photo courtesy of happytailsdogtraining.co.nz
A woman who was shopping in her suburban neighborhood witnessed a dog owner yanking so hard on a leash that her dog flipped over on its back. The witness was shocked and upset.
This was not a traditional dream; the witness wasn't asleep. Rather, she was wide awake, going about the normal business of her day. Yet this was a dream: a waking dream. Ancient civilizations as well as many current indigenous cultures would refer to the experience as a “sign.” Whatever terminology one chooses to use, the path to understanding the experience is the same. The “language” being spoken is the language of metaphor.
Our job, as dream interpreters, is to isolate the important words and phrases. They are the dream's symbols. In this waking dream, they would be words like shopping, leash, yank, upended. Or phrases like “pulled hard,” “as if nothing had happened,” etc.
Once these dream symbols are isolated, we need to examine the meaning of each one in a broader sense. For example, the word “leash” is literally a length of leather or nylon used to control the movements of an animal. But in a broader context, the term “leash” is also used metaphorically to describe anything that acts as an annoying constraint.
It is those broader definitions that we are looking for—especially the definitions that the person who witnessed the event (the dreamer) would offer on her own without being directed or guided to an answer. One of the best ways to gently elicit these definitions is to begin with the neutral prompt, “Tell me about it.” The results of that process are given below.
Tell me about…
* Weekly shopping errands: The replenishing of commodities that have been used up.
* Usually-calm suburban neighborhood: It’s the environment I live in. It’s quiet. Nothing much happens out of the ordinary. It’s predictable and reliable, so it has a peaceful effect on the residents.
* Walking toward an intersection: An intersection is a crossroads. It’s a place where you have a choice of which direction to go. I was approaching one of those.
* Woman: Someone like me; the feminine polarity. It’s usually associated with nurturing and family.
* Dog: Man’s best friend. A wonderful companion. Always trying to please. Enthusiastic. Guardians of the physical environment.
* Leash: A way for the owner to maintain control. Sometimes there are dangers that the dog might not understand, or the dog might become invasive through its friendliness.
* Reasonably well behaved: Not causing trouble.
* Minding its own business: Not involved where it shouldn’t be.
* Huge yank: A violent and unwarranted arrest of motion.
* Upended: Turned upside down.
* On its back: It was rendered immobile and out of control.
* Shocked: Stunned in disbelief.
* Not adversely affected: Acted as if this was normal.
* Back on its feet: Regained control and seemed nonplussed.
* Couldn’t believe it: It was all so strange that I couldn’t let it go.
* Still upset: It was an abuse, and no one seemed to acknowledge that.
The remarks offered by the dreamer will constitute the basis of the next step in the dream interpretation process. We’ll take those phrases and use them to reconstruct the dream narrative in its metaphoric meaning.