The first time I dreamt about you

 

Bar Scene I by Rhanavardkar Madjid
Bar Scene I by Rhanavardkar Madjid

I went for a drink after a night out dancing and I was sitting next to you, trying to talk to you. I was shy. We all ordered cheese to eat. The cheeses came in little boxes with a surprise inside. Nobody ate. Some people were talking a bit of English. I had trouble understanding them. Another man, who was sitting in front of me, was talking to me about literature but it made no sense to me.

You were suddenly gone, but then I found you at another table: a lower table, close to the windows to the beautiful garden or field. It was an open space, a demi-circle surrounded by pine trees. I must have gone to sit next to you. The chairs at our table were very uncomfortable. I complained about this but nobody understood what I was talking about.

Then it was time to go to the clearing. I felt weird and my perspectives weren’t quite right. People seemed too big. I told you how I felt and then realized that I was drugged. I asked you if you drugged me and you didn’t deny it. I asked why you drugged me, but you just laughed. Everyone was in on it. It seemed like some sort of ritual. I was suddenly afraid of what people were going to do to me. I saw them in nurse costumes with needles and thought they wanted to operate on me. I fought my way out and escaped. They came looking for me.

Environment clearing by Kelly Kin
Environment clearing by Kelly Kin

Then I was with the good guys who had realized what was going on. We went around looking for the girl that had been drugged, had freaked out and escaped (this was me). We were on foot and on our way in the city we passed a man who was also drugged and wondering about like a zombie. I hesitated if I should get him in safety before the bad people got to him, but then I just pushed him along (as in the Taro salsa Rueda move when each man goes to the next dance partner under the girl’s arm). We were still looking for the lost and scared girl (me).

Before all this I had arrived at home. It was my father’s house, but I didn’t recognize the house, nor the houses around it. It was supposed to be there, but things seemed slightly different.

 

Interpretation

My dream interpretation is inspired by the method described in Jungian psychologist Robert Johnson’s book “Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth”. At the heart of this method is the exploration of the meaning of each image or symbol present in the dream. The dreamer’s personal definitions and associations are used rather than any generic explanations that can be found in either popular dream dictionaries or hardcore psychology textbooks.

The first thing you should know about me in order to understand this dream is that I am allergic to dairy. Since I’ve known about this allergy, I have adapted my cooking and have found very satisfactory substitutions for all dairy products… except for cheese. Sadly, I love cheese, and I miss eating it tremendously! Because the allergy isn’t life threatening, I occasionally cave in and have some. Invariably I get a stuffy nose and sore throat and then spend the next two weeks recovering from my moment of weakness.

So, it is safe to say that the cheese in my dream represents the forbidden fruit. This is you: the person who I am aching to get close to with all my heart and body. If I were to give in to my feelings in a literal way (rather than a symbolic way), it would be an act of self-sabotage and it would mean the end of my marriage and family life as I know it.

Illustration from "Parachute" by Matt Otley
Illustration from “Parachute” by Matt Otley

Another image that stood out to me very clearly was the fact that I was drugged and felt subsequently weird, saw things in a strange perspective (people seemed taller) and had very little control over myself. This drug has an uncanny similarity with the love potion in many myths, discussed at length in Jungian psychologist Robert Johnson’s excellent book “We: Understanding the psychology of romantic love”.

In the tragic love story of Tristan and Iseult, it is by accident that they drink the love potion, meant for Iseult and the King to whom she was promised and to whom Tristan, his faithful servant, was bringing her. Neither of them wanted this to happen, but once they had drunk the love potion, they had no choice but to be together, no matter the consequences. Nothing, not even death, could have stopped them from consummating their love. It was like a drug.

In my dream, however, there was no accident. You, and your conspirators, gave me the drug and put me into that vulnerable position. On top of that, you seemed unaffected and not under its spell. So the question is: what do you and the other people in my dream represent for me? According to Jungian interpretation, each character in our dreams represents a part of ourselves. You, as the object of my affection and someone of the opposite sex, represent my animus: the masculine part of my soul. (The equivalent for a male dreamer is the anima.)

The love potion by Mihaly Von Zichy
The love potion by Mihaly Von Zichy

The animus is a very important archetype that assembles the unconscious masculine traits in a woman that are not necessarily expressed in outer life. When a woman is infatuated, she is said to project the masculine part of herself onto the object of her romantic obsession. This is the explanation for why we feel like we have known this person all our lives, as if we found our soulmate. What we have projected onto him really is part of our soul and we feel like we know him because what we see is a part of us!

Often we feel attracted to people with traits that we admire but are underdeveloped in ourselves. That’s why we project them and recognize them in someone else. We can either try and possess this other person (and with him the traits we desire to have for ourselves) through a romantic relationship, or we can see this romantic obsession as an opportunity to work on ourselves in that area of life. We can of course do both, but we need to be aware that the wonderful feeling of being in love won’t last. Eventually the projection will lift and we will get to know the real person with all his flaws. If we are compatible, and we have done the work we needed to do on ourselves, we have hopefully transformed our romantic love into a real, down-to-earth, human love, and we can live happily ever after (with the ups and downs of a real relationship). But without doing the work we will keep falling in love, be disappointed when we get to know the real person behind the projection, fall out of love, and start the cycle all over again with someone else.

Since I have already found the love of my life, married him, had kids, found out that we are indeed highly compatible, and did the hard work of transforming our relationship based on romantic love to one solidly built on human love, I am really really annoyed to find myself infatuated with someone else!

And who gave me the love potion? My animus, the masculine part of my soul, who feels that I have some traits that I urgently need to start developing. I will explore what these traits are in a future post, but for now I would like to press on with the dream interpretation. What can I learn from the other symbols in my dream?

Sonic nurse by Richard Prince
Sonic nurse by Richard Prince

Nurses were part of the conspiracy, and they wanted to operate on me. In  outer (real) life I have absolutely no trust in the medical system. I hate being dependent on a doctor or nurse, and I do everything to stay in control by asking questions and looking things up myself. I confidently go against medical advice if what they suggest doesn’t make sense or goes against the actual medical literature.

The image of the nurse (as well as the zombie) represents danger for me, and a loss of control. The needles and intention to operate remind me of child kidnapping in Brazil for organ theft. The possibility of losing a vital part of myself (an organ) represents again danger, while the fact that it would be taken against my will means that I have no control over it. I am completely vulnerable. Some part of my unconscious is aching to wreak havoc in my life, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. It is very scary, and I am indeed lost and scared at the end of my dream. The fact that every one seems taller than usual, and that I have trouble understanding and communicating with people adds to the same overall feeling of being lost and out of control.

There are a few other interesting images in my dream. Going to sit at a lower table means going deeper in the unconscious. (Sometimes the dream imagery for this is going to the basement in a house, while going up in the attic represents going up in the conscious part of the psyche.) The pine trees, nature and wilderness indicate the instincts, or archetypes, which also reside in the depths of the unconscious. Sitting at the lower table was very uncomfortable, which makes sense as descending into the unconscious is no picnic!

Winter morning in Macharski Gorge by Aleksander Babich
Winter morning in Macharski Gorge by Aleksander Babich

The pine trees also make me think of Alaska, which I associate with my husband. In dreams my husband often represents the voice of reason, safety, moderation and discipline, on one hand. And human love and unending earthly passion on the other hand. I am somewhat mystified by the image of the male zombie I pushed along as in the Taro salsa Rueda move when each man goes to the next dance partner under the girl’s arm. It felt like I was selfishly getting rid of someone who was in the way instead of helping him and looking out for him. Granted, I was in danger myself, but I still felt guilty about it. This might point towards the guilt I do feel about lusting after you while being married, and while you are married! Despite the fact that I am not having an affair with you, I do fantasize about you from morning to evening, and thoroughly enjoy and relive every sign of affection you show me, including smiles, compliments, kisses (on the cheek), hugs, and close dances.

At the end (and the beginning) of my dream there is my father’s house, although unrecognizable. This ties in the animus dream with my father, who was, according to Freud, my first love. All future loves are colored by that first love. It also reminds me of  my second love, the one in which I actually lived my Oedipus with an older man when I was barely sixteen years old. There are a lot of resemblances between you and him, as he was my teacher too, and I had a major crush on him at the time, projecting all that I wanted to achieve onto him. But I am older and wiser now (especially after reading Jungian psychology with regard to romantic love) and you are a much better man than he was. So I am hoping for and working towards a a better outcome.

Stay tuned by following my blog.

Click here to read the story about my Oedipal love at barely sixteen.

xoxo, Cuban salsa girl.

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