Burnout is a relatively new term for job-related distress or an ongoing life situation that is unsatisfying, defeating, and creates a sense of despair. Burnout robs us of our sense of control and agency—we feel unable to change the troubling situation. Burnout can also be related to our internalized parents, moral convictions, and sense of duty. We can count on fairy tales, our psychic skeletons, to provide wisdom on resolving age-old human situations, even if they are couched in new terminology.
In Rumpelstiltskin a young woman is told she must turn straw into gold, a mission-impossible situation. The Water of Life depicts a dying king, representative of a masculine ruling principle, who needs healing water to renew the psychic situation. We may, like the maiden faced with a roomful of straw, need to find new possibility and empowerment—or discover the inner well within that provides new water for a parched attitude. Accessing one’s internal sense of vocation, purpose and meaning has always been—and remains—necessary and attainable.
Here’s the dream we discuss
“I find myself in a dark place, somewhere else, and I am hearing a male voice that I cannot see (coming from behind me towards the left side of my body) telling me what to do. I am obeying submissively, wanting him to know I was docile and serving him completely. I was simply cleaning a coffee machine; it seemed like an easy and ordinary task he had asked me to do and I wanted to show him how well I could do it. Suddenly, what I thought to be a black coffee machine turned out to be a human-sized male mannequin. The voice said: clean him too, clean him well. It had a wig with black mid-long hair and it had a disturbing fixed expression on its face like a rictus. It was wearing a black tuxedo with a frilly white shirt underneath.
It scared me and disturbed me a bit but I was completely drawn to the voice and wanted to serve it, so I was cleaning with devotion–a long, creepy, silent moment. I really didn’t like its outfit, and the voice then ordered me to change the mannequin’s clothes to something less ceremonial. I mentally browsed my ex-husband’s clothes for casual jeans and a casual shirt for the mannequin that I could grab but realized that the jeans were too small for him. I realized that the mannequin couldn’t fit in “normal” less attention-grabbing clothes. The presence of that mannequin was so creepy that I woke up.”
- Find out more about the Philadelphia Jung Seminar.
- Mythologems by James Hollis
- Memories, Dreams, Reflections by CG Jung
- Fairy tales: The Water of Life and Rumpelstiltskin (see Brothers Grimm)
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