Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thoughts on a Wedding Dream

Last night I dreamed the bride and I had to get an onion from the attic for a dorm activity and avoid a ghost that haunted people until they committed suicide by repeating "I lived until I was 33."

Let me explain.

Yesterday I went to my dear friend's wedding. She and I have been close for about five years now. The wedding was on a beach, but on the way, crossing the street, she was nearly hit and killed. The car came within six feet.

During the ceremony a reading from Coelho's 'The Alchemist', a book I taught one summer, discussed omens. The bride takes such things seriously. The reading underscored the near-miss. On what was already a particularly thoughtful day it also jogged my mind to such things.

There was a time when I was engrossed in dream analysis and symbolism. Since certain dreams are universal (flying, naked in public, teeth falling out) it's not surprising to assume there's a language of dreams. Usually they reflect our concerns, comprised of recent events and experiences. I certainly was dreaming about the bride because it was the day of her wedding. But what of the other symbols?

Last week I saw 'Peeping Tom', a British Hitchcock-style thriller about a man who murders people with a camera. Likewise I saw 'Alphaville' earlier this week, where intelligent people end up committing suicide since they can't fit into the fascist technocracy. These, I think, combined to form the ghost's menace.

As for the peculiar phrasing of the ghost, the wedding was set to begin at 4:48, a rather specific time, and I learned, a particularly meaningful bit of numerology. The number 4 is important to both the husband and wife, and so 4+4=8 became 4:48. Another explanation for why my mind was working symbolically on overdrive last night.

In the dream there was an explanation, rather complex, about the ghost dying at 33. It tied to it's parents immortality (I think they had to kill a child every palindromic age or something). The other night, too, a friend I was spending time with had 'Ghost Hunters' on television in the background as we hung out. So far, then, the ghostly elements of the dream are explained.

One of my least favorite places is the attic of my mother's house, mainly because I'm concerned the rickety ladder leading up to it is going to give way each time I use it. The attic itself is fine, but the process of getting into it is very unpleasant. Recently I've been noting that many things I want or need here in CT are stored up in that attic in MA.

As for the onion it would be easy to dismiss in Dickensian fashion. "You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato." Indeed, I had eaten onions on pizza at the wedding reception, and a patty melt for lunch. But I had also spent the previous evening chopping a yellow onion, like the one in the dream, in the staff lounge, preparing for this evening's dorm activity (making burritos). So it is we encounter the dorm activity element of the dream.

We have addressed the main constituent parts - the fragments of what on the surface create a crazy dream. There were still others, architectural elements for example. The buildings were clearly, maybe even explicitly, Frank Lloyd Wright, and crumbling. At the reception I had discussed how my favorite architect was a better visionary than engineer. (That's typical conversation fodder for weddings, right?) Beyond the parts though, let's examine the whole, the narrative structure.

Basically the plot was this: Someone close to me joins me in braving a monster on an arduous journey to a place that seems dangerous but is actually safe, get the treasure, and leave to complete the task assigned to me for the good of my people. 

Nothing too difficult about that, is there?

Really it's perfectly Campbell. A standard hero's journey, starring your's truly. Many decades and centuries from now I wonder if advanced peoples will look upon such an activity - dream analysis - as being quaint as phrenology or palm-reading. Whether or not it's accurate, it is certainly telling of how humans of our time make sense of our world and understand our minds. That, for me, is sufficiently valuable to requisite posting.

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