Last night I had my first nightmare in a while. I woke up in the middle of the night, terrified that a lion would come through the door and eat me alive.
I mostly consider dreams to be semi-random neuron firings that don’t hold much meaning in themselves. But I do believe that a particularly vivid dream is a great stimulus for exploring latent truths and new perspectives on my waking life.
As my philosopher friend, Scott Szymanski, says:
The subconscious and emotions have all sorts of stuff stored in there we normally don’t get access to. We usually use the “highways” and rarely see the side streets where the trash builds up, but also where the real culture and hole-in-the-wall gems of our subconscious reside.
From my dream log:
I was playing in a crowded communal pool shaped like a canal that wrapped around the town square. The colors and textures in this world felt more like a Renaissance painting than real life. In fact, the scene was heavily inspired by The Wedding at Cana. Just imagine that crowd of people (in the front of the painting) playing in a pool lined with stucco.
I’m always fascinated when bodies of water are prominent in my dream. In literature, they represent the womb or the birth canal (i.e. vagina), depending on the shape, I assume. In dream interpretation, water represents the unconscious and emotions. Specifically, a pool or bath represents the need for relaxation or renewal.
I sensed a sudden, subdued tension in the crowd near the center of the pool. I looked over and saw two adolescent lions wading in the pool, on their hind legs, toward the wide open town gate. The lions were technically female because they didn’t have manes, but they felt male or androgynous to me.
Lions in dreams can represent strength, courage, assertiveness, power, predatory feelings, or threats.
Fat women and hairy men separated to make room for the lions, but a few children kept playing, shifting the spotlight of their game to the fascinating newcomers.
We all watched in horror. No one stepped forward to rescue the children. The lions smirked but didn’t attack.
I’d like to think that we are at the gates of my unconscious. It’s a picturesque painting because I haven’t explored it enough to consider it reality. There’s a lethargy and inertia, too, as portrayed by the fat vacationers and their negligence of their children.
The children are handling the threat the way I would like to handle it in real life: It’s just another moment in life. It’s all part of the play. Just dance with it.
As the lions entered the larger, semi-indoor bathhouse inside the gates, my main prerogative was to GTFO. But I couldn’t leave; I was fascinated by them. Why were they there? What did they want?
The lions’ entrance is a threat to the false serenity of my unconscious. The fear was always there. The lions just brought it out of us. In literature, when a character enters a body of water, they are being reborn. So, in waking life, I’m terrified and sometimes frozen by my recent attempt to rebirth my own power and strength.
I already knew this about myself. Thanks for the pleasant reminder, brain!
I believe this dream was mostly triggered by the acting class that I had just gotten home from that night. I also have built up fear and frustration from trying to be more vulnerable and allowing my raw self and power out in the world, in various aspects of my life – acting, coaching, romance, family.
I’m discovering in myself a deep-seated disgust for, and fear of, the human body, raw flesh, innards. It was always something I laughed at myself about, but I didn’t realize until I started coaching how much it has been holding me back.