Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hanging Grandma

When trying to understand one of your dreams it’s a good idea to see if it contains a paradox. In this dream, grandmother is dead and yet she lives. This is the key to the meaning of the dream.

The Dream: 
An older woman, “Grandma,” has hung herself. At first I’m afraid to look at her, but for some reason her body is left hanging in a public area, the courtyard of a school, and seeing her is unavoidable. All are in a tizzy over this event. Yet she looks very peaceful; she’s in a yoga position with a contemplative expression on her face. As awful as this incident seems, when I see her serenity I am consoled.

Interpretation: When I had this dream I was preparing to go see and admire the great Florentine painters of the medieval to Renaissance periods. Grandma represents the past; in this case not my personal past but the past artistic glories of European art, which have been an ongoing inspiration in my life. She, like the art I love, hangs in public for all to see. I am distressed that she has died.

Is the dream telling me that these earlier periods of art are now dead for me? Yes: at least as far as being at the core of my artistic inspiration. But the dream is also telling me that a new, revitalized artistic energy will emerge. After all, I take comfort in seeing the spirit live on in the dead Grandma (her yoga position and contemplative expression) despite her apparent death. The paradox this dream explores is the common dream topic of new life (energy) emerging from death (stasis).

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