Monday, January 27, 2014

An Uphill Struggle

In this dream I try to come to terms with the cycle of life.
The Dream: I'm with others, my brother Greg (who died recently), my husband Clark, a man from Boston and a man from Spain. We're a team participating in a sporting event that is considered the equivalent of the Spanish bullfights. We have a huge snake in our RV: the animal is so big that its head and tale stick out the ends. The idea of the event is that we run along the outside of the camper, pushing it and its snake up a very steep, icy, snow-covered mountain. When we get to the top we are to dispose of the snake in some way, butchering and eating it, or maybe throwing it into the sea—but butchering and eating it is somehow involved.

Interpretation: My path is slippery (icy), cold and difficult, and our objective (destroying the snake) is one I'm not in complete sympathy with. My brother Greg represents the inescapable reality of my own mortality. But what about the other “players?” Clark represents my other half. We're both in the dream, so all parts of me are engaged in this struggle. The other two men represent my unresolved conflict. The man from Boston is propriety, a person who knows how the game is played, and the man from Spain evokes the dramatic ghoulishness of that country's church art. This tells me that my psyche is trying to integrate the acceptable social reaction to death (stiff upper lip, don't make others uncomfortable, pretend it doesn't happen) with my innate horrified emotional response.

In an attempt to resolve my dilemma my dream presents me with several rebirth symbols. Snakes, of course, are traditional symbols of rebirth. By eating the snake we take in his qualities and he lives on through us. Since water accompanies birth, the alternate action of throwing the snake into the water implies that he will be reborn. The issue is not resolved, but I'm working on it.


  1. I looked up the symbology of eating a butchered snake, but could find no direct comments about it. But there was plenty about the ouroboros - the snake eating itself. This has a lot of meaning - in Kundalini yoga the awakening of energy in the lower spine. For Carl Jung, the ouroboros is the assimilation of the shadow and part of the individuation process. But, because I had a dream years ago of two snakes being killed and presented to me in a pie to eat, I have been really curious about this concept. The snake is also a symbol of consciousness awakening such as in the story of Adam and Eve. It was the snake that brought consciousness to them by telling them to eat the apple. There is also a lot of male energy in this dream, a lot of movement in the psyche. And, after a bull is killed in a bullfight, it is slaughtered and eaten. This double symbol of eating the animal appears in the dream. Eating and consciousness - taking in matter and transforming it - to spirit? So, are we humans trying to have a spiritual experience, or are we spirits trying to have a human experience? Great dream!

  2. Great comment, Emily! After posting this dream it occurred to me to notice the parallel between killing and eating the snake and the Eucharist, in which the god, who has been killed, is symbolically eaten. This rite reflects similar ones in early Greek mystery religions.