Dr. Dream: September 18, 2023
Your dreams on the couch. Cutting through the past and incoming calls from the outside world.
“According to Jorge Luis Borges the most astonishing things about dreams is not their psychic function, the biological mechanism that undergirds them, or even their nature. But the simple fact that they exist at all.” –J.F. Martel
Dear Dr. Dream
Can you say something about knives? I keep dreaming about close-ups of knives cutting, slicing, and dicing. And the funny thing is that I hate knives. And razors, too. If any character is shaving in a movie I’m watching, I can’t watch the scene; it’s worse than a horror movie. Anybody who uses a knife in a scene makes me anxious and jittery. Even if the character is just walking across a room holding a knife, it makes me nervous. I remember when I was dating my husband before we were married, and he wanted to show me his Swiss Army knife. I told him that I didn’t care if it had a stupid pair of tiny scissors built into it. I wasn’t interested in the least. What’s up with me and knives?
Connie K., Spokane, Wa.
I think I’ve mentioned in this column that any intense repulsion in a dream can often indicate a secret attraction towards the symbol. If a dream works hard to elicit a strong reaction, paying attention and exploring what is being reacted against is important. Knives, razors, swords—all of those tools (or weapons) share one thing in common: they divide things up. A knife comes out, and suddenly, one piece of meat becomes two, three, or four separate pieces. So this might be the central message of your dream. Either there is a fear of an existing condition being altered irreparably or there is the desire to bring clarity to an existing muddle. (The sharpness of knives can symbolize lucidity and perceptive focus). The fear you experience could be related to the fear of change. A dream knife represents the exact moment that proceeds a significant shift in one’s life. So the question for you would be this: Am I afraid of what will follow a transformation? Or am I longing for an existing condition to be addressed and altered irrevocably? Do you see my, uhm, point?
Dear Dr. Dream
In my dream, I’m sitting in a large room with only a desk, a chair, and a telephone placed on an empty desk. I’m confused because I seem to be in an office of some sort, and I assume I’m supposed to be doing work, but of what kind? In an instant, the walls in the room turn from beige to bright yellow, and then the phone on the desk begins to ring. I’m hesitant to answer the phone because I still don’t understand why I am in the office, but curiosity gets the best of me, and I answer the phone quickly. Just as I put the receiver to my ear, I wake up. Damn it! What was that phone call about, do you think?
Marsha P., Saint Paul, MN
I think we can both agree that the key element to your dream is the telephone, while the most energetic or emotional part of the dream would be the phenomenon of the wall changing colors—from a drab beige to a bright yellow. When phones do not ring in a dream, loneliness or alienation is implied. And certainly, your dream reinforces the solitude theme as well. You are in an empty room, sitting alone, without a sense of purpose. But then the dream switches things up, indicating that a part of your nature is ready for an abrupt change of scene. The color yellow is generally associated with positivity, optimism, and clarity. Too, we think of sunshine as yellow. So, just as your dream takes on these energetic qualities, the phone rings. Telephones can symbolize many things, but within the context of your dream, the phone most likely represents social engagement. Because the dream did not offer any sort of message or direct communication when you answered the call, this tells me that it was enough for the dream to have the phone ring. What was said isn’t so important, but the engagement is. This is a preparatory dream, alerting you to the need to step out, mingle, and answer the call for friendship and comradery.
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