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.
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