We have all experienced them in some form. According to Merriam Webster, a bridge is primarily “a structure carrying a pathway or roadway over a depression or obstacle,” and “a time, place, or means of connection or transition.” Some bridges go in one direction, while others allow movement both ways. I think of dreams as a bridge between the conscious and subconscious realms.
The divide is the area between either ends of the bridge. Some divides are starkly clear, while others are cloudy. Sometimes we know what to expect on the other side, while other times we are in for an unknown adventure.
Why cross the bridge?
To get to the other side, of course. To grow and experience new things, connect with others, and live life more fully, people are bridging all kinds of boundaries and obstacles every day. Some can help by building bridges so others can cross over in safety. Sometimes, we “burn bridges” after crossing them, making it impossible to go back the way we came.
When to cross the divide?
When we get there. Or when we are allowed to go, like after a drawbridge closes or after we have passed inspection by boundary guards. We must wait until we have built up the courage, energy and resources to make the trip. Or when despair, coupled with a glimmer of hope, drives us forward. We might need to wait for others to escort us. Sometimes, we decide not to take the journey. Sometimes, a part of us remains behind or dies in the crossing.
About Bridging the Divide
In this encaustic painting, I used my favorite turquoise and its complementary color to represent opposite sides of a divide. The figures on this misty bridge can pass back and forth, like travelers between the waking world and dreaming realm.
How are you bridging the divides in life?
⇒For information about purchasing this artwork, contactJanet Fox.
In waking life, I often think about where I am going. I seek immediate and longer term answers. I equally think about sleep-time journeys. Dream settings, characters and actions can be so fantastical. While dreaming, I’ve been in structures and vehicles, on land and over mountains. I’ve flown above and through the treetops, leaped off cliffs and visited under water. I recognize some places, while others are unfamiliar. Sometimes I know who I’m with; other times I don’t.
Do I choose these travels?
Dreams take me on travels magical, heavenly, spiritual, mysterious, fantastic and scary. Sometimes the feeling is very calm; other times action-packed. Before falling asleep, I like to focus on a question or something that I need guidance about. If I remember a dream upon waking, I enjoy reflecting on both the dream story and the question.
I started this practice years ago because I was curious about these dreamtime journeys. At that time, I happened upon a flyer announcing a dream exploration group, hanging on the bulletin board of a book store. I decided to sign up. Of all places where the group could have met, this one met one evening a week in a meeting room at – I kid you not – a local cemetery!
The group was utterly fascinating! We learned of important dreams throughout history, those in epics and religious texts, and songs and inventions inspired by dreams. We learned about Carl Jung’s ideas of psychology – the psyche, ego, self, Self, archetypes, shadow, anima, animus, the collective unconscious, individuation, and more. We learned how Jung worked with his own dreams and helped his clients through theirs.
We also incorporated dream exploration techniques pioneered by Jeremy Taylor, where we considered the dream presented “as if it were our own dream.” In this way, each group member could find something meaningful to themselves. Both dreamer and group members often expressed “ah-haaa!” moments, when something resonated within.
But mostly, we enjoyed sharing our dreamtime journeys with each other. The experience enlivened and helped me grow, and I’ve been hooked ever since!
To continue these travels when I’m awake, one way that I “honor my dreams” is through art making. Over the years, I’ve learned my unique internal language. Sometimes dream characters will appear in a series of dreams, and I find it fascinating to see how they’ve changed over time. I continue to be intrigued and full of wonder by these night-time wanderings!
Others’ ideas about dream journeys
Curious about your dream journeys and want to learn more?
Local Jung Societies and groups are a great way to connect with others interested in dreamwork. For example, the Jung Society of Washington has a wide range of programs, workshops, events, newsletters, videos – perhaps something to pique your interest.
This Jungian Life podcast is another fascinating – and entertaining – way to learn more about these concepts. Three Jungian analysts discuss important topics of the day, and then close each episode exploring a dream that a listener has submitted.
The lifetime work of Jeremy Taylor focused on dreams, myth, and social change. He also wrote many excellent books to check out.
For this encaustic painting, I used some of my favorite colors… copper and aqua-marine or turquoise. I wanted to capture the idea that dreams are mini-journeys in the dark, guided by the reflected light of the moon, and often with a surprise on the other side. Somehow the saying, “All who wander are not lost,” seems to fit. Wishing you wonder-ful dream journeys!
⇒For information about purchasing this artwork,contact Janet Fox.
These are two primal questions… Where did I come from? Where am I going? Answers are infinitely varied but could be here or there; forward or backward; up, down, right or left; north, south, east or west. I could go on, but what if, instead of going a specific direction in the external world, we turned things around 180 degrees and head inward? How do “the seeking” and “the path” depend on each other?
A clear or foggy path?
Whether traveling from the inside out or the outside in, the path can be clearly marked, foggy with low visibility or somewhere in-between. When the external world is overwhelming, turning inward can bring relief and calm. If the internal world is chaotic, turning outward can bring connection with others and help to see new perspectives.
Yes’ song “Endless Dream” seems to fit with this theme, especially the internal travels.
About Seeking My Path
This encaustic painting simultaneously shows a path in and a path out. While the yellow bricks can go in many different directions, the undefined area exemplifies the realm of the unknown. Which direction to go? North, south, east, west, up, down, forward, backward, inside? Are multiple directions possible at the same time?
In which direction(s) are you going?
⇒For information about commissioning a similar piece, contact Janet Fox.