolution. I experienced her purity and excitement as she joined this dance.
In her memory I am establishing the "Tatyana Midori Scholarship" at the Institute for Applied Consciousness Science. It will pay tuition for one full year of mentorship training for a selected individual each year. She would like that.
Tatyana, may your journey on into the "great mystery" be one of balance and harmony. You will be remembered, loved and honored and will live on in my dreams.
CASE STUDIES IN CREATIVITY
Some split between the inner world and the outer world is common to all human beings; and the need to bridge the gap is the source of creative endeavor.
(The creative process) is the emergence in action of a novel relational product, growing out of the uniqueness of the individual on the one hand, and the materials, events, people, or circumstances of his life on the other.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Creativity may be conceived of as an exercise of the configurative powers of the whole psyche, involving all its substances, the play of its entire energy.
Nature is constantly unfolding new forms, in the tangible physical world, and in the imaginal world of the psyche. Dreamhealing means navigating the ever-flowing river of imagery which wells up within us all.
Of course, the best way to learn dreamhealing is through apprenticeship. But to provide some guidance and to demonstrate the scope of the method, we have included several of Graywolf's sessions with various clients.
These journeys show the different depths of working. Some are entered through the drumming, others use dream doorways, symptoms, or feelings for entree. Each seems to focus around a specific issue. Comment is included for some sessions, while others simply speak for themselves.
Within these transcripts you will find many of the signposts of dreamhealing theory, such as colors, chakras, the four elements, snakes, and other symbolism. They are common enough to appear in this random sample of issue-oriented sessions.
RELATIONSHIP TIDAL WAVE
In this session a young woman, who has been separated from her alchoholic husband for some time, recounts a dream which comes up when her divorce proceeding go to court. During the session she re-owns her projected ANIMUS (inner male) and finds new power in her center. Graywolf's comments are ALL CAPS, while her responses are lower case.
WHEN YOU ARE READY TO LET THE DREAM COME IN, JUST ALLOW IT TO ENTER INTO YOUR MIND...THE IMAGES...FEELINGS...AND SENSATIONS. THEN, WHEN YOU ARE IN THE PLACE WHERE YOU ARE READY TO SHARE THE DREAM, DO IT...BUT TAKE YOUR TIME.
I can see John lying on the couch...all I can see is the couch and him. And he's pretty drunk...he can't sit up. I wish he'd just pass out...
BE THIS DRUNKEN MALE...BE THAT BODY...BECOME...AND AS YOU BECOME, SHARE...[she describes her state of consicousness ending with the word "toxic"]...THAT IS A VISCERAL SENSATION...THAT TOXICITY. FOCUS ON THAT NOW. WHAT COLOR IS IT? WHAT SHAPE IS IT? WHAT CONSISTENCY DOES IT HAVE?
It's a yellowish-green, sort of like a blob...sort of frozen. WHAT KIND OF BLOB? IN YOUR IMAGINATION, NOW, BECOME THIS BLOB...THIS YELLOWISH-GREEN BLOB. EXPERIENCE YOURSELF...AND WHEN YOU ARE READY...SHARE WITH ME WHAT THAT EXPERIENCE IS LIKE. [She gives an obviously mentalized description so the therapist urges letting go and she becomes "blue-green"]. SO YOU'RE FEELING THE POTENTIAL OF THE ENERGY? LET GO OF MIND AND INTERPRETATIONS...AND JUST FEEL THE ENERGY AS ENERGY. JUST NOTICE HOW YOU FEEL NOW.
There's a huge, huge tidal wave...STAY WITH IT...STAY WITH THE ENERGY...There's things floating in it, obstructions...there's a lot of power in it...WHERE DOES THAT CARRY YOU? STAY WITH THAT AND TELL ME WHAT YOU NOTICE...Down at the bottom are little things that swim through it, small particles at the mercy of the tide...little things...(AT THIS POINT WE DON'T KNOW IF SHE WILL REGRESS INTO THE HELPLESSNESS OF CHILDHOOD OR DISCOVER SOMETHING NEW).
BRING ONE INTO YOUR MIND NOW...BECOME ONE OF THOSE REALLY TINY THINGS...They're like little pieces of grass, and... BECOME ONE...It's really pleasant--the force--swimming...I AM...I am...FEEL THAT...I am absorbed by the tidal force, it's like a spiral. I DON'T KNOW QUITE HOW TO SAY THIS, BUT BECOME BOTH THE STUFF FLOATING IN THE BOTTOM OF THE TIDAL WAVE AND THE WAVE...THAT RELATIONSHIP...BECOME THAT VISCERALLY. It's very physical...GIVE IN TO THAT PROCESS AND EXPERIENCE IT...JUST NOTICE, AND REPORT WHEN YOU WANT...[long pause].
I see a shiny black thing...its like an opeing I can go into...it opens into another place..and it seems to open into forever...JUST FEEL...THE SENSATIONS...THE VISCERAL THINGS...WHAT IT'S LIKE IN THERE...[pause]. STAY WITH IT AS LONG AS YOU WANT...WHEN YOU'RE READY TO BRING IT BACK JUST TAKE TWO OR THREE DEEP BREATHS...DON'T HURRY...TAKE YOUR TIME...
It feels like everything is in there [she indicates her abdomen, her power chakra]. THIS IS ABOUT EXPRESSING FEAR...Its like some huge ocean..in there...like in Journey to Center of the Earth, when there is that giant ocean...with power....
AND THERE IS A SENSE OF MALENESS IN THERE WITH THAT, TOO?...Yes...BE AWARE THAT YOU FOUND THAT POWER IN THE PART OF YOURSELF WHICH YOU GAVE THE SYMBOL OF BEING A DRUNK EX-HUSBAND...Rejecting maleness?...UH-HUH! OUT-OF-CONTROL MALENESS...SCARY, LIKE THE TIDE. FROM THE OUTSIDE, IT LOOKED TERRIBLE, BUT WHEN YOU WENT INSIDE, YOU FOUND SOMETHING. I WOULD SAY THAT SOMETHING ON THE SURFACE, YOUR PERSONALITY AND YOUR EGO, KEEPS YOU FROM THIS PLACE. IT IS AS CLOSE TO BEING ABLE TO FOCUS ON IT. IT IS ALREADY IN THERE, IT IS YOU...IT IS A STATE OF YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS.
I CAN'T TAKE YOU ANY PLACE THAT ISN'T IN YOU ALREADY. YOU'D BEEN SCARED OFF BY THIS POWER WHICH WAS HIDING BEHIND THIS IMAGE OF A DRUNKEN MAN. That's right. Now my whole body breathes with it. Being in the blob was not a pleasant thing...later it felt good, but I didn't see colors at that time. It became pleasant when I became the tidal wave. The pain turned into pleasure. THAT IS CHARACTERISTIC OF THE DREAM JOURNEY. YOU HAVE TO GO INTO THE PAIN, FEAR, OR DISTRUST TO FIND THE POWER.
We are a really a powerful form of energy which takes on the form of a mind and body. That form is based on the kinds of experience this life energy encounters, and it stores that experience in the form of images. Essentially that is the essence of this work, to go to those images, and change or transform those images, to make the energy available for us. In this case, the toxicity was where the energy was being held.
As we hit traumatic experiences in childhood, they rob us of some of our power, manifesting as defenses which just keep us from getting there. In the image itself is where all the stuff is stored. The purpose of the work is to get to that image. For this client, this was tied up in the image of the drunken man. Within that was this image of toxicity or poison. The poison had the shape, the essence of an unpleasant green color. What that yellow-green told me was that it has to do with love expression and power expression.
That fits in with the fact it was expressed as a male power-figure she was once intimate with. That is an image she had carried around in her. She chose to express it that day as a sort of blue-green, which when she became it, gave her access to the tidal power.
Those images that we store need to be transformed, because when we restructure the images, our personality and body take on the actual new shape of these images. Change the image and you change the attitudes associated with it. If you only understand it intellectually, it just changes the defense systems. We go deeper into the image, into CHAOS, and shake it loose. That brings catharsis.
This client ("Ed") was seeing me every second or third week. Prior to this session about a month had gone by, due to travel on their part. When he arrived, Ed was aware of being extremely tense, very stressed, to the point where it was bothering him quite badly. He had a large number of dreams since the last time I saw him. But two of them stuck out in his mind very clearly. They were both essentially dreams of global destruction.
There were common features to the dreams, on the surface at least. In both dreams during the global destruction, he was in a city, one time Portland, the other in the Berkeley-Oakland area. There was a divine or religious aspect to the dreams. In both dreams he was in contact with divinity, with God, in his mind. I suppose you could consider it a "Noah archetype," a profound piece of personal mythology. It was up to him to try and save people and help people through it. But he did not have any information about how to do that.
As for the difference, in the Portland dream, the destruction was by means of nuclear attack. The most interesting feature of this dream turned out to be a sense of "a dry, gritty dustiness." That becomes important because it existed in the other dream, except at a different level--that same sense. In the second dream, the Berkeley dream, Armageddon was going to happen by means of an earthquake.
One feature struck me most and became the symbol I chose to go with. He said that all of the buildings were made out of a limestone or sandstone. There was a sort of color to them, an opalescent, sort-of pearl color. When I asked him to become that limestone and that color, he said it had a timeless feeling about it.
But it was not a particularly good feeling. In a sense it was one that made him feel "almost nauseous." At the same time he felt shifting throughout his body. He could feel muscles shifting from the tip of his toes, right into his neck, but it did not seem to include his head. As he stayed with the image, he bacame aware that the opalescence had a grittiness to it, a gritty feel after the timeless feel, then the nausea.
Of course, I had him become the energy of the nausea, which was a black, black hole. In the middle of this hole was, I think, a very bright yellow. I just had him move towards the hole. As he got closer and closer to this hole, he felt an increase in energy until it just sucked him right in.
When he was in there, deep in this, I asked him what he was aware of. He replied something about a checkerboard pattern surrounding him. A checkboard band, that was slowly rotating around him. He said it was alternately black, red, and green, or yellow-green in color.
I asked him to become that pattern and then become that rotating. Firstly he was aware of the interplay, almost the dance of the black, the red, and the green. The second thing he was aware of was that in the essence of experiencing that image, he became a spiral--yet not really a spiral--more of a HELIX.
Rather than the normal kind of spiral I usually encounter in this kind of work, it was a very slow moving, a very deliberate motion. It was not really circling, because it never came back to the same place. It was a spiral and it never tightened in on itself. It was just that--a spiral. I had him experience the dance of black, green-yellow, and red.
I had the sense that essentially we were looking at an experience of self at the molecular and genetic level. In my mind, the black is associated with the carbon atoms, the red is associated with the hydrogen atoms, and the green with the oxygen atom. They are essentially the building blocks of life. The way they dance in a spiral is the basic genetic pattern.
I think the dreamer was experiencing a sense of his genetic self, a sense even of his atomic self. There is, of course, no way to prove this allegation. However, in the dream journey he could really identify with the notion. He did admit that confirmation of his subjective awareness was reassuring during the dream journey. He had actually perceived it that way to begin with. But when he came back, the rational mind said, "no way."
All that eventually gave way to a pure green. The only words that described it were "primordial ooze." And he just stayed there, and this is as far as the journey went. I kept him there. He came back out feeling much better than when he arrived. For me the interpretation usually comes after the journey, and even then it is far from complete. But I put together from that journey that he came with a really heavy discomfort and distress. Somehow it appeared in his dreams which are probably the true, underlying cause of the stress--this sense of Armageddon, a sense of global cataclysm.
He has expressed this many times, both verbally in sessions and in social situations. He always feels pressed for time, even though his life is not scheduled to clock time. He feels like there is not enough time for him to deal with all of it, and to help keep it from happening. Of course, he takes this all on as a very personal responsibility, and of course, it is quite stressful. He seemed to drop some of that sense of pressure through this journey.
What struck me was the perfectness of the image for paradoxical healing. One of the things I mentioned to him was that perhaps he was touching a timeless part of himself, touching the part of his creation where inanimate matter such as carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen came together in a primordial ooze to form the basic building block or genetic structure that all of us have as part of our evolutionary heritage. Each one of us has parts of those original life molecules that first formed into that primordial ooze and DNA spiral, which gave rise to "Adam," or life as we known it.
In essence, that is what he most needed to touch. That part has always survived. That part of the self has survived all the cataclysms of the world--the death of the dinosaurs, cataclysms of the ocean--life has survived, though not necessarily in the same species form. To touch that part of oneself, to actually experience oneself at that level of awareness has to be a very empowering thing. For me, it takes the sting out of the prospect of the species not surviving as a race, which is something we all have to face as a potential future reality.
POWER VS. STRENGTH
This dream journey deals with one man's issue surrounding the distinction between power and strength. As a lifelong weightlifter, he had spent much time in the pursuit and exercise of his strength.
In the dream, he was talking to a friend on a two way radio. The friend was flying in an airplane with his wife. They were in fog, and they were not instrument-rated. Their instruments were not working anyway. They were going to crash...
In the dream, the client's main frustration revolved around talking to someone who was about to die, and there was nothing he could do about it. [He is a private investigator in real life, with a specialty in investigating mitigating circumstances for those accused of capital crimes]. He felt impotent, so I had him go into the feeling of being totally impotent. He's a big, tough, macho guy. Psychologically, a lot of that is compensation for feeling impotent.
As I had him go into it, he expressed feeling really uncomfortable. I asked what color it was, and it was white. So I said, "let's focus on the white. What do you see, and what do you notice about the white?" He said, "Well, it is taking the form of a ram's head..."
He noticed at the beginning of the journey that the whole feeling of impotence was through his neck and shoulders, which is where he has most of his physical problems, like rheumatism. And theimpotence was like a shaking, a trembling.
When I had him go into the white, he saw the ram's head. I said, "What is the ram doing now." He said, "It's tearing my skin off. It is exposing the muscles over my right chest. Interesting, it's changing now into a horse, and the funny thing is it doesn't really feel bad. The horse is pulling the muscles away. He is stripping the muscles off the bone."
I said, "Become the whole system that is the muscles and horse all together." He replied, "Actually, it feels good. It feels like being freed or something. It feels like the lifting of a load." I suggested, "Really be the horse now, and just experience what you notice."
One of his complaints is the problem caused in nearly all of his joints from weightlifting. He said, "As the horses I can feel mostly the hooves, pounding on the earth, which is hard and solid. And it feels like it's fluid power. [This is an approximation of what was said]. It is shaking the muscles, and it feels really good." I invited him to be with that for a while, to experience really "being the horse."
Well, he was silent for nearly half an hour on his experiential journey. When he came back, he expressed how phenomenal this journey was for him. He met this other horse, a brown horse which he nuzzled. They felt like old friends. Perhaps this indicates meeting someone, previously known or unknown, yet like this brown horse. It probably suggests he is becoming ready for a really good relationship. This has been one focus of his work.
As the horse, he just felt free and fluid and powerful. He also encountered a bear. In his last session, during his journey he had found a really intense yellow color, focused in the midsection area. This journey also revolved around the distinction between power and strength. This image was for power. The bear in the following vision had a golden yellow chest. He may choose to explore that in the future. As the horse he encountered that, but he didn't want to be that. He wanted to stay as the horse.
I think he has found a totem for himself now. He like it. He relates to it. He feels good with it, comfortable with it. It is freeing for him; he is free with it. I asked him how he could bring this horse into his everyday life. One of the things he can do in situations is to ask, "What would the horse do? As the horse what would I do?"
Instead of being his normal confrontative self and irritating others, he imagined that the horse might shy away. He commented, "There is no dishonor in that." This is not the old person speaking. He noticed having two voices inside for some time. One was saying, "F--- them, go get 'em," and the other saying, "Take it easy, be calm." He concluded, "that other voice is my horse, and I just have not been listening to it--but I think I'm going to now." His other voice seems to have lost a lot of power.
[Chiron was the mythic centaur, half man/half horse, who was teacher and adoptive parent of Asklepios. This horse taught him the healing arts]
I learned about the difference between strength and power as an engineer. When engineers talk about strength, essentially what they are talking about is the relative strength of materials, a system, or an object. What force does it take to break it? Really that is the measure of strength, the measure of its resistence to breakage. It is a form of rigidity. When engineers talk about power, they are talking about a fluid ability to do something. Power is energy that is put to useful work, rather than tightening up in order to resist breakage. To me that is really profound.
Some people spend all their time trying to be strong, in the engineering sense. By trying to be strong they end up tightening themselves and defending themselves to prevent breakage. They tie up all of their power in this strength, rather than letting it flow. You can't really hurt power. It flows, it is fluid, it moves around just like water. To me, that is the difference, and it is a big one.
In a prior session with this client, strength was represented as a frightening whirlpool, sucking him down, while strength was more of a golden spiral and sphere. He ended up in a place of golden light, centered in the solar plexus chakra. The same analogy came up in this dream journey as the horse. He perceived the stripping away of the muscles as the stripping away of the armor, the strength. He had worked on building those muscles and that armor for a very long time, investing lots of emotional as well as physical energy in holding up/back the flow of his true power. It became a process of letting go, trading in armor for true power.
AN EXAMPLE OF PROCESSING SYMPTOMS
The dreamhealing process can also be applied for giving physical symptoms a voice. Rather than beginning with a dream image, you may begin a journey from a feeling of discomfort, or an actual physical ailment. Sometimes clients will not come with a dream ready for processing, but they can still generally find some area of either chronic or acute dis-ease.
One client presented a physical problem for processing which involved long-standing lower back pain. Her chronic backache comes and goes, and is sometimes stress related, but also come on without stress. It began really intensifying and became noticeable during her first (and only) pregnancy. It has become much worse since then over the ensuing four or five years.
As I continued asking questions, we went a little bit further in regard to her general health. It turned out that she also gets these canker sores in her mouth, and they are very painful, too. I noted that mentally, and kept asking her almost medical-type questions, as well as psychological questions. This was not because I needed most of that information, but, as she noticed, I was "just fishing." That is one way my intuition works. I ask informational questions because I was trained in more conventional psychotherapy to be scientific in the interview. However, I mostly use it as a "ground" for my intuition.
During one of the questions she indicated an urge or desire for stretching. She felt like she needed to stretch. It seemed both physical and metaphorical. Right away I suggested she move deeper into that desire for stretching, and she spoke of feeling really confined, and so on.
In the next stage of her journey there was an image of whirling, of spinning, and that led to an image of a canker feeling in her jaw. As she moved into that image, she said it was like the feeling of a dentist drilling through the dense tooth. I had her stay with it long enough to drill right through the tooth and into the gum. The hardness of the tooth made a sharp contrast with the softness of the gum.
At that point the image transformed into a totally different image of a very, very tiny dark black hole, which suggested an image of the canker sores. That image actually became a black hole, in physics terminology. She had the experience of entering into a black hole. I said, "Enjoy this new reality, this new universe you are in which conforms with a physics theory. It is a connection between alternative universes."
She went into this black hole which was a total absence of all things, and the blackest black she has ever seen or experienced. One kind of black is a nothingness, but there is a black so deep that it pulls everything into it. That was her subjective description of the experience. As she went into that black, there was a feeling of totality, completeness, and depth within it. She felt power as she became that black hole.
When she came back from her journey several things happened. First, her back problem had eased. Her back had been really sore, but upon return she barely felt any twinges. Being in the blackness, for her, was like velvet. She said, "I feel like velvet!" It was very sensual, one of the most sensuous experiences of her life. It involved such total physical stimulation, this wrapping of velvet, being that velvet. Such total receptivity is a very sensual thing. Stimulation-wise, all receptors were open and responsive.
That led to the thought that THIS WAS HER FEMININE SIDE, her feminine self, that total receptivity. A black hole may be seen as part of the feminine expression of the universe, as is infinite space. In ancient Egypt, this energy was known as the goddess Nuit. That journey put together the hole in her gum, the canker sore, with the back pain. She then saw the relationship.
For most of her life, she had put away her femininity, and behavedin a masculine manner. She began armouring early in her life. When she had her baby, she could not ignore her femininity on a very deep level, and that is when the back problem exacerbated. It brought forth the dis-ease. Even though her chiropractor told her it was a genetic deformity, it never was a problem until them.
She came up with her own unique healing which we never could have consciously come up with for lower back problems. In this journey, she experienced her femininity deeply. She decided she wanted to go home and really do something to ground the experience. She did not want to paint it, since it was not that visual type of imagery. We agreed she could just spend time meditating, and being there in that space. Being is feminine, while doing has a more masculine quality.
CONCEPTION DREAM JOURNEY
This healing took place over a two-day period during our annual gathering on CHAOS AND CONSCIOUSNESS. This is a mature, cosmopolitan woman, with a beautiful poetic spirit. She recounted her dream the morning after her arrival.
I go into a bedroom where Jeannie Eagle is sitting on a large bed in a flowing white dress. Her dark locks of hair fall around her shoulders, and the contrast is like a photo negative of Mt. Shasta. I go forward and lightly kiss Jeannie on her forehead. There is a shadowy presence in the room that I take to be Graywolf.
Graywolf initiated the process. JUST LIE DOWN AND GET COMFORTABLE...START BY JUST BREATHING...RELAX AND ENTER YOUR DREAM...RE-EXPERIENCE YOUR DREAM...AND THEN WHEN YOU'RE READY, WALK ME THROUGH THE DREAM WITH YOU.
I'm approaching the bed...slowly, not cautiosly...just very confidently...I'm seeing a person sitting on the bed [a woman]...I'm experiencing contrasts...the pristine whiteness of the clothing, and the very somber, dark and black hair...I'm feeling...ahhhh, the edges of the white and the edges of the black meeting, kind of jagged...
JUST GIVE OVER TO THAT SENSATION OF JAGGED MEETING PLACES NOW...JUST EXPERIENCING...AND TELL ME WHAT YOU NOTICE...I'm coming to where they...ah...possibility of interchange...the black becomes white and the white becomes black. JUST EXPERIENCE THAT...BE THAT...FEEL THAT AS YOU BECOME THAT AND GO THROUGH THAT...FEEL IT VISCERALLY...WHERE DO YOU NOTICE THAT IN YOUR BODY? In my stomach, here. BRING YOUR ATTENTION TO THAT SENSATION OR FEELING...DOES IT HAVE A SHAPE?...ANY DISTINGUISHING THINGS YOU NOTICE ABOUT IT?
It's like it comes and it goes...The black is blacked and the white is frozen...JUST GIVE OVER TO THAT NOTION...THAT THOUGHT...LET GO NOW OF ANY OTHER SENSE OF SELF YOU HAVE...AND JUST BECOME THAT FLOW...FEEL YOUR SIDES...YOUR LEFT SIDE, YOUR RIGHT SIDE...JUST FEEL THE FLOW NOW...BECOME NOTHING BUT THAT KIND OF MOTION...
The black side's getting very violent like dark waves lashing...its like shark's fins, the jagged part. GIVE IN TO THAT BLACKNESS, THE SHARKNESS, THE ANGRYNESS...BECOME IT...LET GO OF THE REST NOW AND JUST BECOME THE BLACK...THE SHARKNESS...Feels like a sword...darksword...FEEL YOUR ESSENCE...BECOME IT NOW...TRUST YOUR IMAGINATION. I press into soft flesh...BREATHE DEEP...IS THAT IN YOUR STOMACH, TOO? It's in my legs, in my thighs...GIVE OVER TO THAT...FEEL IT NOW...STAY WITH IT...I'LL GO WITH YOU INTO THE PAIN...COME WITH ME INTO THE PAIN.
It feels like penetration...OK...JUST EXPERIENCE THAT NOW...It's very painful...STAY WITH IT...I feel I'll cry...IT'S OK...It's myyyy...JUST FEEL...DEEPER, DEEPER...FEEL...WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW? I'm feeling like there's a knight with armor on...it's black...all of its black...BECOME THAT...BECOME HIM...COME INTO YOUR SHADOW WITH ME...STAY WITH IT...WITH ME...IT'S OK, I'M WITH YOU...STAY WITH IT. Hmm...I'm seeing a lot of yellow flames; its like I want to jump in...DO IT!...I walk in and its just like red coals (YEAH) and I feel like a devil dancing on them...FEEL THAT ENERGY...FEEL YOUR HEAT...Horns!...I'm all red, and...STAY WITH IT.
WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW? It's all turning into ashes and turning into snow!...it's a lot cooler...FEEL THAT...it's very soft to touch...Hhhmmmm...I'm going into the ground like a seed...FEEL IT NOW....JUST FEEL IT VISCERALLY...hmmmm, roots...going down...deeper...DEEPER....deeper...ALL THE WAY NOW, WITH THEM...AND BECOME THE ROOTS...
I'm finding gold down under the earth...it's some kind of light...BECOME THAT LIGHT NOW...MOVE OVER TO IT...LET GO OF BODY, LET GO OF FORM...BECOME THE LIGHT...DEEP, DEEP LIGHT...It's all like a ball, very white, and all around is the darkness...like a void...and the lower I get, the lower it goes, and I can't quite reach it...but I'm trying...JUST STAY WITH WHERE YOU'RE AT...EXPERIENCE THE VOID...BECOME THE VOID...LOOK IN NOW...BECOME THE VOID...FEEL YOURSELF AS THE VOID...WHAT YOU'RE EXPERIENCING...[she breathes very deeply]...SHARE WITH ME...
Ah...I was there...I think I thought that if I breathed it would go away, but it's still there, and I could breath and it's still there...WHERE ARE YOU?...I'm like in a...ah, a quarry hole all filled with water and the sun shifts down it, and I'm inside it and I don't need to breath, and I'm just like part of that water, and at the same time, its like air...it has a lot of little motes...motes...STAY WITH THAT...JUST ACCEPT THAT...FEEL...THIS IS ONE OF THE GIFTS OF THE DREAM TO YOU...IT'S A HEALING PLACE FOR YOU...
MY THOUGHT IS THAT THERE IS A SENSATION OF TINGLING WITH THIS...yes!...JUST ALLOW THAT TO BE...LET THAT WORK ON YOU...THAT'S THE HEALING...IT COMES FROM WITHIN. Wow!!!...hmm,hmmmm that was the primal energy! Oh, I can feel it in my whole body as I said that, all the way up my legs! I can feel my whole body tingling!!!
THAT'S THE HEALING...JUST STAY WITH IT NOW...Hmmmm....STAY WITH IT, AND FEEL IT AS LONG AS YOU NEED...WHEN YOU ARE READY TO COME BACK, BRING THE HEALING WITH YOU...AND ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS JUST TAKE THREE DEEP BREATHS AND LET YOUR EYES OPEN...BUT DON'T COME BACK UNTIL YOU'RE READY...WHEN YOU DO COME BACK JUST COME BACK TO THE SURFACE OF THE DREAM, AND I WILL MEET YOU THERE BECAUSE THERE IS ANOTHER PLACE I'D LIKE TO TAKE YOU.
I feel like a very fuzzy caterpillar...MMM-UHUH....that's eaten a lot...it's so fat and it's soft....hmmmmm. ARE YOU READY TO GO BACK UP TO THE SURFACE OF THE DREAM NOW?...hmmm...Uhuh. THERE'S A PRESENCE IN THAT DREAM...A GUIDE...DO YOU FEEL IT? I'm seeing all of her now...a woman like a fairy with butterfly wings. DO YOU FEEL THEM ON YOUR OWN SHOULDERS?...Yeah, Ok, Ok, uhuh...they're sprouting...irridescent wings! OK...STAY THERE...those wings, its like the same irridescence as those motesMOTES [spoken simultaneously]. [NOTE: in Greek, PSYCHE means butterfly]
GO JUST A LITTLE BIT DEEPER NOW...AND FEEL THE ENERGY THAT YOU RADIATE...THESE COLORS...Uhuh...what's in my mind is that passing over the clouds over the mountains coming into Medford there is a double circular rainbow around the shadow of the plane...below. The shadow of the plane is in the exact middle always, and I'm sitting right beyond the wing, and I'm looking down and seeing this rainbow...and it's now like I'm in the center of that rainbow...mmmm-huh...two rainbows...I see all these colors over here. JUST LET THEM ENTER YOU...FEEL THEM...FEEL THE CENTER...I'm the center spot...MAY I TOUCH YOU?...Yeah...[touches heart center].............[long pause]........[eyes open]...WELCOME BACK!
Now I'm feeling...oh, I'm feeling like integrating the feeling of the movement of the plane and all those vibrations...and at the same time the rainbows and the shadow of the plane are constant. That's what I'm feeling. I'm feeling like there is a constancy in the movement, you see? UHUH...It can't be but it is...THAT'S A GOOD LESSON, ISN'T IT? Yeah, yeah...yeah....THERE IS WISDOM THERE, YOU'VE TOUCHED SOME WISDOM THERE...Yeah, I'm a very wise person...YOU BET...Oh wow!
THE STRUCTURE IS THE ILLUSION; IT'S THE MOVEMENT THAT IS THE REALITY. THE STRUCTURE OF THE PLANE, THE THINGS WE THINK ARE PERMANENT, THEY ARE THE ILLUSIONS. Yes. FEEDBACK....COMMENTS?
Thank you...I've got my mama's tit again. When I was saying I'm a wise person, I usually can't say that, like its not good to be presumptuous, right. And it's like its OK to be yourself...UHUH, THAT'S A NICE GIFT FROM THE DREAM, TOO.
She recalls her song where she wrote, "Woman trust your body's wisdom..." Graywolf asks her if she has had trouble in her legs. She says "No," but refers to month-old distress on the bottom of her forearms, slight arthritis, etc.
THE TINGLING IN THE BODY, THOUGH, THERE WAS SOMETHING WITH THAT. Oh, [emphatically], the tingling was...SEEMED INTENSE...yes, it was very intense, yea. At the beginning of this session I was asking myself what this is about. And its about coming here. It's about my mother going 50 years ago to Farther South Camp, a forerunner of Outward Bound.
I stayed home on the farm to cook, sweep, and wash for my father and brothers. And my mother went galavantin' off, just like I am now. Only no one has to cook and sweep for me. My kids are grown. Still, though, I was having the image of the woman going off to the wilderness to find herself. THAT'S SOMETHING OF THE ESSENCE OF WHY YOU'RE HERE THEN. Hmmmhuh. And I was hearing this morning a poem that my mother loved, I think by William Blake or John Dunn, someone of the mystical faith. It goes:
Every morning lean thine arms upon the windowsill of heaven; And contemplate thy God. And then with a vision freshen thy heart and go forth into the day.
I am not knowing if I have permission to lean my hands on the windowsill of Heaven. [she rubs her arms where she has complained of the distress]. YOU JUST DID...SO YOU MUST...Like I just did right now...So I do...So I don't need that! [She makes shaking motions as if to let go of that energy].
SO AGAIN, JUST ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FEAR IS THE POWER. JUST ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FEAR AND THE PAIN. JUST EXPRESSING THE FEAR AND THE PAIN DOES NOTHING MORE THAN HONOR IT...IT DOESN'T TAKE YOU TO THE OTHER SIDE OF IT. ALSO, THERE WAS AN INNOCENCE OF SHADOW IN THIS DREAM. YOU WENT INTO THE SHADOW SIDE IN THE SHARK...aimed at the light...I had a momentary flashback to a time when my husband with Alzheimer's tried to make love to me. It was scary, but I saved myself from that situation. Before that fear of my father that summer my mother went to camp.
I'D LIKE TO SUGGEST THAT YOU EXPERIENCED EVEN ONE LEVEL DEEPER...THIS IS CONJECTURE AT THIS POINT...I THINK YOU EXPERIENCED THE MOMENT OF YOUR CONCEPTION. Hhmmm...the sperm, yes...going into the egg...the motes. I HAD VERY MUCH THE FEELING OF THAT WHILE YOU WERE THERE. Uhuh, uhuh. That thought was the penetration there--that's very interesting--AHA! THAT'S WHERE SOME OF THE INITIAL IMAGES WERE FORMED. SOME OF THE VERY MOST PRIMAL IMAGES THAT SHAPED YOU. Hmmmm.
Graywolf...Now that I just am this ovum being penetrated by the sperm, I'm no longer violated...how about that! I'm created, I'm not violated! THAT'S A BIG CHANGE IN IMAGE, ISN'T IT. Uhuh, tremendous! Tremendous, tremendous. ITS A VERY FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE IN YOURSELF IN TERMS OF WHO YOU ARE NOW. I feel like Jesus when they pierced him in the side...aha, aha, aha. That tingling...now its in my back and it's in my arms.
I was still resisting until now that sperm penetrating, and until it did, I couldn't be whole. Now I'm feeling like I'm in the Fallopian tube, and going into the uterus, and I can implant, and grow to where I am now. Its a wonderful feeling, because I can be inside my mother and here at the same time. I can be in all of those places. It's wonderful!
CASE HISTORY: "LARRY"
Larry is an easy subject, in part based on his background as an actor, screenwriter and producer. It is easy for Larry to engage his imagination in the journeys and let go of existing structures. In his outer life he has found that easy to do also and has had many unusual careers and experiences from truck driving to pumping iron and running a gym-health spa. He is currently working as a private investigator, investigating for mitigating circumstances in death penalty trials. He is also working on a screenplay, and making plans to pursue a career involving shamanic and other consciousness forms of healing work.
I first met Larry about eight years ago when he came to a men's consciousness group that I had started. He was going through a divorce, a rather painful divorce, at the time, but in that group was looking more for solace than to make changes within himself. We lost contact for a number of years, until he called asking what it would take to become an apprentice shaman.
I invited him over for an interview. During the interview we discussed the idea of the wounded healer and that any powers that he would have as a shaman would come from his ability to heal himself. In this sense I undertook a dual role with Larry, to be his teacher and his therapist.
He sought this path after the break up of a relationship with a woman with whom he had been living for some time. He had come to see a pattern and the "fatal attraction" that drew him into harmful relationships. He was rebounding into what his intellect knew was another disastrous relationship with a woman less than half his age. So our earliest contract revolved around exploring his relationships with women.
He also found that in the relationship he had with his clients on death row, that they came to trust him and treated him as their friend-father. To a large degree he found he was helping them more than any therapists and he sought to sharpen these skills and become even more effective in that role.
His trust in more conventional psychotherapy was low. His last relationship was with a psychologist and his relationships with other psychologists through his profession had soured him to the effectiveness of more conventional therapies. Yet his experiences with another more "spiritual" healer had been quite positive but limited. He contacted me because of his previous experience with us.
His dream life was very active and so we have naturally worked mostly with dreams during the sessions we've had to date. In the first sessions we spent considerable time just talking and establishing trust often for as much as one to one and a half hours before we would actually begin to work on one of his dreams. During these sessions the trails all lead to his relationship with his own ANIMA, his feminine side.
He had a basic distrust of women who he felt were all manipulative and would somehow end up hurting him. This existential view of himself and the feminine side of the world, of course, was based on his early relationship and experiences with his mother.
We did spend sometime discussing some aspects of that. However the dream work took him to some very experiential understandings of his relationship with the feminine side of himself which in turn was being projected onto the women around him and represented the type of woman that he was attracted to and sought relationships with.
He has come to the understanding that to a large degree he would enter into these relationships with "flawed women like his mother" to somehow heal them and get what he had missed from his mother. During these first four sessions as a result of his dream work, he has become much more comfortable with the feminine side of himself as his images of that side of self changed.
He is now finding himself less and less attracted to "rescuing", and less attracted to the type of women he would normally be attracted to, and more and more adopting a neutral position with respect to women. He is currently at a point where he has decided not to seek any further relationships with women to feel complete within himself or to heal them, but is open to healthy relationship should it come along.
Sexuality represented an important part in his relationships with women, and during the dream sessions in the first four appointments an intensely sensual-sexual state of consciousness was part of each journey. These sexual states of consciousness involved both experiences of his feminine and masculine sides of sexuality. The experiencing of the latter suggested to me that there was work for him to do on his male side. In our discussions it came out often that his relationship with his father also left very much to be desired.
The dream had two parts: 1) grandiose with S&M erotic visions, and 2) a naval scene in which he is boarding the other boats and searching there, directing the boat people to do his bidding.
I invite him to be the potentate in #1, and he is having everyone do his bidding but as he goes deeper he feels a falseness, and feels as though someone will find him out. This reminds me of the naval part and so I invite him to partake of that.
The scene continues and he becomes the "potentate" boarding the ships. The scene unfolds and he is aware of one trouble maker. "I want to kill him like a precise surgical cut," he says. "I have a gun in my hand and I'll shoot him."
I invite him to become the gun, the bullet, the explosion.
"It is like I'm a stroboscopic flash. Now I'm passing through the barrel, the air, and I hit him in the chest, the breast bone."
The client then tries to move on but I don't pay attention. "Now become the man who was hit," I urge. "Feel the wound, the impact of the bullet."
The dreamer begins to grimace, his face contorts. "The blood, I feel guts spilling out and falling all over."
"Stay with it," I urge, as he begins to choke and cough. Tears stream down his cheeks and drip off the end of his chin. His whole body goes limp and somehow rigid at the same time.
I gently touch him on his breast bone as the "fit" continues. In a few seconds that seem to last forever it passes. Soon a look of ease melts the muscles around his eyes and jaw.
"What are you experiencing now?" I ask.
"I see an image of a valentine's heart," he says.
"Become that now, its colors, the essence of how it affects you! Feel with all your senses," I invite.
"I'm now experiencing a warm pink color that seems to fill my chest," he says.
"Relax into it...yield to it...........What do you now experience?" I ask.
"It is now two colors. A chartreuse that fills here [he indicates the upper portion of his head], and the pink fills here," as he sweeps his hand over his chest and heart. "Its warm and soothing," he says.
His face and body are now soft and a smile plays with his lips.
"This is a gift of the dream, a healing state," I tell him. "Enjoy it and feel its effects on your head and in your heart...When you are ready to move, let me know."
Several minutes pass, and his eyes finally open. He stares at me, and I ask, "What's happening now?"
"It was good," he says, "but the color in my head...I feel a sharp pain in my rectum."
"Take your awareness there now, sink into the pain, deeply...deeply."
His face once again reflects pain but soon turns to fear and puzzlement. "What's happening now," I say.
"I am walking through a large hall," he says. "And I'm surrounded by electric blue gargoyles. I feel small and diminished, almost threatened," he reports.
"Now become those gargoyles, become the essence of their colors, the energy expressed in their faces."
There is silence for a few moments and then with a deeper and softer voice, he begins. "I feel a deep enduring quality and wisdom that stretches back through the millennia. I'm very old...very, very old."
"Sink deeper," I invite, "deeper...and deeper....into the sense of what you are now feeling." It is in you, it is a state of your being, this wisdom...not words, or thoughts, but an even deeper wisdom."
"I am now connected to the whole planet," he reports. "My sense of self and age is connected to all that is here."
"The healing is not only for you, but at this moment embraces our entire planet." His already relaxed body lets go even further.
"I see a striped cat."
"Become it. Feel what it feels, sense as it senses."
"I feel the jungle around me, its dampness and its life. I am safe and secure..."
His body begins to stretch and his hands and fingers take on the energy of claws as the king of the jungle stretches in relaxed readiness.
This goes on for a while and then he reports passing visions of naval history, the Phoenicians, the Vikings, the Europeans, and once again the pirates.
"I have a couple of phrases for you," I offer. "If they fit...wear them. I AM PREDATOR...I AM WARRIOR.'
He smiles, "I am in the hall with the blue gargoyles, and there is a peace. We have communicated."
Eventually, his eyes open. We will talk further about this, but for now I watch a warrior cat glide out of the chair and into his dinner.
LATE JUNE, 1991:
This session presented his animus for work. It is quite long and involved. It begins with a fairly detailed dream sequence:
I'm in an apartment, or motel, not my house...I was naked...I didn't have any clothes on...two guys came into that room and they wanted to fuck me up; I think they wanted to kill me...and they were dead serious. And they grabbed me and, uh, I remember I was scared...and I didn't have any clothes on...that's even worse. They started to get me and somehow I got away from these two guys, and I went running out of my apt, motel or whatever it was, and there was a restaurant.
I ran into this restaurant, and I was stark naked, and it's full of people, and it's pretty bright in there. And I'm yelling "Help! Help, they're trying to kill me, help." Well, in this restaurant all the people that are in there fortunately were like rebels, some kind of revolution thing going on, you know. Not like Fidel Castro, but some kind of underground revolutionary thing going, and these were like anti-social rebellious people.
And I distinctly remember, when these two guys came in there chasing me there was a female, a girl, sitting down at a booth. And she had a shotgun or rifle laying down across that table. These people were armed, and it was crowded; they were all of the same mindset. And they did help; I remember that gal specifically. I don't remember any other specific people. I remember that gal and that shotgun rifle she had. And that stopped these guys from getting me.
And then a guy, one of these rebels, grabbed one of the guys that was after me and killed him with a pocket knife, like a Swiss army knife. Out of this dude's throat, or something man, righteously killed him. And I remember the thing that struck me about it is he didn't give a shit...he did it easily. I mean he didn't easily kill the guy, but he didn't even think twice about it. And he threw the guy's body outside. And I remember the knife was covered with blood. And he threw the knife out the door with him.
Then, I got real brave. I figured I was surrounded by my people here. So, the guy that was left, I wanted to find out why these two guys were after me. Why they were trying to kill me, who they were. I started questioning this guy, and I started torturing this guy sitting in a chair. I started jumping up and down on his legs, and bones, and putting a world of hurt on thisdude. And I was getting into it. I was enjoying torturing him. And he wouldn't talk. Everytime he wouldn't talk, I'd do something worse to him.
He wouldn't talk. Well, finally all these rebel-types, these revolutionary types started admiring this guy's ability to hold his mud, and not talk, after I really put the hurt on him. And they turned on me. And I was the bad guy now, you know. This guy was the good guy. So I let the guy up, and I remember that when I let him up he had a big smile on his face, and he said his name was Gus McGinnis???, something like that.
GRAYWOLF: Close your eyes now...and spend the next couple of minutes breathing...if you can, relax your body...and, as you're ready fill your mind with the dream...bring it back in as much detail as you can...and walk me through the dream. This time, as you experience it...
LARRY: I'm in this room, like a hotel room; it's dark in there...the lights are out...I guess I'm getting ready to go to bed...I don't have any clothes on. And, uh, I get attacked by these two guys...I don't know if they were in there already; I don't even know where they came from. I really can't see what they look like. It's dark but I can tell there are two of them. I can also tell they're real serious about getting me. That pretty much panics me out. The one thing I want to do is get away from these guys. I manage to break loose and as I run out of the room, I'm being chased. They're right on my tail.
GRAYWOLF: Stop at that point in the dream...and back up...back up to where they have you...tell me what's going on...what do you feel?
LARRY: Well, these guys have got me, they're grabbing me both of them. I think they're trying to get me down. And, I don't know how I know it, but I know they want to kill me. I know if I don't get away from them, they're going to kill me. And it just panics me out, and that gets the adrenalin shooting through my system.
GRAYWOLF: I want you to divert a little bit from the dream now...and I want you to allow that to happen...tell me what you experience...feel your nakedness...the threat...what happens...what does your imagination do with that?
LARRY: It scares me!
GRAYWOLF: Even though it scares you, let it happen...what do you experience?
LARRY: I experience a sense of weakness in my legs, and a lot of tension up here in my head area, tightness in my stomach...
GRAYWOLF: Get into all those feelings...let them develop.
LARRY: It's hard to breath...something is kind blocking my throat now.
GRAYWOLF: Stay with it...deeper...deeper...your breathing stops...what do you experience?
LARRY: Like a tightness in the throat.
GRAYWOLF: Give in to the tightness. Yield to it.
LARRY: It's like someone's got their hand on my throat, squeezing it.
GRAYWOLF: Stay with it.
LARRY: There's a weakness in my legs...it feels like pins and needles in my legs...like they don't want to work too well.
GRAYWOLF: Stay with it...Feel this experience.
LARRY: I don't know who these guys are...
GRAYWOLF: Feel the tightness...explore that a little while longer...right now just give in to the tightness...let it take over...experience where that takes you...
LARRY: Now it's like, like being up real high and looking over the edge. That feeling.
GRAYWOLF: Stay with the image...experience the visceral feel of it...what do you experience?
LARRY: It's a dam, I'm falling over the edge of this dam. It's down and away...I'm gonna smash right on the concrete.
GRAYWOLF: Stay with it...what do you experience now?
LARRY: Smashing on the cement is like just breaking open, but it feels good.
GRAYWOLF: Get into that...feel it...just relax...now relax into it...deeper...what are you aware of?
LARRY: I'm laying on the cement...and, uh, I'm like a suitcase that's thrown open. I feel a tremendous freedom now.
GRAYWOLF: Just accept it...accept that...let it be...stay with this consciousness...enjoy it...and when you're ready to move on, let me know...take your time.
LARRY: I'm seeing a lot of weird things right now.
GRAYWOLF: Share them.
LARRY: I'm in some kind of a crudely-built small cabin. I see three yellow oil cans--they're hanging from a rafter...they'respinning around...at least the first one is spinning around...the second one is kinda turning, spinning pretty fast...and then over here there's a window, and the wind is blowing through the window...and some kind of light blue, lacey curtain is being blown in...inside the cabin. There's a guy in the cabin...he is wearing, like a red checkered jacket, like a hunter, and a red cap. He's almost a cigar store Indian.
(NOTE: This could be a past life or collective consciousness memory, and I thought about exploring it, but the color and spinning of the cans attracted me more. The spinning often leads to "CHAOTIC CONSCIOUSNESS," and yellow inevitably seems to introduce issues of how one's power is expressed.)
GRAYWOLF: Now I want you to experience what it is like to be the spinning oil can...and especially be the color.
LARRY: The oil can changes color; it's not yellow anymore...it's kind of...almost black...
GRAYWOLF: Stay with it, experience the spinning and the blackness.
LARRY: As I'm spinning, shooting off mushroom-shaped little puffs like light grey or light blue grey smoke...out the top.
GRAYWOLF: Stay with the flow of your experience.
LARRY: I don't see those puffs anymore...I see more of a flat square, kind of a dirty yellow object, seems to be floating blackness that looks a little like a piece of Swiss cheese...it's square, flat, and got some holes in it.
GRAYWOLF: I invite you to become that color, that shape, use your imagination to experience being full of holes and floating in the blackness.
LARRY: I become this thing...I wanna go...and I do...I become upright...I'm on the edge now...I'm trying to move...going like this; I'm flexible...
GRAYWOLF: Feel that, feel your flexibility...give in now to this sensation.
(NOTE: Larry suffers from severe joint pains and stiffness most of the time, result of his weight lifting too early in life).
LARRY: I'm feeling a frustration, like I'm pretty much trapped. I'm trying to move but I can't. I'm only able to move myself...I'm not in one position...I'm not able to move away from where I am...basically, I'm just hangin' there.
LARRY: Trapped and kinda flappin'.
(This is a good summary of how he feels generally in life).
GRAYWOLF: Give in to all of that as a visceral sensation...sensation of entrapment...I don't know how to say it...but all at once become that feeling or that nature...
LARRY: I see a big face up here to the left...the dominating thing about this face is that it's wearing glasses..and they're square glasses...I can't see through...I think this face is me...it looks like me...
GRAYWOLF: There's something about the glasses...an energy to them...become the glasses...look at yourself..
GRAYWOLF: When I become the glasses, they change shape. They were square almost like Benjamin Franklin glasses...and they became very slanted like eyes, like cat's eyes.
GRAYWOLF: Uh Huh.
LARRY: They're not glasses anymore, they're eyes...
GRAYWOLF: Become them...feel that...give into the sensation...the body feeling...the sense of being the eyes...the cat's eyes. Stay with it. What's happening?
LARRY: They were just cat's eyes...the huge head of this black cat...
GRAYWOLF: Become it...feel...let me know when you're ready to share...
LARRY: I'm this cat...I've got a lot of energy, like a lot of tension...kind of nervous energy and tightness, and hungry...hunger. I got these really sharp teeth...I really like these teeth...take great pride in these teeth. They're so big, and so sharp, and so white. They, like, give me a feeling of power!
GRAYWOLF: Become the power...become the teeth. Experience yourself now.
LARRY: I have the feeling of invincibility...uh, I have these extremely powerful jaw muscles. I feel real aggressive, and, and I...kind of almost like some kind of huge machine that can crush things....and I want to crush things. That's my job...what I'm supposed to do and what I want to do...
GRAYWOLF: Stay with that now...let what you experience guide you...take yourself way down...trust the process you're in...crush...feel the crushing and being crushed.
LARRY: Now I see a...it's like a snake...it's a long, white snake...long and thin...it's like a water snake. Black water...
GRAYWOLF: Become...become both the essence of the snake and the water...become...feel it in your body...feel it viscerally...
LARRY: Well, when I was teeth, it was like I was trying to bite down on this snake...but it could just, slip between the teeth and get away.
GRAYWOLF: Feel that...be that...feel your whiteness...flexibility....get into that...give in to it...
LARRY: I have a feeling of weightlessness...bending and, you know...like dancing around on the water...pretty good....doesn't feel like I weigh anything. I see what appears to be like a squid or an octopus, or half and half...with way more legs than an octopus would normally have.
GRAYWOLF: Become...go deep into the water now...deep into the water...become the octopus...when you are ready...share...
LARRY: The thing that I like about being this octopus is that I can move...in directions that I want to...by going like this with my legs...go wherever I want.
GRAYWOLF: Let go, be with this flow...it's just as much you as all of the other experiences...what do you experience now?
LARRY: Just kinda toolin around in this kind of black water...feels pretty good, actually.
GRAYWOLF: Get into it now...what you're experiencing...let it become a part of you now...become a part of you...explore...exploring yourself...
LARRY: I see a pair of hands...hands holding namchucks, one in each hand...all I see is the hands and the namchucks.
GRAYWOLF: Let go of that visual image...we can explore the hands later if you want...but right now stay with the sea and the black water.
LARRY: Changed color now...I'm gold instead of that light blue grayish color...I'm orange now.
GRAYWOLF: Good...be the essence of the color, the orange...feel it in your body...
LARRY: It feels a lot warmer than it did a few minutes ago.
GRAYWOLF: Give in to that sensation...
LARRY: Feels like I might be closer to the surface...
GRAYWOLF: Where do you feel the orange in your body?
LARRY: I feel it in my lower body. I feel it in my legs...I feel it in my groin.
GRAYWOLF: Ok, give into it...feel...
LARRY: I feel it in this general area a lot (indicates genitals, upper legs, and lower abdomen).
GRAYWOLF: Take it in now...just accept...accept it...give into it...what you get from the dream, Larry...whatever you get from the dream...accept it..flow with it...take it in...take it into who you are...
LARRY: I'm looking up at this pool of water...I'm looking up and the water's blue...I can see through the water and I can see people up above...they're jumping off a cliff into the water right above me...I can see them jump, and I can see them in the water. The one thing that I notice is they're having a lot of fun doing this. The water is real bright blue...
GRAYWOLF: Become the water...become that water...become the essence of water...no energy inside of you is not this water...become the water itself...
LARRY: I have a tremendous feeling of flexibility...like I'm just able to just kind of go out and fill every little crack, and I have no boundaries.
GRAYWOLF: Is there anything else about the water...feel the water filling all of the cracks, and all of the spaces in...feel it viscerally...any sounds?...
LARRY: I see my Dad here, sitting around at the table...looks like Thanksgiving dinner or something...the only one I can really recognize here is my Dad. He's eating corn and roast beef....there's a red and white checkered table cloth on the table...I think it's a card table...
GRAYWOLF: What's your experience?
LARRY: Good, it's good. I see, uh, like a carved wooden small statue of the Virgin Mary, and she's inside of a carved wooden heart. Very small.
GRAYWOLF: Stay with your experience and the flow of your imagination. Trust your process. Be the feminine virgin in your heart...
LARRY: I see a barrel...someone's made a drum out of this barrel...laying...it's not upright; it's laying down...there's drumheads on each end of it.
GRAYWOLF: Now be the drum...the drum...be this drum...something new begins with this journey.
GRAYWOLF: There's more to it...there's more in your dream...but this is far enough for now...enjoy this...be the drum and itsrhythm into your heart...stay with it as long as you want...bring the drum to the surface with you...and when you're ready to do that, take a couple of deep breaths and return by letting your eyes open. It's important for you to bring this consciousness with you.
LARRY: I think I got pretty deep there...
GRAYWOLF: How was it?
LARRY: Pretty good...I didn't fall asleep, did I?
GRAYWOLF: No. You were right there the whole time.
LARRY: It's hard to say, because this has been different than the other ones. This was harder. I think it has something to do with my attitude lately. I get pissed off...I think that's caused some barrier.
GRAYWOLF: Yeah, that's the teeth. You went past the teeth...and found a deeper source of power. You're dealing this time with the MALE SIDE of you. On other journeys we've been dealing with the female, the ANIMA. This time you explored the male self, the ANIMUS, a whole different sense.
LARRY: That fits in with what's been happening lately to me. Like this guy "George"...he's got me by the balls. He's male authority, the guy with the power, I've had a feeling of powerlessness.
GRAYWOLF: Yeah, your dream really spoke to that. That's why I had you go and let them catch you, and take you into that, because that was the thing you feared most. And that's where your power is. What is holding your power hostage is your fear.
GRAYWOLF: But I think the most powerful force is water...the essence of the water within you. You can't hurt water...the essence of the water within you. You can't hurt water...you can try to crush it...you can do whatever you want to it and you can't hurt it. It's flexible, and flows. you see that state of consciousness, being is a part of you. It's even a big part of your physical self, actually about 95% of you.
LARRY: Yeah. Well, obviously when I run into guys like Leutenant "Powers" I should turn into water...
GRAYWOLF: Instead of the teeth...you see that's the choice and why I didn't have you become the fist with the nanchucks; you were given a choice at that point. I took over a little bit there and asked you to stay with the water rather than take the choice of the fist and the nanchucks, because that would be back up to the outer self you're used to--the teeth--and I wanted you to godeeper, instead. You always have that choice.
LARRY: It's funny now, just thinking about the nanchucks, man (laughs heartily). I'm going yeah, yeah, it's an addiction, man.
GRAYWOLF: Yeah, so it'll tempt you even when you're in a place of power. It'll tempt you away.
LARRY: Yeah, I forgot about the water completely. (Laughs) It's scary!
GRAYWOLF: You went back to it though, did you notice that? You went back to it immediately. It didn't take much.
LARRY: Yeah, it was just that little orgiastic thought that popped in there (laughs). That could be conditioning, you know.
GRAYWOLF: Yeah, it could. The other thing I was really impressed with was we had this talk earlier in the session about your father your relation to him. Yet, in here in this vision you had a new sense of yourself and him, a satisfying experience of a nourishing meal with him.
GRAYWOLF: That was important, I think...it's a beginning of making peace with that part of yourself.
LARRY: I had a strange experience with my father over the telephone. I called him up, and I sent him IRON JOHN for Father's Day, and I called him up to see if he got the package. You know he's a real linear thinker who probably wouldn't even understand. But, you know I'm 48 years old, and I have never talked with my Dad about sex, NEVER!
(NOTE: He goes on to recount a recent phone call with his father where they do discuss sex, and he finds out about his father's prudishness about some aspects of sex which he had automatically assumed were his mother's hang ups).
GRAYWOLF: There's a lot in this dream still left to explore. If we get a chance we'll do more with it. A couple of things intrigued me. In terms of the journey you took tonight, I guess I want to plant a couple of seeds. I'm sure there is a lot more that will percolate out of it--this feeling of water--that essence. But one of the things that I'm aware of is the water these guys were jumping into was a source of great fun, great pleasure.
GRAYWOLF: "You" were the source of greatest safety. If someone would have jumped off a cliff and fallen into you, they would be safe. That to me is repeating a theme that has come up with you many times which is this theme of healer, this theme of being safe, of giving to the world. That's something to pay attention to...in yourself. You first approached me about apprenticing to become a shaman and that is what I was speaking to. It's very powerful and has appeared in almost every journey you've taken.
LARRY: I have another issue. I don't trust what I see anymore. I don't trust what others tell me, maybe they are manipulating me. An acquaintance told me he could only spend his limited time on people who could do something for him. Well, if I was writing a screenplay with a character I wanted the audience to despise, I would use dialogue like that. I told him when you start using people as objects you lose some of your own humanity. In the movie business, it becomes addictive, and everyone including myself has to watch that. It's hard to trust people's sincerity.
GRAYWOLF: It makes sense because you're very sensitive. You get hurt easily. You have to hide that behind the teeth. You have to hide behind the macho tough guy, the iron pumper and all that. But you've got the sensitivity. It shows in your urge to be a healer and help people, and in your creativity. I just wanted to acknowledge it and honor that.
[Pause, then the client initiates closure of session with drumming].
JULY, 1991 SESSION:
As follow up, the next session he came in for was quite different. We didn't work on a dream but he really opened up and revealed a long-term deep set depression. In essence he sees very little reason to live, makes it through each day as best he can and feels essentially helpless in coping with life. This is the most honest he has ever been with anyone by his own report.
Following that, about a week later I received a call from him. He was going to be out of town but wanted some re-enforcement. He met a new woman but found that his whole approach to and attitude to her was different than anything he has experienced before. He caught himself in magical thinking and rejected that to more realistically assess his feelings about her. She makes drums, is interested in shamanic work, and is either Indian or Mexican, perfectly designed for his "fatal attraction" hook.
He is however more passive in this instance and willing to wait and see. (NOTE: nothing ever came of it). He indulges in magical thinking when there appears to be synchronicity involved in meeting a woman as happened in this case, and takes it as a sign that this is "The Magic Woman" for him. I think this is progress and a result of his dream sessions with animus-anima.
From the previous session, we've already seen that Larry's attraction is to "flawed women," that is, women who he believes he can help or "save." But he ends up basically being hurt by them. That is a transactional analysis perspective of it. Rescuer-Victim. In reality he is trying to save the female side of himself, which goes back to his mother.
He had issues with his mother, her sexuality, etc. She was a "really flawed and dominant" woman, and the father was sort of a wimp. There is some indication in the latent manifest content of the dream of hidden fears of homosexuality in the dream he may yet need to deal with. What it boiled down to is dealing with the feminine side of himself, which he inherited from his mother, which is very damaged.
By trying to take care of them "out there" he is trying to heal himself, and of course my work is to help him deal with it within himself. His profession as a private investigator specializing in mitigating circumstances for death penalty cases is further indication of the savior or rescuer role.
He's noted quite a few times to me that his female clients inevitably fall in love with him. He's working on a case now and when he called he was partly down because a female client for whom he had spent a lot of energy finding mitigating circumstances had turned on him and thought he was the most terrible thing happening.
AUGUST 28, 1991: THE CORE SELF
In this session Larry explores his issue of the "fatal attraction" women, and its relationship to his thrill-seeking desires for the adrenalin rush. Graywolf points out that in his own exploration the attraction had a certain location in his body, inner signs, sensations, and feelings.
Graywolf suggests that the adrenalin in the situations is a sign there is some kind of threat happening, and Larry agrees. He notes that in the few relationships where the adrenalin was absent he felt more secure. Trust builds in relationships that develop slow and easy. The inner side of the relationship develops.
Larry speaks further about his idea of commitment involving waiting for someone, who was "captured in war, or thrown in jail for years." "If you love somebody, you should wait for them." He speaks only in terms of a love-addicted woman being unable to wait because of their compulsion. Yet, he also notes that "everytime I come in here I have some gal that I'm head over heals with...You know, that is pretty ridiculous; everytime I see you I'm with a different gal." He felt silly telling it each time.
Graywolf tries to keep the issue moving, pointing out "script laughs" and "gallows" script interspersed in Larry's comments. He suggest he is an adrenalin freak who "courts the edge, and that's where the real attraction is, which is always the danger, whenever the adrenalin is going." Larry says he is trying to pull back from that, but in fact has been jumping off a 45 foot bridge without even a bungie cord.
Larry confesses that living on the edge is probably tied into "authority, resentment, and it probably goes back to my Dad." He realizes, "I'm real abrasive with certain kinds of people, so I can utilize that to get this adrenalin rush I crave, and it's real destructive, I know." He thinks, "Larry, shut your mouth, walk away from this. This is bad. It will only end in disaster." He literally shakes with adrenalin.
Graywolf inquires what life would be like without that. Easier, Larry thinks, but the flirting with danger still attracts him. Yet he claims to be trying to get away from the adrenalin rushes which "zaps all my energy." He reminisces about early childhood and being unjustly blamed for things he didn't do, and being called a liar. The first three incidents had to do with women scaring him and getting that adrenalin rush.
Graywolf gets him in touch with the feelings of anger, being cheated and pushed around in life. Even though everybody may, each person feels and reacts to it in their own unique way. Larry updates him on the current injustices in his work situation. Graywolf points out "how you would come out of all of that wanting to be a rescuer." They go on to explore the paradox of the adrenalin rush and feelings of helplessness, and what that feels like inside.
The script is, "Wait a minute, I didn't do that." That impotence leads to all sorts of things such as rescuing people, getting into lousy relationships, the adrenalin rush, fighting authority figures, maybe prison ("gallows") eventually. Larry asserts, despite the "script laugh" that he won't go to prison, that he has already curbed the behavior to some extent.
He refers again to the dark, mysterious woman with a touch of evil, then goes on to yearn for "a normal life, normal relationship," and settling down. He's tired of being on the edge, tired of flirting with danger. He speaks of a "midnight rambler" in one of his screenplay plots and how two characters "represent the shadow self of the other." Graywolf asks him, "where is that touch of evil in you, or danger, the shadow side?"
They go back to the motel dream, where he ends up in a restaurant. Graywolf invites him to explore "the guy who you ended up jumping all over and trying to get him to confess and he never did."
GW: Do you remember that dream? Just breathe and take time and remember it. Don't rush, just take your time and remember it.
LARRY: I'm trying to remember if I was in a motel, it was a restaurant or something.
GW: You started out in a motel. And they tried to come in and kill you, and you chased them out, and into a restaurant that was full of rebels.
LARRY: And a woman with an assault rifle, and one guy killed one of the guys, cut his throat with a knife. No big deal right. And then they grabbed this other guy, and they had him in a chair.
GW: This was another case of almost impotence where you were jumping all over him and...
LARRY: Yeah, and the guy wouldn't talk. Interestingly enough I remember one of the things I was doing to this guy, and I don't know if it has anything to do with sexuality or anything, but I was spreading, and maybe his feet were tied together, but I was like spreading his legs apart, his knees apart, like I was trying to break his legs, like a wishbone. And I was jumping on him and I can't remember if I'm jumping on his balls or what. But I remember spreading his knees apart and just trying to break his legs.
GW: Yeah, I remember the words you used, you were "jumping his bones."
LARRY: Is that what I said?
GW: Yeah. Just take time and bring the dream back now. Bring that scene back, that part of the dream...breathe...breathe...empty your mind out...just let it fill with as much as you can remember about that...
LARRY: I remember this guy smiling, during all this; it was almost like he thought it was a joke.
GW: Use your imagination and replay the scene now as him...what it would be like from his perspective.
LARRY: As his character, I discover that by smiling at this guy who is beating on me, it infuriates him, he gets frustrated, and the more frustrated and infuriated he gets the weaker he gets, and he can't hurt me...and the more he can't hurt me, the more I smile, because it's almost funny...it's like I'm in this, tied up in this chair an in total control of this guy.
GW: And that feeling, that sense, that effect, feel it and tell me what you notice about that now.
LARRY: It's like I'm sucking his energy into me, the more outa control he gets, the stronger I get...
GW: Let that happen...where does that take you; where does that go?
LARRY: Well, obviously it wins over these other people, they feel my power and his weakness, and join me. They are on my side now.
GW: What's that like?
LARRY: It feels good. Like I won.
GW: Stay in that feeling...enjoy it, be with it...
LARRY: It's hard to enjoy this feeling because there is a sense of guilt about it, because even though I won and zapped all this guy's power, I feel that I've manipulated these people and it's not real, you know what I mean?
GW: Yeah, there is an insecurity within that; there is no solidity within the power.
LARRY: It's like a bunko power, you know, a scam power, more like a technique than a real power.
GW: Go to the smile now, go back to the smile and tell me what you notice about it.
LARRY: Well, the smile is not real; it is designed to push this guy's buttons, because it does. And so I'm using it to manipulate this guy, and take his power away. But as I take his power away, it becomes enjoyable and the smile becomes more real, but it didn't start out real at all.
GW: Go into the sensation of the smile...go into the physical feeling of it...the original smile...gradually let that take your whole attention now.
LARRY: The smile was a signal to this guy, that he can't hurt me no matter what he does...
GW: Go more with that...stay with that for a minute...what do you notice about that now?
LARRY: It's not a real smile...an acting smile...the reality is this guy is hurting me, and I'm pretending he is not hurting me.
GW: Go into the pain...feel the pain...okay, feel the pain now...sink into it.
LARRY: When I smile at this guy, like when I smile at him, he blows and his power becomes ineffectual.
LARRY: So this smile is a defense mechanism against that pain.
GW: Exactly, yeah...that is why I want you to go into the pain...let yourself feel it in the dream...use your imagination. What color is it?
LARRY: A bluish-grey.
GW: Imagine sinking into it, into that color, into that part of your body...let yourself become assimilated by that color, become the color, what do you experience?
LARRY: An isolation, an isolation...
GW: Go deeper, stay with it, trust where you are going...go deeper into it...let go now...what do you experience?
LARRY: I feel totally alone; I feel kinda like in the middle of a black void, alone...
GW: Feel that...feel it more deeply, go deeper into it, into the blackness...let go now..let go, go deeper...What do you experience in there now?
LARRY: I see a series of like little blue lines and circles, and mixing, kinda like a big insect of blue lines, like a big, giant bumble bee...
GW: There is sort of an essence, an energy with those lines, a sense of something...become them, yeah, become them...feel the movement, be the movement...be them...
LARRY: There is a kind of frenetic feeling, kinda like electricity...
GW: Good, give in to that, just become that entirely...let go of everything else and become that...just experience now...let go...
LARRY: It's like a, kinda like a, it's like energy, but not real comfortable energy...it's like time-stressed energy...
GW: Yeah, stay with it...stay with it for a little while longer...just ride with it...be it...see where it takes you...go deeper into it...What are you experiencing?
LARRY: Well, I'm seeing these, I'm seeing more blue lines and I'm trying to be the blue lines, but maybe I'm some blue lines but not other blue lines...
GW: That's okay.
LARRY: And black void, and these blue lines are forming a male penis actually, not just hanging down...
GW: Stay with it, stay with it...trust where you are going...you are almost there...just be with it. Don't try to figure it out, just be with it, feel the effect on you...just notice what is going on inside now.
LARRY: This male penis is like, it's not shooting anything out, but this, again made outa blue lines, this shark swam out of it.
LARRY: And it's swimming...in the black void...
GW: Stay with that, see what happens...
LARRY: Now there was an image coming in from the left, of another male penis, uncircumcised, but not blue lines anymore. It's surrounded by a yellow aura, like going down at this angle here, now I'm seeing this yellow...
GW: Yeah, give in to the yellow now...just become the yellow now, let it overtake you. let it absorb you, let it act upon you. What do you see? Just notice.
LARRY: This yellow aura, is forming a shape of like a cloud with yellow petals and surrounded by this black, and then the interior of the petals are black and just the edges are yellow, and they seem to be drawn to the middle of this thing.
GW: Yeah, follow that, trust that, let it pull you in; just experience it viscerally.
LARRY: I seem to be surrounded by this grass, this green tall grass; it's swaying back and forth, but everything beyond that is black...
GW: Become the grass Larry, become the motion, feel it...feel it viscerally, let your body dissolve and become the grass, feel the sensations of the grass--the movement--just get into it and tell me what it's like, when you are ready.
LARRY: I'm going back and forth, rubbing against other grass, and I can feel on one side of the long skinny blades of grass are real smooth and on the other side it's rough, you know I can feel it going back and forth, both sides of it...
GW: Yes, it's okay, just be with that, trust that, stay with that now, see where it takes you, see where you go with that...just feel...feel also your color.
LARRY: You know I'm getting smaller, and the grass is getting bigger, the blades of grass almost look like palm leafs, with that kinda thick stem running down the middle of them...
GW: What's happening now? What are you experiencing, what are you feeling?
LARRY: I'm seeing some other kind of a plant, it's kind of a brown, fuzzy plant and it's got green grass, like at the base of it, kinda oblong and yellow behind it...
GW: Yes, as much as you can now become that plant, feel those colors, feel their locations in your body, just feel the effect of that. Let them work on you, don't say anything until you are ready, and let me know what you experience with it. Let go of the visual part now and begin to focus in on the sensations...
LARRY: The brown part feels kinda fuzzy on the outside, feels kinda solid, and the bottom part, the green part, feels kinda like going back and forth...skinny...I can feel the breeze blowing these green leaves I have, and I can feel the yellow must be the sun, the brown part feels warm...
GW: Just enjoy those feelings: solidity, your featheriness, thewind, the sun...just let them work on you. Let them heal...this is a state of your being...this is an essence of who you are...stay with this part of your being as long as you want.
LARRY: I guess the sun, it's like giving me energy up here, and it seems like down here where the wind is blowing, it's like I'm sweating a little bit, down here from this energy I'm getting here, the breeze is like cooling me off, it's like working perfectly together, you know...
GW: Yeah, know that about yourself. This is you...This is your real power...YOUR CORE. This is much deeper than that false smile and taking power, robbing it from someone else that was on the surface of the dream, this is the place of real power, this is what was underneath the pain. This is what you were robbed of as a child. This is you...
DECEMBER, 1991: THE HOLEY GOLDEN BAND
Larry continued working on the concept of anima/animus, and finding ways of reowning the very powerful feminine side of himself that he, until now, had essentially given up. The session before this one, the work changed suddenly, in that he started getting in touch with energies, with parts of himself which represent the healthy, masculine side of himself, as symbolized by the horse. [NOTE: see POWER VS. STRENGTH, also Larry's session]
That led me to think he was finishing up this round of his work with his anima, and when he came in for the session this is exactly what he started talking about. He mentioned the work he has been doing on his own outside therapy, such as the books he has been getting on anima/animus, and the feminine side of self. He had come to some very remarkable conclusions.
He came up with the idea of having a talk with his anima. In essence, one of the outcomes was that he got down to asking her what she wanted. This reminded me of Freud's famous question about what women really want from men. It turned out she replied that she just wanted to be happy. So Larry said to his anima, "Well, that is what I want to be, too." They have now arrived at a place where they scratch each other's back, which is quite remarkable for the few processing sessions he has had to date.
The other thing he became aware of in meeting his anima as an actual image in his mind, is that his anima has all of the physical characteristics of the women he usually gets into the most trouble with. His so-called "fatal attractions" usually have long black hair, and are dark and mysterious, maybe even a little foreign looking.
He sees now quite clearly how he invests the characteristics of his anima onto those women. He does not see them for who they really are, but creates an image in his mind, which of course, always leads him to his problems with these women. By reowning the projection, and forming an internal relationship with her, many changes can be expected. This is a recap of how he has come along in therapy until now.
In this dream journey, he begins at a very shallow level of work for this particular dream. The dream itself was full of black men, guns, shooting, murder, and violence. Guns and violence are fairly characteristic of a lot of his dreams. In this particular dream, he had all of his guns ripped off from the house he was staying in.
Apparently his landlady had just allowed this to happen. As he was walking around the house he entered his bedroom. The only thing left in there was this chest. And as he opened this chest [note play on words for the body part], all he found was this one snub-nosed 38 revolver. This gave me a kick, because of all the weapons, the 38 Special is so stereotypical for a private eye.
At one point in the dream, he was out on the porch. There was something coming down between the cops and these black guys, and the blacks were not going to give in to the cops. They were running around shooting people. As the dreamer, he shot this black guy who came up on the porch after him. Then, he ended up shooting some others.
My initial thoughts about this dream indicated a shift in the work. I thought, "Oh my God, he's starting to explore the shadow side of self." It looks like this is probably going to be true. It is important, since "acting out" shadow elements has been a source of confusion and risk-taking behavior for him. Many times it has been disturbing and disruptive.
This dream represents the first step of exploring that shadow side, at least more consciously. He has a collection of guns he says is much smaller now than it used to be. But he said he still has a significant number of guns, yet claims he is not interested in them, and would never use them. I suspect his reaction in the dream would tend to belie this. And this may represent the part of the shadow he has to go with.
I am including this analysis because it is part of the process that I go through sometimes. I cannot help but get some prejudices about what a dream is about, and this is where it becomes really important for me to empty my mind. I have to say, "Okay, Graywolf, now let go of the idea that the black man is representing the shadow side of Larry's self, and let's see where the process really goes."
So I took a couple of minutes after listening to the dream, just to clear these thoughts, as I usually do. I tell people to just empty their minds and breathe deeply. The reality is, I am probably telling myself that just as much as I am the person I am working with, so I can truly enter into co-consciousness.
What struck me in the dream was that there was an energy with these black men in the dream, and the energy was vague. He simply, "knew they weren't going to...there was a danger to them...there was something going on with them."
To cut through the mental confusion, I had him essentially tell me what color this energy was--this energy field he associated with the energy of the black men. Immediately he said, "Red! Even in the dream I felt that it was red." The gist of his process led into that red and it was a very relaxing place for him which took on a very rich overtone. Then within the red, he found a green. The green became a bird.
Remember, one of his main physical complaints because of iron pumping has been centered in his back and shoulders, which have almost constant arthritic pain. As the bird, which eventually became a parrot and then a woodpecker, he felt most aware of the wings, coming out from the scapula across his back. He was aware of the wings stretching and relaxing to the point it all focused in the middle of his back where his arthritis is worst.
It felt very relaxing, and that is when the image changed into a ram, or rather the face of a ram. The green ram face reminded him of the horse from a previous session, where the horse was tearing away the flesh from the muscles, and the muscles from the bone, which felt very good to him.
So, his journey proceeded through a series of bird images, then the ram, then the image of a lizard. This indicated an even deeper level. Even physiologically, you could see he was deepening his process as his breathing was changing. As he became the lizard, he was fascinated with the fact that he could actually climb walls, and he was even walking across the ceiling at one point. This too passed. The green lizard gave way to a deep green pond or pool of water.
As the lizard, he eventually went into the color, and became that pond, and was drawn to go deeper and deeper into the base of the pool. And when he got there he saw this band--this sort of flat-surfaced band of gold that was wavy in appearance.
As an aside later, he told me of his abhorrence for gold. There are connotations he has with it from his religious upbringing, and the way THE BIBLE paints it as the root of all evil. He might have been reminded, it is not the intrinsic property of gold that makes this so, but the lust for it and the power it brings that is the corrupting influence. However, the equation gold = evil is something he has embraced and has maintained as a real aversion to gold most of his life.
I didn't realize his associations with it at the time, but I asked him to become the gold. Had I known of the aversion, I surely would have pursued it. He immediately went into it. There were two properties of the gold that he immediately sensed. One of them was that it was a wave, it was bent and flexible, and flexing. He felt this viscerally throughout his entire body. The other sense that he picked up immediately out of being the gold was that it was perforated--it was full of holes, holey, and this green water was flowing freely through these holes. [remember the Swiss cheese of a previous session]
In terms of process work, what I've come to in my understanding of colors, if I can put it into plain terms, is that gold represents the expression of power into the world, and the green represents love. First, the heart chakra is right in the front of the back area which was healed in the earlier part of the dream--the chest, solar plexus.
That represents the old way of his expressing power through his iron pumping and physical body. His abhorrence for gold indicates a deep dissatisfaction with that mode of expression. The new way, representing the green energy of the heart chakra, speaks now of a new perception or kind of power that is interwoven, penetrated, or permeated with love. That love flows throughout his new means of expressing power.
After he returned from the dream journey, we spoke of the fact that this was a very shamanic journey for him. We wondered how he was going to begin expressing the shamanic powers. What emerged was that as a script writer and director, it will probably come out in movies he could make with deeper meanings. He is speaking with a producer, and staunchly defending the position that, as film makers, they have a real commitment to help create the new myth that the civilization and country are going to be following. He takes this very seriously. And this gives me hope for our culture.
Those were just the first things he experienced being the gold. He then began to experience, quite viscerally that the gold began to glow. And the glow was emanating out from within him. At one point he said, "I realize as this golden glow that I can reach out and touch anything." Again, in light of our conversation later about his ability to reach out through the media and the movies, he is now interested in themes revolving around the Jungian archetypes of animus and anima, and the discoveries of men and women going through those kinds of journeys. The shadow theme is another of his current writing interests. Of course, both of those are the key to his psychological work now.
He is coming along remarkably well, even though I see him only every two or three weeks. I find that if I work with someone every week, I am getting away from working on dreams with them everytime. That seems to work well and give people time to assimilate this deep work. It takes the mind a period of time to assimilate this deep work. It takes the mind a period of time--weeks--to begin to notice the effects and influence of the work. In that time he can find out what a holey golden band would like to have happen...and what a holey golden band like that one would like to do.