Attacking Dogs and Cancer

Cerebrus and Hercules (Sebald Beham, 1545)

A illustration of recurring nightmares comes from the professional practice of a Jungian analyst, Dr. Hal Stone.

Cancer patients, who were engaged in medical treatment, were often referred to Hal by progressive physicians for his dream work, as it might be helpful to their patients in their healing.. One patient was a woman who was being treated for stomach cancer…After suggesting to the patient that she begin recording her dreams, she replied, “Oh, I’ve been recording my dreams for years.”… Dr. Stone and his patient began to look for patterns in the past, as well as revelations in the present.

To the patient’s surprise, for the meaning of it had never occurred to her, they discovered a recurring nightmare that began about two years prior to the clinical diagnosis of stomach cancer. The recurring nightmare was of a dog tearing at her stomach!

Healing as a Sacred Path, L. Robert Keck Ph.D; Chryslis Books; page 248.

This is the third dream that I have come across and written about in this blog of an animal tearing at the stomach area that preceded a diagnosis of cancer. Additionally, these cancer dreams tend to be repetitive nightmares. (I would suggest that having three nightmares about the same thing is a fairly strong message.)

Why would dog attacking the body be a symbol of cancer? Dogs are usually loyal, positive creatures; it is a betrayal of the body for the internal dog to turn on its owner.

Cerebrus was the three-headed dog/monster that guarded the entrance to Hades; Hercules twelfth task was to kidnap this beast. However, the god Pluto told him he could only do this if he did not use any weapons; Hercules wrapped his arms around the dog and wrestled him to ground. Cancer is indeed a type of hell, a battle for the soul, perhaps something that can only be faced heroically.

No comments: