This week, I’m looking at a dream about a woman burying men in the sand. It has two possible interpretations, and the point of this discussion is to demonstrate the importance of the dreamer herself being involved in the interpretation process. Here’s her dream as she first told it:
In my dream I am sitting on a plank that I have placed so that it straddles a large hole I have dug in the sand. I am in the process of burying men in the sand. I know that they will probably die, but I don’t mind because they are bad men.
Tell me about it
An important part of any dream interpretation is to isolate the symbols and then give the dreamer a neutral prompt that will encourage her to describe each one. Here are her replies to that “Tell me about it!” prompt.
Tell me about…
Plank: It’s really a kind of scaffolding I’m using to keep me from falling into the hole.
Straddle: That’s how I’m able to stay above the hole.
Large hole: Well, I guess I’ve basically dug a grave.
Sand: Lifeless—nothing will grow in it. Unstable—it blows around all over.
Burying men: Getting rid of them so they won’t bother me anymore and will just disappear.
Dying: Losing life, ceasing to exist.
Don’t mind: I’m untroubled. I have no qualms.
Bad men: I don’t really know what these guys have done to me; I just know they’re not good for me.
Reassemble the dream
Now we’ll retell the dream replacing the symbols with the dreamer’s descriptions of them. At the same time, we will add phrases like “There is a part of me” or “in myself” that will remind the dreamer that all of the dream symbols are aspects of herself. Here’s the retold dream:
There’s a part of me that I’ve made into a kind of scaffolding to keep me from falling into a hole inside myself. I use this part of me to stay above the hole in me. I guess what I’ve done is to dig a grave inside myself. It’s in a part of me that’s lifeless; nothing will grow in it. This part of me is unstable and blows all over. There are other parts of me that I know are not good for me. I don’t really know what they’ve done to me, but I’m getting rid of them so they won’t bother me anymore. These parts of me are probably going to lose their lives. They’ll cease to exist. I’m untroubled by all this; I have no qualms.
A poignant message
As is nearly always the case with dreams, when they are retold in this fashion, a set of bizarre, implausible symbols transforms itself into a clear, pointed message. But in this case, there are two possible meanings—one far more reassuring to the dreamer than the other. With her help, we’ll take a close look at both possibilities in my next post. Stay tuned!
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