Saturday, March 20, 2004

Nightmares

Plagued by nightmares again. Sharks and wolves predominantly. My night terrors use to be confined to oceanic predators, but now they have branched out to soft pawed creatures. I have on occasion dreamt of swimming with sharks and it felt very free and peaceful, but as of late it is all teeth and slashing. The wolves are a new fixation. I think because they hunt in packs, it gives a gathering of gruesome images for my damaged id to obsess on.

One dream that has gone against this trend:

I am in a gloomy, deteriorating structure. I cannot see anything around me, and am using my hands to search for doorknobs or a window to the outside. I touch the walls, soft and warm like they are alive. I fall through several floors, and each time I do I am plunged into a new environment, like each room is its own little ecosystem. In one I remember being surprised by my sudden emersion in water. At first I struggle, and then realize I can breathe under the water. My pleasure is brief. Soon there are tentacles all around me, dragging me deeper, and squeezing so tightly that I can no longer breathe. Suddenly in another room and I am standing waist deep in water. The feeling of smooth wet bodies rubbing against me, so many fins and tails. It is still dark, and I cannot tell what the long muscular forms are. At first, I think dolphins. But then I realize the quiet, no clicking noises, just the thrusting cold bodies and splashing water. I feel something warm in the water, pain on my ankle… I realize a shark has bitten me. I burst through another floor and it seems I am in another world altogether. A jungle of vines. Slanted yellow eyes gleaming through the dark. The sound of howler monkeys, and buzzing, flying creatures near my face. I climb a rolling staircase, push open a door to the attic. Bats everywhere, and in the distance a slit of light coming from a window. I can feel leathery wings brushing against every part of my body. They swarm the window, almost carrying me with them. A tunnel and then I am falling.

After reading my description, I am surprised by the sexual imagery. It is strange that something that feels clearly un-sexual can be so informed by sexuality. Houses are traditionally viewed as metaphors for the body or soul. In this case, the soft walls are like the interior chambers of a woman’s body, perhaps a uterus lined with blood. I’m not sure what the tentacled beast represents, but it wanted to drag me further down into the primordial depths. Then there are the long muscular bodies of sharks, which are most decidedly phallic. As I travel to the upper parts of the house, I move from primitive aquatic life to forest canopy and then to the attic, where I obviously need to do some housecleaning. The bats swarm a “slit of light,” and I am pushed out a tunnel and fall, like I am being born. I managed to remember most of the details of this dream, yet I still have no clue what, if anything, it means. There is some element of the safe becoming dangerous. I momentarily felt pleasure at being able to breath in the water, and then the beast wrapped its tentacles around me so I could no longer breathe. The smooth bodies I thought were dolphins either morphed into sharks or were sharks all along, and I did not realize their threat until bitten. The shedding of blood generally symbolizes initiation into womanhood. Strange, I still have no idea where all this fear may be coming from.