The dread and resistance which every natural human being experiences when it comes to delving too deeply into himself is, at bottom, the fear of the journey to Hades.
C.G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, CW 12 para 439
Dreams, those mysterious visitors in the night… Are they simply residues of daytime experience, anomalies as the brain de-frags itself? Or are they, as humans have held for millennia, something more substantial, crucial perhaps? Dream work plays a major part of my own psychotherapy practice, in resonance with my Jungian orientation, yet it has cross-cultural roots that go farther back than Freud or Jung...
In Greek mythology, Nyx – the Goddess of night – gave birth to the twin brothers Hypnos (sleep) and Thanatos (death), as well as to the Oneiroi, the dreams… In Indian Vedic tradition, in the Atharva Veda, dreams come from Yama’s world, from the world of death. As Jungian Analyst James Hillman expresses, “each dream is a child of the night, afflicted with sleep and death…” Every transformation involves a symbolic death as well as birth, the alchemical nigredo and coagulatio…
Charon, another child of Nyx, is the ferryman of departed souls as they enter Hades through the underworld river Acheron… Hades, through his symbolic connection with the Eagle, has a shadowy affiliation with his brother Zeus, also connected with the Eagle. As Hillman expresses, this suggests an awareness of the Upperworld and Underworld as similar but with different perspectives. Returning to Indian tradition, now post-Vedic – in the Mandukya Upanishad, Visva (waking) and Taijasa (sleeping) are also felt to be similar, different sides of the same phenomena, with one looking out towards external objects and the other towards inner objects… In our own lives, synchronistic phenomenon hint at the dreamlike nature of waking life (something the Aboriginal peoples seem well-attuned to, with their sense of Dream-time) and premonitory dreams make us wonder about the distinctions between inner and outer, as well as the nature of time and space…
It’s easy to think of Hades as an entirely nefarious entity, especially when we’ve split off the dark from the light. Yet, through his connection with Pluto, he is also associated with wealth and riches, and through his connection with Trophonios, Hades is connected with nourishment. Hence he becomes the wealthy one, the giver of nourishment to the soul – if we have the courage to listen…
The Greeks would make pilgrimages from across the lands, to Asclepian temples, where they would consult their dreams for healing from somatic and psychological maladies. After a process of ritual purification, there was a descent through chambers of snakes – associated with the creative and transformative potential of the underworld – and into the abaton, where one would sleep and wait for the gods to deliver answers. With regards to the snake imagery, this also forms another underworld-overworld connection, as established between Hades and Zeus – in Greek art and sculpture, Zeus was also imaged as a bearded snake…
The image of modern medicine, the Caduceus, also contains an image of interwoven snakes that harkens back to this tradition of Asclepius. Unfortunately, outside of the Jungian world and some psychoanalytic practitioners, clinical work with dreams exists in the margins of contemporary healing traditions. Despite this, many of us still do use our dream and fantasy life to creatively enrich our waking life in one way or another…
So, in the spirit of dreaming and the dream world, of Imagination and Creativity, please join us on March 20, 2010 for “Dreamplay” – 7-10PM @ Workspace (2150 Folsom Street @ 17th in the Mission). It will be a playful evening of interactive performance, art installation and soundscapes… There will be a remix of the abaton (Heather King Singh, Khenu Singh) - for this, come bearing dreams you are willing to share, allowing the psychopomp to guide you into the inner chamber, to be recorded and mixed into the event, with an attitude of respect, reverence and creative play... There will also be a sin eater café (Delfina Piretti), dream potions (Heather King), performance art (Raphael Noz), video art (Khenu Singh), spoken word and performance (Eric Subido), shadow dance and art installation (Andrea Bass), as well as paintings and art that explore the mythopoetic realms of Psyche…
The night will be a benefit for Haitian Children, with all proceeds going towards this. Please come out and represent!
An evening of performance art, interactive
art installations and soundscapes.
March 20, 2010
7 to 10 PM
W O R K S P A C E
2150 Folsom Street (at 17th )
Mission District, San Francisco
Come celebrate Spring Equinox!
Requested Donation: $10.00
All proceeds go to Haitian Children.
Heather King Singh