Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Time of Strange Dreams

I have been having very long, vivid, and strange dreams lately. The one last night was a real doozy.

At the beginning, I was scaling a rock wall, without any kind of harness, with a couple of men -- one was a famous movie actor, the other was the owner of a small business in my neighborhood. At one point, I would have fallen to my death if it hadn't been for the two guys' help. We all made it down OK, and then I realized that I had left my keys in a restaurant located on the fourth floor of a nearby building. The guys sent me scaling up the wall of the building, this time with a harness, so that I could climb through the restaurant's window to retrieve my keys, which I did successfully.

Flash forward to being outdoors looking at two spider webs woven between blades of grass, one right next to the other. They had collected the morning dew and glistened beautifully as the sunlight hit them. (I saw tiny webs like this in the grass as I walked my dogs this past Sunday morning, but the ones in my dream were much bigger.)

Fast forward to another restaurant, this time located high upon a hilltop with an expansive outdoor seating area that could be accessed only by climbing an almost impossibly tall ladder. Someone, I think J, held the ladder for me, and once I reached the last rung I discovered there was a bar stool perched rather precariously on top and that the restaurant's deck was about 50 feet away. There were two other ladders next to mine, and the people on those ladders had climbed atop their respective crowning bar stools. They told me that the point was not to get to the restaurant but rather to stand on top of the stool; they also told me that getting on top of the stool was not as scary as it looked, and that I would not lose my balance. Now, I am not all that comfortable with heights in the first instance, so just making it up the ladder was difficult for me, and I was scared to death at the thought of standing atop that bar stool with nothing to hold onto. Yet somehow, with my neighbors' coaxing, I managed to climb atop that stool -- it felt great once I did it, and oh my, what an amazing view!

Flash forward to going back to look at the beautiful spider webs again.

Flash forward to showing a friend my new crystal pendant, which contained within it a tiny glowing spider web, complete with a tiny living spider at the center.

Here's my first cut at what all this means: Yesterday I had an interview for a legal job that will, if I take it, involve absolutely crazy hours and will leave me little if any time for puttering along on my slow-going novel. The novel is already pretty fully-formed in my head, and I actually would like to finish committing it to paper some day, so the thought of not having time to write pains me. This is a not a particularly rational reaction, because in theory I now could be working on my book all day while I'm unemployed; however, most days I choose to devote my time to other things instead. Even so, I equate a decision to take this new job with a decision to give up on the book. I think that all the spider stuff in the dream symbolizes writing (thank you Tam, for that insight), and that all the height-scaling has to do with obstacles to success and also with fear. The fear is not only the fear of failure, as symbolized by the rock climbing near-fall, but also the fear of success, as symbolized by being afraid to climb atop the stool that symbolized success once I reached it. Maybe the "key" I recovered in the dream is the thing that will unlock my ability to see my novel to a successful conclusion, regardless of whether I take this job or not; maybe that key is the belief that success with my writing is just as available as failure, if I am willing to put aside my fear and really believe in myself for a change - if I can maybe even believe that there really is nothing to fear - and if I am willing to accept the help of others along the way as I did in both the climbs in my dream.

I came up with this theory as soon as I awoke, and a quick consultation of the dream dictionary to which Willow pointed me last month (when I posted about my animal dreams) confirmed my initial instincts. If anyone else out there has thoughts or alternate theories, I would, as always, be pleased to hear them.


willow said...

The little dream dictionary really does help. I always write down every element of the dream and look up each one. It's usually pretty easy to recognize. Sounds like you hit the nail on the head with this one!

Barbara said...

Although you seem to be thinking of your job as a legitimate excuse not to write, you may indeed find devoting even a half hour a day to writing will be a reward for putting in those long hours doing something that makes money (and benefits humanity if I know the nature or your new job).

I was actually feeling a little queasy at the part about standing up on the high stools. I have a horrible fear of heights.

I'm amazed that you can remember so much of your dreams. I seldom recall any real details of my night thoughts.

bulletholes said...

Cool dream...good job on remembering it and your take on what it means is quite plausible.
I'm blessed with vivd dreams and the ability to remember them but I don't read much into them. they usually have quite a punch line to them and they are usually work related in some manner.
Heights figure large in my dreams as being either fea based or tortuous, but like yours, they are not harmful.
heres my latest one...

Adrianne said...

Bulletholes: welcome to the Bodhi Tree and thanks so much for your three comments - I hope you'll keep coming back!

Re your comment about clouds, I am an official, certificate-holding member of the Cloud Appreciation Society and hope to start reading The Cloud Spotter's Guide soon.

Merle Sneed said...

I rarely remember my dreams.

Reya Mellicker said...

I always think that when dreams are especially vivid, it's some part of my mind asking me to pay attention. In your dream, the repetition of theme (spider web, then later on spider web; climbing, then later on climbing, then climbing again) means (to me) that your mind is REALLY working hard on something.

As a Capricorn, one of your personal themes is about climbing, up the mountain, step by step (or rung by rung). Fear of heights is an interesting problem for a Capricorn.

Why the fourth floor? That's interesting, eh?

Adrianne you are climbing the stairway to heaven! Onwards & upwards!

Reya Mellicker said...

I think the theme of restaurants points to your search for what nourishes you (on many levels). The bar stools would be (for me) about what pleases or tickles you, or intoxicates you.

Ah the dizzying heights of success. I salute you.

Steve said...

Wow -- I am SO impressed that you remember your dreams in such detail! I never remember my dreams, or rarely, anyway.

Your interpretations sound solid. But don't feel like you can't work on your book and hold a job, too. Wallace Stevens wrote his poetry while working as an insurance executive, after all!

virtual voyage said...

Fascinating - I went to a psychotherapy seminar last year on the role of dreams in stress and depression, and did some reading on pgo spikes etc.

Standing outside of the symbolism itself, the actual tone of the dream, ie, either anxiety or relief give a clue to the dreamers concious state; the content is the brain carrying out an unfinished startle reflex.

Apparently the time spent dreaming when stressed increases - more brain chemicals are being used - and the result is feeling tired on waking.

(That's just one theory!)Agree, most of the elements in the dream are a mix of recent or past experience translated into dream metaphor.... intriguing area.

(Did basic counselling training some time ago if you're wondering!)

SJW said...

Adrianne - thanks for dropping by earlier. And so sorry don't have time now to stop and read your latest posts. Will be back. If you got to read some of the book I hope you enjoyed it. Best.