CREATION AND DESTRUCTION: Archetype of the Volcano

Oct 6, 2022

Photo Credit: Alex Person via Unsplash

Volcanoes appear in our myths, movies, and dreams. Their awesome destructive power fascinates us and serves as a reminder that we are not in control of nature’s primordial forces. Offering access to the earth’s molten core, volcanoes have been believed to be the entryway to the underworld or Hell. The Greeks believed that the fiery bursts from volcanoes were the sparks flying from Hephaestus’ forge, thus underscoring the creative aspect of volcanoes – Hephaestus created items of incredible beauty and power in his underground workshop.

Volcanoes create new rocks and new land mass. Their mineral-rich output fertilizes the surrounding soil, producing abundant and delicious crops. The volcano serves as a potent image of the unconscious – unpredictable, sometimes explosive, powered from the depths – but also capable of bestowing its fructifying blessing upon us.

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“A man and a woman are hiking down through a rocky environment. The man is leading her and tells her that they are on the side of a volcano. She’s intrigued and allows him to guide her. They walk around for a while, and then on their way back to the top of the volcano, they come across a large stone bridge. The bridge is wide, made of heavy stones the color of sandstone, like something out of ancient Rome or medieval Spain. The rapids beneath the bridge are incredibly strong. The waters are white. The man and the woman embrace each other on this bridge in an all-encompassing, deeply intimate hug. The emotion is palpable. There is a close-up of her face; she looks alarmingly like Beyonce. She fights tears. I can only see the man’s back, but I can tell he, too, is fighting tears. When they pull away from each other, they see, at their feet, right where they are standing, a bright orange ember burning close to the ground. This signals to them that they have to go. At this point, I am now the woman. The volcano is unstable, and we only have a few moments before we can make it to the other side before eruption. We pull away from each other and start heading to the top of the volcano. As we walk hand in hand, magma begins to break through the dark charcoal grey landscape like veins through skin. Then the volcano begins to erupt. Smoke billows, lava flows, and the man and I face away from the eruption, pressed up against something like the side of a wall. He presses himself against my back. I wonder if he’s even really there or if he’s going to stay. Everything goes black; the ash engulfs us. We survive. The sun reemerges, and I leave my male companion and climb to the top left side of the volcano, where I find a small wooden hut. I pull aside a curtain and see that inside of the hut are my older brother sitting next to his child self, as well as my child self (though she’s sitting on her own). I check on them and ask them if they’re alright. A woman’s hand hands me a cool washcloth (white) (I believe the woman is my deceased grandmother), and I press it to my brother’s face, then his child self, then my child self. I tell them I’ll be back, as they seem somewhat infirm. My brother jests, “Hey, mind bringing me some coffee?!” His child self jumps in and says, “Yeah! me too!” to which I respond, “I’m not bringing you anything. But I’ll bring her coffee!” as I point to my child self. She smiles.”


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  1. gustin

    is this episode – 234 accessible by this page? thank you

    • Joseph Lee

      Thanks for flagging this. The episode link is now up and running.
      ~ Joseph

  2. Constance Braden

    I was really taken by the fairy tale Lisa told near the end of the podcast. The Golden Tree. I have not been able to find it–could you tell me where I can read the whole story? I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks for everything you do. I very much enjoy these conversations.

  3. Anna

    Hello! I am also seeking the source to the Golden Tree story that Lisa told in this episode, Any insight would be much appreciated!



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