“I am on a quest…” ~ dreams of the Grail

I am on a quest…” ~ dreams of the Grail

Jung referred to dreams as being “the royal road to the unconscious,” and any seeker of their inner truth does well to pay attention to their dreams. My good friend Jean Raffa has written extensively in all three of her books (all highly recommended here) of the value of dreams and dream analysis. I keep an intermittent dream journal and have done for many years, though I sabotage myself quite often by choosing not to record dreams because I sometimes let myself believe the view held by many that dreams are just valueless doodlings the mind does when left to run idly by, and that they have no deep inner message. This is completely at variance to my core belief and experience that in dreaming we come closer at times to the true nature of reality than we do when awake. I’ve had precognitive dreams galore that make me certain that time is not linear; I’ve had powerful lucid dreams that help me believe that consciousness is not random or purposeless. Yet still I tend to think, “No, that’s just silly. How can dreams be THAT important?” Every time I read someone commenting that dreams are only of interest to the dreamer and suggesting that the sharing of dreams is foolish, this only goes to back up this internal struggle I have with the value of my own dreaming.

The other problem with dreams is that you need to be able to sleep to have them and here, due to several issues having a catastrophic effect on my sleep patterns, I’m fighting to sleep more than two consecutive hours. I probably tot up six or so hours but all broken up and it’s been relatively rare for me to have anything more than fragmentary, jumbled dreams that come in evanescent snatches.

The other morning I slept in a few extra hours after morning wakening and I dreamed. Yet when I woke, I was at first too dismissive of the dream to want to write it all down. I felt both the content and the imagery was embarrassingly childish and immature. Yet after a few minutes I realised that that was probably a clue in itself to its value. Often the deepest messages are couched in terms and language that hark back to early childhood.

The dream had a long preamble, which I’m not going to share here, because while it has a message, it’s not essential to the whole thing. Within the dream-scape scenario I was at once seeking something and being pursued at the same time. I descended a wide, modern spiral stair case that was littered with debris like old clothes and cardboard boxes that were empty and battered, as if I were going to a basement. I was looking for a way out and I felt as if I should not be there; I would be in serious trouble if found. There was another person with me but I was unable to see who he was, but I knew it was a he. We found a door, that led into the exterior world but when we looked out, it led into a graveyard, overgrown and seemingly abandoned to weeds and tall grasses. It was also guarded at the perimeter wall by a witch with a broomstick. This was not our way out, so we crept back inside. We were now in a corridor which seemed to be mostly filled with stored items in boxes and in piles. My companion wanted us to hide under blankets so we would not be seen, and we did so. But as this occurred, a group of people came up behind us in the corridor.

Now the witch with the broomstick was the first player in this dream that had me recoiling as being childish, but the new arrivals were even more so. Straight out of a fairy tale picture book, wearing old fashioned clothes, these ladies resembled Flora, Fauna and Merryweather of the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty. I had the impression there were ten of them, all wearing similar clothes completed with fine white aprons and bonnets, and for all their comical appearance, they carried an air of power, because I could not hide from them and stood up.

I was interrogated, kindly but firmly, by these beings. They seemed ridiculous and yet I was in awe of them and unable to just dismiss them and walk away.

What was I doing there, they asked.

I thought, frantically, to find an explanation that might satisfy them, and one that would somehow raise me to being their equal in power.

I am a royal princess and I am seeking to escape,” I said.

The one closest to me, who seemed their leader, shook her head.

Oh no dear,” she said. “That won’t do at all. You seem like a commoner to us.”

I thought again and realised that I had to tell the truth, though I did not know till I spoke what it was.

I am on a quest,” I said. “I am seeking to become royal.”

Then we CAN help you,” said the leader, beaming at me, and before the dream faded I had a dim impression that they all carried gift boxes of some sort.

Now, I woke feeling initially that this carried messages of great power for me, yet within moments I was keen to dismiss it as being silly. Though I wanted to avoid writing it down, I resisted that and wrote up a brief account of it before it faded entirely. Bits and pieces came back to me later too. And the last few days I have spent considering the dream and what it might mean.

Those of you who have read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code will know that he used the words San Graal (Holy Grail) and put them together to make Sangraal,(royal blood) and the concept of the quest for the Holy Grail became that for the blood line of Christ. I’ve long said that I am on a quest, a Grail quest, and yet I do not know what I am really looking for. Not a cup, nor yet a descendent of the bloodline of Christ, but rather certain eternal truths that these things can stand as metaphors for.

I wanted to reject this dream for its childish components and yet I can see that this has its origins in my earliest consciousness, and my seeking after this “grail” is almost as old as I am. 

8 thoughts on ““I am on a quest…” ~ dreams of the Grail

  1. This is a wonderful dream. I’d start sketching every scene. Images spark extra associations. Your companion (could he be an aspect of the animus?) seems a little timid and anxious. In any case, there’s stuff boxed-up, and the fairies are helpful.


    • I’m considering drawing some of it but I now also have my Grail journal, just like Professor Jones did, though I don’t expect to be pursued by Nazis seeking immortal life!


  2. This is fascinating.I have for many years paid attention to dreams, and remembered & recorded them. I’ve also read books & taken courses on dream interpretation. One warning I received once from a dream course tutor was not to be overly distracted by powerful images in dreams; the function of these is to draw attention to what the dream is telling us (which can sometimes be totally practical & down-to-earth). Yet the vivid images are what I remember – for example,a richly-furnished archbishop’s palace behind a great waterfall; a glacier breaking, &an ultramarine sea viewed from a church on a clifftop. Thank you for your post – this is a subject after my own heart!


    • Then you’ll like Monday’s post too. I’m not sure I’d agree with the dream course’s verdict about the purpose of rich imagery but I would agree those are often what strike us most.


  3. If this were my dream, in my projection the quest would be to discover the essence of my own soul. Who I really am at heart. And what I really have to offer to the world. The fairy godmother ladies would be spiritual guides, feminine aspects of my soul that know who I really am, but which are seen as silly and inconsequential from my ego’s patriarchal perspective which prefers objective masculine idealistic values over feminine subjective realities. The godmothers see the world not in terms of my “masculine” ego’s ambitions, but in terms of what my “feminine soul” is uniquely qualified to bring into the world in order to expand my fuller awareness of myself as a complete human being and not just an unconcious patriarchal puppet.

    I don’t take the old women or witch literally, i.e. as actual feminine authorities outside myself. I see them as energetic forces within myself which compete for my ego’s attention. Will my conscious ego self listen to the witch who wants to limit my boundaries and horizons? Or will I listen to the old ladies who seem silly to my ego (and to the culture I grew up in which conditioned me to see them as silly), but who, within my soul’s arena, are actually the truly helpful ones who are sticking around to try to help me discover my true self? My ego has one perspective; my unconscious inner realities quite another.

    In my projection on this dream, it is saying that my ego has one perspective, and my unconscious inner realities have quite another. And it is asking me to consider which parts of my fuller self will I, i.e. my ego self, respect? Can I acknowledge the reality and value of both the conditioned and natural? The patriarchal ideal and the feminine reality? The objective and the subjective? The logical and the non-logical?

    Can I see that both sides of every pair of opposites are part of my human inheritance, and that despite cultural preferences, both sides are natural and valuable parts of me? Can I listen to both without categorically rejecting one in favor of the other? Can I respect and tolerate the tension of both forms of energy within myself without seeing one as more important and valuable than the other? Can I embrace my fuller, truer self, or will I insist on maintaining the traditional one-sided perspective I was conditioned to believe was the correct one?

    So much rich material to mine here, Viv. I love this dream. J


    • I have read and reread this comment and I can say I am seeing this as a spur to begin work. I’ve started with various things, and as you will see by my next post, there’s a lot going on in my psyche even if my *real* life is quite stagnant.
      Thank you so much. You’re an inspiration to me.


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