Feb 26, 2021

Photo Credit: Vadislav Babienko via Unsplash

The twenties are a period of emerging adulthood, a time to engage in the maturational tasks of finding one’s place in the wider world and forming intimate relationships. This stage of life calls for the ego strength necessary to make initial choices about work, intimacy, money, lifestyle and values. The protections and constraints of family, education, and culture are no longer unquestioned.

It is time to engage life on one’s own authority: take appropriate risks, tolerate anxiety, weather disappointments—and reap the rewards of growing self-confidence and life competencies, lest isolation and stasis ensue. Embark bravely and with an open heart; learn to balance aspiration and reality, passion and practicalities. Jung says, “If one lives life then surely something should come from it. You see, life wants to be real; if you love life you want to live really, not as a mere promise hovering above things.” 

 Here’s the Dream We Analyze:

“I walk into my older brother’s bedroom in my childhood home. The room is full of sunlight. I head towards a mirror that is leaning against the window. I pull down my pants to check on a tattoo I recently got on my right thigh (I really did get a tattoo there recently). As I’m pulling my pants down I see another tattoo on my left thigh. It’s massive. The tattoo is of a statue of the Virgin Mary. Except where her face should be there is a black square covering her face. I panic and will myself to remove the tattoo with my own mental fortitude. The tattoo began to disappear. Then came back then finally disappeared.” 


Erik Erikson. https://www.amazon.com/dp/3656837708/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_TNX6QB0YXK8NPPY1V4QH

Poem: The Desiderata: https://www.desiderata.com/desiderata.html


Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/


  1. Mamie Krupczak Allegretti

    First, it is often difficult to follow your bliss and earn a good living at the same time. I think what Joseph Campbell was saying , in essence, was to trust in yourself and follow what wants to come through you. But it’s often hard because opportunities (jobs, etc.) don’t always allow you to make your calling your career. It made me think of Robert Johnson’s book Living Your Unlived Life in which he discusses ways to live your unlived dreams and fantasies in a satisfying way and thus still being true to the guidance of your daimon . Second, the dream was very interesting. I thought of the black square on the Virgin’s face in alchemical terms. Black is the color of the nigredo stage and the square over the face suggests something hidden from consciousness (the head and face). But that which want to be revealed is kind of at the threshold of consciousness and wants to be brought to light (as symbolized by the sunlight in the room). It also reminds me of Maria Prophetissa’s maxim, …”out of the third comes the one as the fourth-” a square (4 sides) being a symbol of wholeness and something new. So, perhaps by looking at what this square is hiding (an active imagination, maybe?), it may lead to the dreamer’s transformation to a new perspective. The ego obviously doesn’t want to see it because it’s blacked out and she wants to rub it off mentally. Perhaps the dreamer associates her older brother’s bedroom as a safe place in which to do this work – an alchemical retort so to say. She did say that she had another religious dream in that room, I think. It would be interesting to know what her feelings and relationship to her brother actually are. I also agree with Deb that it would be great to know what kind of tattoo she has on her right leg. It may be a symbol that has generated its opposite (or some other kind of relationship) to the Virgin Mary tattoo – something she doesn’t want to look at. So, the Virgin Mary might be a kind of compensatory image in some way. The panic the dreamer feels at getting rid of the tattoo really shows fear of looking at what is hidden and what this means. But perhaps the stronger the feeling, the more urgent the unconscious is saying that this is something that needs to be discovered? I also think that the fact that the tattoo is rubbed off but then reappears is a symbol of the persistence of the psyche basically saying that it will still come back to the dreamer. It’s more of an urgent message from the psyche. Again, a lot of material to work with here.

  2. Larry W

    This was the first podcast episode I listened to after seeing it referenced in yesterday’s New York Times. Wow! Am I impressed. There were so many wonderful insights and perspectives shared in this program. I found myself reminiscing about my 20s and was really struck by the fact that at 28, I began the career I am still involved in, 25 years later, and at 29, I married the woman who is still my wife, 24 years later. 28 and 29, the years referenced as being very powerful for pushing forward in one’s career and personal life. That certainly resonates with me. Suddenly two major steppingstones in my life came into clearer focus for me. Also, I could completely identify with the sadness and confusion that comes with the loss of that monitoring and supervision (and a readily available and ever-present peer group) when leaving the high school to college track and starting to navigate the work world. I thought that was just something that I was going through, but I realize through this podcast that it was a wider phenomenon. Fascinating. I am so happy that this podcast exists and feel so motivated to re-immerse myself in Jungian perspectives on life meaningfully lived. Thomas Moore’s “Care of the Soul” and several of James Hollis’ books were touchstones for me when I discovered them in my forties. I just recently finished the Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies (the Manticore, the second volume of the trilogy includes notes from a Jungian analysis) and found my interest in Jung’s ideas re-awakened. Suffice to say, this podcast arrived in my awareness at a fortuitous time. I’m so enthused that I have already signed up to be a patron. Can’t wait to hear what is next and to dip into the wealth of material already archived. Best wishes for continued success!


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