The Dream: A woman, a teacher, lives nearby. She has an Irish/German/American face, but dark coloring. She is looking into her family history and says that her ancestors come from Nom, a country she has been unable to locate on a map.
I go home and look at a map and, to my surprise and delight, very quickly discover that the province of Nom is inside Egypt. I go to her place and bang excitedly on the door. (Her house is a white stationary trailer.) She answers, and I enter the narrow building. “I've found Nom,” I say. “It's in Egypt.”
I either think or say, “That explains why you are so dark.”
Interpretation: This woman has something to teach me. Nom in French means name. This--plus the woman's mixed ancestry, her family history research, and her inability to locate her family's geographical origin--tells me that this dream is dealing with where I fit into the human family. Where do I come from? And beyond that, what does it mean to be human?
The dream tells me that the “dark” aspects I carry within (and that are clearly visible to all) are ancient (like Egypt) and very rich (like the Pharaohs). If I disavow these parts of myself I'm left with a life that is white and narrow, like the woman's trailer home. This is another way of saying that my self-understanding doesn't own up to the complexity of the human psyche and experience. At the same time, while accepting my atavistic human traits is an important step in developing the sort of human being that doesn't wallow in self-righteousness, it's not an excuse or justification for bad behavior.