A retired actor dreamed that his child was unable to play. A traumatized child cannot play. A playful approach to life’s difficulties allows one to play around with possibilities in difficult times, to adapt. All forms of creative activity stems from play.
“Trickster makes this world,” he creates. (Lewis Hyde, 1998) Mercurius is a symbol of the Self and of transformation (CW 12 par 17). As Trickster he sits on the border, opens or closes the door. He re-members or dis-members, symbolizes or dissociates us. (Kalsched, 1997, 197)
In symbolical creative work one may find a window on the unfolding process of becoming. When relating to it, inviting it into one’s real lived life, it nourishes immature wounded aspects of the personality, in turn supporting the process of individuation.
If we create the right circumstances, the child will come. Feeling distressed, we might play in a creative medium within a contained liminal space, and be surprised to discover unfamiliar content in the new creation, a message ‘from the deep’, ‘symbolical’, because of the nature of the space.
A symbol is an image of psychic energy, a complex fact, not fully understood by consciousness; it portrays “an objective visible meaning, behind which an invisible profounder meaning is hidden.” (Jacoby, 1957, 77) It contains conscious aspects as well as content from the unconscious. From a conscious point of view, it often appears as a paradox.
In CW8 par131-93 Jung described the Transcendent Function of the psyche: the ego is goal-directed and has to adapt to the outer world. This is right for the ego. The Self, on the other hand, is concerned with the well-being of the whole personality. Because the Self is mostly unconscious, it is not possible for the ego to have this perspective, and it constantly acts in ways that are not beneficial to the whole. The Self tries to restore the balance by way of the symbol, e.g. through a dream image, or in symbolical creative work.
The actor donned the mask of Raven, Trickster, and, entering a liminal space, he playfully started to create his world. Then he took the mask off again and went home.