Sunday, June 24, 2012

Can I Tame the Lion?

The Dream:
I'm in a maze of cages, like the ones you might see in an old-fashioned zoo, with a lion tamer and his lions. The cages connect to each other, and from where I am all I can see are the bars of the cages and the cement floor. The atmosphere is dim.

I am supposed to learn how to tame a lion. I am uneasy and not at all sure that this is something I want to do. The lion tamer demonstrates how he can put his head into the lion's mouth and emerge safely. I'm not convinced I can succeed at this.

Feeling closed in and with limited vision (the light is dim; I see only bars and cement), I am given a task that I feel unprepared to perform successfully. Thinking about what the lion's open mouth suggests to me, I come up with my father's anger (the growling lion) and the gaping jaws of death. These two forces might have seemed like the same thing to me as a child. One part of me is now strong enough to overcome these fears (tame the lion). Another part still quakes in her boots.


Openfoot said...

Hello Carla

Do you ever consider mythological parallels to your dreams? It seems to me your dream is portraying a very common theme; that in which the small and vulnerable dream ego or "me" is confronted with the raw natural power of the unconscious. Two comparisons immediately sprang to my mind, "Theseus and the Minotaur" (there are also elements of a maze in your dream) and the Ten Bulls or Ox Herding series from Zen. Number Five " Taming the Bull" seemed particularly appropriate. I feel sure you can come up with others!

These examples may not feature lions but it seems to me that the principle holds. It's always seemed to me that cross referencing dreams with mythologies and the spiritual maps other traditions has a lot to recommend it.

In good faith as ever, and with Best Wishes

Carla Young said...

Your point is very interesting, Openfoot, and very relevant. I hadn't thought about the myth parallel with this particular dream, but I do believe that myths come from the dream space and elucidate the same psychological truths. Thanks for reminding me!
Best regards, Carla

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