Anima + Animus = Divine Marriage

Since he is animus, his seeking has also to do with finding the fully initiated feminine in the psyche and keeping that as the main goal, regardless of whatever else crosses his path…this animus is doing the real work in preparation for showing and acting the true soul-Self of the newly initiated woman in day-to-day life. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Whether or not you identify as a man or a woman, our androgynous self is always seeking to integrate the feminine with the masculine. This is the only way we will achieve the archetype of the divine marriage. Jungian analyst and author, Marion Woodman, wisely states how this life-long journey is perhaps the most important pilgrimage we will ever take. Why? Because it entails coming into wholeness with yourself and others.

Let’s dive into how female dream characters in your dreams play a role. First we need to understand that female dream characters represent qualities such as nurturing, listening, sensitivity, intuition, receptivity and caring. Likewise, male dream characters often embody such traits as action, intellect, assertion, and will-power.

Therefore, when a woman appears in your dreams, notice the feminine qualities she embodies. Is she passive, bold, fearful, nurturing, outspoken or timid? When we are aligned with the feminine, or feeling-function, we can identify and express our feelings, practice self-love and compassion for others, listen deeply to what others are saying, seek understanding and trust our intuition.

When a man shows up in your dream, observe his behavior and notice how you would describe him. Is he determined, bossy, sensual, heroic, tyrannical, controlling, or creative?

Jung referred to the archetypal feminine presence in a man’s dream as the anima, and the archetypal masculine presence in a woman’s dream as the animus. In Latin, the words anima and animus mean soul. Becoming aware of these archetypal images are essential in our emotional, intellectual, and psychological development.

Perfectionism is not the goal of the journey toward the divine marriage because it is fraught with shame, but wholeness is.

For example, in my counseling practice, when I am working with men and his relationships, we often begin with his relationships with women. And then, we look at how female characters appear in dream time. How women are showing up in his dreams tells me everything about his relationship with his feminine aspect, and therefore everything about his ability to relate to women. Until he accesses what is going on in the inner realm, nothing will change or improve in the outer realm. If a female dream character—his anima—is cold and withdrawn, I know he has work to do in creating a caring relationship with his inner woman. Being more sensitive to his own needs, his creativity, his own soul, is what is calling his attention. Why? Because the anima is reflective of a man’s search for soul. And until he is in right alignment with his feminine aspect, his connection with his soul and his relationships with women will suffer.

Likewise, if a female client is dreaming about a particular male character who consistently bullies her, or in someway makes her feel badly about herself, we will explore ways for her to stand up for her values and speak her truth. In this case, taking conscious action is needed. Until she is comfortable with her masculine aspect, she will attract men who wish to dominate, manipulate, and ignore her strength.

What we are talking about is the integration of both masculine and feminine aspects in a person. Wholeness. Completion. This is the path of individuation and it ain’t easy. But it is, oh, so very fulfilling. I’ve witnessed male clients completely transform their relationship with women by working with their anima. And I have been blown away by women shifting their connection with men by learning to understand and embrace their masculine side. Sometimes the result is ending their current relationship, but usually it entails improving and deepening the relationship they have with their partner.

And in case you’re wondering, sexual orientation and gender is irrelevant in the archetype of the divine marriage.

Each of us requires the delicate balance and intimate dance of the masculine and feminine to achieve the divine marriage. Once you have reached this deeply fulfilling state of being, you will no longer “need” people the way you once did. Your desire for relationship will stem from a place of wholeness and you will recognize that the only real reason you are joining with the another is to support each other’s soul growth. You are no longer looking to “get” your needs met. You are beautifully co-joining with another to deepen your connection with your own heart and soul, as well as the heart and soul of your beloved.

Namaste. 

Dreams that Lead You to Your Life’s Higher Purpose

Dreams that Lead You to Your Life’s Higher Purpose by Laura Grace, PhD

Dreams, being your “inner GPS” inform every area of your life. Your nighttime dreams possess the power to lead you in discovering the deeper meaning of your purpose. Simply put, dreams reveal why you are here. How? By uncovering your hidden talents and gifts. In revealing the people who “appear” to you and are meant to support you in your soul’s development.

Here is a personal example of how your dreams can provide specific direction for accessing your life’s work and creating abundance.

Years ago, I was a human resource director for a CPA and consulting firm in the Midwest. Most of my time was spent firing managers and partners as the firm underwent a series of mergers. As a highly sensitive person and empath, this was excruciatingly painful and I experienced immense burn-out in only a few short years. The life-force had been sucked out of my soul and I resigned. Instead of immediately putting myself back on the executive market, I felt guided to take a year off and do some significant soul-searching. So, I withdrew my 401(k), bought a house on small lake in the Midwest, and took my ten-year-old daughter, Alexis, and our cat, Buttercup, and moved in to a new home with my beloved partner, Thomas. It was a new beginning. Emotionally and financially it was challenging, yet I spent the next twelve months delving into spiritual teachings, journaling my thoughts and feelings, and working with my nighttime dreams. At thirty-two years old, it may have been one of the best years of my life.

Daily, I asked for guidance from my dreams and how best to use my gifts, strengths, and talents. During this time, I had a powerful dream:

I am sitting in the driver’s seat of my red Toyota which is parked in a parking lot. Next to me in the passenger’s seat I see a dark blue book with “Bhagavad Gita” scrolled in gold across the cover. I open the car door and see several brochures that I have created lying on the ground and next to them are various silver and gold coins.

This dream was showing me that writing combined with spirituality were a definite part of my life’s work. As I followed my dream’s cues, I began writing articles for spiritual and personal growth publications, something I had never done before. As a result, I had the following dream:

I am guided to look under my bed and discover enormous diamonds in the shape of crystals. I am amazed by their beauty.  After looking under the bed I look to another part of the floor and see two or three similar stones, not quite as large as the one under my bed, but just as radiant. I awake feeling happy and inspired.

These dreams affirmed the work that carried me deeper into my authentic self. They paved the way to profound abundance, not just financially, but emotionally, intellectually, creatively, and spiritually. The fact that the diamonds were shaped like crystals revealed the multi-faceted potentiality within me.

Looking back over the past couple of decades, I can see how prophetic the dream truly was. I became inspired to write a series of articles that were published throughout the country and eventually morphed into my first book, Gifts of the Soul. Next, the book and articles inspired the creation of The Self-Mastery Program, an intensive that supported individuals in accessing their inner gifts. I taught The Self-Mastery program for ten years and in the meantime, penned my second book, The Intimate Soul. (Both books were written and self-published under my former name, Laura V. Hyde.)

Unlimited ideas continued to spring forth and I developed a series of additional programs, workshops, and retreats. During this creative era, I generated a course on dreams and coached people on understanding and utilizing them. Desiring to deepen my spiritual growth, I attended an interfaith seminary program and began providing spiritual counseling.

The “multi-faceted” diamonds represented skills I never knew I had, and didn’t have, until I began working with my nighttime dreams and stretching beyond my comfort zone. Edgar Cayce wisely affirms, “Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions.”  Listen to your dreams. Like a diamond, they possess marvelous, mystical, multi-faceted brilliance.

If you would like to see the video that accompanies this blog, watch the video below which is more in-depth. And it means a lot to me if you will kindly give it a thumbs up if you find it helpful. Namaste.

Relationship Beginnings and Endings, Part Two

Relationship Beginnings and Endings, Part Two

All of us desire to feel loved, wanted and accepted for who we are. Science-based research, ancient spiritual wisdom, and evolutionary psychology teach us that at the root of all suffering—emotional and physical—is a lack of feeling loved and accepted for who we are, both from others and within ourselves. More often than not, people try to love us, but for various reasons, we have created barriers to love which are hidden in the unconscious. Nonetheless, our desire for authentic connection runs deep. As I wrote in ‘Relationship Beginnings and Endings, Part One,’ maintaining authentic love and intimacy in long-term relationship requires differentiation. And the Greek figure that best depicts this is Thanatos, the god of death. Thanatos may appear in your life in different forms. One is the feeling of stagnancy in your relationship. You care about each other but it seems you are both just going through the motions, co-existing as it were. Couples at this stage often say they feel like ‘brother and sister’ (or, in gay relationships ‘sisters’ or ‘brothers’) and there is no intensity. “Is this all there is?” is frequently asked inwardly but not shared with the partner or spouse.

One of the ways Thanatos is most recognizable is during our night-time dreams. For example, a woman may dream about a man or her partner which represents her animus, her inner male aspect, where she is trying to pull away or escape from him. Rather than trying to connect with him as in dreams of Eros, she wants to replace him in the driver’s seat. She may dream of living alone or even wanting to destroy her animus. More literal dreams may appear where she is leaving her partner or expressing anger toward him in a series of dreams. During waking time, she may fantasize of leaving the relationship, moving away, opening herself to meeting someone new, and so forth. As always, feelings are key. Irritation, anger, resentment, confusion, fear—these emotions are pointing the way to what psyche and soul are trying to communicate. Her anger is a symptom of a deeper issue; if she is denying Thanatos and the need for differentiation, her resentment will grow either toward her partner or herself depending upon her ability to access her feelings and express them. Following is an example of a male dreamer dreaming about Thanatos:

I am with an attractive woman and we are in a large outdoor park, like Yellowstone, or a similar environment. We are hiking and it is a gray day and cold. She is standing at the edge of a cliff looking down at the ravine below. I am behind her and have the urge to push her off the cliff. It’s something I have been considering for a while. As I approach her someone yells from behind me and stops me. I awake feeling ashamed and confused.

In waking life, after having been married for eighteen years to the love of his life, this dreamer was struggling. He had cultivated a successful career and desired more time on his own to express his creative side through photography, writing poetry and painting. However, he and his wife were used to spending most of their time together when they were not working. He was worried she would feel neglected if he carved out time for himself, especially because he worked so many hours. So he kept his feelings to himself and his resentment grew. Until they came to counseling, he didn’t know his wife was experiencing similar feelings. Although her desire for alone time was not as strong as his, she had been fantasizing about traveling to new places, without him.  She felt telling him about her needs would cause him to feel insecure or threaten the relationship so she said nothing.

In reality, this couple desired something that was not only healthy but would help take their relationship to the next level: emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and creatively. By giving himself permission to create, the man would feed his soul and develop more of his feeling function thereby enhancing his anima qualities. Likewise, the woman allowing herself to travel to new places—without her husband—would help her strengthen her animus aspects: independence, inner strength, courage, action.

Thanatos does not mean a relationship is dying, quite the opposite. It is a primary opportunity for the soul to be heard and to communicate one’s needs in an honest, loving, respectful manner, and then, to make the necessary changes to accommodate each other’s requests.

The strength of the anima and animus reflects the inner marriage, or hieros gamos, the stabilizing of masculine and feminine aspects, a significant part of our journey toward individuation.

Namaste.

Dreams: The Looking Glass of Relationships

DREAMS: The Looking Glass of Relationships

Deepen your intimacy in relationships  images

Our nighttime dreams are the looking glass into our relationships and relationships are a significant part of our lives. Jean Paul Sartre stated, “Hell is other people,” and though that might feel true at times, without relationships, we severely limit our ability to evolve. Humans are hard-wired to connect. Developing open, loving, trusting and healthy connections takes great commitment, consistent effort, and mindful awareness. Specific dream characters, symbols and feelings emerge to show you unresolved fears, insecurities, and even traumatic experiences that occurred and are inhibiting your connection with others.

See your beliefs, attitudes, and judgments toward yourself and others

Dreams are often referred to as the “mirror to your soul” because they reflect the deeper, hidden aspects of us that we are not seeing clearly. Also, they reveal how others see us which likely differs from our self-perception. Jung referred to this aspect as the “persona,” the mask we wear in public for others to see. It is the false-self that needs approval and strives to be liked, appreciated, and wanted. Therefore, our dreams are not meant to please us but to awaken us. They are often perceived as disturbing because they will not succumb to our noblest notions of ourselves. “The closer one looks,” Marc Ian Barasch states, “The more [dreams] seem to insist upon a challenging proposition: You must live truthfully. Right now. And always. Few forces in life present, with an equal sense of inevitability, the bare-knuckle facts of who we are, and the demands of what we might become.”

Dream characters are “projections” of ourselves

When someone appears in your dreams, ask yourself, “What is my perception of this person?” It might be someone you haven’t seen in twenty-five years or your current next door neighbor. The key is to get in touch with how you see this person and what traits they are mirroring back to you. This is not easy because no one wants to see negative qualities in themselves. Which is one of the reasons that the unlikeable traits have been projected on to another during dreamtime. Rich with self-awareness, dream characters are the psychic lens for you to truly see yourself. They reveal your false-self, the persona and mask that you wear as well as the traits you have adopted since you were very young. Every person starring in your nightly dreams are unconscious projections of yourself. From this advantageous perspective, your dream characters can help you learn more about yourself than you might ever imagine.

Laurasig

For a deeper exploration into your dreams, please click HERE.

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Join me in my upcoming webinar on “dreams” check it out HERE

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Intro to Your Nighttime Dreams

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The overall subject of our dreams is, ultimately, the inner process of individuation. Most dreams, in one way or another, are portrayals of our individual journeys toward wholeness. They show us the stages along the way—the adventures, obstacles, conflicts, and reconciliations that lead finally to a sense of the self.  Robert Johnson

Imagine walking into a dark theater. Hundreds of empty seats await an audience to sit in before a shadowy stage. The director shouts, “Lights, cameras, action!” and you are mesmerized as the actors take their places and the storyline begins to unfold. As you watch, you feel yourself both watching the movie and being in the movie. The plot twists and turns as you connect with the actors and every dream character is playing a unique role. Feelings of excitement, judgment, bias, disdain, fear, hatred, empathy, love and compassion arise. The film captivates your every sense and the images feel alive in your body. As the movie ends and the credits roll you realize that this wasn’t just any movie, it is a story about your life.

And, so it is.

You are the screen writer, director, producer, casting agent, choreographer, landscape artist and every character starring in your nightly dreams. You are also the observer who witnesses a comedy, tragedy, romance, horror film called “This Is My Life.” All of these creative gestures and more emerge from your unconscious an average of four to five times per night. Every film, crafted by you, reveals your unresolved issues, desires, hope, fears, strengths, doubts, grief, resentments, beliefs, and connections to the deepest realms of your soul. And it doesn’t stop there; dreams are not always purely personal and can encompass the “anima mundi,” the Greek term for “world soul.”

Dreams are the language of our individual and collective soul. The word “soul” stems from the Greek term “psyche.” Carl Jung (1963) declared: “Without the psyche there would be neither knowledge nor insight.” During dream time, while the ego is asleep, psyche comes to life and reveals information unattainable during waking life.

As a prolific dreamer, I became interested in connecting and understanding my dreams when I was eight years old. By age sixteen, I was dreaming about events which inevitably manifested the following day. My mother kept urging, “Write down your dreams, Laura, they are trying to tell you something important,” and thus began my personal and spiritual journey with dreams. Now, more than 30 years later, I have book cases and boxes filled with dream journals. They are treasure troves of thoughts, feelings and wisdom about my family, physical health, past relationships, finances, life’s purpose, shadow aspects, fears, insecurities, self-sabotaging behaviors, desires, strengths and spiritual gifts. Dreams are the purest form of information. Since they are not censored by our conscious thoughts, feelings and perceptions, they possess the capacity to provide more support and insight than therapy, and they are free! I am always saddened when people tell me their dreams are nonsensical or that they do not have time to listen to them. Our dreams are wellsprings of information, the language of our soul.

You dream every night whether you remember your dreams or not. The more you seek to understand them, the more likely you will recall them. The first thing to keep in mind is that your dreams are meant to help you not frighten or confuse you. I cannot tell you how many people have secretly shared that they do not listen to their dreams, or remember their dreams because they are afraid of them, or they will have to make some significant changes.  Growth can be messy and change is inevitable if you wish to grow. You always have the choice to delve inward and move forward, and you have control over when you choose to do so.

Secondly, all dreams are meaningful despite how ridiculous they may seem, even “snippets” contain invaluable information. Dreams may seem silly but only to the limitations of your waking mind. Even working with one dream image will help you increase your self-awareness and can lead to significant breakthroughs.

Your nighttime dreams are a powerful pathway to transformation and occur as a guidepost to support you on your pathway to wholeness.