Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Detaching the Lambs

The Dream: A large group of woolly lambs, tethered together tail to head. They are comforting, but for some reason I must cut them apart one from the other. I feel uneasy.

Interpretation: I am outgrowing some childish but comforting ideas, perhaps a child’s version of Christianity (Christ is often called The Lamb of God). While I must sever these ideas to grow, doing so makes me feel bad.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Moored in a Marsh

The Dream: A beautiful expensive wooden boat is moored in a marshy area. I attempt to move it.

The boat reflects how I’m feeling about my progress through life; the marsh indicates I’m swamped, bogged down. Since my boat is beautiful I expect I’ll manage to get out of the marsh. Since it's expensive, using the boat costs me something.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Brassy Red Hair

The Dream: A man with black hair wants it lightened. I think the processing will leave him with an unattractive brassy reddish color.

Interpretation: What comes out of our head? Hair and thoughts. The black hair that I want to transform represents dark thoughts. I want to “lighten up,” but something is holding me back: Stop lights are red, like the brassy hair color.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Guest Dreamer: Mega Millions

Jung described a category of dreaming which he called active imagination;  when I was a child looking out the window during class it went by the more plebeian daydreaming. He thinks this sort of dreaming is equivalent to sleeping dreams, and The Red Book features many.  Morag offers us this delightful example, which needs no interpretation.

The Dream:
The radio alarm clicks on to NPR.  It’s five a.m. and as usual they tell me the temperature for the rest of the day.  I’ve tried to set the alarm ten seconds earlier so that it will tell me what the temperature is now, this minute.  For some reason it doesn’t work.

The news is still mostly about the dreadful conditions in Haiti and it makes me wish I could give more than the ten dollars I can text over with my cell phone. I give regularly to “Doctors without Borders” and I have a “Plan Child” in Africa but I’m severely limited financially beyond that.  Still… then I remember… I won the Mega Lottery!  I can give a million dollars to Haiti if I want, though that may be a little excessive.  I’ve read that one must keep a low profile if one wins the lottery or be driven crazy by begging organizations.  Perhaps a hundred thousand would be more suitable for now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Inner Men

Don't discount a dream if you only remember a fragment; sometimes these are are surprisingly revealing.

The Dream: An image of a large group of transvestites.

Interpretation: Jung thinks that men have an inner woman, the anima, whom he describes as the soul, or Eros. Like most psychiatrists of his era, he had a harder time understanding the inner workings of women, but he came up with the concept that we each had an inner unconscious man, which he called our mind or spirit: Logos.

I’ll let Jung speak for himself: “Woman is compensated by a masculine element and therefore her unconscious has, so to speak, a masculine imprint. . . . woman’s consciousness is characterized more by the connective quality of Eros than by the discrimination and cognition associated with Logos.  . . .  In women . . . Eros is an expression of their true nature, while their Logos is often only a regrettable accident. “*

Hmmm: those terribly logical and rational men, their consciousness in touch with Logos, can’t seem to stop fighting and killing each other—but Jung will explain my comment this way, “. . . it consists of opinions instead of reflections, and by opinions I mean a priori assumptions that lay claim to absolute truth.”**

So be it. But I bet if you ran the numbers (murders committed by women vs. murders committed by men, for example) they’d back me up. And this is why my inner men are wearing dresses!

*Carl Gustav Jung, The Portable Jung, Edited by Joseph Campbell, Translated by R.F.C. Hull, New York: Penguin Books, 1976, p152.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Red Circle

Sometimes a dream can give you an insight that eluded your conscious mind.

The Dream: A round, glowing red circle.

This dream circle explained an artwork I had seen in the Tate a couple of days before that had been puzzling me. The piece was a photo of a man’s very hairy back; the hairs swirled into radiating Van Gogh shapes with soap. The center was so soapy it was white. I didn’t know what to make of this as I looked at it, but after the dream I realized that the photo might be a representation of the natural forces of the sun. And, of course, in myth the sun is identified with masculine forces and energy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Free To Be Me

At times (alas, not always!), there seems to be a sort of progress in dream life. After accepting my inner seven-year-old in the dream from a couple of night’s ago (It’s a Free Country) I move on to liberate myself from an old feeling of being ostracized.

The Dream:
I am in the neighborhood I lived in as a teenager, about to take a trip with my two brothers. We get into a small car and are about to pull away from the curb. For some reason I have removed my slacks, but then decide I must go back into the house to get something. I exit the car, holding my trousers first in front, then in back, switching between the two, trying to cover my underwear from public view and hoping, in vain as it turns out, that no one is about. A group of curious neighbors assembles. As I awkwardly try to cover myself, they surround me. I search for the key to the house, which I can’t find.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Crab Attack

Do dreams always have to do with your own life, or do you sometimes dream just as powerfully of things that affect your friends or family?

The Dream: A crab is moving forward, shooting a dart at a human figure.

Interpretation: I was in the dark about the meaning of this dream until my daughter pointed out that the Crab is the symbol for the Zodiac sign of Cancer. On the day before I had this dream the husband of a dear friend had a biopsy, and a serious cancer had been discovered. My dream was trying to help me absorb this distressing news.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It’s a Free Country

One technique that I find useful—and perhaps you will, too—is what I call a “write around.” When I don’t have a clue about what a dream means, I take it image by image and write whatever comes into my mind. By the time I’ve worked my way through the dream I understand its message.

The Dream: A young man with short, curly blond hair is lying in the front garden, more or less collapsed. I feel he’s trespassing when I see him from the living room window, sunk into the grass. I go out to confront him: why has he taken up this position on my front lawn? I notice he appears to be a homeless derelict who cannot communicate with me; perhaps he is on drugs. I am frightened and leave him where he is.

The Write Around: A young man with short, curly blond hair is lying in the front garden, more or less collapsed. This dream deals with a part of me that’s the opposite of my waking self: a young man instead of an old woman. When did I have short, curly blond hair? Perhaps when I was seven. He has put himself in a place where I can’t ignore him: in the front garden, but he is in bad shape—collapsed. So—a weak part of me, one that relates to my distant past, is coming into my awareness.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lots and Lots of Women

Everyone--and everything--in a dream represents some part of the dreamer.

The Dream: The only thing I remember of this dream is that it was populated by a large group of women. This theme—many women—seems to be a recurrent one in dreams that don’t come back in any sort of detail when I awaken.

Interpretation: These women represent parts of me that I’m not conscious of. I need to give them some space and get to know them.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Guest Dreamer: Laid Off and Weeping

Today’s guest dreamer is Emily. She is an experienced dream worker and will interpret her own dream—although that isn’t a word she likes to use. “I'm never comfortable with using 'interpretation' when working with a dream,” she says, “perhaps because there never is one interpretation.” That’s a good point.
The Dream: I am in the instructor’s room at the county jail where I used to work as a teacher. I sit at a small round wooden table across from my tall blond co-worker Alyssa. Our boss Evans walks in and asks her if she has 2 ½  hours available. He then talks about how good Alyssa has been on the job; so good, in fact, that he is going to have to lay her off. Tension builds in the room. Alyssa stands up to walk out with Evans to go to that 2 ½  hour meeting where she’ll be terminated, and she starts to cry. I stand up to hug her, and I start crying as well. As we embrace and weep together, she inadvertently knocks off my Tilley hat.

Emily’s thoughts on her dream:
As jail is a form of imprisonment, I see how I can imprison myself by being “too good” a daughter, wife, or friend. So good, in fact, my animus needs to deliver me from my self-imposed and compulsive responsibility that has recently resurfaced in waking life (I know my boss never took his job half as seriously as I took mine, so the message comes across loud and clear).

The weeping is timeless grief. As Alyssa grieves at leaving her “dream” job (which I held in waking life for many years with much satisfaction), I grieve at the passing of my old, unhealthy habit of needing to be needed. Allyssa knocks off my Tilley hat which represents outdoor activity, recreation, freedom.  By embracing Allyssa the dream ego shows compassion for the qualities that are not so great about the “good girl” persona. Perhaps she’ll soon put the hat on!

Carla’s thoughts: If this were my dream, I would ask myself about the significance of 2 ½ since my dream emphasizes that number by mentioning it twice.

The things I’m “too good” at are socially determined roles: daughter, wife, friend. The phrase “laid off” tells me that some part of me is saying, “Lay off! Gimme a break.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Hole in the Wood

Your unconscious is a clever wordsmith. If you pay close attention to the words in your dream it will help you figure out what your "inner you" is trying to say.
The Dream: There is an opening in a large piece of wood that’s part of a house. The shape of the hole is like a knothole that has fallen out, but it feels more like the wood has separated leaving a gaping hole. I go away, perhaps to find help, and when I return the hole has filled with water. I am very alarmed and holler for Clark. Later, with Mother’s assistance, I am making repairs to a house that needs them.

There’s an interesting play on words here. A hole (whole) and a knot hole (not whole). My house, which represents me, has opened--which is a good thing if we think in terms of someone opening up as opposed to being closed or shutting down. However, it’s clear I’m not comfortable with this; that the hole is filled with water tells me the alarming opening probably has to do with my emotions coming to the fore. I get help from my other half (Clark), and then I can begin to make myself whole (repair the house). Since Mother assists me, the painful emotions being healed probably relate to my grief at her death.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Glittering Sky

Dreams come to tell us what we don’t know; and sometimes what we don’t know is as basic as what we’re thinking about.

The Dream:
We have moved to San Diego with a moving van full of furniture. In our new home—which is an older building—there is a leak in the living room ceiling. Water is coming in, and I rush to put a bucket under it. Another leak sprouts, and water gushes in again. I try to fix it.

Four boys are fighting or playing outside one of the windows. Are they neighborhood kids playing, or are they young hoodlums? I’m not sure.

When Clark sees the leaks he discounts their seriousness, saying “We’re only here for three days.”
I am stunned. “We’re only here for three days, and we brought all our furniture? We could have stayed in a hotel!”

Clark thinks we would like it better in the house.

I look out a window and am surprised to see  stars.  I show them to Clark, commenting that perhaps what I’m seeing are twinkling lights from nearby houses on a hill. Then I realize that off to the right is the sea. Over the water I clearly see a sky jammed with countless, surprising, beautiful stars.

Strong emotions are emerging as I deal with a problem I’m not conscious of. The four boys who are either fighting or playing represent parts of me that are not integrated.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Looking Inside

Dreams are not known for delicacy when creating their metaphors: they use whatever will get the message across.

The Dream: I am looking into my vagina. It looks like a long funnel, ending in a very small circle. Its sides are covered with evenly spaced cholesterol deposits. I think I should scrape them off, and begin to—but then I think it would be better to wait until my doctor has checked them out. Perhaps he will write a prescription.

Interpretation: This image is a metaphor for the dream work I’ve been doing. I am looking deeply inside myself; I am worried and upset by what I see and want to obliterate it: scrape it off and make it go away. But I realize I can’t force the healing process; I need guidance from the doctor. Dr. Jung, perhaps?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Take a Break

The Dream:
I’m invited to take part in various lighthearted events, but I react to the invitations by feeling weary. One in particular stands out: a 4th of July celebration is coming, with fireworks, and the kids want to go. I don’t think I’ll enjoy it.

The dream shows several things coming up that are supposed to be enjoyable that I am not able to enjoy. This is a common reaction for me when I’m feeling overextended—almost always by too many obligations. The 4th of July is an interesting symbol here; it celebrates Independence Day—and freedom! I have to figure out why I’m resisting the explosion of freedom the fireworks represent.

The number 4 is significant to Jung, who sees it as a symbol of wholeness. In his terms, the dream is pointing out my resistance to integrating some part of me that would both make me whole and release a spectacular amount of energy. And it might even be fun.

Note: Carla Young is featured in an article in the SF Examiner. Read it here.