The Dream: Another gloomy dream from the anniversary of my mother’s death. Three women wear the same boat-necked blouse, but one has different trousers. All will be okay if the 3rd woman gets the same trousers as the other two. She does, but this does not lift the pervading gloom. Large black birds begin to circle, as ominous the crows in the Van Gogh painting made shortly before the artist’s suicide. I try to change the birds into a different sort of bird, something less threatening, I but don’t succeed.
Interpretation: The number three is important in this dream. According to Bruno Bettelheim “numbers stand for people: family situations and relations.” One stands for me, two for a couple, and three for a person in relation to his parents.* In this dream, all wear the same boat-necked blouse. Because of the gloomy overtones here, the boat evokes the river crossing of the shades of the dead in Greek mythology. The three people are me and my dead parents. The trousers are not the same in the beginning of the dream. One (me) has different trousers. Two (the couple, my parents) have the same. I think all will be okay if our trousers are the same, but my unconscious acknowledges this will mean my death (the circling black birds). I can’t change the reality of our separation, even though I try.
*Bruno Bettleheim, "The Uses of Enchantment,The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales," Vintage Books Edition, Random House, New York, May 2010, 142- 3.