Monday, February 8, 2010

The Willing Sacrifice

This dream has two different levels of meaning, as you’ll find many of your dreams do.
The Dream: I’m giving a large dinner party. I run around distractedly trying to get everything done. The guests are milling about and no one offers to help. I am making no progress, but working very hard. I ask one of the children to set the table; when I take some dishes into the dining room I discover the table is bare. I am angry and frustrated, not particularly at the children, but at everyone attending the party for not pitching in. I am embarrassed and feel the event is out of control.

There is no bread. I thought I had some, but for some reason it can’t be used. A man offers to be the bread. He climbs onto a kitchen table, lies face up, and tells me to slice him. I don’t know where to slice and feel very uncomfortable with the idea, but he is insistent. He wants to help; he assures me he will turn into bread once I begin slicing. I take a knife and make a shallow incision in the area of the abdomen. I see a thin trickle of blood, not deep red like real blood but thin and watered-down looking, orange-red. When I see the blood I cannot continue.

Interpretation: On the day-to-day level, I’ve taken on more than I can handle. (I am making no progress, but working very hard.) Oh, the story of my life! I feel I’m getting nothing back for the effort I put in. I would like some help, but none is forthcoming. Some part of me wants to sacrifice myself to the needs of the group (become the food for the party-goers). Another part can’t do it.

On a deeper level, the willing sacrifice is what Jung calls an archetype, a symbol for something universal to human experience. The connection of sacrifice to bread is ancient and primitive. On this level the unconscious is pointing out the depth of sacrifice demanded of a sentient being who has chosen life on the planet. This profound and willing sacrifice is contrasted to the business (busy-ness) and petty frustrations with which we often fill our lives. The dream prepares me to accept the implications of life.


Anonymous said...

I see that there are two willing sacrifices in this dream - the dream ego at the beginning of the dream and the man willing to be sacrificed. I am reminded of the Martha/Mary story where Martha is busy preparing the meal in her home while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, taking in his learnings. The running around trying to do everything for everybody reminds me of an overload of feminine energy - unfocused and distracted energies. Thus, the male energy comes to the rescue, willing to have his body turned into bread by ego taking the action to make this transformation. However, this is something that can't be done by mere mortals, so how did I get myself into this position? Ego does get it to a certain point, stopping when the blood really didn't look like blood, so what does that say about the bread which never materialized? The questions this dream raises for me are "What are my deepest values?" "What power do I really have in my life?" "Why is it I didn't ask for help instead of letting the resentments build?" "Where is it that I can truly find my spiritual nourishment?" Jung stated that religion is as much an instinct as sex, hunger, creativity, and aggression. Also, the act of cutting could bring up some idioms: Cutting edge, Cut to the chase, Cutting remark, etc. Cutting can be superficial and/or deep as well. What a wonderful dream to ponder! Emily

Carla Young said...

Emily, thank you for raising these profound issues.

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