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).