pp. 234-235

The next night the spirit of the depths tells Carl to write down as accurately as possible all of the dreams that he can remember.

Carl admits to his soul that he knows too much not to recognize the precariousness of the path ahead. "Where are you leading me?" he asks with trepidation, before conceding, "This hour belongs to you" [p. 235]. Still, he hesitates, questions, complains about what this costs him.

Trusting his dreams as the speech of his soul means surrendering to what holds meaning, not for him, but for his soul. It means leaving behind his familiar ways of thinking and understanding, and treading into the other half of the world, which to the spirit of the times seems like madness, nonsense and disorder. To the spirit of the depths, it is simply true meaning.

Despite apprehension and doubt at his world being turned upside-down, Carl follows, knowing he is following the footsteps of God.

Because Carl is not childlike, the spirit of the depths tells him, God comes to him as a child, capricious and disorderly. It is from this disorder and meaninglessness that order and meaning will arise. Carl is plunged deeper into the marriage of opposites.

He sees the irony and injustice of offering his love and trust to his fellow men and not to his own soul—how his claim of joy at finding her rings hollow, when in fact his actions show the opposite. Carl recognizes he must learn to love his soul, and admits that he is afraid.

At this, his soul speaks, saying that his fear is proof that he is against her. Carl acknowledges this, admitting that it kills the holy trust between them.

Carl writes about how opening the door to the soul brings the chaos into our well-ordered lives that are so full of “meaning”. He remembers that God is not only love, but also terrible. Yet it is this marriage of opposites, he is learning, that brings forth the divine child.

To become free, Carl says we must not succumb to temptation by the devil, but that we should succumb to temptation by God. Then we will be beyond Christianity and instead become like Christ, who overcame the temptation of the devil but not the temptation of God. It is the proper use of free will that will free us.

Carl had to learn to submit to what he feared and to love what horrified him. Because the soul bestows mercy and salvation, no sacrifice too great. Whatever hinders salvation, Carl tells us, be it virtue or vice, we must discard it.

For six nights the spirit of the depths is silent while Carl vacillates among fear, defiance and nausea, not wanting to listen as chaos floods his ordered mind. Then, on the seventh night the spirit of the depths speaks, telling Carl to look into his depths, pray to his depths, waken the dead.

Carl stands helpless, not knowing what to do. He looks within himself and finds only the memory of the dreams he had written down without knowing why. He wants to run back to the light of day, the land of reason ruled by the spirit of the times . . . but the spirit of the depths stops him, and forces him back into himself.

At this point in his journey, Carl is visited by the Animus and given specific instructions to write down his dreams. This is the same Animus who speaks to me, who would speak to all of us if we would listen. Carl hears the instruction and, of course, reacts and fusses at first.

Where are you leading me? Forgive my excessive apprehension, brimful of knowledge. My foot hesitates to follow you. Into what mist and darkness does your path lead? Must I also learn to do without meaning? If this is what you demand, then so be it. This hour belongs to you. (p. 235)

He sees this work of following the Animus and the instructions of his dreams as swaying bridges, not the known life he once had.

When we start this work, we all wonder, as Carl does, Where am I going? Where are my dreams leading me? We always want the answer, when our dreams and the Animus ask us to go on the journey by feeling into what the dreams offer, without having an answer.

We may say, “Just tell me what I need to do and I will do it!” Or, “If you tell me why I should jump off this bridge or that cliff, then I will do it.”

The answer is that the Animus and our dreams will not give us an answer. This work does not work in the mind. If we do the work in the mind, then we will never jump off the bridge with all of our fear and all of the pain in our hearts.

When we do this work with our minds, through an idea of what our dreams are asking, then we end up doing our work by rote. Meaning, as Carl uses the term here, is about the mind that wants to grasp an idea rather than have an experience. Carl acquiesces, although reluctantly.

What is there, where there is no meaning? Only nonsense, or madness, it seems to me. Is there also supreme meaning? Is that your meaning, my soul? I limp after you on crutches of understanding. I am a man and you stride like a God. What torture! I must return to myself, to my smallest things. (p. 235)

How many of us would actually like to return to the small things after a dream in which we are falling through the earth? We all react to this kind of experience in a dream by wanting to just wake up and worry about dinner. “Let’s have mincemeat pie!”

Hear my doubts, otherwise I cannot follow . . . I understand, I must not think either; should thought, too, no longer be? I should give myself completely into your hands – but who are you? . . . I know it’s ignoble to doubt you. . . .  I forgot that you are also one of my friends, and have the first right to my trust. . . .  I recognize my injustice. It seems to me that I despised you. My joy in finding you again was not genuine. I also recognize the scornful laughter in me was right. . . .

If you take a step towards your soul, you will at first miss the meaning. You will believe that you have sunk into meaninglessness, into eternal disorder. You will be right! Nothing will deliver you from disorder and meaninglessness, since this is the other half of the world. (p. 235)

What is Carl preparing us for?

This is not a diatribe about the ego’s struggle to maintain its perfection, even though it may sound like it and many of us will believe that this is what Carl is doing. But, he is not. He is preparing us for what comes next. He is preparing us for the alchemical process.

When we first enter into the process of the dreams and take a step toward our souls, as Carl says, we will miss what it means, because we will no longer be able to think. Without the meaning that our minds so desperately grasp, a vacuum is created. What we have known as “thought” and “meaning” will be changed in the process of the dreams and become something else entirely.

Carl prepares us because we are not ready. We all have ideas and assumptions about what we have done in our lives – what we feel has been good or bad, what we feel was necessary or unnecessary – and the dreams will confront all of our ideas about the “meaning” we have construed about our lives.

When we assume anything about our work or about our lives, we run the risk of adapting in order to meet those assumptions. When we assume we know where the dreams are taking us, we can “decide” to become that, even though it is not the truth of who we are. We can become the thing we assume the dream wants us to become, because we do not want to live in disorder and chaos, even though chaos is the temporary price we pay for enlightenment.

You open the gates of the soul to let the dark flood of chaos flow into your order and meaning. If you marry the ordered to the chaos you produce the divine child, the supreme meaning beyond meaning and meaninglessness. (p. 235)

The supreme meaning is beyond our own meaninglessness at any given the moment. We always think that if we were plunged into the darkness of our own pain, we would never get out of the pain. If we were plunged into the darkness of our own fear, we would never get out of the fear.

Carl worries that if he is plunged into the darkness of his own meaninglessness and chaos, he will never know light, he will never know meaning.

This is not true. But, for that moment, it is exactly what happens. How impatient we are; we always want to have Ariadne’s thread when we go into the labyrinth to face the Minotaur, the thread that guides the hero out after that he slays the Minotaur. We do not want to get lost to the Minotaur, lost in the labyrinth.

In this work, we do not return. We enter the labyrinth so that we can be slain by the Minotaur. The Minotaur is a projection of our own evil, our own monstrousness. The hero in us dies. There is no “back,” no return. But we want to make sure there is a thread, any thread. We want to make sure that we can enter the labyrinth, delve into the mysteries and come back to tell the world. Maybe we could become a star, make a million dollars.

You are afraid to open the door? I too was afraid, since we had forgotten that God is terrible. Christ taught: God is love. But you should know that love is also terrible. (p. 235)

Terrible? Love is only terrible to the ego that wants God to be a certain way so we can keep our illusions alive. Love is terrible because it kills all of the lies of emotional love and all of the feeble attachments that we claim as love. When we have the love of the Divine, we are no longer scared. It is that moment when everything, including our trauma, is revealed.

You dread the depths; it should horrify you, since the way of what is to come leads through it. You must endure the temptation of fear and doubt. At the same time acknowledging to the bone that your fear is justified and your doubt is reasonable. (p. 235)

We must tolerate the fear and doubt that tempt us, knowing full well that we have fear for good reason, and our doubt is reasonable. If they were not, it would not be a real temptation or a real overcoming.

Carl believes that his soul is fearful, but he is projecting his fear onto his soul. We think the soul is fearful because we are scared. Fear is justified because of our traumas. Doubt is justified because, in our traumas, we doubted God.

Christ totally overcomes the temptation of the devil, but not the temptation of God to good and reason. Christ thus succumbs to cursing. (p. 235)

Carl is referring to the moment when, on the cross, Christ called out, “Why hast thou forsaken me!” In that moment, he believed that God was just and would save him. But this is the mind seeking meaning and understanding of what it means to serve God.

This is conditional love.

Many of us, in the moment of our traumas, blamed God because we had conditional love. We did not understand that God’s love has nothing to do with cause and effect, with getting “results” or “answers” or “meaning”. It is not about goals, ideas or agendas. Rather, it is about the continuation of our own passion and nothing more.

You still have to learn this, to succumb to no temptation, but to do everything of your own will; then you will be free and beyond Christianity.

I have had to recognize that I have to submit to what I fear; yes, even more, that I must even love what horrifies me. (p. 235)

For Carl, will is Divine desire. We must accept the fact that the terrible thing that happened is the door to the beautiful person inside. For those who have trauma around spirituality, this means opening to who we were when we were put in danger of trauma in the first place.

Carl speaks about the saint who is disgusted by boils from the plague, but then drinks the pus and finds that it smells like roses.

The acceptance of evil in ourselves actually opens us to the truth that we are not evil. But if we deny the evil in us, we are then actually persecuted by it. If we do not acknowledge it, then what we are saying is that we must not be evil, and thus must always be good. We are left with our minds, with concept, meaning and living a pretense.

We are left with virtues, or our high-minded sense of what God should be or what we should be. There is no difference among someone who robs a bank, someone who pays whores for attention and someone who is God-fearing, goes to church and raises children. This is difficult to understand without understanding that as good as we may be, we are still lost from our souls.

As long as our virtues are more important than our souls, or we assume that our virtues come from our souls, we are lost. Debunking this idea is critical for the dreamwork.

If you believe that you are the master of your soul, then become her servant. If you were her servant, make yourself her master, since she needs to be ruled. These should be your first steps. (p. 235)

We are fools if we believe we are the masters of our souls. The teacher is always the child, and the child is always the perfect teacher. If we are servants of our souls, then we become masters, rather than teachers who teach about the soul without the soul.

Carl ends the chapter by confessing his fear of following the depths. Many of us who work with our dreams have had moments, or even years, in which we did not want to listen to our dreams. Many in the world do not want to listen to their dreams. This is the big No, where we say, I am NOT going to do this. It is reassuring to know that Carl had the same struggle.



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