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How Dreams Analyze Dreams

Dreamed 1994/5/31 by Chris Wayan


I jolt awake from a vivid nightmare. I reach for paper to write it down. As I do, lying on my bed, early morning, notice there's a round mirror across the room reflecting an oval slice of me naked, isolated, from underneath. I see a scrotum, frustrum, and penis, all a strange gray-purple-rose color, wrinkled as a brain, the whole thing looking vaguely diamond-shaped and quite unlike genitalia, in fact quite unlike anything human at all. An alien growth of some sort... animal, plant? I think of books like MY BODY, MY SELF saying "examine yourself in the mirror!" next to photos of women looking in total shock at the unexpected intricacy of what had always been an undifferentiated "down there."

Well, looked at from underneath and isolated like this, male genitals are just as weird as women's--and kind of similar.

I get back to writing my dream. It was a long one, good recall for once. Rare lately. That's significant. For a long time I thought the length of my dreams was mainly a function of my interest, how many details I recorded. But I see now it's not so. Some puffing up or sketchiness of a dream-account can happen, but it's no more than 20-25%. I write what I recall, pretty fairly and concisely. So just counting the words IS a pretty fair estimate of how vivid and how complex the dream-events were. Short records mean my memories are being censored, since I don't stop dreaming of course. And there have been only two kinds of nights lately: thousand-word epics or nothing, very little in between.

This MEANS something!

Then I wake up again. That was a dream too.


Today my hypnotherapist asked "What are all these transsexual dreams about--how does Chris get along with female parts?" I said, in trance, "A female body is normal for Chris; now he struggles to identify with a MALE body." The dream confirms it: I see my penis as an alien growth! But it's partly unfamiliar perspective: I'd have equal difficulty with female reality--ANYONE raised on gender myths will find their true sexuality confusing.

Viewed from "under" (= trance and dreams) the sexes look oddly similar: BOTH look complex and alien, hard to accept as "me".

Mirror = the feedback in therapy is reliable, she's not trying to make me a conventional "man". I fear that, but only because male therapists earlier in my life DID give me bad feedback, due to misogyny and Freudian blinders.

Dream booms and busts = a real pattern in my past. I'd get heavy messages followed by time to digest them. But now I have low recall, even blanks every few nights. CHRONIC dreamnesia!

My dreams have teased me about charting my dreams-recall, comparing it to a stockbroker charting his investments. This is a sharp change--a dream reluctantly conceding that the statistics do reveal a truth--and suggesting I need to struggle for recall of those censored dreams.


Anyway--back to the nightmare I woke up from, that I tried to write down when the mirror distracted me. I bet you forgot all about that. Cocks and pussies are so much more fascinating. But I didn't forget. Of course I wrote the dream down, so I have an advantage...

So. The nightmare.

The protagonist was the composer Schumann... I heard he was a rather happy guy, and so he stayed a second-string composer. Not enough sturm und drang und angst... he wrote "The Unfinished Symphony." Does Schumann symbolize unfinished creativity? Wait--am I confusing him with Schubert?

Well whatever he symbolizes, I'm him--Schumann.

So, something goes wrong, and I, Schumann went to see what it was... and I was convinced up till the last moment that it was a VIRUS killing people. Just a health problem. We can fix it with herbs and vitamins. And then, below the villa, amid the vines and bricks and grapes and all, he/I reached the cliff into the void, and the monster leapt out of hiding. Not a virus at all! A huge, intelligent, malevolent being. With sharp teeth. The monster pounces...

and I woke in panic.


In the dream, I knew that the whole drama was written by Kate Wilhelm, it was a novel titled "Margaret and I." (A real novel, of course, but why did I connect it with THIS?)

Oh! hypnosis! In Kate Wilhelm's book, a man uses hypnosis to exploit Margaret, both sexually and professionally. And her unconscious LETS him, because it's curious and wants to try sex without responsibility. But even her unconscious feels trapped after a while, as if there's an unconscious under the unconscious. Yet... the secrets uncovered still lead Margaret to (relative) liberation. Not a simple situation! But then, minds aren't. At least Margaret's.

Clearly the dream must be comparing this to the hypnosis I'm trying. Yet my therapist isn't exploiting me this way! Is the dream saying the monster who makes me ill is essentially a second hypnotist, an internalized abuser? Or is the monster my memory of all the shitty shrinks and counselors I had earlier in life?

And I wake AGAIN.

All THAT analysis was a dream too!


Schumann's cliff-edge = I felt dizzy in hypnosis today. The hostile part wouldn't speak, just made me sick and dizzy whenever Silky or the Tiger (two friendly personalities that appeared under hypnosis) bared secrets to the therapist.

MARGARET AND I is a novel by Kate Wilhem narrated by Margaret's unconscious mind--who has total recall and great intelligence but only spotty influence over Margaret's actions. So the dream may be from the viewpoint of my unconscious, looking at my conscious persona (Schumann, who leaves projects unfinished) and at the fierce part making me sick--a "hypertrophied superego," as they say. A topdog with teeth....

I'm still reluctant to write down the dream(s), OR the analysis in the dream, OR this post-dream analysis. My mind's like molasses, keeps oozing off or just sitting there. After a long struggle, I write these notes comparing Margaret's complex, layered mind to mine...

And wake up again.


The paper is blank. All of it was dreaming. I have to write all this out again... before I forget. If you found this one hard going, think how I feel!

Over and over... dreams in dreams about dreams.

LISTS AND LINKS: You Are Lunch - nightmares - nested dreams - mistakes - dreams about dreams - therapy - gender - body image - hypnosis - a 2nd Kate Wilhelm dream: Ai Zhong!

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