Sunday, August 23, 2015


How does the Psyche  incorporate a society's shift in values? This dream illustrates the process.

The Dream: My mother and I wander through a morgue. We come to a man's body, his head uncovered. With his buzz cut gray hair and square jaw he looks as if he might have been a Marine in the 50s. His color is that of the dead—and clearly he is—but my mother says to him, “If you're not dead you'd better get up, now!” I can see that she doesn't realize he's a corpse, and I try to lead her away.

According to Jung, the father represents society's values, and there are echos of my father, who worked with the Marines, in this figure. With his buzz cut and Marine bearing, the dead man represents the old order, the social framework of the 50s. This social order is dead in the contemporary world, and yet the inner mother part of myself, the part that has inculcated my parents' values, can't quite except it. The part of me that accepts the vast social changes that have occurred since my childhood tries to gently lead “mother” way from the past.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Do You Say “No” to Yourself?

The Dream:
I am telling Clark about Bill Cunningham, the New York Times fashion photographer who has been photographing the Paris fashion shows since 1957. This inspires me to create some fashion designs, and I say to my mother, “I'm going to put a group of 12 designs together and send them to someone.” I have the idea that this might get me some clients. Mother says, “Oh, no one would take them.” I respond, “We can't say 'no' to ourselves before someone else does. Don't you see how that limits us?”

Interpretation: This transparent dream reflects my shaky self-esteem, but also shows that I'm fighting back against it. It was probably triggered by an invitation to submit some work to a competition. I've sent them submissions for several years and have never been accepted. (In the end I did submit something, and my piece was included in their publication.)

Sunday, August 9, 2015


As if to form a counterpoint to the previous two “laughing” dreams, last night's was horrific.

The Dream: My best friend from high school is going to be tortured and killed. She will have her skin removed and then be executed. I am distraught and hope that she will be killed before she is flayed; thinking of this procedure has made me hysterical with anguish.

After a while she returns. She has obviously been hurt, tortured, beaten, but she's alive and has her skin. It seems her ordeal is over. I am afraid she's going to tell me about her experience, and I don't want to know: it's too upsetting.

Interpretation: A friend from the past is having her skin removed; the friend is from my vulnerable teenage, high school years. One of the triggers was someone else's dream that I had read the night before that featured underwear falling down. Both the skin being removed and the underwear falling down represent an exposure. At the same time, I was reading Elaine Pagel's book on the gospel of Thomas (a name similar to my friend's last name). Pagels lists the tortures and ignominious deaths meted out to Christians.

This distressing dream tells me something I had not realized: that my distancing myself from the suffering of others (not exposing myself to it) comes from my reaction to their pain and, at a deeper level, to my own. I turn away; I try to ignore it—because it is so fundamentally upsetting. Just as my friend has survived the dream ordeal,  I can survive becoming aware of  painful events that occurred long ago. And once I can accept that, I will be a more compassionate person.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

There's a Sock on Your Hat!

The Dream:
I'm visiting one of my brothers, about to leave. I need to get to Heathrow Airport for my journey home. I go to a travel kiosk that looks like an old-fashioned counter at a train station: the clerks are behind a grill. I ask for directions to Heathrow. When I approach the counter the woman is very friendly and congenial, and says to me, “Did you know there's a sock on your hat?” It's placed the way a decorative flower might have been. We both roar with laughter, and I say:”My brother could have told me!” I feel he's played a brotherly prank on me, and I have to admit it's pretty funny.

Not all dreams deal with heavy issues; most, in fact, reflect day to day concerns. After my recent trip to a foreign country to visit one of my husband's childhood friends, I had two dreams featuring laughter. My relative (in waking life my husband, not my brother) played a prank on me by subjecting me to his very self-involved friend for a few days. (I was “grilled” by the ordeal.) In the dream I laugh it off. This releases tension and points out that I shouldn't take the situation, or myself, too seriously.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

It's All About Me!

The Dream:
Clark and I are acting in a play. At one point he says, very melodramatically, “Tell me you love me!” I say, “I love you!” Then he says, “Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! Me!” He is doing a parody of self-involvement. I laugh and laugh.

: We had just spent an exhausting couple of days visiting one of his childhood friends, a woman who displayed a relentless self-involvement. The dream helped me get over my annoyance at the experience by providing the tension release of uncontrolled laughter.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A New Model

The Dream: A long line of gay couples, all women, are getting married. They are on a platform that looks like a model's runway. They file past and are married by the time they reach the spot where I stand. Each couple is accompanied by a friend, so I'm not sure which of the three is the newly married couple. All women are tall.

Interpretation: This dream was triggered by a  gay friend's wedding. This type of marriage is a new model. The friends that accompany the newly married couples represent social acceptance, and their tallness symbolizes that now all loving relationships can “stand tall.”

Sunday, July 12, 2015


The Dream:
This dream builds on and resolves the two previous. I'm at a banquet with Clark and others. I keep refilling my wine glass. I don't know why I'm drinking so much. At one point I take a nearly empty bottle and attempt to drain it into my already full glass. Clark gently admonishes me with a comment on how much I'm drinking. I know it's too much, yet it seems a sort of compulsion. To try to justify my behavior I say, “The bottle was almost empty. I was just trying to finish it off.” I show him that there is very little wine left in the bottle. Nevertheless, there is more than can make it into my glass.

Interpretation: In Hunger there is not enough to satisfy basic needs. In Thirst  there is too much, more than I can consume even though I greedily attempt it. The night before this dream I had watched one of Jung's clips on Death, in which he says we must live life as though it continues. To think so makes us feel better and live better, so it is the natural thing to do. Hearing his thoughts between the two dreams changed something in my thinking. From a place of no satisfaction I go to a place of excess, more than I can safely indulge in, or take in.