I recently wrote here about my encounter with King Kong in my dreaming. I was talking about how amazing dream symbols are, how they morph and dance in our dreams, sometimes thrilling, sometimes terrorizing us into attention.
When we trust our dreams to be out for our own good, we know that even the most unwelcome dreams might hold healing for our battered souls. Why are our souls battered; soul's run on pure love energy and in our might-makes-right patriarchal world, some souls find love energy too scarce for their survival. Psychiatry calls it dissociation, when overwhelming trauma causes some aspect of ourselves to split from our awareness; many ancient and indigenous cultures call it soul loss. As we are often unconscious of this happening, perhaps because it was in our childhood, we don't realize that actions we take from the habit of protecting ourselves the only way we could in the trauma moment, are now not so effective in serving us well.
When my partner was hit by a car many years ago, in the moments before impact, he saw it coming and told me he heard a voice in his head say, "I don't want to be here for this"; that caused him to rise up on the balls of his feet, as if to jump. That movement probably saved his life; he was thrown and battered instead of crushed under the heavy car. He's worse for wear, but mostly fine now. That story illustrates for me what is common in crisis and trauma, we seek any escape we can, if not in a physical realm, then in a psychic one.
Dreams have the power to give us healing symbols. A friend of mine asked me after my last King Kong post what this symbol teaches me? I told her I'd let her know when I found out. Using a dream symbol begins with recording the dream so you can return to it to refresh the story in your mind. Dream Re-entry, as Robert Moss teaches it or Active Imagination, as Jung conceived it, are valuable ways to fathom a dream.
Dreams are the right brain's domain; imagination is the engine of our creativity. When we approach dreams with creativity and imagination instead of logic and analysis, ("what does it mean?) we get results that benefit our healing.
Re-entry is often incredibly healing; it's also greatly entertaining. (I like to re-enter a dream I choose before I go to sleep or when I wake up in the middle of the night; for me it's a great way to fall asleep already dreaming.) I let my imagination spin the story my dream began into one where I am able to feel safe and capable of using the myriad options dreams allow to save myself in the dream story and gain the gifts this dream offers. I can fly to safety, talk to any character or object and bring into the story whomever, whatever I choose to assist me, to help me feel safe or keep me good company.
My quest to understand Kong's part in my dreams begins with me re-entering the dream with the help of new characters I create to support me. My plan is to get Kong to a huge wild life sanctuary and the freedom he deserves and to begin developing our friendship. Over many re-entries over many days, I befriend Kong and find him a willing guardian and protector of not just me, but of the little kid me who suffered trauma and could now use some love and understanding from her big sister, me.
In dreams time is literally immaterial so I can readily get back to that little sad, confused girl and help her gain a sense of safety, support and guidance that my sincerely loving parents didn't know how to provide. How? By creating a story with her in it where she feels safe and she gets to do things that make her wildly happy, which in turn reminds me of what makes me happy now. It's a win-win. Whatever confidence and self-love she gains in the process is a transfusion of soul for me now.
Robert Moss developed the practice of soul recovery in Active Dreaming; it differs from the shamanic tradition of soul retrieval in that it doesn't necessitate a shaman's help; the dreamer has the power of being both the healer and the healed, as Robert puts it, to be their own shaman. It also doesn't presume a cultural cosmology; it uses a dream as a gateway to where, when and what must be done for the good of the dreamer.
I've found this practice to work at a profound level, not just for my soul healing, but for many dreamers with whom I've shared these wonderfully creative ways of doing dream play. I suggest that a person who has suffered severe trauma and is experiencing terrifying nightmares not attempt to go it alone; I hope they can find a compassionate professional counselor to hold the physical space with them and guide them while they bravely work to heal. Many others of us have been knocked around in ways that damage but don't cripple us. Unfortunately, we sometimes push the wounds out of consciousness and don't face the pain in our day to day, busy waking ego lives. Dreams seem to know when we need a particular aspect of our personal unconscious to heal if we're to live our best lives. They are not above using monsters to get our attention, but if we pay attention, they can become gentler and often, extremely funny. If we take the time to get to know our dreams through the stories and symbols they offer us, we develop ways to heal spiritually, at our soul level.
My initial way of honoring this dream was to look up the story of the making of King Kong with all its subsequent cinematic iterations. The original story is so obviously a white male's fantasy, where women exist with a defined sexualized role in the margins of the action, usually as victims to be saved, and people of different race and culture can be caricatured and equally marginalized. Of course, Nature can also be conquered by man, and Kong must die to prove the white male hero's power. The height of irony is delivered at the end: Kong has been catapulted off the Empire State Building by military planes and lies dead in the street. The big shot producer whose hubris is responsible for the mayhem, destruction and unnecessary death of Kong, intones sadly, "Beauty killed the Beast."
Yeah, and Eve ate the apple.
So it behooves Beauty, the archetypal feminine, to also free herself from whatever chains this bullshit patriarchal paradigm has inflicted on her psyche and rescue Beast from the insanity that motivates patriarchal thinkers and leads them to bring us all to the brink of physical extinction. We will all continue existence in other forms, of course, but I sure hope the misogynist racist folk in the world don't get any more beautiful planets to fuck up.
As for me, I see great promise for us in embracing our dream experiences and wisdom. Once we discover that some things can be addressed on the inside, in our inner worlds, and that our inner worlds that we travel in dreams are as real as are our waking physical worlds, perhaps we'll gain the resource, the magic key, that tips the scales back into balance. If we must die trying, then at least we can live somewhere, after this physical life, away from ignorant racist misogynists. We get to choose.
The more of us can use our dreams to heal ourselves and help others to heal, the more the scales tip on the side of hope. When we know that spirituality doesn't have to be earned because it's organic to us and that we are connected to soul/spirit through dreaming, we are free to explore both waking and dreaming realities with more awareness, compassion and courage.
May it be so.