home

I was a young girl with longish fair hair.  (Or was I watching a film about a young girl?  Bloody film dreams!)  I’d been adopted by a kindly couple and was arriving home with them permanently after months of visits and discussions, during which I’d kept thinking they would change their mind.  There was every opportunity for them to decide I was too much trouble – or if not I, then the adoption process.  My new father in the dream was my real-life dad, although much younger, which he would be seeing as I was more than twenty years younger myself.  I sobbed with relief, my new mother watching me gently, as I looked around at the smallish living room, the oak-furnished kitchen where I now lived and could not be sent away from.

I’d say the meanings of this dream are fairly self-explanatory: longing for love, wanting parental protection, wanting a second chance at childhood, wishing my childhood / parents had been different.  In particular, it’s only in relatively recent years that my real-life dad and I have come to understand each other better and be close; hence me wishing us both younger again, so that we could get to know each other with more years, and my adulthood, still ahead of us.

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by moonlight

I was watching a film at my parents’ place (a device my subconscious particularly loves to use).  In it, an almost-pubescent girl was guest at a huge old house owned by a man with something of the undead about him.  To my dreaming mind, the house looked like that of my best friend from junior school, with the same split level floors (the first floor had mezzanines, and didn’t make sense as just one storey), and rooms that instead of having jusst one door – in and out – had doors in at least two of their walls, so that you could lock one door behind you and carry on through the other exit to the next chamber.  But this house, of course, was much bigger than the one where I used to play.

moonlight house

Other guests were staying at the house, adults and children, mostly females, the girl didn’t know how many.  Almost nightly, a guest or two would disappear, presumed eaten, but the girl didn’t guess that her host was the culprit.  He was a kind man, her friend, if a little hard for some people to understand because he kept to himself and was ponderously intellectual.  The girl liked that.  She understood it.

By now, almost all the others were gone.  The girl was beginning, reluctantly at first and then with terror, to face what she had suspected all along but suppressed.  She had thought her gentle host wouldn’t attack her.  She had turned a blind eye to what happened to the others, as lond as she believed herself exempt.  But what else had she decieved herself about?

She crept down to the cellar seeking – but hoping not to find – evidence of what had happened to her fellows.  Their remains, some of their possessions, even – could they be? – some people still alive.  In the cellar was a sunken pool filled with a kind of stagnant green slime.  (At this point, my mum came into the room, looked at the TV screen and said, “I’m not watching this, it’s too grisly for me.”)

Terrified, the girl fled back upstairs.  In the dark house, she ran through room after room locking each door behind her, both looking for her delusive host and praying not to be found by him.

In one room, she could dimly make out a bed, and a man sitting on it.  From the faint moonlight coming in through the heavy curtains, she did not see his full nakedness but only the strong torso lit by a cold blue glow.  In the silence and darkness, she softly reached out her hand to touch this male skin.  For a moment, she was rapt at the sensation of solid muscle beneath her fingers.  The man did not move; had she percieved him in that moment as a man and not merely a sensual object, she would have sensed him holding his breath too.  Then she remembered that her murderous host would soon find her here if she didn’t run, and so she scrambled into the next room, struggling with trembling fingers to secure the chain on the door.

Murder, she watched

At my parents’ house, poorly with a bad cold.  On TV there was a film which I happened also to be reading the book of.  I’d watched the film on my own, whilst lying on the sofa.  Just the next day, my parents wanted to see the film too; I didn’t particularly want to watch it again, especially as it was pretty disturbing, but I was kind of stranded on the sofa, too sluggish to move.  Once again I saw the same narrative unfold in front of me.  I was starting to find I could quote bits of the dialogue in advance, stuck in a loop of film-book-film:

A wealthy, middle-class couple came to stay one summer with another couple, in their mansion house.  When I think about it now, the setting and characters remind me of A Dangerous Corner, a 1930s play which I saw on stage a couple of years ago.

Shortly after they arrived, the one man murdered his wife (by lethal injection?) to clear the way for he and the other man to engage in a long tournament; they would take it in turns to inject mild poison into the backs of each others’ hands. Each injection required a fresh scratch to the hand, so they had to keep looking for one good vein after another.  It seemed to be a macho competition, to see who could survive the longest as each dose of poison gradually weakened them towards, inevitably, the death of at least one of the two.

murder she wrote SMALL

wtf, subconscious?

I had been ill at my parents’ house recently.  I had both read and watched The Book Thief, which might have – on a literal level – prompted the dream-feeling of taking in the same story again and again, although I think, symbolically, the dream also wants me to be aware of a pattern in my life that keeps repeating. Given the subject matter, that pattern is presumably in my intimate relationships.

This was a semi-lucid dream, in which I was aware that it was me creating the story, but I didn’t know how it would end.  I have those quite often – where I’m writing a book, or watching a film or play that I wrote – and I’ve assumed that that was because I actually want to write something longer and publishable, but don’t currently feel like I can. Looking at this particular dream though – the motif of a story that keeps repeating – I think there’s more.  I know what the patterns are that keep repeating in my relationships (and elsewhere in life), but so far, knowing hasn’t helped me to change, at least not enough.  Murder, she watched challenges me to see how passive I still am, never really authoring my own fate but just watching as entirely predictable events unfold.

As for the nature of these predictable events, according to the dream… if I (grudgingly) go with the likely Freudian interpretation, that injections are a metaphor for penetrative sex, then what we have here is a man who kills his wife (possibly by having sex with her), leaving him free to engage in some kinky shit with another man.

If I’m the wife, then I’m afraid that a partner will betray me and cause my soul-death?  Possible…but the wife was too minor a character for me to think that’s it.

If I’m the other guy’s wife, then I know what’s going on and I’m just turning a blind-eye? Hmm.

I have no current concerns that the person I recently took up with is going to ditch me for another man.

And if I’m one of the blokes, then what the fuck?

Psychoanalyst Carl Jung wrote that we all have a male and female side to our pysches, and if he were to interpret my dream, I imagine he’d say that the male side of my psyche (my animus) wishes to ‘kill off’ my female side, at least when it comes to relationships.  To cast aside archetypally ‘feminine’ tendencies towards romantic commitment, in favour of the more ‘masculine’ pursuit of sex without love.

But for me, the penny only dropped when I was looking at pictures of blood-filled syringes with which to illustrate this blog, and I suddenly made the association with HIV.  So, I take the dream to represent a lurking fear that I might die of something sexually transmitted.

I did have that fear just under a year ago, when I caught a flu virus that had also taken down several of my friends.  I knew that a seasonal bug was going round, but because for the last few years I’d seemed to keep catching whatever went, I got myself terrified that I had an underlying problem with my auto-immune system.  At that time, I’d been in an exclusive relationship for years, and around the start of that relationship I’d had all the routine tests done, so my risk of any STIs was all but nonexistent. Even so, I was on the brink of booking another test when the flu, and my paranoid thoughts with it, started to lift.  Later, comparing notes with friends who’d been house-bound with the same virus, it turned out that morbid, uncharacteristic and / or irrational thoughts had been a common symptom.

Another time – about ten years ago – I had a few bouts of ovulation pain or mittelschmerz, but not knowing what it was, I naturally assumed that my ovaries were dying, (I had a mental image of them turning black and shrivelling up like a walnut) and that this was God’s punishment for my having immoral sexual thoughts. Despite my being monogamous with only my second boyfriend at the time.  And despite, you know, not believing in God.  

I give you these examples to show you some extent of my mind’s capacity for what-the-fuckery, which is not limited to the dream state but sometimes enhanced by it.

Any further thoughts, readers? If you recognise any of these happenings from your own dreams, let me know in the comments!