A place of cleansing and renewal

A place of cleansing and renewal. Fragment of work with one dream.

The article was published in the journal “Jungian Analysis” No. 1 for 2010.

Everyone says that we are together
Everyone talks, but few know in what...

Victor Tsoi

A fragment, because there is no such thing as a completed analysis of a dream, just as, in fact, there is no such thing as a completely and irrevocably completed analysis. Throughout your life you can return to the same dream, and see it differently, and draw different things from it. Moreover, the dream can begin to develop, fill, and even begin to live at some point a life separate from the dreamer. There are a huge number of examples of this - any dream told, let alone printed! Symbol, in a word.

C. G. Jung viewed dreams as a direct channel of communication with the unconscious when it speaks its own language. He considered it unacceptable to interpret a dream based on any theory and tried to peer into the content of the dream itself. A dream always solves a specific and unique problem for a person. It is not a protective curtain behind which real figures can be discerned, but itself performs an important function of conveying the existential message of the unconscious.

A dream is the opposite of the waking state and in relation to it performs a compensatory function. It gives the opportunity to express itself and develop that which is suppressed and does not find development in consciousness. In a dream, the conscious attitude can be adjusted.

Dreams reflect the urgent needs of a person and give him a chance to take a new step on the path of change, producing symbols through which the contents of the unconscious can be assimilated. A dream sends a message to the Ego, gives it advice, reveals new perspectives and opportunities for personal self-realization.

C. G. Jung believed that in a dream the wisdom of the unconscious speaks, which has not yet opened to consciousness and is slightly ahead of it. By mastering it through symbols, a person changes and develops. Therefore, the psychotherapist can often understand and predict the development of events in the client's inner life, extending the line from their preparation in a dream to a future realization. In a dream, a symbol appears that has not yet been assimilated by consciousness, but has already begun the path to it from the depths of the unconscious. In the dream of the client, the analytical psychologist does not look for traumas and conflicts of the past, but the potential for further development. C. G. Jung saw in it an attempt to cope with a problem that the Ego cannot solve, does not notice or rejects. Therefore, dream images are often more saturated with emotions than the waking state.

The interpretation of symbolism must be individual, therefore Jungian analysis provides additional opportunities to expand the content of the image. For example, it is proposed to play the continuation of a dream, dance, draw a dream, talk with an image representing a significant figure.

Adela Wharton, an English physician, told Joseph Henderson that during her analysis Jung encouraged her to dance mandala-like figures in moments when she could not draw them: “The room was small, but a little clear space was sufficient.”

We know very little about the details of her dance, or what the dance touched in each of them, or what they came up with afterward. But in his Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower, Jung wrote:

“Among my patients, I met several women who did not draw mandalas, but instead danced them. In India there is a special name for this mandala nrithya, mandala dance. The dance figures express the same meanings as the drawings. My patients have very little to say about the meaning of the symbols, but they are fascinated by them and find that the symbols somehow express and influence their subjective mental state. “

Jung touched on this topic again in his 1929 seminar on dreams:

“A patient once brought me a drawing of a mandala, saying that it was a sketch of certain movements along lines in space. She danced it for me, but most of us are too self-absorbed and brave enough to do that. It was a magical formula or spell with a sacred vessel or flame in the middle, an ultimate goal to be reached indirectly, but stopping at cardinal points.” (Joan Chodorow)

The psychoanalyst gives instructions to try to retain the dream image and analyzes the resulting products (active imagination method). You can suggest recalling a life situation, which in its internal logic is close to the dream situation. Since the symbol allows for a multi-valued interpretation, to choose the optimal path in the analysis, C. G. Jung used a series of dreams that clarify the meaning of individual dreams or make it possible to reject an incorrect interpretation. In the process of psychotherapy, dreams become more and more understandable, their meaning for a person in the context of his life becomes clearer.

Unlike classical psychoanalysis, C. G. Jung denied the universality of symbolism. At the same time, there are dreams in which predominantly universal images are presented, mythological in their structure. Dream images may be archetypal, but the meaning of the symbol is always individual. To interpret universal symbolism, parallels from myths, fairy tales, and beliefs are used.

I want to offer you a very specific dream of a specific person. So, in order: young woman, 28 years old, sixth year of analysis, stage of completion of the analytical relationship, at the moment when the dream occurred she was pregnant, about twenty-two weeks pregnant. At the time of the appeal, the request sounded like “I don’t seem to love myself”, the main field of our work is the mother complex. The decision to end the analysis is connected with pregnancy, but, it seems to me, it is a feedback - the idea of ​​​​ending the analysis arose much earlier, a lot was discussed, the decision was made, the approximate completion dates were outlined. That is, at first there was an idea about the end of the analysis, and then the need to take a pregnancy test, which turned out to be positive.

Dream: Everything happens in an abstract parental house (this is not the house of real parents). There was a book in the toilet... “Human Anatomy”, seventh grade, you probably remember? A certain paragraph, a very detailed section on how people reproduce...

I locked myself in the toilet to read this. They start knocking on the door - Svetka (my sister is five years younger), my mother and my cousin Alka. Sisters with the same goal as me - to read the same section. Mom with the opposite: “Give me this book, I have to tear out these sheets, you can’t read this!” I don’t open the door for anyone - I negotiate with my mother. “Because I didn’t know this, I ran into such problems in my time! And you want to deprive us of this information now!”

At the end of the dream I thought: what am I doing in my parents’ house?! I have mine! Why am I putting up with this?

This thought is in all my recent dreams - my parents want to crush me! I have mine, but for some reason I'm still not there.

This realization that I have my own gives me the opportunity to say all this.

I propose to play a classic game according to Jung’s rules:

Yolanda Jacobi: Jung found that most dreams show a certain structural similarity. In contrast to Freud, he believed that every dream is a self-sufficient integrity, a dramatic action that can be divided into elements of a Greek theater play.

Place, time, characters: this is the beginning of a dream, which often indicates the setting of the action and the composition of the characters.
Exposition (statement of the problem). Here the central content of the dream is presented: the unconscious outlines the question that it will have to answer during the dream.
The action itself is a kind of “backbone” of the dream; here the “plot” unfolds, the action moves towards a climax, a transformation, or a catastrophe.
Resolution, the outcome of the dream, its meaningful conclusion and the disclosure of the compensatory “message” contained in it. This generalized model, on which most dreams are built, forms the basis for interpretation.

And we will look at it in three directions: the past, the present (what’s in the office) and the future.

Everything happens in an abstract parental home (this is not the home of real parents). There was a book in the toilet...

The scene is the parents' house. In the past – World of United Parents

… The progenitors of the World, heaven and earth, are united in a circle, infinitely and eternally merged, since nothing has yet come between them to create duality from the original unity. (Neumann 1998),

in the present - my office, and, perhaps, she herself, in the future - her house, she will soon become a mother.

The toilet is the most mysterious place in the house, the cleanest - “the face of the hostess”, as I was recently told, and the dirtiest at the same time, a place of common use and privacy, a place where the interests of all residents of the apartment intersect, a latrine, a place of renewal and cleansing, a sacred place where the most successful ideas and revelations come. And at the same time, this is a place of pain and pleasure, joy, there are people who congratulate those leaving the toilet - “with relief!”, protest - let’s remember the walls smeared with poop or the terrifying constipation “if you don’t accept it, I won’t give it up” to children, etc. d. and so on. And, of course, this is a place of creation and birth. The most environmentally friendly position for human birth is squatting...

It must be said that women have been giving birth while lying on their back relatively recently - for the last 200-300 years. Since time immemorial, people gave birth either standing, or sitting on their knees or squatting, that is, in fact, they practiced... childbirth with the body in a vertical position...
In Russia, women often gave birth in a heated bathhouse, and the midwives who assisted in childbirth did not allow the woman in labor to lie down for a long time, forcing her to walk, sometimes to the point of complete exhaustion, and even step over obstacles. Apparently, this tactic was chosen based on the considerations that the vertical position and movements promote contractions of the uterus.
Since ancient times, China has maintained the tradition of childbirth while sitting. In Europe, this delivery tactic was also quite common. In Holland, until the last century, the bride's dowry included a chair for childbirth. Historical sources indicate that until the 16th century, women in France gave birth mainly on all fours, and in Germany - on a chair. (http://www.9months.ru/press/2_02/32/)

And in this place “a book started”, not just, but “Human Anatomy”, seventh grade, probably remember? A certain paragraph, a very detailed section, how people reproduce…”, associations about some knowledge that needs to be read, known, absorbed, swallowed, comprehended, appropriated, that is, made your own. It’s difficult - there is a limitation in time, in space - a toilet, a place that cannot be occupied for a long time (in one performance there was such an inscription on the wall of the glass shop: “Drink quickly, someone else needs your mug!”), You need to be in time. Increased tension - they are “rushing” there. There is a direct indication of the time “seventh grade” and this is thirteen to fourteen years old, puberty, menstruation, final awareness of gender.

And at the same time, the client reflects that this is a dedication, when she reads this, she will be ready to give birth to a child and be born herself - to leave analysis.

I locked myself in the toilet to read this. They start banging on the door - Svetka (my sister five years younger), my mother and my cousin Alka. Sisters with the same goal as me - to read the same section. Mom on the other side: “Give me this book, I have to tear out these pages, you can’t read this!” I don’t open the door for anyone - I negotiate with my mother. “Because I didn’t know this, I ran into such problems in my time! And you want to deprive us of this information now!”

My own sister - in the analysis there was a lot of hatred and envy towards the younger sister, she is like “all my mother’s”, “I sometimes don’t understand where my mother is, where my sister is”, “I’m afraid to tell my sister - my mother will find out everything right away”, attempts are now being made to improve relations with my sister, I gradually accepted the idea that my sister was also following the path of separation, but in a different way, not through analysis.

Mother's sister is a very interesting character! Their parents died early and my client’s mother had to become a mother to her brother and sister. And the sister is not grateful! – I chose my path and became an artist. But my client also followed the same path: first, for her mother, she studied to be an accountant, and then received a second higher education for herself, as a designer. Works as a designer.

Association with me - I am that same mother who is breaking, who wants to tear out the pages and, thus, keep her in analysis. But, at the same time, I am a cousin (Alya - Olya) and, I think, very strong feelings of envy are hidden here. Envy of me - there was a break in her analysis associated with my pregnancy and the birth of a child. And the fear of envy and hatred of the mother - the mother will no longer be pregnant, her time of childbearing is inexorably passing. Again, I’ll tear out the pages and my client won’t leave, won’t leave me. And she needs to hold the book, lock herself in the most sacred place of the house and hold it, no matter what the cost!

The tension rises, the action unfolds:

I don’t open the door for anyone - I negotiate with my mother.

Associations dance around a closed door. A few years ago, the door was open, she recalls how her mother could enter her room without knocking, when she was changing clothes and standing talking to her, she was embarrassed, but she could not point her mother to the door. Her ex-boyfriend—my mother really liked him! - with whom they lived in an apartment with his mother and there was simply no door at the entrance to their room ... Despite the fact that he had an apartment ... She endured for a long time, then left. And, thanks to this guy, there was so much anger and despair later, first at him, as a safer object, and then at all mothers combined!

She doesn’t open the door, although some part of her still wants to and she says thoughtfully: “not long ago, I probably would have slipped a book under the door”...

And - at the climax - her cry sounds: “Because I didn’t know this, I got into such problems in my time! And you want to deprive us of this information now!”

18 years old... love... Of course, the real one, with sex. Mom comes at night to the lovers and pulls her daughter out of the arms "quickly home!". But this is not the worst. The worst thing is the abortion, which she went for out of fear... of her mother. Moreover, she secretly took the direction and adjusted herself morally. But mom found the direction in her purse. Then she was taken to “mom’s” hospital, and an abortion was performed by “mom’s” doctor friends. This story was never discussed. Moreover, when the client came into analysis, she did not mention the unborn child for a long time. And only dreams obsessively repeated the picture: she gave birth to a child and immediately hid it in a closet, then in a travel bag ... And it is necessary, in a few days, to open it. What's there? I woke up in great fear.

There was so much grief when this story surfaced! And the fear that there will never be children again, and the defense “why do I need a child at 18 years old?! I would never have made a career!” She talked to the child in an active imagination - it was definitely a boy! She mourned “he would now be seven years old and he would go to school” ... She even went to the oncological children's clinic and donated blood ...

Then there were other dreams and other feelings, and in the end, both the unborn child and his unborn mother forgave and understood each other.

And then the World of Mothers arose

Faust (shuddering):

On the way down to the Mothers! What is this word

Is it worse than a thunderclap? (Goethe)

and she - now pregnant - began to think that she would come out of this toilet completely different. Born and born. Mother.

And I said that she would soon become a mother herself and heard her voice: “I myself will become a mother ... I see how Mom becomes just a mother ... I feel how the Great Goddess becomes an ordinary person” ... She said and she herself was frightened of what she said.

… that every mother includes her daughter and every daughter her mother, and that every woman extends back into her mother and forward into her daughter. (Jung 2005)

We were silent for the remaining five minutes of the session...

… if a highly adored object is associated by the unconscious with the anal area, we are forced to conclude that this is a way of expressing respect and attention, similar to what a child feels … we can also mention the close connection between excrement and gold in alchemy, the lower value is combined with the highest. (Jung cit. by Samuels 1997)

The name includes “a place of purification and renewal,” so what kind of place is this? According to Peter Löwenberg (Chair of the IPA Committee on China; Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); Training Analyst and Supervisor at the New Center for Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles, California.):

The psychoanalytic setting is a safe holding space where the patient can bring anxiety, which is considered a signal of unconscious threat and danger (S. Freud, “Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety,” 1926). Psychoanalysis is a space in which anxieties are dosed and unconscious fears and their sources are explored.

The psychoanalytic setting serves as a creative container (Wilfred R. Bion, “Learning from Experience,” (1962) in Seven Servants (New York: Jason Aronson, 1977), p. 90.). What I mean is that the psychoanalytic setting and the analyst are not some inert containers…. rather, the analytical setting is like an oak whiskey barrel that interacts with distilled wort for a process of aging, detoxification, modification and change. The barrel is dried and fired, which creates a thick layer of charcoal inside it so it can absorb unwanted impurities and impart flavors. Oak barrels for aging whiskey are not airtight; they are permeable to air, allowing the alcohol to evaporate. Over ten years of aging, which softens the flavor, absorbs the aroma of the wood and imparts color, about a quarter of the alcohol is lost to evaporation. The Scots, who use American whiskey barrels, call it "Angel's Share." (Peter Löwenberg)

And this place in this story is the office, and the dream space itself.

“What is below is like what is above, and what is above is like what is below. And all this just to perform the miracle of one and only.” (Hermes Trismigistr "Emerald Tablet" quoted by Serge Hutin).


I. Jacobi “The Psychological Teachings of Carl Gustav Jung” K. G. Jung “Spirit and Life”, M., “Practice”, 1996 translation by L. Akopyan
E. Neumann “The Origin and Development of Consciousness” “Refl-book” “Wackler” 1998
E. Samuels “Jung and the Post-Jungians”, M., “CheRo”, 1997
Goethe "Faust" Part II, act 1, scene "Dark Gallery" translated by B. Pasternak
K.G. Jung Soul and Myth. Six archetypes” M., AST Minsk Harvest, 2005
Joan Chodorow. The body as a symbol: dance and movement in analytical therapy http://www.isra-trainings.com/articles/dance/body_as_symbol.html
“The psychoanalytic setting as a creative space” Peter Löwenberg http://www.bpaonline.ru
Serge Hutin. Daily life of alchemists in the Middle Ages. M., Young Guard, Palimpsest, 2005.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published