Depth Psychology Blog

Dreamer at the Garden

16 Apr 2013 8:09 AM | Silvia Behrend
Dreamer at the Garden ~  by Silvia Behrend

I am a member of a collective garden, where about 20 of us work together to grow food, educate ourselves on sustainability, practice organic farming methods and generally have a good time. We have weekly work parties and also opportunities for solitary work. I have spent many hours observing nature and what she has to teach me about archetypal patterns. I have learned to look through the eyes of a pattern analyst.

At an early spring work party I saw one of our members broadcasting seeds over a bed and thought that this was the expression of the archetypal field of cultivation. This was the expression of the development of consciousness, no longer reliant on mere opportunism for gathering food, cultivating requires conscious engagement and knowledge of the processes of growth, maturation and harvest to ensure survival.

Except I was wrong. This person had used all the seeds for the entire season on one half bed. What would grow in this spot would be a cacophony of differing greens, salads, chard, basil, arugula, all competing for space, nutrients and attention. Instead of careful planning, timely planting and harvesting, this would be a short lived harvest.

Of course nothing terrible happened. We bought more seed to plant as planned and we will watch and see what happens in this bed, harvest and eat the tender young shoots and wonder what they might be. It will be an experiment and a reminder that if you don’t know what you are doing, just ask someone.

I realized, however, that what I thought I saw being revealed was not what was being told. Following my training, I looked at this as though it were a dream. I so, what would this dream image be telling me about the dreamer? I really understood what I have been studying for some time about fields and dreams. That is, a field can only be expressed through form and form shows us what the field is. As Dr. Conforti has said many times, “every story has a picture and every picture has a story”.

I will leave it to the reader to formulate thoughts about what is being revealed by this image. But for me, the most pertinent learning was about the nature of the reality of the psyche and its relationship to matter, that is, us. What I witnessed in the outer world, when seen as a dream revealed the field in which this person was embedded. This is the discipline that looks at all behavior as the explication of a field or archetypal pattern. We are all unconsciously expressing our inner life, complexes, blind spots and it is our great task to bring them to consciousness.

The theory is proven by the lived experience. I can look at how I move through the world, how I show up at the garden, in my office, in the kitchen as though it were a dream. What would that reveal to me about my life now? If I am driving down the street and realize that I am not paying attention, where am I going unconscious about how I navigate the world? If I dream I am driving and not paying attention, is it not revealing the same issue. I was reminded of what

Jung wrote in Memories, Dreams and Reflections, “our unconscious existence is the real one and our conscious world a kind of illusion, an apparent reality constructed for a specific purpose, like a dream which seems a reality as long as we are in it. (Jung, p. 324).

Jorge Luis Borges poignantly expresses the human relationship to Psyche the short story: The Circular Ruins. In the story, the old man is tasked with creating a man through his dreams. Over time, he dreams a man who becomes a wise man in another village. The only element which knows the true nature of the man is Fire. One night, a great fire consumes the village and the man is bereft that his creation will know that he is an ephemera because the fire will not consume him. This is the ending of the story:

“First (after a long drought) a remote cloud, as light as a bird, appeared on a hill; then, toward the South, the sky took on the rose color of leopard's gums; then came clouds of smoke which rusted the metal of the nights; afterwards came the panic-stricken flight of wild animals. For what had happened many centuries before was repeating itself. The ruins of the sanctuary of the god of Fire was destroyed by fire. In a dawn without birds, the wizard saw the concentric fire licking the walls. For a moment, he thought of taking refuge in the water, but then he understood that death was coming to crown his old age and absolve him from his labors. He walked toward the sheets of flame. They did not bite his flesh, they caressed him and flooded him without heat or combustion. With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he understood that he also was an illusion, that someone else was dreaming him.” (http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~jatill/175/CircularRuins.htm)

What I understood from my work in the garden and as a pattern analyst is that whether we are the dreamers or the dreamt ones, we still have work to do. The earth awaits our seed, the time for harvest will come.


References

Jung, C. G (1961). Memories, Dream, Reflections. New York: Random House.
 
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