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Reply To: The Power of the Personal,” with Mythologist Dennis Slattery, Ph.D.”


    Dennis; thank you for your most thoughtful and kind reply regarding dreams and journaling. Listening to our inner voices that speak to us in a language that is sometimes difficult to read; (and); as you so insightfully suggest; are presenting us with this inner dialogue of the “Marga Path” that Joseph talks about to show us clues on what our changing life needs are revealing. This “animal path back to it’s den” represents this longing of the human heart to return; (like the great animal migrations); to it’s home where it instinctively knows it should be. And these dreams as you suggest are pointing the way.

    In the movie: “Dances with Wolves” one of the central voices of the story is the: (Journal as narrator); which the main character uses to record, assimilate, and understand his adventure as he experiences his transcendent transformation from Union Army Lt. John Dunbar into the Lakota Sioux Warrior: “Dances with Wolves”. As both a personal document and record of his transformation in the climax of the film the Journal is captured but retrieved and returned; which therefore could be understood as symbolizing the completion of this new rebirth cycle of individuation towards wholeness as seen throughout nature and also within our own final destination toward our journey’s end. The snake sheds it’s skin; as does the moon cycles to completion; these symbols are everywhere showing us we are but a strand of nature’s web throughout our journey; and the psyche reflects this inner metamorphosis from childhood to death. Are we the light or the bulb that carries it? Yet here we are as modern individuals disconnected from our own source; confused and seeking to reunite with our own inner being that seeks to know itself as if for the first time.

    The backstory behind this film is almost as interesting as the story itself because the artist/writer had to undergo the same hero/quest to bring it to fruition with all kinds of hurdles to endure. As a metaphor this refers back to the relationship of a native people to their environment and their responses to life demands and the disappearance of their way of life by modern civilization; and also points to mankind’s disconnection and the loss of his relationship to his “inner world” that must be reconciled toward wholeness; (i,e. Marga or Bastion’s elementary idea as opposed to Desi which is the local or provential – the right and left hand paths that Joseph talks about).

    What I am referring to is your descriptions of the inner processes we all must assimilate as we both attempt to read our outer and inner landscapes to navigate where we are trying go; and what our inner world is asking of us to get there. There are all kinds of outer displays we have to interpret along the way; some are “trickster” situations; some are random occurrences we collide with; some might be seen or understood as fate; but many are also determined by our inner longings and fears guarded over by our inner Dragons we must deal with and the many “Thou Shalt” scales that their skin contains; each one referring to something we must overcome as Joseph discusses with Bill Moyers in: “The Power of Myth”.

    Although I’m sure you are more than familiar with this aspect of Jungian psychology for those who are not I’m adding a short clip of Joseph’s description of the Shadow system which would be helpful to understand in Dream Journaling since this shadow dimension of the personal unconscious is important in what is happening in your inner world and therefore reflected in your dreams as well as your waking life and is asking to be recognized; especially in dreams such as nightmares as well as possibly others with strong emotions.

    I hope you’ll forgive my rather clumsy attempts at description as in some of the other forum threads we are discussing topics concerning dreams and emotions and various other aspects we all must learn how to utilize in understanding this inner narrative of our lives and what it’s trying to tell us.  Again; your voice is so deeply appreciated in sharing your many years of experience helping to provide tools on how we can do this. A very warm Namaste to you as always.


    My apologies to any who have already seen this post earlier for I have re-edited it and added an extra short clip of Joseph’s below to help explain the relationships to the above which is included in it’s very brief description.