The next dream in the series takes place a few months later. The dream contains several similar leitmotivs that suggest a direct connection with the first one. This is what the man recalled from his dream:
July 4, 2014 – Last night I dreamed that my wife, children, and I were vacationing on a remote tropical island in the Atlantic Ocean. I don’t know where it was exactly, but I have a strong association to Krakatoa or Phoenix Island. The sun was very bright and there were other people there as well vacationing, although I do not recall if I knew them. I looked to the east and a gigantic wave abruptly materialized. It was cresting and heading directly toward the island. I realized it was large enough to entirely cover the island. Fortunately, we happened to be located on high enough ground—a small peak that crowd the high point on the island—that the water did not reach us. In fear that there would be a second and larger tsunami, we departed the east side of the island for the west side of the island. En route we passed through a spacious meadow where there was located a diner with a bar. The establishment had a tropical theme. We passed by the diner and headed toward the beach figuring it would be safer there than on the west side of the island. Suddenly I saw hundreds of objects in the sky. The objects looked exotic and streamlined in their design. They did not appear to have originated from earth but beyond. I could tell that they were technologically advanced. It was an invading force, and I knew they were looking for somebody, perhaps me. We turned around to flee from the invading army. By the time we reached the other end of the meadow I realized that we were not going to be able to outrun the invaders—missile-like projectiles were striking the ground like lawn darts then converting themselves into mechanical hunters—so we decided to seek refuge in the diner. Then some detective guy from San Francisco walked in and started asking us questions. My wife told me he earned $1,300 per day which really impressed me. That is all I can remember.
The man is again accompanied by his wife and children in an ocean-like setting. However, as opposed to the first dream, the family is located on an island. The man associates the body of water with the Atlantic Ocean and associates the island with Krakatoa or the Phoenix Islands. The former and latter islands are actually located in the Pacific Ocean rather than the Atlantic. Yet, that the man’s dream got the geography wrong should not cause much concern. The psyche seems to deal in psychic facts rather than literal ones, and I might add tends to conflate figurative and literal reality by throwing them together in a sort of symbolic soup, which the Greek word symbolon etymologically suggests. The phoenix association is an important one because of the meaning the phoenix symbol evokes. The Phoenix Islands consist of a group of eight atolls and two submerged coral reefs located in the central Pacifica Ocean. Beyond their namesake, there is little significant about the islands overall. However, the dreamer did mention that he read a book called Phoenix Island (Paul, 1975), which tells the story of a fictional place called Phoenix Island off the coast of Washington state that is overcome by a tsunami. Read during his adolescence, the book made an indelible impression on the dreamer that his unconscious had not forgotten but instead associated with his life’s current situation (rebirth, transformation, etc.).
Viewed on a historical level, Krakatoa presents another interesting association. A volcano erupted in the Krakatoa chain of islands in 1883. In fact, in his autobiography, Jung mentions his father showing him shimmering green colors in the eastern skies which were likely a result of the Krakatoa eruption. Jung (1961/1989) wrote:
But I do have a memory of something that happened several years later. One evening my father took me out of bed and carried me in his arms to our porch, which faced west. He showed me the evening sky, shimmering in the most glorious green. That was after the eruption of Krakatoa, in 1883. (p. 15)
The Krakatoa eruption was so loud that it could be heard 3,000 miles away. Needless to say, Krakatoa, like Phoenix Island, is not located in the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, one could likely read into these associations on more of a personal level. In both cases, the association seems to symbolize death and rebirth. The phoenix has often been associated with the symbol of the rising sun and the myth of the hero. The dreamer also notes the brightness of the sun, which suggests the light of consciousness. Jung (1988) makes this same association in his Zarathustra Seminar. Yes, the sun surely is the symbol of the center of consciousness, it is the principle of consciousness because it is light (p. 16).
The man then sees a gigantic wave (Figure 1) appear in the east. He estimates that the wave is big enough to cover the entire island. The wave motif seems to be a continuation from the first dream, wherein a wave struck the family’s car nearly pushing it over a cliff. That the wave originated in the east seems relevant. The east could be viewed as much as an archetypal idea as a cardinal direction. Jung viewed the east as a symbol of the unconscious and viewed a union between the west and east as tantamount to a conjunction of opposites. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The implication is that consciousness originates from the unconscious. To the Western mind, the east is often approached with allure and even trepidation. From a Western point of view, the east could be viewed as the primordial source of consciousness. The trajectory of the sun—conscious development—starts in the east and ends in the west. Thus, one could view the east as the womb of consciousness—the unconscious.
Jung addressed this very idea in his works more than once. Jung viewed a movement toward the east as a retrograde movement of the libido. Such an introverted attitude could be viewed as an effort to adapt to the inner world of the psyche. Jung applied this leitmotiv to the hero whose night sea journey has an easterly bearing. The motif of a journey to the east also plays a prominent role in Liber Novus, where Jung (2009) goes to heal the ailing god Izdubar (Figure 2).
“I hurry toward the East and my rising—I will my rising” (p. 277). Izdubar says to Jung: “I no longer think that you come from the blessed Western lands. Your country must be desolate, full of paralysis and renunciation. I yearn for the East, where the pure source of our life-giving wisdom flows” (p. 279). When Jung finally returns to the west, he is prepared to transform Izdubar into a new god-image. From Jung’s regression arises the possibility of further progression and psychological advancement.
Despite the impending wave, the dreamer indicates that he and his family managed to reach the safety of a peak. Because of their location the wave is not able to reach them. Anticipating another wave, the man and his family depart the high ground for the west side of the island. The westbound journey implies a flight away from the unconscious, a virtual race against the sun overhead. The dreamer describes a meadow (Figure 3) that he and his family have to cross to get to the west side of the island. A meadow is an open grassland that supports a range of flora and fauna. In a sense, one could view it as place that promotes life—a fertile stretch of relatively flat land in the middle of a forest or jungle. The man associates the meadow with a place he used to visit during his childhood. The association suggests the land of the children, which may be considered a symbol of the unconscious. The meadow is relatively flat and suggests the crossing of a psychic threshold.
A meadow on a tropical island is one of the last places one could expect to find a “diner.” The fact that there is a diner—and a bar!—in the middle of the meadow suggests a degree of psychic compensation in the personality. That the diner, a man-made structure, appears in a natural setting is worth noting for its hybrid quality. The man and his family continue their trek pass the diner and toward the west side of the island figuring that it would safer near the beach. Before the family can clear the meadow however the man spots a very peculiar site in the sky. Strange things begin to descend from above and beyond. “Suddenly I saw hundreds of objects in the sky.” The man admits that he did not know what they were and can only speculate on what they were based on their appearance. That the man uses the term invading forces and invaders is highly suggestive for their depth psychological meaning. Jung frequently referred to autonomous complexes or splinter psyches as invaders in the sense that they tend to abruptly invade one’s consciousness. That the strange objects come from the sky suggests their origins from the collective unconscious. Whether they come from below or beyond, such autonomous agents can certainly be more than mere annoyances, but in some cases completely overwhelm consciousness. Jung (1958) wrote:
These invaders have the character of being completely foreign to us. Affects have already something of this character, they possess us, but we are still able to exercise some control over them with the will and to explain them, to some extent, rationally. The invaders, however, are completely irrational, they appear from the unconscious with no conscious mitigation and take us entirely by surprise. (p. 111)
In more recent times, people have inadvertently projected psychic contents into outer space, which has become a more common occurrence with the advent of the space age. Outer space has become a symbol par excellence of the collective unconscious.
The dreamer indicates that these “invaders” convert into mechanical hunters. He makes it clear that “invaders” are hunting him and his family which ups the ante, as it were. So the man and his family decide to turn around and seek refuge in the diner. The man then provides a few interesting observations that merit further commentary. A male detective appears in the diner who, the dreamer tells us, is from San Francisco. The detective asks the man and his family some questions. The man’s wife then tells him that the detective earns $1,300. It is not clear how she could know this. The dreamer has visited San Francisco multiple times and he says that he has always found the city alluring. The detective seems to be a kind of mana-personality, which explains why the dreamer is so fascinated by him. According to Jung (1928/1953), “the mana-personality is a dominant of the collective unconscious, the well-known archetype of the mighty man in the form of hero, chief, magician, medicine-man, saint, the ruler of men and spirits, the friend of God” (CW7, para. 377). In this sense, the detective has a distinct archetypal quality as a psychic dominant that can exert a potent influence over the personality. One of the most noteworthy examples of a mana-personality in Jungian psychology is the figure of Philemon who was a principal character in Liber Novus. Mana personalities usually have the potential to transform the personality. Jung suggests that one should not identify with the mana-personality but rather relate to it in an integrative way that facilitates the conscious assimilation of its contents. One could say that such mana personalities are harbingers of the self.
The detective appears in the diner just as they are seeking sanctuary from the invaders. His presence is accompanied by the number four in the form of his salary: $1,300. From this figure, one can arrive at four, which in Jung’s view was the number of wholeness and completeness. The detective’s salary evokes the axiom of Maria Prophetissa, which says
Four signifies the feminine, motherly, physical; three the masculine, fatherly, spiritual. Thus the uncertainty as to three or four amounts to a wavering between the spiritual and the physical— a striking example of how every human truth is a last truth but one. (Jung, 1944/1970, CW13, para. 31)
Thus, as a mana personality the detective seems to fulfill the role of a reconciling symbol that emerges because of the transcendent function. Every tension of opposites necessitates an eventual release which produces a third thing. The dream seems to culminate with the problem of uniting the opposites as evidenced by the appearance of the detective. It is also meaningful that man’s wife, a representation of the feminine, knows the detective’s salary, a substantial amount that when added together produces the number four, which Jung felt symbolized wholeness. “Out of the One comes Two, out of Two comes Three, and from the Third comes the One as the Fourth” (Von Franz, 1974, p. 65). Thus, the man’s psyche seems to be attempting to regulate itself and seeks to normalize its functioning through compensation—reestablishing a psychological balance between the unconscious and his conscious attitude. The dream then suggests a purposive function that aims toward wholeness and will make more sense when we discuss the third and final dream in the sequence. One should expect a resolution in the final dream.
(To be continued in part 3 of 3)
Jung, C.G. (1953). The relations between the ego and the unconscious. In R.F.C Hull (Trans.), The collected works of C.G. Jung. (Vol. 9). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1928)
Jung, C.G. (1958). Modern psychology: The ETH lectures. Barbara Hannah (Ed.). Unpublished.
Jung, C. G. (1970). Psychology and alchemy. In H. Read, M. Fordham, G. Adler, & W. McGuire (Eds.), The collected works of C. G. Jung (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.) (2nd ed.,Vol. 12). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1944)
Jung, C.G. (1988). Nietzsche’s Zarathustra: Notes on the seminar given in 1934-1939. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C.G. (1989). Memories, dreams, reflection.( A. Jaffe, Ed.) (R. Winston & C. Winston, Trans.). New York: NY: Vintage Book. (Original work published 1961)
Jung, C.G. (2009). The red book: Liber novus (S. Shamdasani, Ed.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton.
Von Franz, M. (1974). Number and time. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.