Tag Archives | dream interpretation

The theme of the dream is siblings; more insights on the passing of my brother.

I recently posted the term “Siblings” to my blog when my brother passed away unexpectedly two weeks ago.  Obviously, I have been in deep process since then and my dreams have of course been a big part of that process.  I decided to share this dream with you because it illuminates two concepts.  One, it exemplifies how dreams are mirroring our waking-life processes and, essentially, mirroring the daytime events in a nighttime sort of way.  This is the compensatory nature of dreams; they help balance us out.

The other approach to dream work that this particular dream emphasizes is the idea that the theme of the dream is where the interpretation lays – as opposed to a symbol-by-symbol, story-about-the-story technique.

So, first some background information.  I was the one of the three of us children who got all of the positive attention.  And, I do mean all.  It has been a deep wound of mine (and an issue for both my brother and sister) that my personality and exploits set up a scenario in which the receiving of attention was ridiculously out of balance, with me receiving most of all the good stuff that was available.  I have cried many a tear of the notion that my brother might have had a better experience of his life is I had not been quite so dynamic in mine.

The other salient part of the story is that my sister is a high school art teacher.  She is ridiculously gifted at this, but has often expressed (early in her career) a sense of limitation because she is not a more talented artist; many of her colleagues were artists first, teacher’s second.  My sister is teacher first and artist second.  And I do not fall subject to hyperbole when I tell you that she is magnificent at what she does; she will live on in many a student’s psyche for decades to come.

So on to the dream.  My sister, brother and I were sitting around a table.  My sister was accusing my brother of stealing one of her paintings.  He was justifying his actions because of her lack of talent, the painting was no good anyway.  Suddenly, a woman who felt like she was my sister’s psychotherapist was present and I was trying to explain that my sister felt inadequate about her artistic talent.  Her therapist became very defensive with me, which surprised me as it was not exactly a professional reaction.

I sat with this dream for days and nothing really hit me.  Then yesterday, the whole thematic perspective dropped into my awareness in one fell swoop.  I have been working diligently at recognizing that I deserve to utilize all my gifts and that having them did not actually take away from the experience of my brother.  That I was the perfect child and he was the black sheep was actually NOT MY FAULT!!!  What a revelation, because of course in my deep unconscious I felt terrible shame and guilt that the more attention I got out in the world, the guiltier I was for the challenges my bother was facing.

What the dream showed me was that what I was feeling was universal.  ALL brothers and sister struggle with these sorts of dynamic and mine was no different than anyone else’s.  My guilt and shame is my guilt and shame to work out on my own.  My brother’s passing doesn’t mean I look at this and suddenly think, “Oh, I’m REALLY to blame here.”  It’s actually a moment to do the opposite.  To own my own life and choices, to allow my brother to do the same and to move on with grace and easy, being grateful for all the beauty of my brother and releasing and forgiving any element of our connection that was painful.

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Why can’t I get to work in my dream?

This posting comes right off of the Perchance To Dream page on facebook; if you haven’t checked that out, please do so.  It’s a great community resource for sharing dreams and receiving interpretations from me!

Here’s what the dreamer had to say:

In my dream I am trying to get to work, but as I park my car in the lot, the back of the hospital becomes the back of a big mall. And then I try an alternate route and I am in what looks like the Engineering Room of the hospital, and I keep asking which elevator will get me to the nursing office. When I take their advice, I get off the elevator, I am in the lobby of a big hotel. And I know that the stairs won’t get me to the hospital from the mezzanine. I am late for work, and all the other routes don’t get me there. If I wake up and go back to sleep, I am still in this scenario. I have this dream at least four times over periods of time, even after I retired three years ago.

And here’s my response:

I’m thinking that even though you’ve retired, the fact that you’re trying to get to work in the dream may connect to anything in your life that you feel responsible for or obligated toward. You can personally further the interpretation of this symbol by adding your personal sense of how you felt about work and working.  Since this dream recurs and comes in bunches, it is likely sparked by moments when you feel like your responsibilities are overwhelming and difficult to conquer.

So, let’s look at each of the apparent obstacles. The back of a mall – again, your personal associations with malls and shopping should play a big part of how you interpret this obstacle. Certainly the idea of being able to spend money, shop and provide yourself with the distraction of material things and general escapism may be reflected in this image.

Next you find yourself in an engineering room. You’re closer now because you’re actually IN the hospital. And where you are is in the bowels of how things work – the mechanism of operations. Perhaps this is an attempt at getting to the center of your responsibilities by going directly to the source of where the power is (engineering room will connect to power supplies, the people who “fix” things, etc.). They even provide guidance and directions.  However, you still don’t get to where you’re going.

A hotel connects to one’s sense of self as any home represents the self. However, it is a temporary sense of self since they are transient. Perhaps the temporary sense of self that the hotel represents connects to who you are having to be in the world for different people – the needs you feel you must meet for others and not necessarily for yourself.

The bottom line about this dream is it is a good way for your psyche to relieve some of your stress so you can wake up the next day and face it all over again!!

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My brother passed away – why aren’t I dreaming of him?

This has been a difficult week for me and my family.  While back in New York City celebrating my mother’s 75th birthday, my brother, sister and I gathered to put together an evening of what would amount to some of her favorite things: the opera (I am a 3rd generation Met subscriber), good food (does anyone NOT like good food?) and having her three children together at the same time.  Since the oldest son lived in Albany and the youngest moved to California, this is not always an easy feat.

Just twenty-four hours after this truly delightful evening of celebration, my brother returned to his Albany home, slid onto his couch to watch some football and went to sleep that night and never work up.  He died two weeks shy of his fiftieth birthday.

I share this with you here because this blog is ultimately about dreams.  Your dreams, my dreams, friends dreams.  And dreams are intensely personal.  There is no way to share about my dreaming experience without bringing to the process my life laid bare.  So here we have it; my brother has died suddenly and unexpectedly and I am craving some dreams that will help me feel connected either to him directly, or at least to the psychic process of grief and loss.

So far – nothing.  Of course, my sleep has not been very deep or satisfying and that may have something to do with it.  And I assure, I will post about any dreams I do wind up having the moment they appear.

Meanwhile, I went to the dream dictionary in my up coming book, Dream Sight and decided to share the term “Siblings” with you here.

Siblings

Universal Landscape:  Character aspects related to waking-life siblings.

Dreaming Lens:  Were you dreaming of your own brother(s) or sister(s)?  Do you have siblings in waking life or were these dream characters?  Were the siblings in your dream related to each other but not to you?

Personal Focus:  All people in dreams relate to some aspect of your own personality.  If you dream of your actual brothers or sisters from your life, the character aspects that they represent as part of your psyche should be investigated in the same manner as any person known to you who appears in a dream.

However, because of the powerful dynamic of family systems, the relationships between siblings will connect to various roles each member of the group often find themselves locked into.  When a sibling appears in a dream, there is a great deal of complexity to explore; from your current relationship, to your childhood history and even how parenting styles impacted each family member.

With careful and unbiased investigation, a sibling dream can offer a penetrating snapshot of where you are in your development as an individual, separate from the limitations of your personal history.

If there is little or no complication associated with the sibling you dream of, treat the interpretation process the same as with any cast member in a dream using the character aspect technique.  If you have no brothers or sisters in waking life, the character aspect of one appearing in your dream will be based primarily on the context in the Dreaming Lens.

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What does it mean when I dream of my family?

I’m about to get on a plane to go back to New York to visit my family for my mother’s 75th birthday.  This past two years is the longest period of time in almost a quarter of a century of living on the west coast that I have not been back to visit.  Consciously, I am very excited for the trip and am looking forward to seeing everyone and for the celebration we have planned.  Unconsciously, something far more interesting has been showing up in my dreams.

As families go, I am pretty fortunate.  I was not abused or mistreated.  I was loved and cared for by both my divorced parents.  There was a great deal of chaos, but all in all, the challenges were nothing like some of the tales I have heard over the years.  That said, I am a human being, complete with wounding and pain.  And much of that pain has centered around the role I was cast in as a child that still plays out, despite the fact that I am old enough now to be closer to my death than to my birth.

In the weeks leading up to this trip, I have been dreaming almost nightly of my family of origin.  And while those dreams have run the gamut of scenarios, themes, feelings and constructs, it has been a fascinating thing to observe:  As I get closer to connecting with my family after a long absence, my unconscious is revealing to me my underlying anticipation of the role I play in the dynamic that is my family.  So much has shifted in my life in the past two years and now I get to face head on what my dreams have been preparing me for; the challenge of maintaining my sense of identity in the face of a life-long role that has been mine to play out (often) beyond my ability to avoid or shift.

In that spirit, I am sharing with you the dictionary term Siblings from Dream Sight.

Siblings

Universal Landscape:  Character aspects related to waking-life siblings.

Dreaming Lens:  Were you dreaming of your own brother(s) or sister(s)?  Do you have siblings in waking life or were these dream characters?  Were the siblings in your dream related to each other but not to you?

Personal Focus:  All people in dreams relate to some aspect of your own personality.  If you dream of your actual brothers or sisters from your life, the character aspects that they represent as part of your psyche should be investigated in the same manner as any person known to you who appears in a dream.  However, because of the powerful dynamic of family systems, the relationships between siblings will connect to various roles each member of the group often find themselves locked into.

When a sibling appears in a dream, there is a great deal of complexity to explore; from your current relationship, to your childhood history and even how parenting styles impacted each family member.  With careful and unbiased investigation, a sibling dream can offer a penetrating snapshot of where you are in your development as an individual, separate from the limitations of your personal history.

If there is little or no complication associated with the sibling you dream of, treat the interpretation process the same as with any cast member in a dream using the character aspect technique.  If you have no brothers or sisters in waking life, the character aspect of one appearing in your dream will be based primarily on the context in the Dreaming Lens.

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Hunted by wolves in the forest in my dream.

I thought I would share this dream which came in through the Facebook page “Perchance To Dream.”  Join us there if you are so inclined!

Here’s what our dreamer had to say:  I have had a very similar dream twice in the last week. I am in some kind of forest with my brother (who I have always been very close to but don’t see much since we live far apart). It’s night time and we are hiding from some kind of dangerous creatures which are out to get me, I get the feeling of wolves or something similar. We end up hiding in a small shack or cabin but I am desperate to find a way out because I know my children are somewhere in the forest.

I would love to know what that could mean!

And my reply:  Forests are part of the land, which means they represent areas of the conscious mind (as opposed to the ocean which represents the unconscious). However, the density of trees makes this dream relate to thought patterns which are deeply buried and hard to discern. This is basically a dream about Shadow material (the unwanted, disowned parts of the self).

That you are with your beloved brother probably connects this dream with ways in which you operate in the world that connect to your family of origin; patterns that you and your brother might share. He also would represent the part of your own personality that most resonates with ways he operates in the world that you might consider helpful assets.

The dangerous creatures are typical fear-based symbols that plague all of us human beings (fear, doubt, rage, hurt, loss, etc.). Wolves in particular are mysterious creatures of the night, further relating this dream to Shadow material.

Wolves are also sometimes connected to the feminine principle (they howl at the Moon and are sometimes known to offer mothering to wayward foundlings!). And since your own children feature prominently in this dream, I wouldn’t be surprised if what is being expressed by this dream doesn’t connect to the way in which you were mothered and the way in which you, in turn, mother your children.

The small shack or cabin represents your sense of self (houses = sense of self) that is small and diminished when you are facing some of your deeper fears.

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What do vampires in dreams mean?

In honor of Halloween – another spooky term!

Vampire

Universal Landscape:  Drain of life force.

Dreaming Lens:  Were you the vampire or was the vampire someone else?  Was the vampire a stranger and a figure of mystery?  Was the vampire someone you know from life?  Were you the intended victim?  Were you trying to save someone from a vampire?  Were you bitten?  What was the level of danger, intrigue or sexual stimulation?

Personal Focus:  Vampires are creatures of death that survive by drinking the blood of the living.  Blood represents passion and life force.  A vampire in your dreams represents some aspect of your personality or way of being that has the potential to drain you of your vibrancy and energy.

Because vampires can only move about freely at night, they are in the symbolic realm of the shadow.  This indicates that whatever issues are robbing you of your vitality are hidden from your conscious awareness and must be examined with this in mind.  What we keep in the shadow are parts of ourselves that we can’t accept and have difficulty integrating into our personal identity.  Not doing so can suck the life force out of us until we face what we are resisting.

Often portrayed as sexy or seductive, consider that the vampire may represent a situation or person in your life that seemed alluring at first, but is now exhausting or depleting.  As a character aspect of your personality, there may be some habit, behavior or emotional trait that is literally sucking you dry.  Since vampires cast no reflection in a mirror, this may be a part of you that you may be unable or unwilling to see directly.

We often feel drained by responsibilities and the things we think we should be doing.  You may want to become more aware of those things you are attached to in a negative way.  Holding on to old attitudes and beliefs can be draining.  Consider that it can be just as draining to avoid responsibilities that are legitimately yours.  It is the ignorant victim who foolishly leaves the window open and unwittingly invites the vampire to visit.  Other internal vampires include neediness, self-doubt, lack of forgiveness and judgments.  All of these kill passion for life.  Commit to emotional healing and your vampires will return to the grave where they belong.

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I’m dreaming of skeletons!

This weekend is Halloween; the day of the dead.  All Hallows Eve is the moment in our solar cycle where the veil between the visible world and the invisible realms is considered to be the most penetrable.  Since dreams are clearly an inhabitant of the other side of life, I honor this “holiday” with a few dictionary terms that are Halloween-inspired.  Today’s term is Skeleton.  Check back over the next few days for more spooky symbols!!

Skeleton

Universal Landscape:  Hidden structure, old or outdated foundations.

Dreaming Lens:  Is the skeleton complete or fractured?  Is it a medical skeleton that is clean and pristine or is it buried and partially decayed?  Is the skeleton recognizable as having once supported someone known to you?  Does it frighten you or intrigue you?

Personal Focus:  Skeletons support the physical body and are not readily visible to the outside world.  They are the foundation on which everything else is built.  In the dream world, they represent this same underlying structure of our bodies, ourselves and our lives.  A skeleton is the invisible underpinning of any physical, conceptual, emotional or spiritual construct in your waking life.

The skeleton of our lives is the structure of ideas, beliefs and myths around which we superimpose our sense of self.  When you can see the skeleton of something, you have a better idea of what is supporting it or holding it upright.  If you dream of this image, you might be getting a message that something in the structure needs to be examined.

Discovering a skeleton in a closet may suggest that some of your thought structures may be outdated and need to be taken out and contemplated.  If a skeleton is being studied in a laboratory, it may be time to explore the underlying structure of something–ask what’s underneath so you may better discover ways of managing an area of your life.

Consider what context the skeleton appears in the dream and how you respond to it emotionally.  A sense of fear (“shaken to the bones”) means you may fear confronting some underlying structure that you have perhaps taken for granted.  Do you need to reconsider your beliefs about something or someone?  If so, you may dream of a skeleton appearing as a result of such an investigation.  Your familiarity or comfort level with seeing the skeleton will match the insight you are having as the essence of that area of your life is exposed to your inner view.

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I’m sitting on the toilet outside my apartment!

This dream was sent to me last week:

“I had a strange dream last night. I dreamt that I was sitting on the toilet outside my apartment, and a man walked by and started talking to me. I wanted to move the toilet inside, but couldn’t…..plus I didn’t want to get up while he was there. I’ve never had a dream where I was on the toilet before!!”

In the western world, toilet training is one of the most intense early experiences in a young person’s life.  There is an enormous amount of attention paid to the process of attempting to get a toddler to make their business in the toilet.  From making it fun and creative, to frustrated haranguing, the trials and tribulations of toilet training are challenging for everyone involved – especially the child.  However, once we are successful at this endeavor, we get to do one very powerful thing:  We get to close the door.

Thus is born our very first sense of privacy and individuation.  There may be a long time span between pooping in the pot and closing the door (years in some cases), but the powerful energy around the bathroom as a symbol is unmistakable.  Sitting on the toilet connects to our very private sense of self, completely separate from all other individuals and environments in our life.

This dream, therefore, connects to the dreamer’s need and desire to have a sense of privacy and individuation which is somehow being challenged in her current life.  She is located directly outside of her home, which means this dream is very personal.  Her apartment represents her sense of self, but being trapped outside of that space indicates a level of vulnerability connected with this moment of exposure.

The deeper shade of meaning in the interpretation of this dream connects to the identify of the man who talks to her while she is sitting on the porcelain throne.  I needed more information, so I sent a note and asked what she could remember about the man.  Here is her reply:

“I remember thinking that he was my neighbor’s friend, who I don’t know but had seen earlier that evening (in reality) when I went outside and he was locking up his bike…..and come to think of it, even though we said hi to each other, I was irritated because he locked his bike to the sprinklers which happen to be under my window. I didn’t say anything about it, but I didn’t like that he locked his bike there, I guess it felt a bit invasive to me. Hmmmm…….interesting.”

Interesting indeed!  So, is the dream about her neighbor’s friend invading her space or some inner aspect of herself that has some trouble with boundaries?  The answer is, of course, both are accurate interpretations.  Perhaps the waking-life event (someone invading her space where she was unable to control the situation and set a boundary) sparked some unconscious level of resistance where an issue of setting boundaries may be leading her to feel invaded and exposed.

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Abandonment in dreams.

Yesterday I posted the dictionary term Zoo, the last term in Dream Sight.  Today, I go back from Z to A and share with you the first term in the dictionary, which is Abandonment.
Abandonment
 
Universal Landscape:
  Fears around self-worth.
 
Dreaming Lens:  Who abandons you in your dream?  What are the circumstances around the abandonment?  Are there legitimate reasons for being left?  What is your emotional reaction to being abandoned?  What do you do as a result?  Do you collapse?  Do you take action?  Are you the one doing the abandoning?
 
Personal Focus:  The concept of abandonment is a fear-based illusion.  The feelings that come up when someone has left us are personal and rarely about the one doing the leaving.  The fear of being left alone is primitive in nature and has its roots in infancy.  If the loss resonates deeply enough, the emotional reaction taps into a deep reservoir of historical injuries and we experience it as a painful abandonment. The essence of this experience is connecting to what it feels like to be alone with ourselves in moments of vulnerability.  Thinking that you do not have the ability to face life on your own, especially in moments of adversity, is a falsehood born out of fear.  Overwhelming emotions are often accompanied by irrational thoughts that focus on our weaknesses and invalidate our strengths.

Dreaming of a circumstance in which this is a primary theme, is likely to be compensating for something in your waking life that is triggering thoughts of abandonment, whether consciously or unconsciously.  By processing these feelings in the dream state, we are better prepared to face the world when we wake.  Pay close attention to who is abandoning you as this will factor powerfully into your interpretation.

In a dream, we may be examining ways in which we abandon ourselves.   Even if the dream mirrors a life situation where someone you know is not available to you, use the concept of the character aspect as a mirror.  It may be that part of you is currently inaccessible to your sense of self.  For example, being abandoned by a boss might indicate a lack of inner authority available to handle a difficult situation.

The value of any abandonment, in life or in a dream, is being forced to see how we can survive when stripped of what we perceive as necessary for our existence.  To feel abandoned is to accept a myth that we are not okay without the assistance of others.  A dream may be helping you see where you are not trusting your own instincts and resources by allowing you to suffer an abandonment and find the strength to continue on that journey.

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What does a zoo mean in my dreams?

Today’s dictionary term is Zoo – picked completely at random.  It is the last term in the dictionary.  Tomorrow I’ll post the first!
Zoo

Universal Landscape:  The repression of deep, primal urges.

Dreaming Lens:  Were you visiting a zoo?  What types of animals were in the zoo?  Were they real or imaginary?  How did you feel about the confinement of the animals?  What sort of cages were there?  What was the habitat like?  Were you the one on display? 

Personal Focus:  No matter how humane the conditions of a zoo are, there is the inescapable fact that the animals are out of their natural environments and on display.  Whether for amusement or educational value, the restraint of an animal is symbolic of the restraint of primal instincts.  In a dream, this connects to those urges that our thinking, rational mind keeps beneath the surface of our consciousness.

We project onto caged animals qualities that live inside of us and ponder them from a distance through the bars.  The more dangerous the animal, the more primal the urge being repressed.  A more docile creature on display might connect to lost innocence.  Whatever qualities you ascribe to the zoo animal, it is those qualities that live in yourself which are being compartmentalized by your psyche and exhibited in your dream.

Primates closely resemble human beings.  Therefore, a caged monkey or ape could correlate directly with aggressive energy that is being held at bay.  You may need to examine a dream zoo from the opposite perspective: there may be spontaneous, aggressive reactions you are having in your life that would be better served by being caged and restrained–visible to others, but safely behind bars.

If your dream connects more to the entertainment element of the zoo experience, you are more likely dreaming of your social interactions with other people.  If the sense of the dream is educative in nature, you may have something to learn about your animal instincts.

If you are distressed about the confinement of the animals, this may point to levels of compartmentalization in your life that are troubling you.  If safety is the issue of your dream, you might want to look at how fear of losing control may be constraining your freedom.

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