Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Niche

The Dream: Clark and I, both dressed so eclectically that we resemble hobos, are walking in a foreign city. We are near a closed bank with an open foyer. I need to adjust the laces on my hiking shoes so I enter, park myself in a niche and get to work. Clark sits in another niche while he waits for me.

The tellers arrive: their work station is directly across from me. One young lady with short blond hair and glasses begins to make loud and unpleasant comments, saying I don’t belong here. I work on my shoes, determined to ignore her but nevertheless I feel uncomfortable. When I’m done I look for Clark, who I had thought was nearby silently supporting me by also refusing to move. However, I notice he has already high-tailed it, so I go outside to find him.

Interpretation: I wander in alien territory (a foreign city) with my animus (Clark). We don’t fit in here (we are dressed creatively but inappropriately). So—I’m out of place, and in some way I am stuck: my shoes, the things that enable me to stand on my own two feet and to move in comfort, need adjustment. I find my niche and attempt to fix the problem.

The blond teller represents someone I know in waking life who is very interested in making money from her talent, so she represents the part of me that would like to do the same. She tries to dislodge me from my comfortable niche, and I try to ignore her. My discomfort tells me that I’m not immune to her criticism. In other words, I live in a commercial world, and a part of me disdains my inner “artist” for failing to succeed financially.  The part of me that deals with the world in a practical way (my animus Clark) does not support my retreat to a comfortable but unprofitable niche. To integrate these two adverse factions (practical vs. artistic) I have to leave my comfort zone (the niche) and go outside.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Are Riches?

The Dream: A dream that asks “What are riches?”

Interpretation: The unconscious has given me something to ponder, a sort of philosophical question. What does being “rich” mean to me? After thinking about it here’s what I’ve come up with. Being rich is the feeling that my life has meaning.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


The Dream: I go outside from a house where I used to live onto a deck with several picnic tables off to the right side. They are populated with sightseers. I am looking for a place to sit and do a drawing. Finally I find an empty place at a table where several other people are sitting. A young round-faced woman sits across from me. She has a black eye (her right eye). She asks what I’m drawing, and I tell her it is a dream drawing. “Oh,” she says, “why don’t you do something original?”
I am surprised. “These are original!” I say.  
I leave the deck, noticing a low utilitarian gate opening onto the driveway that goes to the house.

Interpretation: I seem to be going in circles in this dream. First I’m in the house, then on the deck outside, and then see a path that leads back to the house. Something has me stuck in this house, and whatever it is makes it difficult for me to be original. To figure out what that’s about, I’ll look at the word “original.” Incased in the word is “origin.” Something about this loop is connected to my origins. To do something original means to do something that truly reflects who I am at my most basic—in other words, at my point of origin—where I start (originate) to define my unique self, what Jung calls individuation.
The visual is highly symbolic, as we can tell from the sight-seers (double emphasis on seeing with a dollop of mystical foresight: that is, seers.) The other actors in the dream are on the right; in this dream they represent my desire to do the “right” thing, the acceptable thing. Why does the person demanding originality have a black eye? Perhaps she is my black (unacceptable, secretive, mysterious) I (self). If I take the gate back to the house (my usual self) I am passing into the utilitarian, abandoning the possibility of discovering my own originality.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Serial Killer

As much as you might want to distance yourself from bad behavior in your dream, a first step in understanding the dream is to realize that all the people in it are you.
The Dream: My husband Clark is possibly a serial killer. I am looking for a woman friend to lunch with on my birthday.

Looking at the dream actors as combative parts of myself, my husband (my other half) has been killing off people (certain aspects of my psyche). In other words, my strongest part has been acting as an enforcer, subduing weaker parts. That it is my birthday tells me I am undergoing an important transformation: I have a new understanding of my repressed (killed) traits. That I am looking for a woman to lunch (be nourished) with tells me I am interested in developing and protecting my intuitive, feminine part. I might have to save her from the serial killer before that can happen. These insights seem to build on the partial illumination of the last dream I posted.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Do you have a dark side? Yes, you do.
The Dream: An image of a wicked woman; her hat is composed of a lampshade in yellow, green, and orange. A voice in the dream says that a lampshade both conceals and reveals illumination.

Interpretation: This dream attempts to bring my dark (wicked) side to some level of consciousness (illumination.) The dream hints that I won’t get it, at least not entirely. It tells me that what’s on top of my head (my current thoughts, symbolized by the lampshade) conceals as well as reveals insight (illumination). From the way I have drawn the wicked woman I can see that I find her attractive and powerful—she's not something I am likely to eradicate. That might be okay, as long as I can know her for what she really is.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Guest Dreamer: My Inner Light

Today’s guest dream comes from artist and writer Gail Gray who has recently published Shaman Circus. She had the dream the night before her 61st birthday.

The Dream:  I was at the Burgholzi Clinic in Zurich and Dr. Carl Jung was there.  He had asked many of us to bring our “patients” into a room so he could see how we were doing with their analyses.  At first we were all worried, what would these unusual people do with each other?  Would there be trouble?  Would they get along?

So I left and got my patient (I never saw myself in the dream, I just know it was me in my own skin walking around and doing things. I never talked.  I came back with my “patient” who was a large teddy bear sort of man, mute, who carried a large mason jar full of lightening bugs.  He moved very slowly--as if in a dream within my dream, sort of “not with it,” - a lumbering giant. The man himself was sad and poignant, not quite sure what to do. I was uncomfortable and feeling bad because I hadn't made much progress with my giant and had not come to know him very well. There wasn't much action after this, even when other people brought in their “patients,” except that we were all rather mesmerized by the beauty of the light in the jar, but also the bittersweet sadness of them being trapped in a jar. 

When I woke on my birthday I was elated, even though in the dream I'd been uncomfortable because of the remarkable appearance of Jung.

Carla’s thoughts: As usual when interpreting a guest dream, I’ll react to Gail’s dream as if it were my own. (If you would like to know why, read this post: Cement Men of Mars.)

Here’s my take on Gail’s dream: Dr. Jung has asked me (the dream ego) to produce my patient (a part of myself that I don’t entirely accept) so that he can assess my progress in analyzing (understanding and integrating) him. My concern about whether or not my patient will get along with the others hints at a social discomfort: I am afraid of conflict or some sort of disharmony if I allow this part of me out in public. The fact that I’m not talking in the dream tells me that I’m dealing with something that is unconscious: it can’t be “verbalized” or discussed—at least not yet.

Because my patient evokes a “teddy bear” he symbolizes my vulnerable inner child, possibly the Divine Child archetype (he carries light). That he is large tells me he represents something that is very important to me; and that he’s mute emphasizes the nonverbal, unconscious element that my own silence in the dream alludes to. This child has not been able to get through to me (he’s not quite sure what to do, and I feel bad because I don’t know him very well). The crux of the dream, however, lies in this unusual detail about the figure:  He is the source of a mesmerizing--if confined--light.

Dr. Jung represents my healing journey toward getting in touch with this source of light within me. The word “patient” is repeated four times in this relatively short dream, hinting that I need to be patient in order to understand the spiritual truth of the light I carry. My light is carried in a Mason jar; a mason works with stone; revealing this light is hard (as stone) for me.

The timing of this dream is significant. Because I had this dream on the eve of my birthday, it symbolizes the birth of a new understanding. I am elated because I’ve begun to experience my own inner light, and I can anticipate freeing it from its previously limited existence (in the mason jar).

The dreamer always gets the last word, so I encourage Gail to leave us her thoughts in a comment.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Resurrection of Don

Dreams about the departed are called visitation dreams. Whether or not the person we dream about lives on in some external realm, it's clear he lives on in our internal reality. 
The Dream: I am at Ruth’s house. The entry wall is wider than it is in waking life; it’s a room with a table, like a dining room. The staircase is in its normal place. Someone says that Don is upstairs. I feel concern, thinking that this person does not know that Don has died. 
“Don is dead,” I tell her. She goes upstairs to verify what I’ve said.
“No,” she says, when she returns. “He’s upstairs, and he wants to see you.”
“I’m not going up there,” I say.
Don comes down, naked from the waist up, radiant and glowing with health. He glows with something else besides. I am filled with joy to discover he is alive and healthy.

Interpretation: Visitation dreams are a way of grappling with the anxiety and loss we feel after a death. The dining table in the entry way tells me that the dream has come to provide some sustenance. Don is “upstairs,” in other words, he’s in my thoughts. I try to accept his death by telling myself (in the guise of the person who doesn’t know) that Don has died, but I don’t really believe it. I go upstairs to see for myself.  There I see that he does live—upstairs; in my mind he’s alive, while at the same time my down-to-earth self (the part who insists on remaining on the ground floor) refuses to accept it. I won’t go there. But Don gets the last word, as he often did: he won’t allow me to deny him life after death: he appears, transformed and radiant, and I am also transformed by joy when I see this new reality.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mary in the Water

The Dream: I am with my friend Mary at an outdoor bar. We have been talking and talking, and I wonder if she is finding all this chat tedious. She decides to go home and take a bath. I am concerned that people can see into her apartment from where we had been sitting. The bar is not at ground level—it’s at about the same height as Mary’s apartment. From here we can clearly see her in the tub. She’s at the far end of the room, splashing about, twisting and turning in the water like a dolphin.

Interpretation: My East European grandmother used to call the Statue of Liberty “Mary on the Water.” In this dream “Mary in the Water” represents my desire for the freedom (liberty) to splash around in the waters of the unconscious like a dolphin. Mary is tired of chatting; she prefers the non-verbal unconscious. The dream ego (the “I” of the dream) responds to the freedom-seeking unknown part of myself (Mary) with concern; on-lookers can see my exposure. The dream message: some sort of social pressure is limiting my freedom. And my tub (my vision of freedom’s possibilities) could be larger. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Flying or Falling?

The Dream: I am about to fly; I’m pushing off from a wall with my feet. I think, however, that it looks to those on the ground as if I might be about to kill myself.

Interpretation: As one part of me works to get beyond the block (push off from the wall) so that I can grow (fly), another part sees what I’m doing as reckless and dangerous—even self-destructive.  A future dream must resolve this conflict.