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. My dream about the unsuitable new house didn’t mean we would move into a new house I would hate. It was a picture of some repressed emotions I was feeling about my profession that my ego didn’t want to acknowledge.
The ego is very good at repressing uncomfortable truths. My ego is no exception. The ego is a slow learner. Ditto my ego. Despite numerous dreams that dramatized the same issue from a variety of perspectives, eight months after the dream of the unsuitable new house I still didn’t understand what was wrong with me. I didn’t know because my ego didn’t want to know. Then came the following dream:
#209: Running Out of Gas. It’s a dark night and my car runs out of gas. An old woman pulls up behind me and pushes my car to a doctor’s house. As she walks me to the door I ask her what kind of doctor it is. She says he is a psychiatrist. I was hoping she would say that. We go into the living room. In the center of the floor is a large open book. A young girl in a ballet costume flutters across the room on toe shoes as the doctor tells her how lovely she is. An intense young Russian man expresses a desire to stay in the United States. When the others tell him to stay, he says he can’t disappoint his father; he has to go back to Russia to pay him back for his education. A woman in a cowboy hat sits quietly on the floor in front of me with her back to me.
This dream wasn’t warning me to check my gas tank, see a psychiatrist, take ballet lessons, or travel to Russia. These would be literal interpretations. The metaphoric meaning was that I was “in the dark” (confused) about my life’s journey, and “running out of gas” (energy), but had access to the guidance of a wise old woman (Sophia). The people in the house (the inner world of my psyche) were unknown aspects of my personality gathered in the living room (the place where I was living my life.) The doctor was my wise inner healer who was helping me with my inner work. The lovely ballet dancer symbolized my desire and potential to return to the graceful, innocent state of my childhood when I felt free to pursue my real interests. The intense Russian (he came from an alien “land” far from my conscious awareness) was the part of me that felt indebted to the Father (the patriarchal system I grew up in) for its investment in my education.
The Russian student was the key to the meaning of my dream. Pursuing a job I disliked was sapping my energy. I longed for meaningful work but believed it would be wrong and ungrateful to disappoint the teachers and mentors who had given me so much support.
And the peaceful woman in the cowboy hat? She was the me I was yet to become: the maturing woman who would quit her unsuitable job, sing her own song, dance her own dance, write her own books, buy her own horse, and wear a cowboy hat with glee! Two months later I quit college teaching for good and stepped into my real life, the one for which I was born, the one I’m living now.
Moral of the story: Do dreams really have meaning? You bet! But try telling that to your ego!
Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at Kobo, Barnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.