Sunday, October 25, 2015


What gets your goat? What can you learn from the things that set you off? In this dream I learned I wasn't an innocent victim.

The Dream: A young boy is tortured and murdered. I am aghast and very sad and upset when I learn about it. Then I discover that he was complicit in doing the same to someone else. I don't know what to think. Then I begin to wonder why I am following this story. Am I getting some sort of enjoyment from these sadistic acts? Am I also complicit?

Interpretation: This dream was triggered by an exchange with a photographer friend. Although his situation and the dream boy's dilemma seem very different, they both deal with an apparent injustice that might not be as unjust as it first appears. My waking life friend was disappointed and baffled by the placement of his photograph in a group exhibit. He said that since the show was hung by artists he couldn't understand why it was in a spot where it couldn't be seen well. Surely they know better? He conjectured it might have been because it was a photo rather than a painting. I said that, in my experience of group exhibits, artists were only concerned with where their own pieces hung. As I said it I realized, but didn't say, that that was certainly true of me. My friend thought about it, then said that made sense: he realized it was true of him. The take home lesson? We just might be complicit in creating what we complain about.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gifts of Gold

So many different facets come together in your dreams. The jewels in this one represent several things, from a parent's gifts to the many faces of a relationship over time. I bet you can find a few more.

The Dream
: My boyfriend has proposed. He is Dutch: stolid and stern. At first I like him, but over time I discover that he's overly directive and demanding. As I see these traits emerge, I want to end the relationship. He has given me some very beautiful gold jewellery.

I've gone too far by promising marriage, and I realize with some discomfort that I'm already married. I brainstorm with a woman friend about how to break up. “Why don't I just tell him the truth, that I'm already married?” I suggest.

“Oh, no!” she replies. She councils a subterfuge; so I tell the man, as kindly as I can, that marriage is not for me: I want to be free and independent. He is disappointed and appears hurt and vulnerable, a side of him I had not seen before. I feel bad for him. He takes the breakup well, and is not at all unkind.

I still have the beautiful jewelry that he gave me. I say to my friend, “I'm not going to offer to return it.” I'm happy to have these things.

Interpretation: This was triggered by my work on another woman's dream that I saw as dealing with her feelings about her father. The stern and demanding lover, someone I perceived in different ways over time, stands-in for the life stages of the daughter, from adoring small child to rebellious adolescent. As a small child I wanted to marry dad, but as I grew I wanted to escape him and his authority. In this dream I begin to appreciate the gifts of pure gold that he gave me, and I'm not willing to relinquish them. It's significant that he does not ask for them: they are his gifts to me, mine to keep.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Sometimes it will take you a few nights of dreaming on the same topic to clarify an on-going issue that you're subconsciously trying to sort out.  This dream gave me a slightly different understanding of the “actor” in A Long Row of Happy Dead, the previous post. And, since we've been looking at dream images, I'll point out that the dress color plays a role.

The Dream: I'm on an outdoor, open-sided stage, a platform. I fall forward, collapsing face down. My head hangs over the front edge.  People flee in all directions, afraid they'll catch what I've got. No one helps. A doctor comes forward and admonishes the others. “It's not contagious,” he says. I'm dressed in a pretty, feminine style, in a dress with a flared skirt like those from the 50s.

Interpretation: Am I ready to collapse? Actors are performers, and the key to this dream is my realization that I've been straining too hard to “perform.” I am experiencing a feeling of social isolation: people flee, and no one wants to help. I'm dressed in a feminine style that hints at my taxing “role” being mired in the obligations of wife and mother. The blue dress says I'm not happy about the situation. (Am I blue?)

I learned the feminine role in the 50s, from a mother who performed it par excellence, but at a cost to herself and to the family who became disenchanted, over the years, at her tendency to do too much and then play the martyr. My dream warns me not to do that by pointing out that it's exhausting me and has no upside: it doesn't win social acceptance or love.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Long Row of Happy Dead

Sometimes the only part of a dream that you'll remember is an arresting image. It's particularly important to attempt to illustrate these dreams if you want to penetrate what the dream means to you.

A Dream Image: This was part of a longer dream, but I don't remember it—except that there was a man, about 48, sitting in a chair. He had a few days growth of beard like a contemporary actor, and looked like one. He was someone's father. We went to where he was sitting and realized he was dead. Then we noticed a row of seated people with very large heads and over-sized, odd faces. They were all dead, leaning comfortably and companionably on one another.

Interpretation: Since what I remembered of this dream had no narrative, its meaning could only be unlocked by thinking about the image it created. As I developed the image a couple of things surprised me. First, the characters were indeed comfortable, and second, I chose to paint them in cheerful colors. Could these dead characters represent parts of myself that had had a “life” and were satisfied with what it had been, in other words, fulfilled? If that's the case they could indeed lounge comfortably and companionably, leaving behind the things I sometimes associate with the past: mistakes, failures, losses. It's as if they are saying, “That's over now.”

The one differentiated character is an actor, and aren't we all actors in our own life drama? He's “contemporary,” so he's been alive for me until this dream. My dream is telling me to follow the path of authenticity—the “actor” is dead, and that's a good thing. Since he was someone's father, he was instrumental in giving birth to the one who goes on, but he and his fellow dead, with their distorted heads (over-sized intellects) won't be going forward into my future. The light and bright colors tell me this is a happy development.