The New Mythology:
Angelic, Apocalyptic and Alien Dreams
by Maureen B. Roberts, PhD
As Jung has discussed, particularly in his book Flying Saucers, a 'metamorphosis of the gods' occurs at the end of each astrological era and since we are now passing into Aquarius, a new mythology is emerging and being articulated in apocalytptic and prophetic dreams and visions worldwide. What seems to be happening at present, as we shift out of Christian-dominated Pisces, is that the angels and demons of Christian mythology are being superseded by more morally ambiguous UFO and alien dreams. Significantly, I've had only a few 'angel' dreams, but many dozens of UFO ones. The following includes some examples of both.
A passage Rilke's 'Second Duino Elegy' resonates with a dream I had recently of two 'species' of the angelic hierarchy:
But if the archangel now, perilous,
The angels are further described as 'mountain-ranges, peaks growing red in the dawnof all Beginning, pollen of the flowering godhead, joints of pure light, corridors, stairways, thrones, space formed from essence, shields made of ecstasy, storms of emotion whirled into rapture . . . mirrors, which scoop up the beauty that has streamed from their face and gather it back, into themselves entire'.
I like the Blakean sense of immense energy here (compared to the often tame and listless portrayals of angelic beings one often encounters). In the dream I had, I saw two levels of the angelic hierarchy, firstly (as an anonymous Voice described in the dream) the Thrones, three of whom appeared standing behind a distant mountain range, above which their immense androgynous forms, clad in flowing robes, towered in shimmering apricot gold, as though they, not the Sun, were the source of the gentle light of dawn. I then looked up into the sky and saw at cloud level a gracefully whirling mass of Cherubim, who simply cannot be described. The sense was of immense power and delicacy, beauty, dancing, higher innocence, speed and agility, and interfusing, interweaving energies, all delicately golden and amoebic-animal-human in form, awesomely beautiful and powerful. They whirled ecstatically to an unheard music. I stood watching them and was completely lost in the vision - it changed my life and after I awoke I could scarcely do a thing for days. How stagnant and tame the angelic hierarchy has become when diluted into doctrine, empty ritual, or belief. These powers were vastly alive, overpoweringly real, staggeringly powerful and terrifyingly beautiful beyond words.
Steven Spielberg, incidentally, achieved (compared to these dreams) an admirable glimpse of this in his portrayal of the terrible beauty and potentially destructive energy of the Seraphim that were released from the Ark of the Covenant at the end of the first Indiana Jones film.
Next, a couple of my UFO dreams that relate to the emerging 'alien myth': (a) Purple Gyre Dream: There's a certain resonance between this dream and Jung's UFO dream (recounted in his autobiography) of the alien object looking at him through a telescope, which led Jung to wonder whether he was dreaming the UFO, or whether it was dreaming him! If UFO events are the synchronistic manifestation of archetypes, one would expect a mirror relationship to exist between our dreams (the psychic plane) and the outer manifestation (the physical realm).
In the dream, I was parked at the edge of a canyon and had gotten out of the car to wander about. From the sky descended a UFO in the form of a purple spinning top, about a foot across. It landed on the hood of the car, still spinning, and exuded an intense aura of sentience, benevolence and innocence (reflecting on it later, it reminded me of the little red will-o-the-wisp sphere in Close Encounters). The spinning top then rose from the car hood and, hovering above the road, began projecting huge movie picture images of scenes from human history on the cliff faces of the canyon opposite. No other folk were around and I was left pondering whether the projected film images had any message or meaning.
(b) Cosmic Hand Dream: The backdrop of this dream is a familiar one in many UFO dreams I've had - a night sky across which many UFO lights, which are distant and appear as stars milling about, are forming coloured patterns. As I look up at the sky, I hold my hand before my face and begin tracing with my finger a design, the shape of a hand. In the background, the UFO lights group together and take on the exact shape I am outlining in complete synchrony with my hand movements.
Reflecting on this later, I was struck by the interdependence of the UFO activity and my own action, as though each is mirroring or projecting the other. Archetypally, this would represent a synchronicity between the two realities. The 'writing hand' motif seems to suggest that we are still the authors of our own destinies, regardless of how powerful or controlling these archetypal events might appear. Paradoxically, we are shaped by the myth that is emerging - and we are simultaneously forgers of the myth.
Undoubtedly, the above all relates to Jung's axiom: 'the reality of the psyche', hence the need to honour and accept the reality of another's experience. After dealing with several UFO 'abduction' cases in private therapy, I'm struck - in all instances - by the sincerity and humility of the folk involved, and by the genuinely traumatic nature of what they've experienced - which usually takes place in a kind of waking-dreaming hybrid state. I'm also struck by its blatantly archetypal nature - women giving birth to alien hybrid"Wise Babies" (a transposition of the Virgin Birth motif?) - people receiving the equivalent of stigmata. (Jung relates an intriguing instance in his Flying Saucers book of a guy who received on his arm a centred circle mark, or basic mandala, after an alien encounter).
Other 'theories' accounting for UFO phenomena are, in my view, either naively literalistic (e.g. the recent Heaven's Gate tragedy), or assume that what's happening is purely inner, or personal. Jung's angle seems to be the only one that fits the bill of what is actually happening by bridging outer and inner, personal and mythological, physical and psychic. Personally, I'm fascinated to both observe and experience - largely through my own dreams and through relating to abductees - the emergence of a new mythology that's transposing all the old themes - gods and devils, star-beings and wise teachers descending from the sky - into a new context and form. When you're in a myth, you usually don't recognize it as one (do fish feel wet?), so we all have our work cut out for us if we are to contribute to and reflect on its development.
Whitley Strieber's accounts in his Communion books add further fuel to the mythic/archetypal angle. As well as recounting a great wealth of shadow confrontation material, Strieber's recurrent and disturbing journeying into the woods (recounted in Transformation) - in a sort of dreaming awake state - is a common feature of abductees' night wanderings. Equally significant is the moral ambiguity of the aliens and Strieber's intense emotional ambivalence (symptomatic of archetype activation) - inscribed by the poles of fear and love - toward them. Notably in this respect, the "Visitors'" primary method of communication with him is, as one would predict, symbolic or theatrical. Strieber's dream of a huge eye (as God/Self/soul) looking down on him in the woods is in this light understandable.
Accounts of a couple of disruptive apocalyptic dreams, one Strieber's and one mine, might help to shed further light on the potentially destructive and creative potential of these activated archetypes. Strieber had a dream in which a vast nuclear plant exploded when masses of pipes that lined its walls erupted with water and sent people screaming off in all directions. I had an almost identical dream, except that the pipes were underground and shot steam into the air before the plant blew up. (Water is of course a symbol of unconscious forces). Strieber also dreamed of the moon exploding and of the resulting fragments destroying the Earth. In a terrifying dream I had recently, the sun was darkened and in Ptolemaic fashion fell out of the sky toward the Earth as people scurried about trying in vain to brace themselves for the impact. (The darkening of the sun symbolises the fading of a conscious dominant, an exploding moon the destructive power of unconscious forces, or the dark side of the feminine, currently manifesting as the Earth's violent upheavals through self-purging weather patterns through which she is attemptiing to cleanse herself of the abuse and pollution she has suffered).
As a related postscript, a few months ago I dreamed I was in a large, two-storied house in a room of which a vast collection of exotically coloured, mysterious rocks - collected by New Ager Katrina Raphaell (note the surname!) - was displayed on shelves. I picked up one of these rocks and immediately began to levitate vertically. When I got near the high ceiling I automatically inverted and landed feet first on this upside-down floor. The dream suggested an inversion, or reversal of perspective, which had something to do with the way matter, or rather spirit incarnate in matter, a central theme of Saturn-dominated Aquarian consciousness, is perceived and understood.
A recent dream shed further light on this prophetic shift of awareness: in it, twin clear quartz crystals, whose upper facets had a gold aura, were growing upward out of the side of my face. In the dream I was simultaneously watching this as a double, and said to the other me, "This is the next phase of our evolution, so don't worry about it." After meditating on this, it seemed that the dream was a kind of alchemical coniunctio, a union with matter which produced an antenna-like amplification of my own energies as I worked in union with the crystals. We were one in the sense that we were each (quantally non-local) manifestations of the same universal Energy. Hence I see the energy not as flowing from one point to another, but rather (in line with physicist David Bohm's view of the 'holomovement') as the manifestation, or unfolding of the one Energy into different points in space-time. The double-antenna formation of the crystals also brought to mind the strange glyph for Uranus, co-ruler of Aquarius, which looks like a sort of TV antenna with 2 parallel vertical bits, hence Aquarius is dominated by the communication/frequency metaphors of 'waves' and 'vibes'. At present Saturn, the other co-ruler of Aquarius is in Pisces, so there's a tremendous focus on the unearthly Neptunian 'spirit' immanent in very earthy Saturnian matter.
In relation to the previous discussion about the synchronistic mirroring of physical and psychic, for a few days after I had the dream, the same side of my face was acheing and I wondered if it was about to sprout the dream crystals! The new mythology that our age is birthing, then, is essentially holistic; in part, this means that all phenomena - dreams and outer events, matter and spirit, science and mysticism, dark and light, conscious and unconscious - will increasingly be seen not as separate dualistic opposites, with one inevitably privileged over the other, but instead as mythic movements and moments inscribed between the poles, or ends of a continuous and limitless light spectrum of consciousness, along which psyche is implicit in matter, matter in psyche; in which it is no longer a question of which is mirroring which, but more a search for the meaning and sometimes wordless message that underscores the whole.
Text c.1997 Maureen B. Roberts
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