This week I’m examining the dream of a professional violinist who dreamed that he was to play in a graduation ceremony at Vassar College—a place he told me he had not visited in decades. To read the dream in its entirety, scroll down to my last post.
Finding the dream symbol meanings
On Monday, I took the first step of the interpretation process. I isolated the symbols. Now it’s time to take a closer look at each one to see if we can unlock its metaphoric meaning. This is done by asking the dreamer to talk about every one of them, while he thinks about them as metaphors. For example, suppose a dream had the symbol of food. Literally, food is something that we ingest to keep our physical bodies alive. But metaphorically, food could have any number of meanings: food for thought, food for discussion, food for spiritual growth. Each dreamer would see something slightly different in this symbol, and the only way to find out its meaning is to ask the person who had the dream. I usually start with a neutral prompt, like, “Tell me about it.” As you read the remarks that the dreamer made about each of these symbols, look for the themes that run through the narrative.
Tell me about…
* Arriving: It’s when you get where you want to be.
* Vassar College: It’s a highly respected institution of higher learning.
* Walking: A means of getting where I want to go.
* Manicured, gently sloping lawn: A lovely setting that is easy to negotiate.
* Auditorium: A place to listen.
* Performing: Participating in the program.
* Orchestra: An organized group for making beautiful sounds.
* Commencement: Literally, it means a new beginning, but it’s the celebration of a milestone.
* On time (?): I thought I would be too late to participate.
* Borrowed bow: I didn’t have my own equipment.
* No violin: I didn’t have anything to use to make the music.
* Auditorium seat: We should have been on stage, but we were with the rest of the listeners.
* Fold down: They were fixed, you couldn’t move them.
* Behind other violinists: I was isolated from my group.
* No room: A handicap to performing.
* Narrow seats: Again, no room.
* Can’t sit straight: Uncomfortable.
* How can I play: It was impossible to do what I was supposed to do.
* Music stand: I wouldn’t be able to read the music without a stand.
* Conductor: The leader.
* On stage: It was where we were supposed to be, but he was the only one there.
* Talking: He was quite knowledgeable, but maybe a bit arrogant, too.
* Big words: It was normal for him, although a lot of people wouldn’t understand him.
* Literary references: He was talking about books.
* Elite institution: Highly respected.
This is a long list—which can be typical of dreams—but notice, already, the themes running through the narrative. First, a beautiful setting, then the dreamer’s unpreparedness. These comments already tell a story. We’ll examine them further on Friday.
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