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.