Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I wish you a dreamy New Year

For some thoughts on the symbolic meaning of this end of year celebration see The New Year as Transition by guest writer Rob Drew.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Beautiful Dark Baby

The Dream: A good friend from my college days has a very young daughter, about 3 years old, with dark skin. I look at her husband to see if he is the source of the girl’s complexion, but he is as fair as his wife. The girl is adorable; her coloring is inexplicable. Was she adopted?

Interpretation: Something that has its roots in my past (college days) has recently (within the past three years) come to fruition. While it isn’t what I expected, and I’m not entirely sure where it came from, it is beautiful. Clearly I must adopt (accept) it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Solstice

Today ‘s dream is communal: our dream of rebirth on the day of the Sun’s nadir, an event which has been the focus of religious rituals since time immemorial.  I wish you all, whatever your tradition, the joy of a new beginning celebrated in a community of love and peace.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dancer in the Dance

The Dream: I’m taking dancing lessons. At first the teacher is enchanted with my potential. Later she comments on two of us students: “Clara and Carla, I thought they were going to be something special; but no, they are a disappointment.” I understand I have no outstanding talent, and I think “I’m too old for fancy leaps.” I awakened feeling unsettled.

Interpretation: In waking life I’m dealing with an elderly and demented relative, and part of the job is finding a burial site for her. This unpleasant duty was the inspiration for this dream. The meaning here of being unexceptional is that my fate in the dance of life is the same as her fate; in other words, I’m going to die. Of course this is not news, and yet to face it is unsettling, especially since I’m too old for fancy leaps.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Up a Tree

The Dream: At the back of a rectangular garden bordering a park a woman is trussed up in a tree in a pose resembling a yoga back bend. The house and garden belong to me, although they have an English feeling. The event takes place on the other side of my fence so it’s not on my property, but there is some confusion about who is responsible for this patch of land adjacent to mine. The “city” claims it is the homeowner. I don’t feel it is, but my original certitude on this point is shaken by the city’s unexpected position. In any event, the girl is rescued and released from her bondage up the tree.

Interpretation: I am in a difficult position, up a tree and bending over backward to please. My Unconscious won’t let me get away with blaming others for this dilemma—it points out that the house and the garden (where I live and where I am) belong to me, even though they may feel foreign (English). The dream ego is at pains to put up a wall (fence) between me and the problem, but my own deeper wisdom (the central authority: the city) insists otherwise. When I start to see its point (I am not so certain that it’s not my responsibility), I am rescued.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Pound of Flesh

Dream image: A block of skin and fat has been removed from my body. Once the fat has been removed the skin will be replaced. But there’s a problem: there is no agreement as to how to excise the fat. A team of doctors debate whether it would be better to scrape it off or to melt it. No one knows quite what to do. There are other similar blocks placed in a row, but it seems these present no difficulties and can be dealt with using other methods.

Interpretation: As I try to cope with the difficulties of caring for an elderly relative in waking life, the dream tells me I feel as if someone has taken a piece of my hide. As much as I might like to block this unpleasant reality the required pound of flesh is extracted, and it doesn’t look as if I know how to get it back.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Ant is Lanced

Molestation in the news triggers a childhood "memory."
The Dream: A very tough-looking guy is in charge of a peculiar ant-like creature. The ant has a perfectly round head and a body made of transparent, glowing red-brown sections. The head is yellow ochre. It’s as if I am seeing an exposed skeleton, but on a living creature. The “ant” is very large, probably about 5 feet long. The man has several sets of paraphernalia resembling studded dog collars--but actually hand-cuffs--that he uses to control the ant. 

The man is balding with dark brown hair; his red face has a stubby growth of beard. He’s solid and a little overweight. He has belied his tough looks by being helpful to me, yet when I come in contact with some others we accuse him of rape. I know this is false, but having made a commitment to this accusation I cling to it. The man starts to remove his studded hand-cuffs from his wrists where he stores them, and I think he’s going to attack us. Instead he hangs the cuffs on a peg.

Later, apparently having resolved the “rape” issue I need the man to kill the insect. I have come to like the creature and can’t kill it myself. I also don’t want it to suffer; I want it killed quickly and mercifully. In addition I want to preserve its body, so I want it killed in a way that won’t damage its skeleton (body).

The man shakes his head gravely in assent as I explain this mission. I think he is attached to his charge, the ant, in a way, and doesn’t want someone inept bungling this deed. He says, “Most people don’t understand how to do this.”  He goes back a distance and charges the creature with a long pointed lance, making a terrible and fierce face as he does. I am alarmed by this look and surprised at the violence of the method. I think this will be messier than I had wished or anticipated.

He charges the ant, fracturing its large round head in two. The open half spheres are filled with a white thick substance that spills over the edges.

Interpretation: This dream was triggered by news of a local molestation case. The young victim was abused by her swim coach; she had been primed for the abuse by being forced to swim laps wearing a dog-collar while she was held on a leash. The dream examines the confusion of a child’s first view of sex. Did I see my aunt (ant) and uncle, a good natured but tough guy, in the act when I was too young to understand what I was seeing?  I eliminate (kill) the aunt, whose skeleton body represents the bare bones of a knowledge I’m not ready to accept. Does this childish disgust and fear lurk behind my adult feelings about sex? Something to think about.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Something’s Got a Hold of Me

The Dream: I’m in bed with my husband Clark, but having sex with someone else who is small in stature and not particularly attractive, but very seductive. I later find out he has had concurrent affairs with many others, each of whom thought she was the only one. I find a message he has sent to one of his paramours. He has drawn a lush lake shore in an expressionistic style. In some way this art conveys his undying love for some other woman.

I am incensed and go to fight with this guy who, I had believed, loved only me. I find him in a cafeteria with Clark. The fellow grabs hold of me and won’t let go. No one helps me; I struggle on.

Interpretation: The figure in the dream appears to be a trickster: he is small, seductive, and unattractive. There’s some small unattractive part of me that I find seductive. In the dream I try out this part, merging with it (having sex). The part of me that deals with life and the world in a practical way (Clark, playing the part of my animus) refuses to get involved in the problem. First he sleeps as the trickster and I become one, and then he doesn’t lift a finger to free me when I’ve had enough of the experiment. I’ve seen the trickster for what he is: duplicitous and deceptive, yet in some way connected to art and regeneration (the lush lake shore). The dream tells me I’ll struggle on until I recognize and integrate this unappealing part of myself.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Ravages of Time

This is a dream firmly grounded in life, as Clark and I care for an aging parent. In the present we are caring for his mother, but the dream evokes my struggle with my own mother’s debilitation at this stage of her life.

The Dream: Mother is staying with us. She hardly eats and stays in bed all day. She is dying.  I wish she would die and end this agony. For a brief moment she emerges from the bedroom, standing and coherent, settling some issues, in control, making plans: she is her old self. I am surprised and think perhaps there is hope. Then she reverts to her incapacitated self, and I wish she would go back to my brother’s house so I wouldn’t have to face this dreadful situation any longer. I console myself that dying of starvation is painless.

Interpretation: It’s all here—the recognition that my parent is failing; my mixed feelings: wishing she would get better, wishing she would die, wishing she would leave—anything to help me avoid the horror of my own feelings about loss and death. My concern for myself rather than her starves us both—and I try to convince myself that this is painless.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Royal Flush

The Dream: A public toilet: not only is it public in the sense that it is a large facility anyone can use, but also because there are no privacy stalls. Someone has defecated, and the toilet I’m about to use is full of excrement. I’m concerned that adding my contribution will cause an overflow when I flush. There is a supervisory woman who seems to think this is okay. And in fact, when I pull the lever a very small flush clears the entire mess with quiet efficiency. I am relieved.
Interpretation: This dream resolves the last two dreams, The Scream and Much Ado Over Nothing. The first sets the stage for me to confront the pain of dealing with my father’s anger. The second transforms my understanding of that pain and enables me to see that I am strong enough to withstand it. Today’s dream finishes the purge with a graphic image of shit that is a lot easier to get rid of than I had anticipated. And even mother (the supervisory woman) is on board with letting it go.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Much Ado About Nothing

The Dream: A crazy man, older, who looks like a World War II vet, is shooting 2 six guns outside a museum. I run for cover and cower among what look like archeological remains: pillars, columns, large stones, in the area across from the building. A woman holds me; she wears a blue jacket. Partially she holds me out of her own fear; partially to comfort me.

Interpretation: This is my terrified inner child, confronting the angry father of my early childhood. He is in front of a museum, a place where artifacts of the (my) past are stored. Mother and I cower among the old ruins, those ruined times of painful family interactions. Doing the illustration for this dream affected my understanding: what Dad shot off was his mouth. He was irascible, not mean or cruel, and yet he probably scared my gentle and somewhat timid mother as much as he scared me. I laughed when I finished the drawing; the silly image showed me our cringing overreaction to some irate words—which, in the final analysis, represented somebody blowing off some steam. Now that I can look at this anger with an adult perspective I can see there’s no longer reason to be frightened.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Scream

The Dream: I am lying on a bed. I put my head into a long tube and scream. My father comes into the room and asks me if I scream often. “No, I say, “this is the only time I ever screamed.”
“Heart attack,” he says.
“Well,” I say, “you’d better take me to the hospital.”
All dither around. No one seems to grasp the urgency of the situation. Someone asks if I feel any pain, and I say, “Only some tightness in my chest.”

Interpretation: I’ve got my head up my ass (in a long tube). There’s something emotionally painful (attack in the region of the heart) that I’m refusing to see. I need some help (the hospital) in order to get this off my chest.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Night Knight

A dream often seems to say two opposite things at once; perhaps this is part of their integrative function, to make a harmonious whole out of all the disparate ideas, urges, thoughts, needs that go into making us human.

The Dream: I am explaining to someone that unraveling a dream’s meaning is achieved by looking at the dream’s puns or wordplay. As I awaken I’m thinking, “Night Knight.”

Interpretation: My knight in shining armor (rescuer) is the night, bringer of dreams. “Wordplay”  tells me that the night realm (the unconscious) can be the place where my curious child comes out to play. The “knight/night” pun is symbolic: knight (rescuer); night (sleep, time of dreams). The knight’s shining amour implies goodness, a noble mission. And then there’s the flip side of both: the knight is a warrior, a killer; the night can be a fearful time when demons roam.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Connect the Dots

Is it possible to get to the meaning of a dream that seems inexplicable?
The Dream: Like many dreams, this one culminated in something I couldn’t define or grasp.

Interpretation: I discovered the dream’s message when I attempted to illustrate it. The message? Connect the dots. There’s something I’m getting subliminal hints about. The dream is urging me to become more conscious of these, to put them together, and to figure out what's up.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Something I Can’t Get Around

The Dream: I encounter a large, well-proportioned black man on a path. As we try to pass one another we perform a socially awkward dance: we each move in the direction the blocks the other. We do this several times. The man is tall, attractive, middle-aged, athletic, and looks strong. There is no threat in the encounter, only embarrassment that we can’t get around each other.

Interpretation: The dream is telling me that there is something I just can’t get around. I must encounter (and integrate) something that, while not threatening, is very different from the way I see myself; it’s symbolically opposite me in just about every way: height, race, sex. The dream hints that I may be on the way toward accepting this part of myself since I see this “other” as attractive.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Spider in the Garden

The Dream: I find a black widow spider in the garden. It scurries under something. I know I should kill it, but I don’t want to. I think it won’t hurt me if I don’t disturb it, if I leave it alone.

Interpretation: There’s a potentially poisonous emotion or situation I need to deal with, but I’m not ready to. Just as soon as it shows itself (starts to come to consciousness), it hides again (is repressed).  I decide to “leave it alone.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Complications of Eradicating Evil

The Dream: Some very evil men can’t be controlled. My husband Clark decides to murder them. Their bodies are placed upright in a public space, as if embedded into a curtain that surrounds a public square. We wait for them to be discovered and to see what sort of public reaction there will be. Clark is convinced he’s done the right thing and has the courage of his certainty. I’m nervous and unsure. Who will back us up? Who will turn us in? Who knows?

Interpretation: This is a dream about something we confront every day as we listen to the news: evil people commit evil deeds; what can I do about it? In the dream my public, active side, represented by my husband (my other half), takes action. My introverted, more reflective, less impulsive side (represented by the dream ego) is not sure the action taken was a good idea. 

A more complicated ethical dilemma arises: we’ve covered up (veiled) our action. By privately making a decision for the group (the public) we risk alienating ourselves from the society we live in. Taking action has left us hanging out, much like our victims.

And then there’s another way to look at the dream: what evil part of myself am I veiling from public view? And isn’t the evil hidden in my breast the most difficult to eradicate? Partially because even I can’t see it: it’s veiled, embedded and enclosed!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Guest Dreamer: Purification

Do you need a washing machine to take you through the complete cycle from contamination to purification? The homey images in this guest dream reveal a powerful transformation in progress.

The Dream: I am in my house, upstairs. There are guests in the house. I walk into the guest bathroom and decide to flush the toilet. When I do, watery shit bubbles out of the drain and rises to the top. It starts to overflow. I panic. The flowing stops before flooding the bathroom, but I run out of there to find a plunger so I can correct the problem. I look for the plunger downstairs in the laundry room.  A woman, my house guest, is sprawled sideways on top of the washing machine. She is clothed--at least I see she is wearing slacks, shoes and socks. The lid of the washer is up and her rear end is inside the barrel. She looks like she is just hanging out there, relaxed, with her arm over the lid.  

Carla’s interpretation: In my version of the guest dreamer’s dream, my mind (upstairs symbolizes the head) is engaged with some issues that feel alien to me (they are guests in my house rather than residents). There’s a lot of difficulty (shit) associated with these issues; repressing them has been draining me but now they are coming up with such force that they’ve risen to the top of my consciousness. In fact, they are so powerful they overflow and I panic. I run to find the device (the plunger) that can correct the problem. My unconscious is hinting here that the solution will be plunging into the difficulty rather than trying to avoid it. And, in fact, once I get to the place where I expect to find the plunger, I am in a place of purification, the laundry room. The lid is off, and I see that the problem is being addressed at its source: the rear end of my troublesome “guest.” We can guess that she is the one responsible for the excess shit in the guest bathroom. Having expelled the mess that was inside her, she is now relaxed while the washing machine completes the purge.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The End of Carla?

The Dream: A young woman has decided to kill herself. She is with friends; I am among them. There’s something theatrical about this endeavor. What should I do? Ignore it? Try to stop her? I do nothing until she takes some pills, then I call 911. I have difficulty getting through. First I can’t quite see which buttons to push. My mini-computer becomes my giant cell phone, and even in the dream I find this odd. At last I manage to get through. The person answering the phone is very relaxed. We have a short conversation; I explain the situation, but the connection is not good. I say I’ll call back, wondering as I hang up if I’ll get the same guy. Or will I have to explain the situation all over again?

I await the arrival of the medics; they are slow coming. No one seems concerned about this potential suicide. As time elapses, the girl comes around. I find out that her suicide “cocktail” consisted of a calcium pill and a baby aspirin. I realize all this suicide drama has been overblown, and I’m embarrassed over calling 911. I wonder how the medics will react once they arrive at this nonexistent crisis.

Interpretation: Oh dear, someone isn’t getting enough attention. Could it be me? In a slightly more serious vein, some part of me is crying out for help and having difficulty getting through to others. I don’t seem to have the right equipment: I’m using a computer as a cell phone. When I finally do talk to someone the connection is not good. Is the dream a reaction to doing this blog? After all, it’s communication through the computer, and I have little way of knowing how it’s received. In the dream no one is concerned about this potential “suicide.”  If Carla dies (stops writing this blog) would anyone care? Oh, woe is me!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I’m all Wet

The Dream: I am at a shopping mall with some friends. I go into a shoe store by myself. The service is great and I find some very beautiful shoes. I am so impressed by the service that I go find my friends who are shopping nearby and bring them back so they can see this marvelous store. When we enter there is no sales staff, and none appears until I go to the back to find someone. There isn’t much merchandise either. My friends are unimpressed and look askance at my judgment. I feel a certain chill in the air. When I leave the mall it’s pouring and I have no raincoat. I get all wet.

Interpretation: This dream reenacts my feelings about a waking life experience. I had invited friends to a local theater event. The event was oversold, our seats bad and our view blocked by a pole. The acting was amateurish. My friends were good sports, but I was very embarrassed (all wet) and felt that I had gone down a peg or two in their estimation by dragging them to this mess of an evening. The beautiful shoes I found in the dream symbolize my wish that I could walk away from my embarrassment.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shorten the Chain

The Dream: A woman is trying on an antique necklace to see how it looks with her outfit. The jewelry is very beautiful and the colors go well, but it’s a little too long for the neckline of a blouse that obscures the three-pronged pendant. I suggest she pull the pendant higher by shortening the chain. 

Interpretation: Another beautiful thing from the past (an antique) that is in danger of being covered over (obscured). I try to deal with the difficulties of the passage of time by shortening the chain that binds the people and events of my past to me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Guest Dreamer: I Can Bear It

Today’s guest dreamer is David Ward-Nanney whose recently released novel, Powder Dreams, uses dream analysis as a narrative device. David has given us his own interpretation of the dream’s meaning. Before I read it, I’ll react to his dream as if it were one of mine in the hope that it might provide an insight he hasn’t already thought of. As always, the dreamer gets the last word, and if we differ, his interpretation is the correct one.

The Dream: The house is an entirely open plan with lots of space and floor-to-ceiling windows. The windows allow plenty of natural light throughout. I am on the first floor in front of a staircase that leads to the second floor. To my left I see an unidentifiable woman and man, both about my age and socioeconomic level. I know instinctively that the man is a friend and the woman is a beloved. I go up the stairs and remember something that makes me go back downstairs. The man and the woman are gone and I see through the back window why. There is a giant grizzly bear on his hind legs looking into the house from outside. My first thought is thank God the others got away safely. I try to make my escape upstairs but the bear is now inside the house and grabs my ankles, preventing me from going up. He says, “Hold on. Not so fast.” He lets go and I immediately make a dash for the front door. I make it through the door and onto the front porch when he again grabs me by the ankles and drags me back in. This time he says, “You can’t get away and there’s no need to.” While I am frightened I am also cognizant that this bear does not necessarily want to eat me.

: The house represents me; its spaciousness and large windows tell me that I am an open person with a good relationship to the world outside my window; light can come in, and I can see out. The woman and man who rather closely resemble me represent the rational and spiritual aspects of my inner self. I am at peace with these: the man is a friend and the woman beloved. But when I go “downstairs,” leaving the safety of my intellect and higher consciousness, they disappear.

Why do I go downstairs (into my unconscious)? Because there’s something I need to remember, or get in touch with, that’s important for my health and wholeness. Once there I find my supporting friends gone, and I must face a frightening and deadly beast (my own emotions, passions, my inner “animal”) without their help. I don’t realize it at the time, but it’s necessary for my conscious, rational, “higher” part to disappear temporarily; it would only hinder the integration about to take place. However, knowing that my civilized self is in a safe place reassures me, giving me courage for what’s to come.

The dream’s revelation comes during my terrifying confrontation with the bear when he says to me, “You can’t get away and there’s no need to.” Once I realize that I can’t escape my inner animal—and, more important--there’s no need to, I have made a stride toward accepting this essential part of myself. I am still afraid, but I now know that I will not be consumed (eaten) by my feelings and passions.

David’s Interpretation: Grizzly bears are fierce hunters and gatherers and are thus able to not only survive but thrive in a global environment that has marked the polar bear for extinction. The bear is an emblem or symbol of the warrior caste. This fierce side of me is repeatedly baring its ugly head, but the dream is telling me that caution not terror is the right approach and that I cannot escape it. The bear definitely scares off both the anima and friend archetypes, leaving me to deal with him alone.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Guest Dreamer: My New Life

Today’s guest dream leads the dreamer toward a glowing transformation. 
The Dream: I dreamed I was present at the birth of another woman's baby.  It was very large for a newborn, plump and mature looking.  The baby was big enough to weigh about 20 pounds but it was not at all heavy to hold. I held the baby close to my breast immediately; it wanted to nurse but of course I couldn't comply.  I covered both of us up with a sheer yellow fabric.  The baby sat quietly in my lap and we both looked toward the light that surrounded us. It didn't matter that we could not see beyond the fabric. Inside our glowing yellow light-weight tent, we were safe and warm without distractions.  We were both pacified.  

Carla’s interpretation: In my version of your dream, I am experiencing the emergence of a new sense of who I am and what I do. That I refer to the baby as an “it” rather than a “her” or “him” tells me that the baby represents an abstract quality: some important aspect of myself is being born. This new me is not yet integrated into the self I know, so I see the person who is giving birth as another woman. My creativity is channeled through this newly emerging self (the woman's new baby). The baby looks good to me (good-sized, plump, and mature looking) and I want to nourish it. Although I take it to heart (my breast), I am not quite ready to feed this new self. I need to acknowledge that its mother and I are one and the same. I find a safe and beautiful place, the color of life and enlightenment (yellow, sunlight) for me and the new baby to be together while I wait until I can recognize that what seems like someone else (the mother of my most precious creative force) is me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Life and Death

This dream builds on the theme of Don’t Forget the Dogs from a few nights ago. In that dream I tried to avoid looking at the most basic reality of life—that it ends. Here I begin to accept this inevitability.

The Dream: I’m in someone’s house. She has pets; one a dog, the other a lizard. The lizard looks like a made-up animal, like a dream animal come to life. It’s very cute. My friend is pretty, and naive. She wants her animals to get along and, like a child, thinks they will. She puts them outside together. A few moments later we see one end of the lizard sticking out of the dog’s mouth. I feel sick and don’t even want to think about what shape the rest of the lizard is in. She wants to pull it out of the dog’s mouth. I think it might be better to let the dog finish the job.

Interpretation: The lizard represents the basic life force. My naïve part wants to believe that this life force can happily co-exist with death. When she puts the lizard (life) and the dog (death) together in their natural setting (outdoors), the inevitable happens: death devours life. The dream ego is distressed but accepting.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Dream Image: Circles, containing different worlds. I must pick one. Each world is represented by a different image or symbol.

Interpretation: A dream realization of the different roles I play and of the conflict that can result from having to choose where to put my time and energy.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Don’t Forget the Dogs

The Dream: I am about to go somewhere in a car when I remember the dogs, ranging in age from young adult to small puppy. I work to put them all in the trunk so they won’t be left behind. The larger dogs jump in, and I gently round up the smallest puppy, speaking soothingly as one cajoles a child.

Interpretation: In mythology, Cerberus is a multi-headed dog tasked with guarding the underworld. On my life journey (I’m going somewhere in a car) I would like to forget about the omnipresent reality of death, so I put this realization in the trunk (where I store my baggage). I sweet talk these creatures (the dogs of death), hoping to control them.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sisterhood is Powerful

The Dream:
I’m in a very nice, upscale restaurant with Clark and my two daughters, who are adults, but are wearing clothes they might have worn as children. The dresses are pretty, old-fashioned, summery. I say something about the fights they had as children over clothes. “Are you going to embarrass us in this restaurant?” I ask. They pretend they are going to have an argument, just to tease me.

Interpretation: My waking- life daughters didn’t fight over clothes or embarrass us in restaurants, and they don’t currently dress as children: the children in this dream represent my own inner children and tell me that I’m integrating psychic material from the past. (Their clothes are old fashioned.) Their squabbles stand for old internal conflicts that still make me uneasy. (“Are you going to embarrass us. . ?”) On the other hand, their differences have apparently been worked out to the point that they can get together and tease me. And I know they’re teasing, a good sign.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Two Faces

Today’s guest dreamer, Symbolfinder, has worked to understand her dream, and she sent me her insightful analysis along with it. Before I read her interpretation I wrote my own reactions, so you’ll have the benefit of two slightly different slants on the dream’s meaning. The dreamer always gets the last word since she is the only one who knows what the dream's associations mean for her.

The Dream: A co-worker crosses through a doorway. He is carrying a baby that looks like him. The baby has a normal formed face, but on the back of its head is a second face. This second face is not perfectly formed yet - it is crude and incomplete. I note that the child's head is actually two heads, though meshed together. I want to speak up, but I hold my tongue. I might put my co-worker in an uncomfortable situation, where he would need to explain the child's deformity.

Carla: The mythic image of the Roman god Janus comes to mind here. With his two faces, one looking forward and the other back, he is a threshold deity; he oversees the transition from one state to another and is often placed above doors. Janus oversees the beginning and end of things; the month January is named for him.

In my version of Symbolfinder’s dream, I feel a major transition about to take place in my life.  Something is ending, and a new phase is about to begin. Since all the characters in my dream represent some part of me, the coworker is a possibly neglected aspect of my psyche that wants to play a greater role in my life. He is in a doorway (a place of transition). The baby he is carrying looks like him, but has two faces, one that can be shown to the world and another that’s not quite right. The second face is not yet fully formed; its incompleteness suggests that this emergent part of me is not ready for prime time. This is emphasized when I stop myself from speaking. Since I want to speak; why don’t I? I am concerned for my coworker, the part of me that carries the burden of this newly emergent part. I feel the world is not ready to accept me as I am, therefore I see my two-headed baby as a deformity. When I get to the point that I can accept this not-so-perfect part of myself, I predict I will be able to embrace both the baby and the coworker, and the two heads will become one.

Symbolfinder’s Analysis:
Shadow / Co-worker:  In real life the co-worker is impulsive, unreflective, and inappropriately crosses corporate boundaries. While he holds good technical knowledge, his social intelligence is sometimes weak.He represents a shadow of mine - the unreflective, impulsive part of my personality (it is there!). I am very aware of this side of myself, and that it is a shadow. I have been correcting this side of my personality. Infant/Unconscious:  The infant is symbolic of all my potential, but also my current immature state or stage of true awareness. The two faces, I believe, represent my conscious and unconscious. The front complete face is my rationality, which is strong and well developed. The backward-looking underdeveloped face is my unconscious, which is weaker.

Me in the dream: In the dream I hold my tongue, thinking if I ask about the two-faced infant, I will embarrass my co-worker. This is the practical part of the dream and its key message: I sometimes speak unconsciously, and would benefit from more conscious, regulated and filtered speaking. You see, my profession forces me to be objective about people and their actions, and sometimes the truth can hurt, especially if impulsively spoken. Additionally I must ask myself - in my well intentioned corporate maneuvering have I been two-faced? Does my dream simply show my shadow is an immature being with two faces? Thus part of my shadow is that I am two-faced! Materializing the unconscious can give you unpleasant but necessary lessons for life.

Wonder and awe:  Some browsing of the images on an  alchemy web site demonstrate the symbol of a two-headed person (often with each sex represented).  While my dream did not exhibit the hermaphrodite symbolism, nonetheless my unconscious chose to use this symbol. I am in awe that I am dreaming or projecting the same unconscious properties as my alchemical ancestors of hundreds of years ago.
My Jungian lesson: Jung wrote in 'The Psychic Nature of the Alchemical Work' :
"...he (the alchemist) experienced his projection as a property of matter; but what he was in reality experiencing was his own unconscious... as we all know, science began with the stars, and mankind discovered in them the dominants of the unconscious, the 'gods'..."

The unconscious projects its' material onto my dreams, my dreams usually focus on my day's emotions. It uses its' own language of symbols to digest my emotions; the symbols are bizarre to the laymen, but they are interpretable. The symbols are ancient and deep and have utility to the unconscious. If there was no utility, they would not have been stored in our DNA.

Making use of this dream: Dream analysis has a practical end for me - it is not idle fantasizing. This dream represents (once again) that:
  1. My impulsive, unreflective shadow still lives
  2. At work in the corporate environment, sometimes my shadowy unconscious is at work, and it/I can be two faced
  3. My knowledge of the unconscious and all its' working is still immature, and I must continue learning and leveraging its language, symbols and messages.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I’m a 10

The Dream: My daughter is looking for a job, in spite of the fact that she has one. Scores are given to applicants based on GPA and work experience so that prospective employers can get a quick idea of potential employees’ capabilities. My daughter’s score is 325, and we try to figure out what that means. We discover that she got credit for having an “A” average and, in addition, so much work experience that her score is over the top. We are relieved by this good news.

Interpretation: Over the years my dreams often pointed out that I wasn’t getting (or giving myself) any credit, symbolized by my not being awarded things like credit cards or loans. In this dream, my inner child (my daughter) triumphs with an out of the ballpark score, based on “credits” she has earned. The numbers of her score, added together, make 10, another symbol of perfection. Am I getting over-inflated here?

Why is she looking for a new job?  The dream tells me to keep an eye open for new opportunities; perhaps there are some that would make better use of my abilities.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Guest Dreamer: Pulling Roots out of my Feet

I can think of no spiritual leader who has not warned of suffering along the path to enlightenment. Emily, who frequently contributes insightful comments to this blog, has given us a poignant dream about the difficulties that must be faced and overcome on a spiritual journey.

The Dream: I walk out of a building (I can't see it behind me, but I know I've left it) onto a wide, cement sidewalk. The tall wall of a building is on my left. I am barefoot. Suddenly I am aware of pain on the bottoms of my feet. I realize I am walking on shards of glass: small, colorful pieces are embedding themselves in the bottom of my feet! I can barely walk it hurts so much. Then, I am inside a room, sitting on a chair. I look at the bottom of my feet, and I see that I have roots, like slender tree roots, growing out from the bottom of my feet. I try to pull one out, and I realize it's deep in my leg, up the calf.  I don't pull it out.  A blonde woman watches me, I think somewhat approving of my actions.

Shift: It rains. Pours. In 2 separate incidents, a man and a woman have left their notebooks/binders in the rain. I rush out into the rain and pick them up and bring them inside as I don't want the rain to ruin them. The man is 30-40ish, tall, and thin. He doesn't appear to be grateful that I rescued his notebook from the rain. His notebook is stuffed with papers and notes. The thought crosses my mind that maybe the rain wouldn't have hurt the notebook after all....end

Carla’s interpretation: I’m leaving my structured way of being (the building) behind. The way ahead is opening up before me (it's wide), but also hard (cement). There’s some sort of unconscious block (the wall to my left). I am vulnerable (barefoot). My foray into this new world outside is risky; I feel pain. There’s something in my path that makes progress difficult and painful; small shards of colorful glass. Apparently I can’t get around my difficulty; I keep walking through this excruciating mess even though my progress is very slow because I am in so much pain. But my persistence is rewarded. I find myself sitting in a room, able to examine my vulnerability (the bare, painful feet).  I have roots. I have the potential to be grounded, to find my ground of being. At first I attempt to reject this possibility, but I realize it is too deeply a part of me to be pulled out. The part of me that is enlightened (woman with blonde hair) approves.

Now the rain can come, like an ancient blessing, over the notebooks of a man and a woman. For Jung, male and female together represent a coniunctio, opposites coming together into wholeness. I have, for many years, created notebooks of my dreams. I fear that all this water (so much unconscious material) pouring into my notebooks could ruin them. My stronger male side lets me know that rescue is not necessary. My unconscious material and the spiritual grounding I’ve accomplished by so carefully recording my dreams, and being brave enough to learn from them, are safe.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Taking In Something Valuable

The Dream: I’m at a large gathering, which goes on for days. I am looking at some beautiful old architectural drawings that someone threw out and someone else has retrieved. In the mix are lovely old pamphlets. I think these might be valuable and wonder how they would be priced by The Antiques Road Show. I am glad these things were rescued and surprised anyone would want to throw them away. The architectural drawings are of a beautiful old brick house, two stories.

The party goes on and on and I find I’m very tired. People take this as an indication that I don’t like them, and I try to explain. “No. I’m only tired. I’m an introvert and all this activity wears me out. I just want to go read a book.”

Interpretation: The old things that have been rescued tell me that I’ve made peace with my past, discovering things of value there that deserve appreciation. The old architecture (the person I was) has been retrieved. Once I’ve rediscovered these valuable but once rejected parts of myself I take them in (introvert) and look for some solitude in which I can study (read a book) the new things I’ve learned.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Goosed Girl

Is my inner trickster telling me to open my eyes? Wake up?

The Dream: A man and I are at a party. A tall woman in a champagne-colored, draped-front shift stands next to us. The man pinches her bottom, then stands there looking angelic so she won’t think he did it. After he does this a couple of times I go sit by myself on some stairs, afraid the woman might think I’m the one pinching her.

A little later the woman comes over to me. The man has convinced her that I am the one who pinched her, and she's angry. I sputter my surprise and innocence.

Interpretation: This is what’s called a trickster dream, dreams in which a badly-behaved person gets the better of the dream ego. There’s an interesting pun here, since pinching is said to be a test of whether or not we’re dreaming. (For example, “When I heard I won the Lottery I pinched myself.”)  Since we are the entire cast of our dreams, in this dream I’m literally dreaming, I’m getting pinched, and I’m pinching myself. I think my inner trickster was feeling playful. The dream made me laugh, and if it has a deeper meaning I don’t know what it is.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest Dreamer: Thirsty

Can dreams predict the future? Isabel brings us a dream that seems to foretell a brother’s illness.

The Dream: I am in the parking lot of a grocery store and I notice that I am feeling abnormally thirsty. I walk up to the front of the store and realize that there is a huge bucket filled with Arrowhead water bottles. I quickly grab as many as I can and begin gulping them down one after another. I can't stop drinking and just keep becoming thirstier. All of a sudden I find myself no longer at the grocery store but instead in front of my science teacher's classroom at my old middle school. To my surprise, I see another bucket filled with water bottles and I immediately start drinking until all the water bottles are gone and I finally feel satisfied.

Isabel’s comments: When I woke up I thought nothing of the dream, and didn't think of it until about two weeks later when my brother was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. My family and I were in his hospital room while a nurse was talking to us about the disease. She said that one of the main symptoms is being really thirsty all the time. At that point I thought immediately of my dream and told my family about it saying that I must either be psychic or have Diabetes myself. They were amazed that my dream occurred before all of this had happened and my dad suggested I tell my Aunty Emily [a frequent commenter on this blog] since she is in a dream group. I told her today and she started to think about the significance of the fact that the water bottles were Arrowhead and said that we should try breaking the word down into two parts. When I did that I thought of how an arrow points so maybe it was pointing towards the water and the fact that water takes care of your health.

Carla’s comments: In past times people believed that dreams could indeed foretell the future—but they also believed the earth was flat and a lot of other nonsense.* Nevertheless, there might be some ways in which a dream can give you information about the future by cluing you in to things that are subliminal—in other words, things that are below your threshold of awareness. We all observe many things without being aware that we are observing them.

Carla’s  projection:
I may have noticed, in waking life, that my brother was excessively thirsty, yet been unaware of my own observation. At a deeper level I knew this was important, so my dream brought this to my attention.

Some people report that they became aware of an impending disease as the result of a dream. Many of our physical processes are completely unconscious: how, for example, do we regulate a baby’s growth in utero or decide when to get a fever? This unconscious physical activity can pop up in our dreams to alert us to a problem.  Might I have diabetes myself, as I wondered when I remembered my dream after hearing of my brother’s diagnosis? Since diabetes has a genetic link that is a possibility, and I will be sure to be tested.

In the clever way of dreams, my dream has some interesting word play. When it opens, I’m in the parking lot of a grocery store. In other words, I am parked (or stopped) in a place of growth (a gro cery). There is something I must stop and look at before I can proceed. The arrowheads are pointing out that the problem is connected to my thirst. I am near my science class. The word “science” comes from the present participle of the Latin word scire, meaning “to know”. Where do we learn things? In class. So—to sum it up so far: I can’t go anywhere until I learn the thing that is being pointed out to me. The reference to middle school refers to my being in the middle of something; in this case, in the middle of a family crisis. Once I  learn the necessary thing, my thirst (for the right information) will be satisfied.

* As if to give me a little slapdown for that remark, after I wrote it I had a dream with a silly little "precognitive" element. I dreamed my mother-in-law was looking for a new bed. Talking to my sister-in-law the next day I told her the dream and she said--guess what? A new bed had just arrived for her mother.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Circle of Life: Not as Scary as It Looks

The Dream: I’m in a large structure, part cave and part man made. My friend Polly and two others are with me. Polly and I talk about taking a pattern-making or draping class just for fun and to refresh our memories (we were once clothes designers). I have some sort of hooked implement with me. We go up and up, into this structure. It’s not too difficult a climb; it’s like a Disney version of a cave. I decide to show the others how to use the hook, throwing it into a cave wall with the idea that I’ll hoist myself up. As I put my weight on it the hook breaks and I fall into a very steep-sided crevasse. I realize as I fall and fall—while my friends watch in mute horror—that there is no way I can climb out of this deep pit.

After my terrifying descent I finally hit bottom. After a little exploration I realize the spot I’m in is not far from our entry point—the place where we started our ascent. I find a door out from the dark and scary pit into the brightly lighted stairs, now looking like a lobby, that lead to the cave ascent. I know I can quickly rejoin my friends, and I feel greatly relieved.

Interpretation: The action in this dream forms a kind of circle: in some way it reminds me of life, death, and rebirth. I climb with my friends; we are involved in work-related activity (pattern making) and enjoy the gentle challenge of the climb. The cave reminds me of early peoples in the Dordogne who created art and practiced religion within similar walls. When I use my “hook” to try to attach myself to this earthly (and what’s more earthly than a cave?) life, I get a terrifying shock. My connection to the earth fails, and I fall into the depths, seemingly gone forever. As the early cave people lived their lives and passed on, I must be prepared to do the same. The reference to Disney tells me that although we would like to sanitize the difficult realities of life on the planet,  the superficiality of commercialism and consumerism don’t actually change our core experiences. At the same time, I am given the insight that what looked like the end is a new beginning.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Guest Dreamer: The Strange Case of the Blood Red Haematite and The Philosophers Stone

One of the mysterious things about dreams is how they help us to get to know ourselves. Openfoot’s training and education emphasized the scientific and rational—which is a good thing. On the other hand, it put him at a distance from his intuitive, feeling side—not such a good thing. In this dream he resolves these two often conflicting ways of perceiving the world. Openfoot, who has his own dream website, will tell us his interpretation of the dream, and I’ll add some comments afterward.

The Dream:
I am in a long thin room, a lecture theatre perhaps or the gallery of a museum. It is furnished in a nineteenth century style. There is a lot of wooden panelling and wooden framed, glazed display cases. A group of men, of whom I am one, is in the room. We seem to be wearing period costume although it is perhaps a couple of hundred years older than the furniture and decoration in the room. I get the feeling that a meeting has just ended and we remain discussing the substance of the meeting in an informal way and just socialising.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

She Kills with Kindness

The Dream: A woman, a celebrity, has a lot of children 7 and under. They are all on a large bed that protrudes onto a city street and seem retractable, like the produce stands that sprout on city streets during business hours. The woman tenderly ministers to the children, but I know she’s killing them. Yet I can’t believe it; she appears to be so genuinely loving. I am confused.

Interpretation: The loving tenderness reminds me of my mother. The retractable bed brings to mind the memory of a time when all three of us children were sick, and Mom set up beds in the living room. She took wonderful care of us. Does the parent, as part of his/her “duty” inevitably “kill” aspects of her children, for example, anti-social, selfish desires or the child’s narcissism? Might the untamed unconscious see this as some sort of murder? Is my psyche still trying to understand these two conflicting roles my mother and all mothers enact?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Picking the Right Complement

Dream image: Doors decorated with abstract patterns in complementary colors. The first is either yellow or orange and purple, but I decide it would look better with blue, even if it weren’t, strictly speaking, correct. A neighbor appears, playing the part of the idealistic man fighting intractable corruption.

Interpretation: Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, and adding one to the other has a graying effect. The dream hints I’m stuck between opposing forces in a pattern, a stand-in here for a pattern of behavior: two opposite tendencies are canceling each other out. Choosing a color that might not be correct signals my willingness to move in a new direction because if the color isn’t the proper complement it won’t cancel out the other color. But progress is short-lived: the idealistic man fighting intractable corruption brings me back to irreconcilable differences.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Synthesis

Occasionally a dream echoes the structure of a myth, revealing where we are on our life journey. 

The Dream: I find my way to a mountain-top home, a castle-like structure overlooking the surrounding countryside, hilly terrain like the semiarid northern California coastal range. I’m in a turret, with windows on 3 sides. At first there are no other structures to be seen. Later I see what at first appears to be a brilliantly white spire topping some sort of temple rising above the hills. Then I see a very large building that obscures the temple; it looks like the scaffolding of a large office building but has a silvery, glowing quality that makes it difficult for me to figure out exactly what I’m seeing. I soon realize that my confusion was created by a cloud behind the scaffolding. It moves off to the left and the bare bones of a building under construction are revealed.

Back to me in the strange room: I’m in a room to the right of the turret. A crude ladder made of wooden slats, again like a framework or scaffolding, leads to the upper floors. I attempt the climb, initially unafraid, but when I get to a broken slat I recall that I’m afraid of heights, and I find I can’t go on. I back down the ladder.

I see a very gruff Russian man. He is stocky, a little paunchy, and has dark hair surrounding his bald pate. He appears to be a workman; he doesn’t speak. Yet it seems he has alerted the woman in charge, who scampers down the ladder. She is also Russian and approaches me accusingly, suspecting me of espionage. For some reason, when she demands to know my name, I give her the Russian version. Her manner at once changes; she’s gotten the idea that I am of royal lineage. She becomes pleasant, even sycophantic, and no longer wishes to bar me from the ascent. However, my own fear of heights prevents it.  I expect the workman to repair the broken slat, thinking that if here were to do so I could perhaps manage the still scary venture—but he makes no move in that direction.

I see that the gruff, bouncer-type man has a notebook. He has written a story about the woman and illustrated it. I am surprised at the sensitive and beautiful quality of his work; even though he’s left many drawings unfinished his talent is apparent. In some of his drawings the women are headless. “You are very talented,” I tell him. It’s a surprise in someone so apparently brutish. He is no longer mute, but very humble: “You are extremely talented,” he says to me. I wonder how he could possibly know that, since I have none of my work with me. We spend some more time, each of us trying to convince the other of his (her) talent.

Interpretation: My dream group helped me with this one. The dream represents a partial victory in the myth that represents my life, but also tells me I have work to do. My first challenge is getting to this difficult spot. I didn’t record the very earliest sequence of the dream, but it was about the steep path up to the strange castle. What do I see from this outlook? Is it a temple, or is it an office building. Do I pray here or do I work here? What I see from my three-windowed turret symbolizes my state of being, a mental space where work and spirit have melded.

My (spiritual) ascent is stopped by a ladder’s broken rung. The thing in need of repair centers on figures from my youth, the scary Russians who made up my family. My first task is to accept myself; I symbolically do this by owning my Russian identity, and this quickly disarms both of the threshold guardians. The woman changes from a hostile force to a benign one, and I realize the complexity of the man, who until now had seemed only brutish. The man symbolically tells me that the wellspring of creativity isn’t particularly genteel; it’s his earthiness and lack of pretension that gives art its life. The women he depicts are headless; his force is not of the intellect.

Ultimately it’s my own fear that stops me, not the physical limitation of the broken rung. The dream tells me that I mustn’t expect someone else to fix it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Remembrance of Things Past

The key to this dream is sisterhood.

The Dream:
I see a stylish woman wearing a Kappa Kappa Gamma key as an ornament. I think this looks good, and I go to find my own sorority key. In looking for it I find information about the early Kappas, and I become interested in the history of the group and in the sorority itself, things I didn't care about as an active. I realize things have changed, but my own interest in the group, and my feeling of attachment for it, is greater than I remember its being.

A woman appears who is an official of Kappa Kappa Gamma. I tell her that I’ve written a biography of the founder. She asks to see it, and I realize—if I didn’t know it when I spoke—that I made that up. I say I’ve misplaced it, and in the meantime I plan to go to the library and see what I can discover. I tell myself not plagiarize; I hope to find more than one source of information.

I find records of my past Kappa Kappa Gamma activities. There’s a light yellow silk blouse with a v-neck and ruffled collar that seems important. I find an old play that I thought I’d written in New York, but it turns out I wrote it shortly after I was married. It has a large cast of just about everyone Clark and I knew at the time. I think it must not have been too embarrassing a venture, since I don’t remember anything about it.

I’m dealing with my past here, re-evaluating the worth of some of my activities. My participation in a college sorority seems more valuable in the dream than it did at the time. The dream tells me it’s time to look at things differently (I realize things have changed): the history I’ve say I’ve written (the woman’s biography) doesn’t exist. I need to do some research and find some new sources of information. And, what’s more, what I discover must be unique to me: I’m not to plagiarize someone else’s version of the woman’s (my) life.

“Sisterhood” represents my early family life, when I was the “sister.” Looking back, I see I wore a beautiful, well-made silk blouse; I see the experiences I had and the bonds I developed are more positive, and that the gifts of the organization (my family) are greater, than I realized at the time. 

The tie-in between sisterhood and my subsequent life (the play in New York) hints that my awkward feeling that everything I did as a young person was awful and embarrassing might not reflect reality. (Maybe it wasn’t too embarrassing a venture.)  The dream symbolically points out that the sinking feeling I get when thinking about my own past—partially feelings of loss, partially feelings of embarrassment—might not be accurate. It’s time to take a second look so I can find a more comfortable way to integrate the past with the present. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Intruder: the Dead Bolt

This post marks the 300th to this blog. It seems fitting that today's dream deals with some very basic stuff: the archetypal images of mother, life, and death.

The Dream: I am in the parlor of my grandmother’s railroad apartment in Brooklyn. I notice the door that leads to the stairwell is not shut properly. As I notice, someone in the hall shuts the door; I think it’s a helpful neighbor. I go to secure the door by turning the deadbolt lock when the person outside pushes on the door, attempting to get in. I push back and manage to bolt the door. I awaken in terror.

I had this dream shortly after Mother’s Day. The most remarkable thing about it is how frightened I felt when I awakened. My grandfather died when my mother was very young, leaving my foreign-born grandmother to support three children. She avoided remarrying because she had been mistreated by a step-parent and didn't want to risk that possibility for her own children. My mother was born in the apartment. So for me the place symbolizes these two gentle and loving souls, mother and grandmother, the unsung heroes of my life. Both are deceased. My distress is brought on by realizing my mothers have been lost (railroaded) to death (the dead bolt). And, of course, I will be as well.

At first the outside presence seems benign; my first impression is that it is helpful, and there is a helpful aspect to death once the losses of old age become apparent. But still, for me, terrifying.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Putting My Garbage Out Front

The Dream: I live in a contemporary style house, which suits me since it will accommodate my contemporary furniture. The house is very plain in front, set into a low spot: the curb is higher than the entry. In the front a recessed section strikes me as a good spot for the garbage cans, and I remark that no one will see them because of the way the house is situated.

Interpretation: I've come to a point where my world (my house) and what's valuable to me (my furniture) are harmonious: they are the same style. But I have created something of a fortress for myself; there are no windows looking out onto the street (the larger world) and the curb (symbolizing a limitation) is high. What do I offer the world? My garbage. Even here I waffle about being open and honest (coming clean): while I put my garbage out front, I hope like hell nobody will notice it.