Sleep Comics #28

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.

Sleep Comics #27

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)

Amy and the Bear

I'm super excited to announce that I've done some artwork for Amy and the Bear. If you're not familiar - Amy and the Bear is a neato company started by Amy Bush and artist Joey Veltkamp that sells useful wares featuring art from NW artists.  This coming sunday (July 26) Amy and the Bear will be at the Badwill Market pop up shop in the Rhino Room on Capitol Hill. Come check out the new stuff with my work -- two Educational Posters - Wizard Checklist (pictured below) and Alcoholic Authors. Also a Cat City poster and the Cat City zine with fold out poster! This is super exciting. The print quality is first class and the Wizard poster has fantastical burnt edges.

Also catch Amy and the Bear at the Renegade Craft Fair on August 1 at Magnuson Park, Hangar 30!


Sleep Comics #25

More talking animals and more people with basic-shape-heads. The bonding with the Orca gives me a great feeling of resolve, as I think they are very majestic but extremely terrifying. Clearly this is still the case in the dream as I have to act as a liaison between the basic-shape-heads and the other Orcas. Trying to keep the delicate balance and be peaceful together. Dance!

Dream blog 25.jpg

Sleep Comics #24

This dream offers everything I love about dreaming. Rife with symbols, complicated and psychedelic in its pacing, and at the same time full of humor and emotion. And let's not overlook - water slides! I've found that the pedestrian "dream encyclopedia" often has an entry for water slides. I'm not a fan of dream dictionaries (especially online versions) but they are useful in gathering an idea of what people commonly dream about. Water slides happen to be one of those common themes. What the dream dictionaries will tell you about water slides can't offer you the personal connection that you have with water slides. The water slide presents a perfect opportunity to dissect a layered metaphor. We must look at the state of the water - flowing, in a tube, at a theme park, particularly for fun. This is general; my idea of water slides is that they are the greatest thing ever. I yearn to go to a water park every summer. The montage in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure where Napoleon visits the water park is, for me, gripping. Yet, describes the appearance of a water slide as "Playing with uncertainty or feeling good ignoring the consequences of your actions. A waterslide is a sign that you may know that you are doing something wrong or risky and are enjoying it anyway. Having fun behaving bad." 'Water Slides.' Dream Bible. Copyright 2010-14. Web. 20, July, 2015. Another site, puts it more simply: "To dream that you are on or see a waterslide suggests that you are being carried away by your emotions. You are being engulfed by your subconscious. Alternatively, the dream indicates that you are going with the flow of things without any objection or resistance." 'Waterslides.' Dream Moods. Dream Moods, Inc. P., 28, March, 2015. Web. 20, July, 2015. I'd go with the Dream Moods entry, but it's so broad. It takes the idea that water serves as a symbol of the unconscious and emotions and vaguely pairs it with the actual concept of a water slide. Going with the flow of things could also be said about a river. We need a clearer distinction - a personal one.

Let's get to the juicy part of this dream: a dream within a dream. Freud asserts that dreams are disguised or "latent" versions of our innermost desires. Thus, he logically sees a dream-within-a-dream as a double negative where the the dream in the dream is actually the latent desires unveiled. This just sounds like the ravings of a megalomaniac to me. (It's easy to be a Freud-hater because most of his work, taken as psychology, is one massive extension of his ego and latent desires.) Jung didn't seem to think this at all. In fact, he hardly viewed the dream-within-a-dream as a significant dream event. Rather, as Hall sums up in Jungian Dream Interpretation, "...such shifts within a dream can be seen as movements of various ego-organizations, some of which claim for themselves the status of full waking consciousness, although the complicated dream structure reveals them to be only partial integrations. To some degree, the dream-within-a-dream is a more complicated form of the frequent shift from scene to scene withing a single dream" (90). Jung (via Hall) couldn't be more spot on concerning this dream. In my dream I am trying to tell several others about my dream (so technically this isn't a dream-within-a-dream, even) but everybody else keeps cutting me off. When I finally get to tell my dream it is clear that I am satisfying the need to tell a story. Much like this very project! The aspect of the dream-within-a-dream here is very ego based and naturally integrated into an already complicated dream. It's not as though (as Freud thinks) the mask is suddenly removed. It's still just a dream even though we want it to be more, even though the EGO wants it to be more.

Sleep Comics #22

After we went to Paris I returned home and dreamed about Paris consistently for over a month. It would pop into my dream every night. The trip was great, and the unconscious imprint was substantial. It was 21 nights of consecutively dreaming about Paris.

"...In every other great city the forgotten child becomes the deboshed man, and whereas nearly everywhere the child left to his own devices becomes rootless and immersed in open vice which destroys in him all conscience and sense of probity, the Paris urchin, we insist, however footloose and disreputable he may appear on the surface, remains in himself almost unspoiled. It is a magnificent phenomenon, splendidly manifest in the honesty of our popular revolutions, a kind of incorruptibility born of the instinct that resides in the air of Paris like salt in the waters of the ocean. To breathe Paris is to preserve one's soul." Hugo, Victor. Les Misérables. Paris: Folio Press, 1862.

I could have easily left the quote at "To breathe Paris is to preserve one's soul", but that would be like throwing sand in Hugo's eyes, and contrary to the spirit of Paris.

Sleep Comics #21

This passage has always felt like it pertains to celebrities:

"There are many people whose conscious attitude is defective not as regards adaptation to environment but as regards expression of their own character. These are people whose conscious attitude and adaptive performance exceed their capacities as individuals; that is to say, they appear to be better and more valuable than they really are. Their outward success is naturally never paid for out of their individual resources alone, but very largely out of the dynamic reserves generated by collective suggestion. Such people climb above their natural level thanks to the influence of a collective ideal or the lure of some social advantage, or the support offered by society. They have not grown inwardly to the level of their outward eminence, for which reason the unconscious in all these cases has a negatively compensating, or reductive, function." Jung, Carl. Dreams from The Collected Works or C.G. Jung, Volumes 4, 8, 12, 16. Princeton: Bollingen, 1974.

I've always struggled when it comes to separating a celebrity's craft from their opinions, politics, and behavior. In this case it's Dustin Hoffman whom I really like. So the fact that he went and fired missiles at my superhero friends and me was disappointing. In the end I resolved to shoot back at him anyway yet continue to love his acting. What part of myself do I feel this way about? Serious ego happening here. Me as a superhero, I can fly a plane, and I have permission to potentially fatally injure a person. 

Sleep Comics #20

Confrontation of the shadow is different for everybody, and being closer to it - I realize how much work it is to deal with it. Looking back on these dreams (the dreams in Sleep Comics are from three years ago) I can see the shadow everywhere. Naturally so, since the shadow is just another part of the whole person. Jung: "To take a legitimate parallel from the psychology of the individual, namely the appearance of an impressive shadow figure antagonistically confronting a personal consciousness: this figure does not appear merely because it still exists in the individual, but because it rests on a dynamism whose existence can only be explained in terms of his actual situation, for instance because the shadow is so disagreeable to his ego-consciousness that it has to be repressed into the unconscious. This explanation does not quite meet the case here, because the trickster obviously represents a vanishing level of consciousness which increasingly lacks the power to take express and assert itself. Furthermore, repression would prevent it from vanishing, because repressed contents are the very ones that have the best chance of survival, as we know from the experience that nothing is corrected in the unconscious." Jung, Carl. The Four Archetypes from The Collected Works of C.G. Jung Volume 9, Part I. Princeton: Bollingen, 1959.

This is all so clear once you see how your Shadow plays into your daily life. My small progress has been to take a conscious look at my unconscious behavior and examine when my shadow tips its hat, and there have been specific dreams which help to highlight exactly when my shadow is tipping its hat.

I understand this dream doesn't quite deal with the shadow self, but it has themes that trigger the question of whether the shadow is at work here. My motives for paying the man to take care of a friend in need while I have a good time. Or, the friend who is too drunk and needs assistance could be the critic in me judging my behavior if I ever become too irresponsible, particularly by the shadow's doing.

Sleep Comics #19

The most common feeling I latch onto from all of my dreams is the overall sense of place. It is quiet and solitary and even the shortest dream can leave you with a full day of trying to capture and understand that feeling. It's not a feeling of the waking world. Not good or bad; not something that is asking to be analyzed, just a morsel to keep us coming back. Dreams like this are a welcome break from the standard unraveling of symbols and imagery we are acquainted with.

Sleep Comics #18

"Often in actual life, and not infrequently in the myths and popular tales, we encounter the dull case of the call unanswered; for it is always possible to turn the ear to the other interests. Refusal of the summons converts the adventure into its negative. Walled in boredom, hard work, or "culture," the subject loses the power of significant affirmative action and becomes a victim to be saved. His flowering world becomes a wasteland of dry stones and his life feels meaningless - even though, like King Minos, he may through titanic effort succeed in building and empire of renown. Whatever house he builds, it will be a house of death: a labyrinth of cyclopean walls to hide from him his Minotaur.All he can do is create new problems for himself and await the gradual approach of his disintegration." Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With a Thousand Faces. New York: Bollingen, 1949.

In this dream I let myself be victim to my own insecurities. What a petty quest it was to try and latch the door for those bimbos! My head is down and I am sad, but the sun is setting on lesser strife and the world is open for self-fulfillment that is not locked inside a pretentious warehouse. 

It's difficult to not get stuck in self-defeat and mourn opportunities missed. External forces are easy to label as obstacles, but that's just lazy. There is a quest awaiting. Judgement and rejection have no place in the triumph. The world outside ourselves is a giant mirror. Everything we see is only ever seen through our eyes, therefore everything we know in this world is some version of ourselves.

Sleep Comics #17

Talking animals were very common in my dreams for about a year. Animals are by far the most difficult symbol for me to analyze. Add the ability to speak to this and things just get crazy. I'll go more into this later.

Another dream with narration. This device must be used sparingly; it can seriously alter the tone of a dream. However, sometimes dreams feel like they were narrated and we often see ourselves as though we are watching a movie. Concern over dream amplification is necessary. Often I find that what I choose to record in my dream journal in the the middle of the night GREATLY differs from what I would record in the morning. Verbalizing is probably the worst way to amplify your dreams because we alter the content in order to keep someone's attention. Dreams aren't easy to follow which is a huge reason why it's so boring to hear someone tell you about their dreams. I could watch dream sequences in movies or read dream comics or read written accounts of dreams all day, but hearing someone go on and on about a dream... snooooooze!

I am repeating myself here, but I can't stress enough the importance of individual associations when helping with recounting dreams. June Singer: "To discover what is missing from the conscious viewpoint, it is helpful to amplify the associations to specific elements of the dream itself. This means to widen the associations by bringing to them analogous material from myth and fantasy which has the power to illuminate the dream symbolism." (Singer, 249). I dwell on this subject because I have found that exploring different ways of expressing the contents of dreams leads to a more enriching understanding of themes. For example, we easily interpret sexual content literally. Here is Jung: "The sexual language of dreams is not always to be interpreted in a concretistic way... it is, in fact, an archaic language which naturally uses all the analogies readiest to hand without the necessarily coinciding with a real sexual content... As soon as you take the sexual metaphors as symbols for something unknown, your conception of the nature of dreams at once deepens" (Singer 1972, p.250 cited Jung 1961, p.69).

Sleep Comics #16

The fellow in my dreams who appears in the glasses and striped shirt is Martin. He is modeled after Waldo from Where's Waldo by Martin Hanford. The Waldo books were my favorite as a child. Martin is a catchall for male friends in my life. So when he appears he is one of any of my friends. There are only a handful of people I represent in their actual appearance - my wife, my mom, my dad, and a few others.  

Sleep Comics #15

Thinking in dreams: 

The more I listen to my dreams, the more I notice my thoughts within the dream and how much of the content they occupy. (I'm going to pre-apologize for the confusing grammar here:) Because dreams are so often weighed by their symbolic content it presents a problem with analysis. How much importance should I place on my in-dream thought process? No psychoanalyst I've ever seen has seemed to show much interest in this. Are we to interpret the thoughts in the dream as thought by our unconscious selves? Or is it just a neurotic addition to an already confusing subject? When I talk about in-dream thoughts here, I'm not referring to "that lady looks weird" - I'm referring to critical analysis of situations. For instance, some event will happen that will provoke me to go into a long-winded breakdown of the situation. In conflict, I will go over and over the motives of another person, and analysis of my actions, until I finally either say or do something in the dream (or not!). In this waking analysis I suppose it's easy to say that it's not what I am thinking, but the fact that I am thinking so much, and how does that reflect back onto me? Is all this out-of-dream analysis affecting my in-dream activity and visa-versa? Maybe an analyst hasn't shown interest because I haven't brought it up in this way.

Sleep Comics #14

This is one of my favorite dream comics I've done. I won't go into all the self-indulgent details of why I love this, instead I will cite Elsevier again:

"Vermin: 1. any animals that, though not necessarily dangerous, are obnoxious to man; like ants, fleas, wasps, etc. grew after Man's fall in order to pester him bees (Faustus, DVB 3, 52); 2. they can be banished by exorcising formulae, at which gypsies were proficient (Leyland 41); 3. they "depart from dying persons and forsake [the] bodies, when the blood, from which the vermin derive their sustenance, loses its vitality: (Plutarch, M 49); 4. dreams: a. folklore:: dreaming of trouble in killing vermin denotes much riches (Folkl. &c. of Brit., p. 94); b. Freud: i. vermin and other small animals denote children; being plagues by them may denote pregnancy (IDr 6E, p. 357); ii. they often refer to one's brothers and sisters (ILP 10); c. Cheywynd: i. in the house they denote the same as insects (q.v.); ii. undesired children, whether as offspring or as brothers and sisters (see Freud, above). De Vries, Arthur. Elsevier's Dictionary of Symbols and Imagery. Bingley: Emerald, 2009. Print.

I would cite the entry for "boar", but it is SO LONG, and in the dream I specifically addressed the vermin. The boar happened to be the only "vermin" I saw. Regardless of the type of animal, the nature was definitely that these guests were unwanted, which - to me, is vermin. Blah, blah, vermin, blah, blah.

Over the years I've become much more of an analytical person. Talking through all of my issues, problems, etc. Perhaps me screaming away the vermin is a metaphor for verbally exorcising my situations. The maze adds a navigational element of problem solving as well.  Running down a mound of dead bodies? Not sure about that one.

Sleep Comics #13

I'm not excited about this dream because the comic itself has too many details that I threw in to be clever. For instance, the Jumbotron has reads "Sponsored by Rebork" and it is called the "Corporate Funds Arena". Also, the posters in the classroom are completely made up and not elements of the actual dream. These details are fun, but they stray too far from the original content of the dream. I want the dream to stand on its own and I want to be as honest with the content as possible.

The comic format is ideal for conveying a dream because of the way you can sequence such absurd events. Dreams often skip around from one setting to another, or one minute your shirt is on, then you're shirtless, then it's back on again (as with this dream). There are very few movie sequences that I feel succeed in presenting a believable dream sequence. I can't even think of one off the top of my head. I hope these comics give the reader a modicum of the feeling of dreaming.

Sleep Comics #12

In the following passage Jung addresses the idea of dreams being a collection of the days events. Generally we fail to give the unconscious credit for using what we feed it. Often we say, "Oh, I must've dreamt about horses because I watched the Kentucky Derby", dismissing the dream as our sleeping self simply processing something we witnessed that day. What Jung posits is the unconscious use of this content is equal to or greater than the thing which our waking self has seen (i.e. the unconscious's use of a horse in the dream is more proficient than the conscious/waking viewing of the Kentucky Derby). After making this realization, my frustration began to increase when I would hear others downplay a dream due to a direct link to something in their every day life. I began to examine more closely my relationship to these generally ignorable subjects and analyze my relationship with them when they would pop up in dreams. How do I really feel about horses? What have they ever meant to me? Culturally, horse meat is morally wrong to me, but why? What does this imply about my decision to not buy the horses?

"...Not only should the function of the unconscious be regarded as compensatory and relative to the content of the consciousness, but the content of consciousness would have to be regarded as relative to the momentarily constellated unconscious content. In this case active orientation towards goals and purposes would not be the privilege of consciousness alone but would also be true of the unconscious, so that it too would be just as capable of taking a finally oriented lead. The dream, accordingly, would then have the value of a positive, guiding idea or of an aim whose vital meaning would be greatly superior to that of the momentarily constellated conscious content." Jung, Carl. Dreams from the Collected Works of C. G. Jung VOLUMES 4,8.12,16. Princeton University Presss.

Sleep Comics #11

"...Let us come back to the Paracelsan process of transforming the Iliaster. Paracelsus calls this proccess a retoria disillatio. The purpose of distillation in alchemy was to extract the volatile substance, or spirit, from the impure body. This process was a psychic as well as a physical experience. The retoria distillatio is not a known technical term, but presumably it meant a distillation that was in some way turned back upon itself. It might have taken place in the vessel called the Pelican where the distillate runs back into the belly of the retort. This was the "circulatory distillation," much favoured by the alchemists. By means of the "thousandfold distillation" they hoped to achieve a particularly "refined" result. It is not unlikely that Paracelsus had something like this in mind, for his aim was to purify the human body to such a degree that it would finally unite with the maior homo, the inner spiritual man, and partake of his longevity. As we have remarked, this was not an ordinary chemical operation, it was essentially a psychological procedure. The fire to be used was a symbolical fire, and the distillation had to start "from the midst of the centre" (ex medio centri). Jung, Carl. Alchemical Studies, Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 19. Princeton University Press, 1967. Print.

Ex Medio Centri: Another alchemical example of dreaming. Here I come home to find my house burned down. A house of many rooms existing alone on a knoll. The basement is still in tact and I know that I will have to live in it for a while. This is a clear metaphor for having to live in the unconscious while my ego and consciousness are remade. This dream absolutely coincided with a personal breakthrough I had at the time. Albeit a scary one, the results ended up being very fulfilling. 

Sleep Comics #10

"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.