To a Young Greek Girl
Dear Miss N., 14 October 1954
As to your question whether it makes a difference to your dreams if one has read about similar subjects, I must say that dreams of the sort you give me an example of can occur whether you have read [my books] or not.
It is, of course, quite natural that the dreams take suitable material from whatever source is available, either from books or from other experiences but this doesn’t matter.
There are people who can read my books and never have a dream of anything reminiscent of my writings, but it is true that if you understand what you have read, you get a frame of mind or a problematical outlook which you did not have before, and that, of course, influences your dreams.
I shouldn’t assume that your dream has been particularly influenced by what you have read.
I dislike as a rule interpreting dreams of people whom I don’t know personally; one can easily be led astray.
I will make an exception in your case since I see that your dream has a meaning very important for you.
The beginning of it shows a certain fear of an imminent catastrophic situation-the tempest and the darkness.
The sudden discovery of the relief is something like a revelation, an unveiling of the compensatory background to your conscious psychology that has masculine (animus) inclinations.
It is the Eleusinian mystery of Demeter and her daughter Persephone.
The masculine element is paying homage to. this maternal figure.
It is quite obvious that the dream intends to call your attention to this great mythologem so important for a woman’s psychology.
It is particularly important to your case because you are very much on your mother’s side and presumably partially identified with her, being her only daughter.
Also you are remote from your father, from whom you have not received what is due to a daughter.
Therefore, you have developed a sort of substitute for the spiritual influence not coming forth from your father as it should.
That is a great hindrance working either way to the masculine as well as to the feminine side of your personality.
It would be wise, therefore, to follow the suggestion of the dream and to meditate on all the aspects of the myth of Demeter and Persephone.
Also, Greece had its Eleusinian cult because it suffered from a very similar psychological condition: women too much under the influence of their mothers and spiritually starved by their fathers, men also too much influenced by the mother because of the uncontrolled emotionality of the fathers and victimized by the emotional appetites of their mothers, hence the widespread homosexuality particularly in the male population.
At the time of Pericles there was even an epidemic of suicides among young girls feeling neglected by the men occupied with homosexual affairs.
Try to find out what Demeter has to convey to you.
You are obviously more attracted by the chthonic mystery represented by Demeter than by the spiritual and paternal trends of Christianity, from which you apparently have separated yourself.
It is this critical attitude that has to be considered as the immediate cause of this dream with its definitely antique atmosphere.
This is about all I can safely say about your dream.
If you give it your full attention, you will probably have other dreams elucidating the further steps of your way.
C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 187-188.