Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Friend Likes What I'm Building

When people you know appear in your dream, think of their most dominant quality and ask yourself if they might be representing the part of you that shares that trait. You'll see that question and answer play out in the following dream.
The Dream: A friend pulls something I've discarded out of the trash from my studio. On one side is a splash of paint, a color test. On the other is a drawing of a building. My friend likes the drawing of the building very much, and I tell her that I did it. She smiles and puts it into her purse.

Interpretation: This particular friend is very critical, and so I tried out the idea that she represents my own inner critic. But she likes my building (the thing I'm building, or creating). She shows this by putting my work into her purse, a place where valuable things are kept. That can only mean that my own inner critic is satisfied with the direction I've taken. This dream, like the last one I posted, point to the fact that I'm on the right track, despite my conscious confusion and misgivings.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I Can Do That With My Eyes Closed

Here's an idea: Sometimes the meaning of a dream that had seemed very obvious isn't the right one. It never hurts to try on the opposite interpretation of a dream, and see how it feels. When I did that with this dream, something interesting came to light.
The Dream: I'm driving a car from the back seat. I've dozed off for a moment. I awaken with a start, happy to realize that no one noticed my lapse. The road is pitch black, and I can't see anything but the opaque night. I don't know how fast I'm going, but I'm afraid I might be exceeding the speed limit. A father figure is sitting in the driver's seat blocking my view of the speedometer. I don't want to ask him about my speed because it might draw attention to my inadequacy. I'm surprised that I've stayed on course, even with my eyes closed. Later I understand that this particular route is not much used; it's only for people wanting to travel between distant places rather than for local transportation.

Interpretation: At first this dream struck me as very negative, and it's easy to see why. There's the black night too dark for vision to penetrate; I'm driving from the back seat and fall asleep. I'm afraid I will be judged. But wait a minute! After thinking of the dream's worst possible meaning, another way to look at it flashed into my mind: I may be in the dark, and it might not be obvious that I'm driving, but I am, and I mange to stay on course even if I make mistakes. This dream is telling me about a big psychic change in progress; the road I'm on is only used to travel long distances, to get to a different place. It's the road less traveled, and I'm getting there even if it's frustrating at times and even if I don't know how.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Something Stinks

Whether we're interacting with a cousin, a parent, a sibling, a partner, or a child, the past is not as buried as we'd sometimes like to think: it's important to look at how old feelings influence our relationships in the here and now.
The Dream: My cousin Barb is visiting. Clark and I are entertaining in the garden, full of brilliant orange and purple flowers. Barb sits with her back to the house, on the lowest level near the family room and kitchen. She looks up at an arrangement of tall flowers, stepped as if they were on a grandstand. To the right is the fountain, surrounded by flowers as tall as it is.

I am mixing with the guests and don't see much of Barb. When I do see her she says, “The garden is very beautiful, but there is a bad smell coming up from under the house.”

I am relieved that she approves of the garden; I had been worried that there were too many of the same flower, and perhaps the arrangement was not exactly graceful. At the same time I'm upset by her comment about the bad smell. “How could I have let her sit there?"  I wonder. I knew about that smell. Or did I? I think I did. I feel judged inadequate.

Later I see her drinking a large glass of red wine. She calls out to me to join her, and I tell her I'm about to, as soon as I find a glass. I call out to her: “The guys (our husbands and male friends) don't drink so we'll have to keep up the tradition of our fathers.” As I say this I'm a little concerned I'll descend into alcoholism.

Interpretation: Two recently watched mysteries triggered this dream about family. In the first, set in Italy, a very attractive priest/detective says that Jesus came not to judge but to save. In the first scene with my cousin I feel judged and inadequate. She mentions a smell coming from under the house, and that was triggered by the second mystery, British, with bodies buried in the basement of a family home. What bodies of our family members lie buried underneath and raise up stinks that appall us even today? What “remains” poison our current relationships?

Having acknowledged the stink of the past my cousin and I take communion: we have wine together, but even then I worry about the legacy of our fathers. Does this communion require we numb ourselves with alcohol? Or is the dream pointing out that I'm letting overblown worries get in the way of enjoying my time with my family?

The imagery of the dream is closely tied to burial rites. The brilliant flowers mask the dark reality of decay, and they point to new growth, a resurrection of the spirit.My cousin sits near both the family room and the kitchen, the first pointing to the issue (family), and the second to transformation (our new relationship).

Sunday, November 8, 2015


Our culturally defined roles play a big part in determining the way we are in the world. Sometimes (often?) our inner self isn't happy with the limitations these roles impose. This dreams demands I take a look at that.
The Dream: A woman is talking up her partner, as wives and mothers often talk up and praise their husbands and children. I think she's overdoing it.

She has beet juice on her face, and she wipes her face on the sleeve of her lovely red wool coat. It leaves a stain. She takes the coat to the dry cleaner and when it comes back there's a cloudy gray-white residue where the stain had been. I go to get a cloth in order to clean up the mark, dampening the cloth with water. But I'm not sure I can remove this stain.

: What is this stain that won't be removed; does it come from being beet red with embarrassment? Could it be the stain of menstruation, symbolizing the “stain” and trials of being a woman? Have these challenges beaten me down?  In the dream a woman is self-effacing, making her partner more important than she is. The day before the dream I had  a conversation with a friend about discrimination against women the the art world: she told me that a famous man's work on the art market gets 30 times what a famous woman's work gets.

This stain is difficult to remove. It's embedded in the fabric. Is this “fabric” cultural or part of our DNA? In the dream it's embedded in a wool coat, a fitting symbol of feminine “sheepdom.” We women have put on the mantle of the easily led. How sheepish are we?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

No Privacy

Before you conclude that every dream is dealing with a weighty personal issue, take a look at what was going on around you, and in the world, the day or two before you had the dream.
The Dream: I'm living with other people in an apartment. The boy in the next room is playing a kind of music I don't like at ear-splitting volume. I'm very angry and go to his door, banging on it with a large pair of garden shears. It occurs to me that if he opens the door quickly I'll probably bang him with them.

At last he opens up, and I tell him how disturbing his music is, that not everyone has the same taste, and I suggest that he use ears buds. He agrees, and the music quiets down.

When I get back to my room I realize there is a window between our rooms. I can see him; he has no privacy. I wonder if he can see me, but then realize it's one-way glass. However, I think there might be another window that I'm not aware of through which another room looks into mine.

A few threads from the previous day's news and entertainment were woven together in this dream. Once I remembered them I marveled at the ability of the unconscious to make a narrative out of these diverse elements. I had the dream on a day when the Snowdon revelations of massive government snooping were being talked of everywhere. I had watched a video on how to use iPhone ear buds. I saw a mystery in which perps were being interviewed and observed through a one-way mirror. The mystery contained a knife attack (the shears) and banging on doors.

Did this dream have any deeper meaning for me? I'd say it pointed to some concerns, but that these concerns have more to do with our society than with my personal life. The issues of the dream are: privacy, peace and quiet, potential threats from strangers. The dream says that I don't like some of the things I'm hearing, and I'm angry about it. It tells me it's possible to cooperate with my neighbor, and that once I see into his world I have more sympathy for him. It seems we're all in the same boat.