Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Old King

The Dream:
I am walking with an entourage. One member is a very old king. He is very small, and lives in a trailing can-like contraption made of rusted metal. I am his successor, and I walk along side him, stooping to chat. I feel I must be respectful, even though his powers are waning. As we go through the streets he often stops to chat with the commoners in an easy and affable way. Clearly they love him, and I admire the way he handles this part of his job.

Interpretation: The entourage represents the larger community I live in. The king represents the patriarchal values of my childhood. Jung would call him a symbol of the collective conscious, in other words, a society’s values. At this point in my life, I’ve outgrown many of these values, so the king appears very small in the dream. His can-like contraption tells me that I’ve canned a lot of what I learned from him. It also hints that some of what I learned was ridiculous. Yet the symbol represents a paradox: on the one hand, to can something means to relinquish it, get rid of it; we shut someone up by saying, “Can it.” On the other, canning is a method of preservation. So in some ways I respect, while I simultaneously relinquish, the old patriarchal values. I feel the power of his beliefs diminish, and at the same time I see their positive aspects.

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