The Dream of Archelaus’ wife, Glaphyra and a homo-sexual young man.
Lecture VIII 14th December, 1934
At the end of the last lecture we spoke briefly of the Gilgamesh epic.
It is a very interesting parallel to our dream and makes its meaning clear.
The dreamer had reached a summit in life, for the moment he can go no further without disaster.
His neurosis is a kind of exhaustion with the symptoms of mountain sickness.
I will give you two more examples of the same theme, those of Archelaus and Nebuchadnezzar.
Archelaus, King of Judea, had reigned for ten years with great severity and even cruelty, but very prosperously.
He then dreamt that ten years of wheat were devoured by ten oxen.
Archelaus was greatly perturbed by this dream and sent for Simon the Essene to interpret it.
The Essenes were a sect of people who lived in a monastery by the Dead Sea, they practised a kind of mental healing, or therapy, and believed in the interpretation of dreams.
They were very courageous and would tell the truth even to a king and Simon told Archelaus that for ten years he had lived in might and splendour, but that the ten oxen appearing
to devour that prosperity meant that his harvest would now be destroyed This was a prophecy which speedily fulfilled itself, for within a few days he was deposed and
ended his life as an exile.
Archelaus’ wife, Glaphyra, had a similar dream at the same time.
She was a near relation of her husband’s, in those days incest was considered very distinguished; the Pharaohs indulged in it to such an
extent that they actually married their sisters and almost married themselves!
The idea was to keep the mana in the family. Glaphyra’s first husband had been Alexander, a brother of Archelaus, who had been murdered.
Alexander appeared to Glaphyra in this dream and said that he would take her back into his house.
She caught the right meaning of the dream, and seeing that she had to die, committed suicide.
To the spirit of antiquity, dreaming of someone who was dead meant death, so she acted accordingly.
Another striking example of the same theme which comes to us from antiquity is that of Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Jews.
He had reached the height of his great power when he had the following dream: he dreamt of a great tree, its top
reached up into the heavens and its branches spread over all the earth.
It gave fruit and shade to all beasts and shelter to all birds.
A messenger from Heaven told Nebuchadnezzar to cut it down, to expel the birds and the beasts from it, but to leave the stump in the earth.
His human heart was to be taken from him and a beast’s heart was to be given to him.
Daniel interpreted the dream and told Nebuchadnezzar that he had reached his zenith, he must turn back and show mercy to the humble if he
wanted to avert the terrible downfall and catastrophe which were prophesied.
He would not listen, but went on as before for a year, and then one day, as he was standing on the roof of his palace, rejoicing in Babylon which he had built, a
voice repeated the end of his dream to him.
At this moment a fearful change came up on him, he was stricken with madness and ate grass like a beast.
That is, he changed into Enkidu or rather he even became monstrous like Chumbaba.
The gods decided his fate, as they did in the case of Gilgamesh, h e would not cut down the tree himself, so the messenger from Heaven did it for him.
The messenger from Heaven does not appear in the dream which we are considering for we have changed our manner of speech, though indeed such figures
appear even now occasionally in some dreams.
We can see that our dream is no exception, but a motif which recurs again and again in the history of the world.
We will now return to the methods which we must employ in order to understand our dream.
First of all it is necessary to know the context from which the dream springs , to discover its psychological setting, we have to enrich the dream with associations
and then we can make use of our reason and judgement.
Things in dreams often appear to be so banal or grotesque that it is really very difficult to see their connections.
The imagination of the patient often fails completely and we have to help to establish the context by questions.
We have to place the dream so that we can see it in human life, we have to see its meaning in the psyche.
A dream comes in a fragmentary form like a telegram and we often fail to understand it for want of context.
The meaning is frequently revealed when we see what it is that the dream fits into.
This is the method of amplification and we can consider this in relation to Freud’ s theory.
To him the dream is a facade of repressed material, a repressed wish appearing in changed form so his method is a “reductio in primam figuram”.
If the dream is a complicated structure it should, according to Freud, be reduced to a primitive, simple sentence in order to get at the truth;
he considers the dream as an adjustment which covers the wish for the mother.
Logically the reverse process should also be possible, one should be able to arrive at the complicated structure working from the simple wish, but
the following example will show that such methods may land one in utter nonsense, for you can reduce a relatively true sentence till it becomes
nonsense and vice versa:
1) No unreasonable being is free – therefore –
2) No free being is unreasonable – and further –
3 ) All men are free – so
4) No man is unreasonable – which last is sheer nonsense.
We are on very dangerous ground when we begin to use generalisations such as the reduction of all dreams to the wish to go back to the mother.
We can reduce another simple reasonable sentence till it becomes nonsense, as a further example:
1) Incest wishes are unconscious – s o –
2) The unconscious wishes incest – and further –
3 ) All men are unconscious – therefore –
4) All men desire incest.
It is much wiser to beware of generalisations and let the dream work in its pure form.
We will only go thus far in speaking of method.
This is my last lecture before Xmas, so we are in our last hour of the old year, but nevertheless we will begin up on a new series of dreams.
Unfortunately I have no more dreams of the same patient; it is always better to have a series in order to be able to test whether our conclusions
are correct; so I have brought you a series where we can watch the themes recurring and control our guesses.
A single dream is not convincing, one dream flows out of another, they are images which come from an inner source, a stream that never ceases
and which comes to the surface when our consciousness relaxes.
They are images , that is, when they touch consciousness but we have no means of knowing what their form is in the pure unconscious.
Dreams repeat themselves and motifs appear again and again, sometimes quite regularly, showing the continuity of the unconscious processes.
Our new dreamer is an intelligent young man with pink cheeks and a rather girlish appearance.
He knew nothing of the black art of analysis and cameh to me because of his omo-sexuality which had begun to be problematic.
He had already been under treatment with another doctor who had been fatherly towards him and had given him a great deal of advice.
He had not, however, mentioned the unconscious to him.
The young man, of himself, had developed an interest m his dreams and wrote them down before he came to me.
People with problems often do this, obeying a primitive instinct, long before they come to analysis.
Dream I –
I was on a motor drive with a very handsome homosexual chauffeur.
We met a herd of cows and had to get out of the car in order to drive them away.
The bull then appeared, pierced my sweater with his horns and tossed me into the air.
I fell to the ground with terror and woke up.
It was a nightmare.
Motor drive. The young man had recently been on a motor tour in the Tyrol and they took a chauffeur with them.
Once when they had to stop on account of a breakdown, a herd of cows had really come along and the party had watched them with interest.
Corns are the feminine principle naturally and the bull the masculine.
He associated the bull’s horns to the masculine organ, to the sexual act.
The sweater he associated to a warm covering.
(He was in truth kept warmly wrapped up by his family, he looked exactly like a peach tucked up in cotton wool!)
Falling he associated to a fall that he had had as a child down a bank into aa stream, this gave him a phobia about falling which lasted for many years.
Motors are a very frequent theme in dreams; before they existed, and I analyzed before they were common, railways, carriages and even co aches took their place.
Auto means self, so when we dream of an automobile it means “as I move myself”.
The dreamer lets himself be driven by a homo-sexual, so this is evidently his leading principle.
It brings him however, to a herd of cows, so the feminine gets at him in its most biological form.
This is how he sees the feminine principle, he sees it as calves and milk.
His is a facultative, curable homo-sexuality, it really consists of an enormous mother complex.
Though he has bad resistances against his mother, both she and his aunts are immensely important to him.
He has a high pitched voice and his attitude is very aesthetic, hetero-sexuality appears to him as unbelievably coarse and brutal, so it is represented in the dream by the bull and cows.
The curious thing about this dream is that it is the masculine principle which catches him as if he were a woman.
He has indeed the feelings of a flapper.
He has a tremendous admiration for the heroes of the sporting world, good looking tenors and Valentinos and follows their footsteps tremulously!
In short he is completely feminine, a woman, so naturally the masculine seizes hold of him, for that is how sex appears to him. He is with cows, the feminine, a problem which he is not up to, so the bull comes along and treats him as if he were a cow.
His fear of falling is fear of the unconscious, which does indeed resemble a precipice.
Dream II –
My sister scratched my throat and wounded me, I hit her over the head and our parents were horrified.
The throat i s a particularly sensitive and ticklish place for the dreamer.
His sister is very violent and he reported that he had suffered a great deal from her, but added “Am I my sister as I seemed to feel the blow on my own head? ”
The sister is extremely masculine, this is often the case in families where the boy is kept in cotton wool.
Where the brother is homo-sexual, the sister, though she may not be the same, is commonly very tomboyish and mannish: this is apt to go over suddenly into its opposite, the hysterical ultra-feminine woman.
One may be sure that every hysterical woman has at one time or other gone through a masculine phase.
The dreamer speaks of having felt the blow on his own head, so he has discovered himself as a woman and this is his vulnerable spot.
The parents are horrified for it means that he must tear himself out of the home if he is to be a man, or his mother will not allow him to grow up.
Mothers are covered in invisible little hooks to keep their children in the nest, they like to rear such pets and to keep them young and dependent so that people may say “What a young mother”. ~ Lecture VIII December 14, 1934 Pages 166-169.