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.

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