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Five Hounds, Five Defenses
Dreamed 2015/9/18 by Wayan
I'm reading Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel. Not a graphic novel, but a deep psychological study drawn as comics. Bechdel's brilliant but distant & unreliable parents made her mistrust love; she learned to love ideas not people. Bechdel still can't relax and be herself even on her analyists's couch; she acts compliant to keep conditional love.
A painful book for me. My parents weren't reliable, I live in my head, loving ideas and art but not people. People let you down.
I transcribe my dreamjournal from early 1983. Sensitized by Bechdel, I see it's largely self-therapy using dreams and books as prosthetics, since I couldn't afford a therapist. I worked hard at it, and did get better--but did I complete that work?
I walk up the hill to rehearse with our band, the Krelkins. Make some rough recordings, tests for our first CD. Fatal flaws in every take, but that's no surprise--they're complex original songs, fiendishly difficult. We knew they'd need many takes. Long haul!
Five agents from five bureaus hound me, out to silence me for my five crimes. Cops and spies, FBI and CIA, American and foreign.
Curiously, inside those trenchcoats and slouch hats are actual hounds--well, hounds and other big tough cartoon critters working as secret agents, cops and private eyes. I'm trapped in funny-animal noir!
One good thing about my five hounds: they and their agencies don't co-operate at all! On the other hand, they don't get in each others' way as much as I'd hope, either. So I pretty much have five separate struggles and five separate defenses, one for each:
This is complex dream advice! How to remember it all? I start ritualistically chanting "five bureaus, five agents, five crimes, five struggles, five defenses"--noting, amused, that even the chant is fivefold. Count them off on my fingers and chant it again, staring at my hand Castaneda style... and wake.
- The hound of pain & inflammation:
I fight this hound with exercise and turmeric; during attacks, add aspirin or ibuprofen.
- The hound of recurring fever, clumsiness and brainfog:
I fight this hound with antibiotic herbs--cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa) and Chinese wormwood (Artemisia annua).
- The hound of allergies:
I fight this hound with exercise, Siberian ginseng (Eleuthera sp), milk thistle (silymarin), diet (gluten triggers attacks) and avoidance (solvents, pollens, animals). These help longterm, but for acute attacks I need to research allergy meds.
- The hound of emotional caution, from unreliable parenting that taught me others won't meet my needs, only books ideas & art will:
I fight this hound by facing that I'm lonely, horny and ambitious, then taking emotional risks--openly seeking fun, friends, love & respect.
- The hound of subclinical autism (Asperger syndrome):
I fight this hound by not trying to pass for human! Learn what works socially and emotionally for me. Ignore conventional wisdom; I'm too different for much of it to work.
Remembering all five. Ha!
NOTES IN THE MORNING
Never mind the details of MY case, or Bechdel's--my point for readers is that your dreams can spell out your issues plainly. No therapist needed! All you really need are the time & attention it takes to undo your family's & society's brainwashing, so you can spot your hounds. But once the blindfold's off... this is how explicit dreams can get!
next to none. What's to interpret? You learn to understand dreams by doing dreamwork over years--but your dreams learn to be clearer too! This dream's explicitness is what decades of dreamwork will do.
- Trenchcoated animal agents: along with Are You My Mother, today I also read Blacksad, a French graphic novel done in watercolors but with animal characters including hounds. Detective noir. Themes included inherited illness and a coverup of a drug's Thalidomide-ish side effects. The dream's Blacksad references imply that my recurrent illness has, like Blacksad's crime, multiple causes--genetic vulnerability PLUS infection PLUS some family coverup a la Bechdel. It's about the only symbolism I see in the dream.
- Hounds #1-3: familiar! I follow these prescriptions daily. I'm getting better at facing Hound 5, too. But...
- Hound #4, emotional caution from unreliable parents: less familiar! The dream agrees with "Are You My Mother?" An unsafe childhood causes emotional reserve! My 1980s journals show I used dreams as my therapist and slowly improved. But illness and poverty were more urgent, so from 1990 on I worked on those instead--bigger payoffs! Hound 4 reveals I'm still lonely, and why. Only action cured my poverty and illness, so action, not further analysis, may be the best therapy for emo reserve too.
- Just FIVE hounds? I had other severe life-issues! I also struggled with gender identity & sexual orientation 1973-76, then family brainwashing 1977-79 (via psychodrama not talk therapy) then IQ/genius 1979-80 (I was a child prodigy, bashed in school for it), then subtler family influences 1981-82 (via dreamwork), then ESP 1983-84 (I have weak boundaries, pick up way too much from others, but also predictive dreams useful for investing), then tried talk therapy for illness I was told was psychosomatic, 1986-89; identifying the real causes of my illness (severe gluten sensitivity and untreated Lyme) and of my social isolation (Asperger syndrome plus illness) came later still, in the 90s.
In short, the Five are just stragglers of a huge pack I defeated one by one. Fucked-up readers, take heart! You CAN beat your Hounds--one by one. As Emily Dickinson never wrote in "Ample make this Head":
Be! The Matter's straight.
Beat the hollow Hounds.
Let me, One, rise up in Joy--
Thunderfront of Clowns.
- Only five problems left, then, right?
Well... more may be latent. For example, lingering physical illness still makes dating hard, though I'm getting close. If I keep healing and start to date, maybe a High-Heeled Hound will totter up: Love Is A Bitch. But she might just be Hound Four in disguise.
- Hounds 1-3, I recall in detail, but Hounds 4-5 are hazier. Why?
Because just as I finished typing the dream, a power failure crashed my computer! Hadn't saved as I went; lost all I'd written. Retyped it hastily from memory, but by the end my recall was already fading. Sigh... Freudian sabotage is trivial next to SHAMANIC sabotage!
Focus on these five hounds for now. ALL five. Especially Hound 4--the hound with the best cover. For now, my best tactic with Hound 4 may just be to spot her--notice how I distance.
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