Marie Louise von Franz (1915-1998) was a distinguished analyst and author, psychologist; she possessed a doctorate in classical languages and was consMarie Louise von Franz (1915-1998) was a distinguished analyst and author, psychologist; she possessed a doctorate in classical languages and was considered a scholar in Medieval Latin. In addition to her collaborative efforts with the infamous C.G. Jung, often referred to as “the study of alchemy,” she went on to found the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. She published widely on subjects such as dreams, fairy tales and synchronicity, and claimed to have analyzed over 65,000 dreams in her career. As my introduction to this fascinating person, Dreams was quite an enjoyable experience.
This book is an interesting mix of how dreams affect our development of self-knowledge and their potential use in talk therapy, blended with captivating recounts of historical figures and life altering dreams in their lives. If you are anything like me, you must marvel at the monumental feat of relaying a simple dream over all these centuries- plus, the magnitude of the dream that had such alluring qualities to enchant people throughout time! I’ve had some pretty amazing dreams in my life, but fifteen hundred years from now, I’ll bet no one will be writing about them! Yet I found myself entranced by the retelling of dream stories involving Socrates, Jung, Descartes and even a few mom’s of famous people as well, in spite of myself.
She begins by quoting an expression attributed to Pythagoras, Gnothi Sauton, Know Thyself. Well into my second decade of tracking and recording my own dreams, I thoroughly appreciated much of what she had to say on the topic, such as, “Through constantly taking dreams in to consideration something is produced which resembles a continuous dialogue of the conscious ego with the irrational background of the personality, a dialogue by means of which the ego is constantly revealed from the other side, as if there were a mirror, as it were, in which the dreamer can examine his own nature.”
I loved the way she brought up the concept and relation of the inner eye to dreams early on and how she shared the opinion that becoming well versed in the theories of projection and reflection can aid our analysis of dreams immensely.
In the very entertaining chapter, How C.G. Jung lived with his Dreams, I felt I was reading poetry in his descriptions: “In the end, the only events in my life worth telling are those when the imperishable world irrupted into this transitory one…they were the fiery magma out of which the stone that had to be worked was crystallized…and…he treated a dream like a crystal which one turns round and round in one’s hands in order to light up all its facets.”
Although I abhor the idea of some dream dictionary telling me what a train in my dream means, and in spite of the fact that, in all honesty, I skimmed through most of the interpretations of the keynote dreamers in this expose, several things caught my eye when reading each of the dreams themselves. For example, I was intrigued by the fact that Descartes actually had a premonition that he would have a meaningful dream, and then it occurred! He states that “the same spirit which inspired him with enthusiasm had already predicted the dream when he went to bed and that the human mind had no part in this dream.” He went on to witness the revealing of the fact that geometry, algebra and mathematics can and would indeed be fused into one scientific discipline, analytical geometry. His records of the three dreams that brought him to this conclusion were captivating, and certainly propelled his name into the history books as a most prominent mathematician, writer and philosopher.
An interesting tidbit I learned toward the end was the existence of, and the actual word to define “a science that dealt with the interpretation of thunder…brontologia.”
This book held some real gems for the serious dream student, or oneironaut, and I recommend it to those inquiring minds, as well as general students of the above mentioned historical figures, whole heartedly. Thank you, Marie-Louise, wherever you are!...more