I Am Upset By Excrement Everywhere

The transformation of excrement is one of the great secrets at the center of Carl Jung's work on "alchemy"--the quest to turn base material into gold. It's a universal metaphor of psycho-spiritual development, growth, and maturity. If I can look at the "excrement" of my life--all the places in me that hold the worst things I have ever done, witnessed, or had done to me--unpleasant as that may be, it is also the first step toward turning this "base matter" into "gold." Ironically, it is only by looking clearly at the "excrement" of my life that I can transform it into the "gold" of forgiveness, self-acceptance, and felt-sense of the presence of the Divine. Unless I do this, any seemingly spiritual perspective I embrace will only serve as camouflage for my denial and self-deception, which will betray me in the end.

Freud asserts that the excrement dream is symbolic of money in the dreamer's waking life. On one level this makes sense. The first experience each of us has with exerting ourselves and producing a result, or "product," is moving our bowels. Therefore, we tend to make a symbolic analogy between the "efforts" we put forth in the world and the money we get for it. (In my experience, when the "excrement" in the dream world does equal money, it's a fairly reliable indicator that the waking "trade-off" of time and energy for money is not serving me well. It may be time to look for another line of work.)

There are many symbolic parallels between the "need to urinate" dream and the "excrement" dream. Both indicate an innate desire to express authentic, albeit buried, feelings. If a dream focuses on the evacuation of solid, rather than liquid, waste, there is an added dimension of purging repression and denial. Before I consider fully divulging my thoughts or feelings, I have to admit to myself just how bad things really are in my life. In order to change them, I first have to recognize what they are. So if the dreamer is overwhelmed with excrement, it's always worth asking the question: "What am I facing, or letting go of?" It's important to remember that as unpleasant as it is to face denial in the short run, it is necessary and rewarding in the long run.

© Jeremy Taylor, 1996
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