The Grand Dame’s Legacy
On the relatively rare times when I sleep long enough to dream and to remember it, I have been making a point of recording the dreams and later working with the content of the dream using a form of Active Imagination. I’m sharing this dream because there are elements that baffle me and also because it is clearly an Archetype Dream; those I believe do not belong solely to myself alone.
I have inherited the property of an old lady who has passed away; I do not know her name or who she was but I am going through her belongings. There are many very fine blouses in a wardrobe; each is hand made, hand tailored and of fine material like silks and satins, embroidered and hand stitched with seed pearls etc. When I look at them, I see they are made for a slender, well shaped lady and though I would like to wear them, I would destroy them by the wearing. Each has a matching scarf that hangs with it. They are shot through with silver and gold threads like the blouses. I also feel they are too good for me. My impression is that the woman who owned them was what I would call a Grande Dame, a great lady, and I am just a peasant by comparison. I do not know why she has left her things to me, or who she was, or what to do with it all.
I find also a large clear quartz crystal, very fine, which has one of the best phantoms within it that I have ever seen. I want to hide the crystal, protect it, so I start wrapping it in a purple scarf. But the crystal seems to be getting bigger, stretching like a magician’s wand, and the scarf does not cover it, just wrapping like a ribbon decorating it. I feel anxious and want to put the crystal wand away, hide it back in the wardrobe where I found it. It is by now very large and I don’t think it will fit. Then it seems to crack, so it is possible to fold it up; the crack seems to be a sort of hinge.
The dream moves on; we are at sea and the boat is in trouble and a life boat has been sent. The sea is wild, with huge waves but as I travel on a smaller boat like a surf board or torpedo, I feel no fear even though I am deluged and thrown around.
Now, the lady herself never appears; I see only her clothes, her wardrobe and the crystal. Yet from those I have gained an impression of a woman of great taste, ability and poise as well as wisdom. What bothers me is that I know she is dead. Do archetypes die? I don’t know. If they do, I have been made inheritor. I am unfit for it. I am too bulky for her delicate, finely made clothes, though I do admire them very much. The style of the garments is not of this time but rather of a mixture of elegance from much earlier eras. Some seem to date from Regency fashions while some are Victorian and some are the kind worn in the 1920’s. Each is unique and has a quirky style that appeals to me; some are decidedly sexy and risqué though in excellent and understated taste. But nonetheless I recoil, feeling they are all too good for me.
The same goes for the crystal. It’s one of the finest specimens I have ever encountered, yet I am not able to simply accept it and keep it and use it. I feel compelled to hide it, to secrete it away somewhere out of sight. The growth of the crystal bamboozles my hopes of concealment; it becomes vast, long and impossible to hide.
I feel, as I try to analyse the content of the dream, abandoned. The great lady is gone, and I cannot contact her. I have been left with things I cannot use because I do not know how to use them or what they are for. I feel unworthy and really quite useless.
Contrast this with the final part of the dream, where though the sea is huge and threatening and I am leaving a sinking ship to be rescued by a lifeboat, I am confident of what I am doing, that the raging of wind and wave cannot affect me. I have the ultimate sea-legs and ride the smaller boat that shuttles us across, as if I were born to it. Though the boat pitches and tosses, and we are engulfed in waves like mountains of water, I remain unshakeable as if I were the carving on the prow of an old three master.
So, who is the Grande Dame, and what has she left to me?