Natural Dreamwork with Mary Jo

the alligator in me…

Dream – I am walking along a narrow jungle path; the foliage is dry and colorless.  I have a small child with me.  Far down the path, coming towards me, exiting a foliage tunnel, is a car!  The path is too narrow for me and the car so I pick up the child and flatten myself to the side of the path so the car can pass.  As it approaches, I see on the hood, an alligator holding down three small dogs.  Its jaws are holding one down, its claws holding down the other two.  The car stops because another car (unoccupied) is blocking its way.  The alligator sees me and starts to crawl off the hood of the car.  I have mixed feelings; the dogs are freed and can run away but now the gator has seen me.  I go to the unoccupied car and carrying the child, climb onto the hood.  The gator crawls over to the front of the car.  I’m not sure what my plan is but I figure it will be difficult for the gator to climb on the hood and that will give me time to climb onto the roof of the car – but then what?
Our dreams want to make conscious in us what is unconscious, to heal what is wounded, to be connected to our fullness. It’s risky work, because what is unconscious in us can be uncomfortable to look at, parts of ourselves we don’t want to admit we have…very ego pinching stuff.  So the dreams do this in a most creative and compassionate way.  Our inner beauty may come to us in the form of beautiful, loving people or breathtaking spacious scenes.  How we’re stuck and separate from our true self, what we call in dreamwork ‘the pathology,’ may come to us as dark figures and even, as in this dream, certain animals.  I appreciate this care taken by the unconscious.  If it were to show me too much too soon, too blatantly, it might be overwhelming, too much to handle.  As I mentioned last time the dreams were beginning to show me my caretaker personality.  In taking care of others, being ‘the adult in charge,’ a term I gave myself (sigh!), I perpetuated the illusion that what I was doing was good and of service, not aware that I was not letting the fullness of who I was (the love and the pain, etc.) be in the world, not aware that just underneath the serene woman of service was anger, some knowing that this was not the true me; that isn’t how my inner self wanted to be in the world.  It was a kind of trade I’d made with the pathology…do this and I won’t have to face/feel that.
So here we’ve got an alligator, often times a representation of the pathology.  And the dogs…well, dogs are usually archetypal, what we call psychopomps, wanting to lead us back to our true selves.  As Rodger pointed out in session, alligators don’t hold dogs down, they don’t hold them in their mouths; they eat them!  Where is my fear, my horror at this scene? It isn’t here. So really, it’s the dogs who are bringing the dream’s lesson; they are here to show me what it is I do.  And what is it I do?  I immediately jump to a plan, a course of action.  It’s a way I think I have control but I don’t.  Who has control of an alligator?  I think I do! The alligator is this part of myself.  One of my nicknames became ‘the solutioner’ because that’s what I did, what I loved doing, solving problems, my own and especially others’.  I didn’t even need to be asked.  Unsolicited I took it upon myself to ‘solve’ problems, enact a plan.  Just writing this I see the aggression and violence in this behavior, towards others and towards myself.  I didn’t give others a chance to figure things out for themselves…to even know if they wanted something ‘solutioned.‘  So the dream is showing me how I see the whole situation from the caretaking point of view…no feeling, no relationship, completely in my mind…busy…analyzing…solving…and out of my heart. And here at the end of the first month of dreamwork I’m beginning to feel the pain of who I’d become.
Mary Jo Heyen
Archetypal Dreamwork Practitioner 
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