The imagery for my website is inspired by this dream and by conversations with a friend whom I have lost touch with. Bernie, if you ever read this site, call me, please!!
November 11, 1993
Dream #263. The Feminine
In the dream I am in an unknown, misty, far away place. Someone speaks of Eleusinian mysteries. I reach behind me to lift away three layers of something like cardboard. A banker (?) tells me I cannot lift these layers away, but I do anyway. “You can’t stop me,” I say. I awaken from the dream speaking to myself: “I am, for the very first time, pleased I am woman.” I feel whole, connected, warm, filled with deep and peaceful energy. Somewhere there is a sense of apples. I remember the apples from the dream the next morning when I am in Strathcona Christian Academy, in th assistant principal’s officer. There, on her desk, is a ceramic apple. I immediately remember the dream!
This dream comes five years after I start working with my dreams. Five years! Now, some twenty years later, my dream work and writing are entitled Dreams Along the Way … for good reason! My inner voice clearly told me to write, Dreams Along the Way in the late 1980s. Later, when I wrote my doctoral thesis, I insisted upon the title as The Apple and the Talking Snake. The Apple and the Talking Snake: Feminist Dream Readings and the Subjunctive Curriculum, can be found on this site. I know doctoral dissertations feel overwhelming. I don’t agree. Open the document. There you can read about dreams, the unconscious, symbols, archetypes through the novel, Unless. My dissertation is very personal. It is an autobiographical, theoretical, literary anthropological excavation. A dig. A dig into my own unconscious, archetypes and all through a novel written about the lives of women. My dissertation was also a spiritual exodus. Fundamental to its writing and to my life as a woman is the process of gaining the inner authority to question the bedrock upon which my subjectivity rests. For years I have been trying to excavate the archaic remnants of my underst6anding of the Adam and Eve myth. One strategy for working with dreams is imaginary conversations.
In my dream journal I wrote a conversation with my imaginary female Wisdom figure, Sophia, who lives in my sunroom. If you are not familiar with Sophia, read the Book of Wisdom. Although not widely know, there is indeed a feminine voice of Wisdom in the Christian Bible! The Protestant Church eradicated the Book of Wisdom from the King James Version, but that is another story!
Recently, I spent a month in Costa Rica resting, swimming, reading, walking and meditating. I read Margaret Atwood’s, Cat’s Eye. The book was written in 1989. Atwood was already using imaginary conversation in her writing. I wonder why I didn’t know about imagination? So, I tried it and it is amazing. I highly recommend working with imaginary conversations to “talk” to symbols in your dreams. Here is a sample conversation I wrote allowing Sophia to talk to me. Sophia was clear when she said, “This thought form, this archetype of the Father–well–it near killed me. I have been rattling away in this dark, musty cave for over 35 millennia. Dig deeper, Pearl. I have shed my skin many times. I am transformative. I will help you to transform. I want to fully emerge into human consciousness in this century. (Personal Journal, Spring, 1998).
Working with this dream, I realized that much of teh strength of the patriarchal code lies in its endorsement by a god. Authority over woman is vested in many by this god. This “advantage” is difficult to overcome since fear of God is inscribed in our consciousness from birth. This fear will repress any impulse we might have to revolt against the rules (The Second Sex, Beauvoir, 1953). You will go to hell if you do not obey. Beauvoir wrote this book when I was eight years old. I read it in my twenties but it wasn’t until midlife that I came to question the authority of the Church. Scripture read from the pulpit and also studied in the Baltimore Catechism did not provide me with any models for woman as teh moral center of her own life. Prior to Vatican II in 1962, scriptural interpretation was the province of the clergy and the Catholic laity were “instructed” in Bible understanding!! Even though our culture believes it is secular. Absolutely untrue. Patriarchal consciousness rests on religious beliefs in a God-made-in-man’s-own-image while woman is fatally flawed, tempting man into sinfulness via that damn apple. The myth of course is a story … but young children are not taught the story of Adam and Eve as a story but rather as a literal belief!! If you do not believe me, you can even read my Ancient History grade ten textbook. It includes the Garden of Eden and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon as real places. Serious. The Judeo-Christian cosmology underlying teh Western literary canon and Western civilization sees Eva as responsible for the downfall of mankind–a flawed moral center. Now, I no longer believe this for one minute. But it was a great, long, huge struggle. And, I am grateful for the dream. My journey parallels that of many men and women in our culture. Flawed Biblical interpretations form the depth of our collective unconscious. Archetypes are buried deep. However, as hidden as they are, they emerge and rule our lives without our conscious knowledge. Next blog will show you how to use as if as a form for understanding your dreams. And, I’ll introduce the characters in Shields’ book, Unless.