Sunday, December 21, 2014

I Don't Like What I See Inside

The Dream: Melissa, the real estate agent who sold us our house, has a new home of her own with bay views in a very expensive part of San Francisco. It takes up most of a city block and looks like a hotel or an apartment building. Modernist in style, there are large windows here and there and some balconies, but overall it's dull and industrial looking with an unappealing blocky shape.

She and her husband were able to get this building site because they had influence with local politicians, and we discuss the sad fact that all the politicians are in somebody's pocket. In their own case, however, they are pleased to have so much influence and happy to let me know.

When Melissa sees me outside gaping at this enormous house she invites me in. The inside is as baroque as the outside is simple: complicated artifacts abound. They look very expensive but, for my taste, there are far too many. The first floor she takes me through is on the second story. It features a divan covered in a leopard print and elaborate ornaments, such as a large gold sun. I come to understand that this large, overstuffed room is dedicated to “treatment.” Her husband is some sort of a healer.

I'm disappointed in the interior of the house; it's disorganized and over-furnished. We go to other floors and they seem just as confusing, not what I would have wanted. At one point we go through a messy laundry room. I am surprised that so much of the housed is dedicated to work (the man's profession) and wonder if he has set things up this way as a tax write-off.

Interpretation: I've dedicated too much of my self (my house) to work. It has cost me. (It's expensive.) The things I've come up with (the furnishings) are overly elaborate and overstuffed. When I try for simplicity, on the other hand, I create sterility (the industrial quality of the house). The dream is dealing with something I've blocked (the city block; the blocky shape of the building). There is a disconnect of styles, and no overarching vision. All seems mired in the practical, and nothing is on any sort of elevated level: politicians are bought off. Yet—some sort of healing is taking place here nevertheless, and it is grounded in work (the man's profession: he is a healer) even if I'm afraid that it's too difficult (that is, over-taxing).  The dream is telling me to let the healing take place. Unlikely as it seems, the sun ornament will illuminate something for me when I'm ready to see it, and the leopard divan will allow me to rest in the instinctual.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

3 Murdered in the Next Room

The Dream:
Three people have been murdered in the next room. Hiro is one of them. I don't know whether or not the murderers want to kill us—us being me, another adult, and two young children. I am trying to dress the 4-year old in order to get them both out to safety. She is defiant and won't listen to me. I don't know how to make her behave; she doesn't grasp the situation and refuses to put a shirt on. I am planning to call the police, but don't want to until I've gotten us all away from the house.

I can't find my net book computer. I've gathered together all my electronic devices, but that one must be in the room with the murdered people. I can't go in there, especially once I hear that Hiro is among the murdered.

Interpretation: There are two things that tip me off as to the meaning of this dream. First, there is the fact that Hiro is among the murdered. Hiro is a close friend of my husband who has behaved like a brother. Then there are the numbers: 3 murdered people and a 4 year old. I was four when my younger brother was born, and I have lost 3 close family members: my father, my mother, and this same younger brother. The defiant child who refuses to grasp the situation is the part of me that doesn't want to accept these deaths. When people lose emotional control, especially if they get angry, we say, "Keep your shirt on!" This part of me refuses to do it. I'd like to get some help from an authority (the police), but I don't think they can help yet.

The family I want to save from danger, the danger of mortality, reflects my current family: two adults and two children. The net book computer that I can't find is the thinking part of me that's missing here. I must accept the reality of these losses, and the inevitability of death, before I'll be able to think clearly.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Searching for the Perfect Solution

The Dream: I'm in a costume shop working on a plaid fabric. After working for a while I feel what I've done isn't right so I redo it. Later I've completed the project but feel the colors aren't quite right—they're too intense—so I destroy the work and start over. I work a while longer then start to leave to run some errands at the mall. The shop foreman runs after me, followed by most of the workers, to tell me I'm still wearing my soiled apron. I'm aware that I've done this several times.

Back at work I'm very frustrated with the lack of progress on my project. As I work on it I say to the boss, “I'm going to quit; this is too hard!” But I'm not sure I mean it; I'm sorry I said it. Nevertheless, I'm not getting anywhere with my work.

Interpretation: This is one of those typical, mundane sort of dreams that, like most, are rooted in day-to-day frustrations. I have too many irons in the fire, and I'm having a difficult time focusing on any one thing, so nothing seems to “work.” The fabric of my life is not working for me. The interwoven colors of the plaid just don't seem to go together, in the same way that my many projects are pulling me in different directions. Time to take a break. Maybe going shopping isn't such a bad idea, as long as I shop for a different approach to my frustration. Perhaps I need to learn that the solution doesn't always have to be “perfect,” just good enough.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Dream Image:
When placed in water a paper like shape expands at the bottom, leafing out.

Interpretation: The part of me that is dry and brittle (like paper), when immersed in the right environment, will expand and grow. The expansion doesn't come from the top (the intellect) but from the bottom (feelings and earthiness). The water represents the unconscious, and the dream tells me to be guided by this mysterious part of myself.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Inferior Function

The Dream: A young man, an aspiring artist, is friends with an older woman. I want to be part of their group but am concerned that I might be intruding, and I do get a bit of the cold shoulder. Nevertheless, the young man and I engage in a serious chat about art. I am aware that he wants to take courses at the Art Students League. I go off in several directions with this information. I tell him that every artist must teach himself, ultimately, and not rely on the judgments or opinions of others. Each must develop a personal style, unique to herself. “For example,” I say, “when you see a Picasso you know it is a Picasso.” He mentions the many changes in style as Picasso evolved. “Yes,” I say, “because art is the working out of our inner selves, and as we change the art changes.” The conversation gets heated since he wants to pursue study, and he feels I'm negating that choice. But I'm not—at least not entirely. “It's important to study to develop the necessary skills,” I say. “If it hadn't been for Anthony Palumbo at the Art Students League I would never have learned to draw.”

I get back to the idea of art as a reflection of the artist's deepest self. I say, “My work, for example, is pretty and superficial, just like me.” A pause. “Well, I might not be pretty anymore, but I'm still superficial.” After this tongue-in-cheek statement a cloud descends on my spirit. I become aware that, while I might appear self-confident and even tough, I actually feel inferior. The outward aspect is a defensive shell.

Interpretation: This seems to be one of those dreams that interprets itself. It tells me to look at my vulnerabilities if I want to discover my true self. Pretty and superficial can only take a person so far.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Taking the Lid Off

Look at the language and the imagery of your dreams to figure out their meaning. Sometimes the real subject matter of a dream ends up being very different from its narrative.
The Dream: I'm in a convertible with my friend Polly. Although the car belongs to Clark and me, she is driving. She wants to take the roof down, and for a while we struggle to figure out how to get the mechanism to work. We are finally successful, as if by magic, and we're pleased and surprised. The car is an old-fashioned model from the 50s or 60s.

Polly is on her way, I become aware, to meet one of the other designers, Jean, from the time we worked for N.U.T.S. Jr. Sportswear in NYC. I think that if I tag along and we pick up Dona we can have a reunion. In some way I'm uncomfortable with this; I'm not sure that the others want me along.

Interpretation: I'm trying to get to something that's nuts (crazy). Polly, who went on to design children's clothes, represents my designing child. I was a child in the 50s and 60s, and the car's vintage reinforces the idea that I'm dealing with something from my childhood. This inner child wants some relationships, such as the one with the designer she's going to meet, kept to herself. However, the mechanism that opens things up (the convertible's roof) is working well, and we are pleased and somewhat surprised to see how easy it is when it finally happens.

That my inner child is going to meet Jean (something encoded in my genes), tells me that the dream is about getting closer to something that is very basic, or fundamental, for me. The month I had this dream was the same month that I lost two important people, my mother and my brother, to whom I am genetically linked. Of course those ties are very fundamental, particularly to a child. The lid is coming off my attempts to suppress the pain I feel at their loss. And yes, I feel left out, in a sense, because they are gone.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Can't Erase the Black Marks

The Dream: I'm in a contemporary style classroom, in a shopping mall, with Clark. I am looking for places to cover with black paint, and I find some along a wall that is organized for storage. Then I paint on the glass of some windows and an entrance door. I sling paint around and write some words that are inappropriate for the school age children who come to this place, like “damn.” I soon become aware that I've done something inappropriate and need to remove what I've written. I work at it but find the marks impossible to erase completely. Clark disapproves of my poor judgment in expressing myself in this uncensored way. When the marks I've made in the storage area prove impossible to remove, I move on to the glass door. I scrape with a single edge razor blade and can't understand why the paint won't neatly peel up as it does when I scape paint off my palette in the studio. Clark points to a window on the other side of the room and says I should have used that one instead of the door.

Interpretation: The black marks are things I've done that haunt me (stored in my unconscious), as well as my attempts at self-expression: in waking life I am a painter and the marks I'm making in the dream are with paint. I am unable to eradicate either these black marks or the content they express (damn!), even though I feel both are inappropriate. My laying down of paint in this self-expressive way makes a mess, and that's interesting because I find that's the result when I try to paint something without a plan in waking life. The dream has uncovered the genesis of my rigorous self-discipline, the strength that is also a weakness. Clark, my other half, tells me not that I shouldn't have done what I did, but that I should have found another place (a different way) to do it. He points out that the window (of opportunity) is still available.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Slippery Slope

The Dream: I'm at the top of a very large water slide, holding a razor in one hand. At the bottom of the slide is a mechanism that churns the water and will hurt me badly if I crash into it. I go down the slide cautiously, afraid to go too fast. Controlling my descent is hampered by the razor in my hand, leaving only one  free to grab the side of the slide. At the bottom Clark is milling around, and there is also a very strong man poised to help me. I make my way down with enough control to avoid a collision with the churning mechanism. At the bottom I take the man's kindly offered hand but don't rely on his strength. I'm aware that I've propelled myself out of danger by myself. Seeing him as I descended gave me the confidence to do what was necessary.

Interpretation: I go down a slide, something that should be carefree and fun, with great trepidation because I need to control the ride. Not controlling it is fraught with danger: I could run into rough water at the bottom. At the end, I have the satisfaction of rescuing myself; the strong man at the ready is not needed. He represents my core of inner strength; it's there, but I don't normally use it. My usual animus, represented by Clark, has been superseded by a stronger one that I was previously unaware of. This newly discovered part of myself keeps me safe from the churn, making it safe for me to deal with the murky depths of my scary unconscious. The dream tells me that knowing I have this inner strength will make it possible for me to start enjoying the ride.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

On Edge

The Dream: I am attempting to attach a long strand of crotcheted or knitted edging to a piece of fabric. I can't make it lay flat, and its width doesn't look consistent.

Interpretation: I am on edge. I can't integrate something into the fabric of my life. There's some sort of inconsistency that's bothering me: something isn't behaving properly.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Intertwined Lives

The Dream: A long line of Hasidic Jews snakes through scenic venues such as the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Interpretation: As a child I first noticed Hasidic Jews on a trip to my parents' hometown, so my personal associations for them are childhood and Brooklyn. They looked strange to a six-year-old, so in the dream they represent something alien, the “other.” Am I confronting my own alienation, or sense of being the “other,” in this dream?

Wikipedia describes Hasidic Jews as “a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality through the popularization and internalization of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspect of the faith.” The dream is pointing out that I feel alienated from my own mystical, or spiritual, side. The fact that the dream has brought the group to my current Bay Area environment suggests I'm revisiting old ideas about my self, my otherness, and beginning to integrate them into the present.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Green Bug

The Dream: I'm chasing a green bug in the bathroom. It looks more like a flat, round green flower than like a bug—but it's mobile and runs from me. I try to catch it to take it outside as it scurries around the base of the toilet. As it evades my attempt yet again I lose patience and decide to squash it. Then I take pity on it, seeing it wants to live, and I let it go.

Interpretation: Something is bugging me, something that I'd like to get out of my system (it's near the toilet). I want to be rid of it, to let it go, but it evades me. My solution is to put it outside (air my feelings), but, by refusing to be caught, my difficulty refuses to be handled in this way. I lose patience and decide to suppress it (I want to kill the bug). I relent, however, when I become aware that it is a carrier of the life force (it wants to live): The color green is indicative of new life, and, besides, there's something playful about the way this creature teases me. I think it's probably a good thing that I let it live, and I hope it lets me take it outside, into the open, soon. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Broken Engagement

The Dream: I am engaged to the fiancĂ© of a gay friend. He and I are dancing together in preparation for our wedding. He is very small, but very self-confident, and to me this comes across as his being full of himself. He does one surprising dance move, a head to toe shimmy. I'm impressed, but—try as I might—I can't get him to catch on to the grapevine.

I become aware that I have no feeling for him. This makes me a little sad. At one point I hold him as if he were a child, across my lap. I don't know why we're engaged. I say to him, “Don't you think we should get to know one another better?” He is hurt, I can see that in his eyes, but as far as I'm concerned we've only met 3 times. He says, “You know it's right when it's right.”

It doesn't feel right to me, and I want to break it off. At first I don't think I can because people have been invited, all sorts of arrangements have been made. How many people go through with a marriage, I wonder, only because they don't know how to get out of it? Then I remember that it's the planning for my daughter's marriage that has been finalized, not mine. I call it off.

Interpretation: What is the engagement I've broken? Clearly it's to something I find inappropriate, to another's fiancé, and a gay man at that. This dream character represents a small part of myself that excels in spontaneity (the shimmy) and refuses to be trained (I can't teach him the grapevine). The dream points out that I've broken off my engagement to the emotional, intuitive side of myself, that part that knows without analysis when something is right. It's the egotistical small child side, the 3 year old who is full of himself.

I come to realize through the dream that I don't feel I know this part: despite the fact that we're engaged I don't think we know each other. He embarrasses me, and I want to be free of him. The dream points out my discomfort, giving me the first step in possibly reintegrating this alien aspect.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Free to Be Me

The Dream: I look out my window. There is a birdhouse full of beautiful birds very close. I enjoy seeing their colors and I want to entice them into a cage I've prepared for them, in the house. After making an attempt I have second thoughts. The birds should be free. I can see them well enough where they are. I decide it would be wrong to cage them and I no longer try.

A little later I see a duck with it face pressed to the screen, wanting to come in. A duck was never in my plans. I don't want him. I feel a little sorry for the creature and its strong wish to enter.

Interpretation: The dream was triggered by something I was reading last night about Daffy Duck and its creator, Chuck Jones. He mentioned his first experience of Daffy. When he was 6 years old he wanted all his birthday cake for himself and was taught the meaning of the word “selfish.” The conflicted feelings he experienced became the cornerstone for building Daffy. Earlier in the day I had been thinking of my own childhood / young adult selfishness, so it's no surprise that Daffy turned up. In the dream I move from being the selfish child who wants what it sees (the beautiful birds) with no thought for their well-being, to an adult who understands that what she wants may not be good for others. Yet Daffy is pressing his nose to the glass and wants to come in. Perhaps the dream is telling me that it's okay to accept the small selfish part that's still there. I also need to be free: free to be me, warts and all.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Guest Dreamer: Kitties Litter

Guest Dream: I impulsively brought home two cats. One gray, one black. I put them in the house and went out to get all the necessary items. Upon my return the house reeked and was trashed by the two not so sweet kitties. Went to return the kitties, but could not remember where I got them. Then the guilt set in.

Carla's thoughts:
When cats come up in my dream group, folks tend to see them as associated with the feminine. Of course it all depends on how you see cats, because dream symbols are so personal. But if cats do represent femininity or the female--and if it were my dream--my inner female is in the dumps. The colors of the cats, black and gray, signal mourning, loss or depression. When I try to get away from my pain by looking outward to find what I need to fix the situation (I go out to get the necessary items) I discover I can't get away from the problem; it's waiting for me when I return, and it's made a real mess of things.

The cats have damaged my home, which represents myself, my sense of who I am. I want to get rid of this problem by returning the kitties, but that isn't easy. Where did they come from? In other words, how was I saddled with this particular understanding of womanhood that is causing me so much angst?And for that matter, exactly what is it? My dream is telling me to take a look at how I see my role as a woman, and to question if the ideas I have about it are making a mess of my life. I can see from the dream that I'd like to get rid of the concept I currently have, but some sort of guilt won't let me. Perhaps I associate this idea of the feminine role (the one that stinks!) with my mother, and I feel it would be disloyal to reject it. Since there are two cats in the dream, perhaps there were two female role models who passed on conflicting ideas that I'm having a difficult time resolving.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It Can Be Flushed

The Dream:
I go to use a public toilet and am concerned about its condition. It's not terribly clean, but also not impossibly dirty. The lid is down and I open it, concerned I'll see an over-flowing mess. Instead I see several, 3, large ball-shaped turds lying quietly at the bottom of the bowl. I am relieved, thinking that this is an amount I can flush.

Interpretation: I had been reading Tony Crisp's thoughts on the toilet image in dreams. He said that a full toilet indicates there are things that need to be dealt with, released, so to speak. In this dream I anticipate there will be more than I can flush--that the toilet is clogged--but in fact it is manageable. It's not a tidy place I've come to, and certainly not one where I want to spend time, but it's not as bad as I had anticipated, either. Once I lift the lid on my difficulty I find I can flush it. Perhaps some unremembered dream from the night dealt with this necessary process in terms of the particular issue that needs flushing; in any case I hope that the unconscious will go forward with its own sort of resolution, whether or not I'm aware of it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What's Cooking?

The Dream: I'm at the stove. It's a gas stove with openings where some of the burners go. A toddler, a young boy, has stuck his head through one of these openings. His father, a Middle Eastern man, dark and hefty, is trying to pull him out. I take a softer approach, cajoling him, and he agrees to come out. Then I carry him around with me everywhere, feeling very maternal.

Interpretation: I'm in the kitchen, where raw ingredients are turned into food, symbolically a place of transformation. There could be something a little dangerous about the transformation about to take place, however: I might get burned. Something interesting that I'm strongly attached to (as a mother would be) is popping out, breaking through, in a surprising way. The powerful father, my inner forceful hefty man, seems foreign (Middle Eastern) to me. I don't think he will be the one to facilitate this new thing that is emerging, yet he, as the father, is clearly a part of it. It won't be forced, but will come out when it's ready, and then it will be an important part of my life (I'll carry it everywhere). The dream tells me to let things run their course.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

It's Just Not "Me"

The Dream: My friend Joyce has mailed me a box full of things she has cleared out and no longer wants. I go through it and show a man's sweater to Clark. It's a nice sweater, but not at all his style. He doesn't want it, and I find I'm annoyed at Joyce for giving this stuff to me.

Interpretation: This goes back to a very old feeling. My dear mother didn't understand that she and I were two different people. She gave me lovely things that she would have been thrilled to get, especially as the poor child she had been. As an adolescent, I resented being given these things that I didn't want, that weren't “me,” and that, nevertheless, I was obliged to feel grateful for. I felt guilty about my inner resentment, and perhaps the dream has come to allow me to feel it without judgment.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Doing it All

The Dream:
I'm looking for someone to carve something I've designed. I'm asked why I don't learn to carve and do it myself. I explain that I'm a designer, and I don't have to personally create everything I design. As I say this I feel relieved.

This dream, like most, is rooted in the challenges of everyday life. I had several different projects going at the same time and had farmed out aspects of the jobs to others. When I realized that I didn't have to do the implementation all by myself I was relieved, indeed. The dream lets me know I made the right decision.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Bed and The Diary

The Dream:
Part 1: I'm a child. I'm in a room with twin beds. My brother is meant to sleep in one; I'm meant to sleep in the other. I get into his bed with him. I think there's something wrong with my doing this, but it isn't clear to me what it is. I know I should cover up the action. Both pillows are on one bed; the other bed is pristine and clearly has not been slept in. Will Mother figure it out? I decide she'll only think I made my bed and my brother didn't.

Part 2: I'm an adult. I'm reading through an old diary that my daughter had left at the house, written on a stenographer's pad. In one part she describes an active and unembarrassed sex life. I'm very surprised that she had such a frank view of sex at such an early age. I feel uncomfortable about this on the one hand, but on the other hand I think that since all has turned out well, perhaps it's okay. In some parts of the diary I notice a different handwriting and wonder if it's that of one of her boyfriends. I feel a certain dread—but also an attraction—toward reading what he wrote.

Interpretation: These dreams further the sorting out of the “mother” theme. The child/mother relationship is central in both. In the first I'm the child; in the next I'm the mother. In both Mother judges my spontaneous relationship to life (sex) and pleasure, and in the dreams these feelings are symbolized by a socially inappropriate relationship. The fact that I am not sure what might be wrong with being in bed with my bother tells me that the dream is pointing to a very early feeling. The dream uncovers (covers play an important role here!) my earliest sexual feelings and the child's dawning awareness of parental disapproval regarding them. The dream tells me that this has colored my feelings about pleasure: some part of me believes it's something to be leery of.

In the second part my child has developed and explored her sexual feelings despite mother's queasiness on the topic. She keeps her diary in a stenographer's notebook, an interesting touch since stenographers write down what others tell them. What proportion of my view of life and sex was created by the society I live in? There is a role reversal in the dream sequence as I go from child to mother: I become the owner of  my own attitudes and mores. A kind of freedom from the influence of the mother of my childhood occurs as the mother in the second part concludes that perhaps it's okay that her child has freely explored sex.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mother is Tired

The Dream:
I'm in a house like the one I grew up in. My mother is there, as are a lot of family members. There's lots of chaos and activity. Mother and I are happy to be with everyone, but also tired from the strain of entertaining. Trying to keep the house in order with so many people carelessly putting their stuff everywhere has worn us out. When everyone leaves mother and I chat about not wanting to be the mother anymore. We're tired. There's too much to clean up after the party.

Interpretation: The dream was probably triggered by my anxiety over a large home improvement project and my desperate attempt to keep the house and garden in order during the process. I'm not happy with being “mother.” The dream points out that we, my introjected mother and I, see our role mostly in terms of the onerous responsibility to clean up after others. “Mother” generally refers to the entire feminine role of nurturing as well as house keeping, but our fatigue is specifically caused by the chore aspect of the role. The party is fun; the people are loved and respected; it's the dull cleaning up and trying to keep the space under control that's the problem. The dream is telling me to pay more attention to the people and the party and less to keeping order.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Challenging Fight

The Dream: I'm a man on a spaceship shaped like a long and narrow oval. I'm on the deck reestablishing its hexagon shapes; they've been covered with snow.

Even though I'm in outer space I am gliding over a dark sea. I wear no special outer space gear. I realize I've passed an island full of exotic beasts, but I'm so preoccupied with inscribing my hexagons, so narrowly focused, that I'm missing the marvelous sights of this amazing journey. I'm aware of the contradiction of being in space and on the sea; I don't understand it.

Later I'm in the lower portion of the ship when a fire breaks out. Someone's wife, perhaps mine, had left paper plates on deck. I wonder if these might have triggered the blaze. I'm the captain, so I rush upstairs to lead the crew in the effort to extinguish the blaze. We all realize we're fighting for our lives, and this is very energizing and motivating.

Interpretation: This dream was triggered by news about the birth of the cosmos, dark matter (the dark sea), and dark energy. Is my narrow focus causing me to miss the wonders of the universe? Domesticity (the wife's paper plates) create a blaze. Am I angry about its demands? The dream points out that I need a challenge that I feel is crucially important (leading others in a life or death struggle) to be energized and motivated. Yet it is the feminine that releases the captain from his narrow focus, if we assume that the wife's paper plates did indeed create the blaze. He won't be re-instating hexagons when he's fighting for his life. On the other hand, he won't be looking at the marvels of the universe either.

So--is there something that the life and death struggle distracts from? Is it not so important in and of itself, but rather as a way of not seeing something? What about the exotic beasts? In the dream they are something like gargoyles, ugly and fascinating at the same time. Why do gargoyles appeal? They have the undeniable intrigue of something atavistic, something scary that can't hurt us. Something that holds primitive antisocial tendencies, but also symbolically protects us, just as they protected medieval churches.

Interesting to note that it is when I (the captain) go "under" (into the unconscious) that the blaze breaks out.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

On Love

The Dream: I am walking with my friend/lover/soul mate. We stop to sit on the curb by the side of the road. I say, “It's hard to be in a sexual relationship with a good friend.” I think about this for a while. “I'm so afraid!”

I feel the fear. I wonder about the alternative: anonymous sex? He says, “I know.” He lifts me from the curb and enfolds me, gently and lovingly, in his arms.

Interpretation: The sexual relationship represents the vulnerability of giving myself, of being open. This leads to inevitable pain. Right before having the dream I had visited a very ill relative, and I was forcefully reminded of the separation that mortality entails. I saw the relative's spouse in unspeakable pain at her husband's inevitable succumbing to death, as we all must. Strong attachments, as the Buddhists say, are one source of pain in the world. But I don't agree that the solution is not to have them, that seems not only cowardly, but life-denying.

In this dream the stronger part of myself, the male friend/lover, knows what the curbed part doesn't. He lifts her to her feet, and they embrace: a symbolic acceptance of love with both its joys and sorrows. Love is shown to be a totality of communication and involvement, made up of both the spiritual (friendship) and the physical (sex), important here as the grounded, if mortal, part of us.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Guest Dreamer: Raw Inside

The dreamer told me that her divorced daughter's ex-husband has recently remarried. The family became aware of this because the wedding was held at their local church. Lana's friend Jane had been abused as a child. Keeping those waking life facts in mind, I'll react to Lana's dream as if it were my own.

Lana's Dream: In this fragment of a dream, friends are bringing food to a gathering. I've assigned each person to bring the same thing: a filled loaf of bread. Jane and I meet, and we open hers. We're upset to realize that the filling, looking like eggs, is uncooked, raw; it might also contain some fish. Something needs to be fixed. I feel this is my responsibility.

Carla's thoughts: My friend Jane, having been abused as a child, is the symbol of my own injured child: my daughter, who feels wounded by her ex-husband's remarriage. Whether or not having the wedding in our local church was designed to be hurtful, seeing it there opened up something that still feels raw, and I thought there was something fishy about it. The uncooked eggs represent the potential of my daughter's marriage that went unfulfilled, and we are upset that things didn't go as anticipated. As the mother, I feel it's my responsibility to fix things for my injured child.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Did It My Way

The Dream: How many ways can you do a thing? Which one is right? Is there one right way?

Interpretation: This dream wants me to think about a philosophical, or perhaps an existential, problem; it's offering questions rather than answers. Is there one right way to do a thing? Are there many? Does it depend, perhaps, on what I'm doing? Some earlier dreams suggested I abandon a tendency toward rigidity that was inculcated in my childhood. This one gently nudges me in that direction.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Slow Down and Live

In our overstimulated world we sometimes need to be reminded to slow down.
The Dream: I'm on a train, going to visit an old friend. There's a red knitted fabric on my lap. I keep my gaze fixed on it, and I feel that time is passing very slowly. I want to get to my destination, and I'm not enjoying the trip. After a while I realize that I'm so excited about where I'm going, and so impatient to get there, that it's making the trip seem longer than it is. I think that I should have brought something to read to make the time go faster.

Interpretation:  I'm on a train, implying that I'm on a fixed track. What is the meaning of the knitted fabric on my lap? For me, red is the color of life, and the fabric (of life) is a complex of people, events, and interests knitted together. The dream tells me that I need to enjoy the process and not be so intent on achieving the outcome (the destination). It also points out that I tend to distract myself (I should have brought something to read) rather than immersing myself in the experience. If I heed the dream and refocus on the present and the process, rather than on the future and the outcome, I'll start enjoying the trip.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Fossil

The Dream:
I'm on a trip with some friends, in the mountains. We've just heard that a special and unusual geologic phenomenon is nearby, some sort of extruded fossil. The fossil is a stream of igneous rock. It's very rare and special. We've gone to the venue and are standing in line waiting to be admitted and very excited about it: it's something to see!

I get a phone call. I'm not sure who it is, I think it's Dona K. Since I'm not sure, I make conversation for a while hoping she'll say something that will confirm her identity. I ask how she's doing. She says something tragic has happened. When I try to figure out what, she says they've all gone back to college. This doesn't sound tragic to me; I try to figure out why she thinks so—does it cost too much? I don't know. She has some black sons.

Interpretation: Many of my interests, even my way of being in the world, is becoming outdated, fossilized. There are good things about these interests, they are rare and special, but the phone call I get suggests I need to look at some of their other aspects. My friend Dona, being very conservative, represents the part of me that is the same. I'm out of touch with this part of myself; I'm not even sure I can identify it (I'm not sure who's calling.) My inner conservative sees the quest for knowledge as “tragic.” The dream tells me that learning something new (getting a new insight or doing something in a new way) might be expensive (cost too much, be difficult), but it isn't tragic. Dona's black sons represent the part of me that is the opposite of conservative: my fertile imagination, the place where new growth can appear. The dream tells me to embrace the part of myself that loves the traditional, but to use what's old in new ways. This is where I will find my new growth.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Our Lady of the Broom

The Dream: I'm in a house with two kitchens, both in need of cleaning. I'm feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start. It finally occurs to me that I could hire some cleaners to help, that I don't have to put this right by myself. I talk to Clark about it, feeling I must persuade him, although I don't think he put up any resistance.

Interpretation: This is a dream grounded in the day-to-day. I had a lot of major home improvement projects going on and was concerned about doing them well and keeping to a budget. I have to persuade my practical side (Clark, representing my animus) that getting some help is a good idea, but the dream points out that even that part of me thinks it's a good idea. As von Franz once said, “I am my own difficulty.”

The two kitchens hint at something more, a conflict between different areas of life that need to be “fed.” As soon as I can get some things cleaned up I will regain some serenity. On the other hand, all this activity is stimulating and the double kitchens also point out that there are some major transformations taking place.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Woman in Black and White Polka Dots

The Dream Image: A woman in a white dress with large black polka dots. Her hair is black, brushed back in a style reminiscent of the 50s.

: In 1950s American things were apparently (if not actually) simpler. Both television screens and world issues were seen in black and white; there were no shades of gray. This dream was triggered by a drawing I made in honor of a very elderly family relative, a figure from my childhood.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Taera is the Color of the Earth

The Dream: I am painting Taera, a mythological goddess who represents the Earth. I paint her the color of earth. It seems very dark to me; I am concerned as I put this color down that I will not get smooth transitions.

I didn't remember this dream until later in the day when I was reading Marija Gimbutas' The Living Goddess. On page 208 she mentions that an Old European goddess, the Lithuanian Zemyna, is black. Her name comes from the word “zeme,” meaning earth.

Interpretation: My dream evoked an archetype: the earth, fertile and black, represented as a female deity. I accept this concept, but with some misgivings: when I wonder if she is too dark. I am looking at the difficulties of the life she symbolizes, with its inherent pain and inevitable darkness. And yes, the transitions are difficult!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Not an I (Eye) Surgeon

The Dream:
There is an eye surgery nearby. The head doctor, who does laser surgery, is an affable phony. He's been friendly, so I go back to see him. He's in the middle of an operation. To get to him I have to walk all the way to the end of his facility, a long, narrow room. I see him working next to a large rectangular surgical table covered by a tray filled with blood. The smell puts me off, plus I can see he's busy, so I leave.

As I get to the front door one of his assistants, an officious nurse, points to a flimsy sign, folded over in a way that makes it unreadable, handwritten on lined school paper. The sign says, “Stay Out!” or “No Admittance.” She is judgmental in that quiet, huffy, offended way that some women have perfected. She says something like, “Didn't you see the sign?” as she slams and locks the door after me.

I feel guilty and ill at ease about having trespassed, even though I hadn't seen the sign. I worry that I will be the cause, or be blamed, if there's a difficulty with the eye operation.

Interpretation: This dream was triggered by a guest dreamer post:  The Dream. I saw the dream as sexual, in some way connected to the dreamer's menses, related either to her actual father's reaction to her coming to womanhood or to the father as symbolic of the culture's values. I was concerned that the woman who offered the dream might be offended by my interpretation. My own dream tells me that I shouldn't go near the blood, that I am trespassing. Perhaps with this particular dream, I was “at the end of [my] facility;” in other words, either my comments were facile or I was out of my depth. And this could be true because, to avoid upsetting the dreamer, I did feel the need to soften my reaction to her dream. I see the doctor in my dream as a phony, but affable.

If I make a mistake with someone's “I” (eye) I leave myself open to a huffy, offended judgment. At least as far as that particular guest dream goes, my own psyche thinks it might have been better to see the writing on the wall (the sign) and “Stay out!”

Friday, May 23, 2014

Edged Out

The Dream:
A bus passes; it's attractive, looking like a large one story suburban house. I wonder how it will make the turns. I get on another bus, knowing it's going in the wrong direction but thinking I can take it to a place where I can get the right one. I put a notebook down on a seat about three-quarters down the aisle to save it for myself, then go toward the front to ask the driver for directions. When I return a man has taken the seat. I'm surprised at this rudeness, but am mostly concerned with getting back my notebook.

Interpretation: The life I am accustomed to living is attractive--if circumscribed (single story); it leaves me outside my own center (it's suburban). Into the bargain, it's passing me by. I don't think this way of life will allow me to evolve (I don't think it can make the turns). Since a bus is a public conveyance, it symbolizes the direction of the society and my role as a member of that society. When I do get on a bus, I think it's going in the wrong direction. Nevertheless, I'm still hoping I can get to where I want to go, even though I've made a commitment to stay in one spot (the seat I've chosen). I realize I need some help in charting my path, so I go to the driver (the part of me that is setting my course) for some advice. When I return my fixed spot has been taken—this is a rude awakening, but my main concern is to get back a notebook. Since I use one to record my dreams I think the unconscious is trying to tell me this is an important step in the process of understanding my true path. Perhaps the unique look of the first bus I saw is a hint that even though we travel with the larger society, we might not see things the way it does.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Friendly Oppressor

The Dream: I'm at a large dinner party. My older brother is sitting at the table, about three-quarters of the way down from me. I'm near, or at, one of the heads. I am crying because my other brother has died. A young woman, a friend, sits on my lap. At first I think this is a joke, but after a while I realize there are no other seats and she means to stay. This begins to feel oppressive.

Interpretation: I don't have the inner resources to take care of a need (there are not enough seats for all at the table). I only have my head (logic). Yet feeling cannot be denied, and I am crying. My brother's death, and the realization that I am three-quarters through my own life, is the oppressive thing that sits on me and won't go away. It's no joke. Yet my oppressor is friendly, why is that? Because she is there to teach me an important lesson, to make me aware that death is a reality I shouldn't run from, but must accept.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Am I Shutting Out?

The Dream: Clark and I and two friends, Tom and Joan, are sitting on the floor in a circle. Tom is being very sweet and congenial, but I feel angry and resentful toward him; I'm not ready to forgive his past bad behavior.
Clark doesn't seem bothered at all, in fact he quickly builds a wooden shutter for the guest room window. The morning sun is very bright in there, and he wants to screen it out so that the room is more comfortable. He builds a 4-panelled folding screen, but doesn't paint or finish it. He decides to put it in the guest room closet: when someone visits he'll finish it.

Interpretation: This unforgiven friend, Tom, is a screen for a part of myself that I find unacceptable. In the beginning of the dream the four dream actors are together; the circle they sit in emphasizes their unity and tells me they are all part of the same thing: me, in this case. Even the unacceptable one, the one I resent, is congenial.
My husband, who represents my animus, doesn't see—or admit—that there's a problem. Even as he denies the difficulty he works to shut out the light (awareness), making the excuse that the room is more comfortable this way. This tells me that I really don't want to see this—it's too uncomfortable. The screen has four panels, echoing the four dream actors and Jung's four aspects of the Self. It isn't finished, but closeted (hidden away). This difficulty will be worked on again when the next guest (insightful dream) arrives at my house.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Status (Quo?)

The Dream: A dream that featured one of  my mother's relatives, her brother's son. In some way I felt I had to prove myself, that I was seen as inferior.

Interpretation: At first I thought this dream was about an envy rooted in an old family rivalry that has refused to die. The older relative in the dream is wealthy and accomplished. My ridiculous and unworthy feeling, considering the ill health he has endured, springs from the poisonous soil of my youth and my poor mother's resentment that her husband was not as successful as this fellow. In the dream I feel inferior to his son who has screwed up in just about every way, and that's interesting because I don't—who could?

When I looked at the image I drew to illustrate the dream, I realized it gave me a different answer. The exotic flowers had their own kind of life force and beauty. The caption asked, “What grows from the poisoned soil?” and answered, “Everything.” The rivalries we have push us forward, compel us to do better, to be more, than we otherwise might. The confusion of our own worthy and unworthy feelings, if we can look at them honestly, makes us more empathetic. Our dark side gives us depth. So what springs from the poisonous soil of our earthly life? The things that make us human, for better and for worse.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In the Toilet

Sometimes we need to cooperate with parts of ourselves we don't particularly enjoy.
The Dream: A young woman, unmarried and pregnant, is receiving help from a nun. The young woman wonders what sort of obligation this might entail; she doesn't agree with the nun's religion or values. At the same time she is grateful for the aid and feels that she will, in the future, repay the organization that helped her.

The nun and the young woman are in a small, closet-like area with nothing but a toilet. The young woman decides to sit down and, to her surprise, ends up in the toilet. The nun lectures her about making this stupid move. It's somewhat difficult, but the two of them working together manage to get the young woman out of the toilet.

Interpretation: I'm feeling closed in and restricted (in the small closet-like area). I need a kind of help that is difficult for me to accept because I don't agree with its black and white (nun's colors) unnuanced point of view. Nevertheless, without some organization, however confining it may feel, I'm going to be in the toilet (not doing well at all) and my new baby (project) will not survive. The dream tells me I need to respect and support my helpers, those annoyingly demanding parts of myself, if I'm going to produce anything of value.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What's After Me?

The Dream: This dream features a good friend, Alex. I'm in an airport and I see her. I'm pregnant and I want to tell her. Meanwhile, she is being pursued by several political groups who want to kill her. As she tells me this, in her perky, irreverent way, I realize that there are also groups out to kill me. I want to wait for the right moment to tell her I'm pregnant, but since time is short as we elude our various pursuers I blurt it out. She seems happy about it, but distracted.

Interpretation: My friend Alex died 10 years ago. I'm in an airport, in other words, something in my life is about to take off. My new direction is emphasized by the new baby I want to tell her about. But Alex and I are both being pursued: the dream is encouraging me to think about what comes after us, in other words, what legacy will I leave behind? I need to evaluate my new baby, that is, my new direction or interest, in the framework of what it leaves to others after I've passed on, as my friend has.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Guest Dreamer: Caged and Constricted

Guest Dreamer: Weird dream last night with a very strange man in it. He was taciturn, tall, of sallow complexion and said very little. I had apparently met him a couple of times but not got to know anything about him. Now he was coming to my house. He said, "I have a car but I don't like to take it anywhere". However, it appeared he was prepared to drive this to my house.

Then it seemed I was in his car and so was my daughter Diana, and she was grown up, not a little child as she so often is in dreams. We were driving to his house. I heard her saying, "Mum, there is a poster flapping about on the front of the car, about something that happened in 1931!" Then I opened my eyes, which I did not know were shut, and looked out along the bonnet, which was green and of a long, rectangular shape. I realized this was a vintage car, so I told Diana that the poster was meant to convey that the car was authentic. The bonnet was made of loose plates of metal that were not firmly attached, and were rattling and flapping about.

At the house it got even weirder. This house was built to his own design and we were walking down a narrow corridor which had cages built into the wall, floor to ceiling and stretching out either side. The cages were full of little animals, mice, hamsters, even some small cats, and there was mechanical apparatus - like toys and railways, connecting the cages and the animals were going on rides round and round. They were all silent, but had bright eyes and looked healthy. They were all dressed in exquisite small garments in bright colors - they even had hats and bonnets - all neat, clean and well washed. Since there were so many, I thought he must spend a great part of every day washing, ironing and dressing these creatures in clean clothes. I got the impression he was looking for a woman to do this for him, and then Diana told me, "He says he is into submissive sex, he wants a woman who will give up her free will and do whatever he says." I found this oddly fascinating - that was the end of the dream!

Carla's thoughts: This dream has some similar elements to a dream that Firequeen posted on this blog some time ago: Previous Dream  If it were my dream, I would first look at the similarities and differences between the two dreams. In the first dream I find the man very attractive; in this dream he's sallow and uncommunicative. In the first dream he has presented me with an exciting red car that he offers to teach me to drive, and in this one he doesn't even like to drive his own. If, as in the last dream, he represents the part of me that works and engages with the larger world (my animus), I'm fed up with that world at the moment! However, in this dream I think he represents something else.

My (inner) child and I leave the place where I live (my customary way of looking at things) and join this rather unattractive fellow en route to his house. The dream mentions the year 1931, so I need to puzzle out what that particular number means to me. Did something significant for my life happen that year? If not, I need to look at the number in a different way—for example, was my 1st, 9th, 3rd, or 19th year important in some way that influences me now? (The dreamer will have to mine her own associations to figure out what the number means to her.) Excavating its significance may be difficult for me, because it is something I have shut my eyes to without even realizing it. But they are open now.

The long rectangular shape of the bonnet makes me think of a coffin, but the fact that it is green, the color of new life, implies that the part of me that has died will be replaced with something new and vital. Vintage evokes something that has improved with age (my understanding, perhaps?), and once I become aware of this in the dream I know that my dream (the car, the vehicle) will take me to an authentic insight. The hard things I've had on my plate (the metal plates) are not firmly attached to my journey, and after they rattle and flap around for a while I expect they will shake loose.

Nevertheless, I still have this house—the one I don't inhabit—to contend with. My journey has lead me here, so what will I discover? The house was designed by someone else. The corridor is narrow, implying that the vision of my life as seen in this house not of my making is constricted. My animals, that is, my instincts and life force, have been caged. This confinement of the vital part of me goes back to childhood, to the time of toys and little trains. And trained I was: to be neat and tidy and clean. How much time have I spent since then trying to make my animal presentable (acceptable)? The rules of society are attached to the “father” archetype, and my inner child (my daughter) knows this. She points out that “the man” is looking for submission: Be a good little girl and don't make a mess! At this point in my life I am fascinated to discover the unconscious forces that have shaped my life and behavior.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Reading

The Dream: I'm at a reading taking place in a storage facility. People sit among shelves and equipment. I read a piece, then ask to read another by my friend Jane. Describing Jane to the organizer I say she's intelligent and pretty—then I amend the pretty part, saying I'm not so sure about that. I wonder to myself if there is actually something a bit creepy about her looks. I think it would be good if Jane could come and talk to the group, but dismiss the idea because I think that San Francisco is too far away from her home to make the trip worth her while.

I'm allowed to read Jane's contribution. I begin to feel I might be taking too much of the group's time, having read once already. As I read I don't know whether Jane in fact wrote this—it's in the style of a Victorian like Poe--or whether it's a newly discovered old manuscript.

In any case, I read it aloud and as I do I realize I haven't prepared, and I'm stumbling over the text, not reading well at all. About the second stanza I come to a verse about farts; I wasn't expecting this and plow through, trying not to giggle like a kid.

When I've finished there is a man to my right, sitting behind a movable staircase, who seems taken with my reading. “When you smiled,” he says reverentially, “I thought you were an actress!” He speaks as if this is a great compliment, and I wonder if I should tell him that I once was an actress. I decide not to. I can see this fellow has a crush on me, and I think about telling him instead that I take my marriage vows seriously. I think about my daughter and the way she dismisses the many men who fall in love with her as if it is a homage to be expected and tolerated.

Interpretation: This dream is about acceptance. In the first paragraph the dream reveals the theme, the need for me to take a look at my stored self-concept. So as not to be too alarming, the ego is disguised behind my “friend” Jane. Then, one by one, the dream delves into my various insecurities. Apparently I am comfortable with the idea that I'm intelligent, but can't accept the idea that I am pretty—in fact, I see something about my appearance as off-putting, creepy. I'm kind of out of it, too, so far from the city that going into town is not worthwhile.

Still, I forge on with presenting myself, cloaked in the Jane character. I read her contribution, and the problems multiply. I worry that I'm imposing on the group, taking up too much of their time. I'm really not worthy of this attention. And did I actually do the work that I'm taking credit for? Maybe not. And I'm not even prepared! I stumble around, perform badly. When the unconscious finally gets fed up with all this self-abasement it presents me with a fart: a lot of hot air, and stinky to boot.

Having confronted the absurdity of my low self-esteem, an admirer appears. He lets me know my fumbling around and relentless inadequacy was nothing more than an act. He sees me as I am, and he loves me. I'm not ready to accept this acceptance so I get a little stuffy and contemplate lecturing him about marriage vows.

By the end of the dream it seems I've gone from deflation to inflation, dismissing (now in the guise of my daughter) those who love me in a high-handed manner. Or is it more subtle than that? The dream is pointing out that if I am accepted I reject the acceptor, like the old saw about not wanting to belong to a club that would let you in. That explains the man's position near the movable staircase. With this inner script there is no way to avoid climbing, endlessly.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Moving is a Lot of Work!

The Dream: We've moved to a new house: it's an old new house and needs a lot of work. It was expensive, but I'm afraid it doesn't look it. My cousin is coming to visit, and I wonder how she will react. I'm concerned that she won't realize how much the house cost. I also think about my old town, that it was dull and that this is a better place. I wonder if my cousin will prefer our other house, the one we left behind. And where will I put her? The family reminds me we have moved the guest room furniture into a new guest room, and it is ready for her visit.

The rest of the place is a mess. The previous owners didn't clear out their things. The family room is full of pictures and articles pasted on the wall in a haphazard way. There's a raised work stand for chopping and cutting that should be part of the kitchen but instead is apart, on its own, in a corner.

The back garden is organized into areas but also needs attention. One section is a raised cement herb garden. As I look at what's left of the plants a small animal appears at my feet: a reptile with a long tail, plump in the middle. At first I think it's cute and point it out to Clark. It has curled, like a possum, into a pretty colored ball. It's joined by others, and six or seven or so run about our feet. They now appear to be furry and somewhat rodent like. They've started to annoy me, and I do my best to shoo them away.

Going through the garden we come to other undiscovered parts of the house. I think one area will be a good place for my studio, but then find another spot that will be even better. It's a long, large room, looking like a basement with a cement floor and cinder block walls. Like the rest of the house, this area is full of debris and will need to be sorted out. There's a large refrigerator, in good repair and not looking too old. I confer with Clark as to whether it could be useful. A woman tells us the food inside is good; we should try it. There are some health food-type drinks, white like milk, that she particularly recommends. She seems concerned that we might chuck out everything in there, and it's likely we would.

As I think about the studio, I see that preparing this place will be a lot of work: first I'll have to clear out someone else's debris. But I am excited about having this expansive studio with high ceilings and fluorescent well as incandescent light. I say to Clark, “Now I'll be able to work on large pieces.

The new house is a mess, but also full of interesting possibilities. The first thing that needs to be sorted is the family room, and the clue as to what about family I need to sort is given by my reaction to my cousin's visit. I am very concerned that she will be critical, that she won't like where I am, that I'm not ready for her, and that she won't appreciate how much I've “paid” for the place where I live, in other words, that she won't appreciate the value of my life choices. The dream tells me that I am ready to accept this, my inner critic, even if I don't feel ready. I have prepared a room for her.

The herbs and odd animals in the garden and the food in the refrigerator all point to new, if uncomfortable, possibilities. The scurrying animals represent challenges that go way back-- to the lizard and rat parts of my brain, the parts that respond instinctively and without reflection or awareness. Here dwell the beautiful and the ugly, the appealing and the off-putting, all at the same time. The new studio, with its two sources of light and it's deep (basement) location, offers me a space where I can work on these “large” issues. Perhaps my cement, the things that have been written in stone in my psyche, is being transformed into something more enlightened—if I can avoid being overwhelmed by all the work that needs to be done.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Guest Dreamer: Sacred Marriage

Thanks to Susanne van Doorn for this evocative dream and the lovely photograph that illustrates it. You can read her thoughts on this dream at Susanne's Dream Blog.  In this post I'll comment on her dream as if it were one of my own.

Susanne' s Dream: I am guarding a couple that wants to be married. We are on the road, on our bikes, me and some friends. I know L. from high school; he is my male-companion in making sure the couple can get to their ceremony on time. L. was a man when the rest in high school were boys. I know with him as a guardian-companion we can make this work; we will get the couple to the altar on time.

We stop at a crossing and hold up our hands to stop the other traffic to have a safe passage. I am looking at the carriage were the couple is in and the bride, a girl with brown churlish hair, is preparing her wedding bouquet. She arranges black and red tulips and is lacing a red band onto the bouquet, carefully lacing it. I look at her with a feeling of love and guidance in my heart and I wake up knowing we are going to make it happen.

Carla's thoughts:
In my version of Susanne's dream the couple that wants to marry are previously divergent parts of me that are now ready to unite—this is what Jung would call a conjunctio, often symbolized by a marriage. What might these parts be? L, my companion and helper in the dream, stands for a mature and capable part of me. In the dream I need this part in order to be effective, and that acknowledgment is the first step in our unification. Because his strength gives me a feeling of security I can rely on my Psyche to deal with life's difficulties.

Who is the bride? She is described as having “churlish” brown hair. While churlish might be a typo for “curly”, I have to look at the word I wrote down (as the dreamer), not what I might have meant to write. Churlish means “rude in a mean-spirited and surly way.” If hair, because it's coming out of our heads, symbolizes thought, and brown is slang for anger (I was “browned off”), I might be dealing with some hostile feelings that I don't want to face. The other colors hint at the topic that has evoked this reaction. I'm lacing together a bouquet of red and black flowers. For me red is life and passion, black is death and nothingness. Flowers are important in both life and death rituals, weddings and funerals. As the bride I lace these two conflicting states of being together—life and death. The red band (life) that I put around my bouquet holds the opposites together and tells me that they are part of the same thing. This is another conjunctio! Seeing this unity in the dream gives me the insight to get past my anger about death, something that I previously responded to with the surly attitude of an adolescent. Once this immature part united with my mature and strong self, represented by L, my reaction to death was no longer churlish. Now I have the understanding of a strong woman, one who can love and guide others as well as help myself along the path; L and I have made it safe for my individuation to continue.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Taking the Wrong Vehicle to Escape

The Unconscious experiences the vulnerability of women in this dream.
The Dream: Three couples are sharing a vacation rental. One of the husbands is charming and well-regarded, a very popular guy who is the mayor of his town. His attractive Asian / Indian wife bustles about attending the needs of the family. I'm cleaning up in the kitchen. It soon becomes apparent to me that the man is a pedophile who molests young boys, and that his wife is complicit in covering this up.

I'm on my way to the shopping center in a white rental car, and the man gets in with me. He's all charm, as usual. We park in a large garage and walk toward the supermarket, crossing a large parking lot. He makes a pass, and when I resist he gets ugly. He shows me a small closet near the market with its own door and tells me he intends to rent it and use it to seduce young boys. He grabs me—he's very strong—and I know he's planning to rape me. I tell him, in all sincerity, that my husband will kill him, but he couldn't care less about my threats. I holler for people to call the police. One woman says,“What are you making such a fuss about?—just go along with it!”

My shouting distracts him, and I manage to escape. When I run back to the garage I have a new problem: I am unable to find the car.  I don't even remember what it looks like. I am very frightened that the man will find me. It occurs to me that if I press one of the buttons on the key chain it will cause the car to beep. Sure enough, it works; I find a car, a long black station wagon. The seat seems to be in the right position, so even though I'm not sure this is the right car I take off. I become more and more concerned that it isn't my car: I notice the rear view mirror is not correctly aligned.

As I drive on one of the ramps I notice, barely, a woman in a wheel chair in front of my car. Despite my best effort to stop I can't, and I hit her. I jump out of the car, apologizing profusely. Luckily she was not injured.

I wonder if the police will stop me for stealing the car. Would they believe my story?—probably not. When I was in the altercation with the man I realized that most likely no one would believe it, and he would get away with all his crimes.

I go to a place in the garage where there's an office; a superintendent of something or other sits at a desk. A young woman with dark hair, foreign looking with a tear-stained face, has just reported her car stolen. She is the owner of the car I've taken. Realizing this I apologize, again profusely, and feel I can clear this up for her. I'm relieved to be able to do the right thing.

Interpretation: Some horrific current events triggered this dream. In the news was a woman executed by the Taliban—her husband delivering the fatal blow. Her crime? She had been abducted and raped. A football player on my local team had been accused of sexual assault, and NPR featured a program on rape. “How would I deal with such a situation?” my unconscious asked.

In the dream I am acutely aware that I have no physical defense, and my attempted verbal defense is useless as well. I experience the awful feeling of being over-powered. Luckily, I mange to flee.

The dream made me aware of the age-old difficulty that women have had in being believed when they report sexual predation. I realize that it is more than likely that no one would listen to me, sympathize, or even believe me. With that dream experience I think I came close to what victims of sexual assault feel. The man's reputation was such that he would not be questioned or suspected. There have been many accounts in the news lately of trusted figures who got away with atrocities for years: a beloved BBC host, Catholic priests, golf coaches, others like Sandusky, and so on. In the dream the man's position helps him to cover up his crimes; his own wife is an enabler. Society's point of view is reflected in the woman in the parking lost who tells me to get over it.

I do escape, but in doing so I come very close to harming other women. My car, once white, is now black and hearse like. I drive into one woman in a wheelchair and steal another's car. The metaphor is that although in waking life I've managed to “escape” these horrors, by turning a blind eye I hurt other, vulnerable women. I apologize for this in the dream, and hope to make things right. In reality, I wonder, what can do?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Repetitive Pattern

The Dream: I am working on a sweater, a complicated design with a scalloped border. One of the scallops doesn't match the others. This anomalous scallop really bothers me; it's ruining the perfection of the garment. I look for an artist I know to tell me what to do about it.
Interpretation: What is my bothersome repetitive pattern than isn't working out?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Case From Long Ago

The Dream:
A delicate-featured professor with a bald pate like a tonsured monk is killing young women. Another woman and I become aware of it. The victims never suspect him—such a refined man, and a professor! They feel comfortable being alone with him, and then he kills them.

The man acts as if these killings are a personal tragedy for him, and at one point I see my friend embracing him and weeping, as if commiserating. My reaction, on the other hand, has been to be cool and withdrawn. I wonder if my friend's reaction is a ruse to keep the man from realizing her suspicions: a wise strategy, I decide. I resolve to go along with his phony emotions as well.

The man's packed suitcase is on the bed. The pink case is small, carry-aboard size, and hard sided, as cases used to be. As my friend watches I rifle through it, taking out the items, feeling as if I won't get away with this snooping. There are several sweaters and other items, probably trousers. I try to repack it as it was when I opened the case, but am unable to do so. This increases my anxiety that the man will figure out I've gone through his things.

We are in a bathroom. I'm in the tub, and my friend and I are chatting, exchanging information. The door knob turns; I thought it was locked, but soon discover it isn't as the man enters. I try to cover myself with a towel. I think my friend should have locked the door, and I'm frightened as well as embarrassed.

The man wants to indulge in his self-pity. He looks very doleful and tells us that as if he hadn't been through enough, someone has killed his dog. We both affect sympathy, still feeling it's best to hide our true feelings.

When he leaves I say to my friend, “I think I know how he disposes of the bodies.” I show her the tub drain; it's been chiseled away at the edges to make the hole bigger.

Interpretation: Some past dream images come together here: previous dreams contained a serial killer and a professor with a bald head. Clearly, the case has been re-opened, and I'm in the process of rearranging the contents of this particular complex. Something new has surfaced about these two characters, however, besides the fact that they've been combined into one. Now the man is effeminate, and at times it seems I'm complicit in his crime: one part of me (my woman friend) both embraces him and leaves the door open for him. This tells me my feminine side works with this unevolved masculine side of me to kill many parts of myself, to put them down the drain where they'll never be seen or heard again.

So—I have to ask myself, what's gone down the drain? What's draining me? Can I ever get rid of these self-imposed (at this point) limitations that are killing me? As I reopen the case I'm frightened but I don't discover much; all is very tidy. On the other hand, I'm not able to put things back as they were, and while this makes me uncomfortable it might be a good thing.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Can't Hit Them When They're Down

The Dream: My friend Martha has let me know, without directly saying so, that she is very angry with her husband George who suffers from a debilitating disease. It's an anger too deep for words, and she expresses it by holding a baseball bat in one hand and tapping it against the other.

I'm in the house; my mother is with me, as are others. It's a party of sorts. I have a drink, and my mother makes a “joke” about not saying anything about my reaching for a drink for fear I'd whack her with a baseball bat.

Martha and George show up. Martha is seething at George. I tell her the comment my mother made, thinking it's a hilarious joke. Martha talks about anger toward the ill and helpless, pointing out that it is very difficult to express. At this point she is so angry at George that I wonder if she will leave him, and part of me would be happy to see her free of him and all the obligation that caring for him entails.

Interpretation: At first I thought this dream was about unexpressed anger toward my husband, but when I asked myself who in my life had been ill for a very long time—and who did I resent because I couldn't express this anger and frustration—I came up with a very different answer. I couldn't leave my ill mother or mother-in-law (be free of their needs and influence) while they lived, but the dream points out that it's okay to be relieved to be free from those obligations now.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Female Rituals

The Dream: I am at an elegant women's clothing shop, wearing an attractive black dress that I bought there. I tell the saleswoman that while I like this dress, it's too large. She looks for a smaller one, but not finding it comes back with a summery white and blue dress. I think this one will be too small, but I try it on and it fits, except that it's a little constricting in the underarm area. I think I might buy this dress as well as keep the one I had been planning to exchange.

Then I'm in my doctor's office. I'm asked to get my file. Do I remember how to retrieve these old-fashioned files—the ones stored in cabinets? I find I have no trouble and pull out a thick file with my name on it. I want to know what they've written about me. Am I allowed to look? I decide it is my right, and on top it says I'm pregnant. I'm surprised and mention it to the doctor. I tell him that I'm concerned because I've had no symptoms of pregnancy, no fatigue or morning sickness. Does this mean the baby won't be healthy, might not come to term? Then I remember I do have a slight upset stomach, but I'm not sure that qualifies as a sign of a healthy pregnancy.

Interpretation: I had been reading a book by Danica Anderson about the South Slavs and their ancient rituals and religion centered around women and birth. In the dream I perform the contemporary urban female rituals of shopping and going to the doctor. In my dream a potential birth is medicalized, no longer a woman-centered event. As a contemporary woman I go to an office and a doctor for childbirth and put my life story (the file) in the hands of impersonal medical technicians. No wonder one of the dresses I've bought is black and doesn't fit, and the other feels constricting. Can what is born of this situation possibly be healthy and survive?