|Wikipedia Commons |
Milton's Mysterious Dream,
Watercolor Illustration to Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso
By seeking to understand what messages are conveyed to his own psyche by dreams and myth one learns to assimilate a broader range of experience which applies to him and to the world consciousness to which he belongs.
Kathleen Raine on Page 126 of Defending Ancient Springs quoted Jung as recalling 'the unending myth of death and rebirth, and of the multitudinous figures who weave in and out of this mystery':
"Of this story no single life can realize more than a part; but beneath our individual experience is the pooled experience of our inheritance, Jung's 'collective unconscious' which discloses itself so he says, only through the medium of creative fantasy. 'It comes alive in the creative man, it reveals itself in the vision of the artist, in the inspiration of the thinker, in the inner experience of the mystic.' the mythologies of all races are its embodiment; the psychologists are newcomers in a field long known to the poets; a fact they are apt to forget.
Dreams resemble myths in their personification and symbolic forms and enactments; and the knowledge which myths and dreams alike mediate and embody is not conceptual knowledge; in symbols the soul can speak, but not the discursive reason. Explanations come afterwards and are far less fundamental; one has only to think of the countless expositions given some myth, which always survives these attempts to throw light upon its mystery. But the sign of the initiate of the ancient Mysteries was the finger laid upon the lips, the sign of silence. The Mysteries cannot be divulged because they elude verbal formulation."
Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Song 41, (E 24) "The Angel I Dreamt a Dream! what can it mean? And that I was a maiden Queen: Guarded by an Angel mild: Witless woe, was ne'er beguil'd! And I wept both night and day And he wip'd my tears away And I wept both day and night And hid from him my hearts delight So he took his wings and fled: Then the morn blush'd rosy red: I dried my tears & armed my fears, With ten thousand shields and spears, Soon my Angel came again; I was arm'd, he came in vain: For the time of youth was fled And grey hairs were on my head."
Europe, Plate 9, (E 62) "Enitharmon slept, Eighteen hundred years: Man was a Dream! The night of Nature and their harps unstrung: She slept in middle of her nightly song, Eighteen hundred years, a female dream!" Milton, Plate 15 , (E 109) "As when a man dreams, he reflects not that his body sleeps, Else he would wake; so seem'd he entering his Shadow: but With him the Spirits of the Seven Angels of the Presence Entering; they gave him still perceptions of his Sleeping Body; Which now arose and walk'd with them in Eden, as an Eighth Image Divine tho' darken'd; and tho walking as one walks In sleep; and the Seven comforted and supported him. Like as a Polypus that vegetates beneath the deep! They saw his Shadow vegetated underneath the Couch Of death: for when he enterd into his Shadow: Himself: His real and immortal Self: was as appeard to those Who dwell in immortality, as One sleeping on a couch Of gold; and those in immortality gave forth their Emanations Like Females of sweet beauty, to guard round him & to feed His lips with food of Eden in his cold and dim repose! But to himself he seemd a wanderer lost in dreary night."