Many people have asked me over the years why I always keep returning to alchemy. What is it about alchemy that fascinates me so much that I have been studying it for 50 years now? Whenever I am faced with life’s unsolvable problems I go to alchemy, in the way Freud said somewhere that he would always return to dreams when in a conundrum.
Heartbreak cuts us to the bone, humbling us before the great forces of the Universe. But our tendency to avoid and protect ourselves from pain clouds our vision and prevents us from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It alienates us from recognizing the purpose of heartbreak. So often, we remain in denial and ignore the call from our emotions, numbing ourselves to the effects of grief. We fear confronting the new world that now awaits us in our vulnerability. We fear creating our post-heartbreak identity that is more or less a mirage—a distant and attractive mirage but a mirage nonetheless.
Since the beginning of time, we have looked up at the stars and wondered. Big questions came to mind; how was the world created, what is our place in the universe, are we alone in our struggles, can we improve our relationships? We told stories around a fire to share our concerns, visitors recounted theirs, and we passed them down to our children.
In the modern world, men are expected to achieve outward “success.” You may feel that success means a good career with recognition for your accomplishments and financial reward, a family, and a network of friends. I imagine you have worked really hard at whatever path you have chosen and still put in long hours. If that traditional path has not been yours – my message still applies – there is still a cultural pressure to have “exterior success” that determines your self-worth.
In reality, the English language has only one word for love. Borrowing from Greek, we see that the words, Eros, Philia and Agape help in the expansion of our consciousness about different aspects of love. If nothing else, we discuss that love exists in the unity of a plurality of feelings. There are many aspects of love and yet paradoxically, there is a unity in the diversity of the several aspects.
Why bother with the dreams of the night when our day is a nightmare? Stricken with grief we feel not only loss and sadness, but also rage. When risk increases so does outrage. This is a disorienting mixture of emotions. We drown as the ground quakes under us and solid ground becomes quicksand. Spontaneously we enter the world of metaphor, by day and by night. Jungian analyst and world famous dream worker Robert Bosnak, who has worked professionally with dreams for fifty years, believes that people vividly remember the pandemic dreams because they are strikingly powerful.
Fathering reflects a universal symbolic pattern in the individual and collective, conscious and unconscious. We come into this world needing a father, his recognition and to be lovingly seen by him. We innately require a nurturing and caring father figure while his lack of presence affects a daughter’s mind, body and soul.
Sexual dreams can teach us a lot about our current relationship – and help us to change it for the better. Dream interpretation in the sense of “one dream image has one meaning for everyone” is a misleading way of looking at dreams. In fact, the only person who can really know for sure what his/her dream means is the dreamer.
A woman dreamt she was to take care of her father. The meaning of this dream depends on the dreamer and can mean many things about the relationship with her father. Why is she to take care of him? What is the dreamer’s desire, and what are the implied wounds? Jung said, “The father is decisive in the destiny of the individual .”This quote reminds us of the value of a loving father for a daughter’s growth.
Why, after finally getting lucid in a dream, are we sometimes unable to stay lucid?
It’s a question of mental focus: if we get too sucked into the dream action we forget that we’re dreaming. And if we get too excited by the fact of being lucid in a dream, that can wake us up in a shot. Lucidity is about striking the right balance between alert detachment and engagement with the dream.
Taken together, the nightmare studies presented at the recent (June 2019) conference for the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) offer compelling reasons for those who suffer from nightmares to seek any kind of treatment, and as soon as possible. The studies suggest that virtually all nightmare treatments are effective.