Thursday, September 2, 2010

Difficulties of Leadership

The Dream: We are going up a mountain in a rural setting; the landscape is fresh and beautiful, damp and fragrant like a primeval forest. I am on horseback, leading an expedition. My horse pulls some colorful, old-fashioned vehicles that look like circus cars. I am concerned that the cars might fall off the side of the mountain when I go around its sharp curves.

We get to a black tunnel which we must transgress before getting to the top, our destination. I see nothing in the pitch black. My left eye feels clogged: I can’t keep it open.  I am very sleepy. In order not to lose my followers over the edge I try to stick to what I “feel” is the inside track.

I make it through the tunnel and am relieved to find myself in an interesting castle. As I walk up the stone spiral staircase I realize I have no followers. Soon they show up, annoyed at me for having caused an accident I was unaware of. They say, “You were on the wrong side of the road, so we were hit by a train led by Janie Ludlum.” But I was so careful! What went wrong?. As my followers look at me accusingly, I notice they are all barefoot. They’ve lost their shoes in the accident. Regardless of their gender they had all been wearing the exact same shoe, a woman’s white pointed pump. I go back down the hill to look for their shoes in an attempt to make things right.

Interpretation: In going up a mountain I am trying to get a new point of view, a wider horizon. The freshness of the primeval forest hints that I will see my own early days from this new vantage point. A horse, being a domesticated animal, stands for my own animal nature that has been “domesticated” by socialization. The rational ego sits atop its animal, pulling behind all the colorful characteristics that go into making a complete person--in this case, me. Can this ego keep these diverse alternative selves in tow? I begin to worry that they might fall right out of their cars.

And as I worry, a greater challenge emerges: the dark tunnel. The dream wants me to know that I’m blind to something: not only is it pitch black, but my left eye is clogged. The left side of the body generally stands for intuition, the unconscious, the feeling as opposed to the rational side. “Eye” is a play on words with “I.”  In other words, my feelings are clogged up. When I try to “feel” my way out of the dark I am rewarded by making it out of the tunnel into a safe place—but maybe a castle (fortress) is too safe. As I spiral up to a higher level, symbolically abandoning feelings for the conscious and rational, I notice I have lost a great deal of myself: my followers are gone.

They soon reappear, but are not too happy with me. They accuse me of causing an accident. They’ve all lost their shoes; their feet are now firmly on the ground. I try to fix that situation by going in search of the missing, clearly inappropriate shoes. I predict future dreams will address this disconnect between my conscious self and my inner rebels, since it hasn’t been resolved here.

Note: I wondered why the dream used the word “transgress” to describe going through the tunnel, since the word usually means to commit a sin or other blameworthy action. Here I am describing what should be a simple action—going from here to there. When I looked the word up, I discovered that its meaning in the 15th c was to “step across” or “go over.”* Both meanings apply here; as the dream progresses I find out that what I couldn’t “see” caused me to harm my followers while I step through the tunnel.

*Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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