Monday, July 29, 2013

Interview with Lisa Rigge

As part of an on-going series of interviews with dream workers, today's post will focus on Lisa Rigge's work with dream collage. She leads a drop-in workshop at the Bothwell Art Center in Livermore, CA (monthly on the second Monday, 12:30 to 3:30 pm). Today's illustration has been provided by one of her students.

DD: When did you first become interested in furthering you understanding of dreams by creating collages? Was there anything in particular that inspired you to use this particular medium?
Lisa: I became interested in dreams and collage at the first International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) conference I attended around 2006. I was drawn to this nonverbal aspect of dream work because projective dream work had become too much of an intellectual endeavor for me. I needed something that would enable me to experience and process my own dreams.

DD: Are students with no art background comfortable working with this method? How do you suggest they start?
Lisa: Any one can come to these workshops. All they need to know to begin is how to cut out a picture with a pair of scissors and glue it to a piece of paper. They need to be willing to trust this process - that they will gain insights about their dreams through making and dialoging with their collages. To get students started I usually have a handout about an aspect of dreaming that they can use as an idea or guide to begin working.

DD: Can you give an example of a student who discovered a new meaning in her dream after she worked on a collage?
Lisa: Yes. One of my student's offered to share her experience with us. She created the collage that accompanies this post. Here she is, in her own words:
My dream involved a 30 ft.bear approaching my house as I looked out through the screen door. The bear was not threatening and there was no fear or dread- I felt puzzled and a little bit lucky. For years I didn't question the dream, but I remembered it vividly. When I began piecing together collage elements for this in dream collage class, it became very clear to me that the bear was a symbol for our move to California. Making the collage gave me valuable insight and some needed closure.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Goldilocks Dilemma

The Dream: Clark and I are looking at a house. I'm confused about the price: at first it seems a good buy, then later I realize it's not quite affordable. The kitchen has a lowered cooking and prepping area; I surmise this is for a wheel-chair user, and I think this might be why the place hasn't sold. I wonder if I could use it with a wheeled office chair, and if it might actually be nice to be able to sit down while I cook. A young boy with a very small body and a very large head comes in. I figure out that the low cooking station is for him. Then I notice another stove—but it's too high: I wouldn't be able to reach it. Finally I see a normal height gas range with about 6 burners. This kitchen can accommodate every size cook. I am relieved.

Interpretation: I am looking for a new way of being: the new home I'm searching for is a metaphor for my need to transform (move) my inner life. At first I think it will be easy for me (a good buy), but then doubt sets in: perhaps this change is too difficult, will cost me too much (it's not affordable). Kitchens in dreams represent areas where transformation takes place, and this particular kitchen presents me with choices similar to those faced by Goldilocks: one area is too low; another too high; finally I see one that is just right. Although my initial reaction was to try to accommodate myself to an area created for a much smaller person, a better choice is there, waiting for me. Why am I relieved that the kitchen can accommodate every size cook? Because the best part of the dream's message is that what's most comfortable for me doesn't require other parts of myself, the parts that feel too big or too little, to have no role in creating the total person.We can all cook together and, unlike Goldilocks, I won't have to run away.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Miracle Child

It is often helpful to look at your individual dreams as part of a series. Sometimes you'll find a shade of meaning that you overlooked when thinking about the dream on its own.

The Dream: I am pregnant. I begin to fret about being in this condition at my age. I am single. I look at the apartment house I'm going to move into, and my new next-door-neighbor harshly judges me for being pregnant while unmarried. I think this is a little silly. As I fret about the pregnancy, some one points out I'll be 67 when the baby is born. My doctor is unconcerned about the health aspects for both mother and child.

Interpretation: In looking at this dream as part of a series, the theme running through the last three is that of a gift. In the first dream I'm given a gift of images. In the second I give a gift (the child) to another who needs it, and interestingly, the child I give away is one that I have adopted. In the 3rd the gift returns to me, in the form of my own not yet realized potential (the pregnancy). This dream implies that I need to go beyond the conscious choice symbolized by the 2nd dream's adoption and give birth to my own (authentic) child (self), who will be born of the unconscious. And if I'm a little anxious about the process, I have the doctor's word that all will turn out well.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What Am I Giving Up?

The Dream: I have a baby. Another woman desperately wants one so I give it to her. I worry a little about what I've done, but when see how very tenderly the woman treats the infant I feel the child will be well cared for. Then another troublesome thought: The baby has been adopted. How will she bond with anyone after all these changes?

I feel that I should give away some part of myself that I treasure (the baby) to fulfill another's need. I trust the person to tenderly care for this part of me, yet I soon question whether I've neglected my responsibility by relinquishing it. This part has been adopted, implying that it is something I've consciously chosen. The unconscious warns that giving it away to another's care might hamper its development.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Don't Mask the Maroon

The Dream: A dream of abstract images. One is of a sequined, sparkling 3D mask in shiny maroon. The other translated a painting I am working on into abstract shapes.

Interpretation: This dream invites me to stay in touch with the earthiness of the feminine. My mask is maroon, the reddish brown color of menstrual blood yet sparkling, a hint that what women used to call “the curse” has its own inner energy. The painting that is abstracted is of Pomona, the goddess of fruit (fruitfulness, reproduction). In the dream I see these images as marvelous, a heads-up from the unconscious that my earthly, physical self is a wonderful thing. If I want to be complete (in 3D, fully dimensional) I need to live in all parts of myself, not only the spiritual and the intellectual.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Twins

This dream highlights an inner conflict that is resolved in a surprising way.
The Dream:
There are two women who are very different: one is brazen, free, and experimental; the other prim and conformist. These women operate undercover; they are spies for opposing sides. Their true identities are revealed when they whip off their disguises and it's clear they are identical twins. Their apparent differences have fooled everyone; in actuality they are very much together. The opposites they assumed were a part of their disguise.

Interpretation: The dream tells me about two sides of myself that appear to be at odds—different in every way and working for opposing forces. And yet, once their disguises are removed, it becomes clear there is no conflict here. That the true identities of the twins, once their outer trappings are removed, are the same—identical--tells me that what I consciously see as opposing traits are only so on a superficial level, at least at this point in my life. If I were once torn between polarities, that is no longer the case. My two halves are now very much together. I can be prim and brazen at the same time! The dream gives me the insight that qualities we think of as “opposites” can live in harmony, and that our inner core of being can be far more complex than I realized.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel?

This dream seems to say, "Hang in there! It will be okay."
The Dream: I'm driving through a long tunnel that turns out to be an enclosed bridge. Frosted glass windows, simple and contemporary in design, light its interior. I think the enclosure is never going to end, and then it does, opening through an arch onto a rural scene.

Interpretation: The tunnel evokes a birth canal, and the fact that it's a bridge reinforces the idea that I'm moving from one state of being to another. The frosted glass implies that while something is being illuminated, giving me a new understanding, what it is isn't perfectly clear at the moment. That the style of the window is contemporary tells me that what is happening now is instrumental in the transition, rather than something from the past. The passage seems to take a long time (I think it's never going to end), but the result, when it comes, is natural (the rural scene).

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Mute Child

The Dream: I've picked up the phone. I know it is my daughter and that she's upset. She says nothing. “Alice?! Alice?!!” I say. I know the news will be bad, but perhaps not as bad as she thinks; I know she tends to be very emotional. She still says nothing, trying to collect her emotions so she can speak. I awaken in fear, as from a nightmare.

When I pick up the phone there is, in a sense, no one there. This dialog is with myself. My daughter represents my own inner child who is unable to express her strong feelings. The dream tells me that she is trying to collect (gather together) her emotions so that she can speak (express them). These emotions are overwhelming to me, so strong that they feel like a nightmare. I awaken before I can confront them. The dream does not resolve the emotional difficulty, but it does call me on it.