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(March 2003)

Feedback on 'Is There Meaning in Dreams? (2) - Shards in the Web, or Dig and Delve'

[Read the essay]

Bill Wright (September 1999)
Sue Grigg (October 1999)
Eric Lindsay (October 1999)
Lucy Schmeidler (October 1999)
Karen Johnson (October 1999)
Lucy Schmeidler (February 2000)
David Charles Cummer (April 2000)
Lucy Schmeidler (April 2000)
Lucy Schmeidler (June 2000)

BILL WRIGHT writes (September 1999):

Exploration of your invaginated shadow mind continues. Thanks for the synopsis. Dreams help us make sense of the world around us, but interpreting dreams is quite a different exercise.

The contents of dreams are literals and symbols. The validity of symbols is covered, but their power is almost ignored. Because the human mind is preoccupied with symbols and, as Carl Jung says, "they lead to ideas that lie beyond the grasp of reason," it follows that those who control the symbols that command mass attention are very powerful individuals indeed.

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SUE GRIGG writes (October 1999):

You write that in a dream a house might represent security, belonging, shelter. I have also heard of a house as representing the dreamer and what [happens] to or in the house being of import in relation to self. What do you think of the idea of transportation reflecting how we move through life?

I reply (February 2000):

G'day Sue.

"You write that in a dream a house might represent security, belonging, shelter. I have also heard of a house as representing the dreamer and what happen to or in the house being of import in relation to self."
[Megatheriums 21. A.191]

Well Sue we are going here from association to symbolism! The House in dreams (when it isn't being used literally) often represents yourself, your mental state, your intimate environment.

If it is fine and spacious house and you feel contented there - all is well in your world. If it is beginning to fall apart, then their are some very important issues you have to deal with. If it is besieged then you are feeling under threat. If you go exploring and find a whole suite of rooms you did not know were there - then there are new things to discover about yourself.

(The House is a complex symbol - and to aid understanding must be broken down into smaller parts - the door which cannot be closed with the cold night howling outside; your childhood drawings pinned to the walls of a forgotten room; your bed floating in water in darkness; a journey down stairs into a deep dark cellar with a single small window on a far wall showing a glimpse of paradise which can never be reached because of three inches of solid glass; an underground tunnel with, seated on stone thrones, the rotting bodies of your ancestors....)

"What do you think of transportation reflecting how we move through life?" [ditto]

It seems very apt! I tend to think of it like this:

PUBLIC TRANSPORT (Buses, Trains, Trams)
No control over departure time or route. Limited choice of destinations. You have limited control over where life is taking you. (Missing a train may imply missing an opportunity.)

Succeeding through your own efforts! (You can choose your own path - but your personal power feels limited.)

This is, at least for me, a freedom symbol. You can go wherever you want to go. (Though sometimes the road can get very frightening.)

But their exists for me an even more powerful symbol of freedom than the car. In dreams of exhilaration I have the STARSHIP - effortless free flight - as fast as an imagination can carry you....

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ERIC LINDSAY writes (October 1999):

Seemed like a good summary of dream ideas. If I could remember any dreams I'd be more interested, but they are not accessible to me.

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LUCY SCHMEIDLER writes (October 1999):

nice cover pic

I am fascinated by your latest article on dreams, and would love to try out some of your ideas, except it seems to be months since I've woken with any memory of having dreamed. (Much more accurate than saying it's months since I've dreamed.)

Love your expression, "a load of biological wastematter."

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KAREN JOHNSON writes (October 1999):

How come if you're actually dreaming and you're woken up, you feel all logy and disgusting, but you can remember the dream clearly. If on the other hand you're woken up and you're NOT currently dreaming, you wake up much more quickly and easily, but you can't remember dreaming at all? This morning was a case of the former, and here, for the entertainment of the dream-interpreters among us, is the Dream (I can't forget it, so might as well share it:-)

It was late at night and I was very tired so I hopped on a tram, hoping it would take me home. Then I fell asleep (or mostly asleep.) When I woke up, I looked out the window to see where I was, and saw Santa and Christmas lights apparently outside. I did a double take because it was July, and then realised that they were attached to the tram window between the glass and the blind. The tram driver (a friendly, elderly woman) heard my startled explanation, and explained that they normally did this at Christmas time but the Government wasn't going to let them any more so they were doing it now for the last time. She dropped me off at the train station, and I went to get a train home. Some time after I'd got on the train, I realised it was going in entirely the wrong direction, and I was in the middle of nowhere. It was the last train for the night too. I got off at the next station. I thought that the City Youth Hostel must be somewhere nearby, so I went looking.

As I was walking along, the streets started turning dark, dangerous and gloomy. I must have been wrong, and I didn't know where I was, or where I was going. I started to cry, and then along came a very friendly lady. She offered to take me back to her place to stay the night. When we got there, there was a big sign on the outside of the building. I should have known what it meant, but I didn't. I went upstairs with the lady, and lay down on her couch while she clucked over me. It was only later that I realised that something wasn't right, and remembered that this place was a Loony Bin. I got up to go, but she wanted me to stay with her forever, and I ended up running down the stairs with her close behind. I ran and ran, and eventually ended up near the middle of the city. It was still night-time (must have been a long night!) As I was walking along, I ran into a girl I'd been to University with (no name to attach here - short, blondish hair, and outwardly friendly.) She was in the city for the night, and invited me to join her. We went to a big cinema centre where they were showing a Preview of a new movie. I didn't have a ticket, so I couldn't go in, but I was allowed to settle down in the foyer to wait for her. I sat down and waited, and waited. I could hear laughter from the auditorium, but couldn't see anything because the doors were shut. After a while I got up and walked around, then curled up on the couch to doze.

When I woke up, they'd just opened the cinema doors, and a horde of young people were streaming out. I looked for my friend, but didn't see her in the horde. Soon everyone had gone past, and I was left by myself. There were two coats lying around, so maybe she hadn't come out yet? I went over to the first, red, coat and picked it up, just in time to hand it to the owner. I went over to the second, blue, coat and started to look for a name. Just then, some people came racing up the stairs from outside. I looked towards them, thinking one of them might be my friend, but they weren't. I was holding out the coat, and they took it, thanked me politely, handed me a tip, and were out of there before I could say I didn't work for the Cinema. Then a real cinema worker came past and I asked him whether my friend was still inside. He didn't think so, but when I gave him the tip, he let me go in and look. I looked up and down and in all the corners, but the only people in the building were cinema workers trying to clean up. I was asked to leave, and went outside onto the street.

For a moment I thought about walking up and down in search of my former friend, but I decided it wasn't worth it, and went towards the station. When I got there, I realised it was light already and going to be a beautiful day, so I crossed the bridge and headed towards the Botanical Gardens for a walk in the crisp morning air.

I walked and walked, but instead of the gardens I ended up on a high hill, with a magnificent view of the river (or was it a bay?) There were little tiny buildings clustered down on the edge of the water, and I thought of going down there to look closer. I walked along some more, and the hill got lower, I was actually very close to the buildings, though there was still a cliff between the water and me. Then I saw a big old-fashioned sailing ship in the water, moored at a dock. For a moment I wondered whether I'd somehow gone back in time, but then a modern-day family walked noisily across the gangplank, and I realised I was looking at a historical recreation. The family was walking around admiring things, and they didn't notice their little boy (about 4) was climbing out onto the bowsprit. He was obviously going to try to play 'Titanic' on the bow, and it was incredibly dangerous because the wharf was very close to the side of the ship and he would get crushed if he fell, if he didn't drown that is. I yelled 'Look Out' as loudly as I could, and the family turned towards me and saw their kid. I couldn't hear what they were saying from this distance, but they reached towards him, just as he overbalanced. Everyone held their breath, but his clothing caught on the bowsprit, and he dangled for a moment before grabbing on and pulling himself up again. Then he did it again, and I left the scene not wishing to see him die messily.

I turned back towards the city, and as I walked along I saw a figure running towards me. It turned out to be Greg. I told him about the boy, and he said 'good'. We were at the highest point, and he vwanted to go down to the water to investigate a small tree with a cairn placed in front of it. I didn't want to go, so I watched him as he clambered down the high bluff. It was obviously much too steep, and I was terrified he was going to fall. Halfway he gave up (just before the steepest bit) and scrambled back up towards me. We decided to find an entrance on the town-side of the bluff instead.

When we got there, we saw a narrow cobbled lane leading to the buildings, so we followed it. There wasn't anything exciting there that we could see, just a lot of empty old buildings, so we turned around and went back towards town. We crossed the bridge, and then decided to take a shortcut to the station. We walked along the riverbank, then scrambled up a narrow, overgrown path to get to the platform. It was short and steep, and when Greg got to the top someone grabbed him! Then they yelled at me, grabbing my arm. I pulled away and ran, with them chasing. I was terrified and ran for my life, back across the river, across the bluff etc. I didn't stop running until I was a mile away, by which stage I was disheveled and panting for breath. My arm was bleeding where they grabbed it, and I was generally a mess. While I was wondering what to do, a friendly-seeming man came up to me. He told me I should go to see a Doctor, or the police, and when I refused he pressed pills on me that he said were vitamins, pain-killers and caffeine to help wake me up. I trusted him, so I took one and put the container into my pocket, and went on my way. I needed somewhere to hide and suddenly thought of the Pioneer Village down by the River, with all those empty buildings. I crept around the base of the cliff and came into it that way. No one could see me coming, so I should be safe. Then I saw a small boat coming in, so I hid in the shadows. There were men on the boat, and they went into one of the empty buildings and came out carrying a large, obviously heavy, crate. They were smuggling something, but what? I had to see, so once I was sure that they had gone, I crept into the building they'd come out of. First I looked in the window, but I couldn't see anything. I had to go inside. I opened the door and went in. The building was empty, but not the shell that some of the others were. There were rooms in here, and scuffmarks on the floor. There were a few drops of blood on the floor and something else. I bent down to see what it was - a large, glimmering red scale. It seemed unreal, and I realised I was feeling very tired and woozy, so I took another of the 'caffeine pills'. I went around the corner and saw three doors with labels on them - 'red', 'near-red', and 'gold.' 'So Dragons are real!" I exclaimed. Then I heard a sound behind me,and turned around to see a tall woman standing over me with her arm raised to clobber me. 'Yes, and they're Ours.' This was the last thing I saw before everything faded to black because of the pills I'd taken, which weren't what the friendly man had said...

Alas, this was when Heather came and woke me up, so I don't know how it was going to end, or what became of the Dragon-smuggling racket.

I reply (February 2000):

Such a L-o-o-o-n-g dream in ANZAPANs Only #8 (A191)! Where to begin?

I haven't had the chance to quiz you about your life or your associations - this is swinging cats in the dark:

  1. Public transport taking you where you do not expect or want to go. (Not being in total control of your life & being presented with experiences which were not those you would have preferred).

  2. Being betrayed by several people you thought initially you could trust - including your friend who abandoned you in the cinema.

  3. The cinema itself - having to miss out on one of life's great experiences.

  4. The new morning & the hill. Seeing the historic village. (New possibilities. Gaining a higher vantage point which gives you a better overview - including a reassessment of your past.)

  5. The dragon smuggling operation! (Something magical going on hidden in the background - being misused by 'bad people.' Now you have discovered it - you can do something about it!)

Like Demtel there's more - and the dream is not without its ironies and humour. Above all you are a survivor & able to extricate yourself from difficult situations. Your dreamself also shows compassion & thoughtfulness towards others. Send me another dream so I can get a more accurate fix.

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LUCY SCHMEIDLER writes (February 2000):

I rarely remember my dreams upon awaking, and I haven't noted any dreams since I've been in ANZAPA. However, I used to have a recurring dream, which an experience with Alan Stewart seemed to cure me of in 1995. In the dream I was sitting in a parked car -- waiting for someone? -- when the car began to roll forward. And I had to grab the wheel and try to steer, without ever having taken driving lessons! (The cure came about when Alan was driving me to the airport and his car broke down, so he asked me to steer it to the edge of the road while he pushed.) The dream was always frightening and very realistic, but I have no idea what triggered it.

I reply (April 2000):

"In the dream I was sitting in a parked car -- waiting for someone? -- when the car began to roll forward. And I had to grab the wheel and try to steer, without ever having taken driving lessons. (The cure came about when Alan was driving me to the airport and his car broke down, so he asked me to steer it to the edge of the road while he pushed.)"

My intuition is that this is a dream indicating anxiety about being in a situation which you feel you can't cope with - lack essential knowledge, etc. The cure came about because you were put in an analogous situation in real life - and you found you were able to cope very well - thank-you very much!

[Please see further down]

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DAVID CHARLES CUMMER writes (April 2000):

"...a house might represent security, belonging, shelter. I have also [heard] of a house as representing the dreamer..." When I worked in the Child Psych Ward we often would give kids "The Draw a Tree, House, Person, Yourself" test. What I recall was that the standard rule of thumb was the attic of the house represented the mind.

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LUCY SCHMEIDLER writes (April 2000):

On the subject of dreams, I had a morning dream one recent Shabbat, which I didn't write down immediately because of the day, but I did try to remember it. Because [it] occurred shortly before I woke it was very vivid in my mind but also felt unfinished, as if the story was interrupted before the end.

I dreamed that I was at a resort somewhere and I met a young woman (mid-30s?) who was from a non-Anglophone background and spoke a mixture of languages, so that I could sometimes catch her gist without knowing which words I had recognized or from where. Wandering around the place I ran into my daughter Sara engaged in some kind of group exercise. I joined her in order to be able to chat, and then she went off for some reason and the other young woman showed up and took Sara's place in the line, at the same time as a bunch of tourists showed up and stood around watching us. My best interpretation is that it was about my anticipation of meeting two young Canadian women writers at Eeriecon, March 31 - April 2, one pro and one a Critters member.

I reply (June 2000):

(Your new dream is more cryptic than it appears. There is not time to explore all the resonances, but it may have something to do with the half-familiar (intuitive) taking the place of the consciously known and recognised. It is an alien quality to a familiar world - though the fact that you get the 'gist' means that you can relate to some degree with the alien.)

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LUCY SCHMEIDLER writes (June 2000):

[See previous]

(And by the way, thanks for explaining my dream and its cure, both perfectly obvious after your explanation.)

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Last Updated: 2 July 2003