April 2021: Spring Terror
Spring... a walk in the park...birds warbling...dazzling sun on the lake... a delightful toddler with his grandpa… joggers and amblers...a cool breeze...delirious green undergrowth filling the woods...a million wildflowers.
Here on the levee, we're all strangers but we're so glad to be in this world that we're babbling in postCovid wordbursts – “I saw a huge woodpecker! “That poplar is magnificent!” "Is that a heron?" “Can you believe all this larkspur?” "Such cute turtles!"
And then: “WHAT is THAT?”
Up from the mud, grim and ugly and hulking, lodged on a submerged limb, is a snapping turtle. Oblivious to the thrilled, horrified onlookers, this prehistoric monster sits like a hunk of rock, unmoving, unblinking, unbothered even by the weeds on its bulging head.
Who invited this thing to Spring?
IN one of the dream groups lately we were talking about resurrection, and how we experience it. People had a lot to say about the wildflowers and the reviving effects of spring on our Covid-entombed spirits.
It seemed relevant to bring up the other side of all the loveliness. What came to mind was the weirdly abrupt ending of the oldest version of the oldest gospel. Mark describes the scene at the empty tomb: a man in white tells the women Jesus is risen and gone and they'll meet up with him soon.
They “fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
And... that's the end.
Somewhere in this experience of amazement, of radiance and joy and life restored lurks story about terror.
A few years ago I had this dream: A huge snapping turtle, older than the lake, old as myth, heaves up on the bank. Her shell cracks open like an armored door, and a cold, wet, weeping woman emerges, with weeds and twigs in her long stringy hair. She’s completely undone: she sobs as though she holds a lake of tears.
That dream was the beginning of deep, terrible, necessary healing.
Sorry if this is a downer but I’m telling you the dream-honest truth about spring: buds open, eggs open, wombs open, tombs open, and emerging into Life can feel like the hardest, scariest, ugliest thing you'll ever do.
Practice: Envision hold a difficult dream image in your open hand or open heart. It won’t hurt you: just behold it and feel its energy. Then put it down. For several days, return to the image and do the same thing, until you feel a shift. You probably won't feel happinessor relief. You may feel something more complex and subtle, like compassion, forgiveness, or the kind of joy that comes with tears.
Nashville Jung Circle, Jung's Red Book with Adele Tyler on Sunday April 25 at 2:30 on Zoom: go to www.nashvillejungcircle.org to sign up.
The Jung Platform – Here comes another free series! "Call and Purpose" May 19-22. I’ll see you there: sign up at www.jungplatform.com.
Haden Summer Dream Conference- It' s the Biggie! Keynote speakers include Mirabai Starr and Brian McLaren. Loads of workshops*, plus music, yoga, and artmaking. And a dream group every day. May 30-June 4. Learn more and register at www.hadeninstitute.com
*I’m leading the "Dream Story Telling" workshop
Coming this Summer through Zoom:
Two New Dream Opportunities at Fire by Night!
Metaphor, Myth, Meaning and Miracle - a 4-week "summer camp" about the Jungian perspective on dreaming and dreamwork. This is a great way to learn what you wish we had time to talk about in dream groups! It's a good prep for group and personal dreamwork this fall. (Includes lots of dreamwork practices, but it’s not a dream group). Choose evening or daytime sessions. Signups coming soon.
The Oneira Book Club begins in July with The Wisdom of Your Dreams by Jeremy Taylor. Juicy discussion, a little teaching, some storytelling, always dreamwork. Oooo fun!