Ellen Stuttle Posted July 7, 2012 Author Share Posted July 7, 2012 "The Uprooted Tree"I keep having replay images of a dream I had not long before I started reading Jung's work. I finally decided, what the hell, this is way out of sequence, but I'll talk about that dream now. It seems to want to be talked about.There were horses in the dream -- sort of. I'd been tracking the horses by following their hoofprints, but I barely glimpsed the horses themselves as they disappeared over the distant lip of the amphitheater just as I came to the tree roots.The amphitheater was a dream feature I knew from several earlier dreams. It had the feeling of something very old, a Stonehenge effect. All that remained of it was a dusty circular declivity, nothing specific to identify what its purpose had been. Yet I felt sure that it had long ago been a place of ancient rites -- and that it awaited use again for reawakening those rites.In most of the earlier dreams when I'd come upon the amphitheater I'd been exploring a modern city, often recognizably New York City. I would turn a corner and find that dusty declivity opening in front of me amongst the buildings. It would be empty, none of the city dwellers walking into it, or even seeming to notice it. I would stop at the circumference and stand for awhile looking into the dusty loam, as if I was trying to discern the place's history from residues in the dust, but I wouldn't step forward. The time didn't feel right yet. Generally I'd then wake up, feeling enticed, hoping for some further dream development to come.I'd also had horses appear in several dreams from the same time period -- late 1980 - early 1981. The dream horses didn't seem quite "natural," though they weren't fairy-tale creatures either. They seemed full-bodied, not "ethereal." However, they had the effect on me of being symbol animals, representatives of animal powers older than human.The horses and the amphitheater hadn't appeared together in a previous dream -- or at least not in one that I'd remembered.The tree roots dream took place in a landscape similar to an actual landscape I knew from the area near Creede, Colorado.The entrance to the ranch where some of my mother's people still lived -- not the ranch she'd grown up on but an adjacent property -- was fourteen miles from Creede along a dirt road. For a two-to-three-mile stretch before what was called "Seven-Mile Bridge" (seven miles out of Creede), the road ran through a mini-gorge cut by the Rio Grande, the headwaters of which were up past the ranch. The road hugged one wall of the mini-gorge, the wall to the left if you were headed away from Creede. The river, along the other wall, was at a lower level unless in flood conditions.In the dream I was driving through a mini-gorge similar to the one described, except reversed. The road hugged the right wall. Below to the left as I drove was a dusty swatch which might have been a dried-up river bed.In the dust I could see hoofprints. I was trailing the hoofprints trying to locate the horses.I came to a place similar to where the actual Colorado landscape widens after Seven-Mile Bridge. To my left was the amphitheater. The hoofprints cut a diameter to the farthest point from me on the declivity's circumference. The horses were disappearing over the lip.I couldn't proceed to follow. The road was blocked by the roots of what had to be an enormous tree. The roots filled my entire visual field except for the amphitheater to the left. The sight produced an eerie, half-frightened feeling. I was asking myself in the dream if there was any way I could navigate past the roots. A voice spoke into my dream thoughts, saying, "Yes, with difficulty." I woke up.Upon awakening, I dubbed the dream "The Uprooted Tree." I thought the roots were those of a fallen tree which was lying outstretched on the other side where I couldn't glimpse it.However, in the days after the dream, I kept re-seeing and re-seeing the image and thinking that I'd missed something important, I wasn't identifying correctly.I began to recall a book I'd been given as a child, a book called When the Root Children Wake Up. I don't still have the book. One of my sisters has it. I found on the web and ordered a copy of the English edition I had as a child. That's the 1941 Lippincott edition which has the original drawings from Sibylle von Olfers' 1906 picture-book German classic, Etwas von den Wurzelkindern, combined with a prose-adaptation text by Helen Dean Fish. (There's a later English edition with different illustrations. Also a later English edition called Story of the Root Children, presented, according to a review I found (link), "as if it were a straight translation" of Von Olfers' text.)You can see a photo of a two-page spread from The Green Tiger Press' 1988 reprint of the Lippincott edition here.The illustrations are friendly -- charming little creatures, the root children -- and the tree roots aren't the dark, eerie sight which I found half-frigtening in the dream. The roots in the book don't overpower and forebode. But something reminded me of the children's book. What?, I kept wondering. Then I thought of it: The glints of glow, of light. The tree roots in the dream had glowy touches.I then realized with a sense of shock: The tree in that dream wasn't "uprooted." The tree was alive! It was a growing tree, with active roots, dark clumps of soil, earth creatures crawling, the glow coming from moisture. I was seeing the roots, not from the position I'd thought in the dream, but instead as if I were looking up from underneath a giant living tree which towered above those roots into the atmosphere.I then thought of an odd movie I'd seen on television some years before. The movie, released in 1958, is titled "The Roots of Heaven." The screenplay, quoting from Wikipedia (link), "is based on Romain Gary's 1956 Prix Goncourt winning novel The Roots of Heaven (Les racines du ciel)."Here's a description from IMDb:linkStorylineIn Fort Lamy, French Equitorial Africa, idealist Morel launches a one-man campaign to preserve the African elephant from extinction, which he sees as the last remaining "roots of Heaven." At first, he finds only support from Minna, hostess of the town's only night club, who is in love with him, and a derelict ex-British Army Major, Forsythe. His crusade gains momentum and he is soon surrounded by an odd assortment of characters: Cy Sedgewick, an American TV commentator who becomes impressed and rallies world-wide support; a U.S. photographer, Abe Fields, who is sent to do a picture story on Morel and stays on to follow his ideals; Saint Denis, a government aide ordered to stop Morel; Orsini, a professional ivory hunter whose vested interests aren't the same as Morel's; and Waitari, leader of a Pan-African movement who follows Morel only for the personal good it will do his own campaign. Written by Les Adams The story might be romanticized. I've never looked into the factual basis. It's definitely environmentalist in message. Factual and philosophical issues aside, I enjoyed the movie, with its complex variety of characters and their motives, and I thought that Trevor Howard was believable and intriguing as Morel.It wasn't the story, however, which brought the movie to my mind in connection with the tree roots dream. It was the explanation of the title. The title, as I recall, came from a saying of one of the African tribes:"The animals are the roots of heaven. If the roots die, the stars will go out."That seemed to tie together: the amphitheater, the symbol-horses, the roots -- and my yearning at the time (shortly before I started reading Jung's work) for a deeply rooted theory of psychologyEllen Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now