Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Swift Descent

Jung tells us that we’ll hear from the unconscious when we are getting a little too big for our britches. That seems to be the case in this dream.

The Dream: In turn, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles descend a tall ladder coming down from a pier into the ocean, part of an obligatory royal appearance. Each falls off and tumbles into the sea, then scrambles back up without assistance, bereft of royal dignity. No one lifts a finger to help, which surprises me. The event is being filmed; it’s a royal publicity piece. I realize that the public will never see these “outtakes.”

Interpretation: Moi?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pass it on

The Dream: My brother points out an ant on his kitchen counter, saying its behavior is interesting and I should take a look. The ant crawls into a small open-topped cube with dirt on its floor. Once in the box the ant lays a cylindrical egg which hatches—and out pops a tiny frog. The frog hops out of the box, then hops back in and is transformed into a caterpillar—which lays an egg and out pops an ant. The cycle repeats over and over again. I become aware that human life is a chain made up of the same life being repeated over and over again. Child and parent are the same. We are too close to the situation to see it clearly.

Interpretation: The unconscious is offering up a bit of philosophy here. Since having this dream I’ve come to see my life as “an instance of life.” In other words, I see myself as a carrier of the life force. For me, this makes mortality bearable: I carry the torch; I pass it on.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Transformative Power of the Child

After the very long analysis of the last very short dream, my unconscious offered up this delightful confirmation of the importance of the inner child.

The Dream: I’m at a doctor’s office. She sits in an enclosed cubicle and asks questions as I lie in a bed nearby. I have two problems with her questions: 1) I can’t hear them, and 2) I can’t understand them. She uses a lot of big words; strung together they create incomprehensible sentences. I become frustrated and angry and—feeling inadequate—I blurt out: “I’m a Phi Beta Kappa; I’m not stupid! And I can’t understand what you’re saying!”

I am with my daughter, who is a baby but as intelligent as an adult. She tries to tell me what the doctor is saying. I embrace my child, enjoying our closeness, but partially showing off for the doctor. “See? I have a good relationship with my child!”

The doctor comes out of her cubicle in a fairy princess outfit. She is taking part in a show the staff is putting on. One of the staff comes over and removes her doctor’s name tag.

Interpretation: There are things my intellect cannot understand and cannot cure. Progress for my psyche comes through feeling (the embrace) and intuition (the child). When I embrace my child, something magical happens.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dream Mapping

Today let’s look at a different interpretation technique, taught to me by my friends Lisa Rigge and Beth Okurowski in a dream class they recently led.  The method, created by Bob Haden of the Haden Institute, consists of asking yourself a series of questions about your dream. I’m following the method loosely here. If you were to learn Bob’s Mapping Dreams technique from him it would include more detail and instruction than I can cover in a blog post.

The Dream: A secretary’s chair sits near the water in a natural setting. It is upholstered and padded, either pink or turquoise. Little baby geese have been nesting on the seat. I get them to move and see lots of little goose poops on the seat. I remove the chair back to clean the seat and remark it’s a good thing the geese weren’t full grown.

Q: What is the setting of the dream?
A: The setting is natural, near water.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

On(e) Stage

Have you ever noticed that you’re not quite yourself in dreams? The lead character in your nightly drama is called the dream ego.

The Dream: I’m in an odd-shaped structure, something like a tent except that it’s solid. It has various entrances, some of them in surprising places. I get up on a stage which has been set up inside this very large, yellow-ochre structure and begin to give a speech. I’m full of self-confidence as I begin. “Girls inherit their lungs from their mothers . . . .” I trail off as I begin to realize I have no idea where boys get their lungs. I try to find a way to retreat, to get off the stage. I escape through a back exit I hadn’t known was there. The “I” in the dream (dream ego) has dark brown curly hair and a perky demeanor. She doesn’t actually look like me.

Interpretation: The part of me that internalized the opinions of my mother and the female culture of my youth is beginning to realize she doesn’t know everything. She is in retreat. Her domain, the half circle of the tent, shows itself to be incomplete. She is missing what Jung calls the animus, the part of a woman--symbolized by her inner man--that enables her to take on the world.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pulling Along Old Stuff

It’s a big jump from the Doris Day femininity of my youth to the Hillary Clinton womanhood of today. For women to successfully navigate the still patriarchal world in which we live, we need to get acquainted with what Jung calls our animus, or inner man.

The Dream: A cartoon man is driving across the country. He is in a car with a trailer loaded with his “stuff.” He drives erratically, at times paying no attention to his driving and at other times dozing. His wife is worried about him. He has decided to pull into a motel / hotel to get some rest, but before he does he goes back to check on the trailer—without stopping the car. Two highway patrol officers stop him. He looks very sleepy. The officers accost him roughly, one of them pushing the man up against his car.

Interpretation: My nascent inner man (animus) is sleepy, dozing, ready for a rest and irrational. He’s so undeveloped that he’s like a cartoon. When he tries to emerge into the role he should have in my life the censoring force of the ego (the policeman) treats him badly. This aspect of my psyche needs work.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Weeds in the Garden

People sometimes ask if a small fragment of a dream is enough to yield an interpretation. And the answer is yes. In my dream group we sometimes spend an hour talking about a two-sentence dream. Since this is a short dream I thought it might be a good one to use to show you the process of interpreting. If you want to play along, you can pretend the dream is yours, and the interpretation you come up with will apply to you (but not necessarily to me).

The Dream: There are two weeds in the garden. I pull them and notice to my chagrin that they are back the next day.

Interpretation Process:
First, let’s look at the weeds. Clearly they represent some things I don’t want in my life. Are these external, such as work problems, or are they my own unpleasant or counterproductive traits? Why are there two of them? Do I have two problems? Two difficult people in my life? Two traits that hold me back? Whatever they are, they’re persistent; I’m having trouble getting rid of them. Is there something in my life I don’t like that keeps cropping up?

The weeds are in my garden, so next I have to ask, “What does a garden mean to me?” Is this a place I go for rest and renewal? Since a garden is a place of cultivation, might this be the place where I create? Or could it be the place where I grow?

I bet you’ve got the idea. If you played along and came up with an interpretation, please feel free to leave it as a comment, or e-mail it to me at

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Distracting Child

In dreams, references to lower levels or the left usually refer to unconscious elements, and the kitchen is a place where transformation takes place.  The divine child represents rebirth.

The Dream: A young child, about three, is fretful and we don’t know how to amuse her. I don’t have any toys for her. It occurs to me I could give her a very simple recipe to follow and she could make some food. This would occupy her and leave me free to concentrate on other work, such as cooking the rest of the dinner. I make a work station for her on the kitchen table—at a lower level, to my left.

Interpretation: A part of me that I wasn’t aware of is kicking up a fuss and demands my attention. The dream ego finds a useful job for her and brings her closer (integrating her) while at the same time pushing her back down into the unconscious (I put her on a lower level and to my left). That the dream ego is “cooking the rest of the dinner” implies a mixing and blending of ingredients and a magical or alchemical (as Jung might put it) transformation.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Have you ever wondered why myths are appealing? Perhaps it is because they, like dreams, tell the story of the ever evolving psyche. This dream echoes Humpty Dumpty.

The Dream: I’m trying to put something back together but the pieces don’t fit. The image is of a cheese round, about 2 inches thick and 10 inches in diameter. The cheese on the inside is a creamy white color. Its crust, a plastic like khaki covering about ¼ inch thick, is gone.

Interpretation: As I try to rebuild the self from the newly activated elements released by all this dream work I am having trouble getting the elements unified. Initially the soft center was protected by a phony, neutral covering. This begs the question: What will protect me now?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Not Quite Ready

Just because your unconscious points something out doesn’t mean you are entirely ready to accept it. It probably does mean you will be.

The Dream: I’m about to have a party. The house is not ready and I don’t know what to serve.

Interpretation: I’m having trouble entertaining all the unconscious elements that are emerging due to my dream work. The ego (the house) is not prepared for the integration (let’s party!) of these new elements (the guests).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Halfway There

Jung tells us that a circle represents the center of creative change.

The Dream: A half circle with radiating triangles.

Interpretation: The triangle traditionally represents things that come in threes such as father, mother and child. This suggests I’m putting older things together to produce something new. But since a circle signifies wholeness, I’m only halfway there.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What is Woman?

Jung calls our inner versions of people their imagos; these live in us and are part of us. Besides carrying the person they represent, in this dream the imagos reflect my earliest ideas of what it means to be a woman.

The Dream: In a hotel room with three double beds in a line. My mother and my aunt Ann share the center bed. Mother chooses this particular bed because, she says, she “won’t need to get out.”

Interpretation: At the center of my being are two archaic versions of femininity, represented by my mother and my aunt. The mother: giving, nurturing, relentless in her control and supervision, self-sacrificing, beautiful, a care-taker. The aunt: single, childless, demanding, flamboyant, artistic, temperamental.  I need to update my conceptual framework! The two empty double beds leave me room for other, happier couplings.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mix and Match

Have you ever said of someone, “he’s like two different people”? Well, he’s not alone; we all are. And when you think of all your different ancestors, each contributing a bit of DNA, it’s not a surprise. One of the functions of dreams is to help us reconcile our own inner opposites. When this happens Jung calls it a conjuntio.

The Dream: A table is covered with a white linen cloth and set with my good china, a Lenox pattern called Castle Garden. There is a vase on the table, also Lenox, but a different pattern. It has a flower on one side and a Chinese-inspired dragon on the other. I fret over whether these two patterns, with their very different motifs, look good together. After a while I conclude that despite their thematic difference, the pieces harmonize—by design.

Interpretation: The Chinese motif has come up in many of my dreams and represents my unconscious, feeling, intuitive aspect. Dragons in western folklore are forces to be defeated; they can represent what is untamed, fierce, passionate. In this dream the lovely and serene castle garden becomes an expanded self-awareness that can co-exist—even harmonize--with the Chinese dragon.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Jung tells us that what he calls the individuation process is the “spontaneous realization” of the whole person. Certain dreams are signposts of the process.

The Dream: A visual image reminds me of cells. In shades of pale green and beige, the linear elements are made of tightly strung beads.

Interpretation: The fragments of my being are becoming integrated into a structured and cohesive unit.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Written on the Body

Once we have attained middle age Jung tells us that our job is to come to terms with our own mortality.

The Dream: Clark and I are at the airport with lots of baggage. We’ve taken some of this into the terminal but most of our carry on is still in our parked van, which has been painted black. We go for a walk. When we return the van is gone—a woman has taken it to search for her dog, which someone has kidnapped. We go in search of her.

I am anxious. There is increased security at the airports and we must check in an hour ahead. I don’t feel any sympathy for the woman searching for her dog, but I hope she finds the animal so we can get the rest of our things and get on with it. I worry we’ll lose our parking spot by the time she returns.
Finally we find her and re-park the van. I notice the lock to my door is on the outside of the window, which seems useless.

Part of our luggage consists of t-shirt fragments printed with genealogical information and punctuated with blocks of color.

Interpretation: The unconscious is struggling with the idea of mortality (the imminent airplane ride will take me off the planet). This makes the dream ego anxious and uncomfortable. The missing animal embodies the primal aspects of life: sex, birth, death. I want to put the vehicle of change (van) back into its parking place. When the woman returns the van its lock has moved to the outside: once we’ve gained the knowledge of life and death it’s impossible to lock out what we know. The t-shirts symbolize our DNA, which maps our reality. Our past and future is encoded there: written on the body (thank you, Jeanette Winterson).  But perhaps it’s not the whole story?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What are the Issues?

While dreams often take their cue from the things around us—TV shows, politics, what we’re working on—often the dream’s message can only be unraveled by looking underneath the apparent activity.

The Dream: I ask Heidi, “Are you going to vote for McIrney [sic]?” I have a hard time getting his name right. Heidi doesn’t know who he is, and I explain that he is running against Pombo. She doesn’t know who Pombo is either. I explain that Pombo is anti-environment, and I try to make the case for voting for McIrney; I want to get the overly pro-business Pombo out of office. I am surprised that Heidi knows so little about the candidates; I expected her to be more sophisticated.

Interpretation: Names are important here; the dream emphasizes this several times. First there is the misspelled McIrney (Mc Earn E) and then there is Heidi (Hide E). Am I hiding from my own discomfort at not earning any money (a constant struggle in the arts)? The dream ego doesn’t like the pro-business candidate, and Hide E doesn’t understand the issues. Oh dear.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Blue Rider

One character we often see in myths is the helpful guide, whose job it is to point the hero in the right direction. Our dreams can also provide guides to help us through the journey of life.

The Dream: An artist is displaying his work. I look at the piece intently, admiring his skill. I notice his work is effective because he has a light background and a dark foreground which creates enough contrast to make the picture “read” from a distance. As I admire his work he talks about it, emphasizing the importance of contrast. He tells me how he backs up to look at the piece in order to gauge the impact of what he’s doing.

He invites me to go “horse riding” with him. The way he expresses it is a little odd: he doesn’t say “horse-back” riding. I say that I would love to, but the last time I was on a horse I realized it had no brakes. He thinks I felt insecure because of the sort of saddle I had used, and he describes a new one which would hold me firmly on the horse. Then I begin to wonder if this would be a date, and if Clark would object. I think of skiing, where I am frightened of losing control and careening off into danger.

Interpretation: My guide invites me to look at life in its totality, to accept the dark and the light, the contrast which makes the entire “picture” resonate. I back off from this advice. He invites me again to do the daring thing: to take the horse and ride it. I recognize my fear of losing control.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Snowy Owl

Jung teaches us that we create what he calls “imagos” of the people around us, and that these imagos are what we interact with. They might line up with the object (the actual person) or they might be way off base. (That explains a lot of unhappy relationships, doesn’t it?) In the following dream I interact with the imago of my dead mother, trying to warm her up and bring her back to life.

The Dream: I meet a woman I like at a convention. She mentions how much she likes a beautiful shade of light yellow, Alaskan Ivory. I want to give her a gift: a large comforter.  I know she is staying in a very cold place in the mountains and might need it. The only color comforter I can find is blue on one side and green on the other. The blanket is stitched in white running stitches, not too professionally executed. I’m not happy with the color but feel the pragmatic concern is more important.

The place where this woman is staying in the mountains is very beautiful and obscure. It can be reached by only one winding road. It’s dramatic and snow-covered—the image of a wintry owl comes to mind. The colors are moonlike. This is an isolated spot for serious nature enthusiasts: cold, lonely, beautiful, dramatic.

Interpretation: I am trying to come to terms with my mother’s death—I want to warm her up, but I realize she’s living is a cool, distant remote place. I want to comfort her (give her a comforter), and I am not happy that the only one I can come up with is in the cool colors of blue and green (it’s cold comfort). My dream offers me a transformed image of my mother:  a snowy owl, a beautiful spirit (bird) that is where she is meant to be in her own spiritual space (mountain top, moonlike colors).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Your Money or Your Life

Many who are interested in dreams are artists. If you are, I think you’ll find this dream relevant to the age-old artist’s conundrum: make art or make money.

The Dream: I go to an art supply outlet. It is an old-fashioned office in an industrial firm. The room is not at all glamorous, with beige file cabinets, clutter and a utilitarian wooden desk. Behind this desk sits a younger middle-aged woman (about 40). She is thick-set, has dark brown hair and wears horn-rimmed glasses. She is a little chubby, with a round face and in a very dull dark blue dress.

I give her a list of pigments and other art supplies that I would like to purchase. I realize I don’t have the money to pay for my supplies, which have amounted to $200.00. I ask if it is okay if I write her a check, and then ask my mother if the money is in the account: she might have to transfer some money.

I can see the woman is disapproving. She is wondering why I don’t earn my own money. I arrange that I will call her after I get my mother’s approval, and then she will send me the supplies. Since I have been a long-time customer I am annoyed that she didn’t trust me enough to let me take the art supplies home with me.

Interpretation: The short one: I’m not getting any credit! To elaborate: Some part of me is unsure if I have the right to color (the pigments). In this dream color represents an expressive outlet. My color is controlled by the rigid forces of practicality: industry, busy-ness, clutter (old unresolved stuff lying about). I can’t give myself any credit for the choice I’ve made or the work I do. As Oscar Wilde said, “All art is utterly useless.” I am dependent on my internalized “mother” for approval. Another part of me is disgusted with this dependence and thinks I should “earn my own money;” in other words, be my own source of affirmation.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Snow Will Melt

Have you ever been mad but didn’t even know it? Sometimes the way color is used in a dream is a clue to the dream’s meaning.

The Dream: My husband Clark and I are on a journey. The scenery is spectacular: snow-covered mountains loom around us. I think we should enjoy seeing them before the snow melts. We are on a two-lane highway and go up a mud-track, to a level plateau. It seems quite dull compared to the other scenery: flat and treeless, covered in grass. I mention to Clark that this could not be the same road we were on. I point to the actual highway which we can glimpse in the distance. As we return to it, crossing back over the plateau, we notice that a developer’s signs are posted. This seems a barren and unpromising place for development, and we are glad to leave.

Interpretation: At this point in the psychic journey I see that the unconscious, represented by the white snow, is not offering up much information (it’s frozen). Yet it is changing (the snow will soon melt). This activation of previously unconscious material so alarms the ego that we immediately veer off the two-lane highway (representing the back and forth communication of the conscious and the unconscious) and get stuck in the mud, so to speak. The red color of the clay represents anger; the clay, a substance that is sticky. I’m in a sticky situation that makes me angry! I’ve attempted to cover up the red clay with its complementary color, the green of the grass. This cover up creates a plateau, flat like the affect of someone who is holding in her true emotions. It might not look attractive at the moment, but the dream tells me that some development will take place.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Injured Cat

The Dream: A cat has been injured. It has a large incision down its middle. I am lying in bed and it comes over and sits on my chest for comfort. I like cuddling with it and that it’s come to me, but I am concerned its fur will set off my allergies. I notice, however, that the allergies haven’t acted up so far.

Interpretation: I’ve been hurt and need to get something off my chest or it will cause psychological symptoms similar to the physical symptoms caused by my allergy to cat fur (stuffed up, blocked, can’t breathe, etc). At the same time there’s something comfortable about not dealing with it (I like to cuddle with the wounded cat.) On the other hand, the cuddle also implies I’m getting close to the problem.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


As in the previous dream, the psyche tells me it’s not ready to move.

The Dream: I want to make more room for my child’s car in the carport of my house. I suggest moving the parking spot to the left to create the necessary space. This seems a simple solution. Later I realize a wall from the house is obstructing the left side, and that moving it would be too expensive and difficult.

Interpretation: The ego can’t move left (toward the unconscious); it’s hit a wall. At this point making room for previously unconscious elements is “too expensive and difficult.”

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Water or wine?

According to Jung, the goal of our nightly dream journey is to bring to consciousness as much of our potential totality as we can. And what, you are probably asking, is this potential totality? According to Jung it’s:
  • the conscious (what you are thinking about);
  • the subconscious (the name of your 4th grade teacher: you could think of it if you tried);
  • the personal unconscious (personal memories we’re unaware of); 
  • and the collective unconscious (species memories; symbols we respond to that are buried in our ancestral history).
Jung calls the process of increasing our awareness and integrating the often opposed internal factions individuation, and the expanded psyche he terms the self. As you go on this journey you will become aware of your own disparate elements, and occasionally you might notice some push back from them, as illustrated in this dream.

The Dream: On a sightseeing tour with a group, we stop to eat in a restaurant. I am concerned that Clark and I will have to pick up the tab for the entire group and they will eat too much. The food is not very expensive, but the drinks are. I wish I had ordered only water, but then, as the hostess, would I appear niggardly? I think of a solution that might have worked: I could have ordered the water after everyone had put in their order. Then the others would not feel constrained by my example.

When we return to the limousine the keys are in the ignition. Clark is the driver, but he is not here. I sit in the front passenger seat and worry that anyone could hop into the vehicle and make off with it.

Interpretation: The ego needs a rest (rest-aurant) from this psychic activity. It fears paying the price for all this activation and isn’t comfortable ceding power to the other components of the psyche. The ego discovers that its sustenance (food) is not so expensive: I can give them this much. But keeping them numb (the effect of alcohol, i.e. drink) is expensive. I wish I had stayed unconscious (ordered water). I decide to let them have what they want as long as I can remain unconscious. This results in no more movement, as the initial stop (at the restaurant) predicted.  My driver does not reappear. But on the positive side: the keys are in the ignition, and we’re ready to go.

Monday, March 8, 2010

It’s a Mystery

Have you ever noticed your unconscious makes mash ups of what you’ve seen and heard over the past few days? Nevertheless, if you look at the images carefully you can usually discover something about yourself you weren’t aware of.

The Dream: I live in a boarding house. Poirot and I share a room. I begin to realize that he has murdered several previous tenants, among them Rock Hudson. I obliquely try to discuss this with our landlady, who resembles Sherlock Holmes’s Mrs. Hudson. Poirot overhears us, and I say to him, “You’re going to try to kill me, aren’t you?” 

“Yes,” he replies. I think this will be quite a contest, me against the great Poirot.

I stand in line at a college. The advisors are sitting at folding tables outside. One of them is Dr. ______ from Emory, an English professor who impressed me. When my turn comes I tell Dr. ______ about Poirot’s intention to kill me. I‘m not sure she is the proper advisor for this particular problem, but if not I hope she can direct me toward the right person.

Interpretation: A strongly masculine part of me, represented by Rock Hudson, has been “killed” by another powerful force of the psyche represented by Poirot. The starting line up: Rock Hudson—so masculine he doesn’t even have sex with women; Poirot—cunning, devious, intellectual, repressed, very effective, prissy.
At the beginning of the dream this realization is so frightening that I cannot face it squarely, but must allude to obliquely. Even this disguised reference doesn’t save me from the all-seeing Poirot, who admits he will kill me for uncovering his earlier murder.

As the dream progresses I get stronger: I don’t react to Poirot’s threat with the terror that previous dream annihilations engendered, but rather pluckily refer to the upcoming “contest.”

I look for help from some established members of the psychic team, most especially an admired but nameless English professor. The teacher and her subject (English) are hints that my writing in this journal is a helpful tool of re-integration of previously “killed” aspects of the psyche.

I am impatient with this process (waiting in line), and not completely sure I have the proper “advisor.” However, I do have more confidence than previously; that’s obvious from my having not retreated in terror from my threatening “killer.” And I am hoping my advisor, if not the person to solve the problem, can at least point me in the right direction.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Mother’s Bureau

After a loved one dies the psyche works to create the right space for that person within us. In this dream I struggle with the difficulty of taking on the role my mother played in my life after her death.

The Dream: I am using my mother’s bureau, and I notice that one drawer is crammed with her things. I realize I haven’t left her enough room; she must squeeze most of her things into this one drawer. I feel I’ve been unkind.

Interpretation: The key to understanding this dream is making the connection between the words bureau (where one stores clothes) and office (where one works). The two are synonyms. I have taken over my mother’s office (work) and given her less space. This new role is still uncomfortable.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dueling Pools

While our dreams often reflect the current events in our lives, they can show us that our reactions to these events are linked by a long chain to events and opinions we picked up long ago. Sometimes these dreams are little gifts, because they enable us to realize we don’t have to hang on to ineffective ways of thinking and feeling.

The Dream: My cousin Judy and I embrace. She feels small and delicate, and I feel tenderness toward her. We have a desire for closeness, for an end to the suspicion and rivalry that we inherited from our parents. I invite her to visit. I think she doesn’t know what a beautiful, resort-like place we have here in California, so I say, “You can swim in the pool.” Then I see the plans she and her husband have made for their back garden. The plantings are marked on the plan, as is a rectangular, heated swimming pool. I feel one-upped, but I say to myself, as if just realizing it, “My pool is heated, too.”

Interpretation: Here I am dealing with feelings of inadequacy left over from childhood. The dream tells me that the reason for my uncomfortable competitive streak is still living in the unconscious (the pool). According to Jung, a square represents wholeness and balance. The rectangular shape of the pool in the dream indicates I’m not seeing the whole picture: one dimension is askew. In the dream I begin to see my cousin as a human being, rather than a competitor; despite her apparent superiority, she needs care and careful handling. By bringing my unacknowledged envy to consciousness I can realize that what I have is just fine. (“My pool is heated, too.”)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Get It Together

Look at the words in your dream carefully. You will often discover meaning hiding behind word-play or a pun. For example, in the following dream, the word “apartment” contains the word “apart.”

The Dream: We live in an apartment building. One of us has a job elsewhere and must leave. I notice the things we have improved in the place, especially a large picture window looking out over the city. We have replaced all the old windows in the apartment with new ones. I feel ambivalent about leaving and point out the improvements we’ve made. “I thought we would stay here forever,” I say.

The components of the psyche are still apart; one part is ready to move on. I want to stay in a place of self-congratulation and so point out the progress made in improving where we are at the moment. However, I’m beginning to get the picture.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Price is Too High

You might think an old conflict has been put behind you; sometimes a dream reveals it hasn’t.

The Dream: I have just met a woman who went to Brown. I am impressed with the school’s prestige and reputation. The woman is now a man. I am trying to remember where I went to school, hoping it was also an impressive place. I would like to impress the fellow, who is slightly hefty or rotund  even though he looks nerdy, puffed up with his own importance.

Interpretation: The problem in a nutshell: as a woman it is difficult to get on in the world; yet the male role, which enables success, is woefully unattractive.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


When people from your past visit you in a dream, think about what was going on in your life when you knew them.

The Dream: Mrs. Kirby and a friend have been staying at our house in our absence. When I return I’m surprised to find they’ve left a mess. Their beds are not made. Their rooms have been left with untidy bed clothes and I assume this must be because they know I’m going to wash the sheets. Yet I’m annoyed at their sloppiness. I look around the rooms, and there is clutter everywhere. Soon I realize it’s our clutter and not really their fault. Later I see a reddish brown stain on the rug that has been hidden by putting something over it. “How childish,” I think.

Interpretation: Mrs. Kirby was a friend of my mother’s when I was about twelve. I see this as a positive dream, moving from projecting the “mess” of womanhood and life onto others to the realization the “clutter” belongs to me, and that to attempt to cover it up is childish.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Squirrel and the Cat

Things that were difficult to accept when you were a child may leave a psychic residue that your adult dreams attempt to clear. This dream and the next revisit childhood rites of passage.

The Dream: I’m on a walk with a child. We are talking about a builder. We are in a rural eastern area that is about to be built into a suburban development. In the middle of our conversation I’m distracted by a squirrel in a tree. I point it out to my child. We think it’s cute. Suddenly I see a cat stalking the squirrel and I am concerned for its safety but don’t take any action: I simply worry. The cat’s paw is very close to the squirrel’s tail. We leave, and when we come back later I see the squirrel dead, lying on the ground. I hope it didn’t suffer, knowing how cats tease their victims. I point out the dead squirrel to my child. Even as I do I think I should keep my mouth shut and not distress her. I realize I speak to share my own distress.

Interpretation: The dream shows a movement from the simple to the complex: from child-like innocence (rural) to less attractive but more complex and structured adulthood (suburbs). The mind is getting ready for being expunged from the  Garden of Eden: the awareness of death.