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Reply To: When is a dream a future dream


What an intriguing dream, Shaahayda!

Joseph Campbell has served as a compelling figure in more than a few of my dreams as well. In fact, I imagine over the decades Joe’s image has carried the energy of the Wise Old Man archetype in the dreams of countless individuals (poor guy must be exhausted over there in the Otherworld!).

I find it useful to play with my dream images a bit and see what other details I might be able to tickle out of them. If you have no objection, perhaps you might try that with yours. For example, the second part of your dream takes place in a lecture hall, but there is no mention of the setting in the first part of your dream. Perhaps you could take a moment to see if you recall anything about the locale.

You are asking Joe questions: do you recall if you are inside, or outside? Any idea if it is daytime, or night? If inside, might the first part be in a public setting – like a classroom? Or maybe a restaurant? Or could it be a private home – a living room, or a kitchen, or maybe a bedroom? Are there other people present, or is it just you and Joe?

Moving on from the surroundings, do you have any sense of the nature of the questions you are asking? If you can’t remember any of the questions, perhaps you can recall the tone: do they they focus on something specific, like clarifying details related to Campbell’s work, or are they more “meaning of life” questions – and if so, are these broad, sweeping questions, or focused more on your life?

Don’t worry if these answers don’t come to you – but sometimes, just being asked the question provides enough of a nudge for another trace or two of the dream to surface, additional details that might shine a little extra light on the subject.

So why is Joe annoyed by you asking questions? Hard to say, but I do notice a few things which may, or may not, be relevant.

You pose questions which seem to annoy Campbell – and when Joe responds, he morphs into somebody foreign, alien, Other: not-Joe. So the pivotal moment seems to have something to do with asking questions.

Speaking of questions, I am intrigued at the frustration you express in this post:

I am clueless, what should I be asking myself?”

” . . . asking my Self?” – hmm.

No dream image has one and only one specific meaning; there are of course multiple layers and many dimensions embedded in each. With that caveat in mind, one of many different ways into a dream is to approach the figures we encounter there as aspects of oneself.

So, when you are posing questions to Joseph Campbell, on one level you are posing these questions to yourself – the higher wisdom aspect of your psyche.

It almost seems as if the dream itself is underscoring that association, for in the very next movement you are center stage in a lecture hall – a position most might tend to associate with Joseph Campbell rather than oneself (almost as if the dream is emphasizing the resonance between the Dream Campbell and the Dream You).

And what is the subject of your talk?

“My Personal Myth”

. . . which might provide a clue as to the nature of the questions Dream You is asking Campbell in the first movement of your nocturnal drama.

Now, I generally don’t think of Joseph Campbell as someone who is easily annoyed, and I doubt you do either, especially when he is asked an honest question. So clearly this stands out as a major deviation from our conception of the flesh-and-blood Joseph Campbell (or at least, of the projections we make onto the mortal man).

And what immediately follows on that? A major disconnect: Joe morphs into some other, alien, individual, foreign to your waking ego; the Wise Old Man aspect of your psyche, your innate wisdom nature, is now experienced as something strange, something Other than that which it is (tat tvam asi – “Thou art that”]. That may be what the dream Joe finds annoying – that separation and disconnect from the inner wisdom you can call upon to illuminate “my personal myth.”

That’s not to suggest that’s your conscious position at all (which may be why the dream is so disconcerting – not at all what the waking Shaahayda intends or expects) . . . but even within the dream you recognize that “I was no longer in dialogue with Joe” (the info is there, but it feels foreign, Other).

Indeed, that dynamic is essentially restated in the second movement of the dream, with a hint at resolution: as you are presenting on your personal myth, of which your life is an expression, you hear Campbell lecturing in an adjacent hall; despite that disconnect, you can hear his voice clearly.

There are many levels to this dream – but it does seem in one sense as if it is reassuring you that you can trust that voice within, despite a reflexive hesitancy of which  the conscious you is unaware (hence Campbell’s annoyance – the hesitancy in trusting the wisdom of your own depths).

I don’t know if any of that strikes a chord with you, Shaahayda. If it does, great – but this is your dream, not mine, and what I read into it may be no more than my own projections – but maybe, listening to my take, no matter how far off base, creates an opportunity to clarify your own impressions and understanding.

What I would suggest is to start with what seems central to the dream – your focus there on the center stage within your psyche – exploring your personal myth. This process seems related to your questions for Joe (and every question begins with a quest).

From recent back channel discussions, my sense is that you are doing exactly that. Something tells me Joe won’t be irritated for long . . .