The Minute Mastodon

Someone beside me kept on asking me something about oiling some machinery. Milk was suggested as the best lubricant. Apparently I thought that oozy slime was preferable. Then a pond was drained, and amid the slime there were two distinct animals. One was a minute mastodon. I forgot what the other one was.

The doctor who heard this dream from a patient sent the dream to Carl Jung:

I thought it would be of interest to submit this dream to Jung to ask him what his interpretation would be. He had no hesitation in saying that it indicated some organic disturbance, and that the illness was not primarily a psychological one… The draining of the pond he interpreted as the damming-up of the cerrebrospinal fluid circulation.

When Jung was asked about this at his Tavistock Lectures in London in 1935, Jung commented:

The doctors of antiquity and of the Middle ages used dreams for their diagnosis…. It is really a matter of special experience…. The dream you mentioned was a dream of a little mastodon. To explain what that mastodon really means in an organic respect and why I must take that dream as an organic symptom would start such an argument that you would start an argument that you would accuse me of the most terrible obscurantism. These things really are obscure. When I speak of archetypal patterns those who are aware of these things understand, but if you are not aware you think, This fellow is absolutely crazy because he talks of mastodons and their difference from snakes and horses. I should have to give you a course of about four semesters about symobology first so that you could appreciate what I said.

(Analytical Psychology in Theory and Practice, page 74.)

When I first came across this dream and interpretation many years ago, I found it absolutely astounding that Jung could distinguish between an organic disturbance and a psychological based on dreams like this. I still do. If this is so, if there is such information available in dreams that could be so important in diagnosis, why is it still so ignored? This was written over eighty-years ago; what kind of progress are we making?

(I would also note that this interpretation is, indeed, obscure. The first two dreams mentioned in this blog were not this obscure; they were symbolically descriptive of bodily processes in a way that would not take years of training in symbolism.)


Todd Laurence said...

Jung refers to "big dreams" -and I had one
that's over the top....

"I'm in a classroom, where
a teacher, (woman) is talking about astronomy.
The scene changes to a
field, where two bears
are romping, and a duck
is flying overhead."

Correctly interpreted, the
dream is saying that a star
in Ursa Minor, (little dipper) has gone supernova,
(exploded) and that the
light-energy is approaching

Full Details in google search,

"entelekk" Ground Report....

sparker said...

Interesting. There will be a blog about bear dreams.

Not sure how the idea of a supernova was part of the dream.