A Work In Progress

      Image credit: Photograph of "The Encounter," a sculpture by Mirtala


      Image credit: Photograph of "The Encounter," a sculpture by Mirtala

I started seeing patients under supervision in 1975 while I was in training with the Guild of Psychotherapists in London (see About Me). Since that time I have been continuously practicing psychotherapy without ever seeing clients back to back. With a small private practice, I have been spared the dreaded burnouts that tend to afflict mental health professionals who work around the clock. I have also been in a position to go deeper than others and to individualize my treatment approach.

During my first semester at the Jung Institute in Zurich, when students are normally not allowed to see patients, I was exempt from that rule because of my previous work experience. The first person I saw was a perfect example of what Jungian analysis can do: a young opera singer who felt frustrated by the fact that she was only able to sing Pamina in Mozart's Magic Flute but never the Queen of the Night - a role she secretly wanted. The role of Pamina is a soprano role, while the Queen of the Night is a coloratura soprano role, which requires a greater voice range. After working on her dreams for a while we got to the bottom of her problem. It was not her voice range that was keeping her from singing that part but the range of emotions she was allowing herself. She was afraid of the evil nature of the Queen of the Night and of getting contaminated by her. After I had helped her to integrate her own shadow side her voice range expanded quite naturally and she was finally able to realize her dream and appear in the role of the Queen of the Night.

My work has always revolved around dreams, which for me, as for Freud and Jung, have been the royal road to the unconscious. The deeper reason for this predilection is that I am a dreamer myself. From early childhood on I have enjoyed an active dream life, although "enjoyed" is probably not the right word considering that in my childhood I had many nightmares of witches wanting to eat me and evil sorcerers trying to choke me to death. When later in my adult years I started writing down my dreams it became clear that I had a perfect dream recall of four dreams per night. This led to major frictions in my first analysis, because I had an analyst who did not know how to interpret dreams. I had to twist his arm before he was willing to listen to them, and when his attempts at interpretation caused even more friction between us, I learned to interpret them myself. Today I appreciate the fact that my analyst's incapability of dealing with dreams gave me the opportunity to develop my own style of working with them instead of getting entrapped in interpretative stereotypes. What appealed to me most in Jung's dream theory was the distinction he made between subject and object levels of dreaming. Because in making this distinction Jung took account of the fact that we are not only dreaming about our inner, but also about our outer environment. To be able to discern which level in any given dream is indicated the dream interpreter needs experience, sensitivity, and a reliable intuition.

As my dream work unfolded over the years, it began to encompass also those dreams which normally are not included in dream interpretation:  dreams from the third-eye level, which are psychic dreams, and from two gradated superconscious levels, which are located outside the brain. The third-eye-level dreams are easy to recognize, because the dreamer is, without exception, conscious of his sleeping environment. He can see through walls and/or perceive spirit beings and energy forms he normally is not aware of. Of the two superconscious levels mentioned above one is the source of past life dreams, the other connects us directly to the Source. The Source communicates with us in the dream state only in crossroads situations when our evolution is at stake. At such critical moments, the Source will provide information or give instructions in a deep, booming voice, which is both numinous and demanding.

I specialized in past life dreams for the simple reason that I had so many of them myself. I taught myself how to work with them and then applied this skill to my work with my clients. It is not enough to remember past lives through past life regressions or even dreams. Past life memories should be contextualized through historical background research and integrated into one's ego-structure. The integration of past lives and past life selves is a fine art which most of us cannot master on our own. Without professional help we tend to either suppress them again or be taken over by them. To be aware of our former lives should enrich us, not inflate us or alienate us from ourselves. And when the work of integration is done we should return to our karmic task in the present.

Twenty Years Later : Santa Fe and Karma
A poem by Marthe Raymond

To digest past lives
you must chew them, then swallow.
Santa Fe was full
to the clouds with folks jumping
onto tables, shutting their

eyes and careening,
seemingly, like particles
in a centrifuge
through dozens of previous
lifetimes in an hour or two.

Waitresses, doubling
as rebirthers, picked up the
pieces of Caesars,
Napoleons and Joans of
Arc, delivering them new

as bouncing infants
and recommending a change
of name to one more
fitting a newborn being
ready to gambol under

the curious eyes
of coyotes out in the
chamisa bushes.
While the regressers hoped to
make the big time, waiting for

calls from the talk shows,
the poor rebirthers just hoped
they could pay the rent.
The truth is, sometimes a life
you didn't know you had lived

sneaks up from behind
and knocks you flat on your face--
and you have to start
from uneasy beginnings
reliving its errors and

frustrations, knowing
full well you won't get out of
it alive this time,
either.  But you bite your way
like a beaver pulping dead

wood, through the log jams
of fragmented memories,
becoming pregnant
with sawdust, hoping to give
birth to a sheet of paper

on which you can write
the story of a new life.
Until another
old life ambushes you, and
another, and another,

and soon you are full
of lives; like a fish filled with
eggs moves heavily
in the current, you are washed
clean in multiplicity.

Since dreams are often only remembered in fragments, I use a strobic color light instrument, called the Photron, to retrieve the forgotten pieces of the story. This wonderful instrument, which regrettably is no longer being made, is equipped with a small computer box which allows the practitioner to dial in different brain wave frequencies. A color exposure to alpha or theta entrances the brain in such a way that the dream can be re-entered and the rest of it recalled. Unfortunately, our present frenetic and scattered lifestyle interferes with dream-recall so that people remember their dreams much less frequently than in times past, if they can even remember them at all. For analysts working with dreams this is a serious loss, because it means that Freud's royal road to the unconscious can no longer be counted upon. The only access to the unconscious that most analysts still have is through transference and counter-transference. Although these have their rightful place in the therapeutic process their usefulness for acquiring self-knowledge is very overrated in my opinion.

Thankfully, I have the Photron as an auxiliary tool which even in the absence of dreams gives me access to my client's unconscious. Any powerful unconscious misconception or emotional turbulence shows up in the color as spinning, patterning, and contamination. This disturbance has to be cleared before the client can stop projecting unwanted shadow aspects onto significant others and is able to see "the true color" of things. One powerful capability of the white color filter - a filter that is normally not used in this color therapy, I had not been warned about. I found that out the hard way. I had been routinely exposing my clients to white light at the end of their session telling them that this was a light bath that would clear their cells from negative energies. This seemed to be working well enough until I had to help a woman through the grieving process after her husband's recent suicide, which had been executed in a most gruesome manner. After her husband's death, my client had been conducting seance-like ceremonies on his behalf, which made me feel uncomfortable for some reason. So I told her to stop doing them, which she did. To my surprise, it took only a few color sessions for the client to recover and to terminate therapy. Shortly after her departure, I stumbled over a pallet in the health food store and broke my kneecap. A Native American friend who was a psychiatrist became concerned about potential complications from the injury and called in a medicine woman to perform a healing ceremony for me. When he and the medicine woman arrived at my house they both saw a monstrous creature sitting in one of the paintings in my treatment room. The medicine woman said it had followed me around and had pushed me, causing the accident. She had to perform an exorcism to get the creature out of my house. But how did it get there? When the ceremony was over I started putting two and two together and came to the conclusion that the client who had terminated the therapy must have carried the entity, which had migrated from her dead husband to her. Although the white light exposure had successfully taken it out, it had stayed behind in my treatment room, and was what had gotten me into trouble. This made me aware of the danger of using the white light filter at the end of the therapy session. I moved the Photron out of my house into my office which is located in a separate building. I also did not use the white color filter again until years later when I acquired a scalar wave sound system, which can remove entities at a distance if an energy sample of the afflicted person is placed on the coil that runs the system. Since then I have removed many entities - not only from clients, but also from individuals who are not in therapy with me.

Teaching has been a significant part of my work history - teaching in one form or another. Eleven years in the German Department of Reading University in England had primed me for this. As a student at the Jung Institute in Zurich, I gave dream workshops in different parts of Switzerland. On the Stoos, a mountain resort in Kanton Schwyz, I taught a one-week dream course as part of a larger esoteric workshop conglomerate, for several years in a row. Here I worked side-by-side with internationally famous presenters, such as the astrologers Liz Green and Gret Baumann-Jung, one of Jung's daughters.

In the United States, I continued my group work in a variety of settings and locations. I led an ongoing dream group for the staff at the Counseling Center in Mariposa, California, where I held a part-time position for a number of years. During this period, as adjunct faculty of the California School for Professional Psychology in Fresno, I introduced students in the doctoral program to Jungian dream analysis. These instructions came in the form of intensive weekend workshops, held on my ranch in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada's where students pitched their tents under oak trees and practiced Tai Chi in the mornings. The finalists who had never been exposed to dream work before were so enthusiastic about their new, exciting discovery that one year the school honored me with the Master Teacher Award.

After moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1987 I conducted many dream groups in my house for a decade or so. We sat in a circle on my hardwood floor and shared food at the end of the sessions. The most noteworthy of these was a mixed dream group of Native Americans and Anglos, which continued for a year and ended with a Sacred Pipe Ceremony. In the course of time, the Native Americans began to dream about helpful Anglos and the Anglos about helpful Native Americans, which meant that the racial differences between the group members had been dissolved. My most memorable dream groups, however, called "dream circles" were held on the Zuni and Gila River Reservations. Especially the one on the Gila River Reservations I will never forget. This was an all-women event. We were staying in tipis in the middle of the desert with a sweat lodge for each of the four directions and wooden structures built of branches that offered us shade. I was the only non-Indian woman invited to the gathering and only one of several group leaders. While I was working with the women in the dream circle three elders sat on chairs keeping an eye on me. And the only medicine woman who had come to the gathering greeted me with the words: "Welcome! The last time we met your name was Iona." She was referring to a lifetime in ancient Scotland, when the Isle of Iona had been a refuge for the Druids - an incarnation I had not been aware of. This threw even me for a loop!

I also continued to teach in Santa Fe, but more on an on-and-off basis. I acted as tutor for the Union Institute and Prescott College, was a thesis advisor for a doctoral candidate of the Pacifica Institute and taught for one semester at the Moving Image Arts Department at the College of Santa Fe, introducing future filmmakers to dreams and archetypes. I also gave a number of presentations and workshops on dreams to Native American health professionals in conjunction with the renowned Native American psychotherapist, Dr. Eduardo Duran. In 2000 I was invited to give a presentation on dreams and color light therapy at the International Light and Sound Conference, sponsored by the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago. After my book on past life dreams had first been published by iUniverse in 2005, I had the opportunity to present my research at the conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams in Berkley, California. This presentation went exceptionally well. Some of the dream researchers had been observing this type of dreams for many years and were relieved that someone had finally done some serious analysis of the subject. After two proposals to present my work at Jungian conferences had been rejected, I was finally invited in 2011 by the C. G. Jung Society of Colorado to give a lecture and workshop on the previously taboo subject. I hope that my most recent endeavor, the production of a documentary, entitled A Row of Tombs: Jung and Reincarnation (see page on the film) will have created more such openings. The film shows in a series of interviews with the late Erlo van Waveren that Jung and his inner circle were well aware of past life dreams and shared them with one another. This was two decades before hypnotherapists in the seventies stumbled across this material in their regressions, and reincarnation turned from an almost non-existent into a controversial subject in the West.