Dreams Cloud Educational Series by Dr. Robert Van de Castle - Session 6 Elements of Dreams
This is Dr. Bob Van de Castle. We're going to have another video visit today trying to get you more acquainted with the world of dreams and how to better understand your dreams. What I'd like to do today is to use this very interesting painting to try and illustrate some basic points about dreams.
This is a painting I bought many years ago down in Haiti. We had been invited down by the Haitian government. I went down with Stan Krippner, whose done at least half a dozen different books on dreams. So this painting is one that I like to use to teach different principles that we covered initially when we are going through the blogs about how to work with your dreams, and one of the things that we said was -- See if you can give a title to your dream.
If this were what you woke up with in the morning and this had been your dream what would you give as a title for it. So the title can cover many different things, so let's try and go through and see what's here and then see what the task would be to try and integrate those together. We have this very interesting person here and in some ways it looks like they're asleep, but in another way they may be intoxicated, they may possibly even be dead. If we try and look at what’s the gender of this person, it's unclear because we can't see any pattern for breast configuration here, so we don't know really whether it's a male or a female. If we push it a bit we don't even really know whether it's a full human being because starting down here it looks like it's a drum. So we could get into this interesting existential question as to whether it's a man dreaming about a drum or maybe drum dreaming about a man.
And we have a lot of other ambiguities in here. There's certain things in here that again are not logical in that we have a drum head here, yet it's transparent. We have a question here, if we go through to look at dreams, in trying to decide what kind of setting is the dream appearing in. In some ways we could say it's inside because it seems there's a post in the wall here and the person may be inside a cabin or hut. On the other hand here is a tree growing right up in the middle of it and suggesting maybe that we're outdoors. So it's ambiguous as to what the setting would be.
Again we have some interesting figures in here there's some ambiguity about if it were a religious context. We have a crucifix in here suggesting a Christian orientation, but it also suggests this kind of voodoo background in here and a quite different sort of setting. We have in here also some interesting objects. Here is a big bowl with a hole here, which could be perhaps, if one wanted to go on a Freudian approach, that this might represent a vagina, it might represent a womb it might represent an anus. If we go over here, again from a Freudian point of view, it looks like there is a penis here, and we have a cup, so that again this could be sort of masculine and feminine energy.
We have also some contrast in here as it seems like it's sort of a barren, yet we have up here some green foliage growing. And we have this sort of enigmatic dove in here and what's the purpose of the dove?
So what might be a title we could give to it? Is it a drunken woman who is not making supper for her husband? Is it some voodoo priest who is now seeking higher enlightenment -- and the dove here is a symbol for having reached some sort of higher level of consciousness? Many, many possibilities that way.
Another point that I'd like to make is that ordinarily when we work with dreams, we try and break the dream down into what kind of settings -- so we already struggled with is it indoor or outdoor? Is it a familiar one or not, and this certainly seems to be a highly unfamiliar sort of one. What kind of objects appear in dreams? So we have here a fire, we have a drum, we have bowls, we have foliage here, and we have a mountain. So these are the various kinds of objects that we want to pay attention to and that we will be talking about more in the next visit.
Then we would want to look at the characters and try and determine their age, which is ambiguous in here except it seems an adult. The gender, which I pointed out seems to be unclear; and then we have over here an animal so this would be one of the things that we would also want to tabulate.
If you want to look for a theme, one could say this kind of pattern in here almost looks like it's womb-like and it could just be someone sleeping sort of like embryonically. We have lots of interesting questions here and we'll be returning back to this in the next visit and talking about how these various elements need to be integrated, if you’re going to try and understand your dreams.
So, I'm looking forward to getting together again and we will pick up from this step and will be learning more about how to work with the dream symbols that are in there.