Sunday, December 30, 2012

Conversation with My Cousin

The Dream:
Cousin Sandra looks ill. Her drawn and suffering face is topped by a slightly curly, dirty blonde wig. She is saying that she had thought my father was the nice one (our fathers were siblings) until I informed her otherwise. I want to correct this impression I've left her with. I try to tell her that he was, indeed, a wonderful man—but she doesn't hear me. I can't seem to get her attention.

Sandra represents the part of myself that suffered childhood hurts, is still suffering from them, and thinks, therefore, that Dad is not nice. The dream points out, first of all, that these thoughts are not accurate: hair represents thoughts; my Sandra hair is phony (a wig). In addition, its bright color (blonde), symbolizing illumination, is obscured by being “dirty.” In other words, while I could be thinking something that would shed some light on the subject, I'm not. This is my first clue that I need to update my inner child's way of looking at things. My inner adult, the part played by the dream ego, sees life in all its complexity and difficulty, and realizes what a good man Dad was. I want to give this realization to the sick “child” but can't get her attention. In the dream Sandra thinks poorly of her own father. This Sandra part of me is not willing, not yet, to relinquish this opinion of “the father.”

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Storm at Sea

The Dream:
I'm in a boat in the waters surrounding New York City, on the deck with a friend. We are lying under an overhang. A storm is about to come up, and the captain goes about handing out large rain parkas. He only has three; I reach out a little aggressively to claim one that he seems very willing to give me. Then I realize my friend and I are protected by an overhanging interior cabin, and I refuse the parka saying, “We have some protection. Others need this more than we do.”

The storm is furious, with slanting rain and rough, choppy seas. The surrounding area is gray with lines of rain sheeting across; some hits us because of its angle.

Interpretation: The emergence of a lot of unconscious material—grief, loss, anger—creates a psychic storm. I realize I don't need what the captain (my inner controller) is offering; instead I get strength from refusing to to be park(a)ed: stasis is not the way to move forward. The interior cabin represents the inner strength and stability that I rely upon to protect me in this storm. Nevertheless, parts of my psyche are getting the brunt of it. I (my normal sense of self) get splattered.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Getting to the Root of Things

The Dream: I look in the mirror and see that my hair is growing in very dark brown. About two-thirds is its current color, a sun-streaked dark blonde, and the third near the roots is a rich and shiny dark brown. I am surprised it isn't gray, although I do notice a few gray hairs—silver and shiny—mixed in. I try to decide if I should color it my customary blonde or let it grow in brown. I like it, but I wonder if a rich brown color will look phony on someone my age. I show it to the rest of the family to get their reaction.

Interpretation: I look at myself and see that something new and rich is pushing out of my head: I have a new way of thinking. It is flecked with experience (gray), but even this is shiny and exciting (silver). It will take a while for this transformation to take place: it's only one-third complete. Should I go forward? Or am I past it (too old for this)? What will my family think?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Aren't They Grand?

The Dream:
I observe grandparents very excited about their grandchildren. I think it must be something you have to experience to understand.

Interpretation: The night before I had heard a politician speak ecstatically about his new daughter, and I felt there was something phony about it. It was as if he were trying to create a feeling of commonality with his listeners; aren't we all alike, us doting parents? My dream tells me I wasn't able to accept his version of reality on his say so; first I would need to experience it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Self Defense

The Dream: I am leaving my apartment building at 61st and 1st. As I exit I want to lock the outside door, but I don't have the key. A slightly built young man with close cropped blond hair is standing uncomfortably close. I'm not too concerned about the missing key because the door is self-locking, but I do wonder how I'll get in later, and whether my unlocked apartment is safe.

As I exit the man shows no sign of leaving but comes toward me in a threatening manner. I go across the street, toward total darkness. He starts to follow and I threaten him with a pair of kitchen scissors. Even as I threaten him, trying to drive him off, I question whether or not I could actually stab him. I'm not sure my posturing is convincing. I awaken in fear.

Interpretation: Dreams are generally triggered by a recent event. At a dinner party the night before Hilda, a woman from Germany, told the story her mother's teaching her to carry scissors as a defensive weapon. At 17 Hilda had the opportunity to test their effectiveness: she saw a man attacking a woman and used the scissors to drive him off. The story and the storyteller provided the raw material for a dream that weaves these influences into my personal issues.

The setting of the dream tells me that the conflict goes way back: I lived at 61st and 1st many years ago. I can't lock the door on this, even though I'd like to. (I don't have the key.) The fact that this door is “self” locking says two things about my dilemma: that it limits the full expression of who I am, and that I'm the one responsible for my own limitation. The dilemma is subtle: I am threatened by being locked out (denied) my authentic self—but equally threatened by being open, by leaving the place where I feel safe (my apartment) unlocked.

The German lady telling the story activates my familiar inner Nazi (my rigid, totalitarian part) who, in the form of the young man with close cropped blond hair, frightens me here. I'm pleased that he is now “slight” (diminished) but he still scares me. To get away from him I retreat into total darkness. (I'm sure in the dark about this problem!) It is probably a good sign that I threaten him and attempt to drive him off, even if I haven't quite convinced myself that I'm capable of getting rid of him.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Dangerous Illumination

The Dream: An old woman sits on a park bench with me; a younger woman sits behind us. An older child plays nearby; a baby lies in a pram with a hood the length of its carriage. The older woman speaks, sotto voce, about things the children shouldn't hear. The “nanny” behind us is alarmed that the children will hear. I look inside the tunnel created by the pram's hood and I see the baby: ugly, very ugly, its red face scrunched up in a yowl.

The older woman is murdered. The scene switches to a prequel. The older woman, the nanny, and I run into each other in a general store. They have a large stream of children with them, ranging in age from pram age to about 11. They are lined up in the order of their ages. I understand that this scene (of the dream) will help me determine who murdered the old woman.

Interpretation: This dream occurred on my mother's birthday, and the older woman in the dream allows me to reflect on her loss as I wonder: who killed her?

What is it we don't want our inner child to know, as we whisper sotto voce, if not the grim reality of our own inevitable death? Of course the baby howls—as loudly as he can—to drown out this realization. He becomes ugly from the effort. Is this what makes humans so ugly to each other? Would we behave the way we do—so grasping—if we accepted our limited time here? Death is the most basic “fact of life.” Of course it can't be discussed in front of the children who, by succeeding their parents, appear to have killed them, leaving the children with a guilt they can't acknowledge or eradicate. Or is the guilt from the unacknowledged joy of being free of them at last? Is that the murderer we can't discover?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Guest Dreamer: Sticky Ball Returns

Each of us has our own set of personal symbols, and the work of understanding your dreams lies in  carefully excavating them.

The Dream: I am walking up narrow wooden steps in a house. Low ceilings, pitch black except for small amount of light illuminating from either a flashlight I have in my hand or perhaps someone walking behind me with some light. It feels like one of those old homes you might find back east - narrow, dark stairs, tiny rooms. Then I'm in a bed. My right hand is in front of me and a rubber-like sphere is attached to my hand like it's sticky and stuck on me. It is still dark except for some reflected light on the ball (coming from a waning moon outside I think) so it looks navy bluish and the size of a baseball. I keep trying to disengage the ball from my hand by pushing it away but the harder I push the faster it comes back and sticks to my hand (as if attached by an invisible string). I am getting annoyed and frustrated.

Carla's thoughts:
I don't know Maria, or anything about her life: I hope she will work through her dream, looking at its symbols in terms of what's going on in waking life. To get her started, and to suggest a way of going about the process, I'll write about her dream as if it were my own. Dreams have many possible meanings, so whatever someone else says about your dream is only accurate if it rings true for you.

For me, the narrow wooden steps stand for something in my life that is unbending, perhaps lacking feeling (wooden); something that constricts or limits me (narrow); and something that will take some effort to surmount (like a flight of steps). The low ceiling, the darkness, and the tiny rooms reinforce the idea that something is oppressing me. A home, being the place where I live, stands for me, and the characteristics of my dream home tell me that I'm not in a good place at the moment. The light is an encouraging symbol, however, telling me that I am capable of shining some light on what's bothering me and that the answer might come to me quickly, intuitively, in a flash.That the light might be held by someone else, walking behind me,  hints that there may be a helpful person I've overlooked.

The bed, being a place where intimacy occurs, symbolizes something that I'm very close to, for example, a relationship or my work. I'm in a sticky situation that's making me blue (sad), like the sticky ball in my hand. The moon is waning; romance (or the excitement of the job) has diminished, but isn't completely gone. My situation has strings attached; these might be the source of my frustration. My dream is telling me to shine some light (rationally evaluate) what's going on and then figure out what to do about the sticky situation.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stealing Fire

The Dream:
In a large open city square a woman is selling firewood; I need some for the poor. I know it's wrong to steal, but I see no other way of getting what is so desperately required. I have a small drawstring bag with me, and I surreptitiously fill it, then disappear. I've hidden my stolen property so I can blend in on city streets. I have a nagging guilty feeling that I will be pursued.

In time I come to a very beautiful and elaborate wrought-iron gate, the outer entry to a church. I would like to pray, so I go to a door in the gate and, finding it ajar, go in. The church interior is of warm sienna/golden ochre toned wood. Under high vaulted ceilings many priests and altar boys are everywhere, in constant motion. I look for a spot for quiet contemplation but don't see one. Two young acolytes rough house. Does their play have sexual overtones? I think this is not what I'm looking for and I leave.

I am lost. I need to get back to mid-town but have no sense of direction. I see a street sign that tells me I'm at 217th Street and wonder how I got here. I don't know whether I should ask someone for directions or use the street signs to figure out which way I'm going.

Interpretation: This dream reminds me of the myth of stealing fire from the gods. As in that story, I want to bring the fire to others. I go too far (217th Street!), get lost, and along the way become disillusioned with what I see of the traditional path to god (the church). In this dream the church is so relentlessly masculine that even its sexuality is directed toward men. Is there anything for a woman here? The dream tells me to acknowledge, rather than steal from, the source of the firewood: my enlightenment will come from the feminine (the woman who sells the wood), not the masculine (the traditional, male-oriental church). There is a price to be paid for it (the wood is not free), but avoiding payment will not further my spiritual development.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Dreamer: An Issue is Aired

This dreamer has been attempting to write about a painful event. She breaks through her writer's block in this dream.
The Dream: I'm naked and about to put my clothes on. My breasts feel strange. I look down at them. I think air is coming out of my nipples. It's hard for me to believe, so I put the palms of my hands about 4 inches away from my breasts and, sure enough, there are puffs of air coming out. Then I actually see the puffs. You know, like those typical drawings of the wind blowing.

Carla's thoughts:
If this were my dream, my nakedness represents exposure, the naked truth. I am about to retreat from it (put on my clothes) but there's something inside me that won't be stifled: it insists on being aired, issuing forth in puffs from my breasts. I'm getting something off my chest! I hadn't thought this was possible, so I test it out with my other senses. When I put my hands near my breasts I soon learn that I can feel the process happening, and then I am able to see it. My previously blocked attempt to release so much pain has found its vent.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Change in My Orthodoxy

The Dream: An article in the newspaper reports on changes to the Orthodox Church. “It isn't supposed to change,” I think. Yet it appears it has. I investigate and discover two changes. The elaborate brocade church vestments now have a more abstract pattern. For example, the foliage pattern of a brocade is dramatically simplified. The other change? Ceremonial attendants are younger and less formal.

Interpretation: Something previously thought unchangeable in my psyche has been updated: it's less literal (more abstract), newer (younger) and not so rigid (less formal).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Guest Dreamer: Zebra Run and Flow

Guest dreamer Openfoot has contributed today's magical dream. You can read more of his dreams and check out his artwork here.
Openfoot's Dream: I stand on Yorkshire cliffs high above the sea. A large fishing boat is just leaving the bay. Under the surface of the bay a huge grey cloud can be seen clearly revealing that the shoal of fish the boat has been targeting is still there. Now I'm flying and moving towards the shoal, at first flying over it but then diving underwater. Here great shapes appear, the shadows of Orca, Killer Whales. I watch them lunge through the shoal and then on to pursue individual fish. Now, and to my great surprise, a herd of underwater zebra "gallop", with little apparent effort, through water as they too pursue the small fish. This herd of "sea horses" are amazing.

Now standing at a lakeside, the zebra emerge from its still waters. In my position at right angles to the galloping herd I watch them move along the shore. I am in wonder. This is remarkable. They seem to have brought the water of the lake with them. As they begin to enter open woodland the "water" of the lake fills all the air and space. It's mostly invisible but you get the odd shimmer to indicate its presence. The movements of the zebra herd, although now very free, seem just as if they were still running under the sea.

The rest of my family arrive and I urge them to watch this wondrous scene. I continue to express my amazement and delight. The zebra seem to be having great fun as they duck under branches and leap over bramble patches, demonstrating great grace and agility.

Carla's thoughts: Tony Crisp says that “deeply unconscious processes are often depicted by fish” and that fishing can symbolize “a receptive state of consciousness which allows the deep insights or processes to become known.”

If this were my dream, it would be about my movement toward a more expansive, intuitive understanding of my place in the world and a more joyful experience of life. Life abounds in my dream, but in the beginning I am looking down on it from a lofty cliff; I'm far above the sea. So I go “fishing” for something else. A bay is more constricted than the sea, and as I leave this more confined space I see a huge gray cloud, representing a shoal of fish. As I progress through my dream, I notice the proportion of gray to black and white reverses. At this early point, my quest lacks clarity, and so it appears huge and gray. The resolution I experience in the dream will be symbolized by the proportion of black, white and gray in the dream animals.

I'm in pursuit, and what I'm after is the resolution of a conflict I'm feeling between my personal and my group identity. Can I be my true self in a group? Fish in a shoal band together, but do not coordinate their movements as do those in a school. I am sociable, but not immersed in the herd. I investigate this community from above and below: I fly above it; I dive beneath it. As I watch, the shadowy Orca, another great gray shape, goes after “individual” fish. Being an individual is clearly a scary and vulnerable thing to be. But wait! Something is coming into focus for me: the Orca is mostly a black and white creature, with only a small gray area over its dorsal fin. My confusion (the gray area) has shrunk. With the appearance of the zebra I have resolved my conflict: these creatures have no gray areas at all. I am free to be me!

The zebra leave the sea; as they come out of the water I gallop toward a rebirth. I am at right angles to them (I see them correctly, from the right angle or viewpoint). Magical and mysterious and wonderful imagery tells me that I have had an epiphany. The zebra have brought the water of the lake (the mists of the mythical Avalon) with them. Their shimmer is my enlightenment. I watch in wonder, sharing the moment with those dearest to me. I am in sync both with my family (the community of man) and with my natural and unique self.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Guest Post: Dreams of Life after Death

Susanne van Doorn, a dream worker from the Netherlands, contributes today's post. She has gathered and analyzed dreams about death, and she is sharing this research with us in advance of its formal presentation. You can visit her on Facebook

Now, here's Susanne:
In answer to my request for dreams of lost loved ones I received 114 surveys from 3 countries: America, Germany and the Netherlands. This post is about my interpretation of these dreams as  dreamers' views on life after death.

The dreams in my survey fall into several categories: precognitive dreams of facing the impending death of a loved one; dreams about the transition to the “other world”; what life is like on that “other side” according to our dreams; guidance dreams of help from a deceased loved one; dreams that console; and dreams that help the dreamer come to terms with her own inevitable mortality.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Guest Dreamer: Well Armed

Guest dreamer Openfoot has contributed today's dream. You can read more of his dreams and see how he illustrates them by going to his interesting website here.
The Dream: I'm working in a trench. I've clearly been engaged on a plumbing job. I've also put in some electrical cabling and perhaps some fibre-optics too. It's all infrastructure work. I look up to see a group of friends arriving. They look surprised and I immediately know, without previously having been aware of the relevant facts, what they are surprised about. As if in answer to their questioning looks I shout out "Yes! My arms are fine! Look they work well! Just see all this work I've been doing! And look at the scars! They are well healed and translucent!" I show my friends my forearms. Just below each elbow a clean scar about 0.5 mm wide and slightly raised can clearly be seen. Each scar completely circles its respective forearm. Its obvious, I've had a forearm transplant on both my arms and things have worked out well.

Carla's thoughts: If this were my dream I'd think that something in the preceding couple of days has triggered my defenses. By paying attention to my dreams and feelings I've been plumbing my own depths, and my unconscious has brought my adaptations to the fore. My new awareness is around something I've been reluctant to change: I've dug in; I'm entrenched in my position. I've defended my vulnerabilities by building up my infrastructure with cabling and fibre-optics: this hints that I've been remote (both communicate over a distance) and protective (both, especially fibre optics, are encased).

My friends (other parts of my psyche) are surprised over my re-arming, but I explain that the work I've been doing has healed old wounds. The scars are there—but I've been healed and I am beginning to have some clarity (the wound is translucent) about a past difficulty. My dream forewarns me about my forearming and tells me that I am now sufficiently strong. All is well; I am now safe to back off from my entrenched position.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Guest Dreamer: I'll Walk a Mile in Your Shoes

Guest Dreamer Travis Wernet recounts the second dream in his shoe series:
Travis' Second Dream: There's a second dream two days later with an old friend wearing clogs that are black and white and I am hovering above the ground when we meet each other and he says how happy and different I look (with glasses) and I comment on how his shoes look good on him - he's not the sort I imagine would wear 'effeminate' shoes like clogs in waking life, they're not 'guy-like' enough for my conception of him.

Carla's thoughts: The second pair of shoes shows up in a second dream two days after the initial shoe dream. There are 3 sets of 2's here, emphasizing that I'm resolving pairs of opposites. My friend is wearing clogs, a style of shoe that I see as effeminate and wouldn't have associated with this manly friend. That these clogs are black and white tells me that I tend to see this particular issue without nuance—no shades of gray. I'm flying high when we meet—perhaps I'm not being realistic since I don't have my feet on the ground, but nevertheless my friend tells me how good I look in glasses: I'm beginning to see something clearly, and I like it (it looks good, even if it didn't line up with my expectations). The part of me this friend represents is now willing to “walk a mile” in a woman's shoes. I have a better understanding with my anima and women as a result, and I've relinquished some of my conceptions of what being manly means.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Guest Dreamer: I Need to Sleep on It

Today's guest dreamer Travis Wernet gives us the opportunity to further explore the shoe theme. Travis works with both dreams and sound healing. You can find out more about his work here. Like Tyler, Travis has a two-dream sequence, and both of his feature shoes. We'll look at the first dream today.
Travis' First Dream:
I'm in a bedroom, arranging a transparent pillow full of branches/twigs/herbs on a bed and at the 'head', which is on my 'right'... To the left is a group/audience - composed of all women (I am pretty sure). My waking life sister opens a door to the left and enters with a friend. I feel interrupted/distracted. They've brought in two pairs of shoes and set them on the bed. One woman in the audience whom I am seeking to impress remarks on the "fine, stylish red pair." I know they're leather and I myself don't see them as red, but more dark/brown. She wants me to put them on and wear them and it seems to me they are very finely crafted shoes, but I seem hesitant to wear them and want to get back to my pillow arranging activity.

Carla' thoughts: The bedroom, the place where I sleep, is also the place where I encounter my unconscious. Of course it is also a place of intimacy, so this dream is giving me information about my unconscious feelings about a relationship. The relationship might be with another person or it might be with my own anima (the woman that lives within a man). How I relate to my anima will affect the way I interact with women in general, and I think I might be on the right track here because there are so many women in this dream.

The transparent pillow is particularly important since it occurs both at the beginning and at the end of the dream. A pillow is a place where I put my head—a symbol for the rational—while I sleep. This is when I can experience the unconscious intuitive way of thinking that is traditionally associated with women. The pillow's branches tell me that I'm branching out, ready to experience something new. The twigs suggest new growth, and the herbs tell me that the new growth that will emerge from my branching out is healing. The pillow's transparency symbolizes that what the dream is telling me is clear—not opaque.

My sister (my anima) opens a door (gives access) to the left (my unconscious). Of course I'm distracted by this intrusion; it interrupts my usual relationship to my psyche. She and her friend present me with an implied choice between two pairs of shoes, although the second pair doesn't show up until the second dream. They put the shoes on the bed (symbol of my intimacy with women), and I begin to experience conflict. There's a woman that I want to impress, but she and I don't see eye to eye. She thinks the shoes are red, while I see them as brown (I'm more down to earth; her feelings are more passionate than mine). The shoes are leather (I'm dealing with something basic, instinctive). Yet she sees the shoes in a more superficial way, as stylish. She wants me to do something I am not yet comfortable with: I'm not ready to wear these shoes, fine as they are. I go back to arranging the pillow: I need to sleep on it (do some further psychic preparation.)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Guest Dreamer: Getting Ready to Roll

Tyler, who contributed the last dream featuring feet and shoes, here shares a dream that has a different image--but one that still relies on self-propelled movement.
Tyler's Second Dream: I was at my ex-girlfriend's sisters house (which is coincidental because I used to live in that neighborhood). I may or may not have been with a friend. My ex may also have had a friend there but I can't be sure. It was raining relatively hard, and she was standing in the garage and I was out in the rain in her driveway. There were no cars in the driveway, but there was a bike propped up on the outside of the garage. I moved inside the garage and got out of the rain where I remember seeing another bike lying on the floor. We both looked at it, but I can't remember any dialogue. After that, the rain had slowed down to a nice drizzle, but I remember the sky still looked pretty scary, like it was about to thunderstorm even harder than it had before. And then I walked out into the drizzle and I woke up.

Carla's Thoughts: If this were my dream, its meaning would hinge on the images of bike and weather. That it's raining heavily tells me that, as in my last dream, I'm dealing with a highly charged (like a thunderstorm) emotional situation. My ex is standing in the garage (where I store things). What I store here (bike or car) is connected to my ability to move (alter my current emotional state). The bike represents moving by means of my own personal effort, and the floor is associated with something exasperating or difficult to overcome (I'm floored!). To sum it up: When I am in the place where I've stored my ex my grounded bike makes it difficult for me to move on. Once I have this dream realization, unconscious though it may be, the rain abates and becomes a drizzle. In other words, I've released some of my negative emotions. I'm still not out of the water—the sky looks threatening; but I've managed to walk out of the garage and into the drizzle, so I'm on my way.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Guest Dreamer: My Next Step

This guest dream from Tyler starts a sequence of shoe dreams. Over the next two weeks there will be 3 guest dreams from two different dreamers featuring this theme.

Tyler's Dream: The first dream I remember was a couple of nights ago - the first time I've remembered a dream in a long time. I remember I was sitting on the ground with one shoe on my right foot and my left foot was bare because there was something sticking out of the top of my foot - not the bottom like it was a root. I remember very vividly seeing nearly all of my bones in my left foot and this stick-like thing protruding from inside my foot. I was trying to pull it out, carefully and slowly so that I didn't make the entry wound larger. After fussing with it for what seemed like an extremely long time, the stick, or object broke in half so that it wasn't sticking out of my foot anymore, but I could still see it lodged inside of my foot. Some reason or another, I had a pair of tweezers or pliers or something like that and I began using it to remove the rest of the object. After what felt like another extremely long length of time, I had removed some pieces of the object and I had given up. I don't remember any of the rest of my surroundings or anything, but there may or may not have been someone who had come by to "check on me" or see if I was okay or something, but they did not rest for long.

Carla's thoughts:
Tyler asked me this question: “Do certain things have different meanings if they are accompanied by other particular things?” The answer is “yes.” When we're looking at a dream it's like looking at a poem or a play. Context is everything! I'll try to demonstrate this by the way I work with Tyler's dream, which I'll write about as if it were my own. So here goes:

I'm at a low point. (I'm sitting on the ground.) I'm wearing one shoe on my right foot. The right side is associated with logic, so this tells me that rationally I'm prepared for the next step I need to take, but what about my left side, the one associated with feelings? Emotionally I feel exposed (my left foot is bare). What's worse, something has me stuck (I can't remove the stick). I approach my problem gingerly—I don't want to make my emotional wound even greater. After all, I'm dealing with a bare bones issue (something at my core). Since the bones of our feet support us, that I'm having problems with them tells me that the central issue of this dream is one of my feeling that I'm not getting adequate emotional support for the next step on my life journey.

A few things tell me that some nascent support is in the wings. First, part of the stick has broken: it isn't as large as it used to be. Second, I use a tool (something that extends my innate ability) to begin to get rid of what 's left. And third, there's the person who comes by to check on me; I see this as my emerging ability to support myself. I haven't completely conquered this problem, but I'm closer to getting on my feet.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

At Last I Count

Another dream in the series that shows some sort of psychic “progress.”  
The Dream: In a contest to place a noose-like rope around a hook that is far above. To get to it I have to climb, and then balance on the knob of a dresser pull. I don't think I can do it. It looks precarious, scary, impossible. A kind and patient person shows me how: in some inexplicable way the feat is related to some sort of artistic achievement. I try, and to my joy I find it feels very secure and easy! I am thrilled and surprised. I go back down, trying to remember which drawer I balanced on and not sure I know how I did it, but very pleased with myself. I think I might have won the competition. I am given a fat business envelope with a glassine window. My name is written in a foreign language, and there is no recognizable last name, but the title, in Italian, of countess follows my name.

Interpretation: I need to win out over something that is choking me (the noose), and to do it I have to stretch myself in a way that I find uncomfortable and scary. An inner guide (the kind and patient person) shows me the way. The artistic achievement is a metaphor for my spiritual path, and the effort that becomes effortless signals a breakthrough. Having succeeded in passing the (con)test I'm given an affirmation (I'm a countess: one who counts) even though it's still difficult for me to understand (it's in a foreign language).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Light at the End of the Tunnel

This dream exemplifies the importance of looking at a sequence of dreams: it answers the previous nightmare.

The Dream: I'm in a tunnel. There is a long line of traffic going slowly in the left lane. I follow along at first, then become impatient, wondering why I don't go around the other cars. I pull to the right and pass the other cars, coming into daylight.

Interpretation: In the previous dream, I was waiting for a train (on a fixed track) in a very black tunnel. It clearly wasn't going to take me where I needed to go. In this dream I'm in the driver's seat, controlling my own vehicle, and getting around an obstacle. Something unconscious (on the left) has been slowing me down; I pull to the right (the obstacle becomes conscious). I get past the block and see the light.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

No Light at the End of the Tunnel

The Dream: Dettie and I are at the underground entrance to a NYC subway. She has a token and goes through the turnstile and down the escalator to the platform. I realize I have no money. I set down my large purse, at the same time noticing a lost-and-found-box containing cash and other items that people have left on the train, open to all with no oversight. I think, after a little ethical quavering, that it's probably okay if I “borrow” some of the money to buy a token. I feel a little guilty, but climb up to the box—it's a bit of a stretch—and help myself to a small amount of cash. In some part of my mind I am surprised that the money hasn't all disappeared.

I take the money to the ticket booths; the one to the left is closed, and the agent in the middle booth ignores me. I'm getting anxious about finding Dettie with all this delay. Then I notice an available agent to the right: I had 't been aware of him. He is a very affable black man and while I don't have enough money for a return, he sells me a one-way token.

As I approach the turnstile I realize my bag is missing. I feel very uneasy about this, thinking about my credit cards and how I should have made a list of them. I try to remember which membership cards were in my purse. This will be a mess to sort out; I hope Clark can help me.

I descend the escalator and my surroundings become darker and darker. When I reach the platform I look for Dettie, but she's nowhere to be seen. I had been counting on her to loan me money for the return trip. The platform is deserted, very dark, and no trains appear to be running. After a while I decide to try a different level, thinking I must be on the wrong track. I turn to go, and things become even darker until it's pitch black. I become frightened and decide to go back up.

I climb a long flight of stairs. At the top is a closed door with a window. The door is locked. I bang and bang on it, yelling “Help!” until I'm afraid my voice will go. A man appears—I see his face silhouetted against the door's window. He has a mustache and looks creepy, like something out of a surrealist's work. I think that if he opens the door it will be to rape me, not to help. I awaken in terror.

Interpretation: Jung warns us that encountering the unconscious is a fearsome project, and this dream verifies it. My friend's name is the key to this dream: “Dettie” evokes both death and debt. As I begin my descent into the underworld of the unconscious I grapple with feeling inadequate: I have no money (worth), but I might be able to retrieve some if I'm willing to take a chance and reach higher. It's interesting that I have an ethical difficulty in giving myself what I need: I don't feel entitled to take it. But even when I do my problems are not over. I have enough money to embark on my journey, but not enough to return. I lose my purse with its membership and credit cards (I'm totally alone; I'll get no credit in the future). I call on my animus to save the situation, but the male figure who appears is another threat, not a savior. I go lower and lower, facing my darkest fears: my vulnerability, my worthlessness and my mortality. My vision is so narrow (tunnel like) that I can't see a way out.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Is Anatomy Destiny?

The Dream: I am at a dance with Clark. Women are wearing décolleté gowns that remind me of Anna's ballgown in The King and I. A man places a wine bottle into the neckline of a woman's dress; I wonder if it will fall out. Soon afterward as I bend forward I notice my nipple protruding from my own low cut gown. Soon my partner and I are having sex, during the dance, fully clothed. He says, “I almost came as I entered,” at the same time that I am thinking, “I won't be able to have an orgasm in this position.”

I'm not in the right place (out in public) or in the right position to achieve the release I'm desiring. I feel exposed (my nipple protrudes). I associate femininity with providing nourishment, but also with something else: what does the wine bottle represent? Dionysian exuberance or numbness? The bottle is in a precarious position where it's been thrust by an unknown male, just as patriarchy thrusts its insistence that women nurture even as we try to dance. The sex, or union, that results in this situation can hardly be satisfactory. The dream tells me that I must have the inner strength to define my own role, to create my own position. It's time to stop wearing the clothes of a previous era.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Through a Glass Darkly

The Dream: I'm wandering through the streets of New York with a partner who seems somewhat--but not quite--like my husband Clark. The sidewalks are interspersed with trees; they remind me of Manhattan's East 60s, near where I once lived. It is early autumn. We are looking for Uncle Steve, and there is something mysterious about the mission. He has relocated and won't tell anyone where he is.

We go into a large old-fashioned apartment building, dimly lit with wide hallways. We know he's here. The door of his apartment is half frosted glass. We knock. He doesn't answer. Clark bangs loudly and assertively on the door. Finally Uncle Steve answers, not by opening the door but by yelling at us. He wants to be left alone.

My uncle's birthday was a few days ago; he died in the early 80s. His death is indeed a relocation. I'm looking for someone to tell me what awaits on the other side of the door. The door's frosted glass tells me, in the obscure and poetic language of the King James Bible, that spiritual truths are glimpsed “through a glass darkly.” In a recent dream class the idea was offered that if you ask your spirit guide the wrong question s/he won't answer, and also that the departed must volunteer for the job. It doesn't appear that Uncle Steve wants this one.

Looking at the dream's more mundane possibilities, my uncle was one of the authoritative adults when I was a child. How many questions does a child have that are left unanswered? Or responded to with anger?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Rescued Baby

The Dream: I'm on an escalator, of the sort that is stacked one on top of the next like a stairwell in a very tall building. I am with my mother. The feeling of the place is something like a combination of a department store and the stairwell of the Brooklyn apartment my mother grew up in.

I am unaware that I have a baby until it jumps across the stair rail, heading for a steep and deadly fall, down so many stories that I can't see the bottom. I think my reaction time will be too slow to save her—but even as I have this thought I've reached out my hand and grabbed her by the legs, bringing her back to safety. She's about 7 inches tall, tiny and more like a doll than a baby. I'm very relieved to have saved her; I holler her name in relief and vexation.

Interpretation: My husband Clark and I have been listening to a philosophy course on “the meaning of life.” The course insists that “spontaneity” is essential to a meaningful life (probably because most philosophers so lack the quality). The dream deals with the age (7) at which my own spontaneity was curtailed by coming up against the requirements of my 2nd grade teacher that I sit down and—more important—shut up. Having lost my battle with the establishment I reformed and by the third grade had become a model student.

The little figure who is ready to jump to her doom (my spontaneous self) is rescued by the part of me who doesn’t think she has it in her (doubts her reaction time will be fast enough). The truly spontaneous part acts even before the thought is finished—so this dream might point to a positive development: that adult spontaneity—strong, purposefully doing the right thing—can rescue the child spontaneity that lacks judgment and foresight. Mother lurks in the background but plays no other role.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hit in the I

The Dream: I am rushing out of a building on the way to a dental appointment. There are some odd metal boxes, each with a drawer, in the lobby. I leave the building, picking up one of the boxes on my way out. As I'm going down the front steps, a Mexican girl comes running after me. I understand that she has left a book in the box. She is sitting on one of the steps and stretches out her hand to reach the drawer. As I turn, trying to make it easier for her to open the drawer, the corner of the box strikes her in the forehead. I am very sorry and apologize profusely. Here I was, trying to help, but instead I've hurt her.

We chat for a while and she accepts my apology. Then I realize the corner of the box hit her eye, not her forehead. The eye is red but doesn't appear to be damaged other than superficially. I am upset, but after a while I tire of feeling guilty. I begin to wonder if I had been wrong to apologize: would this open me to a lawsuit? “No,” I think. “The girl's too simple for that. Besides, she doesn't know my name.” I rush off for my dental appointment.

Interpretation: The earthier more basic part of me, as represented by the foreign (Mexican) girl wants an education—there's something she needs to know--(the book), and I (the ego) try to help her. In so doing a blow to the eye (I) occurs. So, as parts of the unconscious become educated, as they come to consciousness, difficulties and complexities are created for the conscious ego. I'm having trouble keeping things “in the box.” (The drawer slides out of its container.) The eye (I) is red (angry). I end up discounting this part of myself: she's too simple; she doesn't know who I am. I rush off for an appointment that never takes place.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


The Dream: I'm in a taxi with my mother. The driver is a very sweet and intelligent older man,who I assume is working beneath his station. He's very patient and chatty, friendly. I think he has this job as a way of meeting people. At some point I realize I've lost something and search frantically through my purse.

I'm with my mother in this dream, and the taxi driver stands in for my feeling that she worked “beneath her station.” In other words, I felt my mother never had a chance to demonstrate her many talents and abilities in the larger world. And perhaps she did “drive” her children as a compensation for her own frustrated ambition. The driver's patience, chattiness, and friendliness line up with some of her other traits: she drove us in the nicest possible way. With her death I lost her, and the sense of purpose she instilled might be the thing I am frantically searching for.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Crown of Thornes

The Dream: Clark is getting his teeth worked on. The dentist is very casual, but reasonably priced. He seems old-fashioned. Clark has a tooth crowned, and the procedure doesn't look too bad. He needs to have another capped and is waffling. I ask the dentist if the procedure will be similar to the one he just finished, hoping he'll say yes so that Clark will be reassured and get on with it. But the dentist indicates it will be worse. The second tooth is not fixed.

Interpretation: In any long standing marriage there will be on-going differences in the way we approach problems. This dream is telling me that while I think I know what's best for my husband—and while what I'm pushing for might be the inevitable right choice (getting the tooth crowned)--what I'm not understanding is how much pain, for him, is involved in doing this thing.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Three Faces of Eve

The Dream: Yoko Ono, it turns out, is responsible for starting the civil rights movement in America. She is on a visit, walking down a flight of stairs, the crowd pressing in from all sides—photographers, newsmen, and so on. Despite all the attention she realizes that no one takes her seriously because she is Japanese. So she starts the movement to change this.

Interpretation:Two streams of thought in waking life came together in this dream. The first was influenced by a book, Margaret Atwood's “The Flood.” The women in the book cope with the world in different ways. The three lead characters, Toby, Ren and Amanda, are typically underestimated. Each has a different strategy for survival, and each demonstrates a kind of archetypal woman. Toby is the sexless, healing, capable mother. Ren, a dancer and sex worker, kind and uncalculating, is sweet and easily led but loyal and fearless when necessary. Amanda is tough, worldly, and all calculation. These women are more capable than anyone realizes, and they survive by helping each other.

The second stream of influence was a philosophy lecture series on “The Meaning of Life.” The lectures presented many points of view; the one on Gandhi emphasized his insistence that we must act to right wrongs, as Yoko does in the dream. Yet her high-minded response to her personal dilemma is overlaid with a kind of typically female pique: No one is taking me seriously! As the feminists used to say, “The personal is political.”

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Who Am I Driving?

The Dream: I'm driving Clark to work. There are lots of traffic problems and difficulties. After I drop him off I have to get to my own work, and I'm not sure how to get there from his office. I wonder why he didn't take his own car.

I need to involve myself in my own work, and not become too involved in the distraction of driving my husband to do his.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A New Reality

The Dream: I'm at a social event. Don is there. After a while I realize I must be dreaming because I know that Don has died. He looks very healthy and in some way I know he lives elsewhere. I want him to tell us about his new life. What's it like in the world beyond?

Interpretation: This dream gives me a clue as to what the precocious children represent in the last dream: their preternatural intelligence is not about things we are capable of knowing in our earthly existence. Don shows me a spiritual reality that transcends earthly existence, but he doesn't answer my questions.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Brilliant Children

The Dream: I'm in a room with adults and young children who are joyfully running around. At some point a little boy, quite a hefty little tyke, ensconces himself on my lap. I'm surprised he's so comfortable with someone he doesn't know, although he is a family connection of some sort. When I figure out who he is, I realize he's very young, 18 months to 2 years, but very big for his age and very precocious. I'm amazed at how quickly he's grown. It's lovely holding him. I pat his waist. We chat and again I am struck by such a young child having such a grown up conversation. His mother is busy with the boy's younger brother. Later there are older children, boys, around 8 years old, who speak like university professors. How can they be so intelligent?

Interpretation: Something wonderful has been growing, very quickly. I like it; I'm surprised by it. I get pleasure from interacting with this precocious “baby.” Consciously, I don't know what it is. I need to be on the look-out for clues.

The clues this dream gives me are that the thing has substance (it's hefty), and that while whatever it is seems new to me, it's actually something familiar that I don't recognize (there's a family connection). The precocity that is emphasized hints that this is something that knows too much for its age: in other words, I have gotten ahead of myself and must wait for things to develop in due course.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mom Wants Her House Back

The Dream: My mother-in-law is well. She is in a nursing home, but has recovered from both her physical and mental incapacity. She seems young, in her 50s instead of her 80s, and as coherent as ever. She ask about her house, wanting to know if it is ready for her return. I have a sinking feeling, remembering that we fixed it up beautifully then sold it. I say to her, “I'll leave it to the others to answer that.”

Interpretation: The wonderful house (integrated sense of self) that I experienced in the last dream is precarious. My internal critical “mother” is trying to reassert herself and take back what I have achieved. I feel guilty for having displaced her. Not yet strong enough to speak to her directly. I slough the task off on “the others.”

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I've Stuck My Foot In

Dream Image: I see feet and legs, truncated below the knee, standing in a shallow, rocky stream bed. These partial limbs do not look gruesome in any way even though they represent things that have been thrown away. Water rushes by.

Interpretation: The rushing water represents my unconscious. A rocky road (the rocky stream bed) is a difficult part of my life journey. My feet, normally the part of my body that grounds me, have been detached and are now useless (trash, something that has been thrown away): I am attempting to throw away my difficulties. The dream warns me that I won't be a complete person unless I face them; they are part and parcel of the flow of life.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Some Excellent Dream Workshops

Dreamworker Lisa Rigge will teach a couple of excellent dream workshops in the SF Bay Area this fall. Dream Appreciation will explore dreaming and working with dreams to better understand yourself and the nature of dreaming. You will learn how to increase dream recall, record dreams and decipher dream symbols. Writing and drawing exercises get you working with your own dreams. Two sessions starting Oct 4 and Nov 14 in Dublin, CA. For details see: Dream Appreciation

Lisa's second class, Honor Your Dreams Using Collage, teaches how to transform the images, puns and symbols dreams create into a collage and, optionally, poetry or prose.  In this class, rather than interpreting the dream the emphasis will be on working with and honoring it; nevertheless you might be surprised at what you discover about yourself in the process. Experience in working with dreams or in creating collage is not required. Offered twice, Nov 17 and Dec 1, in Livermore, CA. For details see: Honoring Your Dreams

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Place of Enchantment

From time to time a dream gives a glimpse of a unified and happy psyche.

The Dream: I am in a city apartment building with a friend or colleague and knock on a door. When a young woman answers I describe myself as a home health worker, although even as I say it I'm not sure that's quite accurate. It's my job to check on the welfare of children and families.

The woman is young and lives in an apartment with one large, high ceilinged room; there is a separate kitchen with an eat-in area off to the left. She lives with a man and their two daughters. What has me impressed, and even excited, is the way so many aspects of life have been integrated into this one space. The place is beautifully furnished,with a dark wood hutch to the left. There's a large bed in the middle of the room, and the clutter of children's toys and activities all around. The woman is bathing one of her daughters in a portable tub on top of the bed. The combination of the elegant furnishings and the joyous activity strikes me as wonderful. No conflict here between tidiness and the necessary business of life. The mother is completely comfortable with the low level of chaos, and it doesn't feel chaotic here,but rather serene and lovely.

Later I am invited to the wedding of the woman and the man. I go into the kitchen / eating nook. There is a window over the table and the spot looks bright and airy. “Look,” I say to my companion, “there's only one window, yet the entire place seems so bright and cheerful.”

Interpretation: The home health worker represents the part of me tasked with assessing inner harmony. She checks on the welfare of the various components of my psyche, symbolized by the children and families. In this unusual dream, it seems I've taken a step toward a synthesis of the sometimes discordant players in my inner world. The elegant and refined environment of the home, a symbol of this inner world, feels spacious and is full of beautiful and chaotic life. All are respected and cared for in a loving manner. Some sort of inner integration has taken place, and this is emphasized by the marriage of the man and the woman. Opposite tendencies have been resolved; the lion can lie down with the lamb. Serenity reigns, and illumination prevails. A mysterious light comes from within. Nice. Of course, it won't last . . . .

Sunday, August 26, 2012

By the Book

The Dream: Clark and I are in New York City. I have a special booklet, sparkling and glowing, that I want to give to a young person who I feel needs the information. We look for her house on 3 different streets but can't find it. I know the general location, but none of the houses look exactly right. Finally I suggest that we wait for her to come outside. The townhouses are like those on the upper West Side with steps going up to their entryways, very well maintained and updated.

Interpretation: The special booklet contains some sort of enlightenment (it sparkles and glows). It isn't very thick, so it is probably recently acquired psychic knowledge, as opposed to revelations that have accumulated over a long period of time. The young person I want to give this to is the newly emerging self that appeared in the previous dream. I am having trouble locating her, and none of the houses (the integrated selves; in other words, this new self plus my gnarly old self) seem right. The dream is telling me that I'm not quite ready for the psychic change taking place. I come up with a reasonable solution: let's wait for her to come to us. The townhouses, being well maintained and updated, symbolize my new (spiritual) home (self).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Old Vine

The Dream: I am selling my house and property. On the property is a vineyard with old growth vines, thick and gnarly, branches intricately interwoven. I tell potential buyers the vines need maintenance.

Interpretation: I am ready for a big change. I leave behind my house (my old self) and my property (the patterns of thinking and being that I've accumulated). Recognizing the complexity and interdependence of a lifetime of growth, even if some of it is convoluted (thick and gnarly), I explain to the emerging part of myself coming to the fore that some of the earlier psychic systems will need to be maintained.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Do You Have a Dream?

Have you dreamed of a departed loved one? Dream worker Susanne van Doorn is studying these sorts of dreams, and you can help by contributing yours. She says:
Please help us to investigate the dreams about lost loved ones, either people or pets. We are undertaking a survey where we look for connections between dreams of relatives and precognitive dreams, as well as search for common themes in these sorts of dreams. It is an easy survey, it will only take about 5 minutes of your time.
Click on the link to contribute your dream to her study.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Be Who You Are

The Dream: A group of people decide to follow their own agendas and go after what they want. One woman disappears and reappears in full bridal regalia, ready to be married to another woman, although it seems to be an inconvenient moment for this event. A man opens his trousers, revealing women's underwear. I'm embarrassed, but the rest of the group is very accepting, not shocked or even particularly interested. Their reaction: “That's cool, man!” I chat with Tolstoy, not sure whether to call him Mr. Tolstoy or Peter. (The name Leo did not come up.)

Interpretation: Using sexual metaphors (lesbianism, transvestism) the dream shows people feeling free to be whoever they are. Since these dream characters are aspects of me, this implies that despite the inconvenience or embarrassment it may cause, I feel free to be me. I'm ready to marry an important part of myself, and it's cool.

At the same time, I'm not sure who the writer (artist) is. I stumble over his name and don't know what to call him. As a dream character Tolstoy is a wise old man. He watches. He understands; nothing fazes him. Being someone from the past, he might represent a wise, accepting parent, but not one that I can recognize.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fill in the Blanks

This short dream presents a little puzzle.

The Dream: I try to fill in the blanks.

Interpretation: What's not there that should be? What's missing: a forgotten experience; something from the past; something I should have done but didn't? The dream has no answers, only questions.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


This dream is about transformation. Since we're all in the process of psychic transformation all the time, it's not surprising that it shows up regularly in our dreams.

The Dream:
I am taking cooking oil to a recycle center that utilizes only food waste. To get to the center I have to walk down into a gulley, its slope covered with the kind of loose rocks used to control weeds and erosion. Once I get down, a helpful and friendly—in a professional way--man directs us to the proper drop off site. I take the oil to an underpass and see that it is recycled into beautiful carved kitchen cabinet doors. I am very impressed with this operation and plan to come again.

In another area waste is recycled into jewels. This work is so interesting to me that I would like to be a part of it. I hope to be hired. The man in charge of the jewels is leaving; as they look for a replacement for him I hope I will be considered for the post, but I think that is unlikely since I have no experience. However, his assistant is promoted and I am taken on to learn the craft.

In mythology oil is a gift fit for the gods. The used, depleted oils in this dream (my feelings about my own potential) are transformed into ornamental cabinet doors. These in turn protect the treasures of the kitchen (an area where ingredients are transformed into something that sustains us). There's something circular here: the oil goes from kitchen waste to a beautiful and useful part of the kitchen. But to turn this particular dross into gold I must first climb down the sides of the gulley covered with loose rocks. The dream tells me that I am feeling used up, wasted—but that if I can negotiate the slippery slope, where I might literally lose my footing, I will get to a place (my center) where I might become energized for the better.

The second paragraph of the dream reiterates the same theme, this time upping the ante by changing waste into jewels.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Guest Dream: Knitting Myself Together

Today' guest dreamer is Robin Whitmore, who also records and illustrates his dreams at Robin's Dream Diary. I'll respond to his dream as if it were my own. The dreamer always gets the last word, so please look at the comments following the dream for Robin's take.

Robin's Dream: I am in a huge builders merchants' yard. Workmen are milling around, busy on an important task - something has to be found out, uncovered. I pick up a plastic bag with plumbing connections in it."Leave them alone," I am told, "don't want you meddling with that." I just seem to be in the way.

Then I find a stack of old papers, all in handwriting that is not easy to decipher. It goes back years. I am convinced this has the answer to everything the men are searching for and I say to one of them,"Let me look through these, I am sure I will find the truth here." The men are a bit dismissive, they don't share my conviction but they are happy for me to take this dusty heap away. As I start to look through it my heart sinks, there is so much there and it's really hard to read, I'll never get anywhere.

Slowly I begin to sift through the paperwork, writing down each tiny detail. A woman (about 30-35 with long straight hair) sits with me. "Let's work out what this is all about. Someone's life is at stake- its about someone's life, a record." (I see an image of Beachy Head cliffs.) The documents seem to be about this woman.

Now I find pictures and objects within this pile of papers- there are three knitting needles, maybe 2'6"long, and they are covered in knitted wool in soft,"feminine" pastel shades of flame. The needles remind me of bullfighting spikes or spears or something to do with electricity like lightning rods.

"This was the beginning - one of many projects that never led anywhere." The woman laughs and admits it was another fruitless project. (Am I slightly contemptuous of her? Do I think she doesn't have it in her to create anything deep, anything meaningful?)

There are receipts in this collection. She must have been working, she must have earnt this - sums like £320 and another for a bit less. Modest sums. "Is there a date?" I ask the woman. We look and I arrange them in order.

The pictures I find are black and white newspaper cuttings collaged together and now a heap of old sepia family photos that I drop on the stone floor. I try to pick them up in order but muddle them a bit - never mind, I should be able to sort them out.

I am annoyed that I wake up before the puzzle is solved. There are pages of this novel, for that is what it is, that are maybe in german or russian. (So many times I start a book only to give up because the language is too hard.) This will be difficult language to decode but I know I can and must do it.

Carla's thoughts: This is a very complex dream, and I'm not going to pretend that I can unravel it without help from the dreamer. I have no way of knowing the allusions to Robin's waking life that play out  in this dream, so I will leave it to him to decipher those. Nevertheless, I hope my reactions will help Robin look at his dream with fresh eyes. For me (taking on the dreamer's masculine sex as I look at his dream), the dream is about coming to terms with my anima, a Jungian term for the woman who lives in every man.

The first paragraph of the dream sets the stage: I am working on uncovering a long forgotten aspect of myself. What is to emerge is connected to an unconscious process (the plumbing connections) that I have not recognized as authentic; these deep (we plumb the depths, after all) connections are covered in plastic, a material almost synonymous with phoney. The workmen have an ambivalent role. On the one hand, these manly men (and what's more masculine than a workman in a builder's yard?) are the masculine force in search of its feminine counterpart, and they don't want me to stand in their way. On the other hand, by not allowing me to help, they are obstructing the process. It's not unusual for dreams to have things two different ways simultaneously; after all, if there were no inner conflict we probably wouldn't be having the dream.

The second paragraph introduces a mini resolution, a first step on my way to a kind of internal integration: the men who didn't want me looking into things a moment ago are now ready to accept my help, and I know that I've been given access to the materials that will allow me to uncover the truth. I find out that something buried in the past is responsible for repressing what the the dream is trying to free. Did I keep a handwritten (or drawn) journal at some point in my youth? If so, the dream might be trying to get me to take a look at this time, a period when psychic events occurred that I am still having trouble understanding (the old papers that are hard to read, hard to decipher).

I need to think about the woman who is 30 to 35 years old. Who or what does she represent? Does the woman's long straight hair belong to an actual person or does it stand in for abstract qualities? For example, hair, coming out of the head as it does, can symbolize thoughts. Does this character's straight hair represent straight (and narrow) thoughts? In that case, since every part of my dream reflects some part of me, I am looking at my own straight and narrow thoughts. The woman symbolizes my own inner woman, and the dream is about my attempt to integrate her into my psyche. (Is the dreamer 30 to 35 at the time of this dream?) The men who are dismissive reflect a typical masculine reaction to women, and the dream makes it clear that I share these feelings. Did I let this cultural bias divorce me from my anima who is, in Jungian terms, the source of my spiritual self? In the past Beachy Head cliffs was known for its high number of suicides. By introducing this image my dream is pointing out—rather melodramatically in the way of dreams--how my anima feels about the issue: ("Let's work out what this is all about. Someone's life is at stake- its about someone's life, a record.") The life that is at stake is the inner life of an important part of me.

The knitting needles present a conjunctio, a marriage of opposites: a positive development in this conjoining of the masculine and feminine within my pysche. Knitting needles are associated with a feminine activity, and their function as a feminine symbol is reinforced by their feminine colored covering in the dream. At the same time, the dreamer tells us that “the needles remind me of bullfighting spikes or spears or something to do with electricity like lightning rods,” all very masculine symbols. Put together, these divergent symbols and the flame (enlightenment) that covers them represent the spiritual truth I've been searching for. The project that never led anywhere was my attempt to integrate these two seemingly irreconcilable aspects of myself.

The contempt that I express toward this anima figure encapsulates my dilemma: As an artist, I need to be on excellent terms with my anima! If Jung is right, then she represents the wellspring (there are those plumbing connections again) of my creativity. And yet—that is what I don't trust her to do. I question whether she can “create anything deep, anything meaningful?

That she has earned some money signifies that I have begun to give her some of the credit that is her due. Not too much; the sums are modest. But at least I've been able to move from seeing everything in black and white to a more nuanced sepia. I'm still confused (I've muddled the picture) and frustrated by the novel (new) and incomprehensible (in a foreign language) puzzle, but I think I'll be able to sort it out. I've made an important beginning with this dream.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nowhere to Hide

The Dream: I'm on an iceberg in a frozen world. I am taking part in a documentary meant to demonstrate how a person can create an ice fortress for protection from roaming beasts.

I have my own patch of territory, a rectangle marked with an edge of shoveled snow. The beasts begin to appear. I demonstrate how to make a small mound to hide behind. After I make the mound I'm told to crouch behind it, cradling my head in my arms. Even as I do this I have doubts that it will work. In the first place, the mound is a pile of dark earth. It seems to me that against the white snow this will only call attention to my hiding place. Next, as I try to hide behind it and tuck my head down I realize I can't see what's going on, and I don't see how that's going to help me avoid a predator.

This dream shows me that my defenses are useless. I've tried to make myself safe by isolating myself on a frozen patch (a place free of emotion). Yet the only way the rectangular territory is cut off from its greater environment is visually; it's ridiculously simple for any threat to breach the boundary. And the threats do come, in the form of wild animals (my unacknowledged strong feelings). My attempts to hide from these are ludicrous and only make me more vulnerable.

It's interesting that I'm making a documentary, perhaps a symbol for my dream journal. I'm following the dictates of the “director” as I build my idiotic “fortress.” The message here is that I will not find my safe place—the place where I can live—by following the path laid out for me by others. In the final dream sequence the fact that I'm questioning what I've been told will keep me “safe” is a kind of progress.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Expecting in the Autumn of My Life

The Dream: An older woman is surprised to find herself pregnant. She has not seen a doctor, but she is sure this is the case: she knows how it feels.

Interpretation: These last three dreams can be looked at as a sequence that tells me I've done enough for the waking life children I have launched into the world. Now it's time for me to have a new baby (a new passion in life).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Crossing My T's and Dotting My I's

The Dream: At a T junction a toddler breaks away from the group she's with and runs into the street. I am closest to the infant so I step into the street holding up my hand to stop the flow of cars. As I go after the baby I feel partially paralyzed: either because I'm concerned that I'll get hit by a car or because I can't move as fast as I think I should. In any case it's fast enough. I pick up the baby, who is safe, and return her to her parents who, I think, should have been watching over her more carefully.

Interpretation: As recent difficult life transitions visit my children in waking life I struggle with feelings of motherly inadequacy. Am I doing enough to save them? Are they okay on their own? The dream says I could have done more (moved faster to avert a looming problem) but it also says I've done enough. The baby is safe.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Diminution of the Mother

I had this dream after my older child moved to her own apartment.
The Dream: My mother is getting breast augmentation surgery. My son and I clutch hands for comfort in our anxiety over mother's operation. I begin to wonder if he is too old (he's about 9) to hold hands with his mother, and I wonder if he will pull away in embarrassment.

Next we are inside the medical facility where we see mother's picture on a video screen. She has turned into a baby and is dressed in a very feminine outfit with a bonnet. Her face, however, is still mother's. She looks cranky. “I don't think mother is going to like this,” I say.

Interpretation: As much as we are happy to see our children achieve and go out on their own, it represents a loss. As I lose the mother role to my child's independence, my mother (me as a mother) wants to have her mother role (breasts) enlarged. I ponder accepting the child's need for independence as I wonder if my dream son will be embarrassed to be holding hands with his mother. By the end of the dream, mother has been reduced to a cranky baby. I apparently haven't accepted my child's new life with good grace quite yet.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Artist Within

One of the most difficult things artists do is to represent conflicting aspects of life simultaneously.
The Dream: I am at Hunky's house, but it doesn't look like her waking life house. It's one story with lots of off-shoots. Art is everywhere. Looking through the window I can see an outside wall, at an angle to the room I'm in, hung with primitive masks of heads painted in earth colors.

There is a very large studio in the back where Hunky is working. I comment on how much I like the way the art is displayed along the outside wall, and she tells me that her son has made the masks. They are hung as if no thought were given to their arrangement or spacing and yet . . . there has been. It's very sophisticated. Hunky says this is where her son hangs his work to dry as he churns it out; it's not a planned arrangement of paintings as in a gallery.

Hunky talks about her process: she puts down shapes and color and then responds to them. She works abstractly; her art is unplanned. She loses herself in the process. I think this must be enjoyable and that I'll have to try it, but then remind myself of the pig's breakfast I get whenever I attempt to work this way.

As Hunky talks about her work she shows me a piece she is starting. It has a large tear-drop shape in red lined with blue on the left side of the paper. Hunky will start with this and then move on. As she talks about her work she begins to look like an obsessed artist: her hair becomes messy, her clothes paint-stained. Clearly the only thing that exists for her is the moment of creation. I contrast this with my meticulous rendering in egg tempera, concluding I must be a lesser artist. Hunky talks about her two lives, or roles: one as a suburban matron responsible for creating a certain sort of living space for the family, and the other as a committed artist. As she talks I see Hunky split into two people, although I realize this isn't possible. Both are working at their very different jobs. One is tidy and organized and on top of the housewife job; the other is messy and focused completely on the art she's creating.

As I awakened I was dreaming about putting a wax finish on Pomona. The top of the painting had a pattern of water, and as I waxed it part of this pattern began to dissolve. I liked the softer effect but I didn't want it to dissolve to the point that it no longer existed.

Interpretation: Hunky's house (my house, where I live) is one story with lots of off-shoots. In other words, my life has a consistent theme that has been expressed in many different ways. Art is everywhere; that tells me it is the ground that nurtures the off-shoots. The primitive masks in earth colors reinforce the idea of art as something primal for me.

While Hunky's (my) studio is very large (the work takes up a lot of my psychic space), it has been relegated to the back of the building. Its location hints that, while the activity may be primal, its status is not. Although I like the work, not only has it been hung outside, with no thought given to its display, but another stand-in artist has appeared: Hunky's son. My inner artist is twice removed.

After showing me how I denigrate what I do, the dream goes on to show me what this inner artist (if not the waking life one) is capable of. First of all, the son artist churns out the work. Apparently he's so creative he doesn't have to give it a thought. Then he hangs it up any old way, and it looks marvelous. His mother tells me about how she works with total absorption.

As Hunky demonstrates her artistic fervor, a basic dilemma emerges, presaged by the teardrop in her painting. The problem? One most women face: how to balance life and work. The conflict is so strong that she (I) splits into two separate people. And then it becomes apparent that the dream has been talking about polarities from the start. Inside, outside; planning, spontaneity; thought, passion; tidy, messy. How do I reconcile these opposites?

The dream tells me to live with them. The pattern might begin to dissolve, and it will look better for it. But the structure will still be visible, only softened (more integrated).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Two Toilets

The Dream: I have to use the toilet. The first one I find is the height of a baby's highchair. The lid is down, covered with debris from an infant's diaper change. I remove the pieces of trash with distaste and find it's not as disgusting as I had anticipated. I keep expecting to come across a poop-filled diaper but never do.

I abandon this toilet and find myself next to another one, a typical adult model this time, with debris in the bowl. The discards are pharmacy boxes and other bathroom detritus. A box labeled with the drug name Napoxne catches my eye. What does it treat, I wonder? I awaken, saying the name over and over to myself, trying to remember it so I can do a google search in the morning.

Interpretation: I'm looking for some sort of release; there's something I need to let go of. (I need to use the toilet.) The appearance of the baby's highchair tells me that the first thing I must get out of my system dates to my early childhood. That the lid is down tells me that whatever lurks there is unconscious. Although it never reaches the level of consciousness, I symbolically deal with this mental trash by removing and accepting it (it's not as disgusting as I had anticipated). I haven't yet discovered the really shitty event—or possibly there isn't one. (I keep expecting to come across a poop-filled diaper but never do.)

In any case, I'm now ready to take on adult crap and again find the instrument of my release (the toilet) blocked. What's clogging it this time? The dream offers up the drug napoxne. When I searched for the meaning of the term I found a similar word, naproxen, that is a drug used to treat pain. The dream is telling me that my desire to avoid pain is blocking my ability to purge myself of it.