Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reflections: Dreamtime

In 1991, the year we moved from New York City to Ohio, I kept a daily journal for only the second time in my life (the previous period had been my senior year of high school.) In 1991, I was functioning as a househusband. I had two toddlers to watch, and otherwise plenty of time to read and write.
Yesterday, I skimmed through the two spiral notebooks comprising the 1991 journal, looking for any mention of the rather strange drawing that you see below:

In addition to keeping a journal that year, I had become interested in my dreams. This interest was due in large part to my readings of the oeuvre of Swiss psychiatrist/philosopher, Carl G. Jung. Many of the pages of the journal log contemporary dreams. Others refer to remembered dreams, some going back to my early childhood.

It is a phenomenon, which you can profitably investigate in yourself, that if your conscious mind begins to take an active interest in your dream life, your dream life will reciprocate. You will begin to have more vivid and more meaningful dreams. It will also become increasingly easier for you to remember your dreams, once you have trained your conscious mind to hold onto them by writing them down immediately upon waking.

When I found this strange picture (while boxing backwards), I remembered that it was the visual record of a dream. But I had retained no psychological context for it. I was hoping that I’d written about it in 1991, but this proved not to have been the case.

Last night, some hours after going fruitlessly through my journal, it came to me suddenly that the strange style of the drawing—it doesn’t look like something that I would draw—is due to the circumstance that in the dream this picture was itself an illustration in a book. When I remembered this, I simultaneously remembered that the image was, for some reason, terrifying at the time. The dream had been a nightmare. The effect upon me of this image was so strong that I had been compelled afterward to try to reproduce it.

Looking at it now, I can’t say what it means, or why it was so horrifying. Neither do I remember when I had the dream. The drawing isn’t dated.

I tell this tale in order to encourage anyone who has never done so to spend some time exploring the strange world through which he travels in dreamtime. It can be a most rewarding undertaking.