Saturday, 1 October 2016

A Violist's Dream: Concluding Post



I’ve been examining a violist’s dream who dreamt that she had switched instruments to a violin during an informal string quartet reading. You can scroll down to my last posts to follow the discussion. Yesterday, we arrived at the metaphoric restatement shown immediately below.

The string quartet dream retold as metaphor
There’s a part of me that serves as my friends and family and everybody I know. These parts of me came for a visit to talk and play with me. We were all together, making pretty music. But today was different for me. I was playing on a part of myself that makes a higher, squeakier sound. Normally I do something else. I play on a part of myself with a deeper sound. The part of me that makes the sound come out, that you can hear when it moves, was sounding bad; it wasn’t pretty anymore. The aspect of myself that was supposed to keep things sounding right wouldn’t stay where it was supposed to be. The music I was making within myself wasn’t pretty; it didn’t sound good. It made me feel kind of like sad and shy, and maybe I wanted to cry a little bit. It wasn’t fair, and I got mad.

Analysis
The circumstances surrounding the telling of this dream are unusual in that the dreamer is out-of-state, and I have not had the chance to discuss the dream with her now that it is in its metaphoric restatement. That is both a frustration and an opportunity for my readers. There is really only one person who can accurately assess this dream’s message, and that is the dreamer herself. Not having her present means that we may not learn what the dream is a reference to.

On the other hand, there is no harm in speculation—as long as we understand that we may be incorrect in our conclusions. In fact, speculation offers an ideal opportunity to explore the dream interpretation process and to allow our own imaginations to go sleuthing in any direction they choose. What follows are my own thoughts on the dream; I would be interested to have feedback from readers to learn what they might have come up with themselves.

My take on the dream
To me, the overall theme of the dream is one of being placed in a position that is uncomfortable to the dreamer. Metaphorically, she is “making music” that is “out of tune.” That certainly suggests an internal conflict, and I would point this out to the dreamer.

But now I would need help understanding the idea of switching to violin from viola. Normally, she “plays on an instrument” with a “deeper sound.” The violin is “higher and squeakier.” Is it that the violin lacks depth—which implies her struggle is with an issue that is shallow? Or is the violin really “higher,” and it is squeaking because it lacks use and needs oiling, i.e., her attention and commitment?

Only she could tell us for certain!

If you enjoy these posts, please feel free to leave a comment.
Or, follow the discussion uninterrupted.
Scroll down to the bottom of this page to learn how.


Friday, 30 September 2016

A Violist's Dream: Post #3



A dreamer dreamed that she switched instruments from viola to violin while playing in a string quartet. During the last two posts we isolated the symbols of her short dream and then pretended that we were explaining each one to a small child. (Scroll down to my last two posts to follow that process.)

It was now time to take the explanations and use them to reconstruct the dream, turning it into a metaphoric commentary on some aspect of the dreamer’s life. To remind her that every symbol in her dream represented a facet of her own psyche, we would also insert short phrases like, “There’s a part of me” or “an aspect of myself” into the narrative to keep her attention focused on the fact that the dream is about her and not any of the characters who might appear in it. Here’s the reconstructed dream:

The string quartet dream in its new, metaphoric version
There’s a part of me that serves as my friends and family and everybody I know. These parts of me came for a visit to talk and play with me. We were all together, making pretty music. But today was different for me. I was playing on a part of myself that makes a higher, squeakier sound. Normally I do something else. I play on a part of myself with a deeper sound. The part of me that makes the sound come out, that you can hear when it moves, was sounding bad; it wasn’t pretty anymore. The aspect of myself that was supposed to keep things sounding right wouldn’t stay where it was supposed to be. The music I was making within myself wasn’t pretty; it didn’t sound good. It made me feel kind of like sad and shy, and maybe I wanted to cry a little bit. It wasn’t fair, and I got mad.

A closer look at this dream
Even without more discussion, this narrative already tells a story with a definite theme. It seems to have a kind of plot that is consistent from beginning to end. It begins with the idea of many facets of the dreamer coming together in her consciousness to make “pretty music.”

Here we must stop right away and take a closer look at the idea of making pretty music. That is clearly a metaphor—a frequently used one in common speech. What might seem ironic is that we already spent quite a bit of time isolating symbols and translating the metaphors to discover their implicit meanings. But it is frequently the case with dreams that not all the metaphors get singled out in the initial process.

In this case, it is probably fair to say that “making pretty music” has something to do with being “in harmony” with oneself. “In harmony” is also a metaphor; it means not being conflicted.

So there is a theme of an inner conflict being expressed in this dream; the music “wasn’t pretty anymore.” We’ll explore that possibility tomorrow.

If you enjoy these posts, please feel free to leave a comment.
Or, follow the discussion uninterrupted.
Scroll down to the bottom of this page to learn how.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

A Violist's Dream: Post #2



A violist dreamed that she had switched instruments while playing in a string quartet. In her dream, she was playing violin, which is an instrument pitched higher than the viola. Here’s her dream.

I had people over to play quartets, and I was playing violin this time. But my strings wouldn’t stay in tune because the pegs kept slipping. So I couldn’t play, and I was not only embarrassed but really, really angry.

Stepping back from the dream to look at the symbols in a different way
Her initial comment to me while pondering her dream was, “Maybe this means I should only play the viola.” But I was hoping that she might be able to step back further from the literal events of the dream and look at it as a metaphoric description of some other aspect of her life.

With that in mind, we took the dream’s symbols and tried to redefine them as metaphors. There are many ways to do this. For example, readers may recall a recent dream I posted about falling off a boat into a river. That dreamer pretended that he was a novelist and tried to envision using each of the words as a metaphoric description for something in his novel.

This time, we chose a simpler approach. We pretended to describe each of the symbols in a way that a very small child could understand. So, for example, the first symbol we chose is “people.” We simply asked, “What are people?” and tried to answer the question for the benefit of a four- or five-year-old. Here are the results.

What are…?
*  People:  My friends and family and everybody I know.
*  Over:  They came for a visit to talk and play with me.
*  Play quartets:  We were all together, making pretty music.
*  Playing violin:  The violin is small and has a high squeaky sound. I usually play viola with a deeper sound.
*  This time:  Today it was different for me. Normally I do something else.
*  Strings:  They’re what make the sound come out. They move and you can hear them.
*  Wouldn’t stay in tune:  They sounded bad and weren’t pretty anymore.
*  Pegs:  They are used to hold the strings and keep them sounding right.
*  Kept slipping:  They wouldn’t stay where they were supposed to be.
*  I couldn’t play: The music I was trying to make wasn’t pretty; it didn’t sound good.
*  Embarrassed:  Kind of like sad and shy, and maybe I wanted to cry a little bit.
*  Really really angry:  It wasn’t fair and I got mad.

Initial impressions
Remember that all dream symbols are facets of the dreamer’s own psyche. Each one represents some aspect of the dreamer herself. So when you read “my friends and family and everybody I know,” what is being described is a more inclusive part of the dreamer’s own personality, nothing about the dreamer’s extended family and social circle.

You can now see that, this dream’s theme is already reasonably clear; we’ll work on it on Friday.

If you enjoy these posts, please feel free to leave a comment.
Or, follow the discussion uninterrupted.
Scroll down to the bottom of this page to learn how.

Don't miss a single post! Enter your email address below for uninterrupted dream discussions!