Image courtesy: Sherrie Rebello

“Dreams are a gust of breath of the sub conscious mind on the windows of our conscious being”

Sometimes the call of self-awakening is so simple that ironically the complex modern man considers it too below his intellectual self to pay heed to. The sub conscious mind is like an endangered native tribe who holds a secret within its community which has abled the progress of human evolution and intellect. The tribe is always willing to share its wisdom and insights only if the modern man would halt for a moment, and come back to its parental abode!

Dreams are the favorite channel of communication of the sub conscious mind. Dreams are like the report cards sent to us to show how well our internal mechanism is functioning. Dreams are full of rich symbolism, metaphors, absurd imageries and often ‘weird’ set ups and random happenings. Despite all the incongruous themes the dreams remain a rich source of insights into the functioning of the dreamer’s psyche. Often its abstract contents leaves the dreamer confused, anxious and in some cases too excited and in other too disinterested into the interpretation of the dream.

It would be very unfair to pick up just one dream out of the dreamer’s entire life and author his entire biography based on just that one dream. Consider plucking a fish out of the flowing river. The fish in your hand is not just a fish of the present moment, instead it contains millions of years of evolution. Similarly dream does not only contain the current mood of a dreamer but also other personal details of the psyche of the dreamer. The interpretation is a very personal affair. We can only look up the themes and motifs which have repetitive character in general but not the attachment of the dreamer to the particular dream set up and symbols that he personally attaches to the things and places and people he sees in the dream. It is only upto the dreamer and an expert to demystify the dream and gain an insight into the messages that the sub conscious is trying to send.

We are no experts in this field but still for the purpose of this essay let us consider a dream and delve in to the shoes of the dreamer and understand how psyche gives subtle messages in form of symbols, metaphors and abstract imageries. This dream is particularly special as it has the major themes and motifs laid out for us to study in detail. For the purpose of this essay let us call the dreamer, Betty.

I am in a house that resembles my maternal grandmother’s house and am packing to go somewhere. The room has black walls with no windows, I do not know what time of the day it is, and on the bed I see a girl, with whom I identify as being myself. The girl gives me cunning smile and she says, “I know what you are thinking”. I get terrified and wonder how does she know what I am thinking. Diagonal to the room there is another room where an old lady is sitting on the bed and she slyly turns towards me and smiles, not speaking anything. Am very scared and anxious. I hear voices from the hall and I gather courage and decide to look in the hall, despite the ugly old lady being in the other room and as I go out, I find Ben, a colleague from my office there. I immediately lighten up and tell him that it’s just you! You were the one playing pranks!

The Anima- which signifies all the feminine aspects of the sub conscious. The qualities of endurance, creativity, intuitive, procreative, embracing and nurturing. Although anima is not always this positive; it also has a malefic side to it. Which side of the anima would dominate in the sub conscious of an individual would rely on the earlier experiences of the child with their mother.Betty in particular did not enjoy a healthy relation with her parents. Especially with her mother. Their relationship was more like sisters competing with each other rather than a normal mother-daughter.Coming to the current dream. It seems as if Betty is getting ready to go somewhere, the journey aspect in any dream resembles the first step towards transformation. Where the dreamer embarks on a journey to self-realization. The room that she is into has black walls and has no windows. The color black symbolize mourning. The black walls are doomed trap of the conscious being. With no windows, windows might have added an external or internal perspective and second opinions. There is no room for fresh thoughts, insights or callings. There is perpetual existence of hopelessness as dreamer does not know what time of the day is it. The dreamer nevertheless tries to embark on a journey and there is cunning repulsive comment by the girl in the room “I know what you are thinking”. This dialogue is more in a bad taste as the dreamer gets afraid of how does a stranger knows my intentions. It is as if the dreamer wanted to embark on this journey secretively by not informing the conscious mind about it.The dreamer senses another old lady in the room diagonal to theirs. The dreamer has on earlier occasions as well has had dreams where she is being chased by some old ugly witch like figures. The figures of such nature symbolize towards a morbid image of the anima. The infectious anima due to earlier childhood experiences reflects the feminine image in dreams as a witch, old ugly women or a repulsive or criminal minded women.Dreamer hears voices from the hall. She gathers courage and goes to follow the voices. There she finds her friend Ben, who in her estimation in waking life, is a harmless poor, sympathy worthy fellow. This lightens her mood.The first part of the dream shows us that there is a call for the inner transformation and how her logical and rational mind has kept a watch on the self and together with we see symbolically how she feels about her inner feminine side. And falls for boys below her caliber just to get out of the loop of hopelessness.I move out of the house. I see some ladies who are discussing amongst themselves that at a particular spot we can see Nirbhaya. I am again very terrified but interested in the prospect of witnessing her. The ladies are middle aged, typical Maharastrians who have worn red and white attires and have a very mediocre overall look to themselves. I see Robert, who is a college friend. He chides me saying, “Are you mad, who goes to see such things”. I am in a lift going down with other people and those aunties. I see my boyfriend very briefly, wearing a black tshirt, we recognize each other but we do not speak, he just stares at me and within few seconds he disappears. We reach at the bottom. The place is a wreck! There are broken trains lying. The place has a very errie feeling to it. It is completely deserted and no one ever comes there. The aunties with me are very excited to see Nirbhaya and one of the aunties goes towards a particular coach which is in the worst condition. The coach is slightly elevated, she steps on the coach and from within the coach there appears Nirbhaya! She is like divine Angel! She has outreached her hands on both the sides and is wearing a spotless white gown! She floats and comes at the edge of the coach. I can only see her one side of the face. She looks serene, peaceful, enlightened and in all senses not human. Nirbhaya touches the aunty and I can see something weird happening to her! I get really very scared. The aunty very excitedly then asks me to come forward and let Nirbhaya touch me. Am frightened. What if she is only pretending to be an Angel-like and once I go near her, she grabs me and kills me? I anyways hesitantly approach her and can only see half a side of her face and I feel under a spell of that Godlike figure but before she could touch me, I get scared and step back.Nirbhaya was a rape victim, who was inhumanly and gruesomely gangraped and she passed away due to the barbaric act in 2016, India. The ladies in the dream signify the mediator of the healing process. The ones we hear in the stories who suggest that there is a spiritual healer at some place, the ones who have hearsay knowledge about shamans and spiritual leaders. They do not have much of a role in the stories, only to become the medium between the healers and healed. They are very well within their role- being normal mediocre housewives gossiping around and spreading the message.Robert is the rational male friend who is practical, too logical and a disbeliever in the nonsense of such spirits. That signifies the Animus of the dreamer, more to it later. She nevertheless ignores him and goes on to meet Nirbhaya. The motif of going down, whether by stairs, lift, falling, etc. all signifies going into the depths of the sub conscious mind. The act of going down in a lift, is a very apt example of this motif. She goes down and the place is a complete wreck. It is deserted and has a weird feeling to it. The sub conscious mind to a modern man remains an alien place and whenever in dreams the dreamer is taken to such a place followed by the motif of going down. It indicates the metaphor of the sub conscious mind. There are broken trains kept in the yard. Broken symbolizes that the means of communication has passed out. There is no way to reach out of the sub conscious to the conscious because all means of communication has worn out. Nirbhaya, here has a really important symbol to play. Nirbhaya was not the original name of the victim, it was a name given by the media, which meant fearless. The name then became associated with the outrage that nation had witnessed. It became a voice for the feminist and oppressed and girls who had suffered such incidences in past and were still suffering. Nirbhaya became a name of the movement in the country.Nirbhaya represented the benevolent anima hidden in the depths of the sub conscious mind. Nirbhaya symbolizes the positive aspect of the anima which appears like an Angel, which had to go through a brutal, heinous incident to become an angel. The anima does not have a way to commute to the conscious self at all which is represented by the broken trains. Betty has had such dreams of Indian goddess and angels throughout her childhood. Which symbolizes her trying reach out to the inner positive feminism which remained infected due to her childhood experiences. She is still not willing to face her anima in all its positivity.I am with my maternal aunt and am standing in a window. It is night time and it is raining heavily. I can see a dog playing on the street. It is a stray dog. It is playing carelessly and in his own world. There comes a blue car. The car is recklessly performing stunts around the dog and splashing mud water on it. The dog doesn’t realize this and seems as if the car owner is playing with him and he keeps enjoying. Suddenly, the car going back whirling- halts- and races towards the dog-runs over it-thereby cutting his tail. I scream in horror. The dog has an extremely sympathetic look on his face, as if asking what my fault was. I was just playing! The dog runs under a parked rickshaw. The driver comes with a bottle of liquor declaring that, only alcohol can cure everything and everyone even this dog. Even you have ma’am! And offers me. I see from the other side of the street, there emerges a tall-lean boy. Must be in his early twenties and he has a chained golden colored dog with him. As he approaches towards me to my surprise it is not a dog but a young girl! Who he has chained. He looks arrogantly at me and haughtily walks to the other side. The girl seems to be a modern girl who has short hair, has worn accessories and wearing a yellow crop top and skirt. She has her hand chained and an iron collar around her neck which is pulled by the boy. She looks at me and with one pull from the guy she looks down embarrassingly and walks away with the boy.

As a child and even as an adult Betty was really very close to dogs. She was more close to her dogs and fantasy world than humans. They made up her most of the childhood to such an extent that she also wanted to make a career out of it and open NGOs and work for animals full time. The atmosphere is of chaos. There is heavy raining which indicates that there is an ongoing turmoil inside the psyche of the individual. She admired her maternal aunt. The aunt had taken some independent decisions for herself when in her prime time and stood by them even after the time passed. The dog- this fellow has an important part to play here. The dog in dreams besides other things and particularly in this dream signifies the intuitive side of the being. The cars in the dream more often symbolizes the ego or consciousness or the outer persona of the individual. Metaphorically, the arrogant haughty ego ran over the harmless intuitive inner psyche. This goes on to show the decisions and treatment that she has up till now given to her inner self by ignoring all the earlier callings and messages has really done major harm to the internal functioning of the mental set up.

The societal ways of handling stress and depression also finds it place in the dream. When the ‘driver’ offers liquor as an acceptable way to cure the inner self from releasing the trauma and getting use to the pain “as everyone does it, for everything”.

Now we come to end of the dream and to the animus of the dreamer. Animus is all that is masculine in the sub conscious. The animus is the laborious, fearless, wise, generous, etc. A healthy animus in an individual leads to a generous being who is wise and providing to the society and the family. A disoriented animus can become too self-absorbed, arrogant, and dominating. The dreamer had a very detached relation with her father. She had developed a hatred towards men in general as a part and parcel of her maternal heritage tradition. The dreamer often use to visualize in dreams and otherwise of male godlike figures and spiritual leaders, which psychologically indicates a particular form of animus which has tendency to lure women away from all human relationships and especially reality. These personification of divine men kick in the notions of “what out to be” and “what not” this leads to cutting off the touch with reality for such women.

The dream where she sees that a dog is being held captive represents her inner psych which is being held captive by the masculine side and as they approach nearer the doubt vanishes when it becomes clear that it is actually a girl. That girl has all the modern features as laid out by our society but still deep down she is held captive against her own inner masculinity, the animus. The hatred towards the father resembles a projection of the same hatred towards the inner animus.

If you pull the entire string of the dream and straighten it out you can see that the dreamer has an urgent calling of a spiritual nature but is always preyed upon by the logical and ego centric self. She always doubts her intuitions and in the end, despite being a modern day girl on the outside, she remains chained to the inner morbid images of the animus and anima. She nonetheless has a very strong connect with her inner sub conscious self. The dream in its totality is a call for inner reflection and introspection. She might need to give up on the things that are holding her back and get connected to the benevolent anima and loosen up the grip of the self righteous animus and get more connected to the reality and come out of the fantasy world. In her dream she comes face to face with her inner pillar of feminity but nontheless is not able to face it. It has throughout been laid that whenever the dreamer embarks on the journey of self reflection it gets over ruled by the conscious self of the dreamer.

The dream is divided in to three parts. Number three symbolises the totality of the Universe, as it contains the past, present and future. It contains a wider spectrum in world as Earth, heaven and water and in human as mind, body and spirit. It completes a triangle and the Triad contains in it the beginning, middle and end.

Human mind is like a sand clock. The essence of the sub conscious keeps on pouring in to the conscious until we reverse the clock over its head- then again and again! Forming a pattern of allowing and barring the inner psych into our waking life. Thereby nourishing the identity with various colors of the inner dynamic carnival.

Note: The dreams remain open to more than one interpretation and I did consider it and the dreamer and I sat down and went through the dreams more than once and also through the personal history of the dreamer. Only after her and my satisfaction have I put this interpretation out. Happy intellecting.

PS: Tabeer is an Urdu word with no equivalent translation in English, it means interpretation of dreams.