Sunday, January 30, 2011

Anne Dyer

The Dream: I am sitting behind a woman with curly blond hair. I say something; she recognizes my voice and turns. It is Ann Dyer. She says she likes my short hair, but it is apparent we are evaluating each other, noticing if we’ve aged. We didn’t even recognize each other--at least not by sight, only by voice. 

Interpretation: Since hair comes out of the head, it can represent our thoughts. In this case the hair is blond, so the thoughts might represent a sort of enlightenment. The lady’s name, Ann Dyer, is the clue to the meaning of this dream. My mother’s name is Ann, and she has died. She likes my short hair; she’s trying to tell me that my thoughts are limited by my earthly status, but that’s okay. We struggle to recognize each other, as we now live in different dimensions. I can no longer see my mother; but her voice (my inner voice) remains.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Splashing in the Pool

The Dream: My sister Betty is visiting. I am supposed to have some information about her arrival and departure but I can’t find it. I am scurrying about looking for it. Clark finds the data pricked into a piece of tin-foil with a stylus.

We have a swimming pool off the kitchen and Betty is happily splashing about. The pool has been sectioned; only one square part is heated and in use. The rest goes off to the left. There is no division between the kitchen ad the pool. 

Interpretation: I don’t know something about an important part of me (my sister).  Perhaps this part comes and goes (Betty will arrive and depart). I look for this information in an ineffective way, and my animus (Clark) suggests what I’m looking for might be a foil (tin foil) for something else: perhaps something ancient, as hinted by the use of a stylus.

This realization creates a psychic change that is reflected in the fact that my sister now swims happily in my pool (the unconscious). The square section of the pool reflects the integrated part of my personality; there’s more unconscious (unheated) material (the unused section of the pool off to the left). But it’s an encouraging sign that there is no division between the kitchen (a place where transformation takes place) and the pool (the unconscious).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Guest Dreamer: My Dazzle is in a Hole

Angelina has sent us a dream about her dog Dazzle, who came to her through the Golden Retriever Rescue Association about 8 months ago.

The Dream: Last week I dreamed that Dazzle was in the house and let me know that she wanted to go outside as she usually does.  I let her out through the sliding door to the back yard which, oddly enough, looked very different.  There was a huge hole about fifty feet in circumference and about five feet deep.  Dazzle was in the hole when I went outside, and it was unclear to me if she had been hurt or was just resting.  Her eyes were closed; she was reclining and didn’t pay any attention to me.  I was frightened and just wanted to get her out of the hole.  I was afraid to go into the hole since I didn't feel I would be able to get out on my own or to save her.  I thought of putting something into the hole to grab her but nothing was available to me that I could see working.  When I woke up I was so relieved to know that it was all just a dream.

Carla's interpretation: In my version of Angelina’s dream the first thing I’ll take a look at is what my dog represents. What traits does my dog embody? She’s joyful, loving, full of life, dependent. She’s an animal, so she operates at an unconscious, instinctive level. She lives in the present, with no concept of past or future. In my dream, she is the part of me that shares these traits.

Where does the action take place? Jungians see the front garden as representing the persona, or the part we show publicly, and the backyard as the place where the soul lives. My joyful spontaneous part has fallen into a hole; my innermost being needs nurturing. Dazzle initially came to me because I rescued her, and I want to rescue her now but find I can’t. My dream is telling me to let go of rescuing others for a while and to focus instead on taking care of myself.

Why do I think so? In the dream Dazzle is paying no attention to me (she doesn’t want my help). I don’t think I can get out of the hole on my own (I need some help). My fear is making it difficult for me to solve the problem, and I don’t have any practical solutions (nothing is available to me). If I can let sleeping dogs lie (not try to fix everything) I think the hole will become whole, and my Dazzle (sparkle) will wake up, get out of the hole, and shine forth as usual.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Pox on Both Your Houses

The Dream:
Two women are going to be executed. The action takes place in a small town. The townspeople are required to carry out the execution. The action centers on the drugstore, where the druggist, a man, is in a separate cubicle searching for the means to carry out the execution order. He finds two garrotes made of shiny thin black plastic and realizes that this is the instrument that will be used. He is nervous and drops them on the floor, then picks them up and puts them on the counter. Next question? Who will be the executioner?

The two women signal an internal conflict. The small town tells me that the conflict has to do with my relationship to a group: I feel strangled (the garrote) by the society I’m in. The druggist represents the part of me that wants to deaden my awareness of this problem (he dispenses drugs); the cubicle (box) he’s in echoes my isolation. He discovers a way to get rid of the conflict—by choking it off (the two garrotes). But since they are made of plastic (phony) we can guess he might not be successful with this approach. That he has discovered this drastic solution floors him (he drops the garrotes on the floor). In the end he has provided the means where it counts (the counter); but he isn’t ready to do the deed. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


The Dream: My child is off doing something in the next room and comes in to ask for some help. I say I’m busy, and she makes a sarcastic, flip remark. I get angry and begin to rail about children only thinking of themselves, about my being sick, about my needing some help myself once in a while. The more I yell the angrier I get.

Interpretation: In waking life I’m feeling overloaded by obligations—things I really don’t want to do. I’m at odds with my inner child who doesn’t understand why I’ve gotten myself into such a mess.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Guest Dreamer: Coming Together

Michael has given us this dream, a reaction to the idea of making New Year’s Resolutions.

The Dream: Had a dream last night that spoke to this goal setting approach: I was sitting with my son-in-law’s father, a dentist.  He was frustrated with me that at my age I had not set my career goal related to my PhD work. I replied confidently that I was going to let psyche be my guide this time and that for me to set my goal now makes about as much sense as a 20 year old setting a life's goal at that age. (He mentioned something about drag queens to which I responded with something about American Presidents - but I think that's a bit off topic).

Michael’s Interpretation: When you invite psyche to the table, the goal-setting ego has to move from the head of the table and just be part of the discussion.

Carla: I like Michael’s simple and direct interpretation of his dream. In my version of Michael’s dream the psyche represents my soul, or feminine side; and my son’s father-in-law, my worldly ambition, or masculine side. The basic issue of the dream is the emergence of a new “me” that integrates the masculine and the feminine. I feel that society’s expectations of what I, as a man, should accomplish are out of whack with the things that nurture my soul. At this point in my life I feel it’s right for me to be guided by my soul. Or do I? The American president represents the part of me that still buys into what men are expected to aspire to. But there may be a resolution here (just not one of the New Year's variety): the drag queen represents a compromise of these two warring parts of myself. She symbolizes the masculine and feminine coming together to make me a complete person. Here’s what Jung has to say on the topic:

“What about masculinity? Do you know how much femininity man lacks for completeness? Do you know how much masculinity woman lacks for completeness? You see the feminine in women and the masculine in men. And thus there are always only men and women. But where are the people?”
“. . . . It is good for you once to put on women’s clothes: people will laugh at you, but through becoming a woman you attain freedom from women and their tyranny. The acceptance of femininity leads to completion. The same is valid for the woman who accepts her masculinity.”*

* C.G. Jung, The Red Book Liber Novus, edited by Sonu Shamdasani, translated by Mark Kyburz, John Peck, and Sonu Shamdasani, (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 2009), 265.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Inner Light

The Dream: I’m on a playground. A group of girls are playing basketball. At first I am accepted, but things change, and I am excluded. I don’t have anyone to practice with: their skills improve as mine deteriorate.

There is a girl with very bright blond bobbed hair. She is graceful and athletic, like a goddess in her charisma. She used to be my best friend, but now prefers another. I am upset and jealous, but then I wonder if the blond girl is a lesbian. Would I have been expected to accept a lover-relationship had we remained close friends? Her new girlfriend is very petite with should-length dark hair.

Interpretation: In the previous dream I failed to take the challenge my unconscious offered. Now I see the result: If I avoid the struggle I lose capability. We can’t stand still in this world. If we try, we fall into what Jung calls “undeveloped persistence.”

My inner goddess (the bright-haired girl), who should be leading me forward, deserts me. This representative of my inner light wants more love and devotion than I can muster at the moment. The part of me that is in touch with this inner light (the new girlfriend) is still tiny (very petite).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do I Need Another Dimension?

The Dream: I’m invited to create art work for a Renaissance church. A fellow artist is Raphael-lo. I am honored that I have been asked to do this, but anxious because the job is a huge undertaking. It involves decorating an entire wall and ceiling up to the peak formed by a vaulted arch.

I’m in a state; I usually work small and this job is too much for me. On the other hand, I don’t want to say no. I go to look at the space and discover that it isn’t covered with painting, but with sculpture on little platforms jutting out. Some of the sculptures are of animals; one is a pig’s head. I feel I can use this as my excuse not to take on the commission, explaining to my prospective clients that I don’t work in three dimensions. They accept this excuse in good faith, and I am relieved.

My unconscious is suggesting that I consider pushing myself to a new dimension (work in sculpture, 3-D, instead of painting, 2-D). The primitive or instinctive (the animal sculpture) needs to be integrated into my higher consciousness (the church).  I am ambivalent, not wanting to do this, and not wanting to say no. I wriggle out of it. The unconscious, in accepting my excuse, lets me off the hook—at least for the time being.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Roman Nose

The Dream: A Roman nose, in the form of a mask.

Interpretation: I had this dream in Florence; it is a comment on the Italian Renaissance artistic sensibility that fills that city. The Roman (Italian artist) nose (knows). But what about the mask? Does the ubiquitous Christian framework for the art mask a story more ancient and primitive than the Biblical tales so relentlessly illustrated? We see hints of this with, for example, Michelangelo’s drunken Bacchus or Cellini’s Perseus.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I, the Dream

The Dream:
The dream appears on my blog in the first person saying "I, the dream . . . . "

Interpretation: Apparently my unconscious, represented by the dream, wants me to know that dreams have their own particular point of view (the I) which speaks to me directly. There is also a play on words with the use of the term first person. Is the dream telling me that this unconscious material is the first, most basic,  person I ever was, in other words, the bit of myself that existed before the layers of culture and consciousness evolved? It is the primal aspect of my being.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Child and the Puppy

The Dream:
My daughter has a little dog. She leaves it kenneled while she goes to work. Clark is concerned that it will be miserable left alone in its kennel for so long. I don’t want to take responsibility for the animal, which feels like a burden. We go to my daughter’s house and let out the puppy, which joyfully jumps on us for a while. After a short time it has had enough companionship and returns to its kennel, happy to be alone again. “See,” I say to Clark, “it’s fine with the current arrangement. When they go to work lots of people leave their dogs home alone.”

Interpretation: The dream points out the relationship between my ego and my instincts (represented by the dog). I repress this instinctive side so I can work. M. Esther Harding, an acolyte of Jung’s, tells us that inertia, which she sees as an instinctive human state, is one of the first obstacles humanity must overcome on the road to consciousness.* But what about the child? Jung sees this archetype as leading the way to our spiritual development. In this dream, the animal (instinctive) belongs to the child (spiritual). Jung emphasizes the ambivalent in his understanding of God; in other words, as a very wise friend of mine once said, “It’s all part of it.” The dream tells me not to separate my instincts from my “higher” self.

*M. Esther Harding, Psychic energy, Its Source and Its Transformation, Bollinger Series X, (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1973), Chapter 3. Inertia and Restlessness, pp 37-59.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Different Kind of War

The Dream:
There are two opposing armies: on one side, the Americans; on the other, the Koreans. I’m on the American side. We’re behind a high stone wall. We shoot over the wall, and then duck to keep from getting shot. The other side doesn’t have a wall, yet we never hit any of them. I think we should call in a helicopter to shell them from above since we are getting nowhere with our current method. The general tells me we won’t do that because we actually don’t want to hurt anybody.

I see this dream as an almost humorous image of my internal battle. On the one side is my current concept of myself (a “me” rican); on the other side, an important part of myself (a “core” ean) that I haven’t yet accepted.  The dream ego (me) has insulated itself behind a stone wall and fights it out with this unacceptable part of myself. I get impatient and want to destroy it from above, indicating it’s my intellect at war with my instinctive, more primitive nature. The general, who represents my greater, more integrated awareness—what Jung calls the Self—counsels patience. The dream tells me that there is a better way than destroying a part of myself to resolve my internal conflict.