Wednesday, 7 December 2016

A Plumber's Dream About A Spider: Post #2

A plumber dreamed that he encountered an enormous spider in a crawl space. He was going to try to destroy it, but finally decided to reason with it. At that point it turned into a teddy bear.

It was time to look at the symbols of his dream to learn what metaphors they contained. This is usually the lengthiest part of the interpretation process, because I insist on examining all of the symbols. Even symbols that seem minor often have important clues. I usually start with the neutral prompt, “Tell me about it.” If that doesn’t produce an answer with a metaphor, I will probe a little bit more assertively.

The dreamer’s metaphoric associations
*  Work on a job:  It’s what I do to make a living. It pays my bills and keeps me solvent.
*  Someone’s crawl space:  It’s not really where they live, but rather underneath where they live. It’s important because most of the systems that make the house work are routed through this area. But it’s often cramped, dirty and unpleasant.
*  New Pipes:  These are to allow water to flow more efficiently; the old system was corroding.
*  Customer:  Someone who wants to pay me to make improvements on their house, especially involving water.
*  House:  It’s where they live.
*  Water:  Necessary for survival. Plus you use it for a lot of other reasons—cleaning, humidifying, growing plants.
*  On my back:  In this case, it’s an uncomfortable way to move, but the only option.
*  Can’t even crawl:  The space is too tight for even moderate motion.
*  Can’t see:  My field of vision is restricted because I am in such an awkward position.
*  Crane my neck:  I’m trying to get a better view.
*  Spiders:  Well, I have a healthy respect for them because sometimes they can be dangerous. But the main thing is to methodically deal with them. If you understand their habits, you can move them or avoid them. I try not to kill them.
*  Enormous spider the size of a dog:  Shocking, really threw me for a loop. And I make no bones about it: I was scared!
*  Panicked:  Beyond reason with fear.
*  No way to Escape it:  My first instinct was simply to move away and leave it alone, but I knew I couldn’t.
*  Aggressive moves: Try to defeat it by force.
*  Reason with it:  Try to come to some logical agreement—to come to terms with it.
*  White stuffed bear:  A completely harmless toy, warm and fuzzy.
*  slightly dirty:  Already used and loved.

Initial examination
As is almost invariably the case, his replies, when read by themselves, present a focused theme. This time, it’s about confronting something shocking in a space that is uncomfortable for him to occupy. But he handles it well. Whatever the conflict was, it morphed into something harmless and lovable. On Friday we’ll put the dream together again, and ask the dreamer for his thoughts.

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Monday, 5 December 2016

A Plumber's Dream About A Spider

This week I’m looking at a dream with a symbol that is not archetypical. The dreamer is a plumber who spends a fair amount of time in crawl spaces under houses. In his dream he encounters a spider which he had to confront.

I have helped other dreamers with spider dreams, and it has never ceased to amaze me how varied their symbolic interpretations are. Their metaphoric associations range from total panic to a completely biological, relaxed acceptance. I even dealt with one dreamer who raised tarantulas, and she expressed genuine affection for spiders. Let’s find out what our plumber thinks about them. I asked him to tell me his dream in present tense.

The plumber’s spider dream
I’m at work, on a job. I’m in someone’s crawl space, getting ready to install some new pipes for this customer. I’m on my back because there isn’t even enough room for me to crawl. I’m doing my best to slide along under the floor joists. Because I’m on my back, I can’t see where I am going very well and have to keep twisting my shoulders and craning my neck. One time, when I do this, I look and can’t believe what I see. It’s an enormous spider—about the size of a large dog. At first I think my eyes must be playing tricks, so I blink and look again. But it’s there and it’s real. I am totally panicked, but I also realize that there is no way to escape it, and I must confront it somehow. I think about various aggressive moves I might make—hitting it, using my propane torch, even screaming at it—but there is really nothing I can do. I finally decide that the only course of action is to try and reason with it. As calmly and lovingly as I can, I assure it that I mean it no harm. I tell it that, if it will let me, I will retreat from what is clearly its domain. And finally, I assure it that I have the greatest respect for it. When I’m done talking, I’m surprised to see it change from a spider to a small, white stuffed bear—slightly dirty. That’s when I wake up.

My initial conversation with the dreamer
Even before dealing with a single symbol, this dream has offered some clues to the dreamer’s state of mind, including a prognosis of how he might intend to confront whatever conflict this dream expresses. I suggest to him that, had he stayed panicked in his dream, that might have indicated that he felt helpless in dealing with his conflict. Had he chosen an aggressive action to try to defeat his spider-adversary, that might have implied a fearful, uncontrolled response. But he chose calmness and reason, and the adversary morphed into something desirable and (usually) associated with nurturing. I offered the opinion that this could bode well for finding a constructive solution to his issue.

Stay tuned for more on Wednesday!

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