(photo courtesy of Tim Brakemeier www.pixeria.de)This week I want to examine a dream that is probably less poignant than others I have posted. It is really only a snippet of a longer dream. It’s about a butterfly landing on a woman’s nose.
I want to work with this dream because, during my session with the dreamer, an interesting problem arose, one that is, unfortunately, more common that I would like. As the dreamer and I were going through the few symbols that this dream-snippet contained, I offered her my usual “Tell me about it” prompt. But her replies contained no metaphors, thus defeating the purpose of our dialogue.
But first, her dream:
Well, I don’t remember all of it, just a little, but what I got was so delightful that I wanted to ask you about it.
In my dream, I was lying in the grass—not a lawn, more like a meadow. It was a beautiful day. As I was drifting off in my thoughts with my eyes closed, I happened to feel a vague sensation on my nose. I opened my eyes, and a butterfly had landed on my nose. I wasn’t surprised or anything. I just remember that I had to cross my eyes in order to see it better. That was it. Then I woke up.
Working with symbols
If you look at the symbols in this dream, they certainly contain images that can imply a meaning deeper than the literal definition of the word. Meadow, for example, can conjure up a feeling of great peace or luxurious, unfettered relaxation. (Or, to a person who suffers from pollen allergies, a meadow might symbolize torture!) The same is true of all the symbols in this dream: butterfly, nose, beautiful day, eyes closed.
A dialogue with Sue
To someone accustomed to thinking about metaphors, analyzing the symbols in this dream would be easy. But not everyone’s mind works that way, and this dreamer had a hard time at first. What follows is an excerpt from our initial dialogue (I’ll call the dreamer “Sue.”)
David: Sue, tell me about butterflies.
Sue: Oh, I just love them!
David: OK, but can you tell me anything more about them?
Sue: They remind me of the time I was a girl, and I was on a trip with my parents out in the country. We must have been near some sort of butterfly breeding ground because we came to this field and it was full of butterflies. I remember, there were the typical ones—you know, pigmented like Monarch butterflies. And there were the ones that were predominantly black—those are so beautiful. But then there were these red ones that I had never seen before. I was quite taken with those.
David: Can you tell me anything about the butterflies themselves?
Sue: Well, they were all pretty typical.
Sue came up with lots of words and participated enthusiastically. But she offered no metaphors. It was incumbent on me to change tactics.
Stay tuned for Wednesday’s post!
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