Throughout the 80’s I had recurring dreams about preparing to move into new houses I didn’t like. Here’s one I had in 1988, three months after I began recording my dreams.
After I wrote my associations to the symbols in my Ireland dream, I started on its message. The biggest clues to a dream’s meaning are recent waking life experiences and how you responded to them. I was aware of some issues, thoughts and feelings in the days before the dream, but which were relevant and which were not?
Now that I’ve related my dream from the night we arrived at the Jungian conference in Ireland, I’d like to use it to demonstrate how I work on my dreams. Every year I start a new file on my computer and write out dreams in the order of their arrival, giving each one a number, date, and title. I try to include every detail, image, event, color, plot change, behavior, thought and emotion I can remember.
I began recording and working with my dreams in 1989. In those early days, many of my dreams had to do with conflicting feelings about my career. This is one of them. Dream #198: “Hiding From the Enemy” Someone desecrates my small, primitive wooden house and ransacks my possessions while I’m away teaching writing classes. […]
My dragon dream took place in a house that felt just like the one my husband grew up in. I knew that house well as it was only a few miles from my own house. When Fred and I started dating in college I was invited there for many meals, and after our marriage it was the setting of numerous family gatherings and celebrations.
As I write this I’m in the ninth day of a bout with a nasty, feverish flu. I use the word “bout” deliberately. At first I fought it, insisting on attending a social event, doing a little writing, flying to North Carolina, preparing a meal for beloved relatives, and flying back to Florida.
I’m not feeling very perky or wise right now. In fact, I’m sort of questioning my sanity. What’s going on here? There’s meaning in all this. There always is. In dreams a house is a symbol for the psyche. My house is a mess. My psyche’s a mess right now too. Did a temporary onset of psychological chaos, perhaps brought on by unconscious unresolved issues surrounding the holidays, contribute to the physical chaos? Was it the other way around? Or am I just losing it?
Dreams symbolically represent underlying truths of which we are unaware. Dream events, like those in fairy tales, fables, myths and films have allegorical, metaphorical meanings. Rarely are they meant to be taken literally.
I went back to school for my doctorate in the late 70’s and spent the 80’s teaching university students. The unsuitable new houses in my dreams depicted my unhappiness with myself and my life. It took another year of dreamwork before I trusted my dreams enough to leave a profession that wasn’t right for me. Two days after I left for good I dreamed I was escaping from prison!
At that time it must have looked to others as if I had the world by the tail; but inside a battle had been raging for over nine years between two apparently irreconcilable opposites.