The Dream: A woman has been tasked with beating a man who lies face down, prone. He is covered with a blanket, and she must beat him with a whip until his blood runs black. She is appalled at this thing she is doing, but does it anyway. The power that set her to her dismal task is Christian.
I am an onlooker, also horrified. At some point his blood does run black, and she begins to rail against Christianity for having one set of rules for its followers while the hierarchy behaves quite differently. She is very angry, but never questions her own acquiescence, in other words, why she did as she was told rather than follow her conscience.
Interpretation: First I'll look at some things that triggered this dream: At the time of the dream I was reading Eric Kandel's The Age of Insight, and was at the place where Freud analyzes one of his own dreams and feels it has pointed out that he has suppressed his own guilt, just as my dream beater does. This was around the time of the horrific terrorist shooting at a mall in Kenya, following close on the heels of a shooting by a mentally ill person of people at an American Navy installation.
I feel guilty when I hear about these, and other, world situations, as well as disappointment and anger that the country I was brought up to believe had some sort of moral superiority now appears as venal and self-serving as the rest of the world. In the dream, Christianity stands for bankrupt values and hypocrisy on a national scale, and I ponder my own guilt as a citizen, even though I, like the dream actor, go along with it and feel powerless to stop it. I feel forced, as she does, to participate in things I find morally reprehensible. The dream implies my guilt and asks me why I don't stop.