What comes to mind when you think of child? Does that change when you think of a child in your dreams? I had the pleasure of reading an Instagram post by @ngnaturemagic where Child became a seed for me to contemplate and incubate in my dream world. At first, I associated the following to the child: petulant, naive, innocent, fantastic, playful, growth, protected, Madonna, cherub, vulnerable, freedom, and potentiality.
With these associations I felt that the image/symbol carried some potential, but I wasn't sure how I would connect to the idea of an inner child. I have not done much psychological work directly on the psychological concept of inner child. But I hoped to be surprised and entertained. Just before I went to sleep, I brought the symbolic quality of Child to mind.
As happens in my dreams, I have a little bit of lucidity while dreaming and make conscious connections to the dreams. I often have more lucidity in the morning before waking and can usually carry most of the dream with me until I have a chance to write it down. While I tried to keep the connection to this dream story in short-term memory when I woke I was only able to capture a few snippets.
"I am watching a father act childish and petulant, not wanting to do things with his family. He appeared moody. Later, or perhaps in another dream image, I am on the outside of a building taking pictures with my cell phone. The building had a unique design ad the city also had transparent, mirror-like, freeways that made the cars disappear when looked at from above. I was suspended on the side of the skyscraper and felt that it was a dangerous place. I realized I could drop my phone, but I wanted to stay and take pictures."
These two snippets capture two distinct aspects of what my objective psyche works through in the unconscious as the dream image of Child filters through. After writing the dreams, I reflect on these images, and I make several new associations and integrations that help me see how Child is represented in myself.
As I associate to the first image of the childish father, I connect immediately in the State Domain of my personal unconscious and particularly to the moodiness, unbending, reactionary qualities of the father. This makes sense since I do not have memories of a moody father, and neglect the relational aspect of the childish father in me. In this material, new associations to my unconscious, internalized experience of child emerge: restrictive, reactionary, involuntary and volatile. In sum, without attachment to a personal father, my inner child becomes stuck in these moody feeling states.
With these connections primed, the second image comes through with a different feeling tone of Child. In this image, I am playing on the side of a building and am trying to take pictures of the landscape and unique architecture below. I am trying to be objective and look to the city to make sense. I am playing like Superman: Dynamic, observational, and playing the hero role in this outdoor jungle gym. Briefly, another part of the Child in me takes on these roles and feelings.
In essence, these two dream images capture my unconscious associations to the idea of child. Using these associations I am integrating additional psychological material that had not been previously connected. Thanks to @ngnaturemagic for the exploration of the Child symbol and archetype.