Who is on the plum tree?
Imagine the Psyche is like a house…
The upper story is modern, bright. This is home to our consciousness and day-to-day reality. But wait! There is more. Descend the stairs with me to the ground floor to an older, darker floor. Imagine it furnished in medieval style. In these rooms, the personal unconscious is connected to cultural, mythic images that still influence today’s thinking and social mores. For example, the medieval Grail myth inspires the Hero’s journey, the personal quest – a recurrent theme classically expounded in much of our religion, film, art, and music.
Imagine a heavy door in the far wall, ornately carved with symbolism. Open it to discover a hidden room with walls that are made of stone. These are roman walls, dating back to when the house was originally constructed. Examining them, we discover how our collective memory is rooted in an even more ancient, ancestral, mythical, cultural past.
Our unconscious is merging into the collective.
Just then, we notice a ring-pull handle in the stone floor. We pull it. A slab lifts to reveal a hidden staircase that descends still further. We realise, there is much more to this house than will ever be visible. The ring, symbol of wholeness, signifies how deeper levels of the house still need to be explored. Unless we visit every part of the house, the profound deep of the Unconscious filled with hidden, buried treasure, remains unplumbed – its message to the future never known. Wholeness and integration will never be ours.
A stairway descends into the depths. Climbing down, we enter a low cave cut into rock. In the dust of millions of years, scattered bones, broken crockery – remnants of civilisations too ancient to remember begin their disintegration, begin to make compost. This is the bedrock of the Psyche – the primal, instinctual stuff of survival, the stuff that feeds the collective spirit.
And so it is when we dream. Dreams are the language of the Psyche and can speak to us of many different levels of the unconscious mind as well as many different levels of our archaic, mystical past.
©Niamh Clune 2013
Photo © Petit Tiago