Eugene Marks has a unique story and comes from a
gnostic-like space of direct experience when talking about dreams, life and
spirit. His own spiritual path has been what I would call a journey into
authenticity, and no social or artificial barrier has turned him back from this
pursuit. Though drawn by the deeper pulls of the inner soul, Eugene continues
after six decades being creative and giving in the outer world, as is evidenced
by his mix of storytelling and endless encouragement to others on the path of
discovery via the latest global technology, the World Wide Web. Like many
travellers through the 60's, Eugene finds that while you can't ever come down,
the trip is now kinder and gentler, and intertwined with a variety of inner
personalities that occasionally come together in manifestations that remind one
of Jung's Self and which Eugene calls Wanderer. Dreams seem to be an essential
part of this new style, but the direction on his compass is still the same, to
the heart of the lion, from the heart of the lion.
Richard C. Wilkerson (RCW): The first part of your life seemed to be more
about uncovering a sacred mystery, now you seem more involved in the process
itself of revealing. Kind of a shift from content to process. Do you see this in
your dream work as well?
Eugene Marks (EM): In my earlier development, when I was focused upon
uncovering and then becoming who I really was, my dreams helped me to become
conscious of all aspects of my psyche, allowing each of them to merge together
into a new being, the person I really was. Nowadays, knowing who I am and
focused instead upon living out my life in the world with consciousness, my
dreams are helping me to steer my way. Several years ago, I had a dream in which
I was a pilot, steering my boat through a watery maze, one filled with many
dangers and obstacles, many twists and turns--much as life really is. In my
dream, I piloted my boat through all this unerringly, without ever looking
ahead, standing there at the tiller of my life. I didn't need to look ahead, my
dreams themselves were leading me into my future.
(RCW): The theme of wise persons and guides seem important in your journey.
Do you find the renewed collective interest in shamanism parallels this desire
for inner journey theme? Are there differences between your view of guides and
(EM): I see this renewed interest in shamanism and the inner journey as
coming from our need for an individual experience of Spirit. The shaman has
always been the one with the direct connection to Spirit. The shaman has always
been the master of the inward journey towards wholeness of being. I was greatly
influenced by Carlos Castaneda's earlier books--his compelling image of Don
Juan, the stern but loving teacher of wisdom. However, it was my experiences
with acid that led me directly into shamanism. I came to see that magic really
was alive. I also came to see that, whenever I'd try to direct the magic, it
would turn against me, would leave me really--but that, whenever I'd let go of
my ego instead and let the magic flow through me, with its own creative will,
the whole world would become magical.
(RCW): The Boy and the Genie story seems to be a variation of the Guardian at
the Gates mythic cycles, except that the boy becomes the guardian himself rather
than simply getting past the Guardian. He seems to offer all of us in that
situation a clue, picking up the rock where he was stationed and taking carrying
it with him. Could you elaborate on how that might work?
(EM): The Genie represented those automatic, clockwork, psychic defenses that
allowed me as a little boy to put my near death experience behind me and go on
with my life. Years later, in the High Sierras, when I finally penetrated these
defenses and became conscious of that experience again, it became my job to
protect and cherish that hidden treasure, the rock that a part of myself had
been marooned upon for all those years, a rock that carried all the feelings and
images experienced by myself as that little boy. It was all that he'd had to
cling to. By picking it up in his dream, by carrying it with himself always, he
had decided to become conscious of both the terror of falling and the wonder of
floating towards the white light. With the rock, he would never forget what he
had gone through. The I Ching, in the Hexagram, The Arousing, says that
"when a man has learned within his heart what fear and trembling mean, he
is safeguarded against any terror produced by outside influences." My rock
is a constant reminder that by finally accepting fear, I have overcome it in my
(RCW): The theme of death and re-birth is prominent in your work and
experience. Do you feel this is a personal path or something we must all deal
(EM): This is definitely the way that I've gone through change. Perhaps,
however, my life has been conditioned by my beginnings. Not every little boy
dies and is reborn before he is eight. However, in my life today, I'm always
striving towards an inner centeredness, one in which I'm no longer identified
with any particular psychic structure but with only the ongoing process of
change, hoping that, from this centeredness, I might be able to now flow towards
the new within myself no longer needing the death.
(RCW): How might others needing rejuvenation find a re-birth experience in a
gentle way, or is there no Lamaze method when it comes to psychic re-birth?
(EM): For me, rebirth has never been gentle, although, whenever I've gone
through my changes, I've always felt great love and support from the universe.
Once, lying in great fear and pain upon the earth, beneath my favorite tree in
the High Sierras, I realized I was crushing some little flowers beneath me. I
started to get up when they spoke, telling me that they loved me, that the
purpose of their life was to give me joy and comfort, and that they wanted me to
lie upon them. I felt then that the earth was truly my mother and I was at her
loving and flowery breast.
(RCW): You mentioned spending a lot of time on the psychic backroads, perhaps
what Jungians call Shadow-Work. Then, after being abandoned by your wife, you
realized there was more work to do, perhaps what the Jungians call Anima work
(that she leads us to the Self, but we can't substitute Her for the Self). Was
there any indication that this work was coming about via your dreams?
(EM): My life definitely suggested that this work was to be my next step. The
reason I had crashed and burned after my wife had left me, taking our daughter
with her, was because I had projected my anima onto her, rather than relating
directly to this side of myself. This problem remained with me for a long while,
however, because I was also projecting my anima out onto acid and my wild way of
life. It actually took until three years ago, some twenty years later, for me to
finally get the message. I had a lot of high adventures and a good life in
between, but my spiritual development had by then grown stagnant. One night
though, I had a dream in which this crazy woman was visiting my house, yelling
and screaming at everyone and completely out of control. My friends and I were
all terrified by her. In my dream, I didn't see how I could help her, although
she kept telling me that I was the only one who could. Waking, I was blown away
by this dream, and, because it was so powerful and demanding, I listened to it.
Eventually, I came to understand it to be saying that if I didn't listen to my
screaming and crazy anima, really listen to what that side of myself was trying
to say, she would take me over, and I really would go insane myself. These past
few years, I have listened to her and I have come to see how one-sided I'd
become--and today, because of her influence, I'm finally becoming whole and
centered in a way that will endure.
(RCW): Its clear that Jung was an early influence on your view of dreams.
Have you stuck with the Jungians on what the dream is, or have other people
influenced your ideas on the dream?
(EM): Jung was the major influence on my spiritual life in general, certainly
with respect to the dream. I've also been influenced by my many patients over
the years. However, my main teacher has always been the dream itself. Each of
our dreams comes from a deeper, wiser part of ourselves, whom I call the inner
teacher; and, as in any relationship, as the relationship between the dream and
ourselves unfolds, it becomes unique, with its own language and style. That part
of myself that speaks to me through my dreams and I are old friends by now, and
we have our own unique ways of understanding and relating to one another.
(RCW): The issue of who the authority is on a dream's meaning has been
prevalent the last few years. When you approach dream interpretation, how do you
decide who the authority is?
(EM): The dream itself is the only authority really, and if it doesn't like
how you've related to it, it will come right back at you again, telling you so.
Besides the dream itself, the person having the dream is the only other who can
really say what the dream means. Because of this, when I listen to someone
else's dream, I try to stay out of it. Sometimes though, folks share a dream
with me, without sharing anything but the dream, and then ask me what it means.
I'm psychic, as we all really are, and so I can usually give a good stab at
understanding it. The other day, however, my daughter told me a dream about a
captive whale. My understanding was that the whale represented her death and
rebirth potential (in the belly of the whale), it being all tied up, caged. Her
understanding however--and it was her dream after all--concerned another aspect
of the whale, one especially important to her--it's primal and unifying song.
She's a singer herself, with a whale of a talent, and is having trouble
liberating her voice from its cage of fear.
(RCW): In Gestalt and much Jungian dreamwork, the images are subjective,
about the dreamer himself/herself. Other explorers feel the imaginal realm is
independent of the ego and these personal dream images are only cloaked in
personal garb, but really live in the imaginal realm independent of the ego.
Having experienced many levels of the imaginal realm, do you have any thoughts
the ownership of the dream image?
(EM): Consciousness itself owns all images. And consciousness is a
manifestation of the dance of energy that the physicists are now calling the
universe. Together, the consciousness and the energy are what people have called
God. John Sanford, a minister and Jungian analyst, once wrote a book called,
Dreams, God's Forgotten Language. I guess you could say that God owns our dream
(RCW): Another new trend is to move away from the interpretation of dream
imagery altogether. Lucidity has helped bring some of this about, just playing
and goofing around with dream characters talking the place of the Journey. Do
you find this is a cultural move in general, that the journey of meaning and
value is changing?
(EM): Jung always said that it was more important to experience the dream
than to understand it, and what better way to experience the dream than by being
awake within it? Although I agree with this, I do like to see the meaning in a
dream too. I know of no way besides the dream to see so clearly into myself, and
I'd be a fool to ignore the wisdom that results for doing so. I've had only one
waking dream myself, and that was just a short while ago. I am interested in
lucidity in dreams, but I have almost no experience with it. I do think that
this approach to dreams is very important, knowing that one of our main
spiritual tasks today is to be at home again in the world of imagination, able
to live within this reality as fully as we now do that of the senses.
(RCW): One of the last visitations of your deeper self, Wanderer, that you
mention is that of the rainbow brother, in which the conjunction of the
opposites of the one and the many are brought together in the idea of talking
care of oneself yet remaining open. Can you elaborate on how this might be
brought into dreamwork and our lives?
(EM): With respect to dreamwork, I think we all need to be responsible for
relating in an open, conscious and healing way to our own dreams, making sure
that we understand and are spiritually moved by their message. We all need to
take care of ourselves, and what better way than by being one's own teacher and
therapist. With respect to our lives, I think we all need to remember that we
won't need government and bosses just as soon as we can take care of ourselves.
As for being open in our lives, it's one high that we'll never come down from.
Being open seems scary to most of us, yet it's so easy, once we've accepted
ourselves as we truly are. It's rewarding too. Our lives become much easier and
simpler, as we come to see that the truth does indeed set us free.
(RCW): The Net is now allowing people from all corners of the globe to share
dreams with one another. Do you feel this will change the way we journey to the
essence of things and that the essence itself might be changed.
(EM): I'm not sure the Net will change the way we journey, but it will
certainly change the pace of it. The more people share themselves, the more
people will share themselves. I'm hoping that it'll be so much fun that we'll
all be sharing ourselves real soon. I'm not sure the journey will ever change,
but I do know that the essence itself will always change. For each of us
personally, the essence is always just what we're working on for our personal
and spiritual growth in the here and now. For all of us together, the essence of
things is always where we're all going collectively--hopefully these days
towards an open and honest group head, a shared awareness that will let us
finally get past all our seeming differences to the oneness that we all really
About Eugene Marks
I'm 63 years old. I was born in Denver, but my parents moved when I was a
baby and I grew up in the San Fernando Valley in California. I have my PhD in
Clinical Psychology from UCLA. At one time, I was in training to be a Jungian
analyst. Instead, when I finally finished school, I ran away and joined the acid
hippies, moving eventually to Berkeley and the road.
I've been married several times and have three children, each by a different
woman. I'm very close with my oldest daughter who lives here in Boulder.
I moved back here from the West Coast about fifteen years ago, meeting my
present wife here soon after. She and I are going to spend the rest of our lives
together, although sometimes I do feel the urge to leave the world of people,
retiring to a spiritual life alone in the mountains somewhere. I'm not ready to
do this yet though.
For many years, I lived wild and outside the law, staying always honest
though, as Dylan says we must. I've been slowly making my way back to the
collective for the past several years, feeling that I need to contribute to the
world at large.
I have several gifts. I understand dreams, I write well, I do acid well, and
I know a lot of backroads and trails.
These days, I'm focusing on my writing, sharing my wisdom with respect to
dreams this way--although I also share dreams with folks here in Boulder. I've
found over the years that most folks aren't as interested in acid or backroads
I want more of a say in what's going on in the world. I know that dreams are
the most honest expression of our souls, both individual and collective. I know
that, by sharing our dreams, we can honestly talk with one another, sharing
ourselves in a way that completely transcends our usual bullshit.
I love to write. I sit here at my keyboard seven or eight hours a day. I have
to force myself to take time off. I'm completely self-motivated. I wrote four
books, publishing none, before I was ever on the Internet. I love to write. Now
that I have a page on the web, I'm blissed. Now, folks are actually reading what
I write, and usually soon after I've finished with it.