Sunday, January 27, 2013

Guest Dreamer: A Walk on the Wild Side

Today's guest dreamer's emotions evolve as she processes her life experiences.Thanks, Firequeen, for this very rich dream.

The Dream: I dreamed I was walking in the woods in weather like today, cold, snow on the ground, bare branches. I was walking my dog, but not the dog I have now, nor was it Benji, my last dog. A largish dog. At the same time as I was dreaming the dream, I was also watching from the other side of the canal, and narrating what was going on. The dog kept disappearing for long periods of time, as Lola does when she goes off hunting, but now I had another explanation of where the dog was. He was walking with another person, but this was not someone living on the earth today, she was from the other side. Although she looked exactly as she would in life, I knew she was not living now. I saw her at a great distance, in the other part of the wood, but she was able to communicate her thoughts to me. She said that she returned here to walk with this dog, which had been her dog in another life. She came to these woods because it was a place that made her feel happy, and it did not mean that she was returning to where she walked her dog in life, she chose this place because it was special, and that other people came here to do the same. Sometimes I saw that she brought another dog with her, which had also been her dog, and she walked the two of them together. I seemed to wake two or three times during the dream, then continue dreaming it, but I think this was also part of the dream. Telling it, there does not seem much to it, but waking with the full memory of it, I felt very happy. It had such a happy atmosphere. Perhaps it is the feeling of life continuing, with dogs (!) that is so nice!

Carla, just remembered that the ghost woman in the dream also told me that other souls also returned to walk their dogs in this place.

Interpretation: The first image I'm going to look at is that of the woods. In my version of Firequeen's dream it evokes a magical place, something like the enchanted forest of legend and fairy tale. This is a place where we expect to see a transformation.  In the beginning of the dream the spot I'm in is cold and barren; this tells me I'm feeling alienated. The large dog I am walking represents my feelings. The dog disappears: this is the central problem I'm facing in this dream—my disconnect from my emotions. In order to look at them, I split into a narrator, the one who watches, and another person, my shadow, who acts. The canal is the watery divide between what I'm conscious of and the unconscious. Being man made, it is an artificial divide; this tells me I'm capable of changing it. As I watch, in the guise of the narrator, I learn: the canal symbolically changes from a dividing line into a conduit that flows toward healing and integration.

Who is the person I observe? As someone no longer living I could call her a ghost. In dreams ghosts sometimes represent things that haunt us—for example, things from the past that have left residues of guilt or regret. Another word for a ghost is a shadow, and, in my dream, she is the shadow of the self I used to be. This earlier self was in touch with her instincts and feelings (the dog, her inner animal). She was happy in the woods, a place of nature. As I visit this earlier version of myself I also visit the people she interacted with, people who are no longer with me (the other souls who come here). They can return to this place in my heart where we can be together. Communing with those I've lost--and, more important, with parts of myself I feared were lost-- in this place of magic and enchantment nourishes my soul. My unhappy feelings are transformed into feelings of the continuity of life. The forest that had seemed barren and desolate, I now realize, was only waiting for the right moment to spring to life. As it does I, too, am renewed. 


Aleks Blumentals said...

I think Carla makes some good points. The dog as feeling for example. I would ask what did the dreamer do that was new to her, where she went to the forest and touched on feeling? She did something unusual, or with a new attitude.

It is something that connects her to her own bigger self, not from the past in a temporal sense. But as something deep and eternal that lives in the woods, in the unconscious.

The friendliness suggests that there is an opening up towards that liminal space, accepting the dialogue with the unconscious. I think the second dog suggests the coming into a more conscious appreciation of the space.

Aleks Blumentals said...

From the dream we know she had before a Benji, and now a Lola (female one would assume) - but neither is the dog in the dream. So there is a specificity that it is not about her pets.

In my dreams dogs are very particular - hunting dogs, water dogs, even Faust's poodle, they have very specific connotations. Here she doesn't know or doesn't say, all we know it is large.

I would take this lack of distinctiveness, together with the duplication later on, to mean or indicate a yet not so conscious aspect. Feeling/sensing sounds right, but it could also be a more basic instinct, a connection to the body. Or if it were a hunting dog, a form of intuition. So there are some possibilities.

Carla Young said...

Thank you, Aleks, for bringing more attention to the dogs. Another reader told me that they brought to his mind the mythical Cerberus.

Geraldine Firequeen said...

This was a difficult interpretation for me to come to terms with, surprising because I had instant recognition with Carla’s treatment of my two other dreams. I think this makes it all the more likely that her feeling about my ‘alienation’ is true, and I realise I manifested some aspects of ‘denial’ on reading her words.

First, I argued with the scenery - ‘it was winter now, and that was why it was winter in the dream’. This is nonsense. A dream can conjure up any scenery it wants, and it wanted bleak! As I read her words more carefully for a second time, I realised that recently I have felt increasing alienated. At 71 I feel I have ‘disappeared off the radar’ of many people I used to know. Although by nature a loner, I once had many contacts and friends, and now have almost none. I have also had recent ‘intimations of mortality’ and have had to begin preparing myself for the certainty that I shall pass from this life to another. So these must be the main two themes of the dream. The good news is that it left me at the end with feelings of great happiness, so let us not forget that!

The dog I can see as representing my emotions, as all my emotional energy is now invested in dogs. My own dogs, and other dogs I know. So my dog disappears for a time, but is being looked after and comes back. My emotional life with my husband is over, but will be restored to me in the afterlife - which is where the dog has gone. Also, perhaps, I must disconnect from emotional attachment to this life, and allow myself to be taken into the wild woods on the other side of the divide. As a note here, I have always felt at home in woods. I hid in them as a child to escape other children, and when I went to the Black Forest for the first time, I realised that the forest is my spiritual home. I now spend every holiday there, and never want to go anywhere else.

Aleks Blumentals’ perception of the canal as the dividing line between this world and the next, a symbolic Styx, and the dog as Cerberus who guides us to the underworld, is excellent. This brings home the central imagery of the dream as ‘I am standing on this side of the divide, but preparing to cross - first by sending my emotions into the other world, knowing they will return to me, as I will be able to return when I have gone over.’

Alex’ comment ‘the friendliness suggests . . . an opening up towards that liminal space’ I interpret as my acceptance of entering this other world. The second dog may signify a doubling of the emotion I am able to feel here, hinting that what I feel after passing will be doubly powerful, wonderful. ‘The woman came here with other dogs she used to have’ - all emotion and love I knew in the past will be restored to me. Then there are all the other people with their dogs (emotions) that I will be able to share and participate in.

Thanks Carla, and Alex, for these enlightening comments. It’s wonderful that after the dream’s analysis I am always able to understand so much more, by the thoughts and memories it provokes.

Carla, your page is such a valuable resource. And I appreciate that you give your time so freely.

Geraldine (Firequeen)

ps on my website is a free download of a dream diary I kept from 1984 to 1995 during an important period of my spiritual development. There is also a sequel of dreams I had while preparing the first diary for publication. The reason it covers a few years is because I broke off to write my autobiography in between!

Carla Young said...

Thanks for sharing your reaction to my and Aleks' comments about your dream, Firequeen. Only the dreamer can truly puzzle out what her dream means: I'm glad we were able to get you started!

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