A woman in her 40s had the latest version of a recurring nightmare in which she was about to be run over by a train. You can scroll down to my last post to read the dream. In that post, we went through the dream in its original form, isolating the symbols. Now, we will find a way to restate each symbol in its metaphoric meaning.
Finding the metaphors in the symbols
We, as humans, tend to associate any descriptive word with more than its dictionary definition. For example, the word “hat.” Literally, a hat is a piece of clothing that covers a person’s head. But the word “hat” also implies a role or a responsibility that the person wearing it might have. “This is a small organization, so you end up wearing lots of different hats.”
The word “hat” can have other symbolic meanings, too, some of them possibly the result of a personal, unique association. That’s why it is so important that the dreamer be involved in deciding the metaphoric meanings of her own dream symbols. Let’s see what this dreamer came up with:
* Never a beginning: It’s as if I can’t take time to prepare and get my bearings.
* Start in the middle: I feel inadequate because I can never catch up.
* Arrived late: I’ve missed a lot of important stuff.
* Movie already showing: It will be hard to put everything into context.
* Struggling to walk: I can’t seem to make forward motion.
* Railroad tracks: It’s a place where huge and powerful vehicles travel.
* Jumping: I have to keep making leaps; I can’t just go forward in the normal way.
* Ties: They’re supports, holding the entire pathway together.* Spaced too far apart: Each one is placed uncomfortably distant for me.
* Whole body: I have to use everything in my physical self.
* Immersed in molasses: Stuck, encumbered, bogged down.
* Limbs move slowly: No dexterity, hindered.
* Terrifying: Anguished and afraid.
* Train: A huge, massive vehicle that is not nimble; it can’t stop when it gets going.
* Behind me: I can’t see it very well, and I can’t protect myself.
* Run me over: Destroy me.
* Kill me: I will cease to exist.
* Hear it approaching: It’s ominous and I know it’s there.
* Whistle warning: It’s telling me to move out of the way or else.
* Deafening: In this case, it’s like a paralysis. It’s beyond fear.
* About to be hit: My destruction is imminent.
* Wake up: I suddenly come into full consciousness.
Tomorrow we will reassemble this dream, replacing the dreamer’s symbols (on the left of each line) with her metaphoric descriptions (on the right). But even before we do so, if you simply read through the new descriptions, a powerful theme comes to light. And it seems ominous at first.
But then look at the last description: “I suddenly come into full consciousness.” What is this dream about? Is it as bad as it seems at first? Tomorrow we’ll ask the dreamer herself for her own assessment.
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