Take a gander at this, Jung! Dreams, dreams, always uncovering the unexpected…
It would begin by looking upon myself laying in the fetal position on top of a cobblestone bridge overlooking a river. I was clad in dingy rags, covered in dirt, and my own feet unnoticeable in blood. It was dark, it was dank, it was the 1800s. The small village that was down the street was illuminated with torches, showing the filth and feces that covered the road. I looked in that general direction, and then upon my hands. Dirt was built up underneath my nails, scars covered my palms and as the cold wind blew, they would sting like knives were being slid across. Out agony, I placed my hands under my arms to seize the pain.
Through my teary-vision I witness the slow progress of a hooded figure. Black. Cold. Sudden eminence fled my entire being, not knowing what is to come from his encroachment. As he grew closer and closer, his face would hit the moonlight in such a way where all would be revealed. His eyes were as the dark as the night, and his smirk as soulless as the earth. His face had no flesh, no meat. All it was a carcass of what once was human. A Grim Reaper.
Following shortly behind the reaper was a mob of people holding pitch forks, and lit torches. They all looked full of anger and hostility, like they all were possessed with the want to kill by the Leader Grim.
The blade in Grim’s hand was close enough to touch my bruised cheek, and I ran far far away – past the town and towards the woods. Once they witnessed my escape, the mob gained speed in attempts to lay one fateful torch to my garb or pitch fork to my leg. As I dodged a tree, they soon followed with as much more furry and hatred than the tree before. With each glance I threw behind, they became closer and closer. Before I could catch another look, my foot was caught underneath a tree’s uplifted root. It immediately twisted my ankle, so much so that I could not stand upon my feet to run once more. Instead, I had to use my bare hands to grip the soil, to try to push forward. I looked behind to see the Reaper to be a few inches from my face, with a clear smile in victory. He raised his blade accompanied with a malicious giggle. And soon as the blade was meant to meet my neck, I wake up.
This dream haunted me for years, recurring at the oddest of times. It would awaken me in the deadest of sleeps, and make me fear going back to bed. But as I have gotten older, I have been able to view my life at a distance, or a third person view. And while many have said before, dreams are conscious representations of the fear, anger, love in our very lives. At that time in my life, my parents were going through a very tumultuous time in their marriage, many fights and many discussions about divorce. My home life was financially unstable since my father was out of work for over three years, where it effected where we lived, the lifestyle we adhered to, the food we ate or lack thereof.
The Grim Reaper symbolizes death, the captor of death, or a finite ending, even the Shadow archetype. It was signifying the end of childhood, the end of innocence, the end of comfort-ability or stability. My life was being turned upside down at the hands of reality. And as much as I did not want it to happen, it was going to affect my everything. The Grim Reaper was acting upon his natural, humanly instinct to kill for wrongdoing or chaos. I would “run away” which can be seen as the anxiety for not recognizing life and its quirks.
The mob could be seen as the other pressures that were present in my life at the time – good grades, a great friend, a loving sister. I took on a lot of responsibility and I was failing in many facets due to the distress I tried to avoid at all costs. And that failure weighed on me, enough to affect my self perception. I did not believe I had worth, or value if I did not have a mother and father who cared like most parents did. They did at a distance, not truly supporting me with the decisions I made or the accolades I received. This can be clearly seen through the rags, dirt, and blood I was wearing. It shows that I was not wanted, and thus not treated in a healthy or loving manner. No one was there to wipe my tears, instead I was the one to raise myself. I was clearly representing the hopeless, lost child archetype, by my outer appearance to the emotional rise within my character. I was innocent, vulnerable, and did not have a sense of the future. I could not see what is to come, for I lacked the wisdom needed to do so, to see past the troubles to seek solutions.
The fact that the dream was placed in the 1800s, can share that the environment I had grown up in was a place of barbarity with “filth and feces (that) covered the road.” People did what was easy and not what was needed, no matter the difficulty. It was dirty, and it was messy. Its chaos could not be tamed or placed in order, much like the life I was living.
Dreams can be seen as the melding of the unconscious and the conscious mind as our true emotions and our reality meet, especially within Carl Jung’s studies of the psyche. Whenever one is in need of enlightenment on their identity, reviewing the most current dreams may reveal the unlikely. The unexpected has the chance to uncover our now. Open your mind to the possibilities that dreams possess, you never know what may come of it.