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Dreams come as messages; some say from God, some say from our own unconscious. With an understanding of our dreams, we have continuous access to the direction of our individuation process and thus more available information to help us make decisions.

by Diane Crist, MA

35-year-old married woman who is reasonably comfortable in her role as a woman told the following dream to me. She had recently been asked to take on a huge new responsibility in her family. She was wondering if she was competent enough to assume this new role when she had this dream.

The dream:

I am riding my new bike with a group of men who I don’t know very well. I am worried that I won’t be able to keep up. I don’t feel like I belong with this group. Suddenly I notice that my shoe is untied. I know that my riding will be less efficient with a loose shoe, but if I stop to fix it I will fall too far behind to catch up. Finally, I decide to stop and tie my shoe. When I bend over I notice that an old wound in my knee has re-opened and inside the wound is a small, rosy, uncircumcised penis. I’m embarrassed and try not to let anyone see my wound.

The dream was shocking to the woman at first, but she gradually began to realize that it was important for her to look again at an old wound. The penis in her knee is youthful and innocent. When she reflected on what was being expected of her in her family, she realized that the only way she could take on this new responsibility was to find her own as yet undeveloped masculine energy

In Jungian psychology it is thought that every individual has a feminine and a masculine part. The feminine part holds information, munches on the facts and moves slowly while the masculine part goes out into the world to direct and make decisions. At times in our lives we may rely too heavily on either the masculine or feminine parts. This may necessitate the need to consciously draw up the opposing energy to get through a difficult situation. The dreamer in this case had been too reliant on her feminine aspects.

The new bike is also noteworthy. The dreamer has a new way of moving around in the world. Right at the outset of the dream we know that she is going to be changing her old means of transporting herself. She may walk into a room differently or maneuver in a conversation with a different approach.

The untied shoe is a glitch or surprise and serendipitously catapults her into the discovery of her as yet unknown abilities. Often in dreams the “quirky” part is the key to the dream’s message. Because of the untied shoe she must make a decision, which involves taking the risk of losing the group. When she decides to risk the dream takes on a whole new slant.

As a result of pondering this dream, the woman decided to assume her new responsibilities with a youthful confidence. She understands that she already possesses the strength she will need and that by trusting her own intuition a larger plan can reveal itself.

Diane Crist is a Jungian based psychotherapist who has been practicing in the Wood River Valley since 1989. She often asks a client to bring in a dream so that they might peek into the unconscious. Crist believes that each of us holds the answers to our own dilemmas and that dreams are the bridge that can assist in the creative union between our conscious and unconscious worlds.