Dream Analysis/Interpretation by Dream Analyst
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The lady in the red dress

Please try to interpret this dream that has been puzzling me:

My cousin and I were sitting in my room laughing and talking like we always have done. I sat on the side of the bed and she sat before me in a chair. [the room in my dream was my actual bedroom] Suddenly, out the corner of my eye, to my left, there appeared a window (or had it always been there?), and when I looked, there sat a heavyset/full figured black woman with long thick hair with beautiful thick waves, wearing a red dress that covered her fully from neckline to toe (except her wrists and hands--I couldn't see her feet), and flowing in the wind beside a beautiful full and rounded tree. I studied the dress for a moment trying to make sense out of all the parts that seemed to be floating on the breeze. It looked of an era I was not familiar with, of a ancient time. She smiled at me. I invited her in and she climbed through the window. She sat beside me on the bed, I felt her weight. Children were suddenly everywhere. They weren't my children but they were related to me (perhaps some of my cousins) and one sat in my lap as the others ran around the room, jumping on the bed, walking in the chair behind my cousin and even playing in the lady's hair. The one in my lap kept taking the phone on my nightstand off the hook. I popped him on his little hand and told him "no", after repeated attempts to get him to stop verbally. She admonished me by saying not to hit the child, "for he does not know that what he does is wrong." He slid out of my lap and proceeded to join the other children. Meanwhile, my cousin and I sat enrapt to this woman, her every word. I asked her if she was God/god. She shook her head and said, "of course not." I asked her if she were evil, a demon, and when she said no, I asked her name. She looked at me as if to say, "girl, why do you ask? You know you will never remember it", but she told me anyway. It was a long name of many names, the first beginning with the letter "a". Soon as she said it, it was heard, then abuptly forgotten, just as she'd implied.
I proceeded to ask her questions, question about God, the universe, divination and the occult, about the heavens and the bodies in them, and she answered all of my questions with such simplicity even providing "holographic" visualizations to fully explain. I told her I heard the Tarot was evil. Suddenly there appeared behind me at the foot of my bed near the wall a display stand packed with boxes of what I assumed to be ancient tarot cards. On the box there was the side profile (a blackened silouette) of an african man with short kinky hair and proud african lips facing to my left hand side on an all white background with a thin black border. I wanted to look at the cards, but was afraid that they would serve as a distraction and that time was a factor. I got up and walked around her, though, and looked closely at the boxes so as to remember the image (and I do very well), but did not touch them. Instead, I turned back to her and she said that "the cards were a tool, and no more evil than a spoon. It was what one does with them that would make them evil." I wanted to talk with her more (my cousin was silent the entire time), but suddenly the sun(?) shone so brightly through another (my actual) window and she got up and proceeded to walk into the light. She said something (I can't remember now) before she left, turning to me with such a gentle and loving smile, and disolved like particles of light into the beam. My heart was filled with joy and gladness, and promise. Then the sun shone at its regular level of brightness and I knew she was gone. We had sat there and talked all night, she, my cousin and I, but I can't remember most of the conversation. After she left, there was a knock on my bedroom door. One of the children (an older male teenager) was saying that it was time to go to a ?graduation? and we all left the house. The next scene was of me walking down the busy downtown street of Front Street in Memphis, TN past the pyramid in the morning sun. I awoke.

Upon waking, I contacted my dad who is a deacon of his church and relayed to him the dream. He said that she was a demon spirit, a temptress, but everything in me said that the opposite was true. Still, I have no clue of her being. Was she an angel, an ancestral or guardian spirt? Perhaps. But evil, no.

Later, trying to recall the dream, I wondered if she was actually me, for my full African name is as long as hers and starts with an 'a'. But her names were longer, older than mine. I have never seen her again.

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Re: The lady in the red dress

Ericka,
I will provide a complete interpretation either later today or in the morning. Have a long day of 'social obligations' and have too little time to give a complete interpretation this morning.

A few quick comments. The 'full figured black woman' is most likely a shadow aspect. And she is a part of you, the real you. She carries a 'heavy weight' which suggests there is something in your life that carries a heavy weight. This is likely what the dream is trying to address, an attempt to resolve an emotional conflict {dreams are therapeutic for the psyche, much like the immune system is for the body}.

This conflict may have its origins in your childhood since there is an inclusion of language that prominently mentions children. The lingering affect probably has influenced who you are in adulthood.

It could be your religious indoctrination as a child is a part of this emotional conflict. Have you explored other spiritual possibilities or has your religious upbringing been so strong against such possibilities there is now a conflict of conscience? The mention of tarot suggests something related to this particular philosophy.

You are right, your father is mostly wrong about this being a 'demon spirit'. Although it may be addressing a negative experience{s} in your life, the fact that the dream is presenting this to you is a positive, an attempt to help resolve emotional issues. Our demons are always psychological, not something literal as taught by many religions. Any demons you 'possess' are of a psychological nature and the dream's function is to help you realize what those psychological 'demons' are. So you are right that this is a positive.

The Memphis pyramid would represent the 'trinity'. But not the trinity of the Christian church but the 3 aspects of being within you {body, mind and spirit}. In Jungian psyche the spiritual aspect is inherent in all of us. But it has more to do with wholeness and a 'nature' spirituality {tarot}. The goal is wholeness and balance in your life, where spirituality, beyond mere religion, is your guide. But first you must confront this 'shadow' and resolve the emotional aspects that she represents. 'She', after all is discovered and resolved, will be that positive woman
you can become, that true person within wanting to be let out. She will provide that harmony and balance you seek in life.
But first the discovery of what she represents as the 'darkness' in your life, and resolving those emotional issues.

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 60 Murfreesboro, Tn

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Re: The lady in the red dress

Thanks, Jerry. I read your interpretation and I am a bit puzzled, it doesn't quite fit me. Well, at least the childhood part. I don't have unresolved issues with my past thanks to a lot of self exploration and discussions with my family and friends. However, the fact that this woman represents a shadow aspect of me was a concept I had not considered and feels right. My dream felt as if it was more related to my current situation more so than a previous one. I know the past events are construction blocks for the present, and I assumed it related to a bit of my secret guilt as it related so much information to my studies in the secret mysteries. I had been interested in the more spiritual side of religion my whole life, but it wasn't until recently that I had begun to actively seek to delve into it...beginning with the buying a pack of tarot cards.

My religious upbringing was really liberal. My mother allowed me to visit any church-- any kind, as long as I learned something new. I went to many types of fellowships as a child, from the Shine of the Black Madonna, to christian prayer meetings. So my attention never really focused on the religion, only the message. As a teen, I learned of The Brothers Righteous, street preachers, and Dr. Malachi Z. York who offered alternative religious insight to the mainstream, though a bit on the crazy side.

I agree she may be a shadowy aspect of myself, as she was a black heavyset woman as I am. I figured the spirit incorporated an image I could relate to.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that you might not be right about any of this, it just felt more like a message dream from spiritual worlds more so than psychoanalytical one. For it proceeds dreams related to the tree of life, a rainbow serpent, defeating the devil (the Lords Prayer works even in my sleep!), angelic universities, the battle of the light and the dark over the ruler-ship of the earth, celestial reformations and alignments and other dreams... the list could go on. I felt as if she was encouraging my continued quest for the synthesis of religions in order to find the True Religion (by the way, they all reflect back to Egyptian and Hindu cultures, which seem to reflect the same ultimate message). So maybe you're right that this dream relates to my break in mainstream religion to study the more underground controversial ones.

I appreciate your interpretation, and look forward to the rest of it as it caused me to really think about the message I had received.

What stood out in my mind in the dream was her admonishment of me hitting the child, her reference to the tarot as a tool, and the fact that she was sitting under a tree... a tree that is in a lot of my dreams. It made me think of Inana, Isis, Eve, Sophia and the Christ upon waking. Later it made me think of Lilith teaching Eve in the garden.

But what of the boy saying it was time to go and us proceeding to a graduation?

I hope this information helps to fill in some blanks and I look forward to further interpretations.

Thanks again... I have so much to think about while I wait.

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Re: The lady in the red dress

Ericka,
I'll provide more detailed comments on your dream and response in the morning. But I do want to address some aspects of your response. In particular about the 'spirit' world.

One realization that has come to me in my journey to wholeness, my inner search for truth, is life is first and foremost psychological. And so is the dream. Dreams are about the emotions. And although there are spiritual elements to the human psyche, it is not 'spirits' the dream puts iys focus. Those 'spirits' would be something from outside you, having as much to do with beliefs and faith and not psychology. Dreams deal with what is within, the inner spirit. It leads to the greater Self, the spiritual identity that must take the lead in life and over come the ego's influences dedicated to desire of the body and the manifestation of fears within the mind. It is purely psychological.

Integration of the Self: Because of its unconscious, trans personal nature, the Self can never be truly integrated by the ego. What the ego must learn to do surrender its need to always be in control by recognizing the value of the Self's guidance and deferring to its superior wisdom. In myths this is often symbolized by the ego-bearer's learning to trust the mystical figures who are directing him/her even when their advice seems dangerous and contradictory. On the other hand, the ego must always maintain a safe distance from the unconscious, recognizing the dangerous power that can never be defeated or controlled.

To look outward for spirit is the misinterpretation of the symbols. That is what mythology is about, the universal stories of a culture seeking spirit, seeking harmony. We must look inward to find our own true spirit, and bring it out so the ego is not controlled by fears and desires. Your spirit will talk to you, yes. But it is a spirit not of a mysterious nature but one based on the emotional energies that make up who you are, the greatest being a desire for a harmoneous and balanced life. The spirit is buried within. The conscious mind wants it to be buried so to indulge in the ways of the material world. The task is to dig deep into the psyche and find your own true spirit. Creativity is one aspect of spirit. A true spiritual life {based on deeds, WWJD and not so much on faith} comes about when the emotional issues have been confronted and there is a genuine work toward resolutions. That is acquition of the Self.

Jung included the spiritual aspect as one of the key aspects of the psyche {along with the anima/animus, the shadow and the mana personalities - a wisdom that is not accessible to intellect but comes from the unconscious}. All the above come about by going inward, a self analyzing of ones own life. Spirit is found within. Outer spirits are manifestations that fulfills what is lacking inside. As I stated earlier such spirits are to be found in mythologies. Unfortunately too many of these mythologies become religions and require us to look outward for salvation. True salvation is a psychological journey. That requires going inward.

Jerry

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Re: The lady in the red dress

Ericka,
Your exploration of the spiritual world is probably a focus of your dream. That would explain the strong feeling of 'spirit' you experienced. And your heavy set black woman would be a part of that exploration. Joseph Campbell, my spiritual mentor, spoke of the such figures in a dream. The 'black Madonna' is how he described it. But also associated with the Hindu goddess Kali, black death {death to ego and resurrection to spirit}. I had such a dream when I was in my late 40s, a large black woman who had the features of Kali. And I was at that stage of my journey where she would be an expected visitor in my dreams, reflecting my waking life experiences to the appropriate stage of my journey.

But your black woman is of the same sex as you which suggests a probable 'shadow' figure. Your black woman may be playing dual roles. One of a realization of spiritual aspects reflecting your exploration of different spiritual concepts. The other the conflicts of early childhood indoctrination of religious concepts. The first part of your dream is so focused on 'children' that I can not help but believe it is addressing early life experiences. Realizing the stimuli that makes one who they become as adults is often hard to understand. But all of us are a product to some extent {and for most a large extent} of our childhood, this has been shown in many scientific studies and makes good since.

If you take the language in the first part of your dream and apply it to personal experiences {what is happening in the dream to the different characters is symbolic of your experiences as a child in some context} then you may better understand the underlying reasons for the need for exploration of other spiritual possibilities at your present age. If i read it right your father, as a deacon, was probably strict in your spiritual/religious upbringing. But now there is a rebellion of sorts to those childhood experiences. You have your own mind, the world is much different because of the technological age we are in. The world is much smaller and we have avenues to learn more about other spiritual possibilities. We all are searching for that one thing that best fits, at least those of us who have a free spirit yearning for expression. Very often that self expression leads to creative aspects, the one thing that often leads to a true spiritual realization and identity that fits with who we really are.

The cousins, or related children, in your dream are aspects of yourself. You have to look at dreams speaking a language of metaphor and not literal. Your dreams are about YOU and your emotions. The 'related' aspects in the dream is related to your emotional self.
In that context what is being done is something done to you {this basic Jungian dream psychology, something I use everyday when working with dreams that proves to be reliable if not correct}.

The dream language is interesting since it does point so prominently to a powerful female figure. This may be due to the early stages of your journey to a true spiritual identification {assuming I am correct this what is happening in your life}. The dream is addressing two issues, one of childhood and early learning experiences and the other as an adult and the early stages of your new spiritual identification. This is SOP {standard operating procedure for a dream. There is always at least two applications to every dream, the more recent waking life experiences and the deeper and older underlying causes for who you are as an adult. This would explain the use of the language that includes both children and the powerful woman in your dream.

Speaking of powerful black woman. Does that fit your personality? One thing I have discovered in many dreams is they do betray personality traits. If this not already a trait you possess it may be one that needs to be 'let out' so you can be that true person you are. Dreams are about truth, uncensored, without the biased ego putting its spin as the lead.

Not remembering her name. That may be the conscious ego self trying to censor what is within the unconscious. Dreams do not censor but ego does. That is a key conflict between conscious and unconscious aspects. And the name first beginning with 'a'. You are at the beginning of a great realization {again assuming I am correct in my assessments} of spirit. But with every beginning something must have come to an end. What is at the end of your name? An a.
Dreams can act in strange ways but this would not be an unusual thing for your dream.

Getting away from your dream for a moment. In psychological terms the death and resurrection of Jesus on the cross is a metaphor what must happen to the individual to discover the true spiritual self. A death to the ego centered self and a resurrection to the spiritual Self. My formula for life, being a recovering Christian who rejects religion because of its great reliance on patriarchy, is WWJD. Less focus on faith and a great focus on deeds. Jesus lived out of the feminine aspects {love, compassion, giving, intuitive} whereas God had this masculine identity of jealousy, warrior like, pure masculine traits of patriarchy.

The second part of your dream is very interesting. The holographic vizulizations are interesting.
Holography-A very simple hologram can be made by superimposing two plane waves from the same light source.
The same light source. That language would fit with the two aspects of the dream I mentioned previously. In The dream you are in dialog with your greater Self again the dream is about you and the characters are related to you, are you}. This seems to be powerful stuff. For an African American woman {another reason to look at this black woman as a shadow figure} it is hard to get away from a religious upbringing that was strict, more so than a white woman since the African American community is more dedicated to the 'faithful concepts' of their religion {homosexuality acceptance being harder for black Americans also}.
I sense the language of the dream 'goddess', and I believe this image to be your inner goddess, is also interesting.
"I turned back to her and she said that "the cards were a tool, and no more evil than a spoon."

"She said something (I can't remember now) before she left, turning to me with such a gentle and loving smile, and dissolved like particles of light into the beam. My heart was filled with joy and gladness, and promise."

These are strong statements thta would be opposite of your Christian upbringing would they not? But because dreams speak nothing but the truth, this 'literal' language from that inner guide is the truth for who you are, or are to become. You are ready for your graduation. This may be the reason at this particular time in your dream for this particular dream. You are ready to begin that journey of self discovery to who you really are, to a higher level of realization.

We 'Jungians' tend to believe we possess a higher consciousness because we have accepted the unconscious self as more powerful than the conscious ego, much like the heretic Christians the Gnostics of the first and second centuries who believed very much in Jesus but more in the style of Buddhism, looking within oneself for spiritual identification instead of looking outside.

Back to your dream. The ending of a dream is important. Your dream says this:
"The next scene was of me walking down the busy downtown street of Front Street in Memphis, TN past the pyramid in the morning sun.

I see this as a powerful statement to where you are at this time in your life. The whole dream has a powerful force to it. This is why you see it as a great spirit. The Front Street is your persona. The pyramid is your inner trinity, body, mind, spirit. The morning sun is the new horizons in your life. The sun, a god in itself, is the disposition of how life will become when you follow that inner guide, the heavyset/full figured black woman with long thick hair with beautiful thick waves. Black is a metaphor for the unconscious. She is the unconscious guide, the goddess within. She is you.

I do believe there are childhood issues at play in the dream. My experience with working with dreams {since 1998} has shown such language most often is addressing such childhood aspects. But i sense the inclusion of children is more likely an end to its influence and not a beginning. As you state you have already worked through those issues. That is often the greatest task before realizations can come about about the true self. And now you find yourself at that stage of going to the next step, to a higher level of consciousness, one that lives out of a true spiritual aspect of life. This is a powerful dream and it probably reflects a powerful time i your life. Take this and go with it and you will discover so many new aspects about yourself, life, and greater spirits that exist beyond the norm of the average life. Much like the 'Jungians' who have discovered that life is a psychological journey and that by living from the spiritual center life provides bounties of bliss. We tend to live more from the feminine aspect, much as did Jesus and the Buddha. Enlightened lives blessed with higher realizations.

Note: I haven't 'proofed' my response so please overlook any misspoken language or misspelling.

Jerry

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Re: The lady in the red dress

Jerry:
Thank you for further insight into my dream. I wrote a reply but it got erased, so lucky for you, you get the less wordy version of my reply-although still quite wordy:

Your last reply was to take the symbols in the dream as allegory, symbolically relating them to my waking life and live thoughts buried in my subconscious. You started by saying the exploration of the spiritual world is probably the focus of my dream, and it was, but in this sense the spiritual world was coming to meet me. It was outside of me (sitting outside under a tree and waiting to be invited in) and I invited it in (into my house, into my bedroom through a window, into my mind) and I was looking for it (looking outside and seeing her there) although it was unexpected. The concept of her as the Black Madonna resonates because she had a mother-like demeanor. She felt like a protectress, a watcher and a guide...a mother.

Sometimes people have experiences which are hard to explain to those who have never had them. My touch with the spirit worlds are not new. And it is not always in dreams. I have had contact with individuals who have imparted life-altering advice to me regarding situations they couldn't have known about before vanishing into thin air, answers to private secret prayers, almost word to word, like our correspondence here, by a stranger never seen by me again or before, and visitations in my youth of strange beings only I could see recalled by my mother. Could these be the childhood experiences of which you speak? Probably not.

While she may even represent a shadow of myself, this woman was distinct from me, and I remember vividly (unlike any other dream) her eyes, her nose and her lips. I can see the strands of her hair her smile, and remember the weight of her sitting next to me on the bed as if it was twenty minutes ago. I SAW her where everyone else, like my cousin, the children and the teen all had obscure blurry/changeable faces, like my normal dreams. I asked her name and it was not mine; and although I, too, have an African name, the name she spoke was not mine. I had her to repeat it for recognition, for rememberance. I may have been of her, but she was not of me. She was an ancient, older... waaaaay older being and her name was a reflection of that. That part was not forgotten. If she is me she is a gentler, kinder, more refined and receptive me. I was in awe of her presence and was humbled by it. There was the urge to bow down.

Allegorically speaking, upon further introspection, based on what I know of me (I'm still learning me), and based on some of your thoughts above I have concluded the following: She represents my higher conscious in tune with the divine. The children represent ideas running around my head (my room) with no real outlet, just there looking for outward expression (jumping, walking, playing, combing her hair, but only in the room) creative expression. Due to my newness with the arcane, I, too, can be seen as a child (there's your childhood reference), as it was all in a sense, new to me. Her admonishment of me punishing the child was symbolic of me admonishing myself for punishing myself for doing things I don't yet understand to be wrong, to practice patience with myself and my ideas even when I am afraid they will cause a disconnect, distraction or delay to messages I hope to receive. It wasn't my upbring that made me think that a study into the arcanum was "evil tools", it was the people around me currently but I knew that I was only using them for self-exploration and for divine study (not for spell casting and divination, per se). In my hands, they were no more harmful than a spoon.

The rebellion you sense may be from the current mainstream. My father, although a deacon now, did not dictate my spiritual development in harsh over-tones, rather he has always encouraged its on development and maturation through my natual curiosity. The only indoctrination by him was to trust in God, honor my parents and do not blaspheme against the Holy Spirit in doing what I know to be morally and ethically wrong. (He calls me the prodigal daughter.) No matter what religion, that is sound advice. My upbringing was not as a christian, as I studied all religions even as a child. Nor is my family a stereotypical black family. What was taught by my mother and father was religious tolerance which caused the need for synthesis on my part... which later lead to the arcane and pagan ideologies.

The focus of the dream was never the children. There was the recognition that they were there, everywhere, but I couldn't really pay attention to them because my full focus was on her the entire time. I didn't stop to look at my companion (my cousin in the chair), nor the children around the room. The only time I really focused on the child in my lap was when I was distracted by the buzzing sound of the phone being off the hook, and by the time of the display of cards, I don't recall the children being there, if they were, they were silent or calmed.

The overall sense was as you said, that I am embarking on a great spiritual journery. Her ultimate message seems to have been to carry on with out fear or self punishment or doubt. Where you stated my ego must be sacrificed so that my soul may live, I found this theme is reflected as a Life Lesson in my other studies, but not in this dream. This wasn't about death (Kali) or sacrifice (Jesus) this was about understanding, acceptance and synthesis of knowledge.

To answer your question, yes, I am a strong(headed) black woman, as you have probably summized, and her traits were those I would seek to emulate. She was wise, gentle, and beautiful with features I had never seen before in normal black people. The eyes were too almond shaped, the lips too pronounced (not very protruding, just very lined). I have never seen a beauty like that. I asked her name and asked her to repeat it, but the name was not important which is why I didn't remember, the communion was. It was my ego self that wanted identification, which, as you put it, why it was forgotten.

I am curious though...why/how does the pyramid symbolize the trinity when it has five points? Wouldn't that point to the spirit of man? Could my passing of it represent a transcendence to another state of being on to another state of mind...ascending to the level of the soul? That being my graduation instead of which you speak? For it was not my goal, but in passing. And walking down the street (one filled with cable cars, cars, buses, a tram, and trucks on one side and boats on the other) I was proceeding on my path, but that was the hard way to go which required more effort... this alluded to me to be progressive, but hard in nature, an as busy as the street was, I was walking alone in faith that I would get to where I was going timely. I was not hurried.

(Jerry, I like you: You make me think a little harder.)

Again, let me say that my upbringing was of a spiritual nature, but not necessarily a Christian one or "religious" in the true sense of the word. My mother fostered my spiritual growth, encouraging me to delve into the other religions of my own choosing for understanding, not my father, and expressed to me our ancestors who also stepped away from the Christian mainstream for a more practical spirituality that was not based in the religious foundation set up by the conquerors of the land, the slave owners, but based in nature and a oneness (not a separation with necessary go-between) with the divine. This kind of spirituality is older than Christianity and has no known foundation. Yet Christianity can be found in it as Christianity derives many of its concepts from it. Christianity is one of the youngest mainstream religions, second only to Islam. Do not assume because I am black I am christian with strong faith based christian roots, nor because my father is a deacon, for that will cloud your interpretation as it so has (a bit).

Regardless, I do respect your insight and found it very enlightening and insightful.

But one thing you said really stuck out in my mind:

"...being a recovering Christian who rejects religion because of its great reliance on patriarchy, is WWJD. Less focus on faith and a great focus on deeds. Jesus lived out of the feminine aspects {love, compassion, giving, intuitive} whereas God had this masculine identity of jealousy, warrior like, pure masculine traits of patriarchy."

I have to say something or it just wouldn't be me:
Firstly, WWJD? He would rely on his faith according to the gospel he preached regarding faith. To him faith and works work together. How can you complete a project with 100% surety if you have no faith in its outcome or its purpose? (you built the ladder, climb it)
Secondly, does that statement mean that you reject the father and accept the son? Because Jesus represented the Word of the Father ("why doth thou callest me good, there is none good but one", he said).
Lastly, Jesus preached about the love, compassion, giving, and intuitive nature of God, as did those who herald his coming. God is Love. He is compassionate of man, giving them life and free will to even hate him, and is considered to be Divine Intuition itself.

I say, reject the faith all together. Do not love God halfway. And if you are looking for the feminine aspect, look to the Holy Spirit, which the Christ called Sophia (Wisdom), his mother, when it came down upon him.
The heretics, (my fav branch of Christianity by the way), couldn't agree on what God was, let alone who he was, and was only one of many so named heretical sects of christianity.

The psychology of the mind is a reflection of the spirit and the soul and the ego in union and at battle. Horus needs Seth to live so that there will be cosmic balance. He may defeat him, but not eradicate him (yet). Do not choose the feminine over the masculine, rather, merge them both in sweet synthesis and harmony.

This dream represented my feminine aspect/guide. I have a male one, too.

As above, so below, as within, as without, All and Nothing. Being and unbeing, created yet uncreated. Empty yet full. This is spirituality, this is nature, this is Divine. This transcends all cultures/religions because it is true in them all.

Anyway, thank you so much for your insight. It will help me for a long time to come.

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Re: The lady in the red dress

Ericka,
Let em address the subject of spirit in this post and the rest of your response in another post. This may require a lot of space and not to burden you with so much info I will break my responses down to smaller posts.

First I think it important to distinguish between symbols and allegory. Dreams use symbols and metaphors as its language. A symbol is a word, place, character, or object that means something beyond what it is on a literal level. An allegory involves using many interconnected symbols or allegorical figures in such as way that in nearly every element of the narrative has a meaning beyond the literal level. It is important to understand the difference because a dream symbol is a metaphorical reference representing some aspect of the dreamer. An allegory can be read either literally or as a symbolic reference. Dreams symbols are seldom literal representations. It may be splitting hairs but since dreams are so hard to understand to begin with, a mist-understanding of any part of its reference {about the dreamer} becomes important.

As to the exploration of the spirit world. Dreams explore the inner spirit. Outer spirits, or something from the 'spirit world' is not something of my expertise nor something I really believe in. Just as God is said to be a spirit that must be brought in, my concept of spiritual identity is it is something that already resides within us all and must be brought out. Psychology, and Jung was a psychologist, is a science, based on factual concepts, whereas the 'spirit', as in the concept of God, is something that requires faith and can not be proved, nor disproved. Unfortunately, or fortunately in my assessment, my faith in the religions of the world has been corrupted by experience, the practice of religion being so diminished by the requirements of faith that good deeds are an after thought. I left my Christian faith behind long ago but I have retained my belief in the one concept associated with it. WWJD. If I must be judged, judge me by my deeds and not my faith. I fall short on the later but practice the former with zeal.
I am not an atheist or even an agnostic. I do believe there are mechanisms within nature that rule. What goes around comes around. I have 'experienced' this many times in my 60 years of life and if there is any belief system I live by it is experience {As did Joseph Campbell}.
What happens to a person is most often a result of previous actions on their part. The conflicts in ones life is most often a product of there own making. And as I have stated previously, life is a psychological journey, first and foremost. You can not divorce the psychology from the experience no matter what kind of experience it is.

But I am not about denying or diminishing anyone's religion or religious faith. I believe there are good and bad in all religions {I do not consider Buddhism as a religion as much as it is a psychology}. I can accept anyone no matter their religion, color of skin, or any other difference there may be. It is how they act toward others that makes them different. I try to pattern my life in the framework of WWJD. If I am to associate myself with any religious concept it would be Gnosticism and in particular the Gospel of Thomas, 114 parables spoken by Jesus yet rejected by the church because it requires one to look inward for salvation and not outward. It is pure Buddhism in its language.
Few Christians are even aware of these texts because they do refute many of the basic tenants of the bible. Deliberately in my opinion.

So we are a point where we are really talking about two different things. One is the psychology of dreams for which I have many years of experience consider myself a bit of a authority. The other, the spirit world, outside the psyche is not something I have any degree of experience on which to comment. Nor can I comment on the legitimacy of your experiences nor do I question them. I consider that to be a matter of faith and I have already stated my position on that subject.

When I look at your dreams I do so with the eye of factual concepts that Jung proposed, his interpretation of thousands of dreams and the factual results of those interpretations. My obedience to his concepts come from my own experience in interpreting dreams {more than 3000 posts at the Dream Forum and that does not include the older interpretations of the forum that are no longer available for inspection}. I could not be so lucky to provide as accurate interpretations as I do without a concept of knowledge that has validity. One need only review the posts, interpretations and responses to gage how well Jungian dream philosophy works. I am a mere conduit of greater minds, albeit with an intuitive ability that naturally connects me with Jungian concepts {I use the term 'intuitive Jungian'}. My education is self taught, as is my abilities in web design and my project Myths-Dreams-Symbols. I have in the past, and I know others still do, question my abilities but because I do have this forum I can test and prove my points of contention. Nothing better than good evidence to support ones point of view.

Please take this as an outline of what I 'know' of dreams and the dream world. This is not questioning any of what you state as your experiences. My answers to your dreams will be based on the science and not concepts of possibilities beyond that science. But of course even in science nothing is so factual that it is beyond question. New discoveries in science often change our thinking on many positions. But I can honestly say that the new discoveries in the science of dreams, even those new discoveries of the brain fit with Jung's concepts of the psyche. What appears in your dreams are interpreted using this science. And my intuitive reading of the symbols as metaphors of what is within your psyche. All I require is the age and gender of the dreamer, then let the intuiive psyche go with what I see within the dream. It is a blissful fulfillment of who I am.

Jerry

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Re: The lady in the red dress

Ericka,
Again, don't take my last post as refutation of any experiences or abilities you may have with 'spirit world'. Although I do not have a belief in most of what is described as 'spirits' I don't entirely dismiss the possibilities. What I do believe is that anything that 'is', is within the confines of what is within nature. I believe in the natural world and there is so much we do not understand about that. We need only look at the new discoveries we are making in the underworld oceans. That vast world has barely been explored and the possibilities of what is there will probably continue to amaze us. But even there I see what ever is there is within the scope of the natural world. If there is a God it is within nature and to accurately name it we would have to change the vocabulary from masculine to the feminine. As in Mother Earth.

Back to your dream. I won't comment on all of it because we have covered those parts that address the spirit world and my take on those possibilities. I do wish to comment on what I see in teh dream that does fit with you are, as you have described yourself.

From your comments it was not hard to assess that you are African American. And we know you are female. But the dream's description of the 'heavyset/full figured black woman with long thick hair with beautiful thick waves' would not usually be a dead pan description of the dreamer. After reading your dream with full focus today it became apparent this was you as a strong willed black woman. That came through from the language 'long thick hair with black waves'. I often see hair in dreams as associated with intellect. The black waves is less about the color of your hair or skin as it is about a personality that is afraid to make 'waves'. This is an unconscious or inherent aspect {anything black is often addressing the deep unconscious} that I sensed as being about personality. I often see personality traits with dreams, something I began to realize with the past year or so. The red dress also says something about your personality. Passionate, red about your beliefs, and yourself. Self confidence.
But there seems to be a negative to this aspect of your personality. You can not see your feet. Feet are what you stand on, the foundations that make who you are. I see that coming primarily from childhood. My research has shown that the first years of life are the most important in development. My post from August 29th, New Study-Our personalities may be set as early as 1st grade supports this proposition. Rob Reiner's I Am Your Child campaign in California which advocates the first years of childhood development as being the most important also supports this proposition as do many other recent studies. It is no wonder dreams provide information about these influences, often showing children in some form or degree within a dream. These need not be traumatic experiences in life but merely formative impressions the psyche retains from early life influences and experiences. These influence/experiences are often the foundations of the adult life. Going back over the past year when I saw such images relating to childhood and presenting the possibilities in my interpretations, the response to them have been positive. That is why I believe your dream has focused to some degree and for some reason on your childhood.

The childhood experiences as well as personality traits I sense in dreams are patterns I see often in dreams and have been confirmed in responses to my interpretations. I don't know what Jung thought about these possibilities, I have to read any info on that. But because dreams do betray patterns of emotional behavior it is only proper to believe this is an aspect of the dream we can look for. The more I work with dreams, especially in the last two years {a time when subtle changes came about in my life that I sensed would lead me to higher understanding/realizations} the more insights I understand about the function of dreams. The past two years have been a time when I left the confines of secluded existence and returned to the world of social obligations {returning to fulltime management of my fence construction business I had passed to my son who moved to Orlando and started up an new fence construction business}. This is all a 'defined' part of the cycle of the hero journey, the evolving phases in my life. In Jungian psyche it is known as the Individuation Process. You probably don't recognize it, at least not in the vocabulary I use here, but you are engaged in that same process. The link I provided about teh shadow is a part of that self examination process.

"This wasn't about death (Kali) or sacrifice (Jesus) this was about understanding, acceptance and synthesis of knowledge."
That may well be but the spiritual journey is all about death and resurrection as well as sacrifice. Just when you think you have reached the highest plateau of your spiritual awareness something will bring you back down to reality and you realize you are but in one stage of many stages. Those stages continue until the very last stage, the ultimate stage of death and transition {transition to what or where is another debate of religious ideas and beliefs}.

There is a quote learned from Joseph Campbell that I hold close because it does keep me grounded. "He who knows doesn't know. He who doesn't know knows." A strong personality along with a lot of new realizations is a formula for not knowing as much as you think you know. I was there when I was in my mid 40s. There are so many different experiences in each of our lives that we must work through when we get to that mid-life stage it is a difficult road to travel without 'falling off the path'. And again, just when we think we have rounded the most difficult turns in that road we are met with new challenges that provide new realizations, not only about ourselves but of universal truths that enlighten the soul as well as the senses. The wise old woman or wise old man will eventually show itself, if not in your dreams then in some other fashion or form. Pay great attention to this wisdom aspect because it is a learning experience that will elevate you over an important threshold. The hero path is a model to live life by, a psychological journey that will bring about balance and harmony in life. And that ultimate goal of finding the Holy Grail is a realization that was 'within' you all the time. In Jungian psyche the Holy Grail is the spiritual soul. The myths in all culture speak of it. We need only realize the metaphorical reference in each to understand the universal symbol as it relates to the individual soul.

Recommended reading: The Hero’s Journey
A Campbellian Look at the Metaphorical Path to Personal Transformation

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 60 Murfreesboro, Tn

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Re: The lady in the red dress

Thanks for those responses Jerry. It is great to know where the insight of my interpreter comes from. I respect you opinion. Please know that, first and foremost, or I wouldn't be here discussing this dream with you. It was very personal for me on so many levels.

I am not unfamiliar with Jung. I have watched films on him and have read a few books as well. I respect his theories, but I always felt as if there was something more. My own interpretation comes from the interpreted symbolism of other figures who also have been impacted by his teachings. No, I do not discount them, nor your interpretation. However, I realized that some of the feelings of the dream cannot be expressed verbally to lend to my reasons for insistence. Nevertheless, by my accounts, we both are right! Our thoughts together provide the perfect synthesis of what I feel to be true. There is much psychology there, but there is spirituality as well.

I really appreciate your insight. I, too, fell in love with Gnostic philosophy, cosmogony, and spirituality, and the book of Thomas is one of my favs. To hear that we share so many of the same opinions and foundations helps me to integrate what you say with what I feel.

There is a saying that goes:
If a man knows not, and knows not that he knows not, shun him; if a man knows not and knows that he knows not, teach him; but if a man knows and knows that he knows, follow him.

I feel as if, in this case, I am the second man and you are the third. Sixty years of knowledge is too much to dismiss and I appreciate your wealth in that area and thank you for sharing it with me. That is why I came and am sure to come again.

Your interpretation has opened many avenues of thought into my situation. Hopefully in time you will *SEE* the impact of your interpretation of this particular dream. For,as you said, once I have found my foundation, stabilize my thinking, and become determined in my position, there IS a great spiritual transformation that is due to occur. The old me will die out, sacrificed for the new life I will have been granted for great spiritual work.

Thank you so much.

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