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In it, my mother never notices that we are rolling backward, my father is never there, and we never reach the lake at the bottom.“It was only a dream,” my mother would say, rubbing my back and trying to soothe me to sleep.
There are no rules to this crazy ride called life, only the conductor, and that’s you. If you’re wondering what my answer to the question was, to me, it was simple. Of course, a person cannot physically turn into a mythical horse. But it wasn’t the physical characteristics of a unicorn that made me so enamored and obsessed with becoming one.
I’m not saying that it will be easy, and making any change can be terrifying, but just like when you still went to sleep even though there were monsters under the bed, you can find the courage again. It was everything that a unicorn represents – magic, mystique, and resilience.
“The dream,” Jung proposed, “is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the soul.” Bulkeley and Bulkley begin their book with a basic overview of Jung’s work.
They lay out some of his central concepts such as the interaction between the collective unconscious, culture, and archetypes.
They also delve into Jung’s understanding of dreaming as a “nightly revival of the unconscious mind,” with a focus on what he called big dreams, those “rare, extremely vivid and highly memorable dreams [that] deserve special attention as expressions of the deepest powers of the unconscious mind.” The authors then move into more recent research and how newer concepts might be integrated with the Jungian approach.
This sets up the heart of the book, which is the analysis of actual dreams of children that have emerged in early, middle, or later childhood.
How many of us heard that as a child or have said that to our children in an attempt to calm little ones?
But while at two in the morning quiet reassurance may be the most prudent (and sleep-preserving) response, dream researchers Kelly Bulkeley and Patricia Bulkley (whose names are spelled slightly differently) propose that those childhood dreams merit more than dismissal.
The final chapter focuses on the importance of cultivating a healthy childhood imagination and how exploring the content of dreams can support this.
The big dreams of childhood, Jung noted, are “the richest jewel in the treasure of the soul.” For those wishing to learn to uncover these treasures, Bulkeley and Bulkley’s book can offer tools for discovery.