Forest Dream #1

5.21-22.2014

clearingI found myself standing on the perimeter of a graduation ceremony of sorts that was taking place in the forest. It was really a beautiful day; The sunlight was visibly streaming through the treetops and into a small clearing.

In this clearing were neatly arranged folding chairs, all taken by about-to-be graduates; All were sitting calmly. There was no talking or joking; All heads faced front. There was a wooden stage facing them and I was facing that stage, but was on the left side near the back – out of sight.

I noticed a girl (around my age, but a little younger) make her way over to a podium on the age to speak. I remember everyone looking very young. This was definitely a high school graduation/school function of sorts. I could just tell by the age of the student body.

As this girl was going up to speak, I immediately became disinterested. I really wanted to get out of there but felt hesitant about leaving. I was trepidatious; I didn’t want to break any rules, nor did I want to get in trouble for leaving. But as I continued to think about it, I realized how silly it was to feel that way; I remember inwardly reasoning something along the lines of, “I’m independent. This is my life. Why should I feel obligated to stay somewhere I don’t want to?” I was resolved to stick to my guns and not be so easily manipulated and pressured by a feeling/notion that had no logical basis. So as the speaker began, I started to walk away.

Imagine this - but in a sky blue color
Imagine this – but in a sky blue color

Leaving the clearing behind me, I approached a sky blue bridge. Before I could cross it, I was stopped by an administrator of sorts. He was definitely an older gentleman; Think along the

Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge
Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge

lines of a younger Cornelius Fudge. He stepped in front of my path with his back to this sky blue bridge.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he asked.

“I’m leaving,” I said. “I don’t go [to school] here”

He refused to let me pass, but I defiantly blew past him anyway. I went over the bridge and on to another part of the forest. He did not protest, but followed me instead.

We immediately came across a small house made of large, roundish stones (like a very rudimentary cobblestone house) that was understood to be a chapel.

Imagine full scale walls with stones stacked like this.

From the window, I saw the ghost of a priest clothed in red and gold vestments doing the Communion rites, holding the Eucharist up and whatnot. Everything inside this chapel, including the priest, was absolutely transparent. After witnessing this, I began to become very interested in going inside this small church/chapel. I told the administrator (whose role seemed to have gone from adversary to guide) to let me inside. I thought maybe he had a key.

We were on the side of the chapel, so we went to approach the front. But to my surprise, as we entered the vestibule area, the Communion scene inside was nowhere to be found. Instead the interior was full of cobwebs and dust. I thought I felt a bug on my skin and freaked out a bit, trying to brush it off.


Though that was pretty much the end of the dream, I also remember a small tidbit that came afterwards. Although, I’m not sure if it was cohesively generated as I think I woke up and made myself fall back asleep to “see what was next”. The next scene went as follows:

I found myself back in the clearing but after the “graduation ceremony” had ended. There were groups of people socializing.

I remember approaching the speaker and apologizing for walking out. She was very nice about it, assuring me not to worry. I remember her showing me the program for the event/ceremony. She pointed to the pictures of 3 girls who were in the program in black and white. She told me she had spoken on their behalf, to remember and memorialize them as they had died very recently. I did not recognize the girls nor do I remember their faces.

Forest Dream #2

I was at a relative’s house. The dream house was pretty accurate to the house in reality: A large house, with an extensive backyard but – There was a mountain range in the distance; As one looked out beyond the yard the mountains were prominent as ever. It looked beautiful as the sun was setting. The yard wasn’t that large as I noticed the other surrounding neighbor’s yards were nearby, but there weren’t many fences dividing the yards up; It was pretty open and connected.

This relative was saying mean and disparaging things to me. Again, not far from reality; This relative has always been slightly condescending and ambiguous towards me, but would never stoop so low to say some of things that he was saying to me in this dream; In short, repetitively saying to my face how worthless and useless I am. I kept telling him to stop but he wouldn’t, continuously pestering and pushing me to brink of explosive anger.

Another relative from the same house, stole my phone and I caught him looking through it. He was at the bottom of some stairs (In a basement, I suppose. The interior of the house was not based in reality) and I was peering from the top yelling at him for doing so. I didn’t appreciate him violating my privacy. He ran away and I went down to retrieve my phone. After this occurred, something else was said to me of condescending nature (by who I don’t specifically remember) and I flipped; I yelled, cursing everyone out in the house and booked it – out of the yard and towards the mountain range.

I ran very fast. Faster than I ever could in reality and without tiring. I went the length of the entire backyard from the back of the house onward, until I came upon a metal gate that was attached to a larger chain metal fence. I opened the latch and continued to run and run and run; Through the other neighboring yards on and on. I ran so fast and so far, thoughts blacked out by my anger, blinded by my rage (I had no idea where I was going. I just needed to run), until after a time I decided it might be appropriate to stop. OHT Pic 4387 Open forestI had cleared the “suburban backwoods” and now found myself alone and isolated in a forest.

But I wasn’t afraid. I was suddenly calmed in the realization of my aloneness. It was peaceful, quiet. I don’t even remember hearing birds chirping or crickets singing. The forest wasn’t very dense but was actually very open. I noticed a sign across from me that said something along the lines of: Visitors must leave the forest before dusk. I remember the word DUSK specifically, in bold and all capitals.

The shape was something like this, though the material was not finished wood. Imagine a light tan, beige-ish color instead.
The shape was something like this, but the steps were bigger and more triangulated. And the material was not finished wood. Imagine a light tan, beige-ish color instead. I don’t remember a railing either.

In my contentment, I continued to look about the forest and noticed (across from the sign) I was standing next to a spiraling staircase to a treehouse. But there wasn’t just one staircase – there were two. The inner one was made of wood and the steps were large and somewhat triangular. The outer one was made of highly ornamented wrought, black iron. I remember looking up the staircase for awhile, pondering it. My memories then came flooding back as to what had transpired: The argument, my flighty tantrum. I did not ascend the staircase, but began to head back to the house. By the time I got back it was dark.

Instead of announcing my return, some other relatives (including my brother) decided it was best to sneak me in and not tell parties previously involved that I had come back; So that they would be worried and look for me and waste their time and emotions doing so. I remember lying down, hiding with my brother behind a jungle gym while the relative who stole my phone headed out to look for me. After that, my dream starts to get hazy, unclear, and watercolored. I woke up soon afterwards.

Day 21: Build On Your New-To-You Format Post, and Let the World Know

Last week I posted a video of me covering “Failure By Design” by Brand New.

With that said, I’d like to tell you about a dream I recently had. The dream itself is not so much “inspired” by the above post but is connected to Brand New, however small that connection is. Plus, it’s slightly hilarious and I really wanna share it with you.

Two nights ago at about 5 am, I practically bolted out of bed with really bad cramps. You know that subconscious state you’re half in, half out of when it’s late at night and you’re in pain? You toss and turn and debate with yourself whether or not to fully take off the covers and get up, or if you can away with forcing yourself to fall back asleep? Well, I was in one of those states.

After taking pills and grabbing a hot water bottle I did my best to soothe myself back to sleep but just couldn’t do it. I was wired, but still had a shroud of dream-vision around me. I’m closing my eyes, trying to find a comfortable position, and now my mind is racing. I couldn’t tell you why it was. I’m not undergoing any unusual amount of stress, but this has happened to me before – My racing mind won’t stop and I begin to formulate a meaningless scenario in my head that is preposterous and unlikely in its own right, but I stress about as though it is a real-life, conscious event that I need to make an immediate decision about.

Before I went to bed I watched a few episodes of Frasier. I TiVo it on the regular. It’s one of my favorite shows of all time. The writing is so genius and the acting so fantastic, each episode is real treat. After finishing up 3 or 4 of them, I went upstairs and continued to listen to Brand New’s Your Favorite Weapon. I had started listening to the album that afternoon and wanted to finish it up before I went to bed. And so I did.

My stress/anxiety/mind-racing dream consisted of me having to make a pertinent decision: I had to incorporate Brand New frontman, Jesse Lacey into an episode of Frasier. I’m embarrassed to say I must’ve spent at least 45 minutes freaking out about it in my subconscious state. I could see the set of Frasier’s apartment and Jesse Lacey standing near the piano a grey/beige long-sleeved shirt – and I had to figure out what to do with him! What would he do? What would he say for his special guest appearance?!

This quasi-lucid dream drove me out of my mind, nevermind the fact I was seriously trying to pair these two unlikely people together (Jesse+Frasier BFF 4E). And it was slightly lucid because I knew I was dreaming! I knew I was in control, but the lines between dream and reality were so blurred because I was so stressed. And instead of changing the scenario and choosing to dream something else, I stayed with it and participated in a hellish perpetual loop. The day before, I had read an article on lucid dreaming in The Atlantic, which no doubt contributed to this strange occurrence.

I actually completely forgot I had this dream until yesterday evening when I went for a walk; It popped back into my head and everything came flooding back.

I have a strange mind, I know this. It’s just all so funny to me. Why does this sort of thing happen? Sleep is supposed to be peaceful and regenerative. Why do our minds create absurdity and why do we allow ourselves to become overly anxious about it? One response could be I have difficulty with decision making (which I admit I do) and so my psyche is attempting to resolve that difficulty to get past that paralysis. Another could be the lack of decisions I’ve had to make in the waking world, so my mind is creating it’s own scenarios in which I must play a role in determining their outcomes. I could go on.

Has anyone else had a half-conscious stress dream like this? Please share in the comments below! I’d love to hear! 🙂

Jesse Lacey
Brand New frontman, Jesse Lacey
Frasier
Dr. Frasier Crane

Lioness Dreams

I’m reading a new book: Women Who Run With The Wolves (see my Book Club page for more info) where author and Jungian analyst Clarissa Pinkola Estés delves into myth, story, dream, and the omnipresence of the wise, Wild Woman archetype that is innate in all women. The book was given to me by a friend from my last job and after ravaging the insights of Campbell, Jung, McKenna, and Postman and eating up the wonderful fiction of Raymond Carver, J.D. Salinger, and George Orwell let’s just say it’s taken me awhile to get to it.

I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. I was afraid I wouldn’t as the Introduction was verbose and a slightly exhausting  read but now that I’m getting to the good stuff, my understanding is starting to fall into place. I’m only on the third chapter, but I feel as though I’m being handed a sort of guide for myself as a woman and therefore a guide to life.

When reading Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces, I felt the ever persistent question popping up in my head: “Does all this also apply to women?” and “What of the Heroine?”. I’m still figuring it out. I like to think The Hero’s Journey applies to women as well, perhaps with a few tweaks and modifications. (For example: perhaps there is a Mother Quest instead of a Father Quest). Not to say Women Who Run With The Wolves is a female reflection of The Hero, but let’s just say it brings more personal illumination to the femininity that resides within and is more informative on how to use that energy through understanding certain stories and myths. The pattern in Ms. Estés’ book appears to be sharing a well-known myth/story and then breaking down its symbolism and characters and how it relates to a woman’s life. She also shares Jung’s strong belief that the unconscious is a separate entity of our psyche that communicates with us the only way it knows how – through dream.

In the beginning of the book, Estés parallels the lives, attitudes, and instincts of women and wolves. Both are intuitive, nurturing, intelligent by nature. She tells a story of La Loba – The Wolf Woman, who goes around searching for wolf bones in the desert. She gathers these bones, puts the skeleton together near her campfire, raises her hands and sings a song so that the body, hair, and flesh of the wolf grow back and consequently becomes alive again.

The word “wild” Estés says, has been given such a negative connotation over time. But “wild” does not indicate something as bad, evil, or dangerous.  It should not instill fear, but rather remind us of nature untouched and preserved, without interference;  Life, body, and mind in their original states. So this Wild Woman archetype should not be feared or thought of as some creature or other to be expunged from the psyche but rather embraced and nurtured so that women may reach their fullest potentials and realizations.

This brings me to my most recent dream –

Last night I dreamt I was in an upstairs area, maneuvering through different towers. But they were all connected somehow. Maybe by bridges or something. There were stairs inside the towers but not many. I only used them to go between the different levels of the individual tower I was in. But going from tower to tower, I have no recollection of how I got there. All I know is that I was.

These towers were packed with people. It was actually slightly difficult to navigate. It was understood that these towers were used for academia and the tower I remember being in had an event I wanted to attend. I eventually got to the area (which was already full with people) and hung around for awhile. But once the speaker started speaking, I realized I didn’t want to be there anymore. So I left. Down the stairs and outside. But outside was different.

I was surrounded by tall grasses and trees, but mostly grasses. There was a slight breeze that I saw in the sway of the stalks. I remember trying to navigate my way home and being confused by each turn I took. I then realized there were two creatures walking about, but I couldn’t see what they were as they were mostly blocked out by the grass. Then I looked straight ahead and saw I was confronted by a Lioness.

When dreaming, I wasn’t sure exactly what it was. It was after I woke and remembered the dream that I realized what it most strongly looked like. I never fully encountered the other creature but I remember it being an orange or dark reddish color, almost the color of a fox but a bigger beast. Maybe a tiger without stripes.

The Lioness neared close and bared her teeth. I suddenly became paralyzed with fear. I wanted to run but knew I shouldn’t because I didn’t want to risk her running after me, scaring her with my sudden movements. I was too rooted to the spot anyway. It was then I realized I had to show her I was peaceful and would not harm her. I had to disassociate myself from her viewing me as a potential threat.

I closed my eyes and slowly stretched out my arms to show her I had no weapons, no claws sharpened, no teeth bared and tried my best to slowly breathe. I remember my breaths being shaky as I tried to calm them. I opened my eyes to see she had visibly relaxed. After that, I can’t remember anymore.

I gave this dream a lot of thought this morning and this is my interpretation (which I encourage anyone to comment on if they have a suggestion or idea!):

The towers represent my conscious world in the realm of school/college – that’s what it used to be, anyway. It’s becoming a bit of a common motif in my dreams as it’s something I have not completely resolved in my mind. (I’m getting there! I just haven’t fully dropped it yet) The academic world is the only world I’ve known; When you can say your place in the world is “student”, it’s a big worry off your back and you can live your life a little easier. But when you are unsure of your place in the world, anxiety can be a constant companion as it often has been for me.  But these towers are full now; There is no room for me and even when I maneuver and squeeze my way in, I eventually become disinterested. I don’t belong there anymore. [*]

When I descend the tower (descending is a common Jungian motif for descending into the unconscious) outside it is wilderness – unconquered terrain. And I am scared and unsure. This represents my view of the outside world; I feel as though I know absolutely nothing about it. And the encounter with the Lioness is my encounter with my Wild Woman, my feminine wildness. The Lioness is not just a symbol, but she is a part of me. Perhaps she bares her teeth because she is scolding me for being afraid, like a mother wolf scolds her cub for getting into mischief when teaching him how to hunt; Maybe she’s telling me to toughen up. Maybe this is terrain in my psyche I have not entered before and she does not know if I’m an intruder. Friend or foe? I think my behavior towards her is an accurate depiction of how I am trying to make sense of all this; I do not run, knowing it may hurt more than harm. I am slowly opening my mind and my arms to her, despite my intimidation. I am letting her in and I think my unconscious just wanted to confirm and validate that in the only way it knows how – through dream.

*It wasn’t until I was writing and recollecting my dream that I realized I have tapped into another archetype/motif – The Ivory Tower. According to Wikipedia, “From the 19th century…[the Ivory Tower] has been used to designate a world or atmosphere where intellectuals engage in pursuits that are disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life. As such, it usually carries pejorative connotations of a willful disconnect from the everyday world; esoteric, over-specialized, or even useless research; and academic elitism, if not outright condescension. In American English usage it is also used as shorthand for academia or the university, particularly departments of the humanities”. I am absolutely floored at my findings. I never knew this is what an “ivory tower” meant. The fact that my unconscious already knew the towers were for academic purposes is astounding and to be honest, I am very much in shock. I’m not sure if this finding changes my original interpretation of how I view the towers or how the towers are connected to me…As of right now I think not other that perhaps the towers is how I view academia now; Overpacked, overcrowded, nothing of true interest. Perhaps I now hold a “pejorative” view and that is why I no longer claim allegiance to it. But either way, HOW COOL IS THAT?!