"The unconscious is like the vault of a great bank in which is stored all the wealth inherited from our ancestors and in which we, as individuals, also have deposited our own coin. All of this treasure belongs to us, and we like to think that it is at our disposal, but the trouble is that we cannot withdraw on demand." Singer, June. Boundaries of the Soul. New York: Anchor, 1972. Print.
The dream image of the basement is easily the most common representation of the subconscious for me (and for a lot of people, I assume). My grandparents' basement was the the setting of a lot of family gatherings in my youth. This lower level had almost everything needed to entertain a family of a thousand, and it happened very often. There were other rooms in the basement less frequented during visits. The unfinished room, in particular, was a storage of tons of stuff collected over the years by my grandparents. Anyone who has visited grandparents in their long time residence knows of the toys that dwell there. They are universal toys, vaguely familiar with strange personalities, meant for whatever grandchild happens to be visiting. They are almost always there when you visit and provide strange entertainment and excitement. You always leave them behind, as an unspoken rule, for the other grandkids to use during subsequent visits. These toys in this dream are like what June Singer describes in the passage above. I want to share the hidden gems in my unconscious, through these comics, but at the same time I worry that people may not understand.
It would be fitting if I dreamt this during those sleepless nights of diaper changes directly after my son was born. But this was over two years ago, so the diaper changes hold way more significance. I'm engaging in what looks like a delightful poolside session but have to leave and commit to my shift at the ice cream shoppe. When I arrive I am delivered into a handful of needy adults that will inevitably lead into thankless work.
The "you've got to be kidding me" nature of this dream accurately portrays my astonishment in dealing with the general public. The woman with the truffle oil allows me no time to collect myself to better serve her, and furthermore she interferes with my work adding a total disregard for the work I'm expected to do. This lack of respect and common sense is disgusting and offensive to me.
The two men who need their diapers changed are obviously outside of my job description. At least I can see that in the dream. It ultimately comes to the "I can't even" point and I throw in the towel.
When analyzing dreams it's easy to go down the path that our dreams are trying to tell us something is wrong. That's not always the case. If we listen to our unconscious enough, we can see that often times it is telling us when we are doing things right. In this case, I think my unconscious is confirming what my waking self already thinks - that truffle oil and adult diaper changes are not something I should be worried about. Let those people sort out their own shit. Go back to the pool!
Something important must have proved disappointing to provoke a dream like this. I've always mostly liked Michael Jordan - he's undeniably one of basketball's greatest players and has legend status, but there were times (when he was up against the Utah Jazz in the finals twice), that I really wanted to hate him. But in the end I look back and realize that the Chicago Bulls weren't better than the Utah Jazz - it's more like Michael Jordan was just better at defending his talent. So I have a pretty good opinion of him to this day. Anyway, I never knew much about Michael Jordan as a person, so maybe that's the main element that is happening here. I guess this dream really says to me that no matter the amount of influence a superstar has on you, they are still just a goddamn human being and have all the boring qualities the rest of us have.
"It was said that Dr. Jung's favorite story went something like this: The water of life, wishing to make itself known on the face of the earth, bubbled up in an artesian well and flowed without effort or limit. People came to drink the magic water and were nourished by it, since it was so clean and pure and invigorating. But humankind was not content to leave things in this Edenic state. Gradually they began to fence the well, charge admission, claim ownership of the property around it, make elaborate laws as to who could come to the well, put locks on the gates. Soon the well was the property of the powerful and the elite. The water was angry and offended; it stopped flowing and began to bubble up in another place. The people who owned the property around the first well were so engrossed in their power systems and ownership that they did not notice that the water had vanished. They continued selling the nonexistant water, and few people noticed that the true power was gone. But some dissatisfied people searched with great courage and found the new artesian well. Soon that well was under the control of the property owners, and the same fate overtook it. The spring took itself to yet another place - and this has been going on throughout recorded history." Johnson, Robert A. Owning Your Own Shadow. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1991. Print.
The Republican security guard is the powerful and elite trying to control the bubbling waters. Intriguing that this is happening from day one at this art school. Not a good sign. How are we supposed to create the original and impactful art where whistling uniformed men regulate? How much order is necessary at an institution like this? At what point does the integrity of the school start failing and a new artesian well bubbles up elsewhere?
When I was in junior high my parents took me to this art school I might possibly attend. The woman who ran it was smitten with my work and we toured the studios. The work the students created was amazing, and I got the impression that the curriculum was rigorous and disciplined. When it came time to sit down and discuss the idea of me attending - the woman made it clear that the decision must be mine, not my parents'. Sitting there I could hardly grasp what a large decision was being handed to me. As I hesitated at this I must have asked a wrong question, and the woman said, "Oh, he's letting the left brain in, this has to be a right brain decision!". In the end I chose not to attend, moreover I feel like the woman chose for me not to attend. This event has always stuck with me - it was like someone laid a trap for me in the place I trusted the most.
I did not know it at the time, but this dream was beckoning me to confront my shadow self. The ex-boyfriend threatened me and I reacted. The results were negative and I ended up feeling bad (and like a bad person) for unknowingly 'boxing' his hearing aids. How was I supposed to know? Moreover, why does this suddenly negate the wedgie administered by a complete stranger? He's still a jerk, but suddenly I'm an idiot? If this were real life, and I could do it over again - I would box the ex-boyfriend's ears and deal with the fact that I ACCIDENTALLY hit his hearing aids. I would tell Jessixa I'm leaving, ask her to come with and be very assured that she broke up with him because he is an asshole. Bonus of leaving early is that the punk rocker would not have the chance to come down the stairs and address my "homely" qualities because my punk rock side (shadow self) walked out the goddamn door with my wife.
This dream happened during election time (2012) and naturally exhibits some political anxiety I was having. The feelings run deep - noting the frigid water and possibility of loss of life. This makes a lot of sense as I asked myself the other day why I fear politics that oppose mine. The answer I came up with is that (I feel) ideals which differ from what I consider benevolent have potential to cause suffering for other people.
Identifying with politics, causes, and movements is quite a trap. Jung: "A group experience takes place on a lower level of consciousness than the experience of an individual. This is due to the fact that, when many people gather together to share one common emotion, the total psyche emerging from the group is below the level of the individual psyche. If it is a very large group, the collective psyche will be more like the psyche of an animal, which is the reason why the ethical attitude of large organizations is always doubtful." Collected Works of C.G. Jung. Princeton: 1959. Print. Here is a good time to address projection - "The effect of projection is to isolate the subject from his environment, since instead of a real relation to it there is now only an illusory one. Projections change the world into a replica of one's own unknown face." Jung, Carl. Collected Works of C.G. Jung. Princeton: 1958. Print.
People keep getting caught in these frigid waters and people from these two ice floes keep trying to save them. Yet nobody has any sort of control, and at the end of the dream it is revealed that the voters have control! However, the voters are no where to be found in the arctic environment. How could they possibly affect the fate of the freezing diver?
More from Jung about trees: "Taken on average, the commonest associations to its meaning are growth, life, unfolding of form in a physical and spiritual sense, development, growth from below upwards and from above downwards, the maternal aspect (protection, shade, shelter, nourishing fruits, source of life, solidity, permanence, firm-rootedness, but also being 'rooted to the spot'), old age, personality, and finally death and rebirth." Jung, Carl. Alchemical Studies from the Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 13. Princeton: 1967. Print.
The tree, as stated above, has a broad range of meanings. I like to break it down into three parts: roots, body/trunk, and branches. They all serve a purpose and have great metaphorical meaning. Most simply the roots are the unconscious, the trunk - the ego, and the branches are the spirit.
In the case of this dream the tree is a cause for the grounding of a fast flying plane. I have to add the airplane into the interpretation along with the tree taking over my friend. When Apollo chased Daphne through the wood and he gained on her she asked her father, Peneus, to help her. He changed her into a laurel tree, to Apollo's dismay. Perhaps Martin becoming a tree was a needed change in order to ground the plane, albeit a tragedy. The plane landed safely, but Martin was lost. A sacrifice has been made here.
This is fun: Umbrella - 1. dome of the sky; 2. verticalisation: the cosmic tree, the phallic father; 3.a sun-emblem; cf. parasol and sunshade; 4. divine and royal power, protection; 5. mourning; 6 folklore; it is unlucky to open one when not needed. De Vries, Arthur. Elsevier's Dictionary of Symbols and Imagery. 2nd. ed. Bingley: Emerald Publishing, 2009. Print.
A couple thoughts: In the dream the umbrella is put to good use even though it's not used for what it's intended for - protection from rain. Umbrellas are synonymous with floating or flying (to most of us) even if we haven't seen Mary Poppins. The more I look at this dream, the more I feel like the umbrellas are trying to tell me something. Like they have an anima that has a goal of leading me toward something.
This sort of reads like a fever dream (even though it's not), but without the nightmarish aspect. I love fever dreams. Yes it sucks to be ill, and yes there are unsettling aspects to a feverish nightmare, but these dreams always live on as legend for me. Fever dreams seem to take elements from waking life and really amplify them. For example, when I was about 12 I had a fever dream where I was Link from The Legend of Zelda. It was fantastical and terrifying. I'll never forget the feeling from this dream. It did have nightmarish aspects, but how could I complain about being in my favorite video game? Even the underworlds were fascinating. The dream has stuck with me forever, and I recall being so intrigued with this dream that a fever - albeit unhealthy - seemed to also serve a constructive purpose from then on. This also happens to Robinson Crusoe in the eponymous book, but to a more severe (and religious) degree. I guess you could say that religion was Robinson Crusoe's Zelda.
One of the first dreams I can recall was a fever dream about my Pound Puppy, named Pow Wow, being taken by a band of nefarious monkeys. It was up one of Salt Lake City's many canyons in the winter - snow everywhere and my Pound Puppy locked in a cage by these evil creatures. I've never looked at Pow Wow the same since.
The gymnast, Roberto, was actually an acquaintance of mine (in real life). Like I've stated earlier - the only people whose identity is true to real life are Jessixa, my parents, and an occasional other friend. At some point I chose to make word bubbles black for the people that are unfamiliar to me, but this is inconsistent throughout the project. Anyway, Roberto (whom I know, but not very well) is dead by the end of the dream, which makes the impact more profound. I haven't spoken to this person in a while - so the events in this dream are really bizarre. I recall not having any waking compensation for why my unconscious would choose this person to pop up. It's natural to go over and over in your mind what possibly could have lead you to dream about this or that. I'll talk more about compensatory dreams later.
"At an early stage of his intellectual development man deems himself naturally immortal, and imagines that were it not for the baleful arts of sorcerers, who cut the vital thread prematurely short, he would live for ever. But in time the sad truth of human mortality was borne in upon our primitive philosopher with a force of demonstration which no prejudice could resist and no sophistry dissemble. Nevertheless, even if he reluctantly acknowledged the existence of beings at once superhuman and supernatural, he was as yet far from suspecting width and depth of the gulf which divided him from them. The gods with whom his imagination now peopled the darkness of the unknown were indeed admitted by him to be his superiors in knowledge and in power, and in the joyous splendour of their life and in the length of its duration. But, though he knew it not, these glorious and awful beings were merely, like the spectre of the Brocken, the reflections of his own diminutive personality exaggerated into gigantic proportions by distance and by the mists and cloud of ignorance upon which they were cast." Frazer, Sir James George. The New Golden Bough. Garden City: Anchor, 1959. Print. (Bold type mine)
"A total description of the personality is, even in theory, absolutely impossible, because the unconscious portion of it cannot be grasped cognitively. This unconscious portion, as experience has abundantly shown, is by no means unimportant. On the contrary, the most decisive qualities in a person are often unconscious and can be perceived only by others, or have to be laboriously discovered with outside help." Jung, Carl. Aion (from The Collected Works of C. G. Jung Volume 9, Part II). Princeton University Press.
To help understand the unconscious, think of it like this: Picture a ransom note where the message is comprised of different words taken from magazines with various fonts and type. The note uses words from many sources to convey a statement. Now substitute the words in this ransom note for images - it now tells a story with a collage of images. Finally, imagine those images to be a collection of memories and emotions from your own life. That is your unconscious communicating to you in your dreams. It can only use what you make available to it. So it's speaking to you, through you (because it is you). Sorta like how Bumblebee in the Transformers movie uses a collection of snippets from radio station broadcasts to communicate with the humans.