World of Dreams

November 1, 2016 in Uncategorized






(Choo-chooing your dreams, 12 May, 2017)

Perhaps no dream symbol is more potent than that of the train, a meme of industrial strength in the steam age, the “iron horse” being the original wheeled vehicle that did not require a four-footed beast to propel it along. For nearly two hundred years, this meme has fed into our consciousness and the image of the train has become one of the most common dream tropes.

The train serves as a paradigm for so many situations, but particularly that of the group of mainly unconnected people travelling to a common destination but with different purposes – Alfred Hitchcock knew what he was doing when he made his movie, Strangers on a Train. The dream train can be in a recognised station or in the middle of nowhere, stationery or moving purposefully across the landscape. The implications are obvious: are you making progress in your life or getting nowhere fast? Be aware of the landscape and its significant symbols: is it lush and green or barren and blasted? Are you chugging through town or countryside? Is the ground cultivated and agricultural or is it a tangled wilderness? Is it populated or deserted, filled with mountains and lakes, forests and rivers? As ever, context is everything.

Unlike in a car, someone else usually drives the train – but if you are in charge of the engine and feeling confident, then it may be time to embark upon a new venture. If you are a passenger, who are your travelling companions and what is their significance in your life? If strangers, are they friendly or threatening, young or old? If you find yourself agreeing too readily to do a fellow passenger’s bidding, remember that Hitchcock movie!

(Wacky dreams, 23 April, 2017)

With a little effort and plenty of practice, expertise at analysing dream archetypes does happen along eventually. But what about those wacky phantasms that seem to make no sense whatever? In one dream, I wake up (sic) and am lying in my legitimate bed in my legitimate bedroom, etc. The sun is shining through the curtains and filled with the joys of life, I jump onto the lovely, floral carpet…eh? In reality, my carpet is plain buff. Friends, I stamped roundly and soundly upon that floor, in expectation of the carpet reverting to its norm, but it did not. The solid reality continued. I walked from the bedroom, across the landing and into the living room where furniture that I had bought (in reality) weeks earlier, was still in place. In short, everything was normal, except for that dratted floral carpet covering the entire floor. I am looking about in wonderment, wondering what to do about the phantom carpet when I suddenly sink to the floor and wake up, in reality. You can guess what I did next – and the relief of finding my beloved buff carpet in place is still palpable.

Just over a year later, I wake up, get out of bed and check the time on my convenient dial clock, 9:40. I go into the bathroom, turn on the tap and instead of the normal rush of clear water, out comes thick,  yellow mud. By now, a bathroom pipe is spouting water all over the floor. In summary, instead of lying in a warm and relaxing bath as a prelude to getting up, I am wrestling about in a horror of muck and water. Next, I turn to mush along with the muck and wake up for real. Again, you can guess what my priority was in the wake of that dream? Spookily, the time on my clock was 9:40, the same as in the dream. Like, how does a sleeping subject know? I wonder if our subconscious  sometimes sends  this phantasmagoria for the sheer fun of fooling our conscious brains into believing that something horrible is happening, just like a fairground ride in a haunted house? If so, thank you for the entertainment.
(Dream Houses, April 9)

When referring to their “dream house”, most people have in mind the house that they would/will build, when their financial ship sails into port. In dreams, buildings are metaphorical, standing for fears, hopes and desires. Because of our legacy of western architecture, certain building types are associated with particular social and commercial activities. These associations channel into our subconscious and express themselves in dream imagery. Buildings in which much commercial activity takes place, like banks and business headquarters, have often been built in the “classical” style, that is, with porticoed entrances and Georgian windows, carved friezes and string coursings. These references exude an aura of permanency and stability, important when imparting confidence to customers and trading partners. If your dream features a building like this, it is possibly a sign that you are confident about the future or have a very secure present.

Not everyone likes classical certainties, however. Medieval building references became fashionable during Victorian times, with castellated parapets, turrets and tall, narrow windows placed irregularly on the facades of domestic dwellings. The Victorian personality fancied a hint of the unexpected and the arcane – who knew what secrets lay hidden behind that turret window? To see a medieval building in a dream could mean that an exciting or unexpected event is about to take place – a lottery win, a new romance or maybe a turn of fortune in business? Purpose-built schools, hospitals and factories tend to be “modernistic” and devoid of ornament. In addition, buildings with shining glass and metal facades tend to house new, high-tech and dotcom-based businesses, in contrast to the premises of traditional banking and commodity-trading establishments. If you see a modernist building in a dream, it could mean that you need something new in your life, possibly taking a novel approach to an omnipresent situation.

As ever, the meaning of your dream house will depend on the accompanying imagery. For instance, if your classical building is on fire, it could be warning you not to take security or certainty for granted. Or if that deliciously spooky medieval house contains only the people and things you know and love, it may be a sign that you need not expect anything new to happen soon. Or if that shining, modern edifice pulls back to reveal a maggot-stuffed corpse – well, that’s for you to figure out. In my next post, I am going to write about those weird, wacky dreams that seem to have no meaning, at all.

(Cosmic Dreams, March 27, 2017)

The cosmos has ever been a heavenly place, the earliest site of study open to the ancients. Well, they had to gaze at something before the invention of television and the advent of literature. It was from this star-gazing that mythology, and world calendars and the prophetic understanding that we call astrology, emerged. The ancients believed that the position of the planets at the time of birth laid down the physical and personality traits that affected the life of the subject. In addition to personal destiny, celestial phenomena were portent in political situations, for example, a comet streaking across the sky heralded the birth/death of a king or political leader. But the cosmos is a crowded place and something is always happening out there; I expect that an astronomer today could join forces with an historian and detect a celestial event that happened in conjunction with every political change that the world has ever witnessed.

Because of this cosmic link to the personal and political, few of us get through life without dreaming occasionally of suns and moons, stars, comets and planets other than Earth. As with all dreams, the meaning of your cosmic symbols depends upon how they or it works in conjunction with other dream imagery. Generally, the sun, moon and stars are signs of good fortune but as with the ancients, it is not great news to see a comet. A clear moon is a particularly good symbol to see, but a clouded moon could indicate trouble ahead. The sun is a sign of forthcoming wealth, while a star is also good fortune. In the sky? On the ground? Watch this space for more cosmic interpretations.
(The Colour Purple, March 11, 2017)

Heracles, the Greek super hero, is credited with the discovery of the colour purple – or rather, his dog is. One day, while walking along the seashore of the land of Canaan, also known as Phoenicia, he discovered that the beast’s nose and mouth were stained purple from nuzzling among snails and molluscs. Eventually, Heracles presented King Phoenix with a purple cloak and Phoenicia became the ancient centre of the purple dye industry. For many centuries, only monarchs and nobles could wear the colour but by the 1900s, the birth of the chemical dye industry brought most shades of purple within reach of the common man – and most likely, woman. And in 1856, the Victorians went ‘mauve mad’ when William Henry Perkins brought the world aniline, the first organic synthetic purple dye.

 It is not for nothing that the more emotional passages in a novel are often described as ‘purple’.  Artists physically make purple by mixing red – the ‘hot’ colour we associate with passion – with blue, a cooler colour.  The colours of the sea, blue, green and purple occur at the higher frequency end of the colour spectrum, just below ultra violet, a colour that is outside the rather narrow range seen by the human optic nerve. The sea is the archetype of time, tide and eternity. It is a kind of Underworld, a repository of memories of the past and dreams of things to come. No wonder that the colour purple often wanders into my dreams.

In one dream, I am on a non-specific quest of self-discovery. At the same time, I am wearing a purple cloak, an indication that I ought to be more open to meditative techniques, as part of a daily routine – not bad advice, actually. In another dream, I am trying to board a bus, but my feet get stuck in a hollow and my footwear falls off. In a panic, I look down and see that the “fake” footwear has fallen away to reveal purple slippers. I then board the bus easily. Purple is also an archetype of wealth, and in one very curious dream, two other women and I are dressed from head to foot in purple. We dash through a forest and all the time, I am hoping to impress my sister. This is a good example of a “displacement” dream, where facets of the personality appear as different people. My “sister” is actually the more practical side of me, whereas the two women represent other qualities – purpose and energy. Together, we are trying to impress my sister, that is, my practical side, by commanding more money, which is represented by the purple clothing. Do look in your diaries for dreams involving purple, mauve and violet – the findings will astound you.

(Mary Phelan, 2017)