The other day I posted a guest dream from Emily called Killing Gophers. She worked on this dream with a projective dream group and has sent me the insights she gained from the process. As you read what she has written you'll get a sense of the rich material your unconscious gives you in dreams as well as the benefits of having a group to work with in exploring them.
Emily: I, as dreamer, retold the dream to the group. The act of retelling rather than reading my written report brought out additional details. These included the acorn woodpecker eating the tail end of the swallowtail butterfly, and the fact that the scene had pastures in it as well as the brown hills with the gopher holes.
When the group looked at the dream, one of the first thoughts was of food: "swallow", "acorn", "meat". Food is used to nourish us, feed us, keep us alive. Poison is the antithesis, so the dream immediately pictures nourishment/poison and poison/natural environment as the contrasting elements. There is also much about things being hidden: the poison hidden in the meat, the gophers hidden in the ground, the hidden claws of the woodpecker, and the hidden thought that the meat is too expensive. The colors came into play: the yellow of the butterfly and red of the acorn woodpecker verses the brown of the land. Another contrast of vibrancy/lifelessness.
The nature of "twinning" arose - when a dream images two of the same things: ie, the two "tails" for "tales". There was the "swallow-tale" butterfly and the woodpecker eating the "tale of the butterfly".
It was noted that although poison was in the dream, it was not harming the dreamer. It was a source of potential harm. Such as what happens when we swallow something that is not healthy. Both the holes and the poison were round, circular elements of the same size, so their weight was equal in the dream. A status quo.
Phil is a fatherly figure (the dreamer gave 3 adjectives for Phil during the clarification phase and fatherly was one of the adjectives, as were compassionate and caring), who is getting overwhelmed by the invasion of the gophers. The dream doesn't actually resolve any issues, but rather leaves the questions for the dreamer to ponder:
What is something costing the dreamer? (high cost of the meat and choice not to mention this cost to the animus Phil)
What is the dreamer getting to the meat of? (the pork chop)
What tale is the dreamer swallowing? (tail of the butterfly, and the acorn woodpecker eating from the tail end of the butterfly)
How is the compassion of the dreamer becoming overwhelming or to much to bear?
Which, in fact, was the outcome of the dream for the dreamer. For, she had swallowed a pretty big family tale while attending a funeral 2 days earlier. The dream imaged the cost to the dreamer of making the decision not to debunk a myth the other family members believed. It pervaded her sense of integrity and wholeness (or self-righteousness), but it did not destroy her. By keeping the myth alive, at least for now, balance of wholeness for both herself and the rest of the family was maintained.
In Tony Crisp's online Dream Dictionary, he states an idiom "One man's meat is another man's poison". Exactly - what was the meat of the tale nourished the family members' memories of the deceased, but it was poisonous to the dreamer.
Finally, at the IASD Conference, it was suggested at one of the workshops to change the title after working the dream. Thus, the new title for this dream is
"The Hidden Tale".
P.S. Plays on names: (but I think you got them all by now!)
Phil - "fill"
Cooper - "coop her"
Tail - "tale"
Gopher - "go for it"
Holes - "wholeness"