Denise Grobbelaar:

Essence of the Orca: An Archetypal Understanding of Dreams

Jungian Analyst, Psychotherapist & Clinical Psychologist.

In a brilliant lecture given on February 5th 2024 titled “Gates to the Numinous: An Archetypal Understanding of Dreams,” Dr. Michael Conforti explained that the animals appearing in our dreams convey very specific messages. Animal visitations in our dreams represent archetypal patterns and qualities unique to their species; thus, each animal carries an essence that we need to inquire about to understand the dream's message beyond our personal associations. As much as we need to enquire why we had a particular dream at a given time, it is equally important to question why a specific animal appeared.

Dr. Conforti took us through the symbolism of the Orca, an animal that appeared numerous times in the dreams of a patient. Orcas, also known as Killer whales, are apex predators of the sea. What makes them special is that their bodies absorb toxins from the environment without any means to expel them. At the time, before the internet was widely available, a marine biologist Michael spoke to explained that the only way an Orca can eliminate some of the toxins is by giving birth, thereby passing them on to the calf. What message does this convey to the dreamer? What message does it convey to all of us about 'toxic energy' and intergenerational trauma?

With increased pollutants in our oceans, scientists have found that “Levels of polychlorinated biphenyls in the orcas’ blubber are ten times higher than the toxic threshold for these dangerous household chemicals.” Furthermore, “These toxins stick strongly to the body fat in orcas. Not only are they impossible to get rid of, but mothers easily pass them down to their calves...” (1) What message does this convey to humanity in our collective ‘dreaming our world into being’?

Not all environmental pollutants are toxic to all fish. Some sharks can absorb ammonia at high rates through their gills to keep their skins moist. “The Pacific spiny dogfish shark is a master at recycling the ocean’s toxic ammonia and converting it into useful urea...” (2)

It truly matters which animal appears in your personal dreaming, what message it holds for you individually, and what message it may convey for the collective.

Written for @jungsouthernafrica

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References: (1) (2)

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Posted in Animal Symbolism, Dreams on Feb 22, 2024.