Sleep Comics #42

"The unconscious is like the vault of a great bank in which is stored all the wealth inherited from our ancestors and in which we, as individuals, also have deposited our own coin. All of this treasure belongs to us, and we like to think that it is at our disposal, but the trouble is that we cannot withdraw on demand." Singer, June. Boundaries of the Soul. New York: Anchor, 1972. Print.

The dream image of the basement is easily the most common representation of the subconscious for me (and for a lot of people, I assume). My grandparents' basement was the the setting of a lot of family gatherings in my youth. This lower level had almost everything needed to entertain a family of a thousand, and it happened very often. There were other rooms in the basement less frequented during visits. The unfinished room, in particular, was a storage of tons of stuff collected over the years by my grandparents. Anyone who has visited grandparents in their long time residence knows of the toys that dwell there. They are universal toys, vaguely familiar with strange personalities, meant for whatever grandchild happens to be visiting. They are almost always there when you visit and provide strange entertainment and excitement. You always leave them behind, as an unspoken rule, for the other grandkids to use during subsequent visits. These toys in this dream are like what June Singer describes in the passage above. I want to share the hidden gems in my unconscious, through these comics, but at the same time I worry that people may not understand.

Sleep Comics #37

"It was said that Dr. Jung's favorite story went something like this: The water of life, wishing to make itself known on the face of the earth, bubbled up in an artesian well and flowed without effort or limit. People came to drink the magic water and were nourished by it, since it was so clean and pure and invigorating. But humankind was not content to leave things in this Edenic state. Gradually they began to fence the well, charge admission, claim ownership of the property around it, make elaborate laws as to who could come to the well, put locks on the gates. Soon the well was the property of the powerful and the elite. The water was angry and offended; it stopped flowing and began to bubble up in another place. The people who owned the property around the first well were so engrossed in their power systems and ownership that they did not notice that the water had vanished. They continued selling the nonexistant water, and few people noticed that the true power was gone. But some dissatisfied people searched with great courage and found the new artesian well. Soon that well was under the control of the property owners, and the same fate overtook it. The spring took itself to yet another place - and this has been going on throughout recorded history." Johnson, Robert A. Owning Your Own Shadow. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1991. Print.

The Republican security guard is the powerful and elite trying to control the bubbling waters. Intriguing that this is happening from day one at this art school. Not a good sign. How are we supposed to create the original and impactful art where whistling uniformed men regulate? How much order is necessary at an institution like this? At what point does the integrity of the school start failing and a new artesian well bubbles up elsewhere?

When I was in junior high my parents took me to this art school I might possibly attend. The woman who ran it was smitten with my work and we toured the studios. The work the students created was amazing, and I got the impression that the curriculum was rigorous and disciplined. When it came time to sit down and discuss the idea of me attending - the woman made it clear that the decision must be mine, not my parents'. Sitting there I could hardly grasp what a large decision was being handed to me. As I hesitated at this I must have asked a wrong question, and the woman said, "Oh, he's letting the left brain in, this has to be a right brain decision!". In the end I chose not to attend, moreover I feel like the woman chose for me not to attend. This event has always stuck with me - it was like someone laid a trap for me in the place I trusted the most. 

Sleep Comics #22

After we went to Paris I returned home and dreamed about Paris consistently for over a month. It would pop into my dream every night. The trip was great, and the unconscious imprint was substantial. It was 21 nights of consecutively dreaming about Paris.

"...In every other great city the forgotten child becomes the deboshed man, and whereas nearly everywhere the child left to his own devices becomes rootless and immersed in open vice which destroys in him all conscience and sense of probity, the Paris urchin, we insist, however footloose and disreputable he may appear on the surface, remains in himself almost unspoiled. It is a magnificent phenomenon, splendidly manifest in the honesty of our popular revolutions, a kind of incorruptibility born of the instinct that resides in the air of Paris like salt in the waters of the ocean. To breathe Paris is to preserve one's soul." Hugo, Victor. Les Misérables. Paris: Folio Press, 1862.

I could have easily left the quote at "To breathe Paris is to preserve one's soul", but that would be like throwing sand in Hugo's eyes, and contrary to the spirit of Paris.

Sleep Comics #20

Confrontation of the shadow is different for everybody, and being closer to it - I realize how much work it is to deal with it. Looking back on these dreams (the dreams in Sleep Comics are from three years ago) I can see the shadow everywhere. Naturally so, since the shadow is just another part of the whole person. Jung: "To take a legitimate parallel from the psychology of the individual, namely the appearance of an impressive shadow figure antagonistically confronting a personal consciousness: this figure does not appear merely because it still exists in the individual, but because it rests on a dynamism whose existence can only be explained in terms of his actual situation, for instance because the shadow is so disagreeable to his ego-consciousness that it has to be repressed into the unconscious. This explanation does not quite meet the case here, because the trickster obviously represents a vanishing level of consciousness which increasingly lacks the power to take express and assert itself. Furthermore, repression would prevent it from vanishing, because repressed contents are the very ones that have the best chance of survival, as we know from the experience that nothing is corrected in the unconscious." Jung, Carl. The Four Archetypes from The Collected Works of C.G. Jung Volume 9, Part I. Princeton: Bollingen, 1959.

This is all so clear once you see how your Shadow plays into your daily life. My small progress has been to take a conscious look at my unconscious behavior and examine when my shadow tips its hat, and there have been specific dreams which help to highlight exactly when my shadow is tipping its hat.

I understand this dream doesn't quite deal with the shadow self, but it has themes that trigger the question of whether the shadow is at work here. My motives for paying the man to take care of a friend in need while I have a good time. Or, the friend who is too drunk and needs assistance could be the critic in me judging my behavior if I ever become too irresponsible, particularly by the shadow's doing.

Sleep Comics #19

The most common feeling I latch onto from all of my dreams is the overall sense of place. It is quiet and solitary and even the shortest dream can leave you with a full day of trying to capture and understand that feeling. It's not a feeling of the waking world. Not good or bad; not something that is asking to be analyzed, just a morsel to keep us coming back. Dreams like this are a welcome break from the standard unraveling of symbols and imagery we are acquainted with.

Sleep Comics #18

"Often in actual life, and not infrequently in the myths and popular tales, we encounter the dull case of the call unanswered; for it is always possible to turn the ear to the other interests. Refusal of the summons converts the adventure into its negative. Walled in boredom, hard work, or "culture," the subject loses the power of significant affirmative action and becomes a victim to be saved. His flowering world becomes a wasteland of dry stones and his life feels meaningless - even though, like King Minos, he may through titanic effort succeed in building and empire of renown. Whatever house he builds, it will be a house of death: a labyrinth of cyclopean walls to hide from him his Minotaur.All he can do is create new problems for himself and await the gradual approach of his disintegration." Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With a Thousand Faces. New York: Bollingen, 1949.

In this dream I let myself be victim to my own insecurities. What a petty quest it was to try and latch the door for those bimbos! My head is down and I am sad, but the sun is setting on lesser strife and the world is open for self-fulfillment that is not locked inside a pretentious warehouse. 

It's difficult to not get stuck in self-defeat and mourn opportunities missed. External forces are easy to label as obstacles, but that's just lazy. There is a quest awaiting. Judgement and rejection have no place in the triumph. The world outside ourselves is a giant mirror. Everything we see is only ever seen through our eyes, therefore everything we know in this world is some version of ourselves.

Sleep Comics #13

I'm not excited about this dream because the comic itself has too many details that I threw in to be clever. For instance, the Jumbotron has reads "Sponsored by Rebork" and it is called the "Corporate Funds Arena". Also, the posters in the classroom are completely made up and not elements of the actual dream. These details are fun, but they stray too far from the original content of the dream. I want the dream to stand on its own and I want to be as honest with the content as possible.

The comic format is ideal for conveying a dream because of the way you can sequence such absurd events. Dreams often skip around from one setting to another, or one minute your shirt is on, then you're shirtless, then it's back on again (as with this dream). There are very few movie sequences that I feel succeed in presenting a believable dream sequence. I can't even think of one off the top of my head. I hope these comics give the reader a modicum of the feeling of dreaming.

Sleep Comics #11

"...Let us come back to the Paracelsan process of transforming the Iliaster. Paracelsus calls this proccess a retoria disillatio. The purpose of distillation in alchemy was to extract the volatile substance, or spirit, from the impure body. This process was a psychic as well as a physical experience. The retoria distillatio is not a known technical term, but presumably it meant a distillation that was in some way turned back upon itself. It might have taken place in the vessel called the Pelican where the distillate runs back into the belly of the retort. This was the "circulatory distillation," much favoured by the alchemists. By means of the "thousandfold distillation" they hoped to achieve a particularly "refined" result. It is not unlikely that Paracelsus had something like this in mind, for his aim was to purify the human body to such a degree that it would finally unite with the maior homo, the inner spiritual man, and partake of his longevity. As we have remarked, this was not an ordinary chemical operation, it was essentially a psychological procedure. The fire to be used was a symbolical fire, and the distillation had to start "from the midst of the centre" (ex medio centri). Jung, Carl. Alchemical Studies, Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 19. Princeton University Press, 1967. Print.

Ex Medio Centri: Another alchemical example of dreaming. Here I come home to find my house burned down. A house of many rooms existing alone on a knoll. The basement is still in tact and I know that I will have to live in it for a while. This is a clear metaphor for having to live in the unconscious while my ego and consciousness are remade. This dream absolutely coincided with a personal breakthrough I had at the time. Albeit a scary one, the results ended up being very fulfilling.