As I began to drift into sleep, I imagined myself walking down the steps of a deep cave. These steps began as metal, then turned to wood, which then became gnarled. I fell through and had a choice. Climb back onto the walkway, or tread the stone path. I chose the latter. The cave got darker and darker and I lost my footing several times, sliding down into mud. I progress further and then fell for a while, before landing in a shallow pool. This shallow pool reflected what little light got in and showed there was a small hole at the far end. I dived under and swam through the hole. I arrived at a beach and a skeleton guarded a treasure chest. I felt this too obvious and swam down, further into the cave. I wasn’t sure this led anywhere before the walls began to close. I reached the hole at the very bottom and it closed behind me and I fell in a waterfall to another shallow pool. I turned to take the next challenge and fell asleep.
This was a direct response to reading Jung’s attempts to work through his unconscious. Using the cave as a metaphor for my subconscious and exploring it. The steps of metal represent a solid base with which to tread comfortably. The transmogrification to wood shows the lack of control and support and it’s gnarling shows how little control my conscious brain has over it. Falling through represents the lack of support I can give myself as I go further. The choice between support and self-sufficiency was an important one and the stone path is the more natural one. The shallow pool represents the shallow, surface responses of my emotions to the deeper psychic energies held within. The exit into the other room represent a deeper probing. The skeleton guarding the treasure chest seemed a ruse, a cheap and easy attempt to probe no further. The skeleton suggesting death and the treasure, again, superficial, materialistic and shallow. Diving deeper was the way I wanted to go, to probe further. Water typically represents emotions, diving into them was accepting they could drown me, but using them to push further into the subconscious. The walls closing, are the walls of my conscious mind, trying to prevent me from going further. Yet, another shallow pool. I have many empty chambers, it appears, with surface emotions, hiding deeper things. As I accept this fact, my unconscious mind lets me in.
My dream begins at a train station, not one I recognise from my waking life. It is a simple, one platform station. Likely a parochial village station, as seen in Hammer Horror films like Frankenstein. Indeed, the only staff member is an old Swiss man. He seems overly jolly with the situation. I board the train. The scene skips ahead to another, similar station, further from my destination. I do not know my destination, but I feel like I know I’m going the wrong way. The scene has also taken on a sepia tone. I berate the old man and he apologises, still jolly, and directs me towards the train pulling up. I board again, and am taken back in time. I had transferred into the 70’s on the last journey. This time I am transported back to the 1920’s. Everything is black and white and I wear a fedora and a macintosh. I am getting increasingly frustrated as now I am on the European continent. The elderly station worker assures me I’ll get to my destination, this is just the road I have to take. So, I board again and when it arrives the scene is the late 1800’s and I am in Transylvania. I have had enough and leave before I get taken to Switzerland. I don’t want to meet Carl Jung, it’s too obvious.
The train station, with it’s single platform, seems exclusive to me. The allusion to the Hammer Horror films, suggests that my destination contains great peril, but is the vital transport to the lessons I must learn. Just as Herr Frankenstein met his own psychology brought monstrously to life in Adam, his monster, I must face my self-made monster. The singular Swiss man, I believe to be an approximation of Carl Jung. His jolly character is due to me taking a similar journey as he did, and his noticing of my frustration and calm assurances seem, to me at least, to support this. Trains, however, often relate to conformity. They many shuffled into an orderly, sequenced space and shipped around the country, a herd a tin. I was, however, alone, so am conforming to my own self-made standards. Or my version of Jung’s standards, which is why he found it all so amusing. I am formalising and overtly structuring my mental work on my psyche, not letting it happen. The time travel backwards suggests that I am retreating from my present reality, to a time where this mental work was easier. Or perhaps non-existent. My annoyance with this and my choice to walk away from the metaphor suggests some understanding of this.
I walk, almost immediately back into the present day and into a shopping centre. It’s an end of the world giveaway. Something has gone terribly wrong, something to with the water supply and stores are giving everything away. There is carnivalesque atmosphere in the place, toys, games and even a small roller coaster ride have been set up and all the stock is laid out for citizens to grab. Beer is being drank, cigarettes smoked and drugs taken in amongst the funfair. I Try my hand at one of the games, throwing cubes in tubes, which take the same shape as the roller coaster track. I fail to win, or even get the cubes in the tubes. I wander off to a carpet store and take a single square of brown carpet. I play hide and seek with some children.
My time travel over, my psyche throws up images of Queensgate. A shopping centre where I spend most of my youth. The apocalyptic mantle of this aspect of the dream suggests dramatic change in my life, couched in my view of my youth and home town. The shopping centre, as a dream model, throws up choices and decisions. The freedom to take what I want, creates even more choices. The tubes represent a structure and the cube is my ‘squareness’ being squared on itself. I am trying to fit myself, already compacted into a conservative shape into a near impossible structure for me to fit into, and I am supposed to regard it as fun. The carnival atmosphere suggests a celebration of the death of the old world, the usage of substances suggests a need to anaesthetise and force the self to celebrate. The roller-coaster track, fairly obvious, represents the twists and turns of the waking life. Interestingly enough, my partner dreamt of being on a roller-coaster in a shopping centre, so perhaps there was some psychic bleed. The carpet suggests a protection from the cold, stark reality and comfort, yet it’s size suggests that protection is largely symbolic, even to my waking self. The game playing with the children is an allowance to have fun, even in a dark time.
A good time later, I am living in a large cabin with a few families. I am the protector of the children. From beasts, from those who took in the poison water and went mad and from the angry adults they live with. There is a ritual we have, where we all dress in white, paint our skin and hair white and let out our primal anger. I did it too earnestly and terrified the children. I try to make them feel better, but am warned off by a director. I walk into the cabin, sadly, and see an adult trying to eat a child. I exile them, in front of the others, for Cannibalism.
The post-apocalyptic nature of this vignette is a representation of difficulties being overcome and a fending for the self, or smaller group. The cabin an image of self-sufficiency. I take on the role of protector, to protect the child in myself. The poisoned water, going on the supposition that water represents emotions, are the tainted emotional baggage of others, and/or of parts of myself. The ritual, in general shows a need to cleanse, especially with the ‘whiting out’ of the skin, clothes and hair. To start afresh, a clean slate. My overeager anger act shows my fear of letting out negative emotions, even under the context in which I believe they are allowed. The director suggests I feel my life is being guided by people who believe life is an act. The cannibalism is a destructive desire, persons draining vitality and enthusiasm. Their exile is an alienation from my psyche.
I turn my head, still whited up, with a large beard and a slicked wedge of hair atop my head. In the near distance is a window to a Miami Vice style scene. A large glass house, filled with tropical plants and various well-to-do people and celebrities. Two of whom are Robert Downey Jr. and Michael C Hall, as Dexter. They trade barbs, before it devolves into a fist fight. This fist fight gets progressive gruesome, as Dexter throws RDJ through a window, cutting him badly. RDJ responds in kind, before Dexter tears his left arm off to beat him with. RDJ has an epiphany and realises he’s been here before. He sidesteps Dexter and a car crashes into him and through the window.
RDJ realises this is the day his father was stabbed by a one-armed man. Dexter appears from the house, with a knife and goes for him. RDJ and his younger self watch as he jumps at him. RDJ changes history and blocks the attempt, the stabs Dexter.
The long beard is a marker of individuality, the hair a drastic change (as I am bald in real life). The 1980’s Miami Vice setting, to me, presents an air of privilege and self-aggrandisement. The inclusion of Robert Downey Jr. and Michael C Hall, seems very specific. Yet, I believe they are aspects of myself. Michael C Hall is very specifically his Dexter character and RDJ very specifically Tony Stark. Both are shallow men, for differing reasons. Dexter is a psychopath and Tony Stark is a narcissist. Both tread the line between anti-hero and hero. Both are violent men with father complexes. Dexter represents the colder, shadow aspect of my personality. Animalistic and primal. Stark represents the superficial and egotistical aspects of myself. The fight they have is symbolic of the struggle between repressed emotions and outward appearance. My separation from this, using celebrities as figurines, shows my separation from this psychological battle. The bloody gruesomeness of this fight show how fervent this battle is. (at the point of self-dismemberment, the dream snapped into myself and my partner watching this happen on television and laughing, slightly grossed out at what had happened, another degree of separation, yet closer to home.) The disarming, is an active choice by the id/shadow aspect to be rid of the nurturing aspect of myself, seeing it as a hindrance to his goals. The side stepping/car collision suggest that some aspect of me saw ‘this car crash coming’ in my waking life and simply stepped aside, letting the shadow take the brunt of the damage. The car crash is others jolting actions, that I cannot directly control. The realisation that Stark IS his own father, and can save himself, suggests some realisation of similar traits that I feel I can augment to my own psychic advantage. Not be shaped by, like my father was. Stark manipulates the shadow to take itself out and the ego wins out.
I turn my head back and walk back into the cabin. Water is leaking everywhere, especially onto the square of carpet I had salvaged from before. A mother and daughter were trying to wash their hair and pulled a pipe out of a wall. I am calm and reconnect the pipe.
The leak onto the carpet suggests an emotional outpouring, soiling comfort. The mother and daughter, perhaps have real life analogues. The reconnection of the pipe, is my attempt to allow emotions to be meted out with control. Perhaps another form of repression?