“… the animal is sublime and, in fact, represents the “divine” side of the human psyche. You remember that the purpose of the Dionysian mysteries was to bring people back to the animal…the animal within…which then forms a bridge between (her) self and the original primordial man concealed beneath the historical layers of the past…”
(Jung, VS. P.161)
Following a series of animal dreams from a profoundly creative woman artist, we move into and through the individuation process of her eight-year analysis. I was with her through her conscious death. Here we find deep instruction, beauty, and assistance in life’s completion. Epiphany–the direct experience of Deity–came to this individual via dreams and in a vision of an animal in the day before her death. I utilize this series of dreams and a discussion of them because I feel the dignity and depth of Jungian Psychoanalysis are illustrated and accessible here.
Dreaming Animals is a presentation that grew out of my deep interest in the appearance of animals in dreams and in the lives of patients and analysands over the course of my forty years of practice. What is the meaning and function of various animals coming to us in dreams or meeting them by chance? Which animals bring us practical education or wisdom, terror, or beauty and joy? Can we relate to a creature with interest, attraction? Who are we afraid of or avoid? Do we have access to archetypal, mythical and imaginary beings? How are we treating animals in dreams and in waking life? What is the relationship between our body and animal body, instinctual life?
What does this tell us about ourselves and as a society and culture? There are many questions to pursue. Images and poetry will assist us.
1. Identify and appreciate the symbolic meaning of various animals within dreams, art, and throughout the individuation process.
2. Develop a capacity to appreciate the importance of animals as attachment (and loss) figures and transitional objects in personal lives, especially in an historical, developmental context.
Penelope Tarasuk, PhD, is a Jungian analyst with 40 years of experience in the field of psychology working with a diverse population. Her workshops and lectures in the United States and abroad focus upon dreaming, active imagination, nature, art and body in spiritual development. She was a member of the Training Board of the C.G. Jung Institute-Boston, is a training analyst, candidate supervisor, and has been on the faculty since 1989. Her book based on this story, POLISHING THE BONES, published by Muswell Hill Press (London) and distributed by SUNY Press in North America, is available this fall, 2017.