Dreamlife 💫🌜💤🚀🌛💫


#1

So I had another vivid and alarming dream the other night, and it got me to thinking about all the meaningful, memorable, or “important” (to me) dreams I’ve had in my life.
Sure, some themes tend to be universal (Jungian archetypes), but I find it interesting how varied our personal interaction with these narratives can be.
I can remember many of my vivid dreams as far back as preschool. How about you all?
I have several I can - and probably will - relate in this thread, but I’ll start off with the one I had a couple of nights ago…

So in this dream, I’m not sure why, I have a pet snake who lives in my right ear. Now, I’m definitely not a reptile lover. I dig cats. But for some reason, I like this little black snake who lives in my ear canal for warmth. He pops out occasionally to lay on my shoulder, but generally likes to stay in the ear canal.
So I think in my dream some time has passed, and I’m lying in my bed at night, but in a small garden - the kind with footpaths and gazebos and all that. It feels like early summer. But my snake isn’t in my ear anymore. He’s grown in size, as long as me, and turned more green in color.
As I lay there, he slowly wraps himself around my legs like a python, after latching onto my left hand. This bite I feel quite vividly, and after a quick segue in which I am freed, I can even see the bite mark on my hand in the dream.
I think maybe this is in relation to my situation here in Tijuana, where I have felt I was escaping to a semblance of freedom, but my depression follows me wherever I go, my “dark passenger” determined to never let me breathe free.
Comments? Insight?


#2

My memories before I turned about 11 are mostly a black hole. Most of my vivid ones are dreams though. :first_quarter_moon_with_face:

The most recent dream I’m ready to talk about, I was doing live videography for a church event. In the dream, I wasn’t even really sure why I was doing it. Someone I was working with brought up a protestant theological concept and without even thinking, I calmly told him I didn’t believe in the concept because I wasn’t a christian.

Then I found myself in a late night class where the teachers were teaching kids how to fight fascism. As soon as someone would walk in the teachers would seamlessly change the topic to something boring.

I don’t totally get the first part. I have some ideas about maybe becoming more comfortable with sharing parts of myself I’ve kept hidden so long. The second part was because I had the dream within a few days of November 9.

A friend told me I have a Jungian method for interpreting dreams. :laughing: I’m not sure that’s fair. :sweat: In a way, no one is more qualified and capable of telling you what your dream means than you are. The symbols and the meaning are yours entirely but having another perspective can be helpful in the same way internet personality tests can.

What if the snake isn’t really exactly your depression. What if it’s a part of yourself you’ve grown comfortable with but you’re unhappy with?


#3

The symbolism seems remarkably archetypal, and I think I agree with Ignatius about the nuanced interpretation being most effectively delivered by the self.

This paragraph caught me up short, however.

In response to my initial diagnosis with major depression some 20 years ago, at the time I needed to frame it as ‘other’, as a false self, and spent the next 10-15 years seeking to destroy this opponent and emerge as a purified, idealized self once strong enough to be victorious.

I discovered (often painfully) time and again that any victory was only temporary. And while my experiences are my own and may or may not map onto yours, I personally found that the feeling of victory and freedom from that demon were most often associated with a drastic and (for the moment) permanent change in physical locale. This feeling would last about six months, before discovering time and again that I was carrying with me what I was trying so desperately to escape. Each new place would become the same hell. And at the risk of quoting too much of the oft quoted book four of Paradise Lost:

Be then his love accursed, since, love or hate,
To me alike it deals eternal woe.
Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will
Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Infinite wrauth and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven.
O, then, at last relent! Is there no place
Left for repentence, none for pardon left?

Recently, I’ve made peace with the simple (apparently biological) fact of a lifelong major depressive disorder. It is a facet of who I am. Not an opponent, not a weakness, not an albatross to be discarded. It is I myself. And it has meant finding a different way to live, by accepting it as self.

Again, I will caveat this by saying: these are my own personal experiences. They may or may not map onto your own. But ye gods your dream feels powerfully familiar to me without ever having had it myself.


#4

Talk to the entities in your dreams, they are you. And the character in which you place your centre of perception, whilst in the dream, is as fabricated as the rest of them. So none of this “Do you realise you are only a figment of my imagination?” because so are you and anyway, that’s just rude.

I find that occasionally you’ll meet another lucid dreamer in the dream, a character that is also aware that the dream is a dream. They always have the best chat, and usually, IME, can represent some deep facet of the dream, or offer some deep insight into the structure of the reality you are experiencing from within the constraints of the apparent world.
I find this usually means subverting the intention of the imagery being represented, ending the story or narrative or whatever and focusing on the quality of the perceptual experience (with the help of the other lucid character(s)). I believe I have gone deeper into the visualisation aspect of meditation in my dreams than in waking life.

Good luck keeping that image coherent in any meaningful sense once you’ve awakened to the world though.

And don’t be intimidated by the shadow who stalks, it just wants a hug. A really, really, really good hug.


#5

I’ll wait for more responses, but I’ve got some interesting flying/falling/levitating ones I’ll share.


#6

[quote]What if the snake isn’t really exactly your depression. What if it’s a part of yourself you’ve grown comfortable with but you’re unhappy with?
[/quote]

If anything, it’s likely crippling self-doubt, but I really think that’s part of the depression. I have skills, I’m (Stuart Smalley) good enough, smart enough, etc.
I really do know better, but being single most of my life, I think it’s been so easy to crawl into that hole because there’s not been someone around enough to keep me from doing it so often.

I’ve moved around a lot myself since I was able. For a while it felt like restlessness, but yeah, I can see the similarities.


#7

Does anyone else become a different person, with a whole other history, sometimes even another gender, in dreams?

A few years ago I entered a writing contest. I’d entered this same contest for several years and always managed to only be a runner-up. The night after I sent in my entry I dreamed I was Gene Shalit’s wife and that she/me had also submitted something, and had always only been a runner-up. I told all this to Gene who chuckled and said “Move over, Susan Lucci!”

The interpretation is obvious, although she/me had a more elaborate history outside of this brief moment. It’s amusing but also annoying that my brain pulls these pretty obscure pop culture references.


#8

Yep. Sometimes I’m not even a participant. I’m just watching the story.


#9

One of my first flying dreams was when I was in elementary school, probably third or fourth grade.

I was with friends from school, nobody I can pinpoint in particular, maybe about eight of us. We were in an area that looked a bit like southern Los Angeles - you know, the area that many low-budget, live-action television shows were filmed for scenes that needed to look “rural”, like CHiPs, or Run, Joe, Run.
There was this sense that we all needed to get somewhere, but walking was going to expend way too much time and energy. Someone (maybe me) suggested we swim through the air. So we did.
We were all levitating about shoulder height above the ground, facing the ground. All you had to do was make swimming motions like the frog kick, and you could travel where you wanted to at around twelve miles per hour. You could even coast several feet on your own momentum.
I’m not sure if we got to where we were going, but looking back at those years (mid-seventies), I’d probably hope it was Kim Richards’ house. :grinning:


#10

I can’t remember most of them that well anymore, but I distinctly remember two from when I was 4 or younger (both nightmares).

In one, I was out in a prairie, happy, surrounded by tall grass, it was a beautiful day. There were buffalo around grazing, and then suddenly they started stampeding and I was caught in the middle of it, helpless and terrified. In another, I was asleep and woke up when I heard noises - something thumping against the wall. Then a window smashed. I went outside and looked and there was a group of kids - bullies - throwing rocks at the house. They saw me and I was afraid they’d start throwing rocks at me (or maybe they did).

What was weird about both of those was that up to that point in my life, I’d never experienced those things. I’d lived in the mountains and never seen prairie. Maybe my dad had been watching a western on TV? That was before preschool, so how would I have thought of bullies throwing rocks at a house?

Later as a kid I found books about lucid dreaming. After that, I really didn’t have nightmares. I actually looked forward to the bizarre and scary dreams because I’d somehow snap into it and take control and it would turn out more like an exciting adventure story with myself taking the hero role and leading up to a good ending.

One odd thing I remember is serial dreams. Hasn’t happened recently, but I know it happened a lot when I was around 8-12. I would have a dream, then the next night would pick up from the previous dream (never exactly, but close enough for them to fit together). I miss those. I don’t remember the details now, but I had an alien abduction dream cycle that lasted for months.

Lately I don’t sleep enough, but if I do wake up while a dream is in progress I refuse the real world and try to go back to sleep to continue it.


#11

I’ve kept a dream journal since I was a teenager. To anyone who hasn’t, I highly recommend giving it a go. Keep a pad of paper by your bed and jot down everything you can remember in shorthand notes as soon as you get up, before you even leave your bedroom for the morning routine. Then take a few minutes once you’ve had your coffee to write a paragraph or two to organize your initial notes. Chances are you’ll learn new things about yourself. Think of it as the one chance you get to really peak under your own hood.

Indeed. Do you ever experience being in more than one perspective simultaneously? That’s the best I can describe it in non dream-logic, but it always makes sense in the dream, kind of like multiple first-person narratives running at once in a story. I’ve also “jumped” between characters, but that’s usually not volitional, and the purpose of it seems to be mainly to continue whatever thread of events is carrying “me” through the dream.

Lately I’ve been having a lot of dreams about living in a wholly modern explicitly feudal society. If I’m not a passive observer, I’m usually part of an underground revolutionary movement to overthrow the aristocracy. I might get some story material out of those, but fantasy isn’t really my gig.

A few nights ago I had a dream about living in a world where the quantum wave-function is much more resistant to collapse from measurement, and I experienced a ranged of smeared probabilities at each moment that kept collapsing, but not before I was able to remember them. It was a whole new level of weird even for my dreams, which often feel like they were meant for someone infinitely more bizarre than I am.


#12

I’ve never experienced multiple first-person perspectives at the same time in dreams. I’ve been multiple characters throughout the dream, conscious centre flitting between the heads of characters or floating around the scenery like a virtual camera, sometimes embodying as that camera’s POV in a kind of characterless character… sometimes I’m ‘running’ all the characters but usually from only one perspective at a time or, from that non-character perspective.
In my early dream work I was obsessed with gathering a group of ‘aware’ characters together and getting us all to dream-into-the dream a new meta-character… Multiple, simultaneous perspectives sounds wild, and I’ve met a couple of people who have done the same. Seems to come naturally to some, but not to me. :frowning:

I’ve actually made a concerted effort over the last few years to not dream lucidly so much. Maybe I was doing it wrong but I would never get a good nights sleep when lucid dreaming, although I think that probably had something to do with my obsession with detail.
I would subvert the dream ‘story’ and go to a bookcase and start to read, or try to construct and then ‘play’ Rube-Goldberg machines, look in mirrors, try and find weird nooks and crannies that would have nothing to do with the dream logic, turn lights on and off and try to get them to behave properly etc.
The most frustrating things are computers though. Something about the app inside the computer, being shown on a screen, being interacted with using peripherals, could never get the whole thing to just sit right and work. Maybe read a chat app for a couple of lines or try and type a gibberish sentence.

Anyway, all this stuff, concentrating on high level, fine structure, logic etc, I think means that you have to bring yourself to nearly-awake, just below the veil and then hold yourself there. And I think that really messes with the sleep process. Interrupts deep sleep cycles.

Anyway, I still lucid dream from time to time. Usually when I encounter some established scenery within the, I don’t know what to call it… dream country. For me, all the established scenes link up in a specific formation. If I want to get to the alien mirror-portal I have to find the university grounds, find the right classroom and go through the secret door in the back and up the stone stairs etc. Encountering any of these scenes always reminds me I’m dreaming, or y’know, mirrors. But I am much better at allowing the dream to direct me now, and that’s how I prefer it. I guess, I’m already directing the thing, why try to subvert it? But, for sure, I don’t think I ever treat the dream as fully real any more. There’s always an element of ‘Well, I can just walk through that door/wall because it’s a dream’ going on.

Probably I will get back into dream meditation going forward, as that seems to keep cropping up lately as part of the story.

Aaaaand I’m rambling. :smiley:


#13

Dammit, I wish I remembered my dreams… It feels like I only dream maybe half a dozen times a year if I’m lucky.

I remember one recurring dream from when I was a kid… Actually, it was more like a nightmare. No actual imagery as such, but it was mostly just the sense of being infinitesimally tiny, alternating with the sense of being indescribably vast. I guess it was just a matter of internalising what I’d learned about the scale of stuff.

I have a vague memory of another nightmare, which was pretty gnarly - I was heading down this creepy road through a grim sort of forest, under a black sun in a red sky, to fetch my dad from hell. Pretty cool, huh.


#14

I haven’t done any lucid dreaming in years, even by accident. But I do remember I didn’t feel as rested. I strongly suspect you’re right - though I’m no expert on sleep states - that you don’t spend long enough in deep sleep for a proper cycle. Then again, I’ve struggled with insomnia off and on my whole life, so my baseline is already skewed in the respect.

The simultaneous perspectives thing hasn’t happened to me very often, and I’ve never been able to make it happen. It’s frankly pretty confusing and makes journaling the dream very hard. Like I said, I also haven’t succeeded in jumping characters by choice, though I can jump locations if I will myself somewhere else. I generally have no problem steering other characters in my dreams, but I prefer to see what my subconscious will do with them on its own. Puppetting them kind of defeats the point for me.

I often have what I guess others would call nightmares, but they don’t cause me distress when I’m in them, so I just think of them as bizarre dreams. I do rarely have actual nightmares, where something bad happens to someone close to me for instance, but that generally wakes me right up.


#15

Yeah, nightmares become more of a challenge than scary once you get familiar with them.
ZOMG, dream arguments are the only thing I can’t deal with. Waking yourself up because you’re so angry and then realising the person at whom you have been directing that anger is yourself… SMH

LOL


#16

[quote=“miasm, post:15, topic:91386, full:true”]
Yeah, nightmares become more of a challenge than scary once you get familiar with them.[/quote]

Agreed. Although I always prefer to let my dreams play out, I can only remember that one of my earliest dreams, the Electricity Monster, actually scared me out of bed.

I’ve always tended to be avoidant in waking life, so I don’t remember any arguments in dreams, save one.
The night before my brother was to be married, I shared a motel room with my father. I remember I was going through some emotional turmoil at the time over a young woman I was attracted to.

In my dream, she had been kidnapped by the classic “faceless man” (actually, the one and only time I’ve experienced a dream like this). I think I received a phone call, maybe a ransom call, and I had to go track her down. I remember the man wasn’t really smooth-faced, but more like a head covered in cheesecloth, like the nurse mannequins in the Silent Hill video games. Of course, he was the only thing standing between us, and I had to take charge, which resulted in a knock-down, drag-out fight. In the dream, I actually strangled him to death. This is the first and only time I’d ever been in a fight, let alone killed someone in a dream.

The next morning, I woke to find the mattress on the bed skewed, and me tangled up in the sheets. My dad was sitting on the edge of his bed, drinking coffee, and musing about how it must have been some dream I had.

I remember as a kid, my step-grandfather would often have fights in his dreams. So often, my grandmother had a spare bed she’d go to just to be able to sleep.


#17

I’m an insomniac and rarely sleep more than 4 hours at a time. I lucid dream sometimes several times a night and usually write them down when I can’t get back to sleep, so I have lots of dreams I could share. :slight_smile:
Most of the time I am myself, but sometime I am other people (male or female, young or old), I have been many people at once, been a zombie, an AI, and even been different animals. I like to let my dreams play out, but if they get too intense I change the rules of the scenario or wake myself up.

I know I’m dreaming because my dream realm colours are washed out like in those rare evenings in real life when at twilight the sky is blood red and greys seem to dominate the world. That is not to say I don’t see colours in my dreams, it is if only the important things in the dream have seem to have more vivid colours, and thus I am drawn to them.

In times of stress I sleepwalk - I’ve showered in my pjs, tried to make breakfast, walked outside in the snow, made phone calls, and even got into someone else’s bed. As a kid I had a dream where I was in a tornado and in rl got trapped between the wall and the bunkbed after falling off the top bunk. I’ve learnt how sleepwalking dreams feel different then regular dreams. Mostly in sleepwalking dreams if the body feedback has to be explained after I have the sensation then I know I’m likely sleepwalking so I tell myself to go back to bed. I don’t always make it back to bed, but I do stop whatever I was doing.

Anyone else sleepwalk? Just curious.


#18

I sleepwalked when I was a kid. Used to freak my parents out by asking where the ‘other people’ in the house had come from.

A friend of mine used to tell a story that had become legend in his family. One night his parents heard a noise and got up to investigate and eventually discovered that he was missing from his bed. Losing their minds, they searched high and low, only to discover him asleep, locked in the car. Without the keys. Before they had a remote unlocking car.


#19

My youngest half-brother used to sleepwalk. No crazy accidents, though. My mom said the worst was that she found him wandering the house with the family cat in his arms. We lived in a split-level ranch home, lots of stairs!


#20

I rarely remember my dreams. There are a couple of vivid ones I remember from my childhood, though.

I used to have a recurring one where I was being chased. I don’t remember who or why, but someone was after me, and they chased me up to the edge of a cliff. I made the decision to jump off the cliff to get away from my pursuers, and fell, and fell, and fell…

I then crashed through the roof of my house and woke up in my bed, and had to spend a few minutes convincing myself that no, there wasn’t a hole in my ceiling.

Looking back, I get the impression that that dream relates somehow to my acrophobia, but whether that’s a cause or symptom, it’s been far too long to know.

More recently, just a few nights ago, in fact, I woke up to see a dark shape moving around my room. I then convinced myself that it was a dream, and forced myself actually awake, and the shape was gone.