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Beyond the Lone Islands

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Dream come true...?

Two of my very first readers here have both commented on "the island of dreams". (See initial post, and interview.) In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis, the island where dreams (not daydreams, but the nightly kind) come true is called the Dark Island; it is surrounded by darkness, and the man who managed to escape from it calls it a horrible place.

As I have already hinted, I find dreams and dream analysis interesting. Just recently, I had a very odd experience of déjà vu connected to a dream I dreamt many, many years ago.

Not so long ago, I moved to a new neighbourhood. Not completely new to me, and not very far from where I lived before. But new enough to make a change. One day, while walking along a road that I have walked along quite often before, I was suddenly hit by this déjà vu feeling connecting back to a dream which I hadn't thought about for quite a long time. But I did work with that dream quite a lot around the time I dreamt it, and I also used it as inspiration for a poem. What I never did before, however, was to connect the scenery in the dream to a real place. Now, suddenly, out of the blue (or maybe the grey), it struck me that I was walking along the road from my dream.

Here is a translation of my poem based on the dream (originally written in Swedish):

rain is streaming down
someone offers me a lift
no thanks, or yes please
if it's not out of your way
why can't I make up my mind

let me off here, please
not far from the town centre
I know the way now
I have seen this place before
I know where I am going

but took a wrong turn
lost again, not the first time
made the same mistake
before, in another dream
but I can correct myself

stone wall on the right
encloses the old churchyard
half an avenue
with trees on only one side
empty field on the other

darkness is falling
but now I'm on the right track
right here in between
the things buried in the past
and the future awaiting

The thing is - the place where I live now is right across "the empty field" of the dream...

Coincidence? Or did my subconscious remember the dream when I chose my new home?

Just for fun, I looked up "churchyard" in The Wordsworth Dictionary of Dreams. ("Gustavus Hindman Miller's Dictionary of Dreams first appeared in 1909, ten years after Sigmund Freuds pioneering work The Interpretation of Dreams", they note on the back of the cover.) I don't really put much trust in standard interpretations - I believe each person carries their own keys to their own dreams - but this definition did actually connect rather well to my own thoughts:

To dream of walking in a churchyard, if in winter, denotes that you are to have a long and bitter struggle with poverty, and you will reside far from the home of your childhood, and friends will be separated from you; but if you see the signs of springtime, you will walk up in into pleasant places and enjoy the society of friends.

I don't really recall the time of year in my dream, only that it was raining. Also, in my dream I was not walking in the churchyard, but alongside of it. But the dream/poem does sort of contain both winter and spring, in the sense that it contains both a sense of separation, and at the same time ends in hope.


Pan's Island said...

Dreams are rather fascinating. I used to record my dreams as well when I was a little younger. I can't strictly recall a deja vu experience with a dream and real life but I used to have the most annoying recurring figure - a crocodile. He'd just appear out of nowhere in my other dreams. When I looked up the meanings of all these different dreams (ignoring the crocodile) they all suggested that I was avoiding something or putting something off. I finally finished my community service for high school (it's a mandatory requirement to graduate high school in Ontario - 40 hours - nothing like forcing people to participate) and the crocodile stopped appearing in my dreams. I found out later from my mother that when I was a very small child I used to have night terrors involving crocodiles hiding under my bed. Isn't that strange? Have you ever had a recurring figure that moved through different dreams instead of the the same dream over and over? Oooh, or here's one for you - have you ever heard music in your dreams?

DawnTreader said...

At the top of my head, I can't recall a dream that involved music. (?)

Not sure I've had a recurring figure either - but I have had sort of recurrent themes. Like variations of the dream above, without the churchyard, but wandering around in other places having trouble finding the way. Usually not too hard to interpret - it's been when I've felt a bit lost in the real world as well, having decisions to make etc. Repetition of similar dreams is also implied in the poem above, in this verse:

but took a wrong turn
lost again, not the first time
made the same mistake
before, in another dream
but I can correct myself

This also illustrates my belief, that if you manage to work through and understand these kind of recurring dreams, you can also eventually learn to check yourself while you're still in the dream - get yourself out of the uncomfortable situation.

If the crocodile was mine, I would ask myself questions like:
1. What is my first memory of seeing (or hearing or reading about) crocodiles? What feelings are connected with it in my mind?
2. What do we generally associate with crocodiles? Three answers come spontanouesly to me: a/ Teeth! which may represent danger from outside, or anger from inside... b/ Lurking under water, so that they are hard to recognize at first (fits rather well with repressed anger etc) c/ crocodile tears - insincere grief (again this could fit with suppressed feelings)

But I think that how you yourself feel about the crocodile is the most important key.

Anyway you have a gift for asking interesting questions, Pan - I will probably be returning to the topic of dreams.

Pan's Island said...

I put a lot of thought into that crocodile figure and what first caused him to appear in my dreams and early night terrors. I trace it back to some of my earliest memories. My sister and I used to play this game when I was really young on the jungle gym next door to our house - it was called monkeys and alligators. I would play the monkey and had to stay on the jungle gym and she was the crocodile underneath trying to catch me - no wonder I had night terrors. lol. There was also this old log that would float half-submerged in the water at our cottage - I always thought it was a very sly crocodile when I was a child. I find it fascinating how early childhood memories can have such an impact on our subconsciouses. Oh, and the reason I asked the music question is because I don't ever recall having music in my dreams but I have a friend who is really into music and she says almost all of her dreams have music - which I found strange.

DawnTreader said...

Thanks for sharing! I find it fascinating, too. I'll have to ask my more musical friends about their dreams! Once (long time ago) I dreamt a dream with subtitles. Maybe I had just been watching too much TV?(We get most foreign films and TV shows with subtitles here, not dubbed). I don't remember what it was about; it was just dreaming subtitles in itself that seemed so odd that it stuck in my mind. But perhaps it's not really more complicated for the brain than playing around with multiple images, to exchange some of them for letters or music instead?


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