When Dreams Depict a Stage in the Alchemical Process

I have been going through profound changes for the last three years that have included a number of losses. I have glibly referred to my situation on occasion as "my dismantling." I'm coming out the other end, but managing my mood is still an effort. I don't know a lot about alchemy, but a dream I had a few days ago brought forth the image of the alchemical bath and seemed to speak to the magnitude of my transformation: 

I am seated in a black office chair on rollers in a large auditorium with no other furniture. About 50 feet in front of me is a man facing me, crouched and looking like a baseball catcher at home plate. My chair is jiggling and squeaking, but it is not me that is doing it. All of a sudden, I am being tossed around violently within my own body. I am seeing through tumultuous murky water, with my butt now up by my mouth, then my arms at my feet. All the while, I am shouting: NO! but I am powerless to control it. Finally, mustering all my will in the dream, I right myself within my body and am spit out, as if from a washing machine. I tumble onto the auditorium floor, close to where the catcher was, but he is nowhere to be seen and I wonder if he was ever there in the first place.

In the dream I am certain that I have had a supernatural experience, that the shuddering chair was the experience coming on, and that I am fighting with another being for sovereignty over my own body.

Upon waking reflection, I take my dreaming mind at face value about the supernatural experience. However, I also think the material may be symbolizing an alchemical (psychological) process taking place in me. Thinking that I may be coming out of the washing machine is certainly hopeful!

What do you think about alchemical symbolism in dreams? Have you seen it in your own dreams? If so, what has it looked like? Does unpacking dream material in this way give you a greater sense of peace and order? Love to hear from you!

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  • Dorene, thank you for this post. Lynne Ehlers, a psychologist in the Bay Area, has written on alchemy and dreams and gave a talk about this subject at Sonoma State University. Also, are you familiar with second Saturn returns in astrology?

    • Thank you, Lynn. I have NOT heard of Lynne Ehlers, which is interesting, because I actually got my degree at SSU and live within walking distance from the campus!! I'll have to check her out. If you are so moved, I'd love to have you share with the group (The Twilight Zone) your understanding--either from Lynne, or your own experiences--of alchemy in dreams.

      And, finally, I don't have any grasp at all of astrology, although people often talk of Saturn returns as good times to REview, REvise, REorient . . . anything that has a "re" in it, but nothing new. Perhaps you are suggesting that the tumultuous quality of my dream is reflecting a state that many of us are experiencing because of the Saturn return?

      Thank you!

  • What an extraordinary dream, Dorene.  I would certainly trust your gut on this one. I would not want to add my insight on the dream without your input but would love to talk with you about it. It is profound just to say that you are head over feet and something larger is certainly driving this.

    I would love to talk with you about it. Thank you for sharing this profound experience here.

    • Thank you so much, Eva, for your lovely message here and follow-up email about protecting the temenos within which my unconscious is appearing so powerfully. The mysterious element of this dream is a new pattern in my dreams that could indicate something specific right now, or it could suggest the emergence of some wholly new organs of my perception. Either way, I do have a sense of deliciousness and expectations. We'll see where it all goes!

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