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An inflation, however, is always threatened with a counter-stroke from the unconscious, C. G. Jung, CW, Answer to Job
In the previous chapter we focused on the ego inflation that is associated and activated by Trumpism, Let’s recall that, for the purposes of this discussion, these are not dreams about Donald Trump as a man, but about the archetypes that he channels unconsciously (and also perhaps consciously and manipulatively) and that we as a nation project upon him.
The experience of being “puffed up” beyond the bounds of fallible humanity is a universal, life-long challenge and brings specific gifts and dangers with it whenever it emerges. Flying too near the sun, reaching for elevations beyond our station always has psychological consequences in an individual psyche and in the community.
Icarus, the son of the famous craftsman Daedalus learned this fatal lesson: Daedalus crafted wax and feather wings to teach himself to fly. He warned Icarus, before his first lesson, not to fly too high – or the wings would melt, nor too low, which would weigh down the feathers with salt water and pull him into the sea, the middle course the only safe route. Icarus so exhilarated with the experience of flight, disregarded his father’s warnings, flying higher and higher, melting his wings. He fell into the sea and drowned.
Nature corrects our course and sets limits on our accomplishments and our failures just as the sea and atmosphere and the sun do. If our conscious ego becomes expanded and moves toward inflated imbalance, the pendulum of the unconscious swings toward deflation and humiliation. This chapter examines the themes that emerge in approximately fifty-seven dreams of humiliation and debasement.
Nemesis comes from the word nemo, which means to distribute, to attribute each one his rightful lot. Nemesis is a principle of natural justice by which everyone gets what he or she deserves. We cannot avoid seeing that there is such a principle in the unconscious, which has a curious way of exactly what one feels is somehow deserved. It is not justice in the human sense of the word, but there is an uncanny regulating force in nature which acts like justice and strikes one as being meaningful. ~ Marie Louise von Franz, Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales
The unconscious response of the collective will move to bring the one who has been set too high back to earth by knocking the stuffing out of him in one form or another. The fifty-seven dreams of deflation in this collection express the desire for corrective, relieving humbling, as an inflated leader is brought low.
A figurehead seated on an elevated throne in the previous chapter is now depicted as a mere pretender with a paper crown:
I had a dream that the White House wouldn’t let Trump actually work so everyday he would just make himself a paper crown and go to the mall to get a Wetzel Pretzel and honestly, I would be ok with that.[i]
Hubris will inevitably be humiliated and deflated. Kings will be dethroned:
I had a dream last night that Trump was inside a porta-potty and I pushed it over[ii]
Laughter, mockery, public outlets for such as Roman Saturnalias, Italian Commedia Del Arte, the or Korean Talchum created sanctioned outlets for the general populace to mock and laugh at their national leaders, wealthy emperors, and grandiose aristocrats.
Last night I dreamt that I vandalized Donald Trump’s mansion. He had a surprisingly number of clown portraits[iii]
This ritual buffooning persists in the grotesque presidential rubber masks that are pressed and sold each year for Halloween and Purim, in the political sketches and impersonations on Saturday Night Live and in the remnants of the annual roast performed at the White House Correspondent’s Association Dinner. Ancient kings were bound to their beloved jesters, who pressed them to return to healthy humility by calling on them to laugh at their own folly.
Oh yeah, I had a weird dream where I was in some sort of celebratory dinner/meeting event with influential people around the world. Trump was also there. He made a joke, loudly so everyone could hear. All talking ceased. No-one laughed, so Trump was confused and exclaimed- “Why aren’t you laughing? It was a good joke!” But no-one cared and they just kept going with their original conversations. An odd dream for sure.[iv]
When the ruler refuses to laugh, he will still be laughed at, perhaps even more robustly – stripped of his grandeur just as Hans Christian Anderson’s emperor in his “magic” clothes.
I had a dream I convinced Donald Trump to wear hot pink skinny jeans. It was awesome.[v]
In The Third Reich of Dreams, Beradt reported a handful of dreams which focused on such mocking debasement amplifying the vulnerabilities of the leaders of the Third Reich, Goebbels’s clubfoot, or depicting Goering as a “fat swine” or dressed ridiculously:
Goering appeared in a brown leather jerkin, shooting a crossbow, which made me laugh out loud. All of a sudden, I was standing there next to him, wearing the same kind of jerkin and carrying the same kind of crossbow – how I got there I don’t know– and he made me his personal archer. ~ C. Beradt, The Third Reich of Dreams, p.117
But as we see in Beradt’s example, such jesting and “cutting down to size” carries with it the risk of making extremely dangerous potentialities seem manageable, palatable or even undetectable though drollery. A deadly poison mixed into a sugared spoonful of comedy.
I’m not one to talk about dreams I’ve had, but last night Trump was wearing a shiny sequined dress and I had to tell him he looked better in it than Hillary and I feel like that’s worth mentioning.[vi]
As King Lear disintegrates into the madness of grandiosity his beloved Fool has no further function to serve in deflating a pompous ruler. Jest dies away, replaced with pity for the follies of a destructive and deluded dying king:
Last night I dreamt that I saved Donald Trump from his own media event. The crowd, a group of students, turned on Trump and his bodyguards were only half engaged. I was near the front. When the crowd turned, Trump’s bluster fell away to leave a frightened old man, hectored and alone. He cowered under a coat as I helped get him to his helicopter. The image that lingered was the raging crowd jostling a broken figure, a once proud and belligerent man trapped by the limitations of his age and stupidity.[vii]
Our unconscious may compensate for an intolerably imbalanced reality by transforming power into impotence.
I had a dream that Donald Trump was wandering around at my job without a Secret Service escort and everybody was just rolling their eyes and trying to pretend he wasn’t there[viii]
I had a dream that trump was like 3 feet tall and got super drunk and threw a beer bottle in the smith haven mall?? I took a video of course to show the news.[ix]
Nemesis: The Greek goddess of retribution who punishes all who have seemingly escaped the demands of human justice or received good fortune beyond their entitlement. The Dispenser of Dues. The Balancer of Life. The punisher of Narcissus. She operates in our collective psyche calling on the human species to bring low any who presume, who dare to claim the pedestal for themselves. A ten-foot throne reduced to twelve inches:
In March of 2016 I woke up around 3 am suddenly from a nightmare. I had been ushered into a small room with gold curtains. The room was full of gold statues of Trump. The pedestal was about 4 feet high with a likeness of Trump sitting on a throne about 1 feet high. Suddenly the statue on the left fell over knocking down the rest of the statues one by one. I knew that I didn’t want to touch any of the statues at all and was desperate to get out of the room. ~ Anonymous
In the Old Testament, Samson loses his uncanny physical powers when Delilah shears his enchanted locks while he sleeps. The power of Trump’s brand is inseparable from his the strange thatch of straw-colored hair which sits atop his head. Nine dreams of debasement and humiliation focus specifically on the president’s hair.
“A man’s hair has denoted strength, virility, youth, sexiness, and potency, of which he can feel robbed by baldness” ~ The Book of Symbols, Reflections on Archetypal Images
Like an inverted Delilah, nine dream authors have shorn Trump in their sleep. In the next dream, the archetypal feminine – in the form of a chestnut mare – is the strong man’s downfall:
I attend an American rodeo show. During the interval Trump walks over to the middle of the stadium to address the audience. A beautiful chestnut mare with a single white star on her forehead breaks loose and races over to him. With her teeth she rips off Donald’s blonde wig and then carries it around the stadium, in her mouth, like a trophy. Trump, at once, covers his head in shame and instructs his security men to get the hairpiece back; only they can’t catch the horse as she moves in a way they don’t understand. The audience is shocked. Many (including myself) begin to laugh nervously at first, then with more gusto. We can’t figure out whether this is part of the show or not. Trump knows there will be no comeback from this. He’s finished for good and is now a laughing stock. The entire dream took place in the stadium, which was a large circle. And aside from being an audience member, I took no other part in this dream. ~ Anonymous
A single mare – a domesticated, “broken” but powerful feminine animal instinct – is anointed by white star on her forehead as if she has been chosen to liberate the herd. She “breaks loose” and snatches Trump’s hairpiece with her sharp teeth, exposing him to public humiliation rendering him powerless. The dreamer watches, with some nervous pleasure, but does not participate in the action, watching the instinctive correction of the herd unfold from the back of the stadium.
Had a dream that I tried to rip Trump’s hair off.[x]
Dreams of stripping away artificial hair can be seen as a desire to simultaneously disempower the president and to expose the realities hidden from the world by extreme, even ridiculously artificial measures.
“Baldness can also signify punishment, degradation or a kind of dehumanization as in the traditional shaving of the heads of criminals.” ~ The Book of Symbols, Reflections on Archetypal Images
Those who snatch, steal, shave, and mock the president’s hair in their sleep may find themselves relieved and energized by their ability to wrest control over circumstances, to reveal and identify truths instinctively recognized – no matter how elaborate the attempted “come-over” or cover up
I love my father… I’m on the phone w/him and he says he had a dream the other night about trump being kidnapped. They didn’t want $ or gov’t control, they just shaved his head and sent him back to the WH bald.[xi]
I’d suggest that when so many dream of such empowered victories that an unconscious compensation for a feeling of powerlessness may be at play.
I had a dream I saw donald trump irl and my only though was “yeah there’s absolutely no way that hair is real”[xii]
Some feel grounded by their ability to discern reality through the artifice, while others are seemingly uneasy and disturbed after a glimpse of an unseemly truth behind the mask:
Had a dream I watched a topless Donald trump dye his hair in my bathroom whilst singing and it was weird and I’m scarred[xiii]
I had a Trump dream where he had a flaming head and hair. At least I think it was a dream.[xiv]
Control slips. Wigs are snatched. Truth will come out just as the roots of our hair reveal our true colors over time. And when we do lose control, when we are caught up in chaos and reactivity, we can find ourselves adrenalized, or in a state of panic as if our hair is on fire.
Note regarding endnotes: Twitter dreams are credited to their authors below. I have removed hyperlinks to prevent harassment. The @45dreamsproject twitter feed is available for perusal. It is possible that accounts/tweets that have been subsequently deleted or set to private were archived while the account status was active and public.