Monday 9 January 2017

A Dream About BART

  photo courtesy of

Often, dreams are murky and unclear. The images are vague and sometimes indecipherable. Does that make a difference in how helpful the dream is? Can one still use the symbols to decode a metaphoric message?

This week we’ll find out as we work with a dreamer who lives in San Francisco. She often uses the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system to travel from one part of the city to another. What follows is her story.

A dream about BART
This was one of those dreams that leave you with more question marks than answers. Even though it was short, the parts that I remember were cloudy, and I’m uncertain about the details. But here’s what I recall: I was involved with traveling on BART, but I’m not even sure if I was trying to enter the station or exit it. I was also with someone, although I don’t know who it was. I don’t even know if my companion was male or female.  Anyway, I came to the turnstile and I needed to insert my ticket and walk through. My companion got through just fine, but I discovered that I was too fat to fit through. (In real life, I don’t have a weight issue.) After several attempts to squeeze through, I found myself trying to pass through the little booth where the attendant sits and assists customers. But there was only one entrance to the booth, and I couldn’t exit from the other side. Besides, the attendant didn’t want me in there. But she told me that if I took a special, luminescent dust and sprinkled it on myself, I would make it through the turnstile. The dust was gold and sort of shiny—like fairy dust that you would see in a Disney movie. Somehow some of this dust got sprinkled on me—I don’t remember if I applied it or if the attendant did—but the last thing I remember is starting to walk through the turnstile, hopeful that this was going to work.

Initial thoughts
Even though the dreamer’s overall impression of the dream experience was vague, simply by telling the dream, lots of details come into focus. The fact that other details are unclear could even figure into the overall dream meaning. After all, lots of life’s issues lack clarity.

How to work on a dream that is unclear
Even with a murky-seeming dream, the process of interpretation is the same. The first step is to go through the dream and isolate anything that might be a symbol. Symbols are not only “things” (nouns) like “turnstile” and “BART” and “fairy dust.” Actions and feelings—like “squeeze through” and “hopeful”—are also vital to understanding the dream message.

I tell dreamers to pretend they are hearing the dream being told orally, and to take shorthand so that they could repeat the story back to the dreamer. The words they write down are almost always the most important symbols. We’ll go through that process on Wednesday.

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