The Task Master

Back in the early ’90s, while I was still in therapy, I had a powerful dream. It was as if I was awake lying on my back on my waterbed. I dreamed that a man in exotic, perhaps medieval, clothing with an elaborate coat or vest of dark red and black was standing over me just to the right of the bed. In his right hand he held a whip. His look was severe, as if he was mad at me. I stayed still, and he took the whip and lashed me across the middle, and the whip cracked like a thunderbolt. It stung considerably, but the sound was the most incredible, and I believe it even left smoke. I can still smell it.

I then woke and was shocked and afraid of what had just happened, or at least what I had just dreamed. It was another of those realistic dreams where it seems that you are not dreaming. The next day I noticed that I had a rather large bruise on my right biceps that I couldn’t explain. I talked to my psychiatrist about the dream, but he was dismissive and uninterested. I told him about the bruise, and he suggested I try to remember anything in the last few days that might have caused it. He didn’t believe any of it and thought that it was just a dream. I was more interested in the dream as a psychic phenomenon and looking for help explaining the appearance of such a psychic being. But my psychiatrist was more interested in trivializing it and explaining it away.

It wasn’t until I encountered Jungian psychology that I started to understand the importance of the dream although I have not come up with an explanation for the man and who he might be. The sound of his whip cracking as it lashed me was so loud that it jolted me awake. This was before I got laid off from my engineering job , but I had been devoting all my a spare time writing for years. I was only marginally interested in engineering. When I got laid off on the 1st of January 1993, I never went back into engineering although I did do some contract work for a few months for an engineering firm back East. I have been writing books ever since. It seems that my taskmasters in psychic space were disappointed in me and trying to make me conform to their desires, but I had a new taskmaster, or perhaps I was no longer a slave and was demanding my freedom, which I received when I got laid off. This answer about the meaning of the dream seems right and intellectually satisfying. Psychic space is really weird.

I do believe my psychiatrist did help me a lot. Carl Jung used to say that patients should see Freud before they came to him. My psychiatrist was Freudian, or at least practiced regression therapy, and my time with him was well spent. After my therapy ended, I found Jung’s writing, and his writing answered all my questions that my psychiatrist couldn’t, or wouldn’t. It has always seemed rather strange to me that I had done what Jung suggested even without knowing I was on that recommended path. 

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