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Myths Legends and Fairy Tales in Dreams

The ancient myths legends and fairy stories are not to be put aside as ‘fairy stories’, they are incredible facts about our inner life. See The Inner World

Dragons, unicorns, centaurs, Pegasus, the phoenix, fairies, and gods like Shiva and Krishna have never been a real part of our physical world, but they are a very real and powerful part of our inner world, for they are images our inner and dream world create to describe the immense forces we that make up the world of our mind and consciousness.

Example: The fantasy seems to be a part of my internal mythology. I am saying that it is almost as if Western society has created an almost Mickey Mouse, Goofy psyche. Our psyche seems to have little to do with the real underlying powers of life, the real forces in the cosmos, the real processes of life and death. We seem to have little real vision of being a complete human being, procreating, expressing your own creativity and living within society. Instead, it is as if it takes the greatest reality to be economic needs, job searching, becoming rich with money, or finding a partner to have sex with. We fail to live within the ecology of nature and the wider dimensions of the universe.

The mythology of our psyche is important. It is the basic non-rational roots of our personality. Our psyche has its roots in such mythology, and the mythology gives some form to what lies beyond the rational mind and beyond form – perhaps beyond time and space. It is tempting to attempt reliving that mythology. We may even be trapped by it.

The trap is that patterns of behaviour pervade us as individuals, and pervade human society. These patterns are not necessarily leading toward our fulfillment. They exist as behavioural patterns that have existed for a long period of time. They are patterns that developed during our evolutionary shifts. They are not there as a guide to fulfillment. Consciousness, our personal consciousness, does not exist outside of this huge web of social and family patterns. For us to attain any semblance of real personal identity we need to become aware of these patterns in some degree. Such developing awareness is often painful. It is difficult because becoming aware is like a personal earthquake. It probes, it causes upheavals in perspective and values. It changes who we are and how we respond.

Human society is not a rational structure, despite the fact that we like to believe we are in control and rational. Looking at the level of international strife we can see that this is not the case. Irrational patterns of behaviour still play an enormous part in the way individuals and nations respond to each other. Social and personal behavioural patterns have developed out of ancient hierarchical ways of dealing with groups and leadership. Social structure is still linked very directly with the most ancient forms of interaction between primitive groups.

Example: The dream took place in a large very old house or building. Jessica was with me, about her present age, or a bit older, ten or twelve perhaps. We were in a very big room that was dark and full of ancient things, objects, and maybe furniture. I think it was night time too, as I was holding a very large candlestick with about six or seven candles in it. The ‘forces of evil’ were assaulting us. These had no particular form, but seemed very real and capable of physical damage, and overall had the stereotyped imagery of gremlins and soul sucking creatures.

I was trying to hold back the attack; Jessica was slightly behind me to my left. I was using the candlestick a bit like a sword, and their light was important in my defence. At one point I was lighting the candles from another candlestick. But the main defence was my voice. I was singing a powerful rousing song expressing positive life and being. But my voice was difficult to express and faltering. So, I started to push the sound out forcefully, shouting out the song. I woke myself – or Hy woke me – because I was shouting loudly the words ‘Higher. Higher’, meaning I must make my voice higher and louder to push back the assault.

I thought of what I had got about the dream in the last fantasy session and recalled having an image of the candlestick as a wonderful tree crafted in silver. The base was thick strong roots leading up to the trunk of the tree. The candle holders were branches, with beautiful female angelic figure entwined in them. I thought how wonderful a piece of work this was, and that in effect I was the creator as I had imagined it.

I recalled again what I have written above – that the whole dream seems to be an image of the human mind with its antiquity and strange contents from the past. To add to this I have wondered whether in fact fairy stories and myths are a sort of primitive healing process, one that could not bring contents of the psyche directly into awareness, so portrayed them in story form. This is very much in line with the levels of consciousness as outlined by Van Rhijn. The ‘dream, symbolic level in fact. This would be in line with the ideas on compensation I have been exploring, in that the story would in some measure deal with real internal trauma, but in a symbolic way. So, in this sense it is the place – the human mind – where all the magic, the fears, the demons, the myths, religious stories, the fairy stories, have their existence. They are, if compensatory, the armoury of the soul in dealing with trauma.

Also we create our own myths, and get a lot from the old ones. “There are proper myths for proper times of life,” Joseph Campbell said, and he called the fairy tale “a child’s myth.” The psychiatrist Bruno Bettel­helm tells of a five-year-old boy whose mother was reading him “Jack, the Giant Killer.” “There aren’t any such things as giants, are there?” the boy suddenly asked. Be­fore his mother could answer, he went on, “But there are such things as grown-ups, and they’re like giants.” When parents read such fairy tales, Bettelheim believes, they show that they understand the child’s fears of being powerless in a world of adults, and recognise the child’s need to grow toward independence.

Many mythical heroines have tra­ditionally feminine adventures. In the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast,” a young woman overcomes her repug­nance for a “beastly” man-repre­senting sexuality, according to Bruno Bettelheim-and transforms him through her love into a prince. The ending is doubly reassuring because she need not reject her parents to find fulfilment. In fact, she goes to the Beast’s castle to save her father, and her love for her father prepares her to recognise a suitable romantic partner.

If we understand the myths we identify with and those we create ourselves, we can gain a deep inisight into who we are.

 

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