Posted in Jung, poetry

Dreams of the Dead and the Knight of Cups

prince of cups

October 31, 2014


The night is gnarly and fitful.

The nine of swords won’t leave me alone,

and some knight of cups is calling again,

his helmet  only a decoration

implying the creative, yet ineffective wandering

of unrealized goals… the ghosts.

Show me the proof, something real

rather than this veil between the worlds

and my shadow.


Who is calling me from the beyond

at 3:30 am?

I am in the dimension between sleeping and waking

when an old friend shows up,

I reach out to touch her hand.

It’s Sheila, the Queen of Wands,

a kindred redhead

who worked ’round the world,

administering aid to the sick

in places with exotic names.

Baghdad, Cairo,and  Quetzaltenango.


In the dream she doesn’t recognize me,

her eyes are vacant and staring.

Where are you my dear?


It’s confusing, her refusal to speak.

Is she preparing to come back again

or is the eve before the Day of the Dead

just an exhibit

deep within my subconscious?

                                                                                  maks doodle copy

Journal prompt: Write about your dreams. Be honest. Don’t leave out embarrassing or graphic detail. Study the symbols. For reference, go back in your journals and read what you wrote the year before.

Discussion: The journal is a tool for self study and is the least expensive therapy you can get.

If you do record your dreams, the symbols and images can be landmarks of your personal development. Dreams can be inspired and prolific. They may represent issues you are working on in the subconscious.

For example, last year on October 31, 2013, I wrote, “My lower back has been sore and I need to get a massage. The arthritis has flared up. ‘I was dreaming I was getting a facial and loved the attention. In the dream, there was a wide stairwell in a mansion type place and X was there. I was walking down the stairway, and she was walking up. I was sharing my experience with the facial and how great it felt. She replied from a place of  smug superiority, dismissing me…with a retort . She didn’t need that kind of pampering.'”

In the dream, as usual, I’m dealing with the body because of injuries and aging. The journal is private so it’s the raw juice of real life. No fakery. So body issues, ad nauseam, are primal. That’s just the way it goes.  I physically can’t do what I used to anymore. Where as I formerly dismissed massages, yoga, and chiropractic adjustments as fluffy, now I do it regularly to keep my sanity. It makes me feel better and allows me to keep going. So the dream can represent aspects of myself, and not necessarily be about another person. Dreams are multi-dimensional and multi-layered.

Note to journal facilitators, therapists, and teachers: Journal writing and dream work for clients or students with issues around bullying, abuse, and eating disorders is essential. People are often too ashamed or unwilling to talk about personal problems, even in therapy. Expressive arts, dance, and music therapy are great tools when people can’t find the words to explain the experience. Nobody wants to appear uncool. Until the real work of uncovering core issues is addressed, therapy is stagnant, or for writers, the work is bland.

I decide to use tarot archetypes for this poem. It’s been a fascinating area of study for over 20 years. I collect decks and love studying Jung and his research on the  Tarot.

Anyway, enough rambling.


copyright ©  2014 Susan E Rowland


I made it this far and plan to keep going. I believe nature heals the soul. I love to journal, to write, do art, and music. I'm not afraid to tackle tough subjects. Solar-powered & drive hybrid. Trying to do my part. Earned my BA at 53. And, I believe, it's never too late to have a happy childhood.

2 thoughts on “Dreams of the Dead and the Knight of Cups

  1. very engaging read… if only I could remember dreams so vividly… I used to try and recollect them esp after I’d read Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams but then I gave up when I heard J. Krishnamurti say that when we go to bed with our thoughts in order, dreams don’t appear… so not sure if I just don’t remember them or if I put the day’s thoughts in perspective before I sleep 🙂

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